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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Basic Biittner : Power Outages, NFL Quarterbacks, and the return of "The Mayor"

Friday, April 30, 2010

Here are a few of my recent random thoughts on a couple of subjects, which I am sure you are thrilled to have revealed now in black and white for your perusal ...

The town of Aurelia, where I live, recently experienced a total blackout one night, starting at about 10 p.m. No street lights, no house lights, no TV, no computer, et al. Whenever that happens - which isn't very often, mind you - it makes me very appreciative of this modern world in which we live.

By the way, the cause of the blackout was very "un-modern" - a raccoon got into a substation. Even in this modern age, critters and varmints can still have their say.

On another note, the recent NFL Draft got me to thinking just what it is that makes the powers-to-be in the NFL so resistant to change. Well, no, actually that's not all that hard to figure out. I think it has something to do with s-u-cc-e-s-s and m-o-n-e-y. What I'm referring to, in this case, is the continued hue and cry of those in the No Fun League about a particular player not being "an NFL Quarterback."

This year, we had two such notable cases. One player, Florida's Tim Tebow, is a Heisman Trophy winner who has been called by many "the best college quarterback of all time." The man has quarterbacked powerhouse teams, leading with his running, passing, and leadership. His coaches and teammates love him, and he seems to be a real upstanding citizen as well. But, you know, he "throws funny" (i.e., side-armed). So, despite all of his outstanding credentials, some NFL nay-sayers thought, pre-draft, that he definitely would not be a first round pick and might even go as low as the 4th round. Many of these same people were shocked when the Denver Broncos actually had the audacity (or stupidity, to their way of thinking) to select Tebow in the first round, with the 25th overall pick. The 25th pick? Their hope - and mine - is that Tebow's selection was a steal, and that the Denver Broncos will be viewed as outright thieves for their courage.

The other case in this year's draft involves a quarterback who started more games than any quarterback in college football history. And it wasn't for Rinky Dink U. No, it was for one of the major college football powers - the University of Texas Longhorns, who, like Tebow's Florida Gators, have won national championships. This young man didn't win any Heisman Trophies, but he has been among the leading vote-getters the last couple of years, and he has a great athlete's name - Colt McCoy - to boot. Like Tebow, he seems to be a young man with strong personal and family values who can run the ball as well as throw it and is a born leader.

McCoy made it all the way to the third round of the draft before the Cleveland Browns selected him with the 85th pick of the draft. Again, I truly hope that Colt McCoy will come out of the (South)West with his guns blazing and put an end to the Browns' sad quarterback situation of the last few years.

What exactly, is "an NFL quarterback," in the doubters' minds? Well, as near as I can figure it, an NFL quarterback is a player who is great at dropping back and throwing the ball, but doesn't run especially well - or at least runs only when he has to. I'm not sure where these people have been, but way back in 1960, the Minnesota Vikings drafted a smallish, non-NFL-type qb who passed (and ran) his way into the record books and the Hall of Fame and his team to several Super Bowls. Guy by the name of Fran Tarkenton. You might remember him.

A few years later, the 49ers picked up a qb who could run a bit and had been kicking around in the old USFL and they thought enough of Steve Young him to install him as their #1 quarterback and trade Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana. All Young did was lead the Niners to some more championships, and then join Montana in the Hall of Fame.

And then there's Michael Vick, who also demonstrated that a running qb could make it in the NFL - before his career went to the dogs. (sorry about that).

Fact is, many of the NFL greats were not highly regarded when they came into the league - Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Montana, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, to name but a few.

So to Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and their supporters I say - keep on doing what you've been doing and someday people will notice. And to the NFL I say - get your head out of, umm, the sand, and realize that this the 21st Century and NFL does NOT stand for the No Fun League.

And one last note - kudos to Iowa State for bringing "The Mayor," Fred Hoiberg, back to Ames, and I hope that he can bring in some great assistants and great players (who want to stay) to restore some of that old "Hilton Magic" of days gone by.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner