Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wrong Shirt?

Of course, during an uneventful first official day of Super Bowl Week, the biz n’ the buzz was about the Bus – or, actually, it was about his teammates who were wearing green, Notre Dame #6 jerseys to pay tribute to their leader and his return to Motown.

It kinda makes me wish that I coulda scored a Media Day pass just to show up – as America’s least-recognized, but most-feared iconoclast – wearing a WHITE, Notre Dame #5 jersey.
(Y’know, it sez on my bio that I was a print journalist for 10 years … before the locusts ate my crops … )

I’d’ve gotten in Bus’ head with:
“I'm a little disappointed that you are paying tribute to Rodney … ”
Well, that’s not really a question.

The white Notre Dame #5 jersey is what Rodney Culver was wearing when he rushed for 93 yards in his final game for the Irish – a 39-28 win over the blue-shirted Florida Gators in the ’92 Sugar Bowl.

Bettis was the MVP of that Sugar Bowl, finishing with 150 yards rushing, the bulk of which came on TD bursts of 49 and 39 yards in the final quarter.

Rodney Culver was Notre Dame’s lone team captain that season (’91).

Rodney Culver, like Bettis, was from Detroit (St. Martin dePorres High).

Rodney Culver had a Super Bowl experience (albeit not a memorable one) with the Chargers in Jan. ‘95.

Unfortunately, Rodney Culver didn’t live to see his 27th birthday because he died, with his wife, in that ValuJet plane crash in the Florida Everglades less than a year-and-a-half after that Super Bowl.

They ask me, “What’s your fascination with death?”

Actually, it’s more like an obsession … a mission to remember those who are gone, but are not to be forgotten. Rodney Culver and his wife left behind two young kids in that crash almost 10 years ago … and there aren’t too many more-terrifying ways to check out than a plane crash.

It gives ya the willies ...

What's the harm in following the lead of Sweetness … y’know, rewinding to the day when, moments after he’d broken Jim Brown’s NFL career rushing record, Walter Payton put a different spin on the postgame excitement by saluting his fallen running back brethren.

“This is for the Brian Piccolos and the Joe Delaneys and the David Overstreets … ”

Sweetness did that in the heat of the moment.
If ya gave a current NFL player an hour to name five players who were in the NFL prior to 1990, he could name two, maybe three.
Which is probably why I won’t wear my #36 Rams jersey to school tomorrow.

Of course, when I mentioned the white Notre Dame #5 jersey to Mrs. PF7, she immediately quipped,
“Why? For Blair Kiel?”
Good one, hun.

And, when you get right down to it, maybe Bus didn’t want to play favorites by wearing a white Notre Dame #5 because then he’d have to break out a Notre Dame #90 jersey and a Notre Dame #31 jersey for two of his other dead-before-30 Irish teammates, Jeff Alm and Demetrius DuBose.

Alm was 25-year-old Houston Oiler in '93, who, in the middle of an 11-game win streak, crashed his car into a guard rail late one night and, in the aftermath of seeing his buddy fatally ejected from the passenger seat, went into the trunk of the car, pulled out a shotgun and committed suicide.

DuBose, on the other hand, was 28 and on coke and X when he was shot 12 times by San Diego police in 1999.
Oh, those Lou Holtz recruits ...

Sure, I recognize that nobody makes a Rodney Culver retro/throwback jersey ... and, yeah, I grasp the concept that Bettis is the big-bodied boy who became the bull-of-a-back and stole the stardom which seemed better suited to more-flamboyant fat-boy RBs such as Ironhead Heyward and Ickey Woods.

(Although it is always amusing how a doofus like Schlereth – who, like a lot of people, believes that football was invented in 1992 – informs EspyTime’s 18-34 demographic that Bettis is maybe the best big back in the history of the NFL … WRONG! This discussion begins and ends with Earl Campbell, okay, jackass?)

Wait a sec … THIS looks like breaking news. The Seahawks’ van had a fender-bender Monday and a few players were jolted … but the Steelers’ bus had a cargo hatch open and, uh-oh, here we go ... game on! The Seahawks are gonna start bitchin’ about how their vehicle mishap isn’t getting the respect that the Steelers’ vehicle mishap is.

Fine. Be that way. See if I care.

Let’s see ya stop me when I put on my Notre Dame #3 Arnaz Battle jersey instead of a Notre Dame #3 Rick Mirer jersey (to give props to the guy who performed all of those Bettis/Culver handoffs at N.D. before a storied Seahawk career) or a Notre Dame #3 Joe Montana jersey …


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