Phoenix Rising From The Ashes …?

Take your mind back to the Fall of 2018.  Things were in place for a potentially heartwarming story to unfold – – maybe even as heartwarming as the old Jack Armstrong All-American Boy radio shows.  Screenplay writers at Disney were probably poised to immortalize all this in a biopic.  Let me summarize what was in place.

  • In 1997, Scott Frost was the QB for Nebraska and they won the national championship that year.
  • Frost had an uneventful NFL career and began a coaching career in 2007 as the linebackers coach at Northern Iowa.  It may indeed be a long way to Tipperary, but it is an even longer way from the college football national championship to linebackers coach at Northern Iowa.
  • Frost had success as an assistant and then as offensive coordinator at Oregon during and after the Chip Kelly years there.
  • Meanwhile, UCF Football had been doing well under George O’Leary, but the wheels came off the wagon in 2015.  The Golden Knights posted an 0-12 record and O’Leary was fired in mid-season.  Frost took over the UCF program in 2016.
  • In 2017 – just two years after going 0-12 – UCF had an undefeated season at 13-0.  Some folks thought they should be in the CFP and when they were not invited some folks simply declared UCF as the national champions.
  • Meanwhile about 1200 miles away in Lincoln, NE, the Husker’s program was no longer “in the mix” for conference championships let alone national championships.  Bo Pelini had won 9 or 10 games a year but then played in minor bowl games; he was replaced by Mike Riley who went 19-19 over three seasons.
  • Scott Frost – All-American Boy – got the call to come home to alma mater to “change the culture” and thereby restore glory to Nebraska football.  The screenwriters at Disney must have been salivating at the prospects.

I suspect any ardor that existed in the screenwriting community in 2018 has dissipated by now because the Scott Frost Era at Nebraska has been a step down from Mike Riley’s years with a break-even record.  Since taking over at Nebraska, Frost’s teams are 15-29 over 4 seasons and last year they had the worst record – – 3-9 – – for any Nebraska team since 1957.  That was 64 years ago for everyone keeping score at home.

That would a sufficiently sour ending to the story as a standalone.  But it gets worse.  The super sleuths at the NCAA have determined that Frost was violating NCAA rules and have slapped Nebraska with penalties for those violations.  At the bottom line, Frost and his team were breaking rules and still managed to lose about twice as many games as they won. 

            Here is a link to a report outlining what the violations were and what the penalties are.  If there is a screenwriter out there who is still hoping to score big on this story, I suspect that (s)he is now thinking along the lines of a story where Scott Frost is a living symbol of the Phoenix who rises from the catastrophe of the ashes to bring glory back to Saturday afternoons in Lincoln, NE.

Moving on …  There is an adage on Wall Street that when something happens for a first time, that is an event.  If it happens a second time, that is a coincidence.  If it happens a third time, that is a trend.  Please do not focus on counter-examples here because I want to argue that the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans must hope that the following is not a trend:

  1. Henry Ruggs III played WR at Alabama and was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Raiders.  He was released by the Raiders after a fatal car accident where he stands accused of being drunk and driving at over 100 mph in Las Vegas.
  2. Calvin Ridley played WR at Alabama and was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Falcons.  He has been suspended from the NFL for at least all of the 2022 season for betting on NFL games in 2021 while he was injured and not playing.
  3. Jerry Jeudy played WR at Alabama and was drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the NFL Draft.  He was recently arrested and faces charges involving domestic violence.

So,  you ask why the Eagles, Lions and Texans hope that is not a trend?  Consider:

  • Devonta Smith played WR at Alabama and was drafted in the first round by the Eagles…
  • Jameson Williams played WR at Alabama and was drafted in the first round by the Lions…
  • John Mitchie III played WR at Alabama and was drafted in the second round by the Texans…

Finally, here are two observations from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times regarding sports memorabilia/collectables:

“Todd Brock, a private equity investor from Houston, sold Tiger Woods’ Titleist 681-T iron set from his Tiger Slam in 2000-01 for $5,156,162 at Golden Age Auctions, a record for golf memorabilia.

“That’s what’s known as reaching the green.”

And …

“The $518,000 sale of the football thrown for Tom Brady’s “final” NFL touchdown pass — whose value plummeted when Brady changed his mind about retiring — has been voided by mutual agreement between the parties.

“In short, it was ruled incomplete.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………