From Yahoo.com by Pat Forde.
Condoleeza Rice celebrates Alabama’s 2013 National Championship.
It’s been a banner week for the football old guard – and by old guard, The Dash means the Archie Bunker sect that wants women in the kitchen and gays in the closet and bullying big boys in charge.
Last week, Mississippi football players were required to apologize for being part of a student disruption of a campus play, “The Laramie Project.” The play is based on the murder of gay man Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, and the subject matter apparently was more than many in attendance at Ole Miss could handle maturely.
On Sunday, Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola reportedly played the time-honored bully-the-band card, directing a succession of remarkably vulgar remarks at University of Wisconsin band members on the field before the Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers. (Given the garbage Raiola is reported to have said, it seems to The Dash that the NFL should administer a random drug test to Raiola today. If not yesterday. ‘Roid rage, anyone?)
And for the last several days, white males have been coming out of the woodwork (Bunker? Clavern?) to lambaste the reported choice of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (1) as a member of the 2014 College Football Playoff Selection Committee. On ESPN’s “College GameDay,” analyst and former Georgia star David Pollack (2) said the committee was no place for a woman.
“I want people on this committee that can watch tape, that have played football, that are around football, that can tell you different teams on tape, not on paper,” Pollack said.
He subsequently offered this, via Twitter: “I want people on the committee that eat, sleep & breathe college football during the season. It has nothing to do with male or female.”
Pollack (who is a friend of The Dash and a nice guy) was hardly alone. Among many others chiming in was reliable old reactionary Pat Dye, who believes any offensive play more risky than a screen pass is a sign of societal decay and has a corrosive effect on American values.
“All she knows about football is what somebody told her,” Dye reportedly told WJOX radio in Birmingham, Ala. “Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”
With that, Dye presumably dragged his knuckles through said dirt back to his cave to resume watching black-and-white film of wishbone offenses. And told the nearest dame to fetch him a beer.
If you don’t think this is flamingly sexist and slightly out of touch with the times, then answer the following questions:
Has anyone yet impugned the reported inclusion of Michael Tranghese as a member of the selection committee? Check his bio: small-college golfer, basketball team manager, went into sports information before becoming commissioner of the Big East. I don’t hear anyone questioning Tranghese’s ability to “watch tape,” despite never having played with his “hand in the dirt.”
Rice has not spent her adult life in and around college football, largely because she had more important things to do – like, dealing with the Middle East and Russia. If lack of a lifetime commitment to the game is a factor, what do we do with recently retired Air Force Superintendent Michael Gould? He played college football in the 1970s, then spent six months as a graduate assistant coach in 1976. Can’t imagine he’s spent much time breaking down gap control or route trees over the last 37 years.
Neither, presumably, has Tom Jernstedt, an Oregon quarterback in the 1960s who went on to run the NCAA basketball tournament for decades. Or Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, whose modest career as a tight end and punter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania was followed by a career in sports administration.
If there are concerns that Rice’s time teaching law at Stanford may prevent her from devoting the hours to studying the 2014 football season, what about athletic directors Radakovich, Barry Alvarez, Jeff Long, Pat Haden and Oliver Luck? They spend most of their time Monday-Friday overseeing multi-sport, multi-million-dollar departments. How on Earth will they find the time to appraise Alabama’s nickel package and decide whether it is playoff-worthy?
Funny, all those potential questions to be asked about the reported committee members – but Rice is the one causing all the angst. Just a coincidence, no doubt.
Fact is, what this committee needs is probably exactly what it has. Namely, smart people who can watch football with an educated eye and then do the most important thing: study a team’s body of work and make judgments based on a broad base of national observation and understanding.
The selection committee’s task is to choose the four best teams over the course of an entire season, with the ability to qualitatively compare schedules a paramount aspect of the job. The task is not to select teams because a committee member liked its ability to play press coverage on third-and-long. Making football esoterica a job requirement is an attempt to confuse the issue enough to exclude people the Archie Bunkers don’t want involved.