There have been so many who’ve tried and failed. I could make a list, but it’s too depressing, and too long.
The New York Jets have been trying for the past 40 years to find a franchise quarterback, somebody who can lead them to the Super Bowl and render this mostly laughingstock of an organization into one that others aspire to be like (Hey, it can happen with a great QB: The Patriots used to be a laughingstock, too.)
They were so sure they had one with Mark Sanchez about a decade ago. That didn’t work out so well.
But you know what, ya gotta keep trying, so Thursday night this tortured franchise that has caused me way too many bad moods and heartache took another swing at finally finding an Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.
His name is Sam Darnold, he played at USC for two years, and I have no Earthly idea if he’ll be the next Favre or the next Browning Nagle. He looks good in highlights, he’s got a problem with fumbling and throwing interceptions, but he smiles nice and is saying all the right things so far. (Also, his grandfather, Dick Hammer, was the Marlboro Man in TV commercials. That’s kind of awesome.)
Can Sam Darnold lead my tortured team to the promised land? Who the hell knows. It’s only April. But I’m sure by September I’ll have myself convinced Darnold will be the man.
Couple other quick-hit thoughts on the three-day extravaganza that is the NFL Draft:
— There is no more overhyped event in sports, every year, than this draft. It is beyond ridiculous how many “mock drafts” and endless hours are spent speculating about which college tight end is the best, or if that NFL team can find a good safety. Months pass from the Super Bowl to this process of picking new players, and it’s interminable if you follow football. Anyone wondering if football is still king in America should look at the incredible amount of stories written about the Draft.
No question it’s still king.
— Best story of the draft: One-handed phenom Shaqueem Griffin of Central Florida getting chosen by the Seattle Seahawks, then having this wonderful reaction with his family.
— The Cleveland Browns will always be the Cleveland Browns. Maybe Baker Mayfield will be a great quarterback, and their other top 5 pick, Denzel Ward, maybe he’ll be a great defensive back. But the fact that almost nobody thought the Browns did well with those two picks should be alarming to Browns fans. Then again, they’re Browns fans, they live in a state of alarm and unhappiness.
— Loved this story from former NFL front-office executive Andrew Brandt:
“And my favorite story of my career came when signing an undrafted player: I once told a player we would sign him for a $500 bonus. His response: “I only have about $100 now, but I can get you the rest next week.” “No,” I answered, “We pay you.”
That cracked me up.
**Next up today, James Shaw Jr., the hero of the Tennessee Waffle House shooting last week, continues to do great things. Self-effacing and humble, Shaw has reached out to the victim’s families and helped raise $205,000 to help pay for the three funerals of those who died.
This is a quiet, honorable man, who isn’t getting near the attention of the idiotic White House Correspondents Dinner, or the latest ramblings from President Moron, or whatever Kanye or other attention-starved celebrities have been getting.
But Shaw is a nice reminder that being thrust into an awful situation, totally not of your own doing, can reveal loads about character and the kind of person you are.
**Finally today, let me introduce you to a truly awful human being. The anti-James Shaw, if you will. Meet Caren Z. Turner, a residence of Tenafly, N.J. and a former commissioner of the Port Authority (that’s the agency that runs the trains and buses in New York and New Jersey).
She’s a “former” commissioner because of this odious behavior she displayed recently after her daughter and some friends were pulled over during a traffic stop. Watch how she berates and tries to “big time” these two police officers, who maintained an amazing level of patience during this. (Why Turner refuses to just ask her daughter and the driver what happened completely baffles me.)
This woman is exactly why people hate those who have privilege and power and try to use it to their advantage, thinking they can just throw their “weight” around. Watch how abusive she gets toward the end, how insulting she is to these two men simply doing their jobs. I noticed that her daughter and friends do nothing to try to stop Turner; maybe they’re just used to their parents getting them out of stuff like this, or maybe they’re too embarrassed by her behavior to interfere.
Either way, it’s an object lesson in how NOT to behave. Good riddance.