Gridiron Greats, Scribes, and Ballcoaches



Nothing gives the lie to my profession's constant whining about how impoverished and overworked we are than Southeastern Conference Media Days, the annual summer lovefest between football coaches and the hordes of reporters who glorify them.

I like a freebie and a cold beer as much as the next guy, but I have never attended SEC Media Days. I have, however, read about 40 years of dispatches from them and if there was an ounce of useful information in them I can't remember it.

Whenever I read them — and, face it, in July what the hell else is going on in wide world of sports? — I feel like I have been transported back to the days of Chip Hilton, Clair Bee, grizzled mentors, gridiron greats, shifty scatbacks, fabled elevens, beefy behemoths, and reporters with thick glasses, short-sleeved shirts, and press cards stuck in their hats and nicknames like "Scoop."

"How's the team look this year, coach?"

"We got some good 'uns/hosses/studs/fine young men/JC transfers/barely eligible sophomores comin' back but we lost some starters/great athletes/felons too, so we'll have to wait and see who steps up/ sucks it up/gits after it/work their tails off/has foot speed/hits the weights/digs deep, and who wants to get the job done before we line up/tee it up/open the season/kick some D-2 ass/get our asses kicked."

"Gee, thanks coach. And by the way, these goody bags are the best ever. See you at the bar/pool/next press conference/golf course/NCAA hearing/when you get fired."

When I was a wire-service reporter, I was a purveyor of such nuggets myself, via phone calls with the sports information directors in Mississippi. One day the report was, I swear, "The Bulldogs worked out today in their shorts."

I can't wait for September. I mean it. We got us some studs. The Buckeyes are down. Go Blue.

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