Top 10 Letters
College football, the NFL, gay superheroes, Star Wars, Trent Lott, and more.
11:00 PM, Jan 5, 2003
THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
Parity stinks. Mediocrity is dull. Excellence will always be the standard to strive for (Max Boot, A Level Playing Field). I have been a die hard New York Giants fan since 1961 (the tail end of the glory years)and watch every week on the satellite. But for many years the Giants were god-awful. In one stretch of about 15 years they never got a smell of the playoffs. But that did not keep me from enjoying top quality football games. When the excellent teams of the various eras chanced to meet, what usually resulted was astoundingly good football. My remembrance of that era was that fans, while still loyal to the local favorite, tended to adopt a better team to follow in lean years.
Football is a sport where the whole team can look bad if one player is weak. The other team needs only to identify the weakness and exploit it. One sided victories occur regularly where the schedule allows one team's only strength to match-up against another team's only weakness. What has disappeared are the classic match-ups between two teams with no weaknesses.
The best example is the conference championship games. This is truly where the two best teams meet. In the NFC championship game at the end of the 2000 the NY Giants (God bless them) matched a relatively strong passing game against Minnesota's relatively weak secondary. The result was a 44-0 (or thereabouts, I stopped counting).
Parity has saved the NFL by giving every team a shot at a much reduced pinnacle. They sell hundreds of thousands more tickets at higher prices, but don't mistake the product on the field as being superior to what used to be.
I enjoyed Fred Barnes's solution to college football's championship dilemma , as it mirrors my own (Quick Fix). But I assume his proposal would call for the rotation of the final championship game amongst the four current BCS organizations.
Barnes refers to the Fiesta bowl as the final game, an option I find quite attractive as I am a native of the Phoenix area and have close relations with the management of the Bowl. However, the BCS was created to accomplish two things. The first was to crown a national champion. The second was to create a system in which the top bowls could share the wealth. Each bowl worked very hard over the years to earn its status and the riches it brings to its local economies, and they will be very hesitant to give up that status, even if it means a fairer and more attractive playoff system. As such, all four games must rotate the top game, and, as logic dictates, the low game. Herein lies a problem:
It took a lot of convincing to bring the Rose Bowl into the system. With its luster based largely on an unmatched tradition, it traded in part of that heritage to bring the chances of undefeated Pac-10 or Big 10 teams to play in a BCS championship. It will be an even larger task to convince them to cash in more of that tradition and play a full week ahead of tradition. The Rose Bowl began as a way to promote the Tournament of Roses Parade. Its very existence is owed to a Pasadena festival that takes place on New Year's day. If the Rose Bowl is therefore entrenched on New Year's (or later), and if the plan does not call for rotation, that leaves the Sugar Bowl in the lower tier, something I do not think they would volunteer to do. But if the BCS bowls were to rotate so that once every four years they played the first round before Christmas, and once every four years they hosted the final game, it could work.
Now we just have to get the NFL to sign off on it since the first week after New Year's is generally the first week of the NFL playoffs.
Concerning Jimi Hendrix's letter to his father, David Brooks seems to be mixing up Jimi with John Lennon, the Grateful Dead, CSNY, etc. (From Jimmy to Jimi). Jimi served in the military, Jimi played the star spangled banner at Woodstock, and when he did, he inserted "Taps" after the "bombs bursting in air," an unequivocal indication that he was mourning the dead who fought bravely for our nation. He wrote songs like "Machine Gun", which lamented his loneliness and despair in the jungle, clinging to his gun. When asked about his version of the National Anthem on a TV show (I forget which one), he simply stated that he thought it was beautiful, it was art.