Today, Jan. 8, is Elvis Presley’s birthday, a day, as Gary Busey suggested in the film, “D.C. Cab,” should be a national holiday.
If Elvis were alive today (a stretch at the age of 74), though, he would be getting ready for this weekend’s round of NFL playoffs — maybe drawing up plays for the Tennessee Titans, a team he would probably own a piece of, for their game against the Baltimore Ravens (unless somehow Dan Snyder convinced him to be a partner with the Washington Redskins. Elvis would be Snyder’s kind of business partner).
Elvis was a big football fan. In an interview conducted at a World Football League game between the Memphis Southmen and the Charlotte Hornets in 1975 — what does that tell you about how big a football fan Elvis was? — the King spoke of his love for the game. “I enjoy rugged sports,” Elvis said. “I’m not knocking people who like golf and tennis and other things. But I like rugged sports such as boxing, football, karate and things like that.
“I have a great ambition to play football,” Elvis continued. “I’ve always had and still have, believe it or not. The thing I keep up with most is professional football. I know all the players. I know their numbers and who they play for. I watch all the games I can. I get the films from the teams themselves if I can. Next to the entertainment thing and music, football is the thing that I enjoy best.”
Elvis was good friends with Cleveland Browns guard Gene Hickerson, who would send Elvis Browns’ game films which he would break down. He drew up his own plays, some of which have been sold at auctions.
Before the days of a daily diet of fried peanut butter sandwiches, Elvis loved playing sandlot football. He sponsored a team in Memphis called the “Elvis Presley Enterprises Football Team” and had jerseys made up with everybody’s name on the back.
He would probably be wearing a Titans jersey up in the owner’s box on Saturday in Nashville, inviting the Ravens down Lonely Street into Heartbreak Hotel.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Tuesday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.
I will be doing an online chat on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. on www.washingtontimes.com
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com