- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 31, 2004

I’ve got two words for Sean Taylor, the Redskins’ free safety/night owl: designated driver.

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This is the kid, I’ll just point out, who played hooky from the NFL’s rookie symposium — where they discuss, among other things, alcohol awareness.

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Maybe Taylor was too preoccupied with stopping Donald Driver, Green Bay’s fine receiver, to be thinking about a designated driver.



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Yes, this is the first time Brett Favre has visited Washington … as a Packer. But — how quickly we forget — he threw his first pro passes here in 1991 as a rookie for Atlanta. The Redskins flattened the Falcons that day 56-17, their highest point total in the last 37 years. Favre was given mop-up duty late in the game and went 0-for-5 with two interceptions and one sacking. Amazingly, that’s the only time we’ve seen him, up close and personal, before today.

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Heck, even Dan Marino and John Elway, who played in the AFC, made more appearances in D.C. than Favre (three each, not counting the Dolphins’ preseason game at RFK in ‘83).

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Now that the league has changed its scheduling formula, though, this situation shouldn’t come up in the future. According to the new formula, the Redskins will play the Packers at least once every three seasons and will play them at home at least once every six seasons.

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Too bad Favre won’t still be around in 2010.

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The Chiefs are to be congratulated for their eight rushing touchdowns against the Falcons last week — a remarkable feat in the Era of the Forward Pass. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not an NFL record, only a modern record.

A mere 82 years ago, on Oct. 22, 1922, the Rock Island (Ill.) Independents set the real record by running for nine TDs in a 60-0 thrashing of the Evansville Crimson Giants. Jimmy Conzelman, who’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was responsible for five of them. Had not the second and fourth quarters been shortened to 12 minutes — no sense in prolonging the slaughter — Rock Island might have scored even more.

Alas, the game has disappeared into the mists of history. Pro football, you see, has never really paid much attention to its early years (which explains why only nine players who played primarily in the ‘20s are in the Hall). Besides, it’s easy to overlook a game between two teams who were only briefly in the league. But the Independents did rush for nine touchdowns in that game, trust me (even if you can’t look it up).

• • •

Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch can’t understand why Florida is letting fired football coach Ron Zook finish out the season. “Is Steve Spurrier really too busy to take over this week?” he asks.

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Three idle thoughts:

1. Loved it when Marvin Lewis kept throwing at Champ Bailey on Monday night. (Marvin must know something about him — having been his boss for a year in Washington — that other coaches don’t.)

2. Many draft “experts” ripped Bill Parcells for trading his first-rounder this year (22nd overall) to Buffalo for two lower picks and a No.1 next year. The Cowboys are looking pretty good now, though. The Bills are 1-5, and their No.1 could well be a top-five selection.

3. Two years after the Redskins raided them of Laveranues Coles, Randy Thomas, John Hall and Chad Morton, the Jets are 5-1 and heading for the playoffs. What’s wrong with this picture?

• • •

News item: Saints owner Tom Benson to marry a New Orleans interior designer this weekend — his team’s bye week.

Comment: The first half of the nuptials, I understand, will be shown on the NFL Channel, and the second half on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

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Must be the time of year — Halloween. How else to explain the phantom interference call at the end of the Maryland-Clemson game (that killed the Terps) and the phantom touchdown at the end of the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game (that was really a fumble by the Hokies)?

Memo to ACC officiating crews: Boo! (And you can take that any way you want.)

• • •

I just don’t know about Joe Paterno anymore. In the second half of Penn State’s 6-4 loss to Iowa, he called a squeeze play and, later, a double steal.

• • •

The score, believe it or not, of the first college football game ever played — the one between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869 — was 6-4. At least those teams had an excuse, though: They were really playing soccer.

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The last time the Nittany Lions lost a game 6-4 was at Navy on Nov.16, 1907 — Paterno’s first year as coach, if I’m not mistaken.

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And while we’re on the subject:

Navy beat Army 6-4 in 1893.

Maryland beat Georgetown 6-4 in 1894.

Virginia beat Vanderbilt 6-4 in 1895.

And Virginia Tech beat VMI 6-4 the same year.

• • •

When folks say Paterno is “stuck in the ‘90s,” maybe they mean the 1890s.

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Penn State’s only scores came on two intentional safeties — one of my favorite stratagems in sports. In fact, I’d rank it right up there with the intentional walk and the intentional foul.

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In a recent conference call, a Minneapolis reporter asked Florida State’s Bobby Bowden for his thoughts on the 20th anniversary of the court decision that deregulated college football telecasts. “Bowden fumbled for an answer,” colleague Rick Snider reports, before saying, “Ain’t that like a Yankee to throw a dadgum question like that at me?”

• • •

What a time to be a New Englander, huh? The Red Sox just won the World Series, the defending champion Patriots are 6-0 and the Bruins so far are undefeated, too.

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The 14-year-old in the house says, “They shouldn’t just send Johnny Damon’s bat to the Hall of Fame. The next time he gets a haircut, they should send his hair, too.”

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“It could be an interactive exhibit,” Mr. Wiseguy adds. “They could make a wig out of it and let people try it on.”

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“Bostonians haven’t been this excited,” a Red Sox fan told me, “since the repeal of the Volstead Act.”

(For you non-history majors out there, the Volstead Act was the legislation that gave us Prohibition.)

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Guess we know what the “O” in Rolen stands for: 0-for-15 in the World Series.

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Not to worry, though, Scott. You didn’t have the worst hitting Series in history. That distinction belongs to Billy Sullivan of the 1906 White Sox, who failed to reach base in all 21 of his trips, striking out nine times. (Rolen, on the other hand, whiffed just once and managed to finagle a walk.)

• • •

Sullivan might not have been much with the lumber — he was a .212 career hitter — but was the best catcher “ever to wear shoe leather,” in the opinion of Ty Cobb. As a stunt in 1910, according to BaseballLibrary.com, Billy stood at the base of the Washington Monument and caught a ball “dropped from the top, 555 feet up.” (Even more impressive, it took him only, uh, 24 tries.)

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Sullivan has one other connection to Washington baseball history. In 1909, the year Billy served as the White Sox’s player-manager, the Nats’ William “Dolly” Gray set records for futility by walking eight Chicago batters in one inning, including seven in a row. But wait, it gets funnier. When the Sox’s Patsy Dougherty batted for the second time in the inning, BaseballLibrary.com reports, “Sullivan suggest[ed] he go to the plate without a bat.”

• • •

And finally …

Tim Duncan is no longer listed as 7 feet tall in the Spurs media guide; he’s now 6-11. Can’t say I’m surprised by this. I mean, Tim’s been carrying the team for years.

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