Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To Be a Young Fisher of Concussed Men

All Kinds of Time - Fountains of Wayne (mp3)
Only the Young - Journey (mp3)

It's the moment when sports become this beautiful, transcendent better-than-the-real-world thing.

Compared to 99% of people in Tennessee, I'm not much of a Titans fan. Their head coach, Jeff Fisher, is worth every bit of good ol' Southern admiration anyone can muster. That moustache. Hair that has greyed, bit after bit, as he became the Great Patriarch of Tennessee Football once Philip Fulmer's reign disintegrated like King Lear's.

In October, the mumbles began claiming Fisher had seen his last year as the Titans coach. The owner pulled rank and demanded that his QB in the wings, Vince Young, have a shot at the starting job. Fisher bristled.

Young, as we all knew here in Tennessee, had lost his stinkin' mind a couple of years ago. He practically held dogfights in his own head, a Vick stuck in his own mental prison. He was done as a pro. Stick several forks in him for good measure. Might as well collect his contract buyout and start doing local ads in Texas like Tim Couch does in Kentucky. His mind-blowing performance over USC at the helm of the Longhorns offered him more immortality than most humans earn, so he was going to have to settle for cashing in on those glory days for the rest of his life. Let's be honest: there are worse fates, right? Than being fawned over by millions of people who wear 10-gallon hats and Remember the Alamo?

It's not like Vince was a hated or even disliked athlete. People didn't badmouth him. We just all kind of thought the whole NFL thing was over his head. For whatever reason. Nothing personal, you know? In fact, a darn shame it wasn't working out.

Well, that was five weeks ago.

Since then, the Titans have tallied five straight victories behind the Vince Young no one but his own family thought even existed (anymore). [NOTE: If any Titans fan actually dares to tell you that they knew Vince was going to step up like he has, please stare at their nose. Just stare and keep staring, 'cuz I swear to God it will grow before your very eyes.]

Vince Young had officially returned to the NFL before the last Sunday in November. But what he did on Sunday, against the Arizona Cardinals, was orchestrate a 99-yard comeback drive even Arizona Cardinal fans had to watch with some modicum of admiration and warm fuzzies. Comebacks like this are why idiots like me watch a bunch of grown men do shit to their bodies that gladiators and Spartans see and go, like, "OMG why wud u do that 2 urself? LOLz!"

Most pundits are proclaiming Brett Favre's run with the Vikings to be "The NFL Story of 2009," but if Vince and his boys can pull off a 6th straight by knocking off Peyton's undefeated Colts next week, I'll officially announce this "The Year of The Vince."

The Vince Victory, November 29, 2009

Our school's own Titans savant, a man we lovingly call The Viper, declared it the third-best game in Titans history, and that didn't even count the dramatic Super Bowl loss.

SIDE NOTE: Oh, and by the way? Enjoy what we know as "professional football" while you can. This growing concern and focus on concussions? They'll spell the end to football as we know it. The dudes in charge of the system, having served loyally as the stoolies, like their pro-tobacco "scientist" predecessors, finally had to resign. Like the Shrew, they were calling the sun the moon, and too many important people were fed up. Once you start down this path, the path of acknowledging just how much serious damage football does to men's brains, the sport will have no choice but to adjust.

For Vince, who ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer, I only hope the changes go slowly and give him a few more years to shine, because the dude is fun to watch. Better yet, watching a guy return from the brink (of unemployment? of sanity? of glory days?) is precisely why so many of us are drawn to sports. And damn if anything should get in the way of our fascinations.

"All Kinds of Time" is perhaps the coolest ballad of a football player in alternative rock history. "Only the Young" is me desperately trying to be clever and failing miserably. I also wanted to enjoy bragging that I've posted two Journey songs in the last two months.


Goofytakemyhand said...

Apropos of sports-related ballads, I nominate Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon as the greatest hockey ballad ever.


Daytimerush said...

I knew.

Hank said...

What are the top two games in Titan's history? Music City Miracle and ?

Bob said...

The other one would have to be that comeback against the Bills when they were still the Oilers. I think they were down like 28 or 31 points in the second half. Unless, of course, I'm remembering it wrong and the Bills came back against the Oilers.

troutking said...

Entertaining post. To top it all off, please post a picture of the Viper.

Jason said...

Sorry Billy even though Vince and the Titans are making a huge run of it now, I just don't buy that Vince is the story of the year of the Vince if they beat the Colts. I think you guys have a little bit of the Tennessee homerisms in you.

Now if they pull off the unlikely feat of starting 0-6 and run all the way to the Super Bowl on Chris Johnson's legs, then I will eat my words. Right now, however, there are much more compelling stories in the NFL.

And no Bob, that doesn't mean I think the Cowboys or Steelers are stories of the year either. :)