Darrell Royal, who coached the University of Texas Longhorns to three national titles "and became the biggest college football icon in a state that worships the sport, has died at age 88," Austin's American-Statesman reports.
Jacques Barzun, the esteemed cultural historian, lived 104 years and wrote a multitude of words about the most important issues in society, but when he died last week, his one quote that was invariably cited was a pithy one that he wrote back in 1954: "Whoever wishes to know the heart and soul of America had better learn baseball."
Never mind that that is no longer even remotely true.
Of all the strained sports cliches, my favorite was "educated toe." Remember? An accomplished field goal kicker possessed an educated toe. I had a newspaper friend who wrote that a punter had an "intellectual instep," but the copy desk wouldn't allow it. Spoilsports.
So, we found out that the National Football League is too big to fail. But not so big that it couldn't make a complete fool of itself and show to the world that its owners are stingy, greedy nincompoops.
Not so big that it couldn't make its commissioner, Roger Goodell, stand out in front, looking lost and small, so that their erstwhile tough-guy commander suddenly became an errand boy, losing respect and dignity that will be hard to regain the next time he needs it.
Friday morning quarterbacks seem to be unanimous in saying that having a "regular" crew of officials back on the field for Thursday night's NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns made an immediate — and positive — difference.