Posted: Friday June 8, 2007 1:26PM; Updated: Friday June 8, 2007 2:20PM
A pair of Uppie vs. the Old Timers questions to deal with. Dave of Scottsdale, Ariz., asks, "What is Gene Upshaw's real agenda? Why does he have such a hard time dealing with the NFLRPA?" (retired players assn.) Ah, Gene's real agenda, tricky question, that. Plays politics to the max. Ed Garvey. Al Davis and Paul Tagliabue have been political confreres. I'm sure he's got his sights set on Roger Goodell right now. Runs a union that's pretty close to a company union. Old timers feel that he's stiffed them. Of course it's almost an impossible task for a union to do, back-dating all the old, retired workers, but the harshness of his replies, especially involving those presented as being in need, have rankled many retired vets.
Which leads us to Question 2, from Paul of Brampton, Ont., asking for my take on Upshaw's "threat to break Joe DeLamielleure's legs." Hmmm, pretty thick legs. Don't think Uppie could handle it by himself, especially since he wasn't exactly a weight room addict in his playing days. Sorry, but threats don't move me. The best one I ever made myself was on Sgt. Bunch, when I was stationed in Germany and he was harassing me because I was pulling my second consecutive Article 15, company punishment. I told him, in a snarl, "I'm gonna dump you in the river." If he would have thought it through he would have realized that the weakness of my argument was that there wasn't a river nearby, but being a coward, he just fled ... and didn't even bring me up on charges.
I remember Howie Long and Lyle Alzado once having a "favorite threat" contest. Lyle's was, "I'm going to kill you and everything you love." Howie's was, "I'm going to get you in the parking lot after the game and beat you up in front of your family." I liked Howie's better.
Sean of Newton, Mass., has been going through the Kriegel bio of Namath and cites a passage that says that no New York writers picked up on Namath's "I guarantee it" quote. Since I was there, do I remember one ever using it, he wonders? Yeah, I think Dave Anderson of the Times had it, but I could be wrong.
Second -- who do I consider the greatest football writer of all time? Oh maybe Brian Glanville, who wrote a novel I really liked called, The Rise of Gerry Logan. Of course the football referred to here is soccer, but you didn't say American football, did you? "That's the height of arrogance," says The Flaming Redhead, "being so smirky after he paid you such a nice compliment." Yeah, I know. Sorry, Sean. I'm just in a creepy mood.
OK, Michael Bacon of Durham, N.C., not only will your question be answered "after being blocked a dozen times," but I'll drop the E-mailer of the Week award on you because of your loyal support of one of my favorite players, Sam Mills, the genius LB, formerly of the Saints and Panthers. Hall of Fame? Oh hell yes, I've been in his corner from day one. His chances of making it? Not too good. I don't think people fully realize how much he contributed on every level. And Andrew is quite upset that you referred to him as "too much of a Philistine to know who Sam Mills is."
"Tell him" the Big A said, "that I was a fan of his going back to the USFL days." As for me, I'm not mad at you at all, not after the complimentary things you wrote, and especially after revealing that we agree on just about every matter of significance.
Tom of Duxbury, Mass., says he can't understand why "many oddsmakers" have set the Bills won-lost over-under at four. Your puzzlement isn't hard to figure, considering that the actual, street number is 6 1/2. Here's what you do. Find out who those oddsmakers are, who are quoting four, and tap out betting the over. Then, working through a legitimate Vegas book, cover yourself betting the under at 6 1/2. You'll stand to catch a sensational middle.
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