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The Can't Miss Kid
Rick Reilly
September 23, 1996
That's the role Ron Powlus was supposed to play at Notre Dame. This is real life: Everyone misses sometimes
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September 23, 1996

The Can't Miss Kid

That's the role Ron Powlus was supposed to play at Notre Dame. This is real life: Everyone misses sometimes

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This is what the janitor, tilted back in his folding chair, yelled to Ron Powlus last Friday, the day before the Purdue game, as Powlus was hurrying to his 12:50 marketing management class: "Tomorrow is your day, Ronnie! Don't forget that! Tomorrow is your day!"

This is how many people were in the stands the day Powlus played his first varsity high school football game for Berwick (Pa.) High: 40,000.

This is what ESPN's Beano Cook said the weekend Powlus played his first game for Notre Dame: "Ron Powlus will win the Heisman two times and be the greatest quarterback in the history of Notre Dame."

These are a few of the guys who have played quarterback at Notre Dame: George Gipp, Johnny Lujack, Paul Hornung, Daryle Lamonica, John Huarte, Terry Hanratty, Joe Theismann and Joe Montana.

This is what Notre Dame quarterbacks before Powlus won: 13 bowl games, 13 All-America awards, 11 national championships and 4 Heismans.

This is how many bowl games Powlus has won, national championships he has won, Heismans he has won, Heismans he has been in the running for and weeks Notre Dame has been ranked No. 1 since he started playing (combined): 0.

This is what NBC's John Dockery said as part of a violin-accompanied, soft-filtered five-minute tribute before Powlus's first snap at Notre Dame Stadium, in September 1994: "We're unveiling a very special painting today, like a Mona Lisa."

This is what the human painting has gone through so far as the most hyped athlete in modern Notre Dame history: a broken collarbone (twice), a broken left arm, a swollen elbow, a strained knee, a concussion, seven losses (including one to Northwestern), a tie, a near loss to Vanderbilt, repeated rumors that he was transferring, one rumor that he'd broken his foot, one rumor that he'd broken his right arm and one rumor that he was marrying his high school coach's daughter.

This is how many broken bones Powlus had while starting a school-record 42 straight games at Berwick High: 0.

This is what Theismann said after Powlus had spent two seasons under the Golden Microscope: "Ron Powlus's skills, unfortunately, have not improved."

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