I’ve been lucky enough to know a few folks who would be filed quite readily under the heading “a hard act to follow”.
For a couple of weekends this month, Garrison Keillor took the opportunity to yield the host duties of his “Prairie Home Companion” radio program to someone else. I don’t know whether he sat and listened to the shows along with the rest of us … but there was such spectacular subtext every time his guest host, Punch Brothers lead singer Chris Thile, opened his mouth that I actually found hard to listen. And it’s not even my show! Can’t imagine what the creator of Lake Wobegon was feeling, no matter how much he may have brushed off the idea.
Not that Thile did poorly; he did fine, considering the task set before him. But for forty years, the voice that has spoken words like “coming to you live from the stage of the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul” and “heavens! They’re tasty, and expeditious” has been Keillor’s, and if anyone else tries it, it is simply Not. The. Same.
When NPR’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” news quiz program begins each week, I admire the baritone of “legendary anchorman Bill Curtis” doing the introductions … but it’s just not Carl Kasell.
Re-boots have that innate challenge. We love the folks who are “our first”. Shatner is Captain Kirk. Dirk Benedict is Lieutenant Starbuck. Don Adams is Agent Maxwell Smart. Lou Ferrigno is the Hulk. Good luck to Chris Pine, Katee Sackhoff, Steve Carell, and the CGI version of Mark Ruffalo. Your results may vary.
And heaven knows, in the last decade, I’ve had the opportunity to bid farewell to a number of performers for whom there will be no re-boots. They played their roles in such a way that any attempt to recreate those roles precisely … would be seen as cheap imitation. My Dad, as my primary example, will never be duplicated, which is a shame; but at the same time, doing a Dad impression is of less use than carrying on in such a way that the good works he left behind are what continue.
It’s a balancing act. Even in the Drum Major Academy world, we’ve brought both George Parks’ guiding principles and many of his bits of schtick along with us, in the four summers following his passing … but the curriculum and presentations are evolving. Wisely, the people who were charged with the task of presenting the “beware the drum major attitude” lecture session (which were shot through with Mr. Parks’ personal anecdotes) have been encouraged to bring their own additions and elements to it.
When Garrison Keillor retires, will “Prairie Home” even continue? His voice, his writing, his “old-time radio” approach, and without doubt the fictional Lake Wobegon community that existed only in his head, are so individual to him that it might be anywhere from wild and blind optimism to hubris for someone else to try to reproduce his act.
Assuredly, if it continues, it won’t be the same; but will that turn out to be okay? Depends upon whom you ask. Some will refuse to listen to a changed “PHC”. Some will keep on tuning in, to listen to Rich Dworsky at the piano, to Tim Russell and Sue Scott and Fred Newman’s able radio acting voices … but someone else will be writing the Ketchup Advisory Board and “Guy Noir, Private Eye” sketches – if they even survive the transition. And, if this month’s guest-hosted shows are any indication, no one will even try to reproduce the “News from Lake Wobegon”. At which point, some will say that it’s not really “PHC” anymore, and others will appreciate the “Moth Radio Hour” storytellers that may be brought in to fill that show segment. I don’t even know which direction I’ll go.
Last week, the radio world – and New England’s more local radio world – lost someone who will be a hard act to follow.
Richard Sher, the host of the public radio word-and-wit panel quiz show “Says You!”, passed away on Monday, February 16, after a battle with colon cancer.
I’ve been regular listener of the show for the majority of its eighteen and a half seasons. Happily, I live in a part of the country that plays host to live tapings of “Says You!” at least once a year; so once a year since 2009, I’ve taken my mother (also a big fan) to an afternoon or evening session wherein a couple of episodes of the show are recorded. (I even bumped into one of my former students in the audience on one occasion; I was both thrilled and totally unsurprised.) It’s as close to old-time radio as it gets anymore, with the possible exception of, yes, “A Prairie Home Companion”.
Part of the fun of “Says You!” has been its refusal to take itself too seriously. One of its philosophies is: “it’s not important to know the answers … it’s important to like the answers.” A larger part of the fun is the panelists who are asked to wrestle with the ferocious trivia quizzes, word puzzles, and brain-teaser questions that Richard Sher created for each week’s broadcast. Six New England-based writers, radio journalists, television personalities and other performers, in teams of three, tussle with the intellectual challenges and also interact with each other – with equal helpings of brilliance and silliness.
These masters of out-loud problem solving and on-the-spot joke-making were assembled into this verbal gymnastics team primarily because they all were long-time friends of Richard Sher. As the moderator and ringmaster of this flying circus of word and wit since its inception in 1997, by turns Sher guided the proceedings and sometimes seemed to hang on for dear life.
He would shamble onstage before a taping started, usually clad in tan corduroy jacket with brown elbow patches (necktie optional), and grab hold of each side of a small speaker’s podium, slightly hunch-shouldered … looking for all the world like a cross between an amiable English professor and Gru, the evil mastermind of the “Despicable Me” movies.
And always, he came off as the kind of person that his friends described him as, in the various obituaries that have appeared in the last fortnight: affable … creative … quirky … a mensch … warm and funny … “cynical but zany” … gentle and humane … eminently lovable.
Sher could make audiences laugh explosively at his gently acerbic emceeing (“That is a brilliant answer. Totally wrong, but brilliant even so.”). But he would not have been above literally falling over laughing at one of his panelist friends’ ad-libbed jokes. This happened during a number of the tapings that I attended; when it took him a few minutes to recover his composure afterward, the audience learned what an “edit point” in radio was. (“You’ll be amazed at how seamless this all will sound when it hits the radio.”)
When my mother handed me the Boston Globe‘s obituary page and said, “read this,” I read the headline: “Richard Sher, 66; created and hosted radio quiz show ‘Says You’”. I’ll admit that my first thought, following the initial sinking feeling that always accompanies such a realization, was: “aw, Ben.”
Benjamin Sher was Richard Sher’s beloved son, whom the obituary described as “part of the show, serving occasionally as scorekeeper and doing voice-overs”. At the end of each broadcast, the show’s credits finish with Richard saying, “Benjamin, give ‘em the skinny!” and his son replying, “Says You! is produced by Pipit & Finch, Boston!” They’ve had to re-record Ben’s reply at least twice. I think there’s a four-year-old version, an eight-year-old version, and a thirteen-year-old version. He’s just as much a vet of the show as any of the panelists.
“Mr. Sher was devoted to his son,” continued the obituary, “driving him to school and attending every event possible. When work took him out of town, his wife said, he would pause the taping to take phone calls with results of his son’s sports contests.” There’s no good time to lose your father, but I can appreciate that I got most of forty years to enjoy my dad’s company. Benjamin Sher got something like fifteen of them.
My next thought was: “Richard Sher is a hard act to follow.” I wouldn’t want to. There are just some acts, whether big and bombastic or subtle as a raised eyebrow, that are unique. My mother and I agreed that it would be next to impossible.
In January, when I attended the taping of two shows at Regis College, not far from Boston, I obviously didn’t realize that I was watching Richard Sher’s radio swan song. It’s not often in life that one consciously realizes they’re seeing something happen for the last time. And I wonder if anyone in that audience knew that Sher was suffering from colon cancer, that he had just six weeks left. He wasn’t lettin’ on, that’s for sure. It must have been one of the great moments of “the show must go on” that I’ve seen, at least live and in-person and in the fifth row.
Sure enough, Richard Sher (along with the extended family he’s left behind) appears to have defied expectations once again. Who might have predicted that a wordplay radio quiz show would thrive for most of two decades, in our current short-attention-span entertainment world – even if it was public radio and not commercial? And the website pronounced, not long after he passed away:
“It was Richard’s wish that the show continues – the laughter it generates from you, our loyal listeners, will be the greatest gift that could possibly be hoped for …”
According to the Globe obituary, “’Says You!’ will continue its broadcasts. … [T]here is a reservoir of nearly 500 taped shows that can play at any time. Part of Richard’s genius was his foresight in editing out all topical references, so each program is freestanding.” “This truly is an ensemble,” said Sher’s wife, Laura, a program producer for the show. “While Richard has been the lead in that, this is an ensemble strong enough to go on.”
As in, not just in reruns. I’m beyond pleased to read that; I’ll be curious to see how they do carry on. I hope, and suspect, that Richard Sher has laid a foundation that really can endure. He was the literal voice of the show; but he emphasized and showcased the contributions of his team in such a way that the transition may actually not be nearly as jarring as it could have been.
Perhaps this past January wasn’t the last time I’ll get to a taping, after all. The show will go on.
[With apologies to the justly-famous author of the seminal work entitled “I Am Not Spock”. -Ed.]
SPOCK: Please state your name and business.
NOT-NIMOY: A pleasure to meet you, sir. My name is … [think I’ll go for formality; the man is a Vulcan] … Robert. I’m a great admirer of your work– well, your portrayer’s work… no, yours as well, even though you’re a fictional… (deep breath) … character that I am nonetheless talking to. A pleasure to meet you, and I hope this conversation goes much better from here.
SPOCK: You have contacted me for some … reason?
NOT-NIMOY: Yes, sir. I have become aware that an acquaintance of yours is not well.
SPOCK: I have many acquaintances.
NOT-NIMOY: Understood, sir. This one is closer to you than most.
SPOCK: Ah. The Nimoy.
NOT-NIMOY: Yes, sir. The … Nimoy. Had you heard?
SPOCK: I had, although not in great detail. It is said that the only thing that travels faster than a starship at warp is news.
NOT-NIMOY: (a long, stammering pause; not sure what to do with the idea that the great and logical Spock just tossed out an aphorism)
SPOCK: Have you gone?
NOT-NIMOY: Only deep in thought, sir. And that’s not a good idea, considering the distance this call is traveling, and the rates I’m being charged. –Sorry, sir. Let me get myself together. So, you had heard that the man who portrayed you, as part of our entertainment industry, was rushed to a hospital yesterday. He was suffering severe chest pains.
SPOCK: Is it known what caused these symptoms?
NOT-NIMOY: The news reports I read didn’t say. He was diagnosed some time ago with C.O.P.D.
SPOCK: C.O. …
NOT-NIMOY: Sorry; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His lungs…
SPOCK: …were obstructed, yes.
NOT-NIMOY: You’re a scientist. I forgot.
SPOCK: I appreciate your attempt to provide further explanation, regardless of whether I required it. Is there a history of this disease in his ancestry?
NOT-NIMOY: Not that I’m aware. Not that I would know first-hand. I’m not even sure whether C.O.P.D. “runs in the family”. He did smoke cigarettes for three decades though.
SPOCK: Ah. Tobacco products. In that case, correlation is conceivable, at the very least.
NOT-NIMOY: He did quit smoking some time ago, although he Tweeted that he wishes he had quit long before.
SPOCK: … Tweeted. … Made avian noises? Knowing him, it seems unlikely.
NOT-NIMOY: You mean our Internet doesn’t make it out to Vulcan? … Might be for the best.
SPOCK: It does not; information is always preferable to a lack of same.
NOT-NIMOY: In this case, I wouldn’t count on that. No, “Tweeting” is using a social-media device called “Twitter” — you can post messages of up to a hundred and forty characters. It’s a communication device, I guess.
SPOCK: So, he Tweeted.
NOT-NIMOY: Yes. Put out a brief message to his fans when he was diagnosed.
SPOCK: For what purpose? Communication, you said.
NOT-NIMOY: Yes – he wanted to keep his fans updated about his health. He is 82, after all.
SPOCK: That seems a personal matter.
NOT-NIMOY: It is, to be sure. But I imagine he wanted to publicize his own health situation in order to help others avoid the same predicament.
SPOCK: A … “public service”?
NOT-NIMOY: I suppose.
NOT-NIMOY: Thank you. –For him, I mean.
SPOCK: Quite. You speak for him?
NOT-NIMOY: No! … I mean, no, I’ve not ever met him in person. His publicity people sent me an autographed picture of him in his Spock outfit, after I wrote him a fan letter when I was ten.
NOT-NIMOY: I’ve said too much.
SPOCK: Not at all. I understand that the producers of the “Star Trek” television program endeavored to reproduce my likeness by applying prosthetics and other coverings to a human. They very nearly got it right. I did take issue with the eyebrows…
NOT-NIMOY: (hazarding a knowing joke) Well, nobody’s perfect.
SPOCK: That much is certain.
NOT-NIMOY: But his portrayal of you gained him a huge following. And after awhile, all those people who admired his portrayal came to realize that as a performer, he was capable of many other things as well. That, and his positive and sincere public persona, came to be admired.
SPOCK: I would remind you that the man is an actor. Logic dictates that this “public persona” might be different from his actual personality. It is not unknown.
NOT-NIMOY: In his case, somehow I doubt it. I’ve seen enough interviews, video clips of his interactions with other people … yes, those are public moments, and if he’s a good enough actor, he could convince people he’s a good guy when he actually might not be … but there’s such a thing as a “body of work”. It’s hard to live more than half a century in the public eye and maintain that kind of facade. In short, I buy his act; and I don’t even think it’s an act. Even Shatner copped to admiring his integrity.
SPOCK: Forgive me. I am playing “devil’s advocate”.
NOT-NIMOY: You. Are. Not.
SPOCK: You doubt me?
NOT-NIMOY: I’m just kinda thrilled that you’d make that pun, considering how NBC network executives reacted to you at first.
SPOCK: I am well aware.
NOT-NIMOY: They underestimate you, then and now.
SPOCK: You honor me. By extension, you honor my doppelganger.
NOT-NIMOY: Yes, I think ultimately that’s right. I do. I’m hoping it’s not the last time I’ll have a chance to do so.
SPOCK: His condition is that serious?
NOT-NIMOY: No! Well, I don’t know, honestly. When I read the news report, the phrasing that the writers used gave me the horrible suspicion that … well, the prognosis might not be good.
SPOCK: Have there been further updates?
NOT-NIMOY: Not that I’ve seen. I wonder … no. Never mind.
SPOCK: Speak your mind. It is, as the saying goes, “your nickel”.
NOT-NIMOY: I’m trying not to be morbid here. But with all due recognition of your particular journey from life to death … and back! … there’s a phrase here on Earth that goes something like: “none of us is getting out alive”.
SPOCK: You are preparing to deal with the death of a person you have never met, but whose work you have observed and admired – to the extent that you worry for him in any case.
NOT-NIMOY: For heaven’s sake! I feel weird even talking about the Death of Leonard Nimoy when it hasn’t happened yet, and may not for awhile.
SPOCK: And yet you are indeed speaking of it.
NOT-NIMOY: That’s what we illogical humans excel at. We obsess over things we can’t do anything about. Like moths to a flame…
SPOCK: Your question is, what will happen to me after my portrayer has … departed? … is it not?
NOT-NIMOY: It is.
SPOCK: Loathe as I am to invoke the trappings of religion …
NOT-NIMOY: I can imagine. And yet, the fal-tor-pan …
SPOCK: Be that as it may. You will perhaps recall the scene in the third film, after the completion of that fal-tor-pan ritual, the reuniting of my physical self and my katra. Doctor McCoy looked at me, and instead of saying something acerbic – which, even in my relatively hazy condition, I somehow expected – he merely tapped a finger to his temple.
NOT-NIMOY: “Remember.” Oh, no, wait, you’d said that to him as you were transferring your katra to his mind … and he was reminding you that you had, in a sense, lived in his head for, well, for a whole movie.
SPOCK: And continued to do so afterward, to some small degree. Katra transferral, and the more routine mild melds, for that matter, have that faint residual effect. No, I prefer to consider my portrayer’s “body of work”. If someone’s works are sufficiently comprehensive …
NOT-NIMOY: … and effective, and affecting …
SPOCK: … as to remain in his admirers’ memories long after his life span is complete – and indeed, if his contributions to his world have a lasting effect on that world – then one might conjecture that the physical presence is truly but a part of the story.
NOT-NIMOY: That only partly answered my question.
SPOCK: I did not intend otherwise. Even I cannot know the remainder of the answer, until such time as it becomes obvious.
NOT-NIMOY: Does that bother your scientist’s mind?
SPOCK: At one time, it might have done. However: things, as they say, happen.
NOT-NIMOY: Sir, I don’t wish to take up more of your time. As seems so often to be the case, you’ve been helpful. I’ll go now.
SPOCK: That is acceptable. Peace and long life to you.
NOT-NIMOY: Likewise. Live long, and prosper, Spock.
I think that likely, indeed.
By now, you all must have heard about the issue of football inflation. It’s inevitable, given the Importance Of Professional Sports, and given the Things That American Media Will Obsess Over, and given the Rabid Fan Bases Of This And That Professional Sports Team.
You may not have heard nearly as much about Nigerian mass-murders or Congressional legislative proposals or oil spills in Montana rivers; but you have heard about the Shameful Doings Down In Foxborough.
I just listened to the podcast version of my favorite political talk radio show – political – and I swear to you, the average number of times per minute that the word for “spheroid projectile” was uttered, with more than a hint of Beavis and Butthead, had to have topped a dozen.
(Now, I’m going to put in some serious effort to see if I can avoid using the “spheroid projectile” synonym even once, here. So that no one will snicker during this Very Serious Discussion of an Important Ethical Concern. I mean it. Cut it out. Hey! STOP.)
So, the only two things I need to say in setting up the thought that just occurred to me:  there are some people in this Great Land Of Ours who really need to get their priorities straight; and  there are some moments where the existence of slang in our fine language just plain s–
(I hate you all.)
Full disclosure: I’ve been a New England Patriots fan since I learned how to watch television. Not that the Patriots were on television a whole lot, back then, owing to their Inability To Win Games, and the NFL blackout rule, and all. In fact, while the vast majority of citizens of the sports-viewing nation who live outside New England have cultivated an intense dislike of that team, I come from a background of remembering when we disliked them for a diametrically opposite reason than the current one. And what’s that reason?
Ya know what? For the past decade and a half, the Patriots have won. Not always, but a super lot more than many teams in their league. Envy and jealousy will inevitably set in, amongst the fan bases of teams that have not won so much. I am not saying this because I’m amongst the fan-base of the team that has found lots of success; this is just true. Talk to fans of, por ejamplo, the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, the Manchester United soccer (sorry; football!) club, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the 1980s, the Dallas Cowboys of the 1960s and ’70s (really, who has the arrogance to call themselves “America’s Team”?) … and, much as this New Englander hates to admit it, … the New York Yankees.
Success breeds jealousy. Wish we could win like that (, say this year’s NBA Philadelphia 76ers, this year’s NFL Oakland Raiders, this past season’s Boston Red Sox, or Tiger Woods in the last few years).
But they cheeeeeeeeeeeated!
Sorry, and you think the New England NFL franchise is the only team that ever may have fine-tooth-combed the rule book in its quest for The Golden Loophole? You think there is a single sports team, professional or amateur, who hasn’t at least investigated little tiny ways to gain advantage, to get ahead, to prevail?
I have two words for all you fans of Upright Cosmic-Scale Overgrown Boy Scout Heroes Who Would Never Cheat: Kobayashi Maru.
I know, I know: it doesn’t make it right.
This all is by no means meant to suggest that I’m one of those “what-about-ers”, the people whose response to their team’s (political party’s) (denomination’s) misdeeds is to suggest that the other team (political party) (denomination) has done something equally bad. Both sides do it. Therefore my team isn’t so bad, really.
What they teach you in kindergarten is true: it’s best to play fair. Be honest, shoot straight, be honorable.
What you learn after kindergarten is equally true: humans are incapable of playing fair for their entire lives. Nobody can claim absolute purity. Even when millions, perhaps billions of dollars aren’t on the line.
The “both sides do it” argument is one with which I have grown increasingly weary in the last decade or so. That’s another post for another day.
But there are some moments when somebody takes that “both sides do it” wager and doubles down on it so hard it collapses the card table.
From today’s Dallas Morning News:
Pro Football Hall of Famer, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Fox color analyst Troy Aikman didn’t mince words Thursday morning when discussing the Patriots, the NFL and Roger Goodell.
“It’s obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this,” Aikman said. “I know going back to when I played, they’ve loosened up the rules in terms of what each team is able to do with the footballs coming into the game. Used to, the home team provided all the balls. And now, each team brings their footballs the way they like them and break ‘em in. Used to you couldn’t break them in. So for the balls to be deflated, that doesn’t happen unless the quarterback wants that to happen, I can assure you of that.”
So what should the penalty be? Aikman, who has adamantly contested the NFL’s ruling against the New Orleans Saints for allegedly issuing bounties on players, used them as an example to challenge the NFL. … Aikman noted the difference between the Saints’ charge and the Patriots’ offense, and says the NFL must take a significant stand.
“Sean Payton did not cheat,” Aikman contended. “There was nothing that Sean Payton and the Saints did that was illegal. And they did not give themselves a competitive edge. I maintain, regardless of whatever was said in the locker room, and in that locker room, is not anything different than what’s been said in any other locker room around the league. There’s no proof on the field of what took place that guys were targeting players. You can always pull out a play here and there.
“Now twice, under Bill Belichick and possibly a third time, they’ve cheated and given themselves an advantage,” Aikman said. “To me, the punishment for the Patriots and/or Bill Belichick has to be more severe than what the punishment was for the New Orleans Saints.”
(By the way, I apologize to readers of this blog. I have forced you to wade through Mr. Aikman’s questionable grip on English grammar. Hell … maybe the grammar isn’t properly inflated …)
While we wait for Mr. Aikman to rise from his fainting couch, let us admire these words from Wikipedia (because that’s where you go to get accurate information, of course!) – which, among other things, suggest that Mr. Aikman is exactly wrong when he asserts that “there was nothing that Sean Payton and the Saints did that was illegal” [italics mine, for emphasis]:
The New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, widely dubbed “Bountygate”, was an incident in which members of the New Orleans Saints franchise of the NFL were accused of paying out bonuses, or “bounties”, for injuring opposing team players. None of the hits in question were ever penalized or deemed illegal by in-game officials. The pool was alleged to have been in operation from 2009 (the year in which the Saints won Super Bowl) to 2011. …
The NFL has long frowned upon bounties, or “non-contract bonuses” as it officially calls them; but an underground culture of bounties is known to exist, with teams turning a blind eye to the practice. …
The league constitution specifically forbids payment of bonuses based on performances against an individual player or team, as well as bonuses for on-field misconduct; the NFL holds that such practices undermine the integrity of the game, and also would allow teams to use such payments to circumvent the salary cap. The collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association also forbids this practice, as does the standard NFL player contract. Every year, the NFL sends a memo reiterating this ban to every team before training camp opens.
On March 2, 2012, the NFL announced that it had evidence that [Saints] defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had created the program soon after his arrival in 2009, and alleged that “between 22 and 27 Saints players” were involved. Williams and the players pooled their own money to pay out performance bonuses. It also asserted that head coach Sean Payton tried to cover up the scheme, and that he and general manager Mickey Loomis failed to shut it down when ordered to do so by team owner Tom Benson. …
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded with some of the most severe sanctions in the league’s 92-year history, and among the most severe punishments for in-game misconduct in North American professional sports history. Williams was suspended indefinitely, though this would be overturned the following year. Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season — the first time in modern NFL history that a head coach has been suspended for any reason — and Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season. The Saints organization was fined $500,000 [the maximum fine permitted under the league constitution], and forced to forfeit their second-round draft selections in 2012 and 2013. On May 2, 2012, four current and former Saints players were suspended after being named as ringleaders in the scandal, with linebacker Jonathan Vilma being suspended for the entire 2012 season — the longest suspension for an on-field incident in modern NFL history.
As much as Mr. Aikman is now an NFL analyst with the Fox television network, and is therefore a prominent member of the world of football journalism (…sorry, I just had to quell an attack of the giggles) … by way of his membership in the Dallas Cowboys football club during the 1990s, he is also a member of the NFL’s alumni association. Therefore he is somebody who ought to be able to express a hell of a lot greater sense of perspective about these two controversies, and the comparison betwixt and between, than he has.
In this corner: reportedly many more quarterbacks than Young Mr. Brady, Husband Of Gisele Bundchen, who have done the very thing that he’s has been accused of doing.
In the other corner: players whose reward for genuinely injuring other players might be measured in more than just loss of yardage. And a coaching staff which encouraged them to do it.
To coin a ferociously mixed metaphor … this is a slam dunk that ought to be easy to hit out of the park.
If it turns out that the Patriots broke the rules, sure, go ahead and fine ‘em. Have at it.
But if the NFL were to take Troy Aikman’s advice and levy a penalty on the Patriots’ alleged inflation work that was in any way comparable to the penalty it assigned the Saints’ bounty program, it would constitute the final clinching proof that the National Football League’s priorities are screwed up beyond any hope of redemption.
What’s more important? Fewer pounds per square inch of pressure … or greater amounts of pressure on a quarterback because the pass-rusher might stand to literally profit from it?
Troy Aikman ought to know the answer to that. If he doesn’t, … I really don’t know what to say.
Other than: I think making the assertion that he did … probably takes an awful lot of testicular fortitude.