Never Too Early to Pronounce the Winner


It’s Heisman Trophy time again, and Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post writes that of all the lengths schools have gone to hype their players for the award, none stretched the limits more than Notre Dame in 1970.

The candidate was Joe Theismann and the hype had begun two years earlier when Roger Valdiserri, Notre Dame’s sports information director at the time, and Joe Doyle, sports editor of the South Bend Tribune, were watching practice.

“He ran past us and I said ‘There goes Joe THEEZ-man,’ ” said Valdiserri, correctly pronouncing the quarterback’s name.


“Then, Joe Doyle looked at me and said, ‘No, it’s THIGHS-man as in Heisman.’ ”

Add Heisman: The campaign for THIGHS-man was on, but to no avail. Jim Plunkett of Stanford won the award.

Trivia time: Which Ivy League player last won the Heisman Trophy?

Please not again: Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner is skeptical of the rumors that Al Davis will move the Raiders to their original home in Oakland:

“Through the seasons, Lonesome Al has been depicted as devious, heartless and mercenary. It is to note he has never, ever been labeled foolish.

“It matters not how many tales of Davis returning to Oakland are floated by the media or politicians, Al, in the vernacular, ain’t coming back.”

Considerate: New York Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason on the urgency by the NFL to protect the knees of quarterbacks:

“The good guys in the league hit you high. Reggie White hits you high. He doesn’t try to ruin your career.”

Fact finding: John Eisenberg in the Baltimore Sun:

Fact: “There were 46 7-footers in the NBA on opening day.”

Fact: “ ‘I believe we deserve to go (to a major bowl), based on our play the last four games,’ says Lou Holtz. (Notre Dame’s only victories in its last four games were against Navy and Air Force.)”

Beli-aching: Even though the Browns have a 9-3 record, Coach Bill Belichick is still a controversial figure in Cleveland, according to Jon Saraceno of USA Today:

“(Belichick) has been accused of everything but the collapse of the bond market. Poor rapport with players. Media unfriendly. Humorless. (Though he once said: ‘It’s important to have a great wife, a loyal dog and a healthy quarterback--not necessarily in that order.’)”

FYI: When Texas Tech plays USC in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, it will be the Red Raiders’ first appearance in that game since 1939, when they lost to St. Mary’s, 20-13.

Trivia answer: Dick Kazmaier of Princeton in 1951.

Quotebook: Lee Trevino on the three things that go on an aging golfer: “His nerves, his memory and I can’t remember the third thing.”