Fourth and Long

Published 2:09 pm Friday, January 4, 2013

I have too much to talk about to stay on one topic this week so it is time for another award winning (it’s a made up award, but at least I didn’t come in second place again) rant and rave column.

Every time I get frustrated at the massive amount of sorrow and chastising that accompanies being a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, I am reminded that it could be worse… I could have grown up a Jets fan.

NY Jets owner Woody Johnson alienated his entire fan base with his decision to retain the services of head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan’s tenure in New York has been a circus at times and drama plus negative media plus the inability to meet expectations will get you fired in the Big Apple. Good thing for Ryan he coaches in New Jersey.

As is normally the case, the end of the NFL season brought with it several new head coaching vacancies along with several new unemployed football coaches.
If you believe everything you read on the internet and hear on television (and why wouldn’t you), former Eagles skipper Andy Reid is being wooed by several
franchises. (He actually took the Kansas City Chiefs job Friday afternoon.)

In fact the only coach who appears in higher demand than Reid is current Oregon Ducks offensive guru Chip Kelly.

While I like Andy Reid as both a person and a coach, I don’t understand why a team would find him or Kelly to be a more attractive candidate than former
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.
Reid got the Eagles to the Super Bowl one time with a roster that included a Pro Bowl quarterback and running back. That’s the same number of Super Bowls
Lovie Smith got his Bears to.
The difference is Smith had less time and less talent. The Bears defense has been tremendous at times, but their depth chart at quarterback over the last decade
reads more like the bad end of a old Dennis Miller monologue than a NFL starting quarterback list.
Seems to me like Lovie Smith has done at least as much as, if not more than Andy Reid with less to work with. Reid is a solid hire, but if I was looking to hire a coach for my struggling franchise (why else would I be looking for a coach) I think Smith gives me a younger, more personable and more relatable (read
minority) leader for my franchise.
While I make it a habit to not say anything nice about the Florida Gators, I read a story today about a Florida football player that showed a lot of class. After
Charlie Strong’s Louisville squad removed their foot from the Gators hind end after the Sugar Bowl, most Florida players sprinted for the locker room.
Florida players usually join the band to sing the alma mater after games, however given their embarrassment, most seemed ready to get off the field.

That didn’t stop Junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens from standing alone, helmet in the air and singing his Gators’ fight song. It was a classy move, one that exemplifies all that I love about college football. Not bad for a guy that didn’t even play in the game.


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at