Schoolchildren are taught that the three greatest accomplishments of mankind are landing a man on the moon, building the Great Wall of China, and keeping Keith Richards alive.
Scholars writing heavy books on the history of humanity apparently don't know that Jim Brown averaged 5.2 yards a carry for his entire NFL career.
I admit that it's not on par with the astonishing accomplishment of keeping Keith Richards alive, or I guess, as landing on the moon, but c'mon, I could build a freakin' wall. Well, not me, but some guy could - okay, a bunch of Chinese guys could and I can prove it.
The point is that football is never given its due respect in history, popular culture or even in the sports world. Baseball has John Updike writing about the lyrical bandbox that is a baseball park, and basketball has its made-for-TV true-crime dramas.
But football, I contend, produced the most dominant athlete ever, the one, who could have been better than Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali, had he chosen a different path.
Luckily for Michael Jordan, Jim Brown chose not to play basketball. Luckily for me, he chose not to predict the future.
I bring up Jim Brown because this week's assignment (these bosses, they are slave drivers), was to predict the season's awards and I immediately wished I was doing this when Jim Brown played. Then it would have been easy.
So this week, somewhere between the Guinness Book of World Records and the Guinness keg of dark beer, I make the following predictions on the awards of the NFL season of 2003. And whereas these predictions are written in sand in hurricane conditions, Jim Brown's records are written in stone on top of a mountain.
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AFC YARDS PASSING LEADER - Drew Bledsoe. Every year he throws for a million
yards, and every year he never wins the Super Bowl.
AFC TOUCHDOWNS PASSING LEADER - Tom Brady. Everyone outside of New England will think I am insane for this prediction. Luckily for me, I live in New England so I don't have to think I am insane.
AFC RUSHING YARDS LEADER - William Green. When Jerry Rice came out of college, everyone said he was slow yet I have never seen him caught from behind. Coming out of college, everyone said William Green was slow. I have never seen him caught from behind. Green will win the rushing title because he will put together more runs of 40 yards or more than any back in the league. And because I will wear my lucky socks every Sunday.
AFC RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS LEADER - LaDanian Tomlinson. He is a great back, and Marty Schottenheimer is his coach. Best as I know, 1+1=2.
AFC TOUCHDOWN RECEIVING LEADER - Hines Ward. I tried the crystal ball four times and it came up the same, so I smashed it and went to Wal-Mart for a new one. Same results. All their crap is made in China, and I know that the only good thing you can get there is a wall.
AFC ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Terrell Suggs. Wal-Mart couldn't help here either. The truth hurts.
AFC COACH OF THE YEAR - Butch Davis. If you win a Super Bowl, you win coach of the year.
NFC YARDS PASSING LEADER - Daunte Culpepper. I am his last fan, I think this guy is great.
NFC TOUCHDOWNS PASSING LEADER - Jeff Garcia. He will throw a bunch of touchdowns and idiots like me will think he is average.
NFC YARDS RUSHING LEADER - Emmitt Smith. Ha, made you look.
NFC TOUCHDOWNS RUSHING LEADER - Emmitt Smith. Now that you looked, I am serious.
NFC YARD RECEIVING LEADER - Randy Moss. This will be the year that folks who publish record books will talk about 50 years from now.
NFC TOUCHDOWNS RECEIVING LEADER - Randy Moss. This will be the year that folks who publish record books will talk about 50 years from now.
NFC COACH OF THE YEAR - Steve Mariucci. If Joey Harrington is your quarterback, you have a chance to be a pretty good NFL coach.
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Let me tell you my one complaint because I've got a million of them. I am a sports fan. I cheer for a particular football team from a particular city. I cheer for all the sports teams that are in that city. I am sorry doctor. I am already complaining.
I was six years old in 1965, Doctor; that's the year I started following sports. Can you hear what I am saying?
Oh, I am sorry. I didn't mean to jump up and scream so loud. But do you know what happened in 1964 - the year before I started obsessively following sports teams from that specific city by the great lake.
The football team won a championship. Every adult in the city said it would happen every year. I knew nothing. I believed those grownups and in 1965, I started watching in earnest.
No team from that city has ever won a championship since.
Every year, I see fans in other cities gloriously flipping an old Chevy and dancing. But all I get to do is drive an old Chevy, and it burns oil. Once, just once, I'd like to be in the street wearing a dumb grin next to an upside down car!
I'm sorry for breaking the lamp, Doctor. Okay, I'll lie down. Yes, I'd like
This column was sponsored by bologna.