Phil Jackson, Meet Brett Favre…and Other Sports Observations This Weekend

I don’t know about you, but there were several sports-related events that I found interesting this weekend.

Kind of a hodge-podge of different topics, mind you, but these events weren’t totally focused on scores and statistics.

Let me list a few for you to consider:

Iowa Football Fans: Get a Grip

For most of my 50-plus years, I have lived in Iowa. That requires, I believe, at least a minor rooting interest in the Iowa Hawkeye football program.

Now, there are legions of Iowa fans that live and die with the Hawks’ performance and, to be quite honest, I am not one of them. Sure, I want them to win (except when they play Iowa State), but my weekend demeanor doesn’t depend on the Hawkeye scoreboard.

Then, of course, there are thousands of  Hawk fans that are the types that bleed black and gold and, when things are going good, are the among the most supportive fans in the country. But when things aren’t going good, not so much.

This year, of course, puts them in the latter category.

On Saturday, Iowa’s last second 27-24 loss to Purdue made a bad season even worse. It’s a pretty safe bet now to say that if this Iowa team is going to go to a post-season bowl, they are going to have to buy a lot of tickets and plan on sitting in the stands.

That loss also has most, if not all, Hawkeye fans foaming at the mouth, calling for the heads of several combinations of players and/or coaches. And while I understand the booing that happens when your team doesn’t perform the way you want them to, I think a lot of the Hawkeye fans are going a bit over the top this year.

When I hear the boos and screams cascading down from the stands in Kinnick Stadium and on the post-game call in shows, a couple of thoughts come to mind.

First of all, we’re talking about young men here, late teens to early twenties, who are playing a game with a ball that is pointed on both ends, just to make it bounce funny.

Second, how many of those fans could handle it if they had people booing them and demanding they lose their jobs when they mess up the order while working the drive through window?

Phil Jackson: The New Brett Favre, Billy Martin, or Both?

Another event that caught my attention centered around a sport that I, frankly, care little about. But when I read that the L.A. Lakers had canned their coach this early in the season, it caught my attention.

When I found out that the Zen Master Phil Jackson was probably going to return to the Lakers’ bench, I couldn’t help but shake my head in wonder.


Where, I wondered, were all the writers and broadcasters that reported on Brett Favre’s waffling about his retirement? I know there are some differences in the two situations, but doesn’t Jackson’s numerous retirements kind of run in the same vein?

And the fact that every time he “un-retires” it’s to come back to the same team reminds me of the yo-yo act that was Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, and the Yankees back in the 1970s.

I do think that the team’s overtures to get Jackson back at the helm underscores my long-standing opinion: the Lakers don’t really need a coach, they need someone to baby-sit Kobe Bryant and make him play nice with the other kids.

And, Jackson, apparently, is the only one that can do that. At least for a few seasons at a time.


But, as always, I continue to think of sports as, in part, a learning tool. This morning, for example, the Alabama football team will have to learn how to deal with its first loss of the season.

And, Tommy Tuberville is going to learn that there is nothing friendly about “friendly fire.”


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