By Gregg Easterbrook
Special to Page 2

Tuesday Morning Quarterback has long complained that neither the Giants nor the Jets have cheerleaders, though the New York City area is home to hundreds if not thousands of beautiful young women who have dance training and great legs and are looking for their big break. Barry Negrin of New York City reports the Jets have taken a step in the right direction with the addition of hot-babe flag carriers. Negrin specifies that in their home loss to Indianapolis, the Jets had no flag carriers. The next home game, a squeaker win against Miami, featured the debut of five female flag carriers, though tastelessly overdressed in sweat suits. The latest home game, Sunday against Detroit, was a rollicking win, no doubt helped by the fact that this time the flag carriers wore tank tops and sprayed-on tights. "Two points may make a line, but three give you grounds to generate a correlation coefficient," Negrin notes of the obvious upswing in approval by the football gods.

New York Jets cheerleader
Brian Killian/WireImage.com
C'mon, off with the sweatsuit!

Alice Tremont of Rochester Hills, Mich. writes, "I am a law student at Thomas Cooley Law School in the evenings. I have civil procedure on Tuesday nights. You cannot imagine how excruciatingly dull this is, like entering some bizarre space-time continuum where time slows to a crawl and every minute expands to inestimable lengths. If not for the availability of wireless Internet and your column, I am sure I would have died of sheer boredom already." So Alice, you read TMQ during class -- you have your priorities in order!

Recent columns speculated that increased attention to high school football will bring to the game's last bastion of purity the problems of the pro and college levels -- money obsession, recruiting scandals, a win-at-all-costs approach, ignoring of education. Already there are high schools with football-factory reputations that either openly or covertly recruit, urging the best players to transfer in, which only leads to more lopsided outcomes in which powerhouse teams crush weak teams. Paul Hamann of Redmond, Wash. notes that Bellevue High outside Seattle, winner of four of the last five Washington state big-school titles, was recently investigated by its school district for violating anti-recruiting rules, and only sort of cleared. Hamann further notes that the varsity coach at Bellevue High receives $55,000 per year from the school's booster club. (In some states high school coaches are volunteers, not schoolteachers; the Bellevue coach is a local businessman.) Bellevue's booster club is a private organization handing privately raised money to someone who is not a public employee, so there's no impropriety. But this is just the kind of slippery slope we don't want high school football started down. According to the Seattle Times, Jack Welch, football coach of Copperas Cove High School in Texas, makes $102,000 as a school-system employee but doesn't teach -- the salary is solely for sports coaching.

Still more on Matewan High, the West Virginia school now synonymous with bad sportsmanship for using a no-huddle hurry-up offense throughout the second half in order to run up the score to 64-0 and claim a bogus single-game rushing "record" for a player. Up to and including the night Matewan did this, it was 5-0. Since that night, notes Catey Aaron of Morgantown, W.Va., Matewan has lost three consecutive games and tumbled out of state playoff contention. The boy with the bogus "record," previously viewed as a leader for the Kennedy Award, given to the state's top high school football player by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, is now considered an unlikely candidate. Surely the West Virginia Sports Writers Association will have the good sense to grant this distinction to a player and school whose behavior reflects honorably on the state. Postscript: The tiny, helpless school Matewan trounced 64-0 is now 0-8. The more you learn about that night, the more disgusting the whole thing sounds.

Craig Bursch of Duluth, Minn. notes, "I hate arrogant coaches who run up the score as much as you do." He was among many readers to observe that Pittsburg State of Kansas is promoting coach Chuck Broyles for the Division II Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. Two years ago, Broyles ordered a fake punt when ahead 63-7; this season he committed an ugly act of bad sportsmanship by running up the score to 87-0 against defenseless Panhandle State, which could barely dress enough players for the game. Scott Anderson of Los Angeles points out that candidates for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award must demonstrate "high ethical standards" and "responsibility … on the field." Hey Liberty Mutual -- take note that if Chuck Broyles of Pitt State wins your Coach of the Year award, your company will be mocked for honoring a guy who sets a terrible example. Rather than complain, Bursch suggested, TMQ readers should take matters into their own hands and vote for other nominees for this award. You can go here until Nov. 5 and throw your weight behind some other Division II coach. I just voted for current poll leader Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State, which plays a schedule similar to Pittsburg of Kansas but does not have a history of running up the score. (Northwest Missouri has one runaway-margin victory this season but did not pass in the fourth quarter of that game.)

All told, I'm sick of these stories of college and high school punk coaches who only reveal their own psychological problems by humiliating weak opponents. I'd like to read about good sportsmanship for a change. Do you know any recent instance of good sportsmanship, dignified behavior or generosity to the opponent at a high school or small college (Division I-AA or lower) football game? If so, tell me at TMQ_ESPN@yahoo.com, including your real name and hometown. Please be brief, and if available include supporting evidence, such as a newspaper article.

Space
AP Photo/NASA-ESA
We've got a long way to go in our quest to solve the universe.

I supposed that human knowledge so far represents no more than "1 percent of what there is to know." Alex Janevski from Ann Arbor, Mich. countered, "If you consider that humans have only been acquiring knowledge for a ridiculously slight fraction of the existence of our universe, say a generous estimate of 10,000 years out of the roughly 14 billion years the universe appears to have existed, or .0000007 percent of that time, it seems optimistic to think we would have already amassed 1 percent of what there is to know. I suspect we have learned only a fraction of a percent of what there is to know of the Earth alone, and possess an imperceptible speck of knowledge in the grand scheme of things."

Over the years TMQ has called Cincinnati the Tootsie Rolls and the Candy Corns; the Bengals have so many Halloween-themed alternate uniforms, it's hard to keep them straight. Robyn Chapman of Chesapeake, Ohio proposes, "Call them the Trick or Treats and be done with it. That way it doesn't matter which version of the uniform they wear." Nicole Lemoine of Uxbridge, Mass. suggests that TMQ give a nickname to Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio: Jack of the River. Mr. Data, make these so!

Loic Duchesne of Jouy-le-Moutier, France notes that if you watch the replay in the NFL.com video section of Ahman Green's 70-yard touchdown run for the Packers at Miami, at the end one of the Dolphins' cheerleaders is seen seated, drinking Gatorade. He asks, "How is the Miami defense supposed to stay professional when its own cheerleaders aren't paying attention?" Duchesne is on the coaching staff of the Saint Ouen L'Aumone Cougars, a French U.S.-rules football club. We're building McDonald's and Wal-Marts in China, promoting tackle football in France -- yes, the U.S. plan for world domination is going smoothly.

Lottery
AP Photo
What's more fun, this stuff or office pools?

As TMQ readers know, my compromise with my Baptist upbringing is to be pro-topless but antigambling. Beyond the harmless $5 office pool, gambling only brings debt, sorrow and regret. I don't care if Donald Trump plays the roulette wheel in Casino Royale because I don't care how much a rich person loses. But bookie gambling and state-run lotteries are targeted toward the working class and the poor, the state-run lotteries being an exceptionally cynical act on the part of state governments. To top it off, though state-run lotteries urge the poor to throw their money out the window on scratch-off games, the one kind of gambling that's harmless, small-stakes office pools, technically is illegal. (Except in Vermont!) Gary of Beaverton, Ore. notes that his state, which bans informal office pools, now is encouraging the working class to throw their money out the window via state-administered office pools. What's next, state of Oregon -- state-sponsored crack sales on street corners?

Ben Kessler-Reynolds of Ridgefield, Conn. writes, "LaDainian Tomlinson is now 6-for-9 passing with five touchdowns and no interceptions in his career, good for a passer rating of 146.8. No wonder Briscoe High offensive coordinator Urban Meyer had him, not Vick, throw the ball on the last play!" Rob Wold of Antioch, Ill. offers this generic final score prediction: Manning Team 36, Opponent 22. It worked twice this weekend. I noted that with all the attractive early-slot games this Sunday, the woofer New England at Buffalo pairing was broadcast to Iran. Perhaps this was a CIA PSYOP ploy designed to cause an Iranian uprising! Alexander Chester of Jerusalem reports that much of Israel saw Pats at Bills, too. He writes, "It's one thing for America to punish Iran; why punish an ally?"

In a recent commercial for the Kawasaki ATV, notes Jere and Ann Northridge of State College, Penn., as an ATV barrels through a corporate office, destroying all in its path, the disclaimer at the bottom says, "Not the intended use of the vehicle." The phrase "intended use" has meaning in liability law. Is Kawasaki worried that someone will barrel through an office in one of its ATVs, then Kawasaki will be found liable?

Speaking of disclaimers, Jason Reiser of Philadelphia writes, "I was crossing a busy intersection in Philadelphia yesterday and noticed a fellow with his head buried in a sheaf of papers, walking across said intersection. I leaned over to see what he was reading and saw the heading Obscure College Score of the Week. Aha, I thought, understanding why he would risk his well-being to catch up on TMQ. But I think your column needs a disclaimer about reading the material while operating heavy machinery, driving and, of course, crossing the road." Caution -- do not read Tuesday Morning Quarterback while operating tunnel-boring equipment or artillery!

In addition to writing Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook is the author of "The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse" and other books. He is also a contributing editor for The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Monthly, and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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