Heisman Trophy’s Higher Standards

TunneySide of Sports: Heisman Trophy’s higher standards

On the TunneySide of Sports December 18, 2017 #671 Up next…Heisman Trophy’s higher standards

After further review…Baker Mayfield was awarded the Heisman Trophy for his stellar 2017 season as the quarterback for the University of Oklahoma. Mayfield is a senior student-athlete at O.U. It delighted this writer that the award went to a senior, and not an underclassman, as has been the recent trend.

Mayfield had a storied career and now can add being the first walk-on to win this award. He received the third-highest number of votes in Heisman history. Mayfield is the first senior since 2006 to be awarded this prestigious honor.

The TunneySide has always believed that the Heisman should go to a senior, whose college eligibility has been exhausted. The Heisman selection committee, created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 — when Penn’s Jay Berwanger was the first recipient — has stuck by its creed of selecting the “most valuable college football player whose performance exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

It’s that last part that has come into question with Mayfield. During a November game with the University of Kansas, the Jayhawks’ captain refused to shake hands with Mayfield during the pre-game coin toss. Late in that game when the Sooners were assured of the win, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and cursed across the field at the Kansas sidelines.

Sooners coach Lincoln Riley suspended Mayfield from the starting lineup and removed him as captain for their next game, although Mayfield did play later in that game and threw for three touchdowns. Mayfield has apologized for this abhorrent behavior and some have just passed it off as “college-kid” antics.

Riley, at 33, is just 11 years older than Mayfield. When the committee awarded the Heisman Trophy to Navy’s Roger Staubach (1965) and Stanford’s Jim Plunkett (1970), the integrity component was held to a higher standard. It is the hope here that Mayfield’s career, be it in the NFL or elsewhere, guides him in the direction of moral integrity. For some Heisman winners in recent years, it hasn’t.

But the issue worth celebrating here is the award going to a senior, not an underclassman. Also interesting is that 2016 Heisman winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who won it as a junior, finished third in 2017. Did Jackson’s play this year become that much worse than in 2016?

There are at least a dozen senior players every year that are worthy of Heisman consideration. Despite the polarizing behavior of Mayfield, it is good to see a senior recognized with college football’s highest honor. Here’s hoping he holds himself to that high standard.

Will you log-in your feelings about the process of awarding the Heisman Trophy?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.comThank you!

Posted in Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment

Need for anger management?

On the TunneySide of Sports December 11, 2017 #670 Up next… Need for Anger Management?On the TunneySide of Sports December 11, 2017 #670 Up next…Need For Anger Management?

After further review…As we have watched the National Football League 2017 season develop, it is apparent that violence has escalated from past years. Many of the many recent comments from our readers of the TunneySide are concerned with the increase in violent behavior across the league. These readers love this game of football, but are concerned that the brutality of contact will destroy the game. Some ask: “Don’t players realize the NFL is just that – a game?”

Football has always been a violent game. More than 100 years ago President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to abolish the sport unless changes were made to the way it was played. This issue is highlighted in an upcoming docustory titled: ‘Through the Eyes of the Referee’. Stay tuned. But the emphasis on hitting today has escalated the physicality of football and turned it from being a contact sport into that of a collision sport. However, it is the contact after the whistle or contact on a defenseless player that is of utmost concern. What constitutes a defenseless player? Everyone on the field between the lines is reminded to be aware of a block or tackle until the whistle, which by rule stops play. Contact after the whistle has mounted.

New England tight-end Rob Gronkowski’s retaliation hit on a player lying on the ground after the play is the type of contact that needs strict legislation. That hit resulted in Gronkowski being suspended, without pay, for one game. Gronk has subsequently apologized and served his suspension. We’ve also seen other incidents like the fight between Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos defensive player Aqib Talib, which started on the field and spilled into the bench, in full view of everyone resulting in a two-game suspension for both. The ruling was appealed, and the ruling body reduced it to a one game suspension. It’s hard to understand why the punishment for a non-football altercation – that’s what a fist-fight is – should not have stood as adjudicated.

Having been on the field for more than 500 NFL games, I do understand the passion a player must channel to compete in today’s game. A major concern is that it appears players are hitting with intention to hurt an opponent. These players forget that all 1700 NFL players have the same goal every week – to play the game hard but emerge with their health intact. I am also troubled by the apparent lack of respect for opponents in the same brotherhood.

Will you log-in your concerns about today’s NFL game?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.com. Thank you!

Posted in NFL, Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment

Jim Nabors – A Tribute

Jim Nabors - A Tribute to a Dear FriendOn the TunneySide of Sports December 4, 2017 #669 Up next… Jim Nabors – A Tribute To a Dear Friend

After further review…It was never the intention of these TunneySides to write tributes, but when longtime friends pass away, the memories remain. Some of them may not be well-known, others more famous. I just wrote a eulogy for a college classmate that I played ball with at Occidental College – Dr. Ray Henderson. While maybe not well-known outside of our circle of friends, we had known each other for 70 years. You miss someone you’ve known that long.

The tribute today is for my friend of 40 years, the world- known singer/actor, Jim Nabors, who died November 30, 2017, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Jim had contracted Hepatitis B while on a singing tour in India several years ago. That illness eventually required a liver transplant, which was arranged for by his good friend, Carol Burnett. In recent years he suffered from the shingles which lingered for some months prior to his death. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

If the TunneySides are sports stories, how then does Jim Nabors, an actor, and singer, fit this description? I met Nabors on the Los Angeles Coliseum football field in the mid-sixties, where he was singing the National Anthem prior to a game for the Los Angeles Rams. I was on that field as the NFL referee, and, ironically, it happened often. We were just occasional co-participants in a football game, until Nabors became aware that I was the principal at Fairfax High School on the corner of Fairfax and Melrose Avenues, in West Hollywood just three blocks from the CBS studio, where he was doing the Andy Griffith Show, playing the role of Gomer Pyle, a high-pitched, bumbling mechanic. I often called him “Gomer” as our friendship grew.

When Nabors found out that Fairfax High School was just a few blocks away, he invited me to attend his Jim Nabors Hour show at the CBS studios, which I did on several occasions. I invited him to visit our school, thinking he would decline. However, one mid-day, he just walked into my office and, since it was lunchtime, he and I strolled through the campus. What a hit I was! But more than that, it shows the down-home person Nabors was.

My wife and I invited him to dinner at our South Pasadena home. One Sunday he drove his fancy bright-red Corvette into our driveway and had dinner with our family. My children told me later that the whole neighborhood was agog. He and I stayed in touch regularly. I will miss him.

Are you the kind of down-home person that helps you easily become friends with others?

Listen to Jim Nabors sing “The Impossible” Dream on the Gomer Pyle show. This incredible rendition always sends shivers down my spine.

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.com. Thank you!

Posted in Current Affairs, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment