A Message To Everyone That Thinks Damar Hamlin Is A Clone

damar hamlin

We need to talk about these weirdos out here speculating that Damar Hamlin is a clone.

If you’ve been living under a rock, first of all, congratulations for not having to put up with this nonsense, but in case you don’t know, ever since Damar Hamlin’s appearance at the Bills/Bengals Divisional Round playoff game, the same people that swing from conspiracy vine to conspiracy vine have concluded that because you didn’t see Damar Hamlin’s face on the television broadcast, that he must have died on the field back on January 2nd, and pharmaceutical companies have produced either a clone or an actor to take his place and alleviate fears about vaccine side effects.

That’s right. The same people that believe that the pharmaceutical companies didn’t have the skill to craft a functional vaccine want you to believe that they do have the ability to produce a 24-year-old human clone on two weeks’ notice.

Damar Hamlin needing his heart restarted on the field was terrifying, and we don’t have a full explanation for what happened to him. It’s natural when people are afraid, and they don’t have all of the answers, to grasp at straws to find meaning or fill in the blanks. 

That’s a completely natural reaction. 

What’s not natural is being a huge dummy, or being an easy mark for grifters. You can easily seek an explanation to a never-before-seen scenario without checking your brain at the door.

The worst thing about this “Damar Hamlin is a clone” theory, aside from the fact that you’re disrespecting him, his loved ones, and his teammates, is that the entire idea of cloning an adult football player that dies on the field is lifted from the plot of a 23-year-old Arnold Schwarzeneggar movie called The 6th Day.

Not only are you ridiculous, you’re unoriginal. 

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that hopefully slams the door on the possibility that the Damar Hamlin you saw during the broadcast, the same one all the players claimed to have hung out with in the locker room, isn’t really Damar Hamlin.

The next athlete or coach to keep a secret from anyone else in this industry would be the first.

You’d have an easier time selling me on the idea that Damar Hamlin is a clone than the idea that a few hundred football players and staffers could keep it under wraps.

Like, do we really think Cole Beasley would almost get himself run out of the NFL over refusing to take the vaccine, only to have his worst fears realized, then react by becoming some type of shadowy illuminati defender of vaccines?

And now that Damar Hamlin has released a six-minute video of himself thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers, and has begun teasing the people that think he’s dead on his TikTok, the lengths you have to go to convince yourself that you weren’t duped are bordering on irredeemable.  

Look, sometimes entertaining conspiracies is harmless. 

Sometimes a conspiracy has enough merit that it opens an individual up to the possibilities that other conspiracies might be partly true as well. 

Companies lie. Governments lie. When some people discover that everything you see might not be everything there is, they skip the idea of practicing caution, critical thinking and discernment, and go right to outrageous speculation.

If any part of you believes that Damar Hamlin is a clone or a body double, I want you to pay very close attention to what I say next.

The same way that you lost faith in institutions when you found out they aren’t always truthful, is how the people in your life lose faith in you when you excitedly spread very stupid and scientifically impossible ideas.

By pushing the idea that Josh Allen and his teammates are in on a “Big Pharma” plot to cover up the death of their teammate, you’re telling the people in your life that you can’t be trusted to handle and process difficult information. 

Maybe YOU can move on when you find out that Comet Pizza doesn’t have a basement, or when you ultimately are forced to admit that Damar Hamlin is indeed alive, but in the meantime, to everyone around you who haven’t surrendered their cognitive abilities to the algorithm, you’ve become the thing you hate.

A pathetic liar. 

Let that sink in.

The Dallas Cowboys Social Media Team Did The Players Dirty After Their Playoff Loss

2020 NFL Week Five Recap: Dak, Four Up Four Down, Top Game Week 6

We need to talk about the way the Dallas Cowboys are throwing Dak Prescott and Trevon Diggs under the bus for their Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

As social media has evolved to become the dominant way that sports fans get their news, teams have figured out that the best way to align the public’s desire for content with the team’s desire to control the message, was to hire journalists to create in-house content. 

Some of the best content out there comes directly from the teams themselves, but anyone that pays attention to the professional sports media landscape knows that in-house media’s job can be summed up in one phrase:

“promote, and don’t rock the boat.”

That’s why it was so shocking to so many around the league to see the Dallas Cowboys official Twitter account lay the blame for their 19-12 defeat at the hands of the 49ers squarely at the feet of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and pro bowl defensive back Trevon Diggs.

Immediately after the game, DallasCowboys.com writer Patrik Walker posted an article titled “Dak on Loss to 49ers: ‘Unacceptable, 100% On Me’, ” which was then tweeted out by the Cowboys official Twitter account with the caption “Dak Prescott gave away the ball twice in the narrow loss to the 49ers, in a matchup the Cowboys had a chance to win if they didn’t again generate self-inflicted wounds.”

They immediately followed that with another article from Walker that called this Cowboys season “anything but special.”

The Cowboys social media team also emptied the clip on Trevon Diggs with a post that stated “Diggs can’t snag key INT,” and they didn’t even bother to include an author’s name on that article. 

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “none of these are hit jobs, they’re just harsh facts.”

But in-house media doesn’t deal in harsh facts. They embrace discourse and analysis insofar as it keeps your time and attention squarely within their boundaries.

And they go a long way to make sure that franchise players are insulated from the type of criticism that comes from outside media critics.

For an example of how far they go, look no further than the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers Twitter account has never once included a photo of LeBron James in any final score tweet after a loss. 

Even if a loss has nothing to do with LeBron James, the Lakers don’t want you to associate an image of the NBA’s most famous player with losing.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are over here like “look at these losers Dak and Trevon.”

Before you go pat the Cowboys on the back for journalistic integrity, let’s wait and see if they post anything critical of the person responsible who paid Dak Prescott, or who hired a head coach that had a six-playoff trip streak of getting bounced before the Super Bowl, or who didn’t replace Brett Maher after four missed extra points, which led to Mike McCarthy hesitating to attempt a 52-yard field goal before halftime.

Had the Cowboys kicked a field goal there, Dak has one less interception, and Tony Pollard doesn’t break his leg right before he hits free agency. 

But you won’t see anything on the Dallas Cowboys social media about that.

Because it’s not about the Dallas Cowboys in-house media team suddenly channeling the journalistic spirit of Walter Cronkite. 

It’s about pointing the finger for nearly three decades of failure in any direction other than the one it should go.

Toward the owner, Jerry Jones.

Let that sink in.

Joseph Ossai’s Mistake Reveals Who The True Cincinnati Bengals Fans Are

We need to talk about Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Joseph Ossai.

In the last minute of the AFC Championship, with the game tied at 20, and the Kansas City Chiefs needing 10-15 yards to put Harrison Butker in position to kick a field goal that would send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, the game’s best passer, on a busted ankle, broke toward the sideline to pick up a first down and stop the clock. 

Joseph Ossai sprinted toward the sideline as if the entire season depended on it, and got a hand on Patrick Mahomes, pushing him into the Bengals bench.

The problem? Ossai was late, and the ensuing 15-yard penalty gave the Chiefs exactly what they needed. 

As the confetti dropped in Arrowhead stadium, Ossai sat on the bench, sobbing. Some teammates attempted to console him. Many others, wrapped up in their own emotions of disappointment, did not. 

Every game has a hero, every game has a goat. That’s the beauty of sport. It’s a different formula of our favorite narrative. A winner and a loser. Gratitude and grief. Elation and sorrow. 

Small minds often get lost in the simplicity of the narrative, and are consumed with what it means for them. 

Let’s get into the complexity of the story of last night’s “villain.”

Joseph Ossai came to this country at the age of 10. He picked up football in high school, and became good enough to have every school in Texas fighting over him. His mother, praying over his future, had a dream where he became a Longhorn. Trusting the faith of his mother, he chose Austin

Three years later he’d be hearing his name called in the NFL Draft, spending his rookie season watching his teammates come up just short in the Super Bowl because of a knee injury.

Last night was his chance to make sure his team went back. And for 59 minutes and 50 seconds, anyone who knows ball will tell you he was one of the best players on a field that includes more than a few future Hall of Fame players. 

On one play, he wasn’t the best version of himself, and he’s paying the price for that. Not only in the media and in the locker room, but he injured his knee on the play as well.

Some of you are mad at Joseph Ossai for his mistake. Being upset is natural. His own teammate, Germaine Pratt, was caught screaming “why would you touch the quarterback?” in the tunnel

But some of you decided his error was a license for sending him messages, and calling him every name in the book, and wishing harm to his career, or even his body, for how his play affected you.

So let’s talk about you- the person who didn’t see the irony in lashing out at Joseph Ossai after the game was over, for his hit after the play was over. 

How are you going to wish harm on somebody for their inability to handle the moment when YOU can’t? 

And it’s not even your moment. He was the Man in the Arena. Not you.

While he sobbed on the sideline, and faced reporters in the locker room after the game, you were in your mom’s basement shouting so loud that she probably had flashbacks to the time you got in her face for not cutting the crust off your PB&J.

Championship sports is a high wire act. The amount that has to go right for someone to be in a position to make a mistake on this large of a stage is mind-boggling. And forget what has to go right, think about what had to go wrong.

Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane recently said that he doesn’t want to have to suck bad enough to end up with a guy like Ja’Marr Chase falling to him in the draft. And he brings up a good point. Think about everything that had to go wrong in the Bengals organization for things to start going right. The real fans of this team understand that, and know that the possibilities for redemption for a still 22-year old Joseph Ossai are plenty. 

And those fans, those good and faithful Bengals fans that suffered through decades of lean years, will be there to lift Joseph Ossai up as they move into the future. 

I feel sorry for the ones that are stuck in the emotion of the moment, that lashed out and said hateful things. Because for most Bengal fans, the sweet moments will be that much sweeter because of the times that were sour. 

But when it’s the person that’s sour? Nothing will ever be sweet. 

Let that sink in.

Is The New York Jets Hiring Nathaniel Hackett Enough To Lure Aaron Rodgers To The Big Apple?

We need to talk about the Jets trying to lure Aaron Roders to New York.

Robert Saleh says he interviewed over 15 candidates for the open offensive coordinator position for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. He used to work alongside the NFL’s most innovative offensive mind in Kyle Shanahan. So surely this hire was going to be based on what’s best for the offense with the personnel they currently have in place, right? 

Wrong. The New York Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett, also known as the only head coach besides Urban Meyer in the last 45 years to be fired before the completion of his first season as an NFL Head Coach. 

And why would they bring in someone fresh off a 4-11 run that had people wondering if the MonStars stole Russell Wilson’s talent?

Well, before he stunk things up in Denver, Hackett was responsible for calling the league’s top scoring offense in 2020, and two consecutive top ten yardage seasons, with none other than the perpetually disgruntled Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. 

That’s right, the New York Jets are trying to do the same thing the Denver Broncos failed to do last offseason- use Nathaniel Hackett to entice Aaron Rodgers to request a trade. 

Why else would they make this hire?

Granted, as bad as the Broncos offense was in 2022, producing just 14 passing touchdowns in Hackett’s 15 games, Denver’s production last year would actually be an upgrade over 11 of the last 12 sorry excuses for an offense that the New York Jets have rolled out. 

The Jets have had a bottom quarter offense since before Donald Trump was elected president, and a move like this shows that they’re desperate for a change. 

But is Aaron Rodgers the answer? He’s definitely an improvement, but we saw this past season that the Packers didn’t have enough talent surrounding Rodgers to even capture a playoff spot. The Jets are going to have to give up this year’s #13 overall pick, and perhaps a lot more since the Packers have every ability to hold the Jets hostage for being this transparent. 

What is going to be left on this roster for Aaron Rodgers to try and take on one of the best divisions in football?

Breece Hall coming off a torn ACL? Mekhi Becton coming off of two consecutive missed seasons? A permanently pissed off Elijah Moore?

And what if the Packers ask for rookie sensation Garrett Wilson in addition to this year’s first round pick in exchange for A-Aron? Can the Jets afford to say no?

I respect that the Jets are being decisive about not thinking Zach Wilson is the guy, and not letting it drag on for a third year like they did with Sam Darnold. 

We all remember Wilson refusing to accept responsibility for letting the NFL’s #4 ranked defense down with his play, or the rumors that were spread about his dating preferences.

But if you’re trying to change the culture away from people that don’t point the finger at themselves, or have endless articles written about their personal life and dating preferences…

Is Aaron Rodgers the guy you want?

I guess we’ll find out.

Let that sink in.

Soft Tissue, or Just Plain Soft? Why Are The NBA’s Stars Missing More Games Than Ever?

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard

We need to talk about the NBA and the epidemic of players missing games.

In a world with Normatec leg sleeves, Game Ready Ice Machines, dietitians and sports scientists, in a league without hand checking or hard fouls, and back-to-back games cut down by a third over the last decade, why does it feel like more players are dealing with more injuries than ever? And sitting out for injury prevention?

This is not a diss at any particular player, but a critique of a league I love.

Pro Sports are about the fans. Players are entertainers that are handsomely paid to sacrifice some of your body and potential longevity for the fans. Some people will take this statement too far. 

I played injured in my time in the NFL, and I would never advise anyone to play injured. But sometimes, you do have to play hurt.

The NBA, TV networks, and its players are partners in a giant cash cow. The players aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when fans who may spend up to $1k for a family of four to sit in marginal seats while not being able to count on the stars to show up.

I remember times Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James talking at various times about feeling the need to show up every night that they are able to play in front of fans who might otherwise never get a chance to see them perform.

The league knows that something has to give, and that surely must be addressed in the new CBA.

We already know the NBA is home to the most sensitive superstar athletes. The wrong type of scented candles in a locker room will have a star player asking for a trade 45 minutes after signing an extension. Shout out to Zach LaVine. 

And you don’t even have to be a big star to have big feelings anymore. Just ask Jae Crowder, who is in the middle of a four month paid vacation just because his coach asked him to play 28 minutes off the bench instead of 28 minutes as a starter. 

It’s a league full of easily bruisable egos- but where are all these other bumps and bruises coming from?

It is confusing to me how the stars of today play so many less games with so many more technological advances than the older generations.

I played and did things to play injured that i wouldnt do if I could do it all over. But playing hurt is necessary.

The top 19 scorers in the NBA this year have missed a combined 137 games this season, and so you know I’m not cherry picking a few banged up individuals and prescribing it to everyone else- every single one of those has missed at least 3 games. Not one has played a full slate.

And that’s not even including the LA Clippers “big three,” who have missed a combined 56 games. 

This is beyond load management. It feels like the whole damn NBA decided to join the rest of us and work from home.

Injuries happen. But in today’s day and age, they shouldn’t be happening this frequently, to this many players, across an entire league. And the preventative measures of load management clearly aren’t working. 

Either we’ve got a soft tissue epidemic on our hands, or the entire league is just plain soft.

Dear Mike Vick- Lamar Jackson Did the Right Thing By Not Coming Back From his Knee Injury Too Early

We need to talk about Lamar Jackson’s injury, and the reaction to it.

I’m still struggling with the audacity of anyone, including you Michael Vick, to say that Lamar Jackson needed to slap a brace on his grade 2 PCL strain and go out there and win the Ravens a playoff game.

This isn’t an MCL, Mike. And even then, that would have presented its own set of risks. I didn’t let my MCL heal properly. I came back too quick, shed the brace too early, and immediately tore my ACL. 

When your PCL isn’t stable, your whole leg can fall off like Robert Griffin III’s did, and for a dual threat quarterback, there’s no coming back from that. 

Lamar Jackson’s teammates have said that he’s having trouble just walking around the facility. They knew he wasn’t going to play, which was reflected in the fantastic gameplan John Harbaugh put together that had a Tyler Huntley-led offense outperform the defending AFC champions on the road! 

Lamar Jackson didn’t let anyone down. He certainly didn’t harm the day-to-day existence of the armchair QB that calls in sick with seasonal allergies, or pretends to have the flu to take advantage of discounted weekday tee times at the local golf course. 

We have to outgrow some of the outdated ideas that have permeated and poisoned this sport for decades. 

Is the best ability availability? Sometimes. Sometimes the best ability is the most athletic QB the NFL has ever seen being able to be himself. Would you want Randy Johnson on the mound without his slider? Or Aaron Judge at the plate when he’s only able to bunt? Hell no. Why throw Lamar Jackson out on one of the worst playing surfaces in all of football when he’s having trouble walking?

Are some issues of pain tolerance more about a change in mentality? Sure. But one of the dumbest things about this sport has always been that there are 60 year old coaches that stir fiber supplements into their morning beverage to keep their anus from rupturing on the toilet that equate bodily injury with character concerns.

Even last week on this podcast I pointed out that Ronde Barber should be included in this year’s Hall of Fame class in part because he played his last 13 seasons without missing a game. Now I feel the need to clarify that it was a reflection of his preparation combined with good fortune to make sure that people aren’t gleaning that I, of all people, think that physical health makes you a better or more worthy individual.

Believe it or not, the athletes you see on television are just like you. If you’re a construction worker, and you lose your father, you’re not getting thousands of messages from strangers telling you the best way to honor him is to go out and lay a concrete slab. 

If you’re a minister and you have pneumonia, no one is questioning your dedication to your faith if you decide to take a Sunday morning at home instead of coughing into a microphone. 

If you’re a schoolteacher in the last week of school, and your contract for next year isn’t settled, but you’re not healthy enough to be around the students, no one is going on TV to talk about “maybe you’re not the franchise educator the district thought you were.”

I know not everyone thinks this way, but we need to find a way to get the people that do released from their self-imposed prison of idiocy. Start asking people if they’d want their surgeon or their airline pilot at 60%. 

Everyone involved with the Ravens franchise has a job right now because almost every other team, including Baltimore, passed on Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 Draft. If and when they wake up and pay him what he’s worth, they’re going to be relevant and competitive for the next decade.

The idea of throwing the next 10 years out the window for the temporary glory of seeming tough to people with an outdated mindset and zero skin, or ligaments, in the game is completely insane. 

It’s even more insane when that mindset is coming from people inside football. 

Let that sink in.

We Need to Slow Down the Hype on the Brock Purdy “Linsanity” Moment

We need to talk about Brock Purdy and his Linsanity moment.

Brock Purdy has been good, I’ll give you that. But like Clyde Carson saysSlow Down.

The reason for the hype is simple. Brock Purdy is playing expectation-free football. Every other quarterback in this year’s playoffs outside of Skylar Thompson, and maybe Geno Smith, is locked into the struggle of trying to justify their draft position, paycheck, desired paycheck, or status amongst the NFL’s elite.

If any other quarterback in this year’s playoffs had a zero touchdown game in a divisional round win, we’d be talking about them like they’re the weak link.

Brock Purdy was the last pick in last year’s draft. No one expected him to rattle off 8 wins in a row. No one expected him to have seven consecutive multiple touchdown weeks heading into the divisional round. And when I say no one, I mean literally no one except for Brock Purdy himself. 

Just after being drafted as the NFL’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” he told an interviewer “I’ll embrace the role and have some fun with it, but at the end of the day you know I’m trying to go and help a team win a Super Bowl, so that’s where my mindset is at with it.”

Well, Brock. Here you are. You’ve done enough to make sure you have a chance to make a Super Bowl. And you and I both know that eight games is enough for one of these defensive coordinators to figure you out. And you and I both know that not every ball that hits a defender’s hands is going to magically fall to the turf.

I suspect that’s what was on your mind when Erin Andrews and George Kittle celebrated a divisional round victory and spoke glowingly of you, while you stared straight ahead, emotionless.

I like that you get the gravity of the moment. I like that you’re not just here to have fun and enjoy the ride.
Because that ride is about to get bumpy. And no one throws a wet blanket on a feel good story quite like the people of Philadelphia. Let me put it this way, you won’t be the first beloved character wearing red and white to find a hostile wintertime crowd waiting for you in the city of Brotherly Love.

And since we’re comparing Brock Purdy to St. Nick; let me offer some advice. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is the sleigh that got you here. The running game is the reindeer that gets that sleigh off the ground. All you have to do is worry about getting that package into the hands of the players that are on every fantasy football player’s “Nice” list, and out of the hands of those grinches in green.

And if you do that, Mr. Irrelevant, you’ll get your post-draft wish. A chance to help your team win a Super Bowl, in front of your friends and family back in Arizona, at just 23 years old.

And that’s a feel good story.

Let that sink in.

6 Players That Should Be Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the 2023 Ballot

Zack Thomas

We need to talk about the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, and who should be getting in.

This class is stacked. 

First and foremost, Darelle Revis needs to be the first one in. He had his own damn island. Not only was he probably the best cornerback of his era, he’s one of the best corners of all time. He’s definitely a first-ballot guy.

And I feel the same way about Dwight Freeney. There was nobody I played against that caused more trouble for offenses. Two blockers? Three? Never made a difference. Dwight Freeney was an unstoppable game wrecker with that dumbass spin move.

Joe Thomas should be in on the first ballot, but I think it’s fair to objectively admit that there are levels to being a Hall of Fame player, and I’m not sure I put Thomas on the same level as a Walter Jones or an Orlando Pace. But timing matters, and Joe Thomas was probably the best offensive tackle of his era.

I’m also including Zach Thomas, and you’ll never convince me that as a linebacker, even though he was four inches shorter, Thomas had a career any less praiseworthy than Brain Urlacher. And Urlacher got in on the first ballot. 

My fifth inductee is Ronde Barber. 47 interceptions. Didn’t miss a game for his final 13 seasons. Scored 10 times on defense, and that’s just in the regular season. If you don’t remember his touchdown in the 2002 NFC championship game, stop this video and go look it up. Donovan McNabb probably still has nightmares about this man. He’s also the best pass-rushing corner the NFL has seen outside of Charles Woodson.

Before I give you my sixth person I’d include in this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class, let me talk about some of the players I think are on the cusp of getting in. 

Devin Hester is an interesting one. He’s one of, if not the best returner of all time, but the NFL Hall of Fame has a long precedent of ignoring specialists altogether. Ray Guy is the Hall’s only punter, and it took 28 years after he retired, after he’s already been forced to sell off his Super Bowl rings due to financial difficulties, to get him in. I’m hoping the Hall doesn’t treat Hester the same way, but I wouldn’t be surprised. 

Patrick Willis feels a lot like Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, Terrell Davis and Calvin Johnson. Yes, they had short careers, but they were undeniably great. Willis was arguably the best defensive player in the NFL for a seven year stretch. And like I said, there’s levels to the Hall of Fame- outside of a very select few, players are included for what they accomplished in their prime stretch, and Willis’ career just happened to be all prime stretch. 

Jared Allen and Demarcus Ware are part of the 100 sack club, I have no doubt they’ll get in eventually. 

And this year’s crop of receivers are all probably stealing votes from each other. Andre Johnson deserves it, but the idea of him getting in before Torry Holt doesn’t make sense to me. 

Now for my sixth inductee. One that isn’t even on this list, but everyone that ever had to play against him knows he damn well should be. 

I’m talking about my old teammate Fred Taylor. 

Of the 16 running backs in NFL history that had more rushing yards than Fred, 14 are in the Hall of Fame. The other two, Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore, aren’t eligible to even be nominated yet. 

And of those 14 Hall of Fame running backs, only Barry Sanders and Jim Brown averaged more yards per carry than Fred.

If Fred Taylor played in a different market, he’d have been in already. I’d say make it make sense, but you can’t.

So to recap, if it were up to me, your 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class would be Darrelle Revis, Dwight Freeney, Joe Thomas, Zack Thomas, and Ronde Barber.

And if the world made any sense, you’d have Fred Taylor in there too. 

Let that sink in.

Caleb Williams Is The Villain College Football Needs in 2023

We need to talk about Heisman winner Caleb Williams, and why USC losing three games this year might be the best thing for college football in 2023.

Caleb Williams is electric. He might be the most elusive quarterback behind the line of scrimmage of all time. That’s right, I said it. All time. 

He’s an elite passer, has game changing speed, absurd pocket awareness, and is one of the most sound decision makers in all of college football. 

The thing I like most about Caleb Williams is that he has the mindset at all times that no one is going to outcompete him. 

Every good story needs a villain, but the best villains are the ones you secretly like.

Stephanie Garber

Now, I’ve been accused of being a USC hater, so to some, this is going to sound like I’m celebrating the Trojans demise after Tulane scored 46 points in the Cotton Bowl, despite only EIGHT pass completions, to move Lincoln Riley to 1-4 all-time in New Year’s 6 Bowl games. 

I’m not celebrating, but I’m also not mad about it. 

USC losing that football game, as well as losing twice against Utah in 2022, sets college football up for an incredibly compelling narrative heading into the 2023 season. 

There’s a Stephanie Garber quote that says “Every good story needs a villain, but the best villains are the ones you secretly like.

In a vacuum, it’s impossible to hate Caleb Williams, or to think of him as a villain. But when you put his 11-3 season, and Heisman run in context, you see Williams’ villain arc come into focus. 

Everyone is a villain to somebody, so of course USC’s natural rivals, Notre Dame and UCLA both have a reason to hate Caleb Williams. And of course the entire Pac-12 is sore about USC heading to the Big 10, so there’s 10 more teams rooting on Williams’ demise. But when you add in Williams fingernails being painted to say F ASU and F Utah, you now add an extra bit of spice to those games next year. 

Plus, let’s not forget all of Sooner nation praying on Williams downfall for following Lincoln Riley from Norman to Los Angeles. And you know that Texas fans haven’t forgotten Caleb Williams coming in down 28-7 in the Red River Showdown and leading the Sooners on a 48-20 run, and a win. I can’t imagine Longhorn fans are rooting for Williams just because he left Oklahoma. 

And I’ve heard from enough Tennessee and Texas Christian fans that think Caleb Williams shouldn’t have even been the Heisman winner, and when you consider that Williams had the lowest percentage of available points for any QB winner since Robert Griffin III, it would seem that a decent amount of this country’s sports media agrees with that sentiment.

2023 is setting up to be a high stakes revenge tour that that we probably wouldn’t have gotten if USC had made the college football playoff in 2022. Williams still having a year of eligibility left, with the target on his back of being the defending Heisman winner, and the surefire #1 overall pick in 2024, in the Trojans last year in a conference filled with players poised to make their own Heisman runs in Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr, and with Utah returning as the bully on the block?

You couldn’t script a better drama than this. 

Get your popcorn and your fancy fingernail polish ready, because next year’s fixing to be a movie. 

Let that sink in.