Quarterbacks find out early about the roller coaster ride that is life in the NFL.
When you lose, you’re everybody’s whipping boy, bearing the brunt of blame. If you show an Achilles’ heel you can be sure the sleazier scribes will be tossing incendiaries your way, hoping to trigger a post-game meltdown a la Derek Anderson and Ryan Leaf.
When you win, you’re General Patton, getting all the accolades for leading the men to victory. On those nights even the dumbest reporter questions don’t seem so bad.
And like that triumphant QB, the signal-caller in the White House should be receiving the lion’s share of credit from both sides of the aisle for finding, then swiftly dispensing with Osama Bin Laden to gain a modicum of closure for that horrific September day in 2001.
Obama’s action showed the kind of decisiveness that every QB, every CEO dreams of having and will likely propel him to a second term. If there’s one trait voters value above all others in their President it’s decisiveness. Playing-it-safe domestically and pleasing no one, the Commander-in-Chief seems focused on forging a Big Stick to wield overseas.
But cheering from the right-side has been tempered: praising the deed, downplaying its architect. It’s in stark contrast to the heapin’ helpin’ of homage the Gipper received for a like-liberating event in 1981 when, on Inauguration Day, Iran released the 52 American hostages after official (Carter) and unofficial deals (Reagan) had been made.
One man broke ranks. Granted, he works for the Prez but Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ conservative credentials and White House wherewithal set the standard. And a better 2012 GOP running-mate (for that nominee taking one for the team) you could not find.
Simply put, when Robert speaks on matters Presidential you can take it to the bank. “I worked for a lot of these guys and this is one of the most courageous calls, decisions, that I think I’ve ever seen a president make (CBS / 5-15).”
Victory has a thousand fathers…defeat is an orphan.
In truth, no quarterback carries his team to victory (excepting the matchless Otto Graham who did everything but catch his own passes in leading Cleveland to the ‘56 NFL title (3 rush / 3 pass TDs)), just as no President works in a vacuum.
In Bin Laden’s case “a thousand fathers” (and mothers) is pretty accurate. That means George Bush and Dick Cheney must share in the credit, in spite of the divisive blame-game engineered by their minions in the weeks, months and years following 9-11.
With his poll numbers high and NFL training-camp fast approaching, it’s a good time for the numero uno Bears-backer in the Oval Office to step into the fray if there’s little movement towards an agreement in these weeks following Friday’s 8th Circuit hearing.
First step might be phone calls of encouragement to the principals. If that doesn’t light a fire under their ample derrières then the President can take to his bully-pulpit and remind the nation that this year’s 9-11 anniversary could be the most significant since 2002 and coincides with kick-off weekend of scheduled NFL 2011 (Saints v Packers; 9/8).
The best leaders, on the gridiron or political arena, thrive in adversity. Whether it’s under two and 80 yards to pay-dirt (Elway / Favre), greed-busting (Jackson / Roosevelts), defusing a missile crisis (JFK), winning Civil Rights (LBJ / MLK) or stopping genocide (Bush / Clinton), these guys tread where others fear to go.
Football’s financial fisticuff may not be the tough-nut-to-crack that are jobs-creation and serious healthcare reform (See; Vermont), but like the on-going PED plague, it’s plenty problematic for that Leader looking to make his mark on the domestic front.
So have at it, Mr. President. You’ve helped make America and the world a safer place, now it’s time to help bring peace to the NFL battlefield.
Keys to Sport
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.