During my somewhat mediocre sports career I never played football. It wasn’t that I didn’t relish the idea of getting nailed, it was just that in my era football was for guys who couldn’t play basketball. In my senior year in high school, the basketball team went to the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) Final Four. It had never been done before and hasn’t been done since. Warren, Pennsylvania was a basketball school and that was that.
We beat the champions of Erie and Pittsburgh–how ‘bout them apples. But when we played Homestead High in the Western finals, they cleaned our clock, our wrist watch and if we had a sun dial they would have cleaned that too. Still we got to the Final Four and after the game they did not kick us off the list. I really hate it that our Tigers have had that done twice. Maybe that’s why we can’t get into a BCS Conference… Nah!!
So when I talk football I am–as we used to say–talking thru my hat. My football broadcasting career is, to say the least, convoluted. For the first five years, I was the Ole Miss broadcaster and this irritated Tigers coach Billy Spook Murphy because I was also broadcasting the Memphis State basketball games in the winter. He used to say, “Eaton, if you love Ole Miss so much, why don’t you move to Oxford?”
This really upset me. I was assigned to those games. Heck, I had a family to support. And the Memphis State coach is giving me this crap? At one point Murphy, threatened to take me off the basketball games. I, in effect, told him to take his basketball games and stick ‘em.
He calmed down after that and we became buddies.
During my Ole Miss football years, we went from the single wing to the wing T and from the triple option to the belly series. I saw it all and thanks to a series of “color” men understood most of it.
Now to the Tigers. I like what I’ve seen on Coach Porter. I feel sure he knows the game and if he can recruit like “they” say he can we should be OK. One thing I don’t understand is Fantasy Football. It sounds complicated and at this stage of my life the less complicated the better.
Recently one of the local TV stations called and asked me if I would be interested in being part of a panel discussing Tiger basketball. I declined mainly because I don’t follow it that closely and could offer very little in the way on insight. I am after all retired. Really retired.
It is not unusual for someone to ask me if I would like to come back and call a game of two. “No,” I always answer. The guys now do such good job I would suffer by comparison. “Thanks anyway.”
Being the Ole Miss broadcaster spoiled me. In my five seasons with the Johnny Rebs they won 42 games, lost two and tied three. Both losses and one of the ties were to LSU. The other ties were to Mississippi State and Memphis State. Boy, oh boy, was doing their games fun.
The Miami Hurricanes are my team of choice now, thanks to Jeff Weinberger and Miami Dan. I love the NFL and follow the Steelers and Bret Favre. I hope he does well.
I was a Peyton Manning freak until the last two games of the ‘09 season when I thought they tried to lose. I was glad New Orleans whipped them good.
I like football. But can’t wait for basketball.
Big Jack can be heard every Friday at 8am on KWAM 990 alongside former County Commissioner John Willingham.