What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Time for another history lesson, kids. Chances are if you are under the age of 40, you aren’t familiar with the name “Jack Youngblood,” A Hall-of-Fame defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams, Youngblood may very well have been the toughest son-of-a-mofo to ever play in the National Football League. This guy was 250 pounds of chiseled gristle deep-fried in pure rhino testosterone. 40 years ago, when football players gargled roofing nails and pissed battery acid, opponents called Youngblood a “throwback” to the days when everybody wasn’t such a “pussy.”
There was a litany of feats that garnered Youngblood such a reputation, but the crown jewel came in the 1979 play-offs. Youngblood often required two blockers to keep him turning opposing ball-carriers into left-over Spam. On one such occasion of being double-teamed at the end of the 1979 regular season, Youngblood suffered what for mere mortals would have been a season-ending injury; a fractured left fibula…more commonly known as the “shin” bone.
Youngblood didn’t even miss a game.
Number 85 suited up the very next week, and continued to do so throughout the 1979 play-offs, including the Rams Super Bowl loss to the dynastic Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only that, he played in the meaningless exhibition Pro Bowl the next week. Today, NFL players opt out of the Pro Bowl for maladies ranging from hang-nails to constipation.
On top of that, on the eve of the 1981 season, Youngblood was rushed into emergency surgery to remove a life-threatening, hot-dog-sized blood clot from his left armpit. The clot formed as a result of repeated trauma to his arm which eventually blocked the flow of blood. Agian, this would have ended many players seasons, if not their entire careers. How many games did Youngblood miss?
Bagel. Bupkus. Zip-ah-dee-doo-dah.
In fact, despite these injuries and many, many more, Jack Youngblood played in 201 consecutive games, and only missed one Sunday in his 14-year NFL career. This is why John Madden himself called Youngblood the “John Wayne of Football.”
By now, you’re wondering what the hell does a footballer from 40 years ago have to do with the J-Dub Gambling Challenge? It’s all about the number “85,” which not only was Youngblood’s jersey number, but matches the exact amount lost by the bankroll in Week 1. Yeah, I get $85 doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of a $5,000 bankroll; it’s only 1.7%. But losses are losses, and more importantly, after the dark eight months in which there is no gambling on college football, you’re like a sailor on shore leave. The first chance you get to lay a little action, you don’t want to come up down.
Week One was the most painful 85 bucks ever, because if it hadn’t been for LSU coming through on my “Payday” bet, the numbers were headed for a very scary place. Every outcome running up to that result was like taking a step on a broken leg. Purdue blows an easy cover because of three turnovers and a retarded personal foul at the end of the game. Michigan starts the “Coaches Death Watch” clock on Jim Harbaugh. Two pushes and a hedge bet on the over/under. That was the gambling equivalent of running on a shattered fibula.
But as the saying goes, tomorrow is a new day.
Not to mention, pain is one thing; 85 bucks is just “pain.” But as many football players even today say, there’s a difference between “pain” and “injured.” That’s why it’s time to forget last week pain and play again, because the bankroll really isn’t injured.
But like Jack Youngblood, I’m not making excuses, and I’m not worried about being “hurt.” I just want to gamble.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, gambling is no longer illegal at Bushwood, sir. However, the Supreme Court can’t really help me unless one of them is willing to keep Mrs. J-Dub from braining me with a cast-iron skillet if she found out how many dimes I’m dropping on college football. That means that as far as she knows, all wagers are mythical in nature and this is in no way, shape, or form a gambling advice column. In other words, if you lose your own “real” money, that’s nobody’s fault but yours, so don’t yell at me when we meet at the plasma center on Monday.
Having said that, let’s get ready to gamble…
Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh O/U 56
$100 Penn State
J-Dub’s Payday of the Week:
Rice at Hawaii (-17) O/U 69.5
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