What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is being done as part of something called the Send In The Marines Blog-A-Thon being hosted by J-Dub from Dubsism and Gill from RealWeegieMidget Reviews. The premise is simple. Since this event coincides with the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps, this blog-a-thon is dedicated to films or television programs either about the USMC, those in which actual Marines appear, or feature actors who served in the Marine Corps.
Like most of the productions he’s most known for, 1957’s “The D.I.” was produced by Jack Webb’s production company Mark VII Limited. It was also directed by Webb, who just so happens to play the lead role of Technical Sergeant Jim Moore. And like Jack Webb’s “Emergency!” which starred his ex-wife Julie London, “The D.I.” features former Miss USA Jackie Loughery, who Webb would marry in 1958.
“The D.I. ” was the first screenplay by James Lee Barrett; it was adapted from his play “The Murder of a Sand Flea” which was based on his experiences as a Marine recruit on Parris Island in 1950.
Webb’s “Sergeant Moore” is a hard-nosed drill instructor on Parris Island who has a problem recruit named Private Owens (played by Don Dubbins). Moore believes Owens has “the right stuff” to be a Marine. But for reasons Moore can’t fathom, Owens has a bad habit of caving in under pressure. But Moore believes he can drive Owens to pass muster if continues to push him. But the harder Moore pushes, the more Owens fails. As a result, Owens attempts to desert.
A subsequent discussion between Owens, Moore, and the company commander Captain Anderson (played by Lin McCarthy) yields the discovery that Owens had two older brothers who were Marines, and they both were killed in action in Korea. Anderson has had enough of Owens and is ready to discharge him. But then Owens mother (played by Virginia Gregg) makes an announced visit to Parris Island. She tells Sergeant Moore that Owens’ father was also a Marine who was killed in action during the invasion of the Marshall Islands in World War II. She also tells Moore that she made a mistake coddling her only remaining son, and that if he fails to make it as a Marine, it will destroy him. Owens’ mother then begs Moore not to give up on him,. assuring Moore that Owens can take whatever Moore can offer, and to keep driving him.
At this point Captain Anderson changes his mind and tears up Owens’ discharge paper, and the film ends with Owens well on his way to earning his eagle, globe and anchor.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
When National Football League scouts look for a quarterback, they have particular things in mind. They either want an athletic guy who can extend plays with his ability to evade tacklers, or they want a tall guy with a cannon for an arm. If they find a guy who has both, they will collectively salivate over him. But if you are a quarterback who is neither of those things, you may never get the chance to show what a great football player you really are.
That brings us to the tale of Drew Brees.
If you are a current NFL fan who hasn’t suffered a traumatic brain injury, you know not only is Drew Brees one of the best players in the game today, he’s one the greatest quarterback to ever step on the gridiron. He’s a first-ballot lock for the Hall-of Fame, and he’s re-written the record books for passers; as of this writing nobody has amassed more passing yards in the history of the NFL than Brees. The Dubsism list has him ranked at #5 all-time.
But there was a time when nobody thought he could play in the NFL, because he’s not one of the two things scouts are looking for.
The skepticism over Brees began back in his high school days. Despite the fact he shredded the record books in the hotbed of high-school football known as Texas, the big-time college programs both in and out of Texas weren’t interested in a short, slow quarterback who didn’t have the “big arm.”
But there was one football coach who believed in Drew Brees. His name was Joe Tiller, and he was the head coach at the University of Wyoming. To be honest, Brees wasn’t exactly thrilled about trading in football-crazy Texas for Laramie, Wyoming, a cow-town 7200 feet up in the Rocky Mountains, but Tiller was the only coach interested in him. But then fate stepped in when Joe Tiller became the head coach at Purdue University.
That meant instead of being in the backwaters of college football, Brees had a shot to ply his wares in the heart of Big Ten country. Granted, the Purdue Boilermakers weren’t very good at the time, but being in the Big Ten still meant the biggest stages and brightest lights college football has to offer. Together, Tiller and Brees put Purdue football back on the map, taking the Boilermakers to their first Rose Bowl in over 30 years in 2001.
Later that same year, NFL teams were still skeptical of Brees when Draft Day rolled around. Despite his stellar career at Purdue and having just finished third in that season’s Heisman trophy voting, every NFL team passed on him in the first round. Brees was selected with the 1st pick of the second round by the San Diego Chargers. In contrast, the two guys who finished ahead of Brees in the Heisman voting, quarterback Chris Weinke of Florida State and Josh Heupel of Oklahoma weren’t selected until the 4th and 6th rounds respectively. Weinke won two NFL games in his career, with 17 straight losses in between them, and Heupel never played a single down in an NFL regular-season game.
However, Brees struggled in his first three seasons with the Chargers. He threw only 29 touchdown passes against 31 interceptions and notching a 10-17 record as a starting quarterback. Brees was so bad the Chargers drafted a quarterback with the 1st overall pick in the 2004 Draft. Brees hung on to the starting job for two more seasons in San Diego, all the while with young gun Philip rivers waiting on the sideline.
All bets were off when Brees injured his throwing his throwing shoulder late in 2005. The Chargers wasted no time handing the ball to Philip Rivers, and made it known Brees’ contract would not be renewed. That meant the quarterback nobody wanted was now without a job, and to make matters worse, he now had an injury which only added to the questions about him. Originally, only the Miami Dolphins showed any interest, but ultimately they did not offer him a contract.
But in another intervention of fate, the New Orleans Saints hired Sean Payton as their new head coach; he was previously the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive co-coordinator. Payton himself was also an ex-quarterback nobody wanted, having been in the Arena Football League, who then sold his rights to the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. But most notably, Payton was the replacement quarterback of the Chicago Bears during the player’s strike in 1987.
In any event, Payton was not a believer in Aaron Brooks, the quarterback he inherited. Instead, Payton was the driving force behind the Saints locking up Brees with a six-year, $60 million contract. At the time, that was considered to be a huge gamble, but it has clearly paid off. Just look at the list of Brees’ accomplishments since then:
If that weren’t enough, Brees holds several NFL records:
Now, one might think that a guy who has reached the top of the mountain like Brees has would be happy just to enjoy the spoils of success. That would not be the case. In fact one of the reasons Brees was featured in this installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is he has been known to hang out and train with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Djibouti.
The Moral of The Story:
Another post in this Marine blog-a-thon featured a moral about people really don’t know what they have inside of them until somebody drags it out. But for that to happen, the “dragger” has to believe in the “draggee.”
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