' ' Cinema Romantico: Cornhuskers for Film

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cornhuskers for Film

Tomorrow my dearly beloved Nebraska Cornhusker Football team will engage their old rival the Oklahoma Sooners for the right to proclaim themselves champions of the Big 12 Conference. This is something that has not happened since before the new century was rung in. And from that point we have fallen to depths no Nebraska fan has ever known. Oh, I know we don't have it as bad as, say, a Duke Football fan (which has lost its last 18 games) but I recall many people advising me that I would surely hop off the bandwagon at the first sign of hard times. However, just as I told anyone who ever made that empty claim over the years, there was no hopping off when the hard times actually hit.

I watched our still-painful-to-discuss 70-10 thrashing (and it wasn't that close, believe me) at the hands of Texas Tech three years ago right down to the final second and sported a Nebraska sweatshirt the following day. I knew traversing those dark times would make it taste so much sweeter when the bright times returned. And, by God, those bright days that were so hard to imagine have re-arrived and, goodness, they taste sweet. The 2006 Nebraska Football Season has been more fun and more magical than any I can recall in quite some time.

Win or lose tomorrow the Big Red will still be the official champions of the Big 12 North and will be going to a New Year's Day Bowl. That alone is enough to make me jump for joy. But if they won tomorrow, well, I'm just trying to keep in mind Gene Hackman saying in "Hoosiers" that winning the state championship would be "beyond our wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there."

So in anticipation of our biggest game in years, and in maintaining the spirit of this blog, I have decided to honor this year's valiant Nebraska squad by matching up my favorite players (and my least favorite player) with the movie characters whom they most represent. Without further adieu............

Zac Taylor (Quarterback) – Rick Blaine, “Casablanca”. Calm, collected, and in full control at all times. You can’t fluster him. A sticky situation is merely a reason to smile. If a nefarious villain takes your lady friend hostage and then walks into your place with an escort of armed guards and demands cash to pay the ransom on your lady friend's head you want Rick Blaine at your side. He will not only get your lady friend back without paying a cent or firing a shot, he will also score a cigarette off the villain while doing it. If your team is down by a touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game and 99 yards to go you want Zac Taylor as your QB. He will not only get you the touchdown and the 2 point conversion to win, he will do it without aquiring even a single bead of sweat.

Maurice Purify (Wide Receiver) – Hawkeye, “Last of the Mohicans”. Tall, indefatigable and clutch to the zenith. Hawkeye never misses a shot. Purify never drops a ball. Hawkeye defied the British. Purify defied normal offensive strategy by throwing a pass to fellow wide receiver Terrence Nunn for a touchdown. Hawkeye once jumped from the top of a waterfall. Purify once jumped up in the corner of the end zone to make The Catch in order to clinch the Big 12 North title. I don't know whether or not Purify can skin an elk but I'm willing to wager that he can.

Brandon Jackson (Running Back) – Milton Warden, “From Here to Eternity”. Burt Lancaster's first sergeant didn't do much talking - he just did his job. He asked no quarter and wouldn't take your fifty cents, either. The same can be said of Jackson. He began the season #4 on the depth chart in our impressive stable of running backs but rather than whining he merely worked his way up over the course of the season to #1. And just as Milton Warden took charge on December 7, 1941 when someone needed to do so, it was Jackson who took charge when someone needed to do so against Texas courtesy of a 49 yard touchdown catch & run that was so spectacular (he broke, by my count, 173 tackles) that I very nearly had a heart attack in my living room.

Marlon Lucky (Running Back) – Rusty Ryan, “Ocean’s 11”. Brad Pitt's career thief in “Ocean’s 11” was the epitome of cool. Smooth and unflappable. If Rusty was going to pull off a heist at the Taj Mahal he would do so while simultaneously sipping a highball. When Lucky threw the over-the-mantle-picture-perfect halfback-pass against Texas to put us up by a point he did it so casually he may as well have been sipping a highball.

Adam Carriker (Defensive End) – Don Vito Corleone, “The Godfather”. Brutal, but dignified. Ruthless, but honorable. Any Don of any other family knows that a visit from Vito Corleone is not going to end well. Any QB of any opposing team knows that a visit from Carriker is not going to end well. Usually they both conclude with a hit, and usually it's rather violent.

Bill Callahan (Head Coach) – Lando Calrissean, “The Empire Strikes Back” and "Return of the Jedi". At first when he shows up you’re not too sure about this guy. He’s polished (like an ex-NFL coach would be) and knows the right thing to say but you still wonder about him behind the scenes. You're not sure of his real agenda. Yet, at the end of the second movie (the second season) when he finally decides to save Leia and Chewie and attempt to rescue Han (the Alamo Bowl win) you kinda' start to trust him. But by the end of the third movie (the third season) you not only trust him, you straight-up love him.

Andre “Burnt Toast” Jones (Defensive Back) – Inspector Jacques Closeau, “The Pink Panther”. Inept, confused, hapless, yet still he thinks he possesses immense skill (witness his guaranteeing of a "win" prior to our decisive loss at USC). When Closeau enters a room it’s only a matter of time before he bumbles and falls. When Jones steps on a football field it’s only a matter of time before he bumbles and an opposing wide receiver flies past him for a touchdown.


Rory Larry said...

i hardly call a 38 year winning record hard times.

Anonymous said...

In the last 45 seasons we have had a winning record 43 times and a losing record 2 times (2002 and 2004). If that isn't hard times, I have no idea what is.