Monday, November 19, 2012
A lil off-topic...
The inspiration for this post came to me after a few text massages exchanged with my fellow USC alumnus and fraternity brother known in our circles as the Mexican. (Nothing racial people. He is really from Mexico. In return I am known as Jew. And yes. I am Jewish)
It is a little off-topic to the headline of this blog, but is also a result of the Kiffin years.
The legacy of Matt Barkley
Let me begin with my conclusion - He is not the greatest Trojan football player of all time. He is not even the greatest Trojan QB of all time. But he will probably be remembered longer than all the others.
Lets not forget people, that we are talking about sports. Competitive sports. And while all the stories you were told as a kid about sportsmanship are really cute, they bullshit!! This is a competition with one goal - to win!
Lets be honest, that's a huge reason why we Trojans! Most of us are not the biggest football fans out there (happened to me later in life, but I'm a huge fan now). Most of us don't watch NFL games every Sunday (I do). And most of us have never attended a non-USC football game (I know I haven't...). But we know USC football, because we know USC and football is a winning combination!!! The same way just a few months ago we all knew how many medals USC athletes were winning. And based on the FB statuses I saw during the Olympics, we followed that more than following how many medals our own countries won. That's because we USC. We winners!! USC and football is a winning combination!! USC and Olympics is a winning combination!! And that is why it's perfect that USC Football is played at an Olympic stadium!!! (FYI - the only Olympic stadium to host the Olympics twice!)
That is why we don't care about USC basketball unless they play the Diddy Riese team or we have a chance to win the PAC 12. USC basketball is not a winning combination. They have to win, in order to win us over...
Which brings me back to Barkley. He just didn't win enough. At Ohio state? Eh. Can't really call it his win. At Oregon? We were lucky the time ran out there. The 50:00 (yeah, they deserve double zeros for that game!)? A game we will remember forever, for sure, but the whole team was firing on all cylinders that night. No real comeback win. No real comeback play (4th and 9, anyone?). Hell, he never even beat the frikkin trees!! And they had a QB that looked like a hillbilly and a Sasquatch had a baby...
So no. He didn't win enough. Not in Trojan standards. And sadly, even his last chance. To upset the #1 team in the country (it sickens me just writing that), is taken away from him in a tragic injury.
One can point to the individual records he broke, but I would counter that they meaningless unless they win championships. Moreover, there are two more flaws in his records:
1. They were influenced by the way Kiffin called plays. And kiffin's obvious attempts to be the coach whose QB broke those records. (Hey, maybe this post isn't off-topic at all...hhmmhnh...)
2. There is one individual award that matters in college football. It has a statue on it with a guy holding the ball in one hand and stiff arming with the other. And Barkley didn't win that one either.
So the individual records argument is off the table.
Which means Barkley will never be in the conversation of greatest USC football players or QBs.
That brings us back to his legacy. I think with a great university such as USC, it's hard to decide who is the greatest Trojan Ever. There are so many! Nonetheless, he is in that conversation. And he is in it for the one trait that we Trojans admire more than winning - leadership!
That is why we Trojans! That is why our university was the first one to open an entrepreneurship school. When other universities teach you how to get a job, USC shows u how to create jobs! When the rest of the world is stuck on Europe and the old world, USC is becoming a leader in the pacific rim. That is why USC's own became the leader of nerds everywhere! (And then sold it for $4 billion! BILLION!!)
And that's what Matt Barkley will always be remembered as. A Trojan leader! A beacon of hope and light when those sanctions came crashing down. A blond kid. Standing up in front of those cameras and reporters and being a leader. And when he said he is coming back, it was the best Xmas gift ever!! (Especially for a Jew that doesn't celebrate Xmas). When he said there is unfinished business, he spoke for all of us. We all have unfinished business with the sports of college football.
Sadly it won't be finished by Barkley. We all wanted it to, but it won't. It won't be finished until we win another Rose Bowl. Another championship. Another Heisman.
So Barkley didn't finish it. But he was the one that lead the first charge. As a leader should. He stood in front of his people. His brothers. His soldiers. His Trojans. And lead them into battle.
Because of that, he will always be one of the greatest Trojans ever!