Still would rather talk about the college football Top 25 than anything else, but today is a big day for two of the biggest names in NFL history....
*Jerry Rice (arguably the greatest WR in NFL history) and Emmitt Smith (certainly a Top 5 all-time RB) enter the Hall today, and I don't mean to dismiss the others (Grimm, Jackson, LeBeau, Little, Randle), but the star wattage is Jerry and Emmitt.
The defining detail of Rice's career: His work ethic. That, and the famous pre-draft test that put his 40 time at less than blazing, but Bill Walsh ignoring it and making the small-college star a linchpin of his offense.
The defining detail of Smith's career: The all-time career rushing yards record. Yes, the Super Bowl rings matter a lot (without them, he's a mere Dan Marino), but the record succinctly illustrates the duration and consistency of Smith's spectacular abilities.
We are partial to Emmitt in my house -- he is Mrs. Quickie's favorite player of all time, going back to his college days at Florida when she was an impressionable kid. His college stats were absurd; when he wasn't injured he was absolutely dominant -- on a Herschel-like level.
As for Rice, he is one of those NFL immortals for whom you can never find a fan who dislikes them. You may not have been a 49ers fan -- in fact, you may have hated them. But everyone respected Jerry Rice for his jaw-dropping awesomeness.
Ultimately, both all-time greats are a fairly compelling indictment of the NFL's player-evaluation system: 16 players were taken before Emmitt; 15 players were taken before Rice.
Of course, the two players are forever bound together by history for their dominance on "Dancing With the Stars."
I've always thought that the Hall of Fame induction ceremony was less about the players themselves and more about the fans of those players. If you grew up loving Rice or Emmitt -- or Russ Grimm or Floyd Little or John Randle or Rickey Jackson, congratulations to you.
Today is a wonderful day to think back fondly on the way those players thrilled you.
*Is Tyson Gay over Usain Bolt the biggest sports upset of the year? Yes.
*I'm sure everyone is shocked -- shocked -- to find out that Tennessee football is under investigation for more potential violations under Lane Kiffin.
(With Miami, it's par for the course, but it also comes just when it looked like they were turning the corner to restored respectability. It'll feed the U's whole persecution complex.)
*We all already knew he screwed up. So why would Super Bowl XL ref Bill Leavy re-open the wound now about he and his crew's shoddy work in the game?
*Is last night the start of the Red Sox making an improbable 7-week surge into the playoffs? (It would have to come at the expense of either the Rays or Yankees.)
*So when do the Orioles finally wake up? That's 4 straight Ws under Buck Showalter. Did he switch them to all-cotton uniforms? (More DMV baseball: Can the Nats please lock up Dunn?)
*I love that Anthony Tolliver is ready to mock LeBron openly -- Tolliver goes from virtual unknown to folk hero.
*Isiah Thomas is an MBA case study for failing upwards. We can all hope to fail so successfully in our careers.
(Jokes aside, Adrian Woj expressed the proper point: How can a college hoops coach be a consultant for a pro team? Imagine if John Calipari was a consultant for the Heat.)