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Congratulations to UVa's Chris Long on a tremendous season. He is now reaping the hardware that he has earned through his fine play for the Cavaliers.
Most recently, Long was awarded the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top collegiate defensive end. The Ted Hendricks Award? A quick check informed me that Ted "The Stork" Hendricks is alive and well. And yet, there is an award named after him.
Today, in addition to the Ted Hendricks award, there is the Dick Butkus award, which is given to the nation's top linebacker. Butkus is still very much alive. There are several more awards which are named after former players who still wake up each morning on the right side of the dirt.
This isn't to knock either Hendricks or Butkus. Both were superb players by anyone's reckoning. In fact, Hendricks has a foundation that does tremendous charitable works. Further, I believe that Butkus was the greatest defensive player ever. The only problem I have with them is that they're having it both ways?being immortalized while still roaming among the living.
Do you remember when awards were named after dead guys? The Heisman Trophy, the Lombardi Trophy and others were named after the guys whose names are on the trophies had passed from this earth.
Even before awards were named for dead guys, they weren't named for anybody at all. Trophies bore mundane titles such as "Player of the Year" or "Defensive Player of the Year."
So, we went from not naming trophies, to naming trophies for dead guys to naming trophies for living, older guys. If this trend continues, we will soon see awards named for living, still active players.
We'll be treated to a scenario such as this:
Award dinner MC: "And the winner of the Brett Favre Trophy, awarded to the NFL's toughest quarterback is.....ta, da! Brett Favre!"
Brett Favre accepts the award, which is a huge trophy topped with a giant silvery wedge of cheese. "I want to thank everyone who voted to give me this honor," he says. "I like to think that my approach to the game is modeled after the man for whom this award is named, Brett Favre."
To avoid such a scenario, I would like to see a line drawn that prohibits the naming of awards after the living. There's just too much risk in it.
The powers-that-be could learn a lesson from how the Catholic Church handles sainthood. They don't award you the halo and crank up the statue-making apparatus until a) you're dead and b) the verdict is in on what kind of life you led. I think that you also have to have knocked back a few miracles, but the footballers can skip that part.
Here's an example. While sainthood will most assuredly be bestowed on Mother Teresa, it won't be done until she's been dead quite a few years. Was she about to forego her ministry to start breaking commandments one-by-one? Of course not. But this way we're certain.
Speaking of broken commandments, what would have happened had there been a college award for the best collegiate halfback: the O.J. Simpson Award? I don't think that such an award would be gracing a whole lot of trophy cases.
On second thought, maybe they could have been pawned to help cover his bail.