Sunday, January 22, 2017

Like Namath, Trump had better deliver

joe-namath
Let’s just call it “Trumpian” or an inauguration speech that only a President Trump could deliver.  He did not hold back or pull any punches as Michael Goodwin wrote.  
Frankly, it was brash and in your face but that’s Trump.   
After the speech, I tried to remember what the speech reminded me of.  I spent a couple of hours Friday night watching old inauguration speeches on YouTube and keeping an eye on the dancing in Washington DC.  
I was intrigued with President Trump’s speech, to say the least.
It was not really Reagan 1981, although I understand the desire of so many to make the connection.  It was not really Kennedy 1961, because that was a call to the kind of intervention abroad that Trump does not believe in.
 
So I came to the conclusion that it reminded me of Joe Namath in 1969 making a brash statement that his Jets would beat the ultra-favorite Colts from the NFL.   
Talk about taking on the establishment?  What was more establishment than the NFL in 1969?  What was more “in your face” than saying that the Jets of the AFL would beat the 13-1 Colts of the NFL?
A few years ago, I was looking for an article about that guarantee.  It was for my sons who were asking questions about Namath and Super Bowl III.   
First, I read “Namath” by Mark Kriegel.  (By the way, he also wrote “Pistol Pete” about the tragic story of Pete Maravich)
Second, I saved this great article by Les Carpenter about that guarantee made 3 days before the game.   It happened like this:
Namath stepped before the crowd, and although his Jets were enormous underdogs to the Baltimore Colts, he said: 
“We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.”
The article continues later with what may have been Namath’s real motivation:
He wasn’t trying to cosmically inspire the Jets, sequestered 30 miles away in Fort Lauderdale. 
If anything, he was probably trying to play games with the Colts, who represented the football establishment, an old guard that didn’t understand spontaneous comments made by 25-year-old quarterbacks in banquet halls.
Mark Kriegel, the author of “Namath, A Biography,” said Namath had privately been telling friends not to bet the points that weekend but to bet the odds, which at the time stood 7-1 against the Jets winning. The quarterback had watched plenty of film on the Colts and knew they could be beaten.
“My argument is he set the Colts up beautifully,” Kriegel said. “Everything he learned as a teenage pool hustler in [his home town] Beaver Falls [Pa.], he put to use on Super Bowl week. He conned the Colts out of a Super Bowl.”
The guarantee of victory, while spontaneous, was just a part of that larger plan.
To say the least, that larger plan sure worked.  The Jets beat the shocked Colts 16-7 and Broadway Joe has been doing interviews about that game for 38 years!
Was there a bigger establishment than the NFL?   Speaking of odds, I remember a veteran sportscaster in Milwaukee predicting a 38-0 Colts victory.
I believe that Trump has pulled a Namath on the political class.  He wants to get in their heads and then hope that the voters get on the political class.
Will it work?  It worked for Joe because he delivered a victory.  Time will tell whether or not Trump can do to the political class what Joe did to the Colts’ rattled defense.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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