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Marcus Mariota Reigns Supreme

via national wrestling restoration foundation

via national wrestling restoration foundation

Is Marcus Mariota really the king?

He’d never say so, but until the next college football player completes the individual awards sweep like he did, he’s royalty.

What should the king do now that’s he’s been coronated?

The easy answer is beat Florida State then whoever comes out of the Ohio State v Alabama semi-final.

If he dominates the Rose Bowl, then the finals game in Texas, he’ll be golden for life.

People will name their kids after him, statues will be carved, and it’ll all be done with an overriding sense of decency because that’s how this king rolls.

Before the big games Mr. Mariota, King Mariota, needs to issue a few proclamations and edicts, declarations and rulings. Kings do this to be kingly.

To keep him focused on the Seminoles, I’ll help out with the requests and keep them sports related.

If he handles these and wins his next two games, then he can tackle bigger issues.


1. Write an op-ed for all the big news outlets in every Oregon city.

Explain how sports gave you an unexpected chance. Make it something to give middle and high school athletes a boost to keep them engaged in their sport, their community.

Focus on football to show kids and parents the chance of injury is less when coached in proper technique.

Mention the Heads Up program, off-field conditioning, and respect for coaches. Tell kids they can’t do it by themselves, that they don’t need to go it alone.

Let them know the great feeling of a team coming together at the right time and changing expectations they way you’ve done with the Oregon Ducks.

Few have a better sports evolution story than you, Marcus. From one season as a high school starter to the Heisman stage? That journey goes against every single-sport advocate bellowing how their way is the only way.

With your voice telling them to play other sports, like running track, they’ll listen. Use what worked for you Marcus, because it worked well.

2. After addressing middle and high school sports, shift to college football.

Remind your readers that football teams come in as many shapes and sizes as the colleges they represent.

Not all programs reach the heights of the Oregon Ducks with appearances and wins in title games and BCS games. This writer is in as much awe as the next fan when Oregon teams do well.

Take a moment to recognize the Southern Oregon University Raiders before their next game.

The Raiders play in the NAIA title game Friday at one. Fans can watch the live broadcast on ESPNU.

Southern Oregon is the school UofO coach Mark Helfrich set records for during his playing days. Give them props for their undefeated season.

If it all works out Oregon will have two national champions.

3. This is the toughie, the reason for the image at the top.

Marcus, I apologize for calling you a king. I understand and love the way you appear on the field, in print, and on the Dan Patrick Show. It’s a relief to see someone with an incredible platform to communicate like you’ve got include their family, their teammates, and their home state.

If there’s ever a test aimed at making someone forget who got them where they are, you’ve taken it and passed.

You’ve moved to the head of the class of Oregon’s finest, an Oregon Man of the highest order.

While others debate the games coming up fast, whether you stay in Eugene or head to the NFL, I have a more urgent request.

Football greatness is earned on the field, not in the garage, or a bar. Your greatness will never be doubted. We have the pictures and clippings for reminders.

It’s your character that shines through brighter than anything else, including the Golden Arm award. You’ve kept your personal life personal, giving out the sort of details too many forget. You’ve made your home, your family, and your team personal to everyone who wondered where guys like you come from.

Your legacy is incredible, but do one more thing and it’ll become unbelievable.

Adding your voice to those asking Oregon to restore its wrestling program would tip the balance in favor of sports. Asking your teammates, the former wrestlers, to join in would sway the athletic department.

Wrestling welcomes all who need the sort of outlet you found in football, Marcus. Oregon State wrestles, so does Southern Oregon. Clackamas CC is the #1 community college wrestling team in the nation.

With Oregon Duck Wrestling reinstated, Oregon high school athletes would have a chance to stay in state at another D1 school.

If you need a message, Marcus, providing opportunity for sports is a good one. And who better than the Heisman Trophy winner to look at the bigger picture and report in.

This is the sort of opportunity only you might understand. Kids who thrive on competition need a voice like yours to be heard.


You can do what others have tried to do and failed. Winners do that.

A short aside before closing. When my two sons were younger I asked them who they’d like as a father instead of me.

They said Michael Jordan.

Years later it still comes up. It’s still funny.

At my recent birthday dinner it came up again. So did you. Both my boys are UofO grads. You played rec basketball with the younger one when you were a freshman.

During my dinner we all said a few things we remembered over the years. When Michael Jordan’s name came up my wife tried changing the subject. Since it was my birthday I stayed on topic.

We all laughed at the idea of Jordan being their dad of choice. I added the kicker:

“Now I have my own son choice. You can have Jordan. I’ll take Mariota.”

They agreed. It was beautiful.

(originally posted for

About David Gillaspie
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