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Marcus Mariota Loves Dogs

A Heisman For The Nice Man



He’s from Hawaii, plays football for the University of Oregon.

Mello Marcus sounds right?

When it comes to Husky week, does he bring out the Mean Mariota?

Does he scream at his teammates, hassle the refs, ignore his coach?

No, because he’s a nice man. Boomer NW likes the nice guy who gets it done.

Ndamukong Suh is busy writing the book on kicking and stomping and paying NFL fines, and he grew up in Oregon. Maybe he did the same things at Grant High School and Nebraska as he does with the Lions and no one noticed enough to say, “Stop the stupid stuff.”

No one tells Mariota to stop being stupid. By his own admission teammates and coaches try to get him more fired up. They don’t need him to cross the line toward lunacy, just show enough heat during the game to keep things warm.

Husky week is the perfect time to go all in on Oregon football. Fans say things like, “Hang the Huskies,” then tie a noose around a stuffed animal and swing it.

They say, “Take Washington to the pound and put ’em down.” This isn’t Rescue Dog week.

But here’s this sweet-faced college kid dealing from the most exciting offense in college football like it’s a day in the park. Play the game, win, and go home. No sweetness of victory or agony of defeat shows up, just a guy playing football the way it’s supposed to be played.

From the first scoring opportunity Mariota showed the sort of day it would be in Seattle. USC-lite, aka the Huskies, left a man open early. The ball came out with the sort of arc and pace that showed perfect timing between a quarterback and receiver.

The only problem was the dropped ball instead of a touchdown. The Mariota response? Did he grab the receiver and shake him, yell at him, or just play through? He wasn’t stirred when he lined up, took the snap, looked for a score then checked down for a short throw across the middle.

He wasn’t shaken when he missed a first down on fourth and five. Didn’t go off on his blockers for missing assignments, just got off the field to get set and go again.

That’s the sign of a nice man. Work the problem, not find blame, which he could have done when he optioned to Huff who fumbled at the half yard line.

Mariota could have gone berserk when he took a keeper to the one foot line. But no, that’s not part of his game. His game was handing off to Byron Marshall who took it in, or more precisely Hamani Stevens carried him and the ball in.

On a Saturday made for ‘in your face’ antagonism, Mariota showed calm. False starts? He didn’t flinch. Shades of Marcus Montana on the field when the famous Joe said,”Hey look, there’s John Candy,” in a tense game.

Every sports fan yearns for a player who stands as a man among boys. What do they make of a nineteen year old who drops a hand to help opponents up after a play, one who responds to a barking defensive back with a nice pat on the shoulder pads.

Baby boomers remember when Joe Theismann had his name rhymed with Heisman when he played at Notre Dame. Why not Mariota? All it takes is a name change. Since that won’t happen, work on Heisman and Nice Man. He won’t need a towering poster on Times Square like Joey Harrington. He won’t need a nickname like Magic Marcus Mariota.

This is a nice man focused on the bigger picture, a college kid who said he’d go home more often if he had extra money for playing Division 1 football. He’s quiet, but I predict he’ll get more chatty when he leads the Oregon Ducks to the Natty with a Heisman Trophy on the shelf.

And that’s enough for anyone.

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About David Gillaspie
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