Thursday, March 24, 2011

NY Jets #49 - Part 2

There are no real NFL statistics on the game by game career of Troy Johnson #49 who played for the Jets from 1990-91. Of course, if the Jets web site is to be believed, then he wore #49 for a period of time, but the pro football database reminds us he was eventually given his #95, the number he also wore for the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in 1987. According to PFD, he registered a sack with the Bears and four with the Jets in 1990. Aside from that, we will have to wait until #95 to offer anything more than just this short video compilation from theGoodMagneto of his play at Oklahoma, at a time when the Sooners were King. If a compilation of my play at college were offered on YouTube, it would include segments with me sitting in my apartment, eating pasta in my underwear and scratching my head with a fork.

And there's college again, staring at us in the face. For the exceptional athlete, college is in an inversely proportionate relationship to the rest of us. Were you the captain of your team in college? No. Do you call yourself a Conference Champion? No. Forgive me for speaking for you, but no. Eric Kattus #49 did and does. Frankly I wish the standard Wikipedia entry (on which I rely too often) on a former NFL player would be better if it told more about the lives and times of players after they played (I would get a lot less angry commentary if this were so). The truth is (and here I paraphrase Our Master), Kattus then started on and off for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1986-91, the Bengals' last, great glory years ("Child, please..."). Recall that Bruce Coslet was hired on the basis of his work with the Bengals during that time. Oddly, Wikiwonka has no more than this to say in Kattus' work with the Bengals of 1988:

"The Bengal playoff run that season was best remembered for the Ickey Shuffle."

Really? That's
all? Not Sam Wyche's no-huddle offense? Not Anthony Munoz, James Brooks, or Eddie Brown? Not Tim Krumrie's flapping leg? (yeush). Not even Turk Schonert? The Ickey Shuffle. Boomer Esaison can take small comfort from that. I was once able to perform the Ickey Shuffle for my wife in front of our car while she sat bored in the driver's seat and I was waiting for the gas pump to finish. She was vaguely entertained.

Then, when time was running out on his career, Kattus was called up by the Jets in 1992 when tight end Johnny Mitchell, and all the hopes that accompanied him, was injured. Kattus' NFL career ended when Mitchell came back. Would that Eric had stayed, frankly.


Ed Marinaro, 1976
When John Riggins left the Jets at the end of 1975, there was no one to replace him in the backfield. For years Riggins and Emerson Boozer had carried the Jets' offense when Namath's aerial attack either went awry or was on the sideline. The beginning of the post-Riggins era was Ed Marinaro #49, and his time with us didn't last past 1976. He scored two touchdowns that season and rushed for 332 yards, with about 100 yards receiving. Mom and Dad went to see him play against the Bills at Shea, and Mom came back saying he was the star that day. In fact, he scored the first touchdown of the game and rushed for 119 yards in a 17-14 win. I must not have really thought about it, but somehow I must have known that Ed Marinaro was no more John Riggins than “Leo, Bo's friend from the Merchant Marines” was “Mitch Hendon, a threatening presence in Springfield who rightly suspicious of his wife Ramona’s relationship with her personal assistant.” Figure that one out and you’ve got a prize.

But let's not be too obscure. Like Namath, John Dockery, and even little Mike Adamle, Ed Marinaro had a successful showbiz career after the Jets - a legitimate acting career, one might say. There was a point where I actually started seeing him on TV and would think, "There's TV's Ed Marinaro," not "There's former Jet Ed Marinaro." First, he began as a little-known downstairs character from Laverne and Shirley after the Milwaukee pair jumped the shark and moved out to Hollywood. Then he was Joe Coffey, the flatfoot cop on Hill Street Blues, who died at the end of season one but was apparently so popular that they brought him back for season two.

If you go to Ebay, you can find a combination SI cover/head shot for Ed Marinaro, signed. He disappeared altogether by season six. Ah, the 80's. You never really knew if your death was temporary, just Victoria Principal's dream, or perhaps the snow globe figment of an autistic child's imagination.

Lest we forget, he came to the NFL a year after Riggins, and recall that Marinaro was a very close runner-up to Auburn's Pat Sullivan for the 1971 Heisman Trophy. We know that Riggins' signature goes for much more, but does Riggins' head shot fetch as much as Marinaro's?


But why didn't Emerson Boozer ever had an acting career.Why? It keeps me awake at night.

No comments: