Friday, September 21, 2007

Stop The Rock

Running through the TV listings yesterday morning, I saw that ESPN Classic was running a Miami-at-San Diego State football game from November 28, 1992. I figured that the only reason they'd be showing something like was because it was Marshall Faulk's senior season, and he must have gone absolutely crazy in this game -- like, 300 yards or something. So I flipped over to Channel 208.

Once there, I discovered that the rerun of the 1992 game was part of something called "The Rock's Game Plan," another vile cross-promotion in which wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was given the keys to (Disney-owned) ESPN Classic for a day to hype his new (Disney-released) film, The Game Plan, which I have not seen but which I presume is both unwatchable and indistinguishable from a half-dozen Vin Diesel titles.

Anyway, once I locked on ESPN Classic, there was The Rock with his big dumb bald head talking about why he chose to show Miami vs. San Diego State. See, Dwayne Johnson was a defensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes in the early 1990s before suffering a knee injury and being replaced in the lineup by Warren Sapp. The Rock explained that this particular game had been hyped at the time as the final showdown for the 1992 Heisman Trophy, pitting as it did Faulk, the eventual Heisman runner-up, against Miami quarterback Gino Toretta, the eventual winner and proof of the award's irrelevance at the NFL level. However, The Rock said, contrary to the very reason I tuned in, Faulk didn't actually play in this game because of an injury. (The Rock made some comment to the effect that Faulk was a pussy.) Soooooo ... we're going to watch ... Gino Toretta go crazy?

Well, no. The Rock explained that he chose this game because it featured not one but two bench-clearing brawls, and he was right in the middle of both of them. That's the reason. Were I a Disney executive, I would be so very pleased. To promote our new PG-rated, football-star-becomes-daddy movie -- a movie in which the hero, according to Disney, "discovers thats theres more to life than money, endorsements and thousands of adoring fans" -- The Rock has chosen to show a game in which the gunmen, rapists and thugs of the University of Miami go on two steroid-fueled rampages.

Whatever. I didn't watch because I could think of a few thousand better ways to spend a morning than to sit through two hours of Gino Toretta's greatest hits while waiting for the Miami players to start tweaking on the sidelines and charge the field. Not when I could just go over to YouTube and watch the latest incarnation of the Jailicanes brawl with Florida International (to be fair, FIU was spoiling for a fight), or the 1993 version pick a fight with Colorado on the opening kickoff, or -- if you want to really go old school -- the 1987 Hurricanes inciting a riot against South Carolina with a cheap shot after the whistle. I don't need no Dwayne Johnson.

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