Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Job recognition? Bet that Aiken doesn't want it

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Super Bowl proposition bets: Sorely lacking in long-snapper offerings this year.

Q: What do you mean?

A: Think about it. You can bet on whether there's going to be a safety or a two-point conversion, the result of the coin toss, the over-under on the length of Kelly Clarkson's rendition of the national anthem (set at 1 minute, 34 seconds, by the way), whether Madonna's going to wear fishnet stockings during the halftime show -- but there's no way to bet on our local guy.

Q: You mean Patriots long-snapper Danny Aiken? The former Cave Spring and UVa player? What bet would you possibly want to place on him?

A: I want to bet that, after today, nobody outside of our state (and maybe even just our region) will realize he played in the biggest game in American sports.

Q: Kind of a mean-spirited wager, isn't it?

A: Not at all. That means he's done his job. You've seen how the goats of the conference championship games have been treated: Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff and 49ers rookie Kyle Williams got destroyed by idiot fans after their game-changing mistakes. Wouldn't wish that on Aiken -- or anybody else. Snap it true,big fella.

Q: Moving on: The famously laconic Bill Belichick was actually kind of funny this week, wasn't he?

A: For him, I guess. His line about being well-received in Indianapolis ever since he went for it (and didn't get it) on fourth-and-2 against the Colts in 2009 was decent. Still, that's a phenomenon I refer to as "church jokes."

Q: Church jokes?

A: Yeah. When I was a kid, our pastor used to tell them all the time. And the congregation would break into uproarious laughter, falling all over each other like we were members of a "Def Comedy Jam" audience.

Q: Example of a church joke?

A: "In the book of Genesis, God created Adam. And then, God created Eve. The reason he created Eve is he knew Adam would never find his way around the Garden of Eden on his own, because he'd refuse to ask for directions."


A: That's not a question.

Q: Oh, you're right. Wait -- was that even funny?

A: Eh. But if you're sitting in a pew, it's pure comedy gold. Credit the captive-audience factor.

Q: OK, let's get serious. Who do you have tonight?

A: I know everybody seems to be on the Giants, and I don't love going with the consensus, but I will here. Recent history has taught us that the team that gets hot at the right time wins, regardless of record. I'll take New York -- and under the 1:34 on Clarkson's national anthem.

Q: You've nailed four of the past five Super Bowl winners against the spread, correct?

A: Yes. (Incredible that you always know exactly what to ask.)

Q: Did you see Josh Hamilton's press conference about his alcohol relapse?

A: I did, and it was compelling television. It's impossible not to root for the guy. You can have Manning, Brady, Vick, Tiger, M.J. -- all of them. Josh Hamilton is the most fascinating sports figure of my lifetime.

Q: Comment of the week on the blog?

A: We have two. First, from Other John, on Tech basketball: "I just can't tell if this team is improving or regressing; they're so darn inconsistent and have more hot/cold streaks than a nudist using a hot tub in Alaska."

And second, from Mike Marcolini, on Tech freshman Dorian Finney-Smith, whose shooting slump reached 0 for 25 from the field against Duke. "Was watching an NBA game yesterday. Dirk Nowitzki was at least 0 for his last 14 3-point attempts. This guy played on the reigning NBA champions, is a likely Hall of Famer, and has hit something near 40 percent of his 3-point attempts the last two years and nearly 38 percent for his career, and he hasn't hit one in several games. Eons ago, Gil Hodges went 0-for the World Series, and Brooklynites were lighting candles for him in church. Slumps happen to EVERYONE!"

Q: Do long snappers have slumps?

A: Let's hope not. If they do, though, I hope they occur in October.

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