Dick Yarbrough: If Rocky Balboa can come back, why not the good guys?
I had a great idea for a movie recently. It was about a football team that came out of nowhere, and through hard work and perseverance, ended up playing for the national championship. The first scene starts with four outstanding players who spurned an opportunity to turn professional, deciding to return to college for their senior year and inspire their teammates to experience the thrill of victory after too many agonizing defeats in the past.
Next scene: Sanford Stadium. The starting quarterback gets hurt in the first game of the season. Off the bench comes a freshman who has never taken a snap at the collegiate level and who promptly leads his team to victory. In the movie, you see the team rally around the rookie, who keeps getting better and more confident with each game; so good, in fact, that the former starter is relegated to the bench for the rest of the season.
The script then has them lose a game to give the plot some creative tension. But they come back and wax the team that had beaten them and win their conference championship. That gives the selfless seniors, the rookie quarterback and their inspired teammates the opportunity to face the No. 2 team in the nation in a historic venue called the Rose Bowl and a chance to play for the national championship.
To keep things interesting, the plot would have the underdogs fall hopelessly behind and face certain defeat. Undaunted, two of the aforementioned seniors score touchdowns to get the game into a second overtime, wherein another of the seniors blocks a field goal. The star running back fumbles the ball and allows the other team to score. Things are looking dire, but he makes up for that mistake by scoring the winning touchdown. (Yeah, I know. It sounds pretty unbelievable, but remember — this is Hollywood.)
So, here is a group of kids who weren’t even in the discussion of potential national champions at the beginning of the year set to play for the biggest prize in college football. Not only that, but in their home state and only miles from their campus.
Now comes one of the best parts of the movie. The team is coached by a local-boy-made-good from Bainbridge, Georgia, who once played for his alma mater. He has brought them to the pinnacle in only his second year as a head coach. But it gets better. In the championship game, the young coach will face off against his crusty old mentor (the movie’s villain) in a classic case of good versus evil.
By the way, in my movie the president who knows as much about football as I know about Chinese aviation would stay home and play with his Twitter instead of making people stand in the rain for an hour so he can be seen on television and then leave at halftime. I would have his ham-handed Secret Service contingent sent to Bogart, Georgia, to direct traffic in a driving rainstorm as a reward for exhibiting their usual arrogant attitude toward the public that pays their salaries.
The climax of the movie would have the good guys winning the whole thing. The four selfless seniors would hug and high-five each other and weep tears of joy for having decided to come back. The music, written by Kenny Rogers, a Colbert, Georgia, resident, would build to a crescendo. The credits would run, the lights would come up and we would all leave the theater feeling warm and fuzzy and convinced that good things happen to good people and that there is such a thing as divine destiny. Except somebody forgot to check with Nick Saban.
If Alabama’s head coach didn’t know when the presidential election was being held, as he claimed, do you think he knows squat about feel-good movies? Probably considers them rat poison.
Alas, in real life Georgia blew a 13-0 lead and a 20-7 lead and lost the national championship in overtime, 26-23. Speaking of freshman quarterbacks, only Nick Saban would have the temerity to replace his starting quarterback at halftime in a national championship with a freshman who would proceed to throw three touchdown passes, including the game winner, and surpass our own freshman quarterback’s performance. No way that would be in my movie.
OK, so maybe my idea didn’t work this year, but there is always next year. Hey, if Rocky Balboa can keep coming back, why can’t the good guys? Go, Dawgs! Woof! Woof!
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.