Monday, November 15, 2010


TigerBlog Jr. is the only person TigerBlog knows who eats tuna salad with mustard and pickles.

A few Sundays ago, TB and TBJ went to a Wawa for lunch, and TB said that he'd eat whatever sandwich TBJ came up with for him. The result was a chicken salad with pickles, oregano, lettuce, tomato and cheese that was surprisingly good.

TBJ was in the process of coming up with another surprise from Wawa when TB got a text message from men's soccer coach Jim Barlow that said "put on WFAN." Since TB was sitting in the car waiting for his lunch - which turned out to be a pedestrian turkey on wheat with lettuce and tomato - he flipped on the New York sports radio station to hear the Giants' pregame show, which featured an interview with Chris Barlow.

The older Barlow, a Penn grad, works at NFL Films, and he was on the radio to talk about the new documentary he recently completed on Bill Parcells.

A few hours later, TB got another text message, this one from a huge Cowboys' fan who was enjoying the fact that Dallas was thumping TB's favorite team, the Giants.

The second text message said this: "Is it too early to start the Lombardi/Garrett comparisons?"

The "Garrett" in question is obviously Jason Garrett, who made his debut as interim head coach of the Cowboys with a 33-20 win over the Giants yesterday. It was Garrett who back in the 1987 season quarterbacked Princeton to a 34-3 win over Dartmouth on opening day to give another interim head coach a win in his first game.

Back in August of that year, Princeton's 44-year-old head coach Ron Rogerson suffered a tragic heart attack and passed away while on vacation shortly before training camp started. The task of carrying on went to Steve Tosches, who was named interim head coach.

After Princeton took apart Dartmouth in Week 1, Tosches had the interim label removed by then-Director of Athletics Bob Myslik. Tosches would coach the Tigers for 12 seasons and win three Ivy League championships.

Will Garrett have the interim tag removed as well? Maybe not after one win, but if the super-talented Cowboys wake up and play hard, then Garrett could very well be the head coach beyond this season.

And watching the game against the Giants, it was obvious that his team responded to him, at least for one week.

As an aside, the Tiger center for that 1987 Princeton-Dartmouth game was Bob Surace, who was the only center Garrett played with at Princeton. Surace is now the first-year Tiger head coach.

TigerBlog was mostly covering high schools in the 1987 and 1988 football seasons, so he never got to see Garrett play for Princeton. He did see him throw in Jadwin Gym one day while working out and thought "who is that guy?" until he was told the answer.

It was quite a show that Garrett put on that day, and it was obvious that he was a quarterback with NFL-caliber skills.

In fact, Garrett was a backup quarterback for five NFL teams - and a starter in the World League of American Football and the Canadian Football League - including an eight-year run with the Cowboys that included Super Bowl rings in 1993 and 1995 and an NFL Player of the Week award after he threw for 311 yards to rally Dallas past Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day 1994.

TigerBlog went to the Meadowlands (the real Meadowlands, where the lights used to stay on, and not the new, unnecessary Meadowlands) one night to write a feature about Garrett during his time with the Cowboys.

While the backup quarterback is often the most popular player on the team, it was obvious how much all of the frontline guys - Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith - loved Garrett.

And really, he comes across as a person who is incredibly, well, normal and nice, with no ego issues.

In his current field, that's a rarity.

Also, if you think about it, what are the prime coaching positions in American sports?

Head coach of the Cowboys. Manager of the Yankees? Coach of the Lakers or Celtics? Coach of the U.S. team at the World Cup?

Okay, the last one probably isn't in the top five, but it's in the top 10. And two of those are now coached by Princeton alums (Garrett and Bob Bradley). And, for that matter, the Celtics have an assistant coach (Armond Hill) who is a Princeton grad.

Hopefully, Garrett will be the head coach of the Cowboys next year on a permanent, full-time basis.

If he is, it'll be almost enough to get TigerBlog to root for the team.

Almost, but not quite.


cornell said...

Actually you know two... Mustard and pickle turns any sandwich into a cuban sandwich.

Cuban Tuna Salad is one of the best, only slightly outdone by the Cuban Chicken Salad.

CZ said...

While I understand your affection for Princeton's own Jason Garrett, it'll be a cold day in hell when you start cheering for the Cowboys, my Giant-loving friend!