Saturday, July 30, 2005

Steve Young, Hall-of-Famer

Barney posted this inspiring story about Steve Young over on Odd Bits. Although I'm not a big NFL fan, I do like college football, and I have fond memories of spending Saturday afternoons in the bleachers at what was then called Cougar Stadium, watching and cheering the BYU football team during its glory years in the 1980s. They were coached at the time by LaVell Edwards, for whom the stadium was later named.

In fact, I was present at one of the first games -- perhaps the first game -- in which Steve Young appeared as quarterback. Jim McMahon was the star QB at the time, at least on the field. He set his usual quota of NCAA records just about every weekend, but some of his off-the-field antics were, shall we say, inconsistent with the image BYU has always tried to present to the world. (Some of those traits became far more obvious once McMahon left BYU and joined the NFL.) I don't recall who the opposing team was on the day in question, but McMahon was pulled out in the fourth quarter because BYU had a comfortable lead and Coach Edwards wanted to give Young some experience. This was towards the end of Jim McMahon's final season, and although Steve Young did well enough that day, I remember lamenting that BYU's best football years were probably over, because McMahon was leaving, and who could possibly fill his shoes now?

Of course, I was pleasantly surprised by what happened after that season. Steve Young never did fill Jim McMahon's shoes, simply because they proved to be far too small for him. And off the field, Young -- who, incidentally, is a direct descendant of none other than Brother Brigham himself -- participated actively in the LDS Church and set a far better example as a role model than did his predecessor. When he left BYU, he of course went on to bigger and better things: a marvelous career with the San Francisco 49ers, followed by marriage, at around age 40, to a lovely and remarkable young woman. And now, induction into the Football Hall of Fame. If we still lived in Ohio -- we were only about 75 miles from Canton -- I would want to be there for this occasion.

Well, that's my two bits worth. But don't let it substitute for what Barney has to say.


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