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July 28, 1993 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-07-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14- The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly-Wednesday, July 28, 1993
The return of the Big Mac Attack

By BRYN MICKLE
CWLY STAFF WRITER
The startof the upcoming National
FootballLeagueseasonisalmostupon
us as professional football players
across the nation are mired in pre-
season workouts. Playbooks are being
studied, laps are being run and block-
ing schemes are being executed.
This year's training camp, how-
ever, is special.For thisis this year that
Jim McMahon has finally been given
another shot at the starting lineup and,
ultimately, a second Super Bowl tide.
Most people remember McMahon
from his days with the Chicago Bears,
when he was the "punk quarterback"

who wore a trademark headband with
strange slogans. In those days, he was
a sure thing. If McMahon played -
which wasn't a sure thing, due to a
massive cavalcade of injuries - the
Bears won. At one point, McMahon
won 25 of 26 games against the NFC.
A string of comeback victories and a
Super Bowl ring seemed to insure his
place as one of the NFL's greats. The
renegade passer in sunglasses seemed
destined to become the epitome of a
Chicago Bear.
Alas, times change.
A publicfeudwith then-Bearscoach
Mike Ditka led to McMahon's trade to
San Diego, where he was not exactly a

custom fit to the offensive scheme. A
yearlater,McMahon became the hired
gun for the Philadelphia Eagles, where
he did the occasional cameo for an
injured Randall Cunningham, but was
never given a shot at the full-time job.
McMahon seemed destined to assume
the role of eternal backup, joining the
likesofVinceEvans,DonStrock, Rusty
Hilger and countless others. And then
-divine intervention.
Well, not exactly, it was really just
the NFL's revised free agent policy.
TheMinnesotaVikingshavegiven
McMahon another chance at the spot-
light. They have called upon him to
lead themtothe promised land. A hefty
feat, considering the Vikings' rep-
uatation as vast underachievers - but
not impossible.
Because, regardless of your opin-
ion of Jim McMahon, one fact remains
-he is a winner.
McMahon is a throwback to the
days whenquarterbackslike Ken"The

Snake" Stabler and Bobby "Night
Train" Layne roamed the field. Men
who weren't afraid to speak theirmind,
made no apologies and, most impor-
tantly, backed up their words. Never
afraid to take a hard hit, McMahon is
willing to dive head first for the first
down marker and get crushed by the
defense - a tendency his critics say
have cost him his longevity and a shot
atgreatness.Mostimportantly, though,
McMahon inspires those around him,
and he possesses an ability to make
thosearoundhimplayabovetheirskills.
He hangs out with his linemen and
isn't afraid to get dirty.Who can forget
the shot of McMahon careening into a
table loaded with gatorade in an at-
tempt to make the first down?
It seems that McMahon is one of
the few players who realizes statistics
don't win games - points do. "The
Experts" will tell you McMahon
doesn't have a strong arm and that he
doesn't throw as many completitions

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as other passers - fine, he doesn't
need to. McMahon is a play caller and
a strategist. A lost art in the NFL.
In the 1985 Super Bowl season
with the Bears, an injured McMahon
ledhis team toamiraculous comeback
against the Vikings. Down by three
touchdowns in the second half,
McMahon come off the bench to re-
place an ineffective Mike Tomczak.
On first down, he threw a long bomb
pass to Willie Gault for six points.
From there it was a series of short
passes and running plays. It was all
downhill for astunned Minnesota team.
McMahon wasn't even expected to
play at all, much less decimate the
Viking secondary. The Bears won that
game and continued their undefeated
stretch until a loss to Miami.
Years later, when he was all but
forgotten in Philadelphia, McMahon
stepped back into the spotlight. With
Cunningham's season over as a result
of knee surgery, the Eagles' offense
was handed to McMahon. Philadel-
phiafanslamentedthatthe seasonwas
over before it began.
A funny thing happened, though-
the Eagles won. McMahon used the
available tools, and the team remained
in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately,
McMahon again got injured, and the
team was forced to play quarterback
roulette with the likes of Brad Goebel
and Jeff Kemp. The offense struggled,
and the Eagles fell out of contention.
Now the man with the tinted visor
and the headband is back.
The NFL needs more players like
McMahon - players whose sole pur-
pose isnotto use footbal asameans to
make money, but rather who play the
game to win. Jim McMahon doesn't
have the greatest armin the world, and
might be as durable as a piece of
balsa wood, but he has desire.
A desire not only to play, but a
desire to win.
Football has enough players with
ability, but what it needs are more
players with the desire to win. That is
why it's great to see Jim McMahon,
finally, given a chance to do what he
does best - win.

d
d

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AP FILE PHOTO
Remember this punk? Former cult hero and author Jim McMahon
returns to the NFL scene this year with the Vikings.
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