The Passing of a Gladiator

July 28, 2010
By

His teammates called him the “Assassin” because he was the hardest hitting player in the game.

Some people said he was a dirty player….
But those former players and sportswriters are at the very least sissy’s and at the worst cowards.

Jack Tatum was one of Woody Hayes All-American’s for The Ohio State Buckeyes and an All-Pro for the once feared Oakland Raiders and he is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game of football.

He was a Gladiator

Jack was a Lion on the football field and a Lamb off the field.

On the football field Jack would stalk his prey with a relentlessness that is not seen today.

He would delivery blows to his opponents that reverberated around the stadium with the force of a discharged howitzer. No arm tackling or grabbing somebody high by the jersey, no sir…

Jack would hit you so hard your grandmother would wince.

If you have a son that wants to play football go to YouTube or some other media outlet
and show him how Jack Tatum played the game of football.

That is how it’s supposed to be done my friends.

He was feared by his opponents

Yet he always had time to give an autograph to a fan or provide a word of encouragement to a child.

He was loved by his family, friends, teammates and fans and he loved them all back.

If you were a male between the ages of six to sixty living in the seventies you dreamed of playing football like Jack Tatum and that goes for Michigan Wolverine and Pittsburgh Steelers fans too, even if they don’t want to admit it.

The Gladiator that was Jack Tatum passed away this week at the age of 61.

I feel like a part of me passed with him.

The game I once loved has changed in the Professional ranks.

It’s no longer as violent and players change teams like most of us change our socks.

Except for the rare exception….
Players aren’t as physically or mentally tough as they used to be, sorry folks but it’s true.

Sportswriters who have never played the game of football decide who is worthy of the “Hall of Fame” and who is not based primarily on personal likes and dislikes and their selections rarely have anything to do with performance.

Jack Tatum has deserved to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for some time.
The fact he isn’t in the hallowed halls of Canton Ohio is a microcosm of what’s wrong in Professional Football today.

That’s why I rarely discuss Professional Football and certainly don’t waste my time writing about it, the game today is like the NBA on artificial turf.

Fortunately the folks at the College Football Hall of Fame aren’t as stupid and self absorbed.

Jack Tatum was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and speaking for myself and the entire Buckeye Nation, we couldn’t be prouder.

I love Jack Tatum and I always will.

He was a Gladiator

He embodied sacrifice, teamwork and a work ethic that isn’t seen today in professional sports.

Thank you for the memories Jack….
There won’t be another player like you pass this way again; you will be greatly missed.

Tell Coach Hayes we miss him too.

RTR

The CFB Wizard

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One Response to The Passing of a Gladiator

  1. GO BUCKS MICHIGAN SUCKS on July 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    MEB,
    Glad to see you’re back to blogging. Unfortunately it was for the passing of “The Assassin.”

    My local paper had a good item on Tatum

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/07/28/heart-attack-takes-life-of-feared-hitter.html?sid=101

    Type in “Jack Tatum Best Hits” into Yuotube and you’ll find some of Tatum’s best.

    I’ll raise a beer for you this evening Mike. Here’s hoping your somewhere a good beer is available.

    GBMS

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