I was bored watching Georgia beat the crap out of Michigan in the Orange Bowl on New Years Eve when I tweeted this picture.
Like anything else, no one is going to agree whole heartedly on any take. Some chimed in for Green Bay, some for Georgia. As the past couple days have gone on, there is one major difference in response.
The people responding to Grambling almost all seem to have gone to the school, or played football there. I had no idea what the #GramFam was, but I certainly do now.
Having pride in your school is something to be admired. I’m not a bowl season guy. After dominating in my sport at the JUCO level, I transferred to a small D3 school and had short stints with club athletics, but that’s a story for another day. I will most likely never feel any real attachment to my alma mater.
The replies to this tweet, paired with a couple of things that happened this bowl season, reminded me that these games do matter. Having an affinity for your school, and what you accomplish there means something.
Mayonnaise is disgusting, but Dakereon Joyner’s story is quite the opposite. Joyner was the MVP of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl this past Thursday starting at quarterback for South Carolina.
Dak switched positions from QB to wide out the past two seasons in search of more playing time. He found himself under center again on December 30th manning a winning offense for the Gamecocks.
These former Tiger legends; James “Shack” Harris, and Doug Williams are pioneers for black quarterbacks, and paved the way for someone like Dak Joyner to be able to get his shot as QB1.
Harris and Williams made history as pro’s. Harris was the 1st black quarterback to start a season opener for a pro team in 1969 for the Buffalo Bills. Doug Williams’ story is more well-known, as he was the 1st black play-caller to start, and win both the Super Bowl, and the MVP trophy in 1987.
Not every player’s bowl game was as glorious as Dak Joyner’s though. NFL prosect and Ole Miss starting quarterback Matt Corral was knocked out of last night’s Sugar Bowl with what appeared to be a serious injury. As he came back onto the field with crutches to support his teammates you couldn’t help but feel for the kid.
Corral’s moment reminded me of former Grambling hooper, and all-time Knick, Willis Reed’s injury game during game 7 of the 1970 Finals. Reed was able to hobble around the court for 27 minutes, having very little impact on the game, but brought the Garden crowd into a frenzy.
Hopefully Corral is able to get back on the field as soon as possible, and have another Reed-esk iconic moment, just one that is injury free this time.
Grambling finished the 2021 season 4-7 overall, but did manage to beat their rival Southern in the Bayou Classic. The Encyclopedia will be watching the Guys with the real G’s on their helmets next year, as they right the ship and win the SWAC for the first time since 2017.