Today we talk about comedy, football and the Lions, which can easily be confused as the same subject.
On Thursday, Lions punter Jim Arnold made his stand-up comic debut at a local comedy club. The place was packed, and the crowd included several of his teammates. Arnold’s best material, according to the consensus, was the stuff about the Lions, particularly an imitation of Chuck Long going back, back, oops, down.
Some people were upset by the routine. They felt the Lions were not something to be made fun of. Apparently, they do not own television sets.
But I say, hey. Hey. Arnold was just following a great tradition of football players experimenting in careers outside their chosen field.
For example, Jim Brown. Greatest rusher ever. Experimented in acting. It wasn’t much of an experiment. But maybe he got lousy scripts.
Too Tall Jones, of the Dallas Cowboys. Experimented with boxing. It wasn’t much of an experiment. But maybe he got lousy opponents.
Terry Bradshaw, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Experimented in singing. Then acting. Then broadcasting. He’s still searching. But maybe he has a lousy agent.
Many football players have experimented as authors. Jim McMahon had a best-selling book. So did Lawrence Taylor. And now our bookshelves are stuffed with literary classics by Phil McConkey and Conrad Dobler.
But maybe they had lousy editors.
So you can’t really blame Arnold for trying to branch out into comedy. He is simply following the cleated footsteps of those who came before him. Besides, have you ever watched the Lions play?
You have to admit, he’s got great material.
And now, this week’s picks . . .
* LIONS 17, TAMPA BAY 14: If the Lions win all the rest of their games, they’ll be a .500 team. And if I grow wings, I’ll fly to the moon.
* WASHINGTON 17, CHICAGO 14: Sure, Ditka returns. But he’s not playing quarterback.
* MINNESOTA 27, DALLAS 24: So now it’s The Kevin Sweeney Era in Dallas. Oh, how the Cowboys have fallen.
* CLEVELAND 31, DENVER 17: This time Earnest Byner smears a gallon of stick-um on his hands.
* LA RAMS 20, NEW ORLEANS 19: The City of Angels is no place for Saints.
* INDIANAPOLIS 28, GREEN BAY 10: Eric Dickerson is going to need his own personal oxygen tank.
* NY JETS 21, NEW ENGLAND 14: I still say Doug Flutie’s best pass is the handoff to the halfback.
* PHILADELPHIA 31, PITTSBURGH 20: The battle for . . . Pennsylvania?
* CINCINNATI 30, KANSAS CITY 12: This would be a perfect place for an upset
— if only the Chiefs weren’t playing.
* ATLANTA 28, SAN DIEGO 7: Now here’s a game at least 14 people will watch.
* SAN FRANCISCO 30, LA RAIDERS 20: Why not let Joe Montana play the even downs, and Steve Young play the odd ones?
* PHOENIX 24, NY GIANTS 21: The Giants have been doing it with mirrors lately. This week, the mirror cracks.
* SEATTLE 21, HOUSTON 17: The old Monday night fatigue.
* (MONDAY NIGHT) BUFFALO 31, MIAMI 28: The game is close because Jim Kelly, who used to play in Miami, shows up at the Orange Bowl instead of Joe Robbie Stadium.
* RECORD LAST WEEK: 12-2.
* RECORD FOR SEASON: 94-45-1.
* LAST WEEK VS. SPREAD: 7-7.
* SEASON VS. SPREAD: 69-68-3.
* BEST PICK LAST WEEK: Phoenix 20, San Francisco 17 (Cardinals won, 24-23).
* WORST PICK LAST WEEK: NY Jets 16, Indianapolis 13 (Colts won, 38-14).