Monday, March 12, 2007

What Willis Means to Me(dia)

There are plenty of off-season signings that don’t make their way out of the transactions listing in the back of the sports pages. Of course most of those involve offensive lineman, punters, and the scout team. Rarely do these players provide highlight reel material worthy of the lead in the Monday Sports section. But when a so called ‘skill position’ player is added to the roster, one that is already a household name in NFL circles, the wheels inside the minds of sports writers, their editors, and the blogosphere start churning. Enter Willis McGahee – a game-breaking back that will most certainly make an impact on the field and the front page.

After years of finding words that rhyme with Jamal, or even just start with the letter “J”, it’s now time to focus on the future and consider what might be seen in big bold letters in the months and years to come. A few predictions:

  • Whatcha Talkin’ ‘Bout Willis (a gimme)
  • That’s What I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout (can only use once a year)
  • Battle of Wills (for the Sunday headlines when we play the Steelers)
  • Faster Willie (for the Monday headlines when we play the Steelers)
  • Oh Willie You’re So Fine (I know, his name is not Willie…)
  • Willie or Won’t He (...but I loved this one)
  • Will-Us to Victory
  • Mac Attack (could apply to McNair, McGahee, or possibly a rare public sighting of Mark McGwire)
  • McGame-Time (opening weekend?)
  • McGame-Breaker
  • McGlory (probably more appropriate for a future crabacake sandwich at McDonalds)

As you can see, the new running back in town has brought quite a few catch phrases with him from Upstate New York. (Speaking of which, how did Syracuse get left out of the NCAA tournament? We (I mean they) beat Georgetown!) Hopefully the local media keeps the repetition to a minimum to avoid overexposure a la “Astro-Nut” (in reference to the women who worked for NASA and drove cross-country to confront another woman dating the same man she was having an affair with) or “Britney Shears” (no explanation necessary).

The Fourth Estate in ‘The Charm City’ has been calling for a new running back ‘to carry the load’ in Baltimore for the last few years. Now that Willis will be handling ‘the rock’ we can expect to see a slew of stories about his potential in the pre-season, his performance during the year, and most importantly, his play during the playoffs. So with more than four months until training camp, a seventeen week season, and hopefully a post-season run to ‘The Big Game’, the local scribes better start thinking about headlines now in order to avoid the collection of clichés listed above, after all, this one back is expected to take the Ravens ‘two steps forward’.

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