Orley Hood: at his best and his maddest
(Note from Rick Cleveland: We had nearly 400 folks here Wednesday afternoon for the Orley Hood Memorial. Not sure we could have shoe-horned anyone else in the Hall. I made sure Orley had his say-so, reading excerpts from several of his memorable columns. The one that follows, written on Sept. 18, 1982, more than 31 years ago, had people doubling over and slapping their knees in laughter. Many remembered the column about Bum Phillips trading Archie Manning to the Oilers. And others asked could we please publish the complete column again. It follows. Enjoy.)
Bum, you lousy bum. You know what you’ve gone and done? You bum, you.
I just heard 10 minutes ago right here in my office, on Alabama-Ole Miss Eve.
Archie’s life passed before my eyes.
Archie to Houston for Leon Gray. Dammit, Bum! I’d like to take one of your lizard-skin boots and stick it where the sun don’t show.
I feel violated.
What you’ve gone and done makes me way to say a whole lot of words my mama doesn’t approve of.
I’d jump out the window but I’m only on the second floor. And I got no window.
This is worse than wearing a cowboy hat indoors. Worst than sticking your Juicy Fruit under the pew. Worse than spitting tobacco on Astroturf.
You got to understand you didn’t just trade a quarterback.You didn’t just dump on another player. This wasn’t just business. This is treason.
We ought to try a short rope around your neck and hang you from the highest limb on the tallest tree.
Listen, maybe you don’t know since you spent all that time out in Texas smoking mesquite and wearing clothes Roy Rogers wouldn’t be caught dead in. Archie’s not just a player, he’s an ideal. A hundred thousand kids live in Mississippi who think Archie hung the football moon.
This is the guy who threw four touchdowns passes in the high school All-Star Game as an 18-year-old unheard of red-headed stringbean.
This is the guy who pulled his shattered body off the floor at Memorial Stadium and flat beat a great Georgia team.
This is the guy who played with a broken arm for Ole Miss, wh gave his sould for the most inept franchise in the history of the National Football League, who played bravely for the worst collection of coaches ever gathered in a film room, who survived a dozen years without pass protection, who never criticized those rotten bums Saints owner John Mecom passed off on the public as a team.
This is the guy who has suffered, who has played brilliantly yet never had a chance to suit up in a playoff game, who unfailingly gave his time and his talents to his team and his adopted city.
The phones here are ringing like crazy. Guess how you’re doing, Bum? Little ol’ ladies who go to church every Sunday are calling you names that are split by hyphens, names you used to hear only on oil rigs.
You might as well have gone to Jackson Square and spit on the alter at St. Louis Cathedral.
Did you hear what Archie said? He said it was pretty tough since has been in New Orleans for so long. He said he didn’t know what to do besides just go over to Houston and make a fresh start. He said he doesn’t regret anything. He said he wouldn’t hold anything against anybody in New Orleans.
He’s a helluva guy. He doesn’t hold grudges. I do.
One of those Faith, Hope and Bum stickers has been stuck on my filing cabinet ever since you rode your horse into New Orleans, Bum.
I just ripped it down.
Lemme tell you a story.
Twelve years ago, the Saints management hoped they would get to draft Archie in the first round. They had the No. 2 pick. New England drafted first. The Saints were scared to death the Patriots would take Manning over Stanford’s Jim Plunkett.
The time finally arrived and New England drafted Plunkett. Quickly, Saints general manager Vic Schwenk, speaking on the league-wide telephone hook-up, took Manning.
Schwenk and the rest of the Saints front office staff jumped up, hugged each other and ran into the press room. “We got him!” they screamed.
That’s how important he was then and how important he is now.
And you, you lousy bum, have sent him away into American Conference exile, to the smog-ridden, freeway-encircled monument to tacky architecture on the prairie.
Surely, you mama taught you something about loyalty. Surely, she told you about honor. Surely, she mentioned good faith and integrity.
She ought to kick your butt.
Anyway, if the nickname fits, use it. Lord knows, you’re qualified. You earned it.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame has created an Orley Hood Award for High School Sports Writing Excellence, which will be awarded for the first time this May. To donate to a fund to perpetuate the award and to hopefully fund a scholarship to go with it, call 601 982-8264.