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"Don't Call me Shirley": A Football Post-Mortem

Our revised 2010 Football Poster
Our revised 2010 Football Poster


This football season was a complete disaster. Each game, it seemed, was a comedy of errors when it looked like we were watching a football team trying to be serious. Our statistics should tell you everything. Purdue, the Cradle of Quarterbacks and the bringer of basketball on grass to the Big Ten, did not have a passer throw for over 1,000 yards. Wisconsin scored more points against Indiana and Northwestern than Purdue had combined in all eight of its Big Ten games. Each point seemed to take way too much effort to earn, and often the most serious of plays left us shaking our heads and laughing at another poor effort.

It is appropriate then that Leslie Nielsen passed away yesterday. For a long time he was known as a serious actor, but to my generation he was better known as the deadpan comedic actor of Airplane and The Naked Gun. In the Naked Gun series especially, his most serious efforts had comedic results. As a result, I am going to do this football post-mortem in honor of Nielsen, with each topic relating to some of his famous comedic lines. It is only fair since this football season felt like a Naked Gun movie at times.

Frank Drebin: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

Jane: Goodyear?

Frank: No, the worst.

This goes to all of our injuries, which seemed to feature everything short of a tragic blimp accident. Here is the full list of season-enders:

Robert Marve, Ralph Bolden, Keith Smith - torn ACLs

O.J. Ross - separated shoulder

Justin Siller - Foot sprain, aggravated on the one play he played in the Big Ten season

Mike Eargle - Missed most of the Big Ten season, I forget with what.

Jonathan Linkenheimer - Don't forget that he was supposed to be the kickoff specialist, but went down in camp with an ACL.

These, of course, were just the season-ending injuries. We also lost Rob Henry, Cortez Smith, Keith Carlos, Dan Dierking, Al-Terek McBurse, and Kevin Pamphile for at least one game along the way.

Mayor: Now Drebin, I don't want any trouble like you had on the South Side last year, that's my policy.

Frank: Well, when I see five weirdos, dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's *my* policy!

Mayor: That was a Shakespeare-In-The-Park production of 'Julius Caesar,' you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!  

This goes to our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot at the worst times. The fourth quarter at Michigan State was a microcosm of this. Even in the games where we overcame our injuries we hurt ourselves. Against Toledo we gave up a huge kick return just as we got close to taking the lead. Henry's overtime pick against Indiana was the final example of this.

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.

Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

To anyone we asked to play the quarterback position. Since Siller started the Michigan game we technically had four starting quarterbacks this year. They combined for less than 2,000 yards (a.k.a., a year of non-conference games for Drew Brees), and 17 interceptions. No one could fly the offense consistently well.

Frank: Now, Jane, what can you tell us about the man you saw last night?

Jane: He's Caucasian.

Ed: Caucasian?

Jane: Yeah, you know, a white guy. A moustache. About six-foot-three.

Frank: Awfully big moustache.

To our linebackers trying to cover a slant route over the middle on third down. I am convinced they wouldn't notice the receiver going over the middle even if it was a 6'3" moustache.

Frank: "Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes."

This is for any quarterback being pursued by Ryan Kerrigan. He lurked like a killer all season long. I think the most disappointing thing about the Indiana game is that he didn't get the two sacks and a forced fumble we were all expecting so he could own a pair of records. Kerrigan was a ray of sunshine in a dismal year.

Frank: It's true what they say: Cops and women don't mix. It's like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside.

This has to go with our coaching staff. Their offensive gameplan in the Illinois game seemed a lot like eating a spoonful of Drano. Some of the decisions this year were just about as retarded.

Frank: Hey! The missing evidence in the Kelner case! My God, he really was innocent!
Ed: He went to the chair two years ago, Frank.
Frank: Well, uh...

[Frank Drebin quickly shoves the evidence back into the file cabinet]

This goes for our forgotten gameplan in the Notre Dame game when we were actually healthy. All we heard this offseason was about the surprises we had in store for people, yet we were so conservative against a team that wasn't that good that it lead to another disappointing day in South Bend.

Frank: Oh, and one more thing... I faked every orgasm!

Can't you see Danny Hope saying this at some press conference in the offseason after being so positive in the face of glaring evidence otherwise?

Frank: Protecting the Queen's safety is a task that is gladly accepted by Police Squad. No matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us, as Americans, we must be gracious and considerate hosts.

This must have been our idea going into the Notre Dame game, since we handed Brian Kelly a win on the glorious first day of his career at Notre Dame.

Frank: I'm sorry I can't be more optimistic, Doctor, but we've got a long road ahead of us. It's like having sex. It's a painstaking and arduous task that seems to go on and on forever, and just when you think things are going your way, nothing happens.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Purdue football offense.

Frank: A good cop - needlessly cut down by some cowardly hoodlums.
Ed: That's no way for a man to die.
Frank: No... you're right, Ed. A parachute not opening... that's a way to die. Getting caught in the gears of a combine... having your nuts bit off by a Laplander, that's the way I wanna go!

This is to the season ending in losing the Bucket at home to an awful IU team. I'd rather go out any other way than that.

Frank: It's a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans!

What can I say? This is why we're Purdue fans.

Dr. Rumack: I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.

This is the only thing we have going into the 2011 season.