Culbreath: MAC prideWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I love this story so much, I want to buy it dinner.
Deadspin had the story Wednesday afternoon: Charlie Whitehurst had recently been signed to the Tennessee Titans to be the backup quarterback. Whitehurst has ridden the bench so long in the NFL, the Internet has nicknamed him Clipboard Jesus. Despite being in the league since 2006, he’s made a total of 13 appearances, and started four games.
He gets to Tennessee, and is immediately stuck in a dilemma: his lifelong jersey number is already taken. He’s worn No. 6 his entire career, but that number belongs to punter (and former Toledo Rocket) Brett Kern, a number he’s held onto since his debut with the Titans in 2009.
Typically, if an incoming player wants a number that a guy on the team already has, an arrangement is made. They’ll buy him dinner, or donate an amount of money to a charity. But apparently Kern wasn’t budging, because the decision as to who would get the No. 6 came down to TRIAL BY COMBAT.
Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic: It was an arm wrestling match.
What makes the story so good? Brett Kern won. Whitehurst publicized the story by posting an Instagram of his brand new No. 12 jersey, with the message “Arm-wrestled the punter for #6 and lost.”
Toledo Tough, indeed.
I’ll admit it, I love these little nuggets where Mid-American Conference (MAC) players make NFL headlines. I’m reminded of Rocket alumnus Lance Moore, back when he was with New Orleans, handing Drew Brees a Toledo T-shirt to wear after the Midnight Blue and Gold beat Purdue a few years back. With Moore now lining up in Pittsburgh, you gotta think those Toledo/Miami games are going to be extra special.
I guess I dig these stories about MAC players because there’s not a whole lot of them in the league, and if they actually do find the spotlight, sometimes things don’t go so hot (see also: Ben Roethlisberger Shouldn’t Be Allowed In Bars Anymore). The stark reminder from the last NFL draft was clear: Players from the MAC have to earn their way in, Toledo more so than most. Even though they haven’t had a player drafted since 2008, they still can say that they have more active NFL players than any other team in the MAC.
Are the stories goofy? Sure. But it does stir up a bit of pride in me. A Toledo punter beat a Clemson quarterback in an arm wrestling match. One of these men use their arm for a living, and that’s the guy who lost.
The enemy must yield.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbreath is sports director for Newsradio 1370 WSPD.
Tags: arm wrestling match, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Kern, Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson, Clipboard Jesus, Drew Brees, Lance Moore, MAC, Matt Culbreath, New Orleans, NFL, Pittsburgh, punter, quarterback, Shag on Sports, Shaggy Culbreath, Tennessee Titans, Toledo Rocket, Toledo Tough