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Papadakis' Revenge

I am sure that I am one of the few people east of Rockies, perhaps anywhere, that actually enjoys the genuinely amateur commentating work done by Petros Papadakis and Barry Tompkins. Seriously, I don't need yet another broadcast full of portentous windbaggery about football, dressed up as professional judgment worthy of Mount Olympus. Papadakis and Tompkins are amateur in the best sense of not taking themselves overly seriously.

Or so I thought. But it has become clear, thanks to the Los Angeles Times, that Papadakis has a darker motivation for his commentary style:

In the fall of 1998, the former USC tailback was determined to fulfill a dream by scoring against the Irish. Even better, he knew that the venerable Keith Jackson would be in the broadcast booth.

"I desperately wanted him to say my name on television," Papadakis recalled.

The game stayed close into the third quarter as the Trojans drove to the two-yard line -- perfect for a back who specialized in short-yardage situations. This was his big chance.

Except the coaches decided Carson Palmer should run a quarterback bootleg, leaving Papadakis the thankless task of faking a dive play into the line.

"I basically got destroyed," he said. "Got the wind knocked out of me. I'm on the ground half-dead. Carson walks in for the winning touchdown."

Still, Papadakis had one more shot at glory. Watching a tape of the game, he hoped Jackson might have praised his dramatic plunge. And, as he recalls, the announcer did. Sort of.

"Chad Morton with a great fake!"

Yes, friends, Petros Papadakis is not actually trying to be funny, he is projecting his pain about his moment in the sunshine to others. He doesn't need our condemnation, he needs our sympathy and help, especially from the current team. Beating the Irish on Saturday would be a good place to start.