Friday, November 28, 2008

Jim Brown's Psych

Jim Brown played nine seasons in the National Football League, and by the time he retired, before the beginning of the 1966 season, (to embark on a career in third-rate action movies) he held the NFL records for most career touchdowns, most yards gained in a game, in a season, and in a career. In 8 of those 9 seasons, he led the NFL in rushing yardage- this, despite the fact that every defensive coordinator in the league stayed up late, trying to find a scheme to stop him.

For the benefit of non-football fans, Jim Brown was 6'2", weighted about 230, looked like high-grade steel come to life, and was *fast* on his feet. I've read many accounts of men who played against him. The concensus was that if you tried to tackle *that* guy, you grabbed 'hold, and fervently hoped that two, or three, or four, or *five* of your teammates showed up *real* fast. Contrary to what Brown's friend Richard Pryor once said in a comedy routine, there was never an incident of Jim Brown carrying ten guys on his back for 50 yards- but that tells you something about his reputation.

In addition to his atheletic gifts- which were *spectacular*- Jim Brown was also an astute student of psychology. One of his gambits was obvious to anyone who ever saw him play. *Every* time Brown got tackled, he'd...*very*...slowly...get....up...and...*very* The guys on the other team would be thinking "Well, we got him *that* time didn't we?" They couldn't be sure.
That was clever of him, but his *master* stroke was a psych job he pulled on his teammates, and the entire NFL, for *nine* years. Any man who makes a living as a professional athlete knows that it is essential to check out any possible injury, for fear it might get aggravated and develop into a career ending disaster- and perhaps a lifetime of pain. So, after both practices and games, Brown's Cleveland teammates ould form a line outside the trainer's office to get checked out. But *not* Jim Brown. He would pull off his uniform, take a shower, dress, and walk right past the trainer- and his *dumbfounded* teammates- and out the door, without a single word. Every practice, every game- exhibition, regular season, championship games, the ProBowl- same routine. For nine seasons. News of this habit of Brown's got around the NFL, as his teammates would tell anyone ho asked, that Jim Brown was not just the best running back in the league (as he certainly was), but as something Not of This Earth- the *Terminator* in *Shoulder* *Pads*.

It was not until Brown won election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, that he gave away his secret- he saw the trainer every day. At 6 o'clock in the morning, when nobody else was around. Shrewd move by Jim Brown.

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