Monday, August 08, 2005

Detroit Has Another Hall of Famer -- Congrats To Jerry Green

When it comes to Hall of Fame debates – who should be in and who shouldn’t – there can be much argument, depending upon whom you’re discussing. You know, does so-and-so have the numbers? Was he a “gamebreaker”? Was he an “impact player”? Does he belong with the other all-time greats?

Well, there should be no such doubt when the person in question is Jerry Green.

Jerry Green has covered every Super Bowl, and doesn't plan on stopping

Green, the venerable sportswriter for the Detroit News, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday, along with other no-brainers like Dan Marino and Steve Young. As far as I’m concerned, Jerry Green blends in just fine with those guys.

I have been reading Green for over 30 years. One of my favorite sports books is “The Detroit Pistons – Capturing A Remarkable Era,” which came out in 1991. It’s a wonderful account of the surreal early history of a franchise that was pretty messed up for a pretty long time. Green’s perfect mix of sarcasm, irony and factual reporting makes it a must-have coffee table book. It works well in other rooms, too, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. It’s a guy thing.

Green is one of only five men who have covered every one of the 39 (or, XXXIX) Super Bowls. He plans on making it 40-for-40 next February at Ford Field. He is 77 years old, and retired officially, but he still makes the rounds.

“I was like all other kids my age,” Green said in an interview for the News, “I wanted to be an athlete. I wasn’t good enough, so I became a sportswriter instead.”

Thank goodness for that.

I had the pleasure of meeting Green at a function in April, 1998 to trumpet Sparky Anderson’s book, “They Call Me Sparky.” I was so happy to be able to tell Green, in person, how much I enjoyed reading him and especially his Pistons book. He seemed genuinely humbled and maybe even a tad embarrassed by my accolades. But it made me feel good, because I’m sure guys like Jerry Green don’t get too many folks telling them how much their work is appreciated.

So here’s another chance for me to laud you, Jerry Green. Congratulations on the Hall induction, and have fun at your 40th Super Bowl. Maybe the Lions will honor you by joining you there – on the field.

Hey, a fella can dream, can’t he?

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