Are there really any Pacman Jones fans out there?
Okay, I'll give you a mulligan if he's playing for your team. It's only natural to let bygones be bygones and root for him. But beyond the overly generous confines of blind partisanship, he's too big a jackass to even warrant a polite smile. Particularly now that he may or may not have tossed his 100th second chance down the swirling vortex of a flushing urinal with a sucker punch thrown at a guy his boss paid to keep Pacman out of trouble.
We are within our rights to resent Pacman for repeatedly being ruled by an all-world idiocy that drives him to squander his gifts and his millions in the champagne rooms of a billion strip clubs. Dude, you're an NFL star -- do you really have to pay for female attention? When I was your age I had no problems, and I was anonymous and broke. And you wonder why men laugh at you? Actually, you probably don't have enough self-awareness to realize that men laugh at you, but trust me -- we do.
Scrutiny hounds us all when we screw up in public, which brings me to Ed Hochuli. Let me start by saying I'm not comparing a ref's bad calls to the carnage Pacman has left in his wake, but the embattled ref blew at least one game outright this season, not to mention a few other dandies, and he is hearing it big-time. To his credit, Hochuli manned up and took responsibility for his mistakes this season, but he is facing something much bigger -- our cumulative resentment of game officials. We don't like refs, period. At best, we tolerate them ... until they screw up. Then all our paranoid fears that they are secretly working against our best interests seem to be confirmed. Multiply that by the little voice in all of our heads that resents Hochuli for sporting five pounds of Muscle Beach physique jammed into four pounds of striped ref gear, and you've got trouble.
Working as a ref, you assume you aren't going to win any popularity contests, but at least most crew members have the common sense to look the part with bodies that are suitable for petty bureaucrats. Trim, but undefined, refs usually look like assistant principals at a high school. You know, the guy who moonlights teaching driver's ed. They have bodies that say, "Oh, well, it's what I do." Not, "I could crush your head between my thighs." Hochuli and his crazy biceps have always screamed narcissist, and the backlash is loud and lasting.
Enough of my prattling, it's time to get down to business. Hochuli. Pacman. Two men who have had a rough year, and it only gets rougher as we break it down and see how they stack up at the tale of the tape ...
When they screw up…
Jones: Strippers are riddled with bullets
Hochuli: Teams lose games
Advantage: Push -- both are tragic in their own right
Jones: His future
Hochuli: His present
Jones: His own bodyguard at a urinal
Hochuli: Charger fans looking for a win
Knights in shining denial:
Jones: Jerry Jones
Hochuli: Young refs who get into the game thinking they'll be chick magnets
Call from Roger Goodell can only mean…
Jones: Another flight to New York, another suspension, another six-figure bill at Scores.
Hochuli: A pep talk, via an impersonal conference call, then a long night getting lost in the soothing magic of the elliptical machine.
It takes four men to…
Jones: Bodyguard him 24/7
Hochuli: Squeeze him into his clothes
Making it rain:
Jones: Scattering cash in the air over a stripper's head
Hochuli: The way the sky explodes with beer after his missed calls
Thinks "Wildcat" is…
Jones: The aggressive brunette in a pack of middle-aged cougars
Hochuli: A formation that is begging you to throw a flag
Shocked that the Jets coach didn't name his new son…
Jones: Zach "Pacman" Mangini
Hochuli: Zach "Big Hochuli Guns" Mangini
Making matters worse:
Jones: He is also an amateur rapper
Hochuli: He's also a lawyer
Advantage: Hochuli in a shocker! I'm no fan of lawyers, but what is worse than the musical delusions of professional athletes?
Jones: In college, he was a member of the Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll.
Hochuli: Actually played college ball at UTEP
Advantage: Push. Look, it's not like either one went to MIT.
Jones: His nickname is inspired by a video game popularized in the 1980s
Hochuli: His uniform number, 85, is one of the few fans can I.D.
Advantage: I'll be the first to admit this category is a list stuffer. Moving on…
Have they updated their Myspace page?
Jones: His last login was Oct. 11, 2008, yet the page still lists him as a Tennessee Titan
Hochuli: "Guns" Hochuli. Despite many Hulk images, his last login: July 12, 2006.
Advantage: Jones, on a technicality
Legends who have offered support and counsel:
Jones: Jim Brown, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders
Hochuli: Ben Grimm, Bruce Banner, Joe Piscopo
So there you have it. It's all so easy when you break things down scientifically. In a shockingly close battle, the advantage goes to… Ed Hochuli. Okay, he screwed up, but I truly believe the man was trying to get it right. Pacman? Not so much, but as long as you have game-breaking speed, there will always be a team willing to tell the world you have finally cleaned up your act. Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you the numbers never lie…