After about five straight years of heading up to the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” show, which had been a fun day trip every summer, I heard a familiar number five minutes after finishing the test.
There were about 200 dreamers there in June of 2011.
The show producer said “we have only two people who passed the test. Number 16 and No. 54.”
Fifty-four, that was me. I raised my hand.
Not shocked because I thought I got every question right on the 30-question grid except the one about rap music.
Then I went through an interview–sitting at a table in the front of the ABC-TV commissary and answering questions– and they said they’d call.
They never did.
I found out the reason much later. On a Reddit board dedicated to the show, someone who said she once “worked for the program” explained the interview process.
“We wanted only overly excited people,” she said. “If you weren’t jumping up and down, basically we never called. You had to show you really loved the game. If you acted like you were there for us to give you a million, we’d pass on that person.”
That was me. Not overly excited, just wanted the chance at the million bucks.
I thought about this story the other night after watching D’Wan Mathis play quarterback at Temple for the eighth time.
Eight is enough.
D’Wan Mathis just looks like he’s out there to get a chance at a million bucks if the NFL calls somewhere down the road. Not overly excited about playing the game itself. After Duke took a 7-0 first-quarter lead, Temple had seven second-quarter possessions and Mathis led them to six three-and-outs. Game, set and match.
The hard lesson I learned and I hope Mathis does is that you DO have to be overly excited to even get the chance at a million bucks but that’s just not his personality. Nor mine.
Nothing wrong with that but quarterback is a position where you need a fiery leader, someone who doesn’t settle for three-and-outs. Someone who instead of throwing the ball away on third down with an open lane ahead of him, takes off and runs and buys his teammates three more downs.
Mathis hasn’t been that person at either Georgia or Temple.
Quincy Patterson has been that at both Virginia Tech and North Dakota State. At least more than Mathis has in two places.
That’s one of the reasons Patterson needs to be the starter against Lafayette on Saturday.
If the Duke game were the outlier, that would be one thing. Of Mathis’ eight Temple starts, his one good one last year (Memphis) appears to be the outlier. No Temple starter since Chester Stewart or maybe Vaughn Charlton has started a career with this many three-and-outs. Temple had no other options then.
It does now.
Starting Mathis again on Saturday against Lafayette would be Fool’s Gold. He could look great in that game and lay an egg against Rutgers a week later. To be honest, Mathis did not look all that great against Wagner last year.
Starting Patterson could be doubly beneficial for the Owls. He gets a warmup game for Rutgers and has a chance to rally the team around his personality so it spreads to the rest of the Owls and gives them a better chance at winning the Homecoming game. Right now, the team has taken on Mathis’ lackluster on-field personality and that kind of malaise can be a poison pill.
Wanting to be a millionaire is one thing but you can’t get there if you aren’t jumping up and down for the opportunity. After eight games, we know that much about Mathis. Stan Drayton shouldn’t have to wait for eight more before reaching that same conclusion.
Friday: Lafayette preview