Too often, the ignorant is the norm when the subject is Temple football.
Even though the Owls pretty much have had the most Group of Five players in the NFL for the last decade, occasionally you come across a comment like this yesterday on Twitter:
Most “regular” Joe Blow NFL fans don’t follow things like what G5 team has the most NFL players and assume that the higher-profile G5 schools dominate.
Assuming sometimes means “making an ass out of you and me” but, in this guy’s case, it was him making an ass out of himself.
Unfortunately, that’s more than the norm than the exception. At least for the general comments I see on social media.
That’s why the almost certain lock nomination of Joe Klecko into the Pro Football Hall of Fame could do more to change that than anything. Being named one of the three finalists for the Hall of Fame, that’s a Hall of a Deal for Temple and Klecko. (Joe is a virtual lock as every group of three finalist has been rubberstamped into the Hall by the Veterans committee every year since 2009.)
Klecko will almost certainly get up there and talk about the New York Jets but also expect the father who sent a son to Temple and played for the Owls to spend a significant portion of his induction speech on Temple and Wayne Hardin.
Just the other day New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick mentioned Temple. Belichick, unlike the Joe Blow fan, knows his stuff.
“I have some connections to Temple and, of course, Baylor, they have players,” Belichick said on Thursday in this article.
Belichick mentioned his following Temple through knowing two Owl head coaches, Hardin and Matt Rhule.
Bill and Ernie Adams, both New York Giants’ assistant coaches at the time, watched Hardin take apart Cal in the Garden State Bowl.
“Ernie and I were sitting up there watching the game, and on the first series of plays, one guard pulled deep, the other guard pulled short,” Belichick said. “And they just folded around to get the linebacker, but they pulled. And the two inside linebackers ran into each other. I looked at Ernie, and he looked at me . . .”
Did Temple just screw that up, they wondered?
“Four or five plays later, the same thing. The two linebackers,” Belichick clapped his hands together loudly, imitating the collision, “because they’re standing right next to each other. They went right into each other. [Temple ran] straight down to the safety for, like, 20 yards. They must’ve run that play six or seven times and it was 20 yards every time . . . At the time, I’d never seen that before. That was Hardin. That was his coaching genius.”
All of this should have changed the perception of Temple football nationwide but, sadly, it has not for the most part. Beating Penn State and playing Notre Dame to a nail-biter on national TV should have helped but it’s a constant battle for respect when you are Temple.
The fast track to changing perceptions is in the hands of the guys working out at the Edberg-Olson Complex.
Beat Duke in less than two weeks and everyone in America will know Temple has a football team and a pretty good one.
Friday: One Week Until Duke