QUOTE/STORY OF THE WEEK…
“The sky seemed filled with diving planes and the black bursts of exploding antiaircraft shells.” — Dorie Miller, cook in the U.S. Navy noted for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Miller was the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third-highest honor awarded by the Navy at the time.
FROM PEARL HARBOR.ORG: “On 7 December 1941, Miller had arisen at 6 a.m., and was collecting laundry when the alarm for general quarters sounded. He headed for his battle station, the antiaircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck. Because of his physical prowess, he was assigned to carry wounded fellow Sailors to places of greater safety.
“Then an officer ordered him to the bridge to aid the mortally wounded Captain of the ship. He subsequently manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.
“Miller described firing the machine gun during the battle, a weapon which he had not been trained to operate: ‘It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Jap planes. They were diving pretty close to us.’
“During the attack, Japanese aircraft dropped two armored piercing bombs through the deck of the battleship and launched five 18-inch aircraft torpedoes into her port side. Heavily damaged by the ensuing explosions, and suffering from severe flooding below decks, the crew abandoned ship while West Virginia slowly settled to the harbor bottom. Of the 1,541 men on West Virginia during the attack, 130 were killed and 52 wounded. Subsequently refloated, repaired, and modernized, the battleship served in the Pacific theater through to the end of the war in August 1945.“Miller was commended by the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on 1 April 1942, and on 27 May 1942 he received the Navy Cross, which Fleet Admiral (then Admiral) Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet personally presented to Miller on board aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) for his extraordinary courage in battle. Speaking of Miller, Nimitz remarked:
‘This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I’m sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts.’”
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933
Monday, we honor the 3,500 men and women who were killed or wounded in the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
AROUND THE NFL…
“On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war.’” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur
1. With Tim Ruskell now gone as the general manager of the Seahawks, the path has been cleared for Mike Holmgren to return to Seattle. As I first reported in October, Holmgren’s desire is to be in the front office, not on the sidelines, and his first choice is Seattle. He had a chance to take over in Cleveland, but when a deal could not be reached after Holmgren was brought in during the Browns’ bye week, it seemed unlikely a deal would ever be done.
2. Holmgren may be going back to Seattle, but I hear he will not have all the power to determine the course of the franchise. The Seahawks have hired a search firm to help them analyze potential candidates. Remember, the front office must also comply with the Rooney Rule and interview minority candidates.
3. At first, I heard that whoever is the Browns’ next general manager would have to work with head coach Eric Mangini for at least one year. Now, from a few NFL team sources, I hear that’s not the case. The Browns have four of their next five games at home, and losing them all might make it very hard for the Browns to bring back Mangini — in spite of what Rob Ryan said Friday.
4. Former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis does not have any offset clauses in his contract, which means he can double dip in terms of pay. My sources tell me that he will not be coaching this year and will join a team after the season. He’ll have multiple choices. Many people suspect that New England might be a landing spot for Weis based on his prior relationship with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. As of now, my sources say New England does not appear to be an option.
5. I hear Notre Dame has genuine interest in Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. It’s not a slam dunk for Brian Kelly of Cincinnati.
6. I’m in Washington today, and I keep hearing that Mike Shanahan will be the Redskins’ next coach and that current general manager Vinny Cerrato will survive. Are you surprised? I’m not. Vinny has 10 lives.
7. New Orleans running back Reggie Bush has two more years on a contract that will pay him $8 million in base salary next year and $11 million in 2011. Cleary, the Saints aren’t going to pay that sum to be a role player who is more of an accessory. That’s why the talk of Bush not coming back next year is real.
8. My sincere condolences to the family of Foge Fazio, who passed away this week after a battle with cancer. Fazio, 71, was a great coach and an even better person. He will be missed.
GAMES OF THE WEEK THAT HAVE MY INTEREST…
“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Indianapolis Colts (11-0)
The Titans are the last team to defeat the Colts in the regular season (31-21 at Tennessee on Oct. 27, 2008 in Week 8).
Both teams have split the season series in each of the previous three seasons. The Colts are looking to sweep the Titans for the first time since 2005. The Titans have lost five of their last six games at Indy with their last win coming in 2007.
The Titans’ turnaround can be attributed to limiting turnovers, improved pass defense, more rush attempts (which lead to a higher third-down conversion rate) and increased time of possession.
New Orleans Saints (11-0) at Washington Redskins (3-8)
Cloudy, cold, light rain.
The Redskins won last year’s meeting 29-24 at Washington in Week 2 for Jim Zorn’s first career win as head coach. Drew Brees was 22-33, 216 yards, TD, 2 INTs; Jason Campbell was 24-36, 321 yards, TD.
Most Points through 11 Games