Close the drawer on 2006. On the yahoo side, we can mark up Jim Harbaugh and the University of San Diego Toreros football team. They went 11-1 this year and last. Harbaugh won two I-AA national championships in his three years as coach. Hate to see him go. What else? The Padres made the playoffs again. Somebody from the NL West had to go; it's the law. And the Chargers are on a beautiful run.
The Chargers also did pretty well on the crime front too. Linebacker Steve Foley was shot by an off-duty Coronado policeman. It's still to be determined whose crime that was. There's a DUI charge out there as well. Foley double-dipped in 2006, also collared in April for resisting arrest and drunken driving. Shaun Phillips, linebacker, was arrested last April on suspicion of obstructing or resisting an officer in the performance of his duty.
(A note on the methodology: I'm counting arrests, not convictions. Everyone remembers arrests...that's what upsets the league and the money changers. Eight months later, when the charges are dropped, nobody cares. It's unfair; a lot these arrests are bullshit, are for the crime of being young, scary-big, black, and rich in public. Philadelphia linebacker Dhani Jones was arrested in Miami for failure to stop dancing. They're trying to keep their streets dance-free down in Miami. On the other hand, being rich is very close to having an automatic get-out-of-jail pass the first, second, and third time you're busted. Maybe it balances out. Maybe it doesn't.)
Cornerback Cletis Gordon arrested for DUI. Strong safety Terrence Kiel arrested on a truly loony felony drug charge of mailing 15 bottles of prescription cough syrup to cough-syrup addicts in Texas. John S. Fernandes, DEA special agent in charge of the San Diego Field Division, told the AP that codeine-based cough syrup mixed with soft drinks are the coming thing in Texas and that a pint bottle, called "lean," can cost $200 to $325. Kiel made $383,00 in 2005, but apparently that was shy of his needs. Looks like Kiel wanted some of that big, easy money that 15 bottles of "lean" would get him.
This, by the way, is how you can tell we're winning the War on Drugs. Here we are in San Diego. Evildoers are smuggling drugs, every kind of drug you can think of, every hour of every day, through, over, and under the U.S.-Mexican border, a border located 15 miles south of city hall. In the midst of what alarmists might call "an ongoing drug invasion," it's comforting to know the DEA has the time and manpower to go after cough syrup. No worries for me!
Finally, defensive back Markus Curry, then on the Chargers practice squad, was arrested in October for domestic assault. That makes five players arrested, which is not bad. But, it's not great either.
For great we must turn to the Cincinnati Bengals and the crime-stoppers of Cincinnati, Ohio. This year, eight team members have been arrested, 15 percent of their 53-man roster, and the regular season has one more weekend to go. That's a very high bar indeed.
I know what you're thinking: "Cincinnati has impressive stats, but what about the quality of their arrests?"
Of course you'd go right to the nub of it. This is why fans hate the BCS college-bowl system. How are we to measure the numbers Cincinnati puts up against the spectacular inventiveness of Joe Cullen, Detroit Lions defensive line coach and the crime-stoppers of Dearborn, Michigan?
On August 24, Cullen was driving his SUV around Dearborn and decided, like many Americans do, to turn into Wendy's. Coach Cullen spoke to the Wendy's talking menu and ordered one of their delicious value combos; in this instance, a burger, fries, and soft drink. (You get a price break when you order a Wendy's combo.) A Wendy's wage-slave received his order and then, when Coach Cullen drove to the pickup window, in order to pay for and retrieve his order, said employee called the cops. The coach's crime, according to the police citation, was for "driving on a public street without any clothes on (NUDE)."
Here is a man living free in the privacy of his SUV, bothering no one but fast-food workers, yet that was enough to arrest him on indecent and obscene conduct charges. That was August 24. One week later, Cullen was arrested for DUI, again in Dearborn, again after a citizen dropped a dime on him. But, here's the strangest part of this story: Cullen still has a job with the Lions.
Let us end with a vision of Marty Schottenheimer. He's driving a restored 1963 Corvette Stingray convertible. Azure blue. It's summer. The Stingray glides into one of San Diego's 119 McDonald's, say the one on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach....