Monday, April 06, 2009

What Might Have Been...

The travails of former USC and Raider quarterback Todd Marinovich have, once again, taken a turn for the worse. Last week he was arrested again, this time for a violation of his probation. This photo is his recent booking photo.

Here are some headlines we MIGHT have seen over the past two decades:

"Marinovich guides Trojans to national championship, wins Heisman Trophy as a sophomore"

"Marinovich leads Trojans to second championship, repeats as Heisman winner as junior"

"Marinovich jumps to NFL following outstanding junior year- signs with Raiders"

"Marinovich Rookie of the Year after guiding Raiders to first Super Bowl victory in a decade"

"Marinovich named NFL MVP for 6th time"

"Marinovich breaks Marino's passing record"

"Marinovich named to Pro Football Hall of Fame on first ballot"


Instead, we've seen the following headlines:

"Bred To Be A Superstar"

"Todd Marinovich Was Raised for Football Glory, but a Cocaine Bust and a Sacking by His Coach Mar the Dream"

"Marinovich saga fails to go by script"

"Ex-USC quarterback Marinovich arrested in Newport"

"Todd Marinovich back in jail"

"Todd Marinovich - Sacked By The Law Again"


In August of 2007 I wrote about the sad tale of Todd Marinovich the last time he ended up in the pokey for a drug-related offense. Once again, he has recently been arrested, this time for a probation violation.

I suppose sport is full of stories of unfulfilled potential. Quarterback Ryan Leaf comes immediately to mind, as does Adam (PacMan) Jones, recently of the Dallas Cowboys. However, the Marinovich story strikes way, way too close to home.

He was raised from the womb by his father to become THE quarterback. Every phase of his life was controlled by his father - so much so that he was frequently referred to as "Roboquarterback" - and the result was the finest high school quarterback I've ever seen, and that includes other local heroes Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer, who went on to win Heisman Trophies while at USC.

Marinovich was a star on the USC football team as a freshman despite some missteps which appeared to be the result of finally being out from under his father's thumb. Nonetheless, he had a great freshman year and then jumped to the National Football League with the Oakland Raiders. His troubles with USC followed him and his time as a Raider demonstrated again that, while a prodigious athletic talent, he lacked the self-discipline to follow the normal rules of society.

Here we are now, with Marinovich at age 39, and perpetuating his long trail of difficulties with drugs and the law. We, once again, wish him and his family well and hope that he will soon realize how self-destructive his behavior is and get some help resolving his problems. It's very, very sad, indeed.



Blogger Unknown said...

This is the saddest story Geoff. Todd and I were classmates for two years at Mater Dei back in the mid 80's. He had all the talent in the world. Unfortunately the story hasn't gone according to the script of his father Marv. I wish the best for Todd and his family during these hard times.

4/06/2009 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I don't know Todd, but, as a big sports fan, have followed his career from his high school days. I've read many of the stories of his father's controlling his life right down to every bite of food he ate. I suppose his rebellion when he got to USC could be understood, but what a tragic waste of talent. I used to contemplate what USC football might have been with him at quarterback for a couple more years, and, later, what his pro career could have been. He was big, strong, fast, knew the game and could sling that ball!

As tragic as an unfulfilled career may be, his life after athletics is even more so.

4/06/2009 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Advocate said...

Todd certainly must be held accountable for his actions. He is also proof that a child parented in the wrong hands (Marv) and by the wrong motives (Marv wanting Todd to be what Marv wasn't) can ruin that child's life.

4/06/2009 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Advocate, you're right, of course. Todd is no longer a kid and needs to be held accountable. I recall all the stories when he was in high school about the absolute control Marv had over him - 25 years ago! I find myself wondering how his baby brother, Mikail (sp?) is doing. Better, I hope.

4/06/2009 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

What a shame. Marv wanted his son to be famous and get paid lots of money to play a game, and Todd just wanted to be a dope hed. What is the matter with parents these days.

4/08/2009 08:06:00 PM  

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