In character, Jets see beauty in ugly wins

Shrek a role model for bedraggled franchise seeking fairy-tale ending

Sports Plus

November 25, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

Kermit the Frog complained for years that it wasn't easy bein' green.

The New York Jets can relate. They haven't been to the Super Bowl since 1969, have just one playoff victory since 1986 and have taken the AFC East just once in their history.

All that - and their fans keep booing them every April at the NFL draft. Plus people keep referring to them by the repulsive nickname of "Gang Green."

Such futility and abuse can make a team jittery about its image, even when things seem to be going well.

The Jets are winning this season, though hardly with artistic flair. After edging the lowly Carolina Panthers, 13-12, in late October, players decided to have a little fun with their reputation.

They hung a poster in their meeting room of a kindred spirit: Shrek.

"We're the Shrek of the league," said running back Curtis Martin, the team's leading man. "We're the green monster that everyone calls ugly. And we're fine with that. As long as it's a W, we could be the ugliest thing on the planet and it wouldn't make any difference."

Ugly doesn't begin to describe the melon-headed Shrek, a computer-animated movie ogre whose less-than-endearing habits include flatulence and making candles from his earwax. Yet, he's a kindhearted fellow whose goodness leads to his marrying a princess.

The Jets don't care how they look, as long as they get to live happily ever after.

"That's us, guys," coach Herman Edwards told his team, now 7-3. "Don't ever forget that."

Here's one more thing about Shrek: He lives in a swamp. Maybe it's the Meadowlands.

Flying without Jets

Shrek would make a fearsome nose tackle in football, but we question whether he would be nimble enough to catch the golden snitch in Quidditch.

Quidditch, as any 10-year-old fan of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone can tell you, is the greatest sport ever invented: seven players to a side, all up on flying broomsticks, with the object to put the quaffle - one of four balls in play - through one of six, 50-foot-high goal hoops.

Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star didn't know his Cleensweep 7 from his Nimbus 2000 until recently, but he's now he's hooked on the sport of wizards. He's especially intrigued by the big metal balls called bludgers, which fly around for the sole purpose of knocking people out.

"Think how much fun that would be at, say, the Masters. You have Tiger Woods putting for the victory on 18 when, blammo, he gets hit in the head with a bludger, ending his dream of a third green jacket," Posnanski writes. "Don't laugh. The Augusta National committee is voting on this as we speak."

The best part about Quidditch?

"For one thing, Dennis Miller doesn't tell lame jokes during it," he writes. "Also, Quidditch, last we heard, is not contracting."

From Russia with love

Anna Kournikova, known more for her drop-dead looks than her drop shot, denied a recent report that she might be cast as the next "Bond Girl" in a future James Bond movie.

That didn't stop ESPN.com from asking readers to suggest colorful names for her character. Among the 2,700 responses: Marva Lussbody, Love Forty and Anita Tourwin.

Casting about for Knighthood

Brian Dennehy recently was named to portray former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight in a made-for-television movie based on John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News had a few other suggestions for the title role:

Anthony Hopkins: Hannibal Lecter meets Hoosiers. Probably too expensive for ESPN's budget, unless Disney kicks in extra slabs of human flesh.

Nick Nolte: Shared the screen with Knight in Blue Chips, so picked up method-acting tips.

Jet Li: Really good at kicking in walls.

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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