Simpson: What could have been
Editor's note: Marty Simpson earned four letters and started 44 games for the Gamecock football team. In this feature, he takes a look at a topic as an analyst, letterman and comedian.
The football program's state right now is not what some fans would have hoped
for at this point in the season. USC just lost a fifth-year senior quarterback
after losing to a completely sub-par opponent in Auburn. However, I am here to
say that the football program is in much better shape than it could be had
events 20 some odd years ago turned out differently. But before I outline all of
that I have something else to say.
I am officially banning one "commenter" from my blog website. It has
been a few months coming now, but I felt like this was the right week to do it.
This has been weighing on my chest, and I'm getting it off my chest right here
As all of you know, I've got a negative guy over here who tries to hurt my
personal blog website. He's got a right to do that. The criticism he shows me is
okay. I don't mind that. I just don't like comments that are posted to my blog
about me or my career that aren't true.
That's the only thing I take exception to from a dedicated blog reader - when they write stuff that isn't true.
In three years as a blogger, I've had two comment-posters that I have had to
disassociate with. The first had a handle of "Grammar_Cock" and
kept incessantly posting comments pointing out all of my split infinitives. When
I realized "Grammar_Cock" was my mom, an English teacher of 25 years,
I got her to start sending me private emails instead.
The other comment-poster that I am banning from my website will go unnamed in
this article, but he is over there (I am pointing to my left.)
He recently posted comments to my blog about games from 1992. Even though I have had multiple people from 1992 speak in public about these things, this poster keeps saying he's standing by his
So I'm banning this poster from my blog. That's my right as a head blogger. And
here's what I'm going to do. I am going to post one of his comments below and
point out the inaccuracies in his statements as well as address the content of
What I am about to do won't be easy to read. Some would even call it awkward.
But before I proceed, I want to let you know that if you don't like what I am
about to say, I understand. But realize my benefactors have just finished
contract negotiations for my new billboard campaign set to run across town. It
shows a picture of me with the caption, "Marty Simpson: Hate him, Club Him,
Read Him." My benefactors have made it my job to write things that cause
So with that preface, here is the blog comment below from my "banned
"I'll never forget the ECU game in 1992. I remember it so perfectly like it
was yesterday. You (Simpson) had a 25-yard field goal to win the game and missed
it! But ECU was offsides so you got another chance to win the game with a 20-yard
field goal and missed it again! I will never forgive you for missing that kick
and devastating our program!"
This is horribly mistaken. Did I miss the game-winning field goal versus ECU in
1992? Sure, but the scenario was completely different from the outlined
Missing this kick was the best thing for the Gamecock football program since
George Rogers won the Heisman. That's right. The football program could be in
significantly worse shape than we are now had I not missed this kick.
The first problem I have with this poster's comments is his blatant omission of
relevant facts. Those relevant facts are concerning the overall game itself. It
is a pattern of this "banned blog poster" to omit facts concerning his
comments that don't help his arguments.
In the 1992 ECU game, I had the best game of my career and the worst game of my
career all on the same night. Some of you reading this probably remember this
game. It was the hardest downpour of any football game that I had ever
witnessed. I kicked four field goals in the game including a 46-yarder and my
career long of 50 yards. I had three punts downed inside the 10-yard line (one on
the 1-yard line) and kicked off into the endzone multiple times. All in a
torrential downpour! It was a great night.
Right up until the end. We drove the length of the field to get in field goal
range and I had the 36-yard attempt blocked with eight seconds left. We
recovered the kick behind the line of scrimmage but couldn't advance the ball as
my then roommate, James Cummings, got tackled. Because it was second nature, we
cleared the field like it was a change of possession. There were only two
seconds remaining on the clock. All East Carolina had to do now was down it once
and we lose. Then the referees got together and realized we had actually
attempted the field goal on third down because we had no time outs left.
The refs then corrected their mistake and allowed us to line up and try another
field goal. The funny thing here is this ultimately was a huge "homer"
referee mistake to make, because they didn't wind the clock after our blocked
attempt like they should have. (As it was merely a running play like any other
running play with eight seconds left we should have never been given another
down.) Time should have expired in the game had it been officiated properly.
So here I was, getting ready to attempt a walk-off game-winning field goal after
the best kicking night of my entire career. But then for whatever reason, I
launched this 37-yard attempt into the band! Honestly, when I kicked it, it felt
good. I thought I had made it. I looked up and it was the strangest kick of my
career. It just didn't go where I thought it was going to go. I just flat missed
it. I could make some lame excuse about how my plant foot slid three feet in the
mud, but the truth is the same slide happened on the 46-yarder earlier in the
game that went right down the middle.
That was the most awkward and peculiar scene at Williams-Brice I can remember.
It was raining so hard that there were only about 20,000 fans still at the game.
They were all silenced by my miss. The few hundred ECU fans who were still there
celebrated so it sounded like a middle school football game. It was weird.
So you see, Mr. Bloggy-Comment-Poster-McGee, it was not a 25-yard field goal
that I missed followed by a 20-yard field goal that I missed again. It was a 36-yard field that got blocked and recovered by my roommate and then illegally
attempted again from 37-yards due to poor officiating that I then missed. So
please, when you are bashing my miss, please get your facts straight.
Another problem I have with the poster's comment is how he states, "You
hurt the Gamecocks program!" Not only did I NOT hurt the program, I am
going to prove how missing this kick actually is the stimulus that caused a
chain reaction that ultimately led to the current state of the strong football
program behind the leadership of Steve Spurrier.
Here is an outline of what would have happened had I made that kick back in 1992
versus East Carolina.
Gamecocks finish the '92 campaign 6-5. Sparky Woods wins the first bowl game ever in school in history in 1992 in the Independence Bowl played on Dec.
12. Unlike, 1991, Dr. Palms gives the blessing to the team to
travel to play in the game during exams and they win. The momentum from this
bowl win and a Carquest Bowl win with a strong senior class in 1994 gave Woods enough momentum to last a few more seasons.
While Woods was turning around the Gamecocks, a young hot commodity
offensive coordinator, fresh off his national championship runner-up finish
with the Florida State Seminoles replaces Ken Hatfield at Clemson. Boosters
grew tired of Hatfield's constant refusal to go deer hunting with them.
Brad Scott seemed like the natural fit for Clemson.
that Scott didn't win the championship with the Seminoles. Since I made the
kick versus ECU, Reed Morton was not offered a scholarship to play for the
Gamecocks. He went to Nebraska instead. On the last play of the Nebraska-FSU
game there was a 46-yard field goal attempted. Since Reed was there, he made
it! This kick "doinked" off the crossbar, then into the right
upright, then off the crossbar again before it sailed through, giving the
Cornhuskers the national championship.
the Woods era would come to an end with four straight losses to
Clemson and an embarrassing loss in the Poulan Weed Whacker Bowl to Boise
As Woods' time was ending at USC, Tulane was going undefeated and the
Gamecocks were lucky enough to hire Tommy Bowden to take over where Woods left off.
Bowden would struggle to stay above .500 and, surprisingly, he never
smiled. He did, however have a few great offensive years while his offensive
coordinator was Rich Rodriguez. After Rodriguez left for West Virginia,
the offense never was the same for the Cocks. A staple in the offense was
the speed-option on fourth-and-long, as well as throwing 6-yard passes on
Also, Bowden found out that mentioning the high school coaches' names of the
players making the play on his television show after every play instead of
talking about the game was just too annoying for everyone. But his final
straw came at a recruiting weekend when he was telling recruits to not go to
Florida State because he thought his dad was so old he might be buried
before they graduated. So he finally was forced out by the board of
Meanwhile, Scott is fired as the Clemson head coach after winning two ACC
championships because he demands that it be put in writing that his son,
Jeff, be the head coach in waiting. So Clemson then hires - wait for it -
no Lou Holtz, then there's no golf game. No golf game so Spurrier
never finds out he would get to play Augusta National for free if he coached
clashes with the "camouflage" demographic at Clemson. He struggles
for a few seasons before moving on to his home state, Tennessee, to be the
Vols' head coach. The president of the university is quoted as saying,
"We always hated Steve Spurrier, but we thought folks would overlook
that if he won us some games, so we offered him the job."
second year in Knoxville, Spurrier wins the national championship and
is given the keys to Dollywood. Spurrier and Phil Fulmer still don't speak
in public, but Fulmer does still cry a little every now and then when
talking to the public about his time at UT.
after a handful of lackluster seasons as USC's coach, Bowden is done and
Carolina hires a now larger-than-a-mini-van Charlie Weis. Weis was coaches at USC back in the Joe Morrison era. Coach Weis has always
"been a huge fan of the 2001 entrance."
has multiple recruiting violations come down the pipe and the NCAA starts a
two-year long investigation into the program which ultimately leads to the
Death Penalty because of the severity of the offenses committed by Weis.
Later it comes out that Weis drove to Cam Newton's dorm room at Florida and
offered him $179,000 dollars to come to USC, but Cam turned down the offer
citing better ones from "other places." Newton said to Weis,
"Please don't tell my pop though, as he would be really disappointed if
he knew I took this meeting."
After two seasons with the Death Penalty hundreds of Gamecock fans are checked into
rehab and depression clinics all over the state. Xanax and Zoloft sales hit
an all-time high.
Note: Brad Lawing stayed the defensive line coach for the Gamecocks during
this 20-year period. Although it cannot be verified, it is assumed that he
still has yet to spit while dipping - ever.
for 30" films documentary about USC and shows Lattimore committing to
Auburn as Gamecock fans are shown in slow-motion gnashing teeth while their lips
quiver. Alshon Jeffery commits to Florida State to play for a healthy
112-year-old Bobby Bowden.
would be USC's first season off of the death penalty. Our board of trustees has
insured everyone that they have hired the right man to lead us into the new
era of Gamecock football. He is a young upstart in charge of cleaning up the
program, Lane Kiffin. He is young, but things are looking up because he is
bringing his father, Monte, to be the defensive coordinator, and they
rehired Brad Lawing to coach defensive tackles and ends.
because I made that one kick versus East Carolina.
What a migraine, right?
I think about that game from time to time and I always wish I had made that
kick. But life turns out the way it turns out for a reason. Don't ever forget
The next time someone is making fun of me to my face for missing that kick
versus East Carolina back in '92, I will say the only appropriate thing there is
But it won't be that original blog commenter, because he is banned from my
From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former Academic All-Conference player for USC who scored the Gamecocks' first 6 points in the SEC. During 8 years as a high school varsity coach, Simpson led his team to the state finals. He's now a stand-up comedian.
See Marty perform stand-up comedy in Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 22 at New Kirk Presbyterian Church.
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