In this politically correct sports world you don’t find too many people guaranteeing anything these days.
It’s been a long time since Joe Namath guaranteed that the New York Jets would win the Super Bowl and Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, guaranteed he would knock out Sonny Liston in the first round, but those guys backed up their words with deeds.
That’s why what Temple football coach Matt Rhule did on a Philadelphia radio station earlier this week opened a lot of eyes and perked up even more ears. Rhule “guaranteed” his 1-8 football team would beat No. 15-ranked Central Florida in a Saturday AAC noon showdown at Lincoln Financial Field. “What do I have to lose?” Rhule said.
Rhule came on the air to promote the game and maybe get a few more fannies in the seats. There are 175,000 Temple alumni living within an hour’s drive of Lincoln Financial Field and 39,000 students who attend the school on a full-time basis. Filling even half of the stadium’s 70,000 seats has always been a challenge, particularly the last two seasons when the Owls finished 4-7 under Steve Addazio, now the head coach at Boston College, and followed that up with the 1-8 this season.
When Rhule took the job, he said “we’re not a 4-7 team” — a remark that was construed as a parting shot at Addazio. Now Addazio, who has BC poised for a bowl appearance after a 2-10 record last year, is getting the last laugh.
If Rhule is able to deliver on his guarantee it might not rate up there with Namath or Ali, but it would certainly be one of the most memorable guarantees in Philadelphia sports history. If he doesn’t it will just go down as an ignominious folly.
Mike Gibson, an Associated Press Sports Editors’ Association and Keystone Press Association award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.