|09-07-2005, 03:38 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Bristol, CT
Old Bill Simmons blog on Norv Turner
Shocker he ends up in Choakland....
Late Sunday morning ...
We're eating breakfast (Bish, Hopper, Mike and myself) as Hopper recounts his blackjack experience with Norv Turner -- or as he likes to call it, "My Brush With Non-Greatness":
"Norv was up about two grand," Hopper explains. "Suddenly he scaled down his bets from $100 to $25 and started playing conservatively, like he had taken a pill that turned him into a giant wuss. I couldn't believe it. He stayed on '16' against a (dealer's) face card three times in a 10-minute span. All three times, he screwed me, and I ended up with his crappy card. All three times, the dealer ended up crushing us. And Norv's just sitting there with this dumb smile on his face, counting his hundred-dollar chips. Meanwhile, I'm losing a hundred a hand.
"So after the third time it happened, I leaned back, looked at the ceiling and muttered, 'The coach ... is ... KILLING me ...' Just like that. The coach ... is ... KILLING me. Up until that point, he didn't know that I knew who he was. He stayed for two more hands and bolted. I drove him away."
The mental image of a failed football coach mangling a blackjack table and driving Hopper insane was just too good ... for the next 15 minutes, we couldn't stop talking about it. How could a man get hired to coach an NFL team when he can't even play blackjack? We were flabbergasted by this. For instance, would someone like Mike Shanahan ever stay on "16" when the dealer had a "10" showing? I mean, EVER? Of course not.
"Norv seemed like a nice enough guy," Hopper said, "but there wasn't anything 'coach-like' about him. Can you imagine someone like Parcells just sitting there and taking it while I b****ed about him at a blackjack table, right in his face?"
"How many teams has Norv coached?" Mike asked.
"He was an assistant in Dallas and the head coach in Washington," I answered. "In both places, he lost respect of the players pretty quickly."
"I can see why," Hopper sneered.
We started talking about something else. About 10 minutes later, Hopper started shaking his head again. He couldn't stop thinking about Norv.
"If I owned an NFL team," Hopper said, "before I hired a coach, I'd take him to Vegas for a weekend and play blackjack with him. That would tell me everything I needed to know about the guy. Everything."
One final note: I guess Al Davis wasn't reading my column back then.
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