There was a time when the avenue to virtually every vocation in sports or in media was a cookie cutter, a very fixed blueprint.
If you wanted to become a journalist, you majored in journalism, worked at a small newspaper, worked at a bigger newspaper, before finally hitting it big in a major market or writing for Time or Sports Illustrated or whatever.
If you wanted to become a radio host, it meant you majored in communications, interned for Barry Warner, then worked your way up the market food chain, either from smaller markets to bigger markets or from crappy jobs to gradually less crappy jobs in a big market.
Then came the Internet, and everything changed.
Podcasts, videos, blogs...they've all become the new Darwinian breeding ground for some of the most talented writers and on-air performers in their respective businesses today, performers we never would have known even existed in, say, 1986.
Still, with the advent of YouTube in the early 2000s and the ability to disseminate information ratcheted up by social media the past five years, the road to a career as a player actually playing in sports, specifically the NFL, hasn't changed.
Generally, you still play high school ball, play college ball, get drafted (or sign as an undrafted free agent...what up, Arian?) and then have a career of, on average, four years in the NFL before
joining a concussion lawsuit getting a job at ESPN. That's how it's been and, aside from teams pilfering soccer and rugby teams for kickers and punters, that's how it still is.
Someday, somebody trying to land a job in an NFL camp will break down the barriers of "the process," and when he does, he will have pioneers like the "Old School Blocking Back" to thank.
Who is the "Old School Blocking Back"? Well, I'll tell ya!
First, full disclosure -- this video comes from my buddy Lance Zierlein, whose dad Larry has been an offensive line coach in the NFL for over a decade and a football coach in general for multiple decades. This guy, heretofore referred to as "OSBB," apparently sent the video on a DVD to Lance's old man in an effort to get an NFL tryout. As you can see from some of the references in the video -- OSBB pretends he's blocking for David Carr -- the video is a little dated, but it will still be hilarious from now until the end of time.
So, ladies and gentlemen, behold the "Old School Blocking Back"...
Wow, where to begin....I think when the Zapruder method of analyzing video was invented (by me), this is what it was invented for...
0:01 -- This is how you know OSBB was serious, TITLE GRAPHICS! Yes, we get a screen telling us this is a video about "Old School Blocking Back," in a font that is stolen straight out of late '70s porn. In fact, I think it was literally stolen out of a late '70s porn called "Old School Blocking Back," starring Ron Jeremy as a fullback on some pornishly named football team like the Oklahoma Drillers where he is in a love triangle with Nina Hartley and Christy Canyon, both playing cheerleaders, and the final scene is where they all resolve the love triangle by having a threesome. The moral of the story: I'd have been awesome at scripting porn.
0:04 -- OSBB even gets the graphics to move toward the screen , which probably took him at least six months to figure out how to do. Honestly, so far the most surprising development in all of this is that the footage was sent to Lance's dad on DVD. I had OSBB pegged as a VHS or Beta guy for sure. Maybe even reel to reel. That's old school!
0:07 -- We get a shot of a man who looks like the head of a homeless man was screwed onto the body of Pussy Bonpensiero from The Sopranos. He is holding a sign that says "Old School Blocking Back 101," and we now know that this is indeed the OSBB. By the way, if OSBB were a WWE wrestler, holding up a poster announcing who you are would officially be the worst ring entrance since William Regal's "Real Man's Man" gimmick in 1998....
0:09 -- "This is gonna help David Carr, so he doesn't get sacked...." Not to dredge up old memories, but David Carr's getting sacked was a major issue back in early 2006, as he had led the league in that category three of his four seasons to that point. So if OSBB were a salesperson, he would be really good at identifying the client's needs...now as far as finding solutions...well, let's continue...
0:16 -- The OSBB training facility is interesting. As best I can tell, the turf appears to be natural, at least in the few square feet where turf actually exists. Most of the playing surface is some odd mishmash of dry dirt and weeds. (Insert joke about "OSBB's facility having nicer turf than Reliant" here.)
0:17 -- OSBB introduces his quarterback, Bo, who clearly came prepared to play in his blue Dockers. Favre thinks you're an asshole, Bo. Wranglers are where it's at, bitch!
0:20 -- Someone off camera throws a ball to Bo and he actually makes a nice one-handed grab, which is easily the most athletic thing you're going to see in the next three minutes and change.
0:21 -- Also, there appear to be several rolled-up bundles of metal or chain link off to the side, and believe me, at some point in this video, you'll wonder if this whole video is just a setup for OSBB to get Bo and his buddies inside a steel cage.
0:26 -- Bo jogs over to the other side of the OSBB practice field and we get a first glimpse of OSBB's other prop/friend, a massive dude who I'm fairly sure fills the role of "oversize member of the crew who is there strictly for muscle and might be a mute." Every crew has one. Rocky Dennis and his family had Dozer in the movie Mask. General Zod had the big dude Non in Superman 2. Hell, even Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, all he ever did was growl and beat people up (and school Threepio in chess). OSBB's big man is that guy, the silent muscle. We will call him Stretch.
0:27 -- Also, if you had "Car with flat tire and mangled front end in the background YES -450," go ahead and cash your ticket.
0:30 -- "I'm gonna be the third down blocking back..." Clearly, OSBB is a little out of touch with NFL schemes. Most third down backs are not brought in to block these days (and by "these days," I mean since like 1985). I don't think Sean Payton is telling Darren Sproles, "SPROLES! Get in there and knock someone on their ASS!!"
0:38 -- Bo snaps the ball, OSBB gets into his wide base, just straight-up schooling all of us. The best part? Stretch actually gets down in a stance along with OSBB, like he's watching an instructional video, which he may as well be because OSBB is the goddamn "Crime Dog" McGriff of this Tom Emanski "blocking back" masterpiece.
0:41 -- HOLY SHIT! Somebody send some blood to OSBB's legs, stat! It looks like he's wearing white tights!
0:48 -- "...you lean back....so that anybody you control.....you're not chasin' out there...." Well put, OSBB.
0:51 -- "STOP." Okay, this won't be the first time you see this, OSBB telling the cameraman to go ahead and cut rolling on the scene. Apparently, while OSBB was able to upload some kick-ass porn fonts at the beginning of the video, he was unable to edit out the cuts at the end of each play or to produce a pleasant-looking transition from scene to scene. Bad job by you, OSBB.
0:57 -- "Tractor YES -500" and "High capacity dump truck YES -350" both just paid.
0:59 -- OSBB blocks an oncoming Stretch down low in a way that I'm fairly certain would get OSBB paralyzed if he tried it in a real NFL game. The underrated part of these frames (other than watching Stretch run at OSBB in jeans) is Bo carrying out the play in the background, and covering up the ball with two hands. Ball security against invisible defenders matters, people! Bo is a finisher, man.
1:06 -- "CUT."
1:09 -- We get our first hit of the cameraman saying "RECORD." More shoddy editing. Before OSBB even tells the fourth wall what's about to happen, Stretch and Bo are already sizing each other up like the two of them have beef. They both get into a three-point stance, and Stretch is staring down Bo like he's a jalapeño popper soaked in ranch dressing.
1:16 -- Stretch stays in his three-point stance for about three seconds, gets tired and stands up. Looks like he will try to rush the invisible David Carr from a stand-up position.
1:19 -- OSBB informs us he is about to show us the "crab block," which I wasn't sure existed, so I Googled it. The best part about that -- in a world with billions of people and trillions of opportunities for the words "crab block" to be uttered and typed on the Internet, the third entry down is this snippet of OSBB's video. So kids, PAY ATTENTION. Dude is the king of the crab block.
1:22 -- Okay, Bo getting into a blocking stance on the invisible outside linebacker and just letting Stretch run free is one of the greatest moments in instructional-video history.
(Note: Every moment from every Thomas Vu video on how to destroy it in the real estate market so you can get laid is tied for first in "greatest moments in instructional video history." This is not even up for debate.)
1:30 -- OSBB gets down in a stance where he is on all fours like an animal walking on its paws. This is the crab block. I've also never, ever seen an NFL player use it. Not like this, at least.
1:31 -- "Rusted out tractor YES -650," cash it.
1:32 -- "CUT."
1:41 -- OSBB is now officially babbling as he is showing some other version of the crab block, which is like going to Eddie V's and ordering extra Brussels sprouts. (Brussels sprouts suck. Again, not up for debate. Eddie V's is awesome, though.) But my favorite part here is Stretch's wearing shades while he does the drill. I think more defensive linemen should wear shades during the games.
1:51 -- OSBB is so far off the rails, literally walking on the palms of his hands and the balls of his feet. It seems to be working swimmingly for him, but that's probably because Stretch isn't really trying very hard for fear that OSBB will fire him from his job of cleaning the rust off of the tractors during the week, a job that Stretch frankly sucks at because every vehicle in this video so far has been rusty!
2:03 -- Okay, in this next technique, Stretch is going to be "Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts," which is funny because Stretch is about a foot taller than Freeney, one of the shortest defensive ends in the league. I'm nitpicking now.
2:18 -- I swear I thought OSBB was going to "Napoleon McCallum" Stretch's knees there. Seriously, huge risk by Stretch letting an uncoordinated, possibly drunk, definitely fat redneck bowling ball hurl himself at his legs. Obviously, these guys all want this dream pretty badly for OSBB.
2:25 -- Okay, apparently they're running that play again. OSBB didn't like the first take. And yet somehow they both got edited into this video. Someone please go post this on moviemistakes.com? Thanks.
2:37 -- People were actually laughing in the background at Take 2 of the chop block by OSBB on Stretch, and I'm assuming it's the same way people laugh at a three-year-old rubbing cake on his uncle's shirt or accidentally taking a sip of beer. Laughingat, not with.
2:41 -- "GO FOR IT..."
2:43 -- Okay, now this is some sort of "trap play" with a "wrecking ball," whatever the hell that means. OSBB has Bo lined up at guard and a bunch of orange construction traffic pedestals lined up as the rest of the Texans' offensive line, which is actually a fairly reasonable facsimile back in 2005. In fact, throw a Chester Pitts jersey on Bo and I'd barely be able to tell the difference!
3:03 -- ....damn, OSBB is taking forever to explain this bullshit. Let's go, let's go, while we're young....
3:10 -- Domanick Davis mention!
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Okay, about here is where I start losing interest. You may be wondering whatever happened to OSBB and his minions. Well, you can watch them every Monday night on the USA Network....