Two Way Street: Sports Editors Grant Huhn and Nick Eliason talk Heisman, best sports moments, and more

Charles Cherney/Chicago Tribune/MCT

Nick Eliason and Grant Huhn

“Twice the editor, half the emotion”

1. Who deserved the Heisman?

Nick:  Mark Ingram.  There is a reason this guy won the Heisman.  It’s called politics.  Every Southern voter put Toby Gerhart behind Ingram and Colt McCoy and usually Tim Tebow.  Every non-Southern voter had Gerhart either first or second.  Some Southern voters said they had never even seen Gerhart play a full game.  Anyways, Ingram deserved this award because he helped his team go undefeated in the strongest conference in college football.  He is only a sophomore, so this guy could be doing damage for at least another year.

Grant: Toby Gerhart- Gerhart gives hope to white running backs across the nation. Completely off the radar at the beginning of the season, the 235-pound Stanford running back finished second in the nation with 1,736 rushing yards to go with an outstanding 26 touchdowns. Gerhart played well in every game this season: he failed to rush for less than 100 yards in only two games, and ran for over 200 yards in two games, supplementing his consistent 100 plus yard games throughout the season. Although the biased east-coast voters shafted him from winning, Gerhart was definitely the Heisman winner in my eyes because of his stats, consistency, and great performances in big games down the stretch.  His performances in Stanford’s last two games include a four-touchdown game against Cal and a 205-yard rushing game and three touchdowns against Notre Dame.

2. What is the best sports moment of 2009?

Grant: Usain Bolt runs the 100m in 9.58 seconds- I am convinced that Bolt is not human… I cannot fathom his speed and ability- he made his world-class competition look like high school track runners in the IAAF World Championship in Germany last summer. His strength and length compliment each other so that he can accelerate and take long, quick, explosive strides.  Bolt and Kobe Bryant are the only blatantly cocky athletes that I like, because they work really hard and take a lot of pride in their professions.

Nick: The closing halves of Super Bowl XLIII.  Santonio Holmes’s game winning tiptoe touchdown catch and James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return.  Something great always seems to happen in the Super Bowl.  With only 40 seconds left in the game, Ben Roethlisberger threw a perfect pass to the back corner of the end zone where three defenders were guarding Holmes.  The Steelers needed another miraculous play to win the game.  In the closing seconds of the first half, the Cardinals were on the Steelers 4-yard line and looking to go up by four.   Instead, Steelers linebacker Harrison intercepted it and took it back 100 yards for the score.

3.  What is the bargain contract of baseball in 2009?

Nick: Tim Lincecum was paid $650,000 last season and $405,000 in 2008.  Both years he won the Cy Young award.  He strikes out so many guys, you don’t even need a defense behind him (even more money saved).  This is one of the biggest steals in sports history.  The Giants are going to have to pay Lincecum a huge contract in order to keep him next year which will be hard to do with so much money locked up in Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria.  I think Lincecum and Zito ($18 million next year) should trade contracts.  That would make everything square.

Grant: Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey- Bailey’s contract for 2009 was one year, $400,000.  Granted, there are always young players who perform really well and have low contracts, but as an A’s fan I consistently got to see Bailey  pitch, and he has got some great stuff and will be a dominant closer in the future.

4. Which Bay Area team will win the ‘Ship the soonest?

Grant: The Warriors are dysfunctional, the Sharks never go anywhere in the playoffs, the A’s always trade their best players, the Giants may get lucky, definitely not the Raiders, so I’m going to have to go with your 2010 San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are stacked with some talented players who are only getting better. Vernon Davis has proved his ability this year, Patrick Willis is a beast, Alex Smith looks like he is finally getting his @$!% together, and Michael Crabtree is a future top receiver in the NFL.  It may sound predisposed but I have a hunch that the Niners are winning the ‘ship next season. The Bay Area is due for a championship, and Mike Singletary will lead the Niners to the promise land. Oh and if all fails, we still have the San Jose Earthquakes!

Nick:  None of them are the least bit close, but the Giants did finish above .500 this year.  I think the Giants could win the championship by 2020.  By then Brian Sabean should be gone and he can no longer sign out-dated players to ridiculously large contracts.   Tim Lincecum will be in his mid-30s and still look like he’s 17 with at least five Cy Young awards.  Barry Bonds will be the owner and Jeff Kent the General Manager.  This will be the winning recipe.

5.  Who is the most ridiculous looking player in the history of sports?

Nick: Chris “The Birdman” Anderson. His body is covered in tattoos.  I bet this guy spends half of his salary on hair gel.   This guy is all show.  And he is terrible at basketball. Usually people this confident have the skills to back up the flash.  After making a rare dazzling play, Anderson flaps his arms up and down like a bird, kind of like Terrell Owens in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

Much of the same for the Birdman, who fittingly has tattoos of wings on his biceps.  Photo: Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News/MCT
Much of the same for the Birdman, who fittingly has tattoos of wings on his biceps. Photo: Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News/MCT

Grant: With an assortment of different hairstyles, piercings, and tattoos throughout his NBA career, Dennis Rodman earns the honors of most ridiculous looking athlete. But he got away with it because he won five championships in his NBA career, averaging 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds, and he was a great defensive player.  Rodman used just about every combination of colors and styles in his hair, and it went well with his expressive and animated personality on the court. Unfortunatley, I wasn’t an NBA fan during his career so I really missed out.