Because of a wind-blown game that provided the worst conditions for passing the football in 40 years, most Lions fans have given up on him. Did anyone notice that Brett Favre looked bad for most of that game in Green Bay? The Packer quarterback did somehow complete enough passes to barely squeak by the Lions, but he is also the best quarterback in football history.
Sure... Harrington has not performed well in recent weeks, but giving up on him now is comparable to bone-head moves in the past when the Lions traded Earl Morrall, John Henry Johnson, Pat Studstill, and Tom Tracy.
If you are too young to remember the incompetence of the Lions past, you might recall some cases in recent years. Chad Pennington of the New York Jets threw only 25 passes in his first two seasons, then finally put it together in his third to become one of the best in the NFL. Troy Aikman was inconsistent until his fourth season with the Cowboys, and later matured into a hall-of-famer.
Those of you who are criticizing the Lions quarterback either dont know a thing about football or are looking for a scapegoat for the Lions failures. Harrington has all of the physical tools needed, is still only 25 years old, and only lacks the confidence to be a good quarterback in the NFL. Of course, it would help if he had receivers who didnt suffer from butter-fingers-itis, an offensive line that wasnt porous as a sieve, and coaches who provided imaginative play-calling.
Joey Harrington is a young guy on an improving team who is close to being a good player. I guarantee he will realize some of his potential in the last three games this season (we go to press before the Minnesota game) and go on to improve next year as the Lions continue to rebuild. If not and the Lions get rid of him, Harrington will be back on another team to haunt the Lions for years.
You may remember him the tall man in the black cowboy hat surrounded by his loving family. Two years later, after winning the largest undivided lottery jackpot ($315 million) in history, Jack Whitakers life is in shambles. In addition to thefts at his house and business, his car was stolen. A friend of his granddaughter was found dead at one of the robberies. Last week the same granddaughter came up missing.
Also since winning the lottery, Jack Whitaker has been arrested twice for drunken driving and ordered to undergo rehab. Last week he was charged with attacking a nightclub manager and is the subject of two lawsuits for fracases at a racetrack and bar. Think again if you believe greenbacks are the answer to your problems. Whitakers wife wishes she had torn up the ticket after winning the jackpot.
The disasters that the lotteries big winners often suffer are a poignant reminder that money doesnt guarantee happiness. In a way, Americans are all lottery winners. We live in the freest and wealthiest country on earth in the most advanced era in human history. Those of us, living in the most humble of circumstances in the United States, have a more comfortable and healthy lifestyle than kings and queens of a hundred years ago.
Over these holidays Joey Harrington and Jack Whitaker can take solace in the fact that they continue to be winners. Not because they are rich - they are winners because they live in the greatest nation ever created on earth.