Every now and then I get into a conversation about going to a football game when it's cold outside. It can be a badge of honor for some people to flirt with hypothermia, and for others it's idiotic to stay outside when the temperature is in the teens. For me, it depends on the importance of the game. And the biggest notch on my belt is December 27, 1998, at what was then PSInet Stadium. It was in the low teens - absolutely brutal. But nothing was keeping me from the meaningless battle of 5-10 teams. The reason: it was the only chance I ever had to see Barry Sanders live. Barry Sanders would retire in July at the age of 30, still in his prime and within a typical Barry Sanders season of the all time rushing mark.
As we get further away from that day more harmful to the Detroit Lions franchise than any Matt Millen personnel decision, the memories of Sanders highlights become less salient, and the players of that era who now work in the media like Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Deion Sanders somehow seem more memorable. But for any football fan in their thirties, Barry Sanders is the most exciting man in sports entertainment.
I say this in order to provide some context for what is sure to occur over the next six or seven years: Barry Sanders, Jr. will surely become the most hyped high school football player of all time. This past weekend he scored three TDs for Heritage Hall in the Oklahoma Class 2A State Championship Game.
That's a 14 year old freshman, who averaged 8.4 yards per carry on the season, stepping his game up and being the best player on the field in the championship game. By the time he can see an R rated movie, he might be a household name, at least to the same degree Lebron James was. He's already a Youtube sensation.