Indigo Insights

Saturday, April 24, 2004
Proposal: A 40-Yard-Line Memorial to Pat Tillman

Posted by Doc Farmer
Saturday, April 24, 2004


I’m not a football fan. Not American football, nor ''real'' football that the rest of the planet plays. It’s a game many enjoy watching, and some enjoy playing, and a very few are paid big money to do professionally. More power too them, I say. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Most football players go out during the season, put on their pads and their uniforms and their golf shoes that were renamed for the game, and spend a couple of hours clobbering the hell out of themselves and their opponents, throwing, carrying, and kicking the oblate spheroid for fame and fortune. They are heroes to some. Not me, of course, because I don’t believe sports, in and of themselves, make one a real hero. Unless you’re a javelin catcher, but that’s another article right there.

Some football players have been in trouble. Murder, rape, robbery drugs, ''accidental'' shootings, bribes, gambling, etc. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like role model material to me.

However, once in a great while, a name comes up that defines heroism. And this time it was a football player. However, his heroism wasn’t on the gridiron. It was in an Army Ranger uniform.

Until the morning I wrote this, I had never heard of Pat Tillman. I don’t follow sports in general, or the Phoenix Cardinals in particular (isn’t that a baseball team name? And weren’t they in St. Louis?) Nevertheless, the radio was broadcasting the news that Pat Tillman has died in battle in Afghanistan. It was noted that Tillman had given up a multimillion dollar contract extension in order to get a job that paid about $1,500 a month to go to a foreign country and defend our freedom. My freedom.

The folks on TV have been in awe about how much this man gave up – but they only seem to be focusing on the money. Or the fame. Or the football.

Pat Tillman gave up no more or no less than any other soldier who serves in our military and makes the ultimate sacrifice. He gave his life for his country. He gave his life for freedom. Not just yours and mine, but the freedom of 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served. Several hundred of America’s finest have done the same. They may have given up unemployment, or working on the family farm, or college, or a fancy office. But they all gave the same. They all gave their all.

The lib/dem/soc/commies are trying to politicize the deaths. Why don't we just honor them instead?

I was listening to Glenn Beck today. My nephews are always trying to get me to listen to Glenn Beck. And he’s sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, so I sometimes listen. Apparently, he’s a football fan. He was devoting a good portion of his final hour to this story. In addition, he had a gentleman on the air whose name escapes me, and they were talking about Mr. Tillman, his football years, and his decision to leave it all behind to defend freedom. Moreover, they talked about an idea. A memorial to Pat Tillman, and indeed to all of those who have died defending our nation and the rights of strangers. I wish this were my idea, but it’s not. But it’s a good one.

Pat Tillman’s number was 40 when he played with the Cardinals. The memorial would not be to retire his number, but to alter the football field of all NFL teams so that the 40-yard line is red, white, and blue, instead of just plain white.

Now, other football players have died in wars. Others have given the ultimate sacrifice. Why remember Pat Tillman in such a special way? Well, perhaps it would be a good idea to remember the patriotism that some groups have been trying to destroy over the past half-century or so. Giving up everything to defend one's country used to be almost routine. It used to be something for family, friends, and strangers to point to with pride as well as sadness.

We lost a lot of that after Viet Nam. Military service was shunned, and soldiers were called baby-killers and spat upon by so-called ''peace'' activists. Some politically motivated folks even went before congressional committees and lied about atrocities that never happened, so they could run for office on an anti-war! wave of populism.

Now, we have a war that we have no choice but to win. We’re finally re-learning that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardsmen are actually decent, honorable men and women who are willing to put their own lives on the line to protect a concept. Freedom.

In years gone by, a father could point to a player on the field and not be ashamed to let his child idolize him as a hero. Today, it’s much more difficult. But perhaps--just perhaps--it’s time to point to a red, white, and blue line at the 40-yard demarcations of the gridiron, and remind our children--and ourselves--of all the heroes who put on the uniform. Not the one of bright colors and large numbers, but the one of olive drab. Not the one that wins a game, but the ones who give up their very lives in order to protect our own.

If you agree with this idea for a memorial, please let the folks at the NFL and your local team know. In addition, please feel free to pass this idea (and this article) along to your friends and neighbors.


To telephone the NFL Headquarters, dial 1-212-450-2000 or go to

If you want to write to the NFL, you can send an e-mail at or you can send a letter to:

Paul Tagliabue
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Glenn Beck’s website is and he can be reached at for comment.

This Article was first published on ChronWatch at:


Doc Farmer is a former resident of the Middle East, who now resides in Indiana. He doesn’t watch football, but he does receive e-mail at