It wouldn’t be the start of Syracuse Orange football season without a post on the number 44 debate. Thanks to the continued turnover in Syracuse Athletics, it’s hard to know where the current administration falls on the retired/available debate. The biggest sticking point in activating the number for use seems to be determining a way to award the vaunted digits to a “worthy” player. Well, the Virginia Tech Hokies might have provided a pretty good way to ease those concerns.
HC @CoachFuente announces a special teams player will wear #25 to honor Coach Beamerhttps://t.co/n49WGzkMNc pic.twitter.com/dK7N7Q6Nub— VT Football (@VT_Football) August 29, 2016
Your immediate thought might be about the logistics of doing this, but to me that’s part of the appeal of this method. Imagine each weekly Dino Babers press conference includes the reveal of this week’s No. 44. Then, during each broadcast, the television crew will mention the player, and the history of 44 at Syracuse.
“But Kevin, that happens each week anyway, what’s new about that?”
You’re correct, but instead of that discussion being followed by the retirement angle, you have announcers talking about honoring the history and legacy of those who have worn the number.
This method also avoids the pressure of anointing a recruit with the number, and subsequently dealing with the possibility that the athlete would disappoint on & off the field. Letting the number rotate among players lets coaches, and fans, honor those who are the type representatives we’d like to see for the Syracuse football program.
Think about how cool it would be to see Jason Emerich come out for the coin toss against Colgate as that week’s honoree, then the following week to see Zack Mahoney come out against Louisville to hold for Syracuse’s first PAT of the night while wearing the 44 jersey. The fans get to see the historic number, it’s treated with the respect it deserves, and SU can use it as a recruiting tool.