The Marinovich Project
I watched ESPN Film's The Marinovich Project tonight. As a lifelong NFL fan, I knew the story behind one of the perceived biggest bust athletes in sports history, but it was amazing to hear the story told from Todd's perspective.
Marv Marinovich, Todd's father and former NFL player, did everything he could to raise and breed an NFL quarterback. If this story was about reaching a goal, it's hard to argue that Marv succeeded. If the idea was the raise a son into a balanced, well-adjusted adult, Marv failed miserably.
Todd seemed to be on the path to stardom, until drug and attitude problems changed the way he was perceived by people at USC, and later, in the NFL. It's hard to say if he ever would have become the kind of athlete and quarterback without the guidance of his father, who was equal parts fitness savant as he was deranged. It's harder to say if choosing a different college or being drafted by a different team in a city farther away from home would have kept him away from drugs. It's difficult to know if he could have played successfully if he only used marijuana, instead of dabbling into the world of cocaine and, down the line, heroin.
The process of an athlete becoming a superstar has always fascinated me. It's probably because there is no one particular type of person that makes it to the top of the mountain. Rich, poor, tall, short, black, white, American, foreign, All-American or walk-on. The professional athletes that reach the highest mountain tops don't all fit the same mold. They never have, never will.
Todd Marinovich ended up continuing the trend, not bucking it. His father tried to create the ultimate quarterback. In the process, he poisoned any chance Todd actually had on or off the field in the past. Fortunately, as of right now, this story has a chance to yield a happy ending. It's hard not to wonder, though...What could this guy really have become?