Politicians making major gaffes while trying to endear themselves to crowds by relating to their local sports teams is a campaign trail tradition as old as kissing babies.
Whether it’s forgetting what city you are in and shouting out a rival while trying to fire up the masses or bungling a star player’s name while trying to pretend like it is something you would bring up in a regular conversation, these mistakes become humorous cautionary tales for future candidates.
Paul Ryan, however, is trying to set a new standard.
The Republican vice presidential nominee infamously tried to compare the replacement referee who made the infamous simultaneous possession call on “Monday Night Football” a few weeks back to the Obama administration, drawing an odd reaction even in front of a partisan crowd in Wisconsin.
He also has made the bizarre claims of running a sub-three-hour marathon and climbing 38 peaks of 14,000 feet or higher in Colorado.
Ryan has saved his best work for Ohio, however.
In early September, Ryan returned to his alma mater to give the Miami (Ohio) football team a pregame speech before it took on Ohio State. The RedHawks then went out and lost, 56-10. Not so much a gaffe as a humorous coincidence.
That was not the case with Ryan’s blunder Wednesday. During a day of campaign stops in the state, the VP hopeful stopped by Cleveland Browns practice.
Many readers might be shocked by the fact the Browns do practice based on their results the past few years, but we checked it out, and it’s true.
The team gathered around as Ryan said a few words. Note to political hopefuls: Don’t try to get too specific in these situations.
Ryan didn’t heed that advice.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he began praising starting quarterback Brandon Weeden and reminisced about watching him play at Oklahoma State.
“The only problem: The Wisconsin congressman was pointing to (Colt) McCoy,” the paper reported. “Ryan pleaded for mercy when he realized his mistake. ‘You always had your helmet on,’ he said of the redheaded Weeden.”
McCoy often has mistaken opposing defensive backs for his receivers, so he can’t be too hurt.
■ WISHFUL THINKING – A favorable schedule has Mississippi State at 6-0 and optimistic about the rest of the season. So much so that the players aren’t excited about any old bowl game.
“(Expletive) a bowl game! We’re gonna win the national championship,” cornerback Jonathan Banks told Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports.
That might sound crazy at first. But Mississippi State is in the Southeastern Conference, so according to Bowl Championship Series protocol, the Bulldogs could lose at Alabama and Louisiana State and still be picked to play for the national title over unbeaten teams in the Pac 12 or Big 12.
■ KEEP IT DOWN – A Texas middle school referee penalized a team several times for its band playing too loud during a recent game.
Dallas TV station WFAA reports the school district fired the referee at halftime, but that was too late to avoid his rant at the kids about playing with their ball on his lawn.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL