WALLY HALL: Pierson leaving void on Arkansas' staff

Posted: January 26, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Patrick Pierson is a nice guy with a passion for odd neck ties.

In his stint as a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville sports information director he's worn a wide variety of ties, including a period when his ties were made out of wood.

Most don't know Pierson -- or for that matter most SIDs any more -- but he has grown in the job for the Razorbacks enough that he was offered and has accepted a similar position at Oregon, which puts his longtime girl friend closer to her family. He's from the Buffalo, N.Y., area so neither were close to their families in Fayetteville.

When Pierson was hired, most of the media didn't know what to think because he was hired by Zack Higbee. Higbee had trained at the University of Florida, a beautiful school in a beautiful city and state with an SID department most journalists avoid like a double negative.

When Higbee was fired at Arkansas, suddenly and without much explanation, the media didn't mourn his departure.

Pierson, though, quickly tossed away the gruffness that Higbee, who seemed armed and ready with a no for any and all requests, seemed to require and did a nice job.

Now, the UA is conducting a nationwide search for a new SID. The first requirement will be to get along with the head football coach and staff who he will work closest with, and of course work well with the athletic director. Somewhere down the list of priorities will be to have a working relationship with the media.

Maybe the new SID will look at the seating for basketball games and realize that it isn't compliant with the latest NCAA request that schools have media seating as close to the floor as possible and with unobstructed views. The media has neither right now.

For the last few years it has seemed like someone wanted to make the media's job as hard has possible, but there seems to be a new and improved attitude in the athletic department these days.

Sports has always been filled with cliches.

Like, "he's a wily veteran," which means he's old.

Or, "mistakes were made," which means someone did something wrong and they don't want to talk about specifics.

"They have to stop the big play," which really means they are getting their heads handed to them.

In days gone by, cliches such as "big ears" meant a player listened too much to the crowd, or "high pockets" was a cocky jock.

The one thing no one wanted to be called was a goat, which used to mean the person who cost a team a game.

Now, goat has an all new meaning. GOAT means the greatest of all time.

That leads to a number of arguments because there can only be one GOAT in each sport and the biggest discussion right now is about Tom Brady being the NFL's GOAT.

He's going for his sixth Super Bowl win and already owns the quarterback record with five, but he does have two losses. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana were 4-0 in the Super Bowl.

Some might argue that Montana and Brady were the product of an offense that was designed to highlight their strengths and hide their weaknesses.

Others like to argue that Peyton Manning is the NFL's GOAT. Manning was 2-2 in the Super Bowl, but led two different teams to championships and is the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing and touchdowns.

No one will ever argue for a quarterback like Peyton's dad, Archie, who spent 10 years in the NFL with the worst offensive lines in history, but at 68 is still walking around under his own power.

The thing about GOAT arguments today is they are much more subjective than the old days.

Sports on 01/26/2018