Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

I butted heads with the smartest of people

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Not since Good Will Hunting, where a janitor is inadvertently discovered to be a genius, has something so improbable happened to a group of men whom retired Riders defensive lineman Scott Schultz once referred to as "a bunch of fat, sassy pigs."

Who could have known that for the last five years, on several occasions a year, I pitted my wares and trade in the stank trenches of the CFL against not only a formidable left guard, but also the smartest person in all of Canada?

You don't have to be a fixture in a professional football locker-room to know that for some time now, offensive linemen have considered themselves to be the sharpest knives in the drawers of professional football.

I have always scoffed at and mocked their self-serving proclamations, arguing they should not confuse their hourly caloric intake with their IQs, but now, according to a CBC television show that ran last Sunday night, this affirmation is taking hold.

In case you missed the program CBC was promoting for weeks on end, Canada's Smartest Person tested four Canadians with various backgrounds on measurables outside of the standard intelligence test.

Saying they had received thousands upon thousands of entries, the final four contestants that were selected and competed on this show were as diverse and different as any gridiron team photo. There was a high school science teacher with a PhD from Winnipeg (who did not represent), a physicist who builds lasers for a living, a word poet and, of course, an offensive lineman, Peter Dyakowski of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who is well paid to protect quarterbacks from the likes of yours truly.

The school of thought these days on how you grade intelligence tells us the standardized IQ tests are antiquated, so based on some research out of Harvard, CBC configured a television-friendly format that scored math, logic, language, music, physical movement, visualization abilities and human interactions to gauge a broader spectrum of abilities on how people are smart.

Dyakowski is a left guard entering his sixth season in the CFL. He has a Mensa-level IQ and apparently scored off the charts on his SATs (he went to LSU). I had an idea about his superior intellect from reading his occasional column on CFL.ca, but I never really noticed anything outside of the ordinary when trying to head slap or forklift him all these years. Then again, we never had the chance to exchange opinions on the theory of quantum mechanics out on the football field.

As my attempts to contact him by my column deadline were futile -- he has obviously risen so far above my intellect that my inquiry was well beneath his comprehension -- I got a hold of a man who may well be America's Smartest Person, fellow offensive lineman Glenn January.

When asked if he was surprised about Dyakowski's dominant performance on television, January told me "he always knew that offensive linemen were the smartest people on a football roster, but now it's good to know that it has been proven that they are also the smartest people in all of Canada."

Yet apparently, with great intellect also comes great modesty, as January would not go so far as to crown himself the smartest person in America -- just an early favourite.

"Peter earned the right to call himself the smartest person in Canada. I'm not going to go so far as to stake a claim to that title in the U.S. until I earn that distinction, but who are we kidding, I'm definitely in the running."

Maybe January, who accurately predicted on our radio show last week Peyton Manning would end up in Denver, can explain how he came to this conclusion almost a week before any media outlet would confirm his finding.

"Well Doug, I believed all along that Peyton Manning intended to use the altitude as a strategic advantage at Mile High Stadium, so Denver was the obvious choice for him once you factored in the velocity and coefficient of his throwing arm. But I wouldn't expect a nose tackle to know anything about that."

Brace yourself, ladies and gentlemen, it used to only be the proprietors of buffet-style restaurants that had to worry about the wake left by these behemoth of men. Those sounds you are hearing right now are the pillars of academia cracking and crumbling under the enormous weight of the footsteps of these oversized intellectuals.

Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 20, 2012 C4

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