Big Ben Tuesday: Burt Reynolds, Kirk Cousins, and the Butterfly Effect

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Cahulawassee River, Georgia: In chaos theorybutterfly effect refers to one small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear systems resulting in large differences in a later state. Got it? Like a butterfly flapping its wings and altering the path of a future tornado.

Chaos is a ladder…

In the mid-1970s, Burt Reynolds scoffed at an offer to play a wisecracking sidekick in an unusual sci-fi flick. I think it was called Star Wars. Whoops. Exactly 20 years later, a young Kirk Cousins saw the movie Cannonball Run and was instantly a Reynolds fan for life.

Fast forward to the NFL offseason of 2018, when the New York Jets tripped over themselves to offer Cousins a $90 million guaranteed contract. He didn’t see the Jets as a contender, so he used it to leverage more money out of the Minnesota Vikings. Kirk plays to win, like Burt and Dom DeLouise in the Cannonball Run.

Well, Harrison Ford ended up taking the part of Han Solo and the Jets ended up drafting Sam Darnold. It looks like it worked out for the better in both cases, screw you butterfly, but things could have unfolded much differently.

I was surprised to learn that not only did Burt turn down Han Solo, but he also turned down the roles of Michael Corleone in the Godfather and John McClane in Die Hard, as well as two Jack Nicholson Oscar winning roles. Whoops.

That outfit…

It’s not hard to picture Burt playing Han or McClane, those roles were right in his wheelhouse. But if did take the Han Solo part would he have ended up being Indiana Jones too? Would Burt have had a similar career as Ford? Would we even know the name Harrison Ford right now?

But it’s hard to picture Burt playing Michael Corleone. For his many talents, I don’t think Burt could have brought the same thunder with lines like “don’t ask me about my business Kay.” Who knows, maybe he would have surprised.

What would have happened had Cousins taken the Jets offer? They wouldn’t have traded three second rounders to move up. They probably would have stood pat and tried to get Kirk some help. Maybe they would have taken an OL like the Giants’ Will Hernandez, a RB like Nick Chubb, or a WR like DJ Moore.

Burt and Him…

Who would have gotten Darnold? Would someone else like the Bills have traded up to the Colts’ spot? Would the Broncos have taken him at five, if someone didn’t jump up to three, despite already having Case Keenum? And what would the Vikings have done? Would they have tried to trade up to get a QB? Would they have brought back Teddy Bridgewater or Keenum?

The death of Reynolds hit me hard. Not just because I was a fan, but because I remember watching his movies as kid at any age when things were starting to make sense. Like Farah Fawcett. If he’s dead at 82, that means I’m pretty old. 

Anyway, at least Saquon did not disappoint. The Jags smacked him in the face, but he kept coming. He’s got some dog in him, as they say out west. Even with the O-line problems looking very much unsolved, he found a way.

You like that?

I’m looking forward to seeing if Darnold is the man to bring the Jets deliverance from under Belichick’s thumb.

Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward, who also does most of his own stunts. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts

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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

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