Sid Hartman hired me to compile information and help with sentence structure for his autobiography, "Sid!,'' that was published in 1999. One treasure trove was provided by Terri Faris, the former office manager in the Star Tribune's sports department.
For years, Sid had dictated to Terri short notes that he wanted sent to coaches, athletes and team officials that he had mentioned in his column. This was a great tact for Sid and not one that I was aware of being used by other newspapermen - me included.
There were two themes in Sid's messages: "You're the greatest'' or "You got screwed.''
This confirmed Sid was a sly like an old fox, since there are no two things that athletes like to hear more than praise or that they are martyrs.
I thought of those hundreds of notes dictated by Sid when reading one of the most-asinine sports articles of recent memory on Monday morning: A piece authored by Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports on Tarvaris Jackson, slated to be the starting quarterback for Seattle in the NFL's opening exhibition on Thursday night.
Silver went with the martyrdom angle - getting the quarterback, the coach (Pete Carroll) and the general manager (John Schneider) to embrace the idea that Jackson had been given an unfair shake in his five seasons in Minnesota.
The lead concerned Jackson's once-hot temper and how fortunate it was he had that control during his time with the Vikings.
"Otherwise, at some point during the previous three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Jackson would have reacted to the dismissive treatment he received from then-coach Brad Childress by throwing a Christian Bale-sized tantrum,'' Silver wrote.
This was an interesting theory, since if you were to ask Vikings fans to list the reasons that they were happy to see Childress get the boot near the top would be that he had a misplaced confidence in Jackson that stopped the Vikings from finding another young quarterback by trade or in the draft from 2007 to 2010.
Silver did mention the perception in Minnesota that Jackson was a Childress' "pet,'' which led to this quote from Jackson:
"Obviously not, because he kept bringing Brett [Favre] in. In some ways, we were joined at the hip, but I wouldn't say I was Chilly's pet. Think about 2008 - after Game 2, I got pulled. How many quarterbacks lose their jobs after two games?''
Only those that manage to be so clearly responsible for a promising team's 0-2 start that high-priced veterans on defense are close to revolt over being teamed with an offense that couldn't make plays.
In Week 2, the Vikings needed Jackson to make one play in the second half vs. Indianapolis, and he couldn't do it. Peyton Manning, stifled all afternoon by the Vikings' defense, wound up with so many chances that he pulled out a victory.
With Gus Frerotte as an option, Childress couldn't look at his veterans after that Indy fiasco and say, "Tarvaris is still the quarterback.''
Silver's sympathetic tale also pointed out that Jackson "emerged as the Vikings' starter in 2007, throwing only nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions as Minnesota went 8-8.''
There was another fact to go with a 9/12 ratio on TDs/INTs that worked against Jackson: He was injured twice that season and started only 12 of the 16 games.
Yet, this was Silver's version of what took place after Jackson's ineffective, injury-shortened season as a starter:
"From that point on, Childress began treating his young passer like a gawky date he was trying to dump at the school dance.''
In truth, Childress dumped Jackson after the 0-2 start in 2008 because Tarvaris gave him no choice with his void of playmaking. The coach dumped him in 2009 because he had a chance to bring in Brett Favre, who then authored a magnificent season that took the Vikings to overtime of the NFC title game.
And to make it sound as if there was a great mystery as to whether Favre would make another mid-August arrival in 2010, Jackson isn't astute enough to play quarterback in the NFL if he didn't realize the Grey Ego was coming back.
There was also no mention of the fact that when Favre finally gave way and his starting streak stopped at 297, Jackson started, was hurt twice in the game and closed out the season on injured reserve.
That's why, when I talked to Childress last month about Jackson signing with Seattle, he said:
"I'm biased toward Tarvaris, so I think he deserves another chance. What he has to do is prove that he can stay healthy. When you're replacing a quarterback who hasn't missed a game in 20 years, and you have to leave the game in the first quarter ... that sort of puts a spotlight on what has been a big problem for Tarvaris trying to make an impact in this league.''
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Tarvaris, the coach and the general manager don't see it that way. They want to believe it was Childress, his main sponsor with the Vikings, that held down the quarterback, not his low rate of efficiency and high rate of injury.