You remember, I assume how the G-Men eventually nailed Al Capone.
Not for murder and mayhem. Not for breaking legs nor cracking skulls. Not for bootlegging liquor nor prostitution. Not for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Nope, the feds got Scarface on tax evasion.
Valuable lesson there for all you college football playoff fanatics. Sometimes you have to go through the back door.
You want an expanded playoff? You want the bowls to go bye-bye? You demand, as does Dan Wetzel's book, “Death to the BCS”?
Here's your ticket. The $12 million field goal.
Keep talking about gridiron justice and huge payouts and fan demand, keep throwing fits and talking like Robespierre in the French Revolution, and no one in the ivory towers of chancellor offices or the NCAA will lift an eyebrow.
But start talking about Kyle Brotzman, and maybe you've got an audience.
The Boise State kicker is the unfortunate soul who shanked two late field goals, both less than 30 yards, on Nov. 26 against Nevada. Boise State's Rose Bowl dreams ended with a 34-31 overtime loss.
It's not certain that Boise State would have made the Rose Bowl, or even the Orange Bowl, if Brotzman had nailed either chip shot. But it's likely. The Broncos would have returned to the BCS, college football's big stage and big payday.
Which means Brotzman's kicks were worth $12 million. That's the BCS payout to a mid-major school like Boise State. The Broncos wouldn't get all that money; it's split up between school ($3 million to Boise State), conference ($5 million to the rest of the WAC) and the other non-automatic qualifying leagues ($4 million).
But that's serious money to a school like Boise State and a league like the Western Athletic Conference. If Jimmy Stevens had pulled a couple of those field goals against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, it would have cost the Sooners nine months of sleepless nights but not any real money. The Cornhuskers would have gone to the Fiesta Bowl and everyone in the Big 12 would have been paid roughly the same.
There was no such consolation prize for Boise State. Brotzman's mis-kicks were an economic catastrophe to the Broncos and their league.
“Eight million dollars would have come to the WAC if he makes the kick,” WAC commissioner Karl Benson told the New York Times. “That's the reality of it.”
The NCAA most definitely is interested in wiping out that kind of financial pressure on any one player.
Recall that in the 1990s, the NCAA reconfigured its distribution of basketball tournament revenue. It did away with the million-dollar free throw. It sought to wipe out the huge financial implications of any one game.
That would be more difficult to do in football, where the entire system is based on giving schools like Boise State and TCU limited access to BCS bonanzas.
Start talking about a $12 million field goal, start talking about some poor guy in Boise, Idaho, whose right foot is responsible for the financial security of a school and a conference, and university presidents and NCAA decision-makers will listen.
You want a playoff? Sell the NCAA on a financial distribution plan that isn't so much proud of how much money it makes, but how much pressure it alleviates on any one game, any one coach and any one kicker.
That will get people's attention. That will bring about a playoff much more quickly than the current method of standing in the grocery aisle, screaming for a certain kind of cereal.
You want a playoff? Try the back door.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.