The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 18, 2014

Dear Peyton: Omaha is out, and Enid is in

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Dear Mr. Manning.

Or can I call you Peyton?

Fine, Mr. Manning it is.

Congratulations on last week’s game, beating the San Diegos and all. And good luck in this week’s game against the New Englands.

Now, if I may be so pertinent, I’d like to make a suggestion.

The country was positively captivated during last week’s game when you yelled out “Omaha,” 44 times, while you were calling signals prior to the beginning of plays.

That was cute, and certainly appreciated by the folks in Omaha. I loved your answer when you were asked about it. “I’ve had a lot of people ask what ‘Omaha’ means. Omaha is a run play but it could be a pass play, or a play-action pass depending on a couple things — the wind, which way we’re going, quarter, and the jerseys that we’re wearing. It varies, really play to play. So there’s your answer to that one.”

The Omaha call has become a real sensation. In fact five companies based in Omaha are combining to donate $500 to your foundation for at-risk youth every time you yell “Omaha” in today’s game. The Omaha Steaks company wants you to do commercials for them.

You’ve really put Omaha on the map.

Which is precisely why I am writing you.

Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska, with a population of more than 420,000. It is the home of NCAA baseball’s College World Series and the Henry Doorly Zoo.

It was the birthplace of Hollywood stars like Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Henry Fonda, former Boston Red Sox star Wade Boggs, former president Gerald Ford, Georgia football coach Mark Richt, tennis star Andy Roddick, pro football legend Gale Sayers, author Nicholas Sparks, newswoman Paula Zahn and civil rights activist Malcolm X. Omaha’s most famous current resident is billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The point is, Omaha’s already on the map. Those folks don’t really need the publicity.

Besides, the New England Patriots were watching last week’s game. They heard you yelling “Omaha” like a train conductor with a short-term memory problem. They are ready for you.

So I have a suggestion. Instead of hollering “Omaha,” when you’re trying to confuse the defense, how about the name of another American city.

Enid.

Yeah, Enid. Oklahoma. Our fair city. Imagine the New Englands’ surprise if you yelled out “Enid” more than three dozen times throughout the course of the game. They would be so confused they wouldn’t know what to do.

Besides, Enid is shorter than Omaha, two syllables instead of three. Think of the time you’d save. You might get to run two or three more plays per half.

And the broadcasters would be befuddled as well. At first they would think you were calling out the name of your long-lost great-grandma or something. During the commercials they would spend all their looking up Enid on the Internet.

They would find we have some pretty cool stuff, too. We have Leonardo’s, the Enid Events Center, Vance Air Force Base, the downtown Square, the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center and David Allen Memorial Ballpark, just to name a few.

And there were some famous people born here as well, like basketball legend Don Haskins, astronaut Owen Garriott, actress Glenda Farrell, musician Michael Hedges, opera star Leona Mitchell, pro golfer Stacy Prammanasudh and Las Vegas casino magnate Sam Boyd. And some say John Wilkes Booth died here, not in a barn in northern Virginia.

Enid has been featured in popular culture, too. Part of the film “Dillinger” was shot here and the town was mentioned in books like “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Left Behind,” as well as the film “Twister.” Characters in the movie “Jurassic Park 3,” hailed from Enid, and Hank Williams Jr. once sang a song called “Greeted in Enid.”

Sheldon Cooper of TV’s wildly popular “The Big Bang Theory” planned to move to Enid because of our low crime rate and high-speed Internet, but changed his mind because we don’t have a model train store.

Heck, one time we even had an elephant hit by a car out by our fairgrounds. I’ll bet Omaha can’t say that.

So what do you say? Give us a shot, will you. Omaha is old news, Omaha is so last week. Mix things up. Shock the world. Yell Enid.

We need the publicity. We’d like to be like Fort Lee, N.J., which has become a household name thanks to Chris Christie and Bridgegate. The only time our bridges make the news is when they fall down.

Thank you for your time. Good luck in the game.

Just remember, Enid, not Omaha.

It’s easy. Long E, small nid. Enid. Just remember the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough yell Enid.”

Sincerely, Me.



Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.