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Hall of Fame Blimp

The Goodyear Blimp Spirit of Innovation is shown in a 2016 photo. The iconic airship is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as an honorary member, the first non-player or coach to be inducted.

The College Football Hall of Fame announced its latest list of inductees last week, and it’s a very impressive list.

Former Wisconsin offensive lineman Joe Thomas is being inducted. So is 1980s Michigan State running back Lorenzo White, who probably should have been in long ago. Rocket Ismail is on the list along with Troy Polamalu, Torry Holt, Jake Plummer, Vince Young and others.

Then there’s this one other inductee: The Goodyear Blimp.

That’s right. The National Football Foundation announced that the blimp will become an "honorary" member of the Hall of Fame, becoming the first non-player or coach to be so honored.

Really. Honest. We couldn’t make something like this up. It’s too bizarre.

"College players and fans know that when the Goodyear Blimp shows up, it's a big game. Its presence is intrinsically known and tied to the traditions that make college football so great," said Archie Manning, chairman of the NFF. "As the eye in the sky to college football's greatest coaches, players and moments, it's only fitting that the Goodyear Blimp joins the College Football Hall of Fame in a year when the game celebrates its 150th anniversary."

Sure. Whatever you say, Arch.

The Goodyear Blimp first became involved with college football when it provided aerial coverage of the 1955 Rose Bowl, and it has hovered above more than 2,000 games since then.

We’re guessing there is some sort of corporate connection to this, especially since Goodyear’s general manager of brand marketing also is quoted in the NFF news release and there is a new blimp exhibit being opened at the Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Still, it’s sort of weird that they’re making the blimp an actual member of the Hall of Fame.

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Speaking of Hall of Fames, old friend Brendan Roberts was recently inducted into the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame, which has been around since 2010.

Roberts, originally from Walcott, got his start in sportswriting as a part-time employee at the Quad-City Times back in the 1990s and carved out a very nice career for himself as a fantasy analyst and editor for The Sporting News, ESPN and MLB.com. He now is a managing editor at The Athletic.

I’m guessing his start in fantasy sports may have come when he took part in a 12-team auction draft, rotisserie scoring baseball league we had among Times office employees in 1993. He tied for ninth with a roster that included Gary Sheffield, Ozzie Smith, Lenny Dykstra, Ken Caminiti, John Kruk and Orel Hershiser.

He obviously has learned a great deal since then.

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Yes, you know someone is a pack rat when they still have the results of a fantasy baseball league from 26 years ago.

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Another item from the we-can’t-make-this stuff-up file:

After the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Chicago Bears in a first-round playoff game last week, Peter Schrager of the NFL Network said: "There might be no quarterback I'd rather have in NFL history in a big moment than Nick Foles. You can have your Elway, your Montana and your Tom Brady. … There is no quarterback I would rather have in a big spot in the history of the NFL than Nick Foles."

This obviously isn’t just something he blurted out in a fleeting moment of blind insanity. He said it twice.

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Shrager’s colleague at the NFL Network, Mike Mayock, recently was hired as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders. If this is an example of Schrager’s ability to judge talent, we’re guessing he won’t be getting a similar opportunity any time soon.

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Moline’s Deonte Billups has attracted only moderate interest from NCAA Division I basketball programs, but that could change if he keeps having games like the one he had last Saturday.

The 6-foot-4 senior tossed in 43 points against Carmel Catholic and showed an ability to do more than just funnel the ball into the basket. He also had an array of spectacular steals and flashy assists. He definitely has the ability to make it at the mid-major level.

It’s the most points scored by a Moline player since Quad-City Sports Hall of Famer Steve Kuberski went for 50 in a game in 1965. The school record is 63, by Kenny Anderson (not that Kenny Anderson) in a 1956 regional game against Hillsdale.

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