Who Has Nicer Genes – Christian McCaffrey or Jordache?
By Ha Kung Wong
“Hey, nice genes!”
Last time I heard that directed at me was because of my awesomely stylish Jordache jeans in grade school.
Actually, now that I look at them again, perhaps they weren’t all that awesome. And now that I really think about it, I don’t think those other kids were being 100% sincere when they told me I had nice jeans either. But I digress.
Having “nice genes” on the other hand is way better than just “nice jeans”, particularly in football. Just look at the epic football families out there like the Mannings and the Watts.
Except for that Manning brother, Cooper, who isn’t an Super Bowl winning NFL QB. Sucks to be him. Although he DOES have an awesome sense of humor.
Oh that Cooper. What a riot.
Anyway, I’m sure people have also told top RB prospect Christian McCaffrey “hey, nice genes”. But the McCaffrey lineage might not be as well known as the Mannings or the Watts.
In fact, did you know that his mom, Lisa Sime, was a collegiate soccer player at Stanford and his dad, Ed McCaffrey, was a WR at Stanford that was drafted by the New York Giants?
In fact, after three years, the Giants foolishly released Ed McCaffrey and he went on to “just” win three Super Bowls (1 with the San Francisco 49ers and 2 with the Denver Broncos) and make the Pro Bowl. He actually won those Super Bowl rings with such NFL Hall of Famers as Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, John Elway, Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe. Yeah, I think we’ve all heard of them before.
But perhaps even more interesting is Christian McCaffrey’s maternal grandfather, Dave Sime. Dave who?
To be honest, that was my exact reaction when my friend, Joe Ragusa, told me about this. But the more I read about and investigated Dave Sime, the more I wondered how I DIDN’T know who he was. Sime was actually one of the fastest track runners in the world, so how is it we all don’t know about him? And, of course, I’m assuming you haven’t heard of him because, frankly, it makes me feel better. Well, let’s take a closer look.
Sime. Dave Sime. (Like Denim, Not Denime. Maybe that’s not a word.)
Although Sime is actually now best known as an Olympic sprinter, he was actually a relatively talented football player as well and was recruited to play at West Point by an assistant coach named Vince Lombardi and later drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 29th Round (341st Pick) of the 1959 NFL Draft (which, by the way, he turned down to go to Med School). Before you say “What the heck?? There’s no 29th Round in the NFL Draft!” let me remind you that in 1959 there were exactly 12 teams in the NFL and there were 30 rounds in the draft. So 29th ain’t so bad, seeing as how he didn’t focus primarily on football in college. Nope, Sime was actually more interested in playing baseball.
But after attending Duke University on a baseball scholarship, his speed eventually led him to sprinting. Momentously, at 19-years-old, Sime had his greatest collegiate victory at the Drake Relays in April 1956, where he set a meet record of 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash. He continued to split time between track, baseball and football, which eventually led to being named the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1956 along with making the cover of Sports Illustrated.
So it’s no surprise that Sime next had his eye on Olympic gold at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. But unfortunately, right before they began, Sime pulled a muscle when a horse fell on his leg in California — the first time he had ever tried to ride in a saddle.
Sime had one more chance for gold at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy, and it wasn’t an opportunity he was going to take lightly. But his trip to Olympics took an unlikely Tom Clancy-ish turn. Before leaving New York for the flight to Italy, Sime was called by the CIA and “convinced” to come to Washington for a meeting. Because let’s all be honest here, if the CIA calls you, you’re just happy they didn’t figure out that you made an illegal copy of Adele’s last album and was going to bring you in for copyright infringement and decided to make an example out of you. Not that I know anyone who did that or anything, I’m just sayin’.
Anyway, at this meeting with the CIA, Sime was informed that they wanted his help bringing in a potential defector from Kiev, Russia, Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. Turns out that Igor, who was an Olympic long jumper who had taught himself English and was infatuated with western books, movies and jazz. Why in the world the CIA wanted a long jumper to defect is beyond me, but perhaps if I watch enough episodes of “The Americans” I’ll figure out what all the hubbub was about in the Cold War. And if not, at least I’ll enjoy watching “Felicity” assassinate people.
At any rate, apparently the plan was for Sime to befriend Ter-Ovanesyan during the Olympics and eventually set up a meet with a CIA agent to close the deal. All went well until the end of a second dinner when the agent, known to Sime only as “Mr. Wolf,” arrived and started talking to Ter-Ovanesyan in his regional dialect. Ter-Ovanesyan got scared by the entire to-do, suspecting a double agent, and walked out, leaving the entire mission unsuccessful. Of course, the CIA probably should have known that having some random dude come to your table at the end of dinner called “Mr. Wolf” is basically the exact opposite of what you what you want to do if you want to make someone comfortable. Perhaps they should have tried “Mr. McGibblets” instead of “Mr. Wolf”? I certainly know which I would have preferred. Heck, no one should trust Harvey Keitel. That’s essentially Rule 1 of Life.
Things, unfortunately, didn’t get better for Sime on the track at the Stadio Olimpico. Sime became the favorite to beat Armin Hary of West Germany for the gold in the 100. Hary had his own history, as he was perhaps unethically taking money from two different German shoe companies, Puma and Adidas, and was so good at anticipating the starting gun that he was given the nickname “Thief of Starts”. I’m sure that sounds a lot better in German, because in English it sounds incredibly lame. But I digress.
In the final, after Hary’s two false starts, both were timed at 10.2 seconds, but photos showed that Hary won by about an inch, leaving Sime with the silver.
Later in the Olympics, Sime ran anchor on the 4×100 relay, and managed to finish first in 39.4 seconds, an apparent world record. But, unfortunately, further review showed that the team had been disqualified since the team’s first baton pass was made outside the 20-meter passing zone, leaving Sime with nothing to show for his efforts.
Over his illustrious career, Sime managed to hold world records in the 100 yard, the 220 yard and the 220 yard low hurdles, but the end of his sprinting career wasn’t the end of his accomplishments, as he went on to be a renowned ophthalmologist, pioneering intraocular lens transplants and treating numerous celebrities, including Ted Williams, Eddie Arcaro, Richard Nixon and Mickey Mantle. And when asked whether he thinks back on all his accomplishments, he said:
“I don’t look back on these things too often. …. I can only think, ‘And tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. You’ve got to tee it up again, live with setbacks, live with disappointments, live with illness and go forward.’ Because it’s true. You live and learn and keep your mind and body active — that’s pretty much what I’ve taken out of these accomplishments.”
Exactly what you’d expect to hear from the modest over-achiever.
David William Sime died of a heart attack at age 79, but his legacy lives on. Every time a commentator mentions top RB prospect Christian McCaffrey and his 4.48 second RB prospect leading 40-yard dash or his 6.57 second 3-cone drill, the second fastest at the Combine of any RB since 2003, that’s a little bit of Dave Sime your seeing.
So what do you think? Who has the better genes — Christian McCaffrey or Jordache? Jordache jeans are pretty awesome, but I think we know the right answer.
Thanks for the article. A link to the Youtube vid of Sime’s win over double gold medalist Bobby Morrow after the 56 games would round out the story. Sime’s world record at 200 yards was not bested for 10 years.