Wednesday, October 1: The Obvious Line About Chris Horton

ESPN’s Chris Berman has been doing his nickname schtick for more years than I can remember. I haven’t found it particularly entertaining for the last two decades, but even I’ll admit that the names sometimes reflect a certain level of pun-based creativity. His call of Chris Horton’s interception, though, went for the most obvious joke available, something completely incomprehensible about “hearing a who”. I’m not sure why “hearing a who” is synonymous with “making a game-changing interception,” but that’s the surreal “charm” of Chris Berman’s highlight calls.

Anyhow, I figured that Horton has been hearing about hearing a who pretty much all his life — my last name caused me to spend an entire summer hearing about Yertle the Turtle, and Horton is much closer to Horton than turtle is to Terl. So when a schoolteacher on the west coast sent a copy of Horton Hears a Who for Horton to sign, I asked him about it.


The answer was somewhat distressing. Horton is a talented player and a heckuva nice guy with what seems to be realistic view of football and the world — see, for example, today’s USA Today profile of him, in which he answers the inevitable question about the first thing he bought thusly: “A guy in my position, I can’t be going out and spending money. I didn’t buy anything. I’m saving my money and letting it grow.” — but we need to get him to brush up on his children’s books.

“I haven’t read it yet,” he said. “I’m gonna read it, and I wanted to see the movie, but I haven’t read it yet.”

Well, have you signed a lot of copies of it? “That’s actually the first one.” So you somehow have gone through your life with the name Horton and no one mentioned the Dr. Seuss book? (Given my Yertle experience, this seems deeply unfair, but I don’t see any point in complaining to Horton.)

“When they came out with the movie,” he said, “a lot of my teammates were like, ‘Hey, are you starring in that?’ and I was like, ‘Nah, but I’m gonna see it.’ That’s about it.”

I suggested that he angle for a starring role in the inevitable sequel, Horton Hears a Who Two: Electric Boogaloo, and he laughed but brushed that aside as well. “I’m just kicking off my professional football career,” he said, nipping his movie career in the bud.

He does promise to read the book, though, which is nice of him. Maybe I’m reaching, but it seems like there might be some kind of resonance there — a seventh-round draft pick making an unanticipated impact in his rookie season sharing his name with a book whose moral is all about the (literal) little guy making a huge difference. But that still doesn’t make “hearing a who” a synonym for intercepting the ball. Back to the drawing board, Berman.

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18 Responses

  1. It might be a bit of a reach – Horton is the star of the book (and, I am assuming, the movie), and not the Who. That said, it’s important to note that Dr. Suess’s “Horton Hears A Who” is implicitly concerned with Roe v. Wade and the negative impacts of that landmark decision (“a person is a person, no matter how small”). Dr. Suess was often fond of doing things like this – consider “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, which was based on a mean-spirited Charlottesvillian (Hoo-ville!) who couldn’t stand the college students.

    I like to point things out like this – I’m not looking to start an argument or political controversy on Matt’s blog.

  2. Think the moniker kind of fits. Horton the elephant has this magic about him to allow him to hear something no one else does. Horton our rookie safety seems to have a bit of magic himself. Can’t remember when I last saw a safety that just happens to be in the right places and picks up turnovers like this. Not saying anyone can keep up the kind of starting pace he has had, but he is clearly doing some things right to be in the positions to make those plays. Hail to the Redskins and Hail to Horton.

  3. Horton Hears a Who has absolutely NOTHING to do with Roe V Wade and only GOP crackpot would suggest such a thing.

  4. I guess you haven’t been paying attention to family of Dr. Suess emphatically denying these ridiculous claims you’re making. Don’t let yourself be bothered by little things like facts or truth.

  5. I think Boomer’s jokes are HILARIOUS…

  6. I like “The Predator” for Chris’ nickname. He plays like one. And, according to Homer McFanBoy’s “neighbor kid” he looks like one in uniform.

    Chris Horton…The Predator!

  7. i agree predator is the best nickname for him thats what ive been calling him

  8. Eric,

    You have your facts a bit confused. While anti-abortion activists have latched on to the “A person is a person no matter how small” line for years, it was not Dr. Seuss’ intent to give the book a pro-life agenda.

    In fact, his widow was very upset when anti-abortion groups showed up at the premiere of the movie. She has been very vocal in saying that the book was not meant to promote pro-life sentiments.

  9. Good Kid this Horton with a head on his shoulder! Vinny and company did a pretty good job on the draft with the late round picks. I haven’t lost hope on Thomas and Kelly yet. I think Davis is the best player the Skins picked on the first day of the draft but is stuck behind CC47 and Yoder. There is still time for him to make some plays. Hope Kelly and Thomas are on the field together at some time this season. It will give JC more weapons to throw to.
    Z man is like a creeper that grows on you every day. BEST FIND OF THE OFFSEASON..Kudos to Snyder and Vinny!

  10. Everyone knows Dr. Suess hated babies. Kill em all was his policy. You talking crazy! But seriously Dr. Seuss’ was not writing about Roe vs Wade; don’t believe everything you read on the internet ESPECIALLY things written by Christians (who have a self professed faith to believe the things that are proven to be wrong.)

  11. wurs the practice report matt?

  12. Wow. First, James, I’m glad you put crackpots after GOP since I’m a part of the GOP but not a crackpot and DON’T believe the stuff Eric is sayin.

    Second, Nathan, man c’mon you don’t need to bring Christian bashing into a Redskins blog.

    Third, Eric, why even put that last disclaimer about not trying to bring political stuff onto the blog when you STILL posted it. Keep that kind of stuff for the conspiracy theorist blogs.

    Fourth, I like the Dominator too.

  13. The follow-up book is already in the works, simply titled, “Horton Picks Off Who!”

    Rumor has it “The Predator” will be signing copies this Sunday in Philadelphia, where it’s always sunny.

  14. that dude ugly man

  15. Actually the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is pretty well known around UVa in Charlottesville. You can see this monster of a mansion sitting up on a hill. I heard the story many times while in school there. Not that it means that it’s true, but I got your back Eric.

  16. I’ve been pulling for Horton since the draft. You can knock him for some of the measurables but nobody can measure heart and common sense. I think the better title for his book would be “Horton makes them hear footsteps” Keep up the good work Chris.

  17. Think that we have COOOO for Cooley now we need a

    WHOOOOOOOOOO for Horton

  18. Horton has already heard the Who three times in four games.

    My husband laughed the first time I said, “Horton heard a Who” (it took him a second) and we were both jumping up and down last week screaming when it changed to, “Horton picked off WHO”.

    Soooooooo so tired of Romo already. Glad we were able to silent all of those Cowboy Cool Aid drinking fans and announcers. Seems we had the weapon(s) last week !

    We definately need to hear the “WHO” from the 12th man !

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