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I could not have seen this coming.

“Marino chosen as Ipswich Town Manager.”

For a world class NFL quarterback to take on the challenge of serving as Ipswich’s Town Manager — it’s unthinkable.

Consider the odds. Dan Marino, arguably the greatest quarterback never to win Super Bowl, coming to our humble town to serve as Town Manager. To manage us. Like a football team. Adroitly. Intelligently. And with lots of bashing of the other guys.

The way he marshaled his forces, in only his second year in the league. Breaking nearly every NFL single-season passing record. Marino was “Mr. Quick-Release” before anybody had ever even heard of Tom Brady. Marino had never been sacked in the playoffs before he got into the 1985 Super Bowl. Marino was God. Proven by the fact that he went on to become an on-air CBS sports analyst.

So the very idea that we could snag such a superstar to lead us, to guide us, to oversee us as Town Manager, it’s almost unthinkable. I can only imagine the muscular quarterback barking orders at Town Hall (our governmental line of scrimmage), pushing the building inspector into his proper position. Or barking orders to Food Inspector Maureen. (“Church barbecue OK! Barbecue OK!”) Or influencing Selectpersons at will, with crowds cheering — many on their couches at home, via ICAM — on a glorious New England summer Monday evening. (“Yes, it bit two people! Charlie Surpitski’s dog is dangerous!”)

Marino as Town Manager. I weep with gratitude at the very idea. How did God, in His infinite mercy, bestow such a gift on us? I follow sports news pretty faithfully, but I didn’t even know Marino was considering a shift from sportscasting to local government work. This just proves that people are inherently good, doesn’t it? The very idea that a guy could make millions of dollars in the NFL, and then go on to a glamorous life as a nationally renowned sportscaster, but then still, in the end, make the decision to devote himself to public service, at the local level, to serve a small town like ours, with only a couple of traffic lights, and not even a sensible downtown zoning policy — it just makes you grateful. It makes you thank God — assuming, of course that Dan Marino, who went to a Catholic high school, was praying to the right Guy. (Otherwise, to be honest, whom should we thank?)

So let us look to the future with high hopes. Ipswich will be led by a star. Ignore the fact that Marino quarterbacked for the Patriots’ division rival Miami Dolphins. He was a star, come on. A superstar. Not a Super Bowl-winning superstar, but close. Just another 22 points in that one big game in 1985, and he would have been a Super Bowl-winning superstar.

Dan Marino. Our new Town Manager. Not that Bob Markel wasn’t brilliant. Not that Robin Crosbie wasn’t fantastic. Not that temporary Town Manager Jim Engel wasn’t awesome in his handling of the record-breaking three nor’easters that came down from the heavens like a punishment from God during his brief tenure. (Come to think of it, why did we have three nor’easters in two weeks during Jim Engel’s tenure as Town Manager? Was it because he’s a Pennsylvanian? Did we violate some ancient New Englander code by putting him in charge?)

Now that Ipswich is on the map — I mean, we’re Hollywood now; we’re Tinseltown — we’re going to have to deal with a lot of new issues. Limousines crowding Central Street, Spielberg needing multiple rooms at the Ipswich Inn, that sort of thing. But let’s agree in advance that these are “good problems.” We’re growing. We’re blooming.

Wait — I beg your pardon?

Oh. It’s not Dan Marino, it’s Tony Marino.

Never mind.

 

 

Doug Brendel follows town government with an eagle eye from his perch on outer Linebrook Road. Follow him by clicking “Follow.”

 

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