As a politico-turned-editor-turned-musician-turned-whatever-the-hell-I-do-now, I've got no beef with guys who switch careers. But former jocks who explain everything in terms of sports? They really make me laugh -- especially when what they're trying to explain is missile defense.For example: Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Riki Ellison, who now serves as Star Wars' chief cheerleader, in his role as the president of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.The [missile] launcher is a quarterback. Whats the best way to stop the quarterback from throwing the ball? he tells The Hill. You use your defensive linemen. If you can tackle him before he launches the ball, theres not a threat. Thats what we call our boost-phase defense.The San Jose Mercury-News -- which, apparently, isn't afraid to mangle a sports reference either -- assures us that Riki's "background, combined with more than two decades studying the issue, makes him a unique pitchman for missile defense. He attacks the issue with the same intensity that made him a favorite of teammates and fans during his playing days with the 49ers."And what is that background, you ask?
Ellison earned a bachelor's degree in international relations, along with an honors certificate in defense and strategic studies in 1983... [When] his football career ended in 1992... Ellison went into marketing for the [now-defunct] United Missile Defense Co., a joint venture pursuing missile-defense contracts. He formed the MDAA in 2002."I think defense wins championships," Ellison says, displaying his years of sophisticated analysis of this complex issue. "A great defense gives you the ability to win, the ability to protect."So true. And of course, as NFL.com noted, "when it comes to finding someone who knows more than his fair share about defense, Riki Ellison is your man. And we're not just talking DE-fense, but de-FENSE."