Editor’s Note: Mr. Rockford is a private detective based in Malibu, California. We here at Dubsism have retained Mr. Rockford at his standard rate of two hundred dollars a day plus expenses to investigate matters of crime and other general shadiness in the world of sports, then report back to us when needed. If you would like to contact Mr. Rockford, at the tone, leave your name and number and he’ll get back to you.
Divorces in sports don’t necessarily have to be the actual and messy kind, like the matrimonial train wreck to which Frank and Jamie McCourt treated us. There have been plenty of on-the-field relationships that exploded in various states of severity, ranging from the “we can still be friends” style break-up like the one Peyton Manning and the Colts had. Or, it can be the “domestic violence waiting to happen” split as in the case of Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox.
As a private investigator, I try to avoid domestic cases. But, to be honest, I’ve had to re-finance my trailer five times in the last ten years, and let me tell you those “balloon payments” can put a major skid on the wallet. That means whether I like it or not, I’ve peeked through more keyholes than I care to admit. That’s why J-Dub asked for my thoughts on ten notable sports divorces.
10) Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers
If you thought the Indianapolis Colts wouldn’t run Peyton Manning out of town, you forgot about the 1993 divorce between the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana.
Yep, Joe Montana, the four-time Super Bowl champion, back-to-back NFL MVP in 1989-90, and arguably the most beloved athlete in the history of San Francisco got handed a suitcase by the 49ers.
It all started after a “should-have-killed-him” hit by the New York Giants’ Leonard Marshall in the 1990 NFC title game. The 49ers were on their way to an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl, but Marshall’s jarring blow blew out Montana’s elbow, which not only ended his stint in this game; it would be almost two full seasons before Montana would see the field again.
The trouble is by then the 49ers had become enamored with Montana’s replacement, Steve Young. Not only that, but Young had entrenched himself as the starting quarterback and was the reigning NFL MVP when Montana was ready to return for the 1993 season. 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo and coach George Seifert gave Montana the “run-around” as to whether he’d get a shot to compete for the starting job, so he demanded a trade.
At 37, Montana landed in Kansas City, where he had two good seasons; he took the historically insignificant Chiefs to the AFC Championship game in 1993. Young finally escaped Montana’s shadow by leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl win the next season. The story did have a “happy” ending as through a one-day contract, Montana had the opportunity to retire as a member of the 49ers.
9) Bobby Hull and the Chicago Blackhawks
In the annals of NHL history, Bobby Hull will be best remembered as the first player to light the lamp 50 times in a season and the first guy to hold a gun to the head of ownership for a big payday. Hull went for the big dough twice; first for $100,000, then later for $1 million.
The “Golden Jet” was the Gretzky of the 1960’s; he led the NHL in goals seven times that decade and took the the Chicago Blackhawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup. In 1962, Hull matched previous standard for hitting the twine with the 50 goal tally of Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion in 1962, then Hull used his legendary slap shot to become the sole standard bearer with 54 goals in 1966.
With that level of success, it should come as no shock to current-day sports fans that Hull decided he wanted more money. He demanded $100,000 a year in 1968, and threatened to quit if he didn’t get it. in 1968. That tactic worked, and it encouraged Hull to do it again in 1972, only this time the price escalated. Hull used the fledgling World Hockey Association (WHA) as leverage, but this time he wanted $1 million, which was a ridiculous amount at the time.
However, the Winnipeg Jets jumped at the chance to land a superstar; they were more than happy to pony up $1 million per year in a 10-year deal. Hull had four more 50-goal seasons in Winnipeg, including what was a then-professional record of 77 goals in 1975.
In one fell swoop, Hull made a huge payday, solidified the WHA to the point it would eventually merge with the NHL, and became a major reason the Blackhawks would need 50 years to win another Stanley Cup.
8 ) Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are notorious for bad marriages; they could be the Elizabeth Taylor of sports. It’s always amazed me how they ran Terry Francona out of town after he led that franchise to two World Series championships in four seasons after the Red Sox had gone 86 seasons as a bridesmaid and never a bride. But the list of bad Boston marriages could be it’s own blog.
Let’s focus on Manny Ramirez also fits that bill, but a good case of “Manny Being Manny” helps to explain why what should have been a New England honeymoon turned into a Boston bitch-fest. Manny took a swing at local hero Kevin Youkilis. Manny shoved 64-year-old traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground. Manny even pulled himself out of multiple games citing a knee injury that many thought was an act of protest because he was upset with his contract.
The Red Sox finally had a belly full of Manny and dealt him to the Dodgers in July 2009. Ramirez showed exactly why the Red Sox had put up with him for so long. Manny had such an impact with the Dodgers that despite the fact he only played in 53 National League games, he finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. However, it was the next season when Manny’s reputation began it’s major slide when he got popped for the first of his suspensions for violating baseball’s drug policy.
7) Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers
It wasn’t just Shaq and Kobe who were battling over who was the leader of the team; the Lakers’ management was Pacific-deep in the same issue. Owner Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak were dealing with two show ponies and felt they had to pick the one they were going to ride following the loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals.
In Shaq’s book, “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” he claims Kupchak promised him a contract extension during the 2003-04 season but then made comments that O’Neal’s future with the Lakers was up in the air. During an exhibition game, Shaq yelled to Buss, “pay me.”
Shaq never had a good relationship with Kupchak, and matters only got worse when he replaced Jerry West as the Lakers’ general manager after the 2000 season. According to Shaq, “Mitch looked out for two people: himself and Jerry Buss. The rest of us were afterthoughts.” O’Neal was traded to the Heat during the offseason and oddly enough, the next day Bryant signed a huge contract extension with the Lakers.
As an “afterthought,” Shaq won an NBA Championship the very next season with the Miami Heat. But Kobe and the Lakers would outdo that by winning back-to-back titles in 2009-10 after acquiring Pau Gasol.
6) Eric Lindros and the Philadelphia Flyers
Just like Mary’s little lamb, everywhere that Lindros went, controversy was sure to follow. After he flatly refused to play for the Quebec Nordiques, his rights were traded to the Flyers. Philadelphia gave away the moon and the stars, and possibly a few planets for the number one overall pick; the spoils of that trade and a relocation to Colorado morphed the quasi-lousy Nordiques into the championship Avalanche.
Lindros went on to become an All-Star in six out of eight seasons with the Flyers, yet by the time he left town, the City of Brotherly love had none for him. The end of the affair began on April 1, 1999 when Lindros was misdiagnosed by Flyers’ medical staff with a rib injury. Later, Lindros’ teammate Keith Jones found him pale and cold in a hotel bath tub during a roadtrip. The Flyers told the trainer to put him on a flight back to Philadelphia, but Jones insisted Lindros go to a local hospital. He was diagnosed with a collapsed lung and internal bleeding. Lindros’ father, who was also his agent, ripped the organization for its treatment of the injury and the two sides would never again be on good terms. get back on good terms.
Matters only got worse when Lindros suffered a series of concussions; Lindros heaped criticism on the Flyers after they performed yet another misdiagnosis regarding the bell-ringing he got in March 2000. After that incident, Flyers general and legendary asshole Bobby Clarke stripped Lindros of his captaincy and demanded he apologize to his teammates. The concussion Clarke insinuated was no big deal kept Lindros off the ice for the rest of the regular season. Lindros did skate again in the playoffs, but another head-shot ended his season, after which he was summarily shipped of to the New York Rangers.
Lindros did have a few more moderately successful season in New York, but he always maintained the Flyers’ medical staff helped to shorten his career.
5) Marcus Allen and the Los Angeles Raiders
Would everybody who had a feud with Raiders’ owner Al Davis please stand up? (Insert sound of floor creaking from everybody standing simultaneously). Marcus Allen is in no way the first or last person to have a feud with Al Davis, but his was among the ugliest. For the first few years , the marriage of Allen and the Raiders was of the story-book variety. Allen was a Los Angeles from having been a Heisman Trophy winner at USC, and now he was tearing up the field of the L.A. Coliseum for the relocated L.A. Raiders. Allen was Rookie of the Year and an NFL All-Pro in his first season. If that weren’t enough, Allen trucked the Raiders to an NFL Championship in Super Bowl XVIII, picking the Super Bowl MVP honors via his 191 rushing yards.
Then, the honeymoon cruise hit the iceberg, and the marriage morphed into an ugly, California-style divorce. Allen got into a contract dispute with the Raiders during which Davis called him a “cancer to the team.” Suddenly Allen, arguably the premier running back in the league at the time, found himself on ass-duty on the Raider bench, due to Davis benching him and using the arrival of two-sport phenom Bo Jackson as an excuse. Five years of this went by before Allen finally struck back in 1992 during a Monday Night Football halftime interview. Allen said Davis was out to get him and that he thought Davis was trying to ruin Allen’s chances of making the Hall of Fame.
The next year Allen finally got out of Los Angeles by joining the one of the Raiders main rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. In Kansas City, Allen earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors while helping Kansas City reach the conference championship game.
In 2003 when Marcus Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Allen buried the hatchet by thanking Davis in his induction speech.
4) Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens
Roy’s downfall in Montreal was almost Paterno-esque in both it’s quickness and shock value. Roy was a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Conn Smythe winner, a three-time Vezina Trophy winner and a native son of Quebec. This meant Roy was beloved for most of his time in Montreal; the fans loved his brash and combative spirit and for 10 years he was a hero on skates for Les Habitants.
That was until December 2nd, 1995. On that night against the Detroit Red Wings, Roy got smoked like a convenience store cigar; he gave up 9 goals on 26 shots. When th score plummeted to 7-1, the crowd sarcastically cheered after Roy gloved a routine save. Roy responded by mockingly lifting his arms in celebration. After the socre hit 9-1, Canadiens’ coach Mario Tremblay finally gave Roy the hook, after which Roy stormed directly up to the face of president Ronald Corey and essentially demanded a trade Denis Lemieux-style. Naturally, this led to a shouting match in the locker room, and the next day Roy was suspended and the Canadiens announced they would trade him. One night, and the marriage was o-v-e-r.
Four days later, Roy was on a plane to the Mile High City, thanks to a one-sided trade with the Colorado Avalanche. In Denver, Roy would go on to lead the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup and Tremblay would only last one more year in Montreal. In 2001, Roy and the Avalanche won a second Stanley Cup as Roy took home his third Conn Smythe trophy. Before Roy left, the Canadiens were the greatest franchise in hockey. Since then, then have won a total of six playoff series. Some fans call this “The Curse of St. Patrick.”
3) LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers
Here’s another case of hometown hero turned prodigal son who just ain’t coming back. LeBron and the Cavaliers had a warm, loving relationship right up until the end. There was no posturing and no public squabbles between the two sides in LeBron’s last year in Cleveland. The Cavs loved LeBron and seemingly did whatever they could to appease him, and he rewarded them with two MVP seasons and the NBA’s best regular season record in both 2009 and 2010.
LeBron clearly had his eyes on another suitor, and really nobody can blame him for wanting to leave. After all, Cleveland did nothing to live up to their end of the marriage which was based on winning a championship. LeBron lived up to his end of the deal, the Cavaliers did not. All you have to do is look at the supporting cast the Cavaliers put around James. If LeBron had simply left the marriage, nobody would have faulted him.
It was how he did it that killed him. If one were to imagine hosting a birthday party for a cancer-stricken wife, laden with friends and family, knowing full well this may very well be her last one as evidenced by the little pink turban where her hair used to be, and one used that opportunity to a) announce one is leaving, and b) introduce Tiffany, the 22-year old surgically built fuck-toy for which one is leaving, and c) stating Tiffany “sucks it” way better than the wife ever did and one can begin to understand why every Cavalier fan everywhere will hate LeBron James until the day he dies.
2) Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers
Farve dicked over three teams, but for purposes opf brevity, we will stick the the first one, if for no other reason, he was a legend in Green Bay. On the frozen tundra of Lambeau field (fuck you, Chris Berman), Favre was a three-time NFL MVP who set nearly all meaningful passing records while never missing a start. He took the Packers to back-to-back Super Bowls and brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay since the man for who it was named patrolled the Packer sideline.
For that, given enough time, he will again be venerated in Titletown…once everybody who remembers his douche-tastic departure is in the home drooling on the armrests of their wheelchairs.
For years, Favre left the Packers hanging either by threatening to or actually announcing his retirement, only to come keep coming back. But after Green Bay’s loss to the Giants in the 2007 NFC title game, largely thanks to another late-game Favre interception, the Packers management had had enough and told Favre in no uncertain terms to either shit or get off the pot. Green Bay was ready to had the future to Aaron Rodgers, who had been patiently playing understudy to Favre for three seasons.
In what should have surprised no one who hadn’t been living under a rock at the bottom of the deepest crater on the dark side of the moon, Farve dished more waffles than an IHOP. He retired, but once again changed his mind, which led to an acrimonious and public spat with Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson, who both told Favre he couldn’t have the starting job back and at the same time refused to grant Favre his unconditional release, thus dooming Favre to the bench. Green Bay even went so far as to file tampering charges against division rival Minnesota fro talking to Favre about coming to Minnesota.
Favre forced matters when he reported to training camp for the 2008 season, knowing he was persona non grata in Green Bay. After an awkward standoff, the Packers traded him to the New York Jets. It didn’t help matters that Favre finished his career in Minnesota.
1) Jackie Robinson and the Los Angeles Dodgers
It what may be my original reason to hate the Dodgers, no organization treated a hero worse than the Dodgers treated Jackie Robinson. Not only was he unceremoniously traded after the 1956 season to the Dodgers’ arch-rival, the Giants, he was traded for essentially nothing after what he had done for baseball (the Dodgers got Dick Littlefield (a career 33-54 pitcher with a 4.71 ERA) and $35,000 for Hall-of-Famer and icon of the game.
The end of the relationship between Robinson and the Dodgers began ironically as an off-shoot of the dissolution of the relationship between Branch Rickey and the Dodgers. Remember, it was Branch Rickey who promoted Robinson from the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1947 to break baseball’s color barrier. Unfortunately, Rickey lost a power struggle with Walter O’Malley for the ownership of the Dodgers, which led to Rickey leaving to accept the general manger position with the Pittsburgh Pirates. O’Malley wasn’t terribly interested in Robinson’s achievements, and to be fair, had noticed that Robinson’s skills were on the wane due to age and his worsening diabetes. However, O’Malley would later be loyal to many iconic Dodgers (see Roy Campanella), but for some reason Robinson was not accorded the same favor. Hence, Robinson was dumped.
In another indicator that the relationship ended badly, despite the fact Robinson had already decided to retire in favor of accepting an executive position the restaurant/coffee house chain Chock Full o’Nuts (good luck remembering that place if you are under 60), he took the trade so personally that he quietly cleaned out his locker at Ebbets Field and never set foot in it again before it was torn down, despite several events held there to honor the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Another give-away indicating the Dodgers and Robinson had mutually shunned each other was the fact his official retirement announcement was conducted through LOOK magazine instead of by the franchise for which he played his entire career. The Dodgers never offered Robinson any role within the organization, and despite his iconic role, they let pitcher Ray Lamb wear his number 42 before they finally retired it merely months before his death in 1972.
Major League Baseball retired Robinson’s number across baseball in1997. Players who wore that number before are grandfathered to the right to wear it. If Mariano Rivera ever pitches again, he should be the last player to wear it. In comparison, short of MLB’s Jackie Robinson Day where everybody wears number 42, it took the Dodgers 16 years to retire Jackie Robinson’s number.
If you recall back around the Super Bowl, there was a spirited debate about quarterbacks. On one hand, if Brady had won, would he be the greatest of all time? On the other, since Eli Manning won his second Super Bowl, where does he rank amongst the all-time greats? Let’s cut through the crap here…the best way to get a bunch of football fans arguing is to start a debate over a list of all-time greats, and no position gets a bigger reaction than the quarterback.
There are three main problems inherent in creating lists like this. For openers, everybody has personal biases and/or their favorites. Trust me, as you read this list, you are likely to find a guy who you will think I rated too low. Conversely, you are likely to find a guy who I rated too high or you may find a guy you don’t like rated above your favorite. The second issues is the subjective nature of “greatness;” this feeds into the “personal bias” issue and it isn’t easily solved by merely clinging to statistics, which leads to the third problem. The argument over “greatness” takes a major trip over the difference in eras; let’s face it, professional football is not the same game in 1940 as it is today. This is why I developed a list of criteria designed to mitigate those problems as much as possible.
Ability as compared to others in a player’s era – 30% of grade: This is what I consider the true measure of greatness. It is safe to assume that the players in the NFL at any time were the best football players on the planet, and standing out amongst the best of the best is a pretty good definition of greatness.
Athleticism – 20% of grade: Great quarterbacks have to make great plays, and that requires athletic skill. Another factor is that one-dimensional quarterbacks tend to rate lower in this criteria; the immobile pocket passer who can’t avoid a rush suffers in this category as well as the “scrambler” who can’t throw. To be at the top of this list, a quarterback really needs a high score here.
Performance in the “Clutch”- 15% of grade: Here’s where you get the play-off performances, fourth-quarter comebacks, and all those sort of greatness-defining moments. Conversely, if we are going to value winning championships, we also have to examine big-game failures.
Skill as a Passer – 15% of grade: This would be the statistic-heavy criteria on this list. Regardless of era, passing has been largely a sole responsibility of the quarterback.
Winning as a Team – 10% of grade: In the immortal words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game.” Winning is winning, and while regular-season wins are important, play-off wins and championships carry most of the weight for this criteria, but in the sense that football is a team sport, and quarterbacks are measured in this case as to how well they contributed to the performance of their team. In other words, a quarterback who never won championships can certainly make the list, yet one who didn’t have a regular-season winning record would find it very difficult. Also, A quarterback with winning-regular season record but a bad play-off record would suffer.
Leadership – 5% of grade: I’ve always thought this criteria for quarterbacks was a bit over-rated. Teams do need leaders, but that doesn’t always have to be the quarterback. It’s a bonus when that is the case, but it isn’t essential.
Toughness/Durability – 5% of grade: This is rather simple; you can’t be great if you can’t play, and you can’t play if you can’t stay on the field.
Really I’m trying to expand beyond the shopworn “who won more championships vs. who had better stats debate;” ESPN gives us a steady diet of that, but it also presents us the problem that really isn’t solvable. Not only is that debate an important part of the discussion, but any list of criteria is going to leave somebody out. Thankfully, this is why blogs have comments section. Peruse this list and share your thoughts.
First, look at the notable quarterbacks who didn’t make the cut. It’s a safe bet Eli Manning cracks the top 30 by the time he’s done, and of the current quarterbacks who aren’t included here, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers seem to be the best bets to be in this discussion by the time their careers are done.
- Archie Manning
- Bob Griese
- Bob Waterfield
- Boomer Esaison
- Craig Morton
- Dave Krieg
- Donovan McNabb
- Drew Bledsoe
- Eli Manning
- Jack Kemp
- Jim Hart
- Jim Plunkett
- John Hadl
- Joe Namath
- Joe Theismann
- Ken Stabler
- Kerry Collins
- Phil Simms
- Randall Cunningham
- Roman Gabriel
- Ron Jaworski
- Vinny Testaverde
Now, for the actual Dubsism list of the 30 Greatest Quarterbacks to date:
30) Ken Anderson
Never a champion, but never a loser either. Despite the fact that Anderson played for some bad Cincinnati Bengal teams, that might be the best way to describe him. Anderson is the best quarterback who isn’t going to get into the Hall of Fame. The best thing on Anderson’s “great quarterback resume” is the fact he made the Bengals relevant for close to a decade and a half despite the fact the “Queen City Kitties” are one of the historic dysfunctional franchises in all of sport.
Even though he likely never gets into Canton, Anderson does have Hall of Fame worthy numbers as a passer; his stats are better than several guys long since immortalized in bronze. Granted his won-loss record in the regular season isn’t spectacular, but Anderson may be the best post-season quarterback who never won a championship. Anderson’s post-season passer rating is second only to Joe Montana, and that also happens to be the guy to whom Anderson lost his only Super Bowl appearance. Not to mention, Anderson’s 1982 single-season record of a completion percentage of 70.6% stood for 27 years; since when it has been passed twice by a guy who is likely to end up in the top ten of this list: Drew Brees.
29) Steve McNair
Steve McNair is the first example on this list of a quarterback who could beat you with his arm or his feet. His career year in 2000 with the Tennessee Titans exemplifies that. McNair registered career passing highs with 3,350 passing yards, 264 completions, 21 passing touchdowns, and a 90.2 quarterback rating. On top of that, he was also one of the team’s most effective rushers, tying for the team lead in rushing scores with five. This multi-faceted attack allowed McNair to become both the Titans’ all-time leading passer and one of the great running quarterbacks in NFL history.
McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times, as well as once with the Baltimore Ravens. He came within one infamous play – the last-second, just-short-of-the-goal line completion to Kevin Dyson – of winning a Super Bowl. McNair was a three-time Pro Bowler and was All-Pro and Co-NFL MVP in 2003.
28) George Blanda
Throughout 26 seasons and 340 games in professional football as a quarterback and place-kicker, George Blanda was known for his toughness, versatility and longevity. He led the Houston Oilers to the first two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961. It took the Dallas Texans (later the Kansaa City Chiefs) double -overtime to keep Blanda and the Oilers from a “three-peat.”
Blanda’s professional career started for $600 in 1949. While the Chicago Bears primarily used Blanda as a quarterback and placekicker, he also saw time on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker. It would not be until 1953 that Blanda would emerge as the Bears’ top quarterback, but an injury the following year effectively ended his first-string status. For the next four years, he was used mostly in a kicking capacity.
Blanda retired after the 1958 NFL season because of Bears owner George Halas insistence of only using him as a kicker, but returned in 1960 upon the formation of the American Football League. He signed with the Houston Oilers again as a quarterback and kicker. He was derided by the sports media as an “NFL Reject,” but he went on to lead the Oilers to the first two championships in AFL history, and he was the All-AFL quarterback and won AFL Player of the Year honors in 1961. During that season, he led the AFL with 3,330 passing yards and a record 36 touchdown passes. That record, although tied by the Giants’ Y.A. Tittle in 1963, was not surpassed in pro football until 1984 when the Dolphins’ Dan Marino tossed 48 scores.
In 1962, Blanda had two 400-yard passing days for the Oilers; a 464-yard, 4 touchdown effort against the Buffalo Bills and a 418-yard, 7 touchdown blasting of the New York Titans. Blanda threw at least 4 touchdowns 13 times during his career and once attempted 68 passes in one game. Blanda would have easily been comfortable in today’s pass-happy game; from 1963 to 1965, Blanda led the AFL in passing attempts and completions, and ranked in the top ten for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns during seven consecutive seasons. A four-time member of the American Football League All-Star team, Blanda’s already-long career seemed over when he was released by the Oilers in 1967. However, the Oakland Raiders signed him later that year, seeing his potential as a contributing backup passer and a dependable kicker.
During the 1967 season, Blanda’s kicking saw him lead the AFL in scoring with 116 points. The Raiders went on to compete in Super Bowl II, but the following two seasons ended in heartbreak as they lost in the AFL Championship games both times. In 1970, Blanda was released during the preseason, but bounced back to establish his 21st professional season with one of the most dramatic comebacks in sports history. Beginning with the game at Pittsburgh, Blanda put together five straight clutch performances.
Against the Steelers, Blanda threw for three touchdowns in relief of an injured Daryle Lamonica. One week later, his 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining salvaged a 17–17 tie with the Kansas City Chiefs. Against the Browns, Blanda once again came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to tie the game with 1:34 remaining, then kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds left for the 23–20 win. Immediately after the winning field goal, Raiders radio announcer Bill King excitedly declared, “George Blanda has just been elected King of the World!” In the Raiders’ next game, Blanda again replaced Lamonica in the fourth quarter and connected with Fred Biletnikoff on a touchdown pass with 2:28 remaining to defeat the Denver Broncos. The streak concluded one week later when Blanda’s 16-yard field goal in the closing seconds defeated the San Diego Chargers, 20–17.
In the AFC title game against the Baltimore Colts, Blanda again relieved an injured Lamonica and had a superb performance, completing 17 of 32 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns while also kicking a 48-yard field goal and two extra points, keeping the Raiders in the game until the final quarter, when he was intercepted twice. At 43, Blanda became the oldest quarterback ever to play in a championship game, and was one of the few remaining straight-ahead kickers in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt said in jest, “Why, this George Blanda is as good as his father, who used to play for Houston.” Although he never again played a major role at quarterback, Blanda would serve as the Raiders’ kicker for five more seasons. Blanda played in his last game at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium on January 4, 1976, in the AFC Championship Game at age 48. Blanda went out on a 41-yard field goal and one extra point as the Raiders lost to the Steelers 16-10.
Blanda finished his 26 professional football seasons having completed 1,911 of 4,007 pass attempts for 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns. Blanda also held the NFL record for most interceptions thrown with 277, until Brett Favre broke in 2007. He rushed for 344 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground, kicked 335 of 641 field goals, and 943 of 959 extra points, giving him 2,002 total points. Additional stats include 1 interception, 2 kickoff returns for 19 yards, 22 punts for 809 yards, and 23 fumble recoveries.
In 1976, at the age of 48, he retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
27) Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback to date when he led the Steelers to a 21–10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in his second professional season at the age of 23. Four years later, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl Championship. Roethlisberger never gets credit for what an efficient passer he is because of his ability to scramble and extend plays. He currently ranks 11th all-time in NFL passer rating (92.1), 5th in yards per attempt (8.0), and 12th in completion percentage (63.1%) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 career attempts. He also has a .700 winning percentage in the regular season. Having said all that, Roethisberger has plenty of time to move either up or down on this list.
26) Bart Starr
Starr is the quintessential model of efficiency and not beating one’s self. Starr is not the guy who will blow you away with his huge stats or game-winning plays, but he did lead the Packers dynasty that won five championships in seven years during the 1960s. His .900 winning percentage in the post-season e may be the most efficient passer ever and his 9-1 post season record is the best by a quarterback. As I said, Starr doesn’t have the huge stat sheet, but he does have 5 championships, an NFL MVP award, and 2 Super Bowl MVP’s. Let’s be honest, the great ones win when it matters.
25) Kurt Warner
Warner might just be the ultimate NFL “rags-to-riches” story. During journey from the fields of Iowa to the NFL, Warner at times bagged groceries and starred in the Arena Football. Nobody drafted him out of Northern Iowa and ended up having one the great careers of all time. He was the NFL MVP twice, Super Bowl MVP once, and owns the three highest single-game passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history.
24) Bobby Layne
For a guy who was never considered an “elite” passer, when Layne retired he held the league record’s for most career pass attempts, completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes. He was also one of the best running quarterbacks on this list. He won NFL Championships in 1952, 1953, and 1957, and just missed a fourth in 1954. The Lions haven’t won a championship since the shipped Layne to the Steelers in 1958. Bobby Layne is also the only player on this list who has a Dubsy Award named for him.
23) Norm Van Brocklin
‘The Dutchman” is the only quarterback to split the signal-calling duties with two other Hall of Famers during his career; Bob Waterfield in Los Angeles and Sonny Jurgensen in Philadelphia. Van Brocklin played in 9 Pro Bowls and was a first-team All Pro selection in 1960. He won two NFL championships and is the only quarterback to beat a Vince Lomabardi-coached Packers team in a championship game.
22) Drew Brees
This is a guy who is only going up on this list. After only 10 seasons, he already has 40,000 passing yards, 281 touchdowns, six Pro Bowl Selections, one first-team All-Pro selection and a Super Bowl MVP award. Barring injury, Brees has at least four or five high-level seasons left. Seems to me 400 touchdowns and 60,000 passing yards is in reach. Tack another championship to those numbers and Brees looks to be a top ten quarterback waiting to happen.
21) Len Dawson
Dawson was never flashy, and he never blew your mind with eye-popping statistics, but he was great nevertheless. Efficiency was his main weapon. Dawson led the AFL in completion percentage and passer rating six times and led the Chiefs to three championships. Along the way, he was a six-time AFL All-Star and was the MVP of Super Bowl IV.
20) Y.A. Tittle
Tittle’s is like the 1960’s answer to Jim Kelly. Tittle had the pieces around him and he was good enough to get his guys to the Championship on multiple occassions, but was never able to get over the hump. He came the closest in 1963 when he set a single-season record with 36 touchdown passes; a record that stood until Dan Marino threw 48 touchdowns in 1984.
19) Jim Kelly
Kelly is another quarterback who spent time in an inferior league (the USFL wasn’t a bad league, but it was closer in terms of talent to the CFL than the NFL). Even though he lost them all, playing in four straight Super Bowls was impressive, one can make an argument the Bills were over-matched in talent in two of them. If Scott Norwood makes that field goal in 1991, so many thing change. The Bills become discussed as one of the great teams of all time, the Bills likely win at least one more Championship, and Kelly moves up this list.
18) Warren Moon
The fact that Moon had over 49,000 passing yards and 291 touchdowns in the NFL is astonishing considering he spent the first five years of his pro football career in Canada. Even if one were to consider his CFL stats in the total (which is a bit ridiculous since one would need to assume the talent levels of the two leagues are comparable), he becomes the the only guy besides Brett Favre with 70,000 passing yards and one of only three quarterbacks as of this writing (Favre, Marino) with 400 touchdowns. Moon was never a successful play-off quarterback, but he was selected to nine Pro Bowls was named NFL MVP in 1990.
17) Dan Fouts
If Dan Fouts isn’t the best pure passer on this list, there’s no denying he is in the top three. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and was twice a first-team All-Pro. He was the first to throw for over 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, and his 4,802 passing yards in 1981 was a single-season record. However, his won-loss record was only 86-84-1, and he never appeared in a Super Bowl, having gone 0-2 in conference championship games.
16) Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw started out as a bumpkin in cleats, and ended up winning four Super Bowls. However, in between, Bradshaw was a model of inconsistency. He would rapidly alternate between greatness and gruesome. He put together seasons which made him a 3-time Pro Bowler and once was named first-team All-Pro; he also had seasons in which he threw 25 interceptions, or only completed 45% of his passes, or got benched for some other reason. Inconsistency is a brutal enough factor to keep a league MVP and two-time Super Bowl MVP in the bottom half of this list.
15) Fran Tarkenton
Tarkenton greatness as a passer gets overlooked largely because he was such great runner (3,674 yards) and he was the first quarterback to lose three Super Bowls. His 47,000 career passing yards was #1 all-time when he retired. He completed 60 percent of his passe sin five of his final six seasons, which is incredible given that he played for 18 seasons, and at the time a completion rate that high was not common.
14) Brett Favre
Brett Favre was the ultimate riverboat gambler. He played at a high level into his 40’s. Of all the records he set, the one that nobody who is alive today will live long enough to see broken is 285 consecutive starts. He’s got 70,000+ passing yards, 500+ touchdowns, and he was an 11-time Pro Bowler, 3-time first team All-Pro, and a 3-time league MVP. That seems like a guy who should be in the top five. So, why isn’t he?
For starters, the fact that he threw 336 career interceptions, which is almost 60 more than the 2nd-place guy. More importantly, he threw way too many of those picks in crunch time, which helps to explain how a quarterback with a 186-112 regular season win-loss record was only a 13-11 performer in the play-offs, and only 3-6 in conference champiosnhip games and Super Bowls.
13) Troy Aikman
The New York Mets offered Aikman a contract when he came out of high school, but instead he chose to pursue football. 94 career wins, three Super Bowl championships and six Pro Bowls later, Aikman landed in the Hall of Fame as the quarterback with the most wins in any decade until he was surpassed by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Aikman retired as the Cowboys passer despite the fact his career was cut short by injury issues.
12) Roger Staubach
The only reason Roger Staubach isn’t higher on this list is his career simply wasn’t long enough to rack up big numbers. He was a 27-year-old rookie in 1969 because he had a four-year service commitment after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. His career gets even shorter when you consider that head coach Tom Landry didn’t name him as the full-time starter until 1971. But when he was on the field, there was none better. Between 1971 and 1979, Staubach won two Super Bowls and was a six-time Pro Bowler. The fact that he put up over 22,000 passing yards and 2,2200 rushing yards in what really amounted to only 9 full seasons, it isn’t hard to see that if Staubach had a more traditional-length career, he would easily be a top ten guy.
11) Tom Brady
Here’s where this is going to get ugly. I’m positive I’m going to get a lot of comments about how Brady should rate much higher than #11. No offense, but anybody who thinks that right now Tom Brady is a top ten quarterback now is blind to some crucial facts. But first, let’s look at the things that got Brady on to the list in the first place.
Brady’s NFL record of 358 consecutive passing attempts without an interception would be astounding in any era. So would the fact that he has three NFL Championships and two Super Bowl MVP awards. So would his .700+ winning percentage as a starting quarterback. Oddly enough, Brady’s accomplishments are somewhat over-valued by the era he played in.
First of all, he shares a major problem with Peyton Manning. Their lack of mobility coupled with rule changes made in the last twenty years mean neither would have been able to play before the 1970’s when quarterbacks really were “fair game.”
Second of all, Brady is great, but he simply isn’t that much better than many of his current colleagues…his 50 touchdowns or 5,000 passing yards aren’t such shocking numbers as they were in 1984 when Dan Marino was the first to approach them. The league values the forward pass, and has made rule changes to facilitate the passing game.
Lastly, I understand that Brady’s 5 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Super Bowl wins is a major accomplishment, but it’s also fair to look at Brady’s playoff performances in the years since the last of the those Super Bowl wins at the end of the 2004 season. In 12 play-off games since the last Super Bowl win, Tom Brady and the Patriots are only 7-5. More astounding are the stats for an average Tom Brady performance in those games: 23/36, 64% completion percentage, 256 yards, 2.17 touchdowns, and 1.42 interceptions.
Most of those numbers are acceptable, the touchdown to interception ration is the killer. For a guy who is supposed to be a great pure passer, and for a guy who holds that record of 358 consecutive passing attempts without an interception, having more three INT games than 0 INT games in your last 12 playoff performances kills ratings in categories like “Skill as a Passer” and “Performance in the Clutch”
10) Peyton Manning
Obviously, as of this writing, we have no idea if Manning’s career is over or not. As it stands right now, I believe Manning has earned the accolades which make him top ten all-time quarterback. Given the criteria we’ve established for making this list, the only way he moves up is to win another Super Bowl or league MVP award, neither of which seem very likely. Conversely, the only way he moves down is if another quarterback passes him.
Having said that, let’s look at what has made Peyton Manning a top ten quarterback. Nobody as of this date has won four NFL MVP awards. Peyton is the fastest quarterback in history to reach 4,000 completions and 50,000 passing yards. He is also an 11-time Pro Bowler and has been selected All-Pro eight times. Given all that, why is he only at #10 on this list?
For starters, Manning suffers greatly in two categories, Performance in the “clutch” and athleticism. Manning’s play-off record is dismal and Manning, like Brady, is an immobile pocket passer who would have only flourished in this league in the last twenty years. Put him and Brady in the 1960’s when defenders were allowed to literally beat the stuffing out of quarterbacks and neither of them would have survived.
9) Sid Luckman
To understand why Sid Luckman is in the top ten, you really have to consider the power of the difference in eras, and the length of season and individual careers. Considering Luckman played in an era when the forward pass was treated as a “trick” play, it’s difficult to look at sheer numbers and appreciate his greatness without considering the difference in eras. While Sammy Baugh (see #6) was inventing the modern passing game in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Luckman’s 2,194 passing yards and 28 touchdowns in 1943 seemed like an impossiblilty in those days; it would be roughly equal to a quarterback tossing for more than 6,800 yards and 57 touchdowns today. Luckman won four Championships and still holds the NFL record for touchdown pass percentage (7.9), and his 8.4 yards per pass attempt is second only to Otto Graham.
8 ) Sonny Jurgensen
Jurgensen is perhaps the #2 or #3 pure passer of all-time. Vince Lombardi once said that Jurgensen was the best he’d ever seen. Jurgensen was the dominant quarterback of the 1960’s. He led the NFL in passing yards five times (good for second-place all-time which he shares with Dan Marino) and led the league in passing touchdowns twice. Even though he spent time as a back-up early in his career, if he played today, an average Jurgensen season would be ~ 4,800 passing yards, yards and 37 touchdowns against 11 interceptions per season.
7) Steve Young
In terms of athleticism, Young ranked second behind John Elway. Young had a run of dominance emjoyed by only a select few in league history, but it was only long enough to rate him at #7 on this list. Young easily could have rated as high as Elway in the overall rankings had he not wasted two seasons in the USFL, two seasons in Tampa Bay, and played back-up to Joe Montana for four more. By the time he became the starter in San Francisco, half his career was over, but in the seasons he started, Young was a seven-time Pro Bowler, first team All-Pro three times, two-time NFL MVP and won a Super Bowl in which he was also the MVP. By the way, in that Super Bowl, he threw a record six touchdown passes. That’s just for openers on Young’s impressive stats. He retired with the highest career passer rating (98.6), he had a passer rating of 100 or greater in seven seasons, while racking up 4,239 career rushing yards and 43 rushing touchdowns.
6) Sammy Baugh
Without a doubt, Sammy Baugh is the greatest all-around football player on this list. At one time, Baugh held 13 NFL records at three different positions (quarterback, punter, and defensive back). As a quarterback, spot number six may be too low. Even though he retired 60 years ago, Baugh is still the record-holder for most years leading the league in passing yards. Baugh is still the record-holder for most years with the lowest interception percentage. Baugh was a 6-time Pro Bowler, a 4-time first team All-Pro, and he won two NFL Championships. The most amazing performance was Baugh’s 335 passing yards when he led the Washington Redskins over the Chicago Bears in the 1937 NFL Championship game. Remember, the league average for passing yards that season was 102.2 yards per game, so Baugh’s performance would be like somebody throwing for about 750 yards today. Oh, and he was a rookie when he did it. It’s still the best performance for a rookie quarterback in a playoff game.
5) Dan Marino
Marino is the highest ranked guy on this list that never won a Championship, and it really doesn’t matter. No matter what your criteria, if Marino doesn’t grade out as a top five quarterback, your list is wrong. His 48 touchdown, 5,000-yard campaign in 1984 is one of the great single-season performances in all of sport, not just football. Marino retired holding many NFL passing records, including total yards, touchdowns, and career completions.
4) John Elway
Not only is Elway perhaps the best pure athlete on this list, he also made so many mediocre players around him better. Tremendous athleticism. He was Vince Young, except he could throw it accurately to any place on the field. Elway made legitimate receiving threats out of no-names like Ricky Nattiel, Mark Jackson, and Vance Johnson, and the threat of Elway’s passing game meant defenders played back in coverage, which allowed bench-jockeys like Gaston Green, Bobby Humphrey, and Sammy Winder to become Pro Bowlers at running back. all earned Pro Bowl berths taking handoffs from Elway.
Elway’s five 5 Super Bowl appearances ties him (as of this writing) with Tom Brady, and while he lost three of them, Elway’s dominating performances were the sole reason the Broncos mattered for a decade and a half. Along the way, Elway won two championships, was selected to nine Pro Bowls, was a Super Bowl MVP, and 1987 NFL MVP. Not to mention, he was nicknamed “Captain Comeback” because pulling a fourth-quarter comeback might as well be called an “Elway.”
3) Joe Montana
Montana wasn’t big and athletic. Montana wasn’t lightning quick. Montana didn’t have the quickest release. But he was the definition of “cool under pressure;” the ice water which flowed through his veins allowed him to dissect defenses with surgical precision. This is why in a 10-year span in San Francisco, Montana won four Super Bowls, was named Super Bowl MVP three times, and was NFL MVP twice.
2) Johnny Unitas
Unitas was a three-time NFL MVP and was first-team All-Pro five times. Unitas has 3 championships, 10 Pro Bowls, was voted All-Pro 6 times., and still holds the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (47) ; a record which has been on the books for 52 years.
More importantly, he was the inventor of the modern passing game. Unitas revolutionized the game, without him there would be none of the guys the under-40 crowd will try to claim are greater than he was.
1) Otto Graham
Anything you say about Otto Graham starts with this sentence: Graham was the greatest winner in the history to date of pro football. Given the listed criteria this list with which this list was built, “Automatic Otto” was a lead-pipe cinch for the top spot. Graham was the living, breathing definition of what being a pro quarterback is. Stack him up against the criteria:
Toughness/Durability: Graham played in an era when there were few rules to prevent defenders from turning quarterback into potted plants. Graham never missed a game, even after having his face split open in a game in 1953. Graham returned to that game with 15 stitches in his mouth to lead his team to a comeback win.
Leadership: Before his career in football, Graham served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. After his pro football days, he served as the head football coach and athletic director at the U.S. Coast guard Academy
Winning as a Team: In his entire 10-year professional football career, Graham never finished a season without playing in a championship game. That means in 10 years, he played in 10 championship games and won 7 of them. That’s more than twice as many championship appearances as Joe Montana or Terry Bradshaw, with nearly twice as many victories. Not to mention, his regular season winning percentage of 80% is still the all-time record as well.
Athleticism: With 44 career rushing touchdowns, there’ really no question that Graham was top-flight athlete. Not to mention, he spent a year playing professional basketball with the Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings).
Skill as a Passer: Just look at the numbers. 9.0 yards per pass attempt still ranks #1 on the all-time list, his career passer rating is the highest on this list and his interception percentage is the lowest.
Performance in the “clutch:” .700 winning percentage in championship games, and an .800 winning percentage overall. That ought to cover it.
Ability as Compared to Others in his Era: Because Graham spent the first four years of his career with the Cleveland Browns while they were still part of the All-American Football Conference (AAFC), and because the NFL doesn’t recognize AAFC championships or statistics, Graham rarely gets a high ranking in most discussions. That’s just ridiculous for a host of reasons, not the least of which was the fact Graham and the Browns dominated the NFL after the leagues merged in 1950. In many respects, the AAFC was a better league than the NFL, and the NFL recognizes AFL records.
Administrative decisions aside, there’s really no debating Otto Graham is the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Now for the fun part: I’m hoping you will comment on this list, but before you do, consider the following. When you are going to tell me about how wrong I am, be sure to include what you would have done differently. Otherwise, go make your own list
-Dubsism is a proud member of the Sports Blog Movement
Seriously, I have no idea where to start with this rant. Viking fans have always been a bit delusional; they have to be to be fans of a team that has given them the “Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown treatment” more often than Lucy herself gave it to Charlie Brown.
But that delusion got turbo-charged once the sold they souls on that whole Brett Favre affair. Make no mistake, it is the Favre thing that took the Vi-queens from “Ehhh, Whatever” to “I hope every Viking fan gets sodomized by a syphilitic, eight-penised, laser-breathing space demon.”
Face it, you Purple Failure Eaters, The Brett Favre episode turned you into the whiniest fans ever. If you doubt that, all you have to do is refer back to the precious few days after the NFC Championship loss to the New Orleans Saints. You chose to ignore the fact your team committed five turnovers, you chose to ignore the fact that had it not been for those five turnovers you would have won by at least two touchdowns, and you chose to ignore that your offensive line sucked so bad that your quarterback, the sainted King Brett I, got his ass handed to him so badly that he panicked his way into that final deal-killing interception.
Instead of accepting the reality that you clearly didn’t deserve to win, instead you claimed the Saints “played dirty” and refused to accept the legitimacy of the Saints’ victory.
This exemplifies the fundamental lesson to which Viking fans have been oblivious for a half-century: Whining stands in the way of winning. Quit bitching about how the referees screwed you, quit bitching about how the other team cheated, and quit bitching about all the other small-change bullshit you point out rather than accept that your football team has never made the jump from good to great. In fact, the Vikings don’t even know the difference, let alone being able to make that last step.
The Favre episode was just the purest distillation of the Minnesota Viking credo: don’t bother to improve your team, rather just make a bunch of excuses. Face another thing, there a reason why the following list exists:
- 0-4 Super Bowl record
- No Super Bowl Appearance since 1977
- 4 NFC Championship Game losses since the last Super Bowl appearance
- The “Whizzinator”
- The Love Boat on Lake Minnetonka
While those things are in the past, they are just the mile markers on the road the Vikings are still on. Sunday night’s drubbing at the hands of the exceptionally tepid Chicago Bears proves that. By benching a quarterback they never should have signed in the first place, the Vikings are admitting they’ve made yet another mistake.
There’s an old cliche from the world of literature that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. That should be the mantra of the Minnesota Vikings. With what has happened since the last Super bowl appearance in 1977, it is clear the Vikings do not understand the importance of the quarterback position. And now it continues with Christian Ponder.
Look at this list of the guys who have gotten under center for the Vikings since then (number of games started in parentheses).
- 1977 Fran Tarkenton (9) / Bob Lee (4) / Tommy Kramer (1)
- 1978 Fran Tarkenton (16)
- 1979 Tommy Kramer (16)
- 1980 Tommy Kramer (15) / Steve Dils (1)
- 1981 Tommy Kramer (14) / Steve Dils (2)
- 1982 Tommy Kramer (9) (Season shortened by strike)
- 1983 Steve Dils (12) / Tommy Kramer (3) / Wade Wilson (1)
- 1984 Tommy Kramer (9) / Wade Wilson (5) / Archie Manning (2)
- 1985 Tommy Kramer (15) / Wade Wilson (1)
- 1986 Tommy Kramer (13) / Wade Wilson (3)
- 1987 Wade Wilson (7) / Tommy Kramer (5) / Tony Adams (3) (Season shortened by strike)
- 1988 Wade Wilson (10) / Tommy Kramer (6)
- 1989 Wade Wilson (12) / Tommy Kramer (4)
- 1990 Rich Gannon (12) / Wade Wilson (4)
- 1991 Rich Gannon (11) / Wade Wilson (5)
- 1992 Rich Gannon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4)
- 1993 Jim McMahon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4)
- 1994 Warren Moon (15) / Sean Salisbury (1)
- 1995 Warren Moon (16)
- 1996 Warren Moon (8) / Brad Johnson (8)
- 1997 Brad Johnson (13) / Randall Cunningham (3)
- 1998 Randall Cunningham (14) / Brad Johnson (2)
- 1999 Jeff George (10) / Randall Cunningham (6)
- 2000 Daunte Culpepper (16)
- 2001 Daunte Culpepper (11) / Todd Bouman (3) / Spergon Wynn (2)
- 2002 Daunte Culpepper (16)
- 2003 Daunte Culpepper (14) / Gus Frerotte (2)
- 2004 Daunte Culpepper (16)
- 2005 Daunte Culpepper (7) / Brad Johnson (9)
- 2006 Brad Johnson (14) / Tarvaris Jackson (2)
- 2007 Tarvaris Jackson (12) / Kelly Holcomb (3) / Brooks Bollinger (1)
- 2008 Gus Frerotte (11) / Tarvaris Jackson (5)
- 2009 Brett Favre (16)
- 2010 Brett Favre (13) / Tarvaris Jackson (1) / Joe Webb (2)
- 2011 Donovam McNabb (6) / Christian Ponder (?)
That’s quite a list of shame, but it’s nothing compared to the list of horrible player personnel decisions the Vikings have made. It certainly helps to explain why a team with talent never seems to win anything.
Let’s take a look.
1963 – Ron Vanderkelen
Vanderkelen foreshadows the Vikings’ inability to scout quarterbacks, but it’s hard to blame them for this one. But in retrospect, it fits the pattern. The Vikes drafted Vanderkelen based largely on his insane record-breaking performance in the 1963 Rose Bowl.
Then, he backed that up with a huge performance in the 1963 Chicago College All-Star Game, which featured a college all-star team against the defending NFL champion Green Bay Packers. Vanderkelen’s 74-yard touchdown strike leads the college kids to a 20-17 over the Pack, and Vanderkelen was named the MVP.
The trouble was all this hype hid the fact that Vanderkelen wasn’t ever going to be an NFL quarterback, a fact he proved after the Vikings traded Fran Tarkenton in 1967, despite the fact he was the back-up for four years.
1969 – Gary Cuozzo
This is likely the beginning of the long Viking tradition of not understanding the quarterback position, and making bad moves in support of that. Minnesota coveted Cuozzo, who was the backup to Johnny Unitas and the first starting quarterback for the then expansion New Orleans Saints. The Vikings gave up a first-round draft pick to New Orleans for a guy who threw more interceptions than touchdowns (43 TD, 55 INT).
1971 – Leo Hayden
The Vikings were in need of a running back, and the best available guy, John Riggins, was already off the board. Hayden racked up 1,395 rushing yards with seven rushing TDs in three years at Ohio State. This is why the Vikings made Hayden their first-round pick in the 1971 Draft. The problem was Hayden never gained a single yard for the Minnesota Vikings, and they passed over two future Hall-of-Famers (LB Jack Ham, T Dan Dierdorf) to pick Hayden.
1972 – Jeff Siemon
When the Vikings traded QB Joe Kapp to the Patriots, they got the 10th overall pick in the 1972 draft, which they used to select Siemon, a linebacker from Stanford. Two picks later the Steelers selected future Hall-of-Famer RB Franco Harris
1982 – Darrin Nelson
This may be the worst. The Vikings take Nelson, an undersized running back out of Stanford, with the 7th overall pick; two of the next three picks are Hall-of-Famers G Mike Munchak and RB Marcus Allen.
1983 – Joey Browner
While Browner was a pretty solid safety, a team that needed a quarterback passed on Ken O’Brien and Dan Marino.
1989 and 1990 – Herschel Walker
In what may be the worst trade in sports history… the Vikings wound up with the most overrated running back in the NFL; in return they basically gave the Cowboys two Super Bowl championships.
In this deal, the Minnesota Vikings received:
- RB Herschel Walker
- Dallas’s 3rd round pick – 1990 (54th) (Mike Jones)
- San Diego’s 5th round pick – 1990 (116th) (Reggie Thornton)
- Dallas’s 10th round pick – 1990 (249th) (Pat Newman)
- Dallas’s 3rd round pick – 1991 (68th) (Jake Reed)
In return, the Dallas Cowboys received:
- LB Jesse Solomon
- LB David Howard
- CB Issiac Holt
- RB Darrin Nelson (traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas)
- DE Alex Stewart
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1990 (21st – traded this pick along with the 81st pick for the 17th pick from Pittsburgh to draft Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1990 (47th) (Alexander Wright)
- Minnesota’s 6th round pick in 1990 (158th – traded this pick to New Orleans, who drafted James Williams)
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (12) (Alvin Harper)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (38) (Dixon Edwards)
- Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (37) (Darren Woodson)
- Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (71) (traded to New England, who drafted Kevin Turner)
- Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1993 (conditional) – (13th – traded this pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who then to the Houston Oilers, who drafted Brad Hopkins)
If it weren’t enough that the Vikings gave up five established players, the Cowboys ended up with a total of six of Minnesota’s picks over the succeeding years. Just look at the names of the solid up to Hall-of-Fame players the Cowboys got as a result of this deal.
There’s more that aren’t even listed here. As a result stock-piling the draft picks, the Cowboys used them to make subsequent trades, one of which landed the first overall draft pick in 1991, which was used to draft Russell Maryland.
1993 – Robert Smith
Having Herschel Walker obviously whetted the Viking appetite for over-rated running backs. the Vikings used the 21st pick to take Smith out of Ohio State, who really never lives up to expectations. Smith’s eight-year career only ever sees him play a full season once, and while in that one season he actually looks like a first-round pick, meanwhile one can argue the Vikings get a much better bang for their buck by taking three-time Pro Bowl DT Dana Stubblefield with this pick.
1995 – Derrick Alexander
This one is easy to see as a huge mistake. The Vikings are in need of a big-time pass-rusher, which prompts them to take Alexander from Florida State with the 11th pick. With the very next pick, the Buccaneers select future Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp.
1996 – Duane Clemens and Moe Williams
This is the same mistakes as the Vikes made in the previous season, yet it is compounded by who the Vi-queens passed on to take a player who garnered just 18.5 sacks in his entire career: WR Marvin Harrison, G Pete Kendall, and LB Ray Lewis.
A 3rd round pick from the University of Kentucky, Moe Williams only ever had one decent year in his career, 2003: when he posted 745 rushing yards and 644 receiving yards. But he never amounted to much more than a quasi-useful 3rd-down back, not something for which the Vikings should have passed over LB Tedy Bruschi or WR Terrell Owens.
1998 – Randy Moss
Sharpen you crayons, Viking Fans, because this is Part I of “Stuff you are going to write me hate mail about.”
Granted, Randy Moss was one of the most exciting players in NFL history, and he was for a time the best receiver in the business. Seriously, the guy had amazing hands and had some physical tools that defied belief…
There are a few facts which almost completely obviate his talents during his tenure in Minnesota. When you are assessing whether a player is correctly valued, EVERYTHING has to be taken into account, not just the “sexy” or the “feel-good” stuff.
FACT: Moss disappeared in the play-offs.
FACT: Moss only played half of his career in Minnesota; being traded away largely because he was such a douchebag.
FACT: Moss’ tendency to play “when he wanted to” completely eroded his over-all value. Not being a complete player when you have superior talent makes you inferior.
This is why the Vikings would have been better served taking 6-time All-Pro G Alan Faneca with this pick. Faneca was a 9-time Pro Bowler, one of the best at his position throughout his career, and not a total dick.
1999 – Daunte Culpepper and Dimitrius Underwood
Here’s Part II of “Stuff Viking Fans are going to write me hate mail about.” Face it, 1999 is the year of the over-rated quarterback, and the Vikes fell for it. In the first round of that year, five QBs were selected: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Culpepper, and Cade McNown.
The Vikes blew a 12th round pick on Culpepper, a lunch-wagon sized deep-ball artist from Central Florida. The trouble was that was all he could do; Culpepper never had a season worth mentioning without Randy Moss. The Vikings could have eliminated a lot of the offensive line problems they would have in the following decade as T John Tait, C/G Damien Woody, T Matt Stinchcomb, G Luke Petitgout, and T L. J. Shelton were all available.
But 1999 is a double feature; later in the first-round the Vikings inexplicably blow the 29th pick on Dimitrius Underwood, defensive lineman from Michigan State who was both highly regarded as being an above average player, but also came with a warning label that he had some serious psychological issues which were clearly going to be an impediment to his moving to the next level as a player. Underwood didn’t even make it through a week of training camp before the personal issues which would be his downfall became apparent.
2001 – Michael Bennett
If Wal-Mart sold a Guatemalan-made, low-quality knock-off of Robert Smith, it would be Michael Bennett. Bennett only lasts five seasons in Minnesota, during which time he only tops 500 rushing yards in a season once. The Vikes pass on WR Reggie Wayne, TE Todd Heap, and if they hadn’t made the Culpepper mistake two years prior, this is where they could have ended their quarterback problems by taking Drew Brees.
2002 – Bryant McKinnie
Where do we start here: Is it his nearly complete failure to live up to the hype which surrounded him? Or was it his complete failure to be more than overpaid, overweight bag of cold cuts? Or is it the staggering number of top-flight NFL players that were selected after him ( S Roy Williams, DE Dwight Freeney, WR Donte Stallworth, TE Jeremy Shockey, DT Albert Haynesworth, CB Philip Buchanon, S Ed Reed, and CB Lito Sheppard)?
2005 – Troy Williamson and Erasmus James
Taken with the 7th pick overall, Williamson was supposed to be a replacement for Randy Moss as he was a “vertical threat” blessed with monstrous natural speed. Too bad he couldn’t catch the damn ball.
Meanwhile, James was selected as a defensive end with the 18th overall pick from Wisconsin. In college, he was a one-man wrecking crew on the D-line, racking up 124 tackles (25.5 for losses), 18 sacks, 28 quarterback hurries, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and six pass deflections. In the NFL, was just a wreck; he only notched five sacks in four years.
Worse yet, here is another example of the Culpepper effect. Because the Vikings were in love with this lard-ass, they passed TWICE on Aaron Rodgers.
2006 – Chad Greenway
A “role player at best” linebacker drafted in front of a “shutdown corner” (Antonio Cromartie), a legit “big-play” receiver (Santonio Holmes), and the best center in the game (Nick Mangold).
2008 – Tyrell Johnson and Jared Allen
There’s a reason why you never heard of Tyrell Johnson. The Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick in 2008 thanks in part to the exceptionally-stupid Jared Allen trade, but there was really no excuse for taking a safety from Arkansas State who would never be more than a role-player when play-makers like RB Matt Forte, WR DeSean Jackson, and RB Ray Rice were still on the board.
Let’s go back to that Jared Allen trade for a minute. This completes the “Stuff Viking fans will write me hate mail about” trilogy.
Kansas City sent Allen and a sixth-round draft pick in 2008 for the No. 17 overall pick, two third-round picks and a sixth-round pick. Kansas City turned the picks into T Branden Albert, RB Jamaal Charles, S DaJuan Morgan, and WR Kevin Robinson. The Vikings turned the Chiefs’ sixth-round pick into C John Sullivan.
In other words, the Vikings provided the Chiefs with a feature running back, a better-than-average offensive tackle, and two non-factors for a barely-mediocre center and a bloated contract for a one-dimensional pass-rusher who gets fat on C-list offensive line talent. More importantly, it’s time for a dirty little football secret: Sacks are the most over-rated stat in football.
Don’t believe that? Consider the following: Out of the top ten individual sack leaders going into this weekend’s schedule, only two play on play on a defense in the top ten in passing yards allowed; Cullen Jenkins (5 sacks) and Jason Babin (7 sacks). They both play for the Eagles, who are ranked 10th. Jared Allen leads the league with 8.5 sacks, and the Vikings rank 24th in passing yards allowed. Obviously, having a guy that piles up sacks doesn’t help your overall pass defense.
Now, for the final nail in the Jared Allen coffin – he gets paid a shockingly high amount of money for fractionally more than one sack per game. Jared Allen’s salary counts for $11.6 million against salary cap, or roughly $1.36 million per sack. That’s the bottom line, and that’s for a guy who only offers a pass-rush; Allen has proven he is worthless against the running game. There’s literally tons of quality defensive ends out there for far less money and who can actually play against the run.
2009 – Percy Harvin
I will admit, it may be early to say this, but this guy can’t get on the field with regularity and he underperforms when he does (but in his defense it’s not like the Vikings have had a quarterback to get him the ball). More worrisome is the guys developing a s real playmakers who the Vikings passed up, such as LB Clay Matthews, and WRs Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.
2010 – Randy Moss (again)
You ran this guy out of town once, then literally gave away a 3rd round draft pick for 13 receptions. The worst part is with that pick, The Patriots may have taken the quarterback you should have.
The Christian Ponder era starts on Sunday, and while nobody knows what the future will bring, the Vikings past history makes me nervous. The problem is the Vikings emulate their fans; at the end of the day they are both decidedly Minnesotan.
Trust me, I lived there for 15 years. Those phlegmatic descendants of Northern Europeans who wore real horns on their helmets never, ever change their ways no matter how obviously wrong they are. They don’t trust anybody who doesn’t live within 150 miles of the town they were born in, they bitch endlessly about things they can easily be changed rather than changing them, and they ostracize anybody who dare challenge this Minnesota mantra. Naturally, their football team which wears painted-on horns emulates those characteristics.
Maybe I’m to blame. After all, I’m the one who is continuing to watch the re-runs of “Golden Girls” and expecting Rose to get smarter. Whether you are an individual or a team, if you’re going to make the jump from “good” to “great,” you have to address the key issues. You have to want to improve and you have to address the proper things.
If you are the Vikings or their fans, this mean confronting your own ineptitude and your own choke artist tendencies. If you do that, you’ll stop wasting your time calling your opponents bad people, blaming the referees, and generally brooding over yet another loss.
Who am I kidding? It’s not like it is ever going to change. For some people, the escalator of evolution quit running a while ago. Most Minnesotans are goofy as hell, so is their team, and I just have to live with it.
Sure, I know it’s all about baseball, and I know I just wrote a rant asking this guy to kill himself, which is why after you see this picture, you simply cannot want to see success by the Brewers.
That’s right, today brings us a “Hate Brett Favre” double-feature. The worst part is after we saw this picture, we weren’t sure if that was Favre or longtime REAL brewer Geoff Jenkins.
If you go back to the very first post on this blog posted over two years ago, you will see it was a rant about the ridiculousness that was the end of the Favre’s career. We all know how much fruit that garden has produced; just glance at the tag cloud in the right-hand column of this very page.
Brett, your problem is that you are like the NFL’s version of a rash that simply won’t go away. Our latest example are the comments you recently made regarding his successor with the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers.
I’m not even going to get into what you said, Brett. Don’t think I didn’t notice you pulled that old trick where you say something complimentary (you did admit that Aaron Rodgers was in fact a talented quarterback), but then you tainted that with a back-handed insult by pondering why “it took so long for a quarterback with Aaron’s skills and surrounding talent to achieve a Super Bowl victory.”
The beef I have is that you said anything. After the way you proved at the end of you career what a self-centered little twat you are, the million-dollar question is why does anybody care what a moron like you thinks?
Even throughout your playing days in Green Bay, even in the MVP era, I always suspected you were a douche-nozzle. I was also suspicious that the reason we never heard this was that the small-town Green Bay reporters may have covered up some of your escapades in order to maintain their access to the local star quarterback.
Of course, this ended after the Packers tired of your “I’m retired/I’m not retired” game and pawned you off on the Jets. Once in New York, somehow you managed to keep the whole ‘Wiener Text-Gate” issue quiet until after you got out of town, but by then, all sorts of other things were raining on you.
We all know that story, so there’s no need to dredge it all up again. The trouble is that whenever you shoot off your mouth, it all comes back for us. That’s why for the good of the NFL, its fans, and the human race as a whole, I must ask to you do the honorable thing – kill yourself.
Sure, that may sound rough, but let’s be honest. It’s not like you don’t have some self-destructive qualities. I mean, there was that whole Vicodin addiction, then there’s your suicidal insistence on maintaining that consecutive-games-started streak. It’s obvious you don’t mind self-destruction; why not show us such an act that’s good for somebody other than you for a change?
You really leave me no choice but to offer this suggestion. As rough as it may sound, it’s obvious you won’t ever shut the hell up as long as you are alive, so it’s clear that is the piece of the puzzle that needs to change.
I don’t really care how you do it; only that you do it before some other media outlet puts a microphone in front of you. After all the self-indulgent crap you’ve put us through, Brett, it is high time you did something for football fans everywhere.
There are several key storylines which require all media outlets to discuss in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Seriously, any media outlet, even penny-ante blogs, are required to cover them, lest they have their noses flayed and their genitals set on fire. As usual, to meet our blogospherical canons before the upcoming event, we will inform you, the blog-reading public about why you should not support the Green Bay Packers.
1) Their fans need an instruction manual
Let’s be honest; Packer fans aren’t very bright. Aside from climate, there is only one difference between Wisconsin and Arkansas; the accents. The fact that how to be a football fan needed to be written down for these people only underscores the general lack of intellignece rampant in America’s Dairyland. Even better yet: nobody catches the irony of writing a book for a group which has a shockingly high rate of illiteracy.
2) Lynn Dickey
Lynn Dickey is the best quarterback Packer fans have completely forgotten. In 1996, when the Big Eight expanded to the Big 12 Conference, the Associated Press named Dickey as the All-Time Big Eight Quarterback. Kansas State University has retired the No. 11 to honor Dickey; it is the only number retired by the program. Dickey is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Yet, there isn’t a single Packer fan who knows who he is. If you doubt that, ask any Packer fan who holds the team record of passing yards in a single season. You can ask that question all day long before you get the correct answer. The high point of Dickey’s NFL career came in 1983 when he powered the Packers’ offense to a then-team record 429 points. He threw for 4,458 yards, which remains a team record. Other Packers records that Dickey holds includes highest completion percentage in a game (90.48%), most passing yards in a game (418), and highest average gain in a season (9.21). Yet he is completely forgotten by a franchise that hangs its cheesehead on history.
3) Brett Favre
America blames you, Packer Nation, for foisting this ass-clown upon us. Specifically, if the Packers would have gotten rid of Favre after the 2005 season when it was clear the end was coming, none of us would have had to live through all his bullshit drama in the years since.
4) More Brett Favre
Want to see the 2nd dumbest guy in America? Look for a guy in a Green Bay Packer Brett Favre jersey. Want to see the dumbest guy in America? Look for a guy in a Minnesota Viking Brett Favre jersey.
5) The Cheesehead
There’s not very many ways to look dumber than a guy with a foam-rubber wedge of cheese on his head; although painting the “G” on your face backward is one.
6) The Cheese Bra
Honestly, I’m not sure what to say about this. other than it is so blatantly, so purely wrong. Good thing its not cheese panties, lest the jokes head off in a very bad direction very quickly.
7) Vince Lombardi is not God; Packer fans are all going to hell
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
8 ) Tony Mandarich
Or as I like to call him, the George Washington of the steroid era; Mandarich was the first guy to bring performance enhancing drugs to the forefront in big-time American sports. The Packers ignored all the warning signs surrounding this horse-juice pin-cushion when they wasted the second overall draft pick on him in 1989. Sure, he may have been a physical specimen, but the rumblings were out there his physique came courtesy of the syringe; he may have been a first-team All-American, an Outland Award finalist and a two-time Big Ten Lineman of the Year, but he was also a first-class tool. This was evidenced by his challenging then-heavyweight boxing Champion Mike Tyson to a fight, and constantly missing scheduled public appearances due to being drunk or hungover.
9) These Guys
Man, am I worn thin of all of these guys tricking out firefighter gear for their teams. The Jets ‘ Fireman Ed was the first, and he pre-dated 9/11. All the rest of you are just pretenders. Don’t get me wrong, every firehouse house in the world has two types of firefighters; there will be eight who are the best people on the planet, and there will be two douche-nozzles who bust everybody’s balls over whether the cupcakes are gluten-free. Guess which these two are?
10) Jessica Biel is a Packer fan
Honestly, Biel’s football allegiances matter little, other than her declarations during Super Bowl week just served as a reminder that I’m likely never going to tap that, and for that alone, I can say fuck the Packers.
“No, this time I really mean it…I’m done, I’m retiring from football. I promise I won’t pull the football away, Charlie Brown.”
This time Brett Favre means it. He’s retiring from football. He’s gone so far as to file paperwork with the NFL saying he’s done. That mean’s it official this time, right?
Forgive the “I’ll believe it when I see it” perspective, but King Brett I has retired officially twice before, and has threatened to every year since 2003. So far, he’s always come back. only to return. So why should we believe he’s really walking away this time? Because the paperwork is all just a technicality. The 41-year old quarterback could still decide to return next season; just as he’s done the last three years. He’s done it so many times one could make a quality mash-up of it.
So, here’s how this is going to gown down, Brett. We are all sick of you. We’ve got a belly full of your “I’m in/I’m out” game. It’s time to just go away. See that fuzzy, anonymous woman above? She represents your fan base. These people loved you, now they want you to go away.
So, we gotta ask…
Let’s just cut to the chase here…everybody else does some sort of “Year End” list, here’s our obligatory ramble on what we consider to be the 15 most significant sporting occurrances in 2010.
Honorable mention: The Vuvuzela
What began as a seemingly harmless noisemaker instead became a symbol of what happens when you hold a world-class sporting event in some third-world toilet. I don’t care if it isn’t “politically correct” to say it, but the fact is South Africa is a crime-ridden shithole and holding the Wold Cup there was a complete disaster. Not only is the country a blight by even “poor nation” standards, but it is a ten-hour flight away from the nearest civilized place. Lets’ be even more honest; the reason why South Africa sucks is because it is inhabited by a bunch of low-rent trashballs ; its like every other country on earth rounded up their “Cousin Eddies” and dropped them in South Africa. This is why they had no problem at all ruining every World Cup telecast with the Vuvuzela, a two-dollar plastic horn which when pressed to the lips of a South African emits a droning cacophony similar to a cat stuffed in a bagpipe caught in a washing machine. It speaks volumes about a country that can make one of the world’s great sporting events almost completely unwatchable.
15) All The (Vi)King’s Men Couldn’t Put The HumptyDome Together Again
What else can you say? Combine a stadium built on the cheap, go even cheaper on the maintenance, and add three decades of Minnesota winters, and who could be surprised when this happens? Just be prepared to see this collapse as a precursor to your new Los Angeles Vikings.
14) Connecticut Almost Convinces Us Women’s Basketball Is A Real Sport
But only almost…thankfully, that winning streak finally ended at 90 games last night. Granted, winning that many games in a row in anything is impressive, even if the sport isn’t particularly so. Think anybody cares about women’s basketball? Then tell me how you did in your women’s basketball bracket at the office last year?
13) The World Shuns America At Its Own Expense
It seems nobody wants to play here, given the failure of US World Cup and Olympic Bids. Honestly, I get the Olympic failure since Obama made himself the face of the Chicago bid, and since nobody internationally has nay respect for him and since Chicago is America’s answer to that third-world shithole known as South Africa. But putting the World Cup in Qatar? Seriously?
So, we’d rather have matches played in an atmosphere of possible sudden-death political instability and 200-degree temperatures rather than to be in a country that would pony up top-dollar for this event? I understand there is some sort of Euro-Chic in hating on Uncle Sam now, but before you get to involved in such behavior, you may want to stop to check how many of those hated American dollars flow into such events, then imagine what those events might look like without any American investment.
12) The So-Called Demise of Tiger Woods
I really have a hard time with calling what happened to Tiger Woods a “demise,” which places me in direct contrast with “mainstream sports media.” I understand the guy went through a huge personal drama, and likely got majorly skinned in his divorce, but calling his drop from the #1 golfer in the world to #2 a “demise” is ludicrous. From Merriam-Webster:
Demise: intransitive verb2: to pass by descent or bequest <the property has demised to the king’s heirs>
So, Tiger Woods didn’t win a tournament this year. Boo-fucking-hoo. Phil Mickelson has made a career out of not winning tournaments. How do I become so “dead” that I still earn $1.3 million dollars? How do I become so “dead” that I likely will be the top golfer in the world again within 1 year?
11) Brett Favre Pisses Away His Legacy
How appropriate is it that the last image of King Brett I as a football player we will have is him splayed out on the deck, knocked cold slap 0ut? As sports fans, we may not have seen such a mythic figure bow out so disgracefully since Muhammad Ali…except “The Greatest of All-Time” didn’t sully his reputation with allegations of texting pictures of his weiner to some bimbo. However, in terms of a great athlete just not knowing when to go away, Favre’s huge career, his folk status, and a big chunk of his legacy with a purple arm and pictures of his “purple-headed warrior” all gets flushed simply because he couldn’t realize when the party was over.
Sure the Canadian hockey team won Gold; if they hadn’t, all of the Great White North may have collectively taken their final luge run. Face it, you really couldn’t have a much worse start to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Hours before the Opening Ceremonies, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died after crashing during a training run. The lack of padding and protection on the dangerously fast Whistler sliding track was just the most consequential of problems plaguing these games; a mechanical torch malfunctioned during the opening ceremonies, an ice-resurfacing machine broke down at the speedskating venue, and snow had to flown in for the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events.
But once the media stopped fixating on what some dubbed the “Glitch Games,” there was some real drama. Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette used her long program to clinch a bronze medal. What could be more dramatic than rallying from behind to save the dignity of a nation? Rallying from behind to save the dignity of a nation AND have a freshly-dead mother. ?Two days before the start of the short program, Rochette’s immediate female antecedent suffered a fatal heart attack. Rochette decided to compete anyway, uttering the nearly-standard dead-parent cliche “I know what it’s what my (insert parental reference here) would have wanted me to do.” After skating through her visible grief in the short program, the Canadian fans gave her a rousing ovation.
Why does such syrupy, cliche, quasi-bullshit make the list of such a hard-edged blog like Dubsism? Because after the emotional competition, Rochette pumped 21 words worth of pure truth into the moment when she endearingly eulogized her mother with the quip “even though she is not here any more, I’m not afraid to say sometimes she was a pain in the ass.”
America’s chances for a repeat win in the Ryder Cup looked slimmer than an Ethiopian on P90X, as the Yanks trailed by by three points going into the last day of this year’s prestigious team golf event. But during the singles matches, the Americans mounted a furious comeback against the Europeans. Even Tiger Woods, who was awful iafter his “demise,” throttled his Euro-pponent. The U.S. tied the tournament at 13 ½, with only American Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell left on the course. On the 16th hole McDowell was up 1 hole on Mahan. McDowell only needed to cup a 15-foot birdie putt to prevent an epic European collapse. He drained it, and Mahan blew the next hole, which forced him to concede the match.
8 ) The New Orleans Saints Win
Let’s not lie about anything here, if you wanted to define “shitty” in the history of a sports franchise, the New Orleans Saints would be in that conversation. However, they took a step away from that legacy last February’s Super Bowl XLIV. Funny to think how one gamble could payoff so big for a city that really doesn’t deserve it.
At the start of the second half, the New Orleans Saints trailed the Indianapolis Colts 10-6, and the Colts were set to receive the ball to begin the 2nd half. were set to kick-off. But the Saints pulled off an on-side kick; a maneuver that had it back-fired would have given the Colts excellent field position and a chance to put the game out of reach. However, the gamble paid off, the Saints recovered the kick, and the game’s momentum shifted in an instant. New Orleans marched 58 yards downfield for a touchdown, and went on to win the game 31-17.
“Four years ago who ever thought this would be happening when 85 percent of the city was under water from (Hurricane) Katrina,” said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, the game’s MVP, who completed 32 of 39 passes, for 289 yards, and threw two touchdown passes for a team that had been a perennial loser for most of its 43 seasons in the league. “Most people not knowing if New Orleans would ever come back or if the organization and the team would come back. … This is the culmination of that belief and that faith.”
Fuck all that Katrina shit. Fuck it with a nuclear-powered, reciprocating fuck stick. I’m so tired of hearing about what a tragedy Katrina was. The real tragedy of Katrina was that there was anything left of that absolute shithole afterward. New Orleans is the rectum of North America, and anybody who says they love that city should be forced to live there. When I was a kid, my dad’s job got transferred to the “Big Shitty” and it took no time at all for him to want to get out of that sleaze pit. The average mope who shows up to get drunk in the French Quarter for a weekend would recoil in horror of their surrounding if they had to get their mail there; most of them would be gone within six months.
If you doubt that, ask yourself a question. Look at all the sports franchises that have relocated in the past 40 years and ask yourself why nobody except for the NBA went to New Orleans. Granted, the NFL was already there. But baseball never went to New Orleans; baseball never even considered the “Big Shitty.” When hockey teams flooded the south, nobody went to New Orleans. Even the aforementioned NBA deserted the city in 1979 when the Jazz decided five years was enough, and the current Hornets franchise has taken seven years to end up being owned by the league and destined to relocate. Not to mention the Saints had to be given a deal to keep from leaving until 2025, although that deal is rumored to be chock full of escape clauses which make it entirely possible they depart for another city in the next five years.
The most memorable moment of the World Cup tournament came from the Uruguay/Ghana match. Near the end of extra time in their quarterfinal match with the game tied 1-1, the safe bet was the teams were headed for penalty kicks. Yet Ghana had one last chance to score, on a free kick, and the set piece was a beauty. The ball was delivered towards the goal box, then headed across four Uruguay defenders before the Uruguay keeper batted it down. On the rebound, a Ghanian had a clear shot at the goal, but Uruguay forward Luis Suarez positioned himself perfectly in front of the net to knock this flick off his leg. This rebound floated to the head of Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah, who quickly batted it back towards the net. This time, Suarez had no defense but his hand. This intentional foul gave Ghana a penalty kick, and what looked like an improbable win. A World Cup’s worth of suspense and improbability unfolded over these ten seconds in South Africa.
Then things got even more unreal. Ghana’s best player, Asamoah Gyan, shanked the penalty kick that would have sent an African nation to its first World Cup semifinal, breaking a continent’s heart. Uruguay eventually won on penalty kicks, turning Gyan into the World Cup equivalent of Scott Norwood.
The only, and I mean only reason this gets on this list is timing. Blown calls happen all the time, but this one happened to be out #27 of what should have been a perfect game. When Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga crossed first base with the ball in his glove in the top of the ninth against the Cleveland Indians on June 2 everyone knew he had just completed a perfect game. Everyone, that is, except the umpire.
To the amazement of everyone watching, Jim Joyce ruled that Cleveland’s Jason Donald had actually just beaten Galarraga to the bag after hitting a grounder to the right of Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. You didn’t need the replay except as validation, it was simply a blown call made at the end of a game. How many perfect games got snuffed by a bad call in the third inning? Nobody knows because nobody pays attention to such an event until the seventh.
Rarely has a half-court heave carried the vanquished hopes of so many underdogs. With 3.6 seconds left in the men’s college basketball championship between perennial power and heavy favorite Duke, and small-school underdog Butler playing in front of hometown fans in Indianapolis — it was a script straight out of the movie Hoosiers — Duke clung to a two-point lead. On a second free throw, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski ordered Brian Zoubek to miss , since Butler had no timeouts left, and thus wouldn’t be able to set up a last second-play.
Coach K is a bonafide Hall of Famer, but that strategy was atrocious. The intentional miss gave Butler a chance to win, and the Bulldogs took full advantage. Butler’s Gordon Hayward pulled down the rebound, and dribbled toward half-court: teammate Matt Howard delivered a brutal screen on Duke’s Kyle Singler, giving Hayward a clean look at the hoop. Hayward’s running half-court shot seemed to hang in the air forever. When it finally came down, right on line, many a fan’s gut feeling had it going in. But it bounced off the backboard, and jetted past the rim, and Kryzyzewski won his fourth national title on one of the worst decision is his career.
This is an issue that defines the term “double-edged sword.” On one side, you have a definite need to protect players in an era where we are discovering the long-term physical and mental damage caused by football violence. On the other, you have a sports that actively markets such violence. Rather than continue to walk the tightrope, the NFL acted aggressively, telling players that the league would increase fines and issue suspensions for those who violated safety rules which have actually been in place for several years. The problem is that in the process, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell showed himself to be both a hypocrite and an authoritarian, autocratic leader. This change was brought about by complete executive fiat; there was no warning, there was no consideration of the impact, there was just “do it or else.” This led to a lot of cry-babyism from defensive players, however the larger issue is this has proven to be a wedge issue between the players and the league at a time when the league finds itself perilously close to a work stoppage. Making the matter even worse is that these punishments are being levied in the name of player safety, a claim that rings hollow with players as the league threateend to eliminate health coverage for player as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Certain sports milestones seem simply unreachable; Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, or Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. In cricket, it’s the one-day double-hundred; no man had ever produced 200 runs for his team during a one-day international match. However, in February, India’s Sachin Tendulkar hit the magic milestone against a powerful South African squad. Tendulkar smacked three “sixes” — the cricket equivalent of a home run — during his epic performance. When he reached 199, the home crowd in Gwalior waved Indian flags, and roared, knowing they were about to witness history. The diminutive Tendulkar, dubbed “The Little Master,” slapped a single past the South African fielders. The world’s 1.5 billion cricket fans had a moment they’d never forget. Tendulkar removed his helmet and raised his arms toward the sky. “Take a bow, master,” said television commentator Ravi Shastri, himself a former cricket star for India. “Aw, you little champion,” his partner, former New Zealand cricketeer Danny Morrison chimed in. “If there was ever one deserving to break this milestone, this Everest, it is certainly Sachin Tendulkar.”
You’ll never a tennis score like it again: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. At Wimbledon this June, American John Isner and Nicholas Mahut of France played a fifth set headed for infinity, thanks to Wimbledon’s shunning of fifth-set tiebreakers. In all, their historic first-round match lasted a record 11 hours and five minutes, and had to be played over the course of three days. It was the longest match in tennis history, and during the 138th game of the fifth set, Isner stroked a backhand winner down the line to finally break Mahut’s serve, ending the match.
It says something about Americans’ priorities that one evening in July, some 10 million people tuned into ESPN, dying to know what color uniform a guy would wear next year. As absurd as the spectacle seemed, it was simply the culmination of a year in which the NBA buzzed loudest off the court, as the summer free-agent frenzy sparked endless speculation about where stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar’e Stoudemire would land. The homegrown Cleveland Cavalier superstar chose to announce his intention to join buddies Wade and Bosh in Miami on a nationally-televised ESPN special, pompously dubbed “The Decision.” James said he was doing the cable special for charity, donating the show’s advertising revenue to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
But after James dumped the Cavs on national television in front of an in-studio audience of kids from the Greenwich, CT Boys and Girls Club, with the now-infamous words “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach,” his popularity took a hefty hit. The backlash was quite stunning, especially since James had made few, if any, public relations errors in his wildly successful career. He did, however, win some sympathy when Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, within hours of James’ announcement that he was signing with the Heat, released an invective-filled letter to Cavs fans (some of whom were burning LeBron jerseys in the streets), in which he called James “narcissistic” and accused him of “cowardly betrayal.”
For a guy looking to win a championship or two, bailing on the Cavs was probably smart. But LeBron’s “Decision” was a public-relations disaster.
Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist? Let’s put it this way: Up until now, during this season the only person that didn’t know Favre’s career was over was Favre. Forget about the “streak,” forget about “Weiner-gate,” forget about his usual symphony of indecision. Look at the fact he’s selling “See Ya” souvenirs on his web site. That’s right, you Favre-o-philes, five hundred clams will get you your own probably-not-that-limited edition “good-bye” football, which if you will notice, are unsigned.
Why aren’t they signed? Because Favre will need to learn to write left-handed as his right arm is dead and about to fall right off.
I’m no doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but that is a hell of a lot more than a simple bruise. When your arm is more purple than a Viking jersey, and when you can’t feel your fingers, you are about two steps away from being that guy with a sleeve that flaps in the breeze. Trust me, I had a similar situation a few years ago where I had a blunt force injury to my leg, after which it swelled to twice its size and turned bright purple. Know what happened? It had to be split open like a hot dog left in a microwave five seconds too long in order to keep it from needing to be chopped off.
That’s not a pretty picture at all, but it is one that could be in Favre’s future if he doesn’t walk away now. The fact that he may be back in the Viking saddle Monday night against the Bears is no no longer just an exercise in Favre going too far past the “should’ve retired” line; now it becomes a waiting game to see how much of egregious injury it takes to get him off the field.
Regardless, his days as an effective NFL quarterback are over, it is just a question of whether he walks off the field or has to be carried.
Let this be a lesson to males everywhere. If you get accused of sending pictures of your wang with your cell phone, God will nail you in the crank with a football. It is more proof God hates Brett Favre.