Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Some things about the Spurs remain as constant as the Alamo to San Antonians. People like Tim Duncan are a true beacon of excellence that has enveloped the franchise for the past decade, which has seen 4 championships. One of the Spurs biggest impacts has been the influx of excellent complimentary players like Vinny Del Negro, Mario Elie, Brent Barry, and many more. Most of these men came from other teams before achieving a higher level of accomplishment in San Antonio. There just may now be a new Spur who will fit into that mold these days.

Roger Mason was the second player picked in the second round of the 2002 draft by the Chicago Bulls. Roger played just 17 games as a rookie, and scored just over one point per game. After suiting up for just 3 games in the beginning of the next season, he was dealt to the Toronto Raptors. Mason averaged 4 points in the 23 games he played for Toronto that year. He was then out of the NBA until 2006. He got a tryout with the Washington Wizards. Mason was a star at the University of Virginia, and had grown up in Washington DC. Though he he made the team and saw action in 62 games that season, he averaged just over 2 points in under 8 minutes played per game. He had shown hints of being more than an end of the bench type of player, but he was buried in the depth chart. After off season roster adjustments, Roger got a chance to play a lot more in 2007. He grabbed the opportunity and ran with it by averaging 9 points per game in 80 appearances. He also averaged a career high 21 minutes player per game. He showed his ability to be able to handle either Guard position, and also showed excellent range. For financial reasons, the Wizards allowed Mason to walk away as a free agent at the end of the year. Their loss was the Spurs gain.

The Spurs have seen Mason play in every game for them so far this season, and he averages over 30 minutes player per game. That is the third highest on the roster. He is also fourth on the team in points, averaging over 12 points a game. Mason's overall numbers are all at a career best average currently, including rebounds, steals, and assists. He is 6th on the team in rebounds per game average, and is first on the team in 3 pointers made. His role is similar to that of Del Negro and Barry. All were tall men with long range shooting ability and above average ball handling skills. Coach Greg Popovich has shown he can win with these types of smart and excellent players who put the teams needs ahead of their own. Currently the Spurs are breezing along at 20 -10. Though teams like the Lakers and Hornets may get the headlines for the Western Conference these days, the Spurs will probably threaten once again for a championship. They are a team no one wants to face in the playoffs. Guys like Roger Mason are part of the reason why.

Monday, December 29, 2008

In The End : Dallas Was Full Of TO

Welcome back to another installment of NFL Lucubration's. As some of us prepare for the playoffs, let us look back at the path paved this season.


Eric Mangini gets canned from a job he never should have had in the first place. This was a guy with little on his resume, especially to be a head coach in the Big Apple.The gadget plays he ran were caught up to quickly, after a fast first season. The real stamp on his era will be his snitching to the media about the Patriots taping practices of other teams. He only did it because he got snubbed at the 50 yard line in front of the cameras. The funniest part about "Spy Gate" was the fact that many fans actually believed only the Patriots had perpetrated this type of stunt, rather than understanding these practices have been in several sports for decades. Things got so desperate that the Jets bought talent for more cash than deserved, and put a turnover machine at the helm of their rickety ship. Like the hyckocrite did on the frozen tundra, he separated the locker room and leaned on excuses. His typical 32 turnovers versus 23 TD's was to be expected. As well as his coming up small in crunch time yet again. This time, it cost Mangini a job. I think it should cost Brett his as well, because they could've not made the playoffs with Clemens too. The only difference would have been a young QB learning from his mistakes, as opposed to an old one constantly repeating his.


Besides Mangini, we saw Rod Marinelli get a mercy kill by the Lions. Big surprise huh? Not! Then we saw the Cleveland Browns part ways with Romeo Crennel. Another no brainer type of move. Expect a few more vacancies in Saint Louis, Oakland, and possibly Denver, Dallas, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and hopefully San Diego. Norv Turner may have hope he saved his job by eking into the playoffs through one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, but it would be a smart move to dump this loser as soon as the Bolts get bounced. Turner is an over rated offensive coordinator who is on his 3rd team as a head coach. Believe me, after watching him lose handily in Washington = I KNOW this guy is worthless. Maybe we will see an influx of college coaches at the helm next year, but I think Atlanta, Miami, and Baltimore prove you can win by recognizing the assistant coaches. They may not be the headline grabbing moves teams seek, but they sometimes end up being the most sound. Of course, they may be the most fiscally wise moves as well, considering the current state of our economy.


The Eagles showed everyone something the past month. We know the NFL stands for Not For Long to many, and this is true in Philly. It wasn't that long ago Andy Reid was reamed for benching Donovan McNabb. Well, it actually seems the move paid off big time. The Eagles made the playoffs while still rebuilding. I had them on the cusp in my preseason predictions, but wasn't sold on their front 7 on D. The best part is that they did this without putting it on Brian Westbrook's back. Westbrook is breaking down on his last legs, and is probably a 3rd down type at this stage of his career. McNabb just made a VERY good case for his induction into Canton someday by showing what a winner he is. He really lead the team by putting it all on his shoulders, which shuns the false idea of his leadership abilities. I don't know how far the Eagles will go, but I know I wouldn't want my favorite team facing them. Personally speaking, that won't be an issue until next season.


OK, CAN WE PLEASE SHOOT ANYONE SAYING "Wildcat"? Seriously! Ever heard of the flying T? Another term was the flying wedge. Truth be told, this is NOT an inventive offense. Sammy Baugh, and most other teams, had been running this system from the 1930's to late in the 1940's. The way you stop the offense is simply technique. PLAYING YOUR POSITION CORRECTLY. Problem is, most defenders do not anymore. They over pursue, go for kill shots, and are almost timid due to all of the rules to compliment the modern day offense. I REALLY am surprised no expert has to yet point out the "Wildcat" is basically an old NFL offense, and that it took an idiot like me to point it out after waiting a whole season to be beaten to the punch because it would hold more credence.


You can pick the Miami Dolphins, because they went 1 - 15 last year. But I point to their weak schedule. You can pick the Baltimore Ravens, but I point to their excellent defense. There are a few others you can look at, but my pick is the Atlanta Falcons. Who really knew Michael Turner would hold up 16 games as a featured back? Who really knew Matt Ryan would take the old learning curve and put it out to pasture this year? Who really knew an assistant coach few heard of, Mike Smith, would rally the team to an 11 - 5 record and playoff appearance? He HAS to be the NFL Coach Of The Year! Who knew that offensive line would give up only 17 sacks, even after their 1st round draft pick, Sam Baker, was lost midway through the season? My main shock was how well the Falcons defense played. Especially with a nondescript defensive line full of vagabond journeymen. Other than John Abraham's 16.5 sacks (how in the heck is he not a Pro Bowler?), no other Falcon had more than 4. In fact, the team had just 34 total, and only 10 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. They rank in the 20's in the NFL for giving up total yards, rushing yards, and passing yards, but they rank 11th in points allowed. Who knows how long these type of successes will go on in Hotlanta, but the memory of the Mike Vick Era now seems longer ago than it actually was.


Some teams the NFL looked at as contenders ended up being pretenders, as it is with every season practically. The Jets, Cowboys, Browns, Bears, Packers, Jaguars, and Buccaneers were just a few teams that had playoff dreams. Even my Redskins got off to a fast start. The season was good enough that the 11 - 5 Patriots somehow have to go home, yet ridiculous enough to see teams like the Chargers and Cardinals are still playing. These are the types of quirks that make the NFL what it is. I hear crying for a seeding bracket based on record, but bury that idea along with the thoughts of turning the NFL overtime rule into the NCAA's namby pamby "fair shake". Life isn't supposed to be easy or fair, no matter how many rules the NFL implements to try to make the quarterback better than they actually are. My only thought to teams that under achieved = see you next year...God willing.


This, for you film buffs, is a reference to the movie "North Dallas Forty". Who knows if the parties were as fun for the Cowboys during the season, as they seemed to be foe the Bulls (a mirrored image of the 70's Cowboys), but they both had similar endings. The wide receiver who placed himself before the team, the tough QB who let nothing affect him personally to the point he almost seemed non-committal, and "the rest". The owners also appear similar as rich folks who view players as cattle almost. I had long said character issues would befall the Boys, and this certainly has come out to be true. The way they rolled over against the Eagles should have many fans not want to buy seats in the new stadium for next year. The lack of good line play has to be addressed in the off season, and a decision has to be made on Terrell Owens. He has no trade value, and very few teams want a cancer in their locker room. They will also need to consider replacing Jason Garrett at offensive coordinator, because he has seemingly no clue as how to assemble a game plan and stick to it. The talent is there as far as physically, but you need more than that to win it all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The ALMOST All Time Denver Broncos = Defense

NOSE TACKLE : Rubin Carter

Rubin was drafted in the 5th round by the Broncos in 1975. The Broncos were using the 4-3 defense then, and Rubin started 8 games at DT his rookie year. The Broncos started to switch over to the 3-4 defense the next year, and Rubin would start at Nose Tackle until 1986. As a key member of the famous "Orange Crush" defense, his specialty was controlling the line of scrimmage, and stopping the run. In 1979, he scored the only touchdown of his career off of a fumble recovery. Rubin started just 2 of the 5 games he played in 1986, then retired. Though he was never named to the Pro Bowl, Rubin Carter was one of the best Nose Tackles in the NFL during his time. He probably is the best the Broncos ever had. Greg Kragen deserves mention as well.


Bud was the Los Angelos Rams 1st round draft pick in 1951. He did not actually play for the Rams until 1953, when he appeared in 7 games. He was starting the next year, and made the Pro Bowl in 1955 and 1956. He even kicked 2 field goals on 9 attempts for the Rams. Bud was then out of football until 1960, when he joined the expansion Broncos in the AFL. In his 4 years with the Broncos, Bud was named to the AFL All Star Team each year. He also was named to The Sporting News All Star Team in his first 3 years. Then Bud joined the Houston Oilers in 1964 and retired after the 1965 season. Paul Smith, a Broncos Ring Of Honor member, Dave Costa, and Trevor Price all deserve mention. Bud McFadin has appeared in more Pro Bowls than any other Defensive Tackle in Broncos history, and is one of their best ever.


Rulon was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1980 draft by the Broncos. He was spotted mostly in his rookie year, and started 2 games. He also recorded the first safety of his career that season. Jones was starting the next season, and would remain as such until the final year of his career. In the strike shortened season of 1982, the NFL began keeping sacks as an official statistic. Rulon had 2 in the 9 games played that year. He missed 4 games the following year, but did record 4 sacks and a safety. 1984 was one of his better years, and he had 11 sacks, and scored his only touchdown off of a fumble recovery. Jones had 10 sacks the next year, as well as a career best 3 fumble recoveries. He was named to his first All Pro Team that year, and would achieve that honor for the final time of his career the next season after recording a career high 13.5 sacks and the final safety of his career. Rulon was named the UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year on defense for his efforts. 1987 was his final season as a starter, and Jones had 7 sacks. Now used as a pass rush specialist, Jones recorded 5 sacks and retired at the end of the season with 52.5 sacks, 3 safeties, and a touchdown. Noted for his length and toughness, Rulon Jones is one of the best Defensive End's in Broncos history.

DEFENSIVE END : Rich Jackson

Rich "Tombstone" Jackson was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1966. He played in 5 games as a rookie before joining the Broncos the following year. After playing as a reserve that year, and recording a safety, Jackson earned the starting job in 1968. He would be named an All Star that year, then the next 2 seasons. Jackson suffered a knee injury in the 7th game of 1970, and was out the rest of the year. After playing in 4 games in 1971, the Broncos traded hom to the Cleveland Browns. He retired at the end of that year because of his knee woes. Rich was a fierce pass rusher with a wide variet of moves. He was also ferocious and strong, and once broke a helmet with one of his famous headslaps. He is a member of the Broncos Ring Of Honor, and is in the Colorado Sports Hall Of Fame. He is also on the AFL's All Time Team. Some think Rich Jackson was the best Defensive End to have ever played the game, and he is probably the best the Broncos have ever had. Barney Chavous surely deserves mention.

LINEBACKER : Karl Mecklenberg

Karl was drafted in the 12th round of the 1983 draft by the Broncos. He was used as a pass rush specialist his first 2 seasons, and had 9 sacks over that time. He also had 2 interceptions for 105 yards. The Broncos moved Karl to ILB in 1985, and the move paid off big. He had a career high 13 sacks, and was named to his first All Pro Team. He would get this honor over the next 2 years, as he had 16.5 sacks and 3 interceptions over that time. He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1989 after getting 7.5 sacks and a career best 143 tackles. He then got a safety in the next season. 1991 saw Karl get 9 sacks and 130 tackles, garnering another Pro Bowl nod. He was named to his final All Pro Team in 1993 after getting 9 sacks. He retired after the 1994 season with 79 sacks, 5 interceptions, and 1,104 tackles. Karl Mecklenburg is in the Broncos Ring Of Honor, and the Colorado Sports Hall Of Fame. He is one of the best the Broncos have ever had. Randy Gradishar is a future CCC profilee, but deserves mention.

LINEBACKER : Tom Jackson

Tom was drafted in the 4th round of the 1973 draft by the Broncos. He started half of the 8 games he played in his rookie year, and would remain a starter for the rest of his career. 1976 might of been his best season, when he had a career best 7 interceptions for 136 yards. He also scored off of a 46 yard interception return. Tom scored off of one of his 4 interceptions the next year, going 76 yards. He would be named to his first All Pro Team that year, helping the Broncos reach Super Bowl XII. Tom scored the last touchdown of his career the next year off of one of his 3 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl again that year as well. Tom made his last Pro Bowl Team in 1979. He retired after the 1986 season with 20 interceptions for 340 yards and 3 scores. He was officially credited with 13 sacks because the NFL didn't start recognizing the stat until 1982, but he was known as a complete linebacker with the ability to rush the passer or cover any receiver. Jackson also 3rd in Broncos history in games played. Tom Jackson is a member of the Broncos Hall Of Fame, and may be the best all around Linebacker in Denver Broncos history.


Al was the Broncos 1st round draft pick in 1999. He quickly earned the starting job, and got his first sack that year. He had a career high 5 sacks and 3 interceptions the next year. In 2001, Al was named to his first All Pro Team, and would achieve that honor the next 2 seasons as well. He had a career high 100 tackles in 2002. Wilson returned the the Bro Bowl in 2003, then scored his only touchdown, off of an interception, the next year. Al made the Pro Bowl the next 2 seasons, but suffered a neck injury at the end of 2006. He tried to rehabilitate the injury, but ultimately had to retire. Though his career was cut short, Al Wilson is one of the best Linebackers to have ever played for the Broncos.

LINEBACKER : Bob Swenson

Bob was signed as a free agent rookie by the Broncos in 1975. Though he was a reserve in his rookie year, he did manage an interception. He swiped 2 more the next year after starting in 6 games. By 1977, he was an important starting member of the "Orange Crush" defense that went to Super Bowl XII. In 1979, Bob scooped up a fumble and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown. He made his only Pro Bowl Team the next year, but got hurt in the 4th game of 1982. He did play in 2 games the next year, but retired at seasons end. John Mobley, Michael Brooks, Bill Romanowski, Ian Gold, and John Bramlett are just a few others who deserve mention. Bob Swenson was the ultimate team player who is an important ingredient in Broncos history.

STRONG SAFETY : Dennis Smith

Dennis was the Broncos 1st round draft of the Broncos in 1981. Dennis started just 2 games in his rookie season, but did pick off a pass and return it a career long 65 yards. Firmly entrenched as a starter the next year, and for the rest of his career, Dennis had 2 sacks and an interception. 1983 saw Dennis get a career high 5 sacks, and 4 interceptions. Dennis had 3 interceptions, and returned a fumble for the only touchdown of his career the next season. Dennis made his first All Pro Team in 1985 after getting 4 sacks and 3 interceptions. Dennis made the Pro Bowl Team the next year, an honor he would not attain again until 1989. He would keep making the Pro Bowl Team until 1991, where he had a career high 5 interceptions. Smith had a career best 120 tackles the next year, and returned the Pro Bowl for the final time of his career in 1993. He retired after the 1994 year with 30 interceptions, 3 sacks, and 1,152 tackles. He is a member of the Broncos Ring Of Fame, and the Colorado Hall Of Fame, making Dennis Smith the best Strong Safety in Broncos history.

FREE SAFETY : Goose Gonsoulin

Goose was a 17th round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1960 NFL Draft, and a first round selection of the Broncos in the AFL Draft. He started right away for the Broncos, and set a still standing team record with 11 interceptions in his rookie season. He also had 4 interceptions in one game, which is still tied as a team record. Goose was named to the first of five consecutive Pro Bowl Teams. In 1961, he had 6 more picks, then followed that up with 7 the following year. He also scored his first touchdown that year on a career long 64 yard return. Goose had 6 interceptions the next year, and scored the last touchdown of his career. He followed that up with 7 more swipes in 1964 with 7 more interceptions. Goose had 6 more the following year, but did not make the Pro Bowl Team for the first time in his career. 1966 was the only season where Gonsoulin did not pick off a pass, and his 61 consecutive games played streak ended when he missed 4 games due to injury. Still, he was good enough to be named to his final All Pro Team. Goose joined the 49ers and started just 7 of 14 games in 1967, picking off 3 more passes. He then retired as the AFL's all time interception leader with 43, and is a member of the AFL All Time Team. He is an inaugeral member of the Broncos Ring Of Honor, and is a member of the Colorado Sports Hall Of Fame. In fact, Goose is a fringe member of my CCC profiles, but his only playing 8 seasons has him on the table for consideration. Steve Atwater and his 8 Pro Bowls and 24 interceptions were strongly considered for this nod. There is a chance he may still get inducted into Canton, though many more deserving Safeties await their call as well. One could even mention the Broncos all time interception leader Steve Foley, who played the first 4 years of his career at Cornerback. Goose Gonsoulin ranks second behind Foley with 1 less interception, and is maybe the greatest Safety in the Broncos illustrious history at this position.

CORNERBACK : Louis Wright

Louis was drafted in the first round of the 1975 draft by the Denver Broncos. Wright started all 11 games that he played in his rookie year. He intercepted 2 passes and recovered one fumble. In 1977, he had 3 interceptions for 128 yards. He also scored the first touchdown of his career. Wright was a key member of the "Orange Crush" defense, picking off 3 balls, that went to Super Bowl XII. Wright would garner his first Pro Bowl nod that year as well. Wright would make the Pro Bowl in each of the next 2 seasons as well. In 1979, Wright took a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown. In 1980, Wright was named to the UPI All-Conference Second Team. He ended up missing half on 1981 due to an injury, but still was named to the UPI All-Conference Second Team. Wright came back at full health for 1982 with 2 interceptions. Wright snared a career high 6 interceptions in 1983, and was named to the Pro Bowl team. In 1984, Wright would return a fumble for a touchdown and was named to The Sporting News All-NFL First Team, Pro Football Weekly All-NFL First Team, Pro Football Weekly All-Conference First Team, UPI All-Conference Second Team, and Newspaper Ent. Association All-Conference Second Team. 1985 saw him intercept 5 passes, and score the last touchdown of his career. Wright also made his last Pro Bowl team that year as well. Wright played his last season in 1986. Louis Wright is a member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. Louis was a shutdown Cornerback the day he walked onto an NFL field. Teams would hardly throw the ball to his side of the field. Wright was also a hard hitter, and was one of best run supporting Cornerbacks of his era. The Broncos were #1 in the NFL against the run in 1977. Louis Wright was consistently excellent. His 163 starts rank seventh on All-Time in Broncos history. Opponents feared him. He is the greatest defensive back in the history of the Denver Broncos. Many of his contemporaries feel he was the best Cornerback in the AFC, if not the entire NFL, during his career. He was big, and fast. If you were blessed enough to have seen Louis Wright play, then you would agree he deserves induction into Canton.

CORNERBACK : Bill Thompson

Champ Bailey may get into Canton, so I'm plugging Billy in here. He started out his career as a CB, and played the position for the first 4 years of his career. Thompson was drafted by the Broncos in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft. He started right away, and picked off 3 passes in his rookie year for 92 yards. He took one swipe 57 yards for a touchdown. Billy also was the Broncos return specialist. He led the league with an average of 11.5 yards per return on 25 punt returns. He also led the league with a 28.5 yard per return average on 18 kickoff returns. Billy only returned 25 more kickoffs in his career, but still returned punts on and off in his career. Thompson played 9 games in 1970 because of injury, but still managed 2 more interceptions for 65 yards. 1971 saw Thompson have a career high 5 picks for 83 yards. Billy got hurt after 8 games the next year, but still managed an interception. The Broncos decided to move Thompson to Strong Safety in 1973, and he responded with 3 interceptions for 96 yards. He took one ball for a career long of 59 yards for a score. He also scooped up a fumble and took it 80 yards for another touchdown. He also led the NFL with 366 punt return yards on 30 returns. Billy tied his career high of 5 interceptions the next year, and scored a touchdown off of an interception. He again matched that total in 1977, gaining a career best 122 yards, as the Broncos would reach Super Bowl XII. Thompson was named to his first All Pro Team, an honor he would again garner the following season after picking off 4 passes and returning a fumble for a score. 1979 saw Thompson pick off 4 more balls, and score off another fumble return. Billy scored his last touchdown the following year, off of a fumble, to go with 2 more picks. 1981 was the last year Billy played, and he also made his last All Pro Team when he had 4 interceptions. When he retired, he had 40 interceptions for 784 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also took 4 of his 21 fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Thompson also had a career average of 11.6 yards on 157 punt returns, and a career average of 25.1 yards per return on 46 kickoff returns. To say Bill Thompson was productive, or a game changing player, is a vast understatement. He is a member of the Broncos Ring Of Fame, and is easily one of the greatest defensive backs in Denver Broncos history.

PUNTER : Jim Fraser

Jim was a 21st round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 1959 draft. He didn't make the team and was out of football until 1962. He joined the Broncos then as a Linebacker and Punter. He picked off a pass, and even managed to make the only 2 extra point attempts of his career that season. He also punted the ball 55 times for a 43.6 yard average. He boomed one ball a career best 75 yards, which led the AFL. Jim was named to his first All Pro Team in his rookie year. Fraser made the All Pro Team again the following year, when he led the AFL with a career high 81 punts for 3,596 yards and a 44.4 average. He also had a AFL leading 3 punts blocked. Jim made his final All Pro Team in 1964. He intercepted another pass, and led the AFL with a 44.2 average on 73 punts. Jim joined the Kansas City Chiefs for the 1965 season, but mainly played defense. He attempted only 3 punts the entire season. Fraser then joined the Boston Patriots in 1966. He picked off the final pass of his career, and punted the ball 55 times for a 37.2 yard average. He did not play the next year, but did suit up for 2 games for the New Orleans Saints in 1968 and punted 11 times. He retired after that year. Jim retired with a career average of 42.2 yards per punt on 278 attempts, to go with his 3 interceptions. His 3 All Pro nods are the most by any Punter in Denver Broncos history. Though Broncos like Bob Scarpitto, Mike Horan, and Luke Prestidge deserve mention, Jim Fraser may be the greatest Punter in Broncos history.

HEAD COACH : Dan Reeves

Dan started in the NFL as a Halfback for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1972. He ran for 1,990 yards, caught 129 balls for 1,693 yards, and scored 42 touchdowns total. He also threw 2 more TD's on 32 passing attempts, completing 14 total. He was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl VI winning team as well. He then joined the teams coaching staff until 1980. The Broncos named him their Head Coach in 1981, and Reeves helped bring winning back to Denver. He helped lead the Broncos to 3 Super Bowls that decade, though they lost in each game. He left after the 1992 season to join the New York Giants. He stayed there until 1996 before joining the Atlanta Falcons. He helped the Falcons reach the Super Bowl in 1998, and stayed in Atlanta until 2003. Dan won 110 of his 190 total wins with Denver, and is one of the best coaches in Broncos history.

Dan with his mentor Tom Landry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The ALMOST All Time Denver Broncos = Offense

Remember : This series lauds players who aren't, or maybe never will be, inducted into Canton.

QUARTERBACK : Frank Tripuka

The Broncos, other than John Elway and (seemingly now) Jay Cutler, have had a revolving door at this position. Craig Morton deserves mention, but I'm picking the first QB in Broncos history. Tripuka was drafted in the first round of the 1949 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, but was traded to the Detroit Lions before the season commenced. He started 4 games wth Detroit, and threw 9 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions. He also punted the ball 28 times that year. 1950 saw Frank traded to the Chicago Cardinals. He played in 19 games, starting 5, before being traded to the expansion Dallas Texans mid season in 1952. He started the last 6 games for the Texans, and helped the 1 - 11 Texans win their only game by scoring on a 1 yard plunge late in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears. Tripuka threw 3 touchdown passes that year, and was victimized for 17 interceptions, and also had 4 punts blocked on a career best 35 attempts. The Texans then folded after their one year in the NFL. Tripuka found himself in the Canadian Football League in 1954. He joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and started for them until 1958. He was traded to the Ottawa Rough Riders, but was released into the 1959 year. He rejoined Saskatchewan, but as an assistant coach because Saskatchewan could not put him on the roster. The CFL had a rule then where only 12 non-Canadians could play on each team. Saskatchewan lost all of their quaterbacks with two more games on the schedule. The team decided to play Tripuka and forfeited the last two games because of this move. 1960 saw the inception of the American Football League, and the Broncos were one of the teams starting out under it. Tripuka was initially tabbed to be an assistant coach, but the quarterbacks the Broncos had in camp were not acceptable. Frank was asked to suit up, and started for the Broncos the next three seasons. He led the AFL in 1960 with passing attempts, completions, yards gained passing per game, and passing yards. He also led the AFL with a career high 34 interceptions thrown and had a career best 24 touchdowns thrown as well. Tripuka led the AFL again in passing attempts, completions, yards gained passing per game, and passing yards in 1962. He was named to his only All Pro Team that year. Tripuka saw mop up duty in 2 games during the 1964 season, then retired. He is still ranked 5th overall in Broncos history on the passing chart, and his number was the first retired by the Broncos. Some may know Frank is the father of former NBA All Star Kelly Tripuka too. Frank Tripuka is a member of the Broncos Ring Of Fame, and helped the Broncos get its franchise off the ground.

HALFBACK : Terrell Davis

Floyd Little is a future CCC profilee, so I'm going with Davis. Though some are pushing for Terrell's induction into Canton, I just do not see that happening. Otis Armstrong definetely deserves mention as well. Davis was a 6th round draft pick by the Broncos in the 1995 draft. He quickly won the starters job in his rookie year, and gained 1,117 yards at a 4.7 yards per carry average. He also caught a career high 49 passes, and scored 8 touchdowns total. Davis gained 1,538 yards the next year, at and scored 15 touchdowns total. He was named to his first All Pro Team, and was named the AP Offensive Player Of The Year. Terrell led the NFL with 15 rushing touchdowns in 1997, and gained 1,750 yards. The Broncos would go on to win Super Bowl XXXII , as Davis was named the games MVP for gaining 157 yards on 30 carries. He also scored 3 of the Broncos 4 touchdowns, including the winning score in the 4th quarter. 1998 was the best season Davis had in the NFL. He set career highs with 2,008 yards, 21 rushing TD's, a 5.1 yards per carry, and an average of 125.5 yards rushing per game. He led the NFL in those categories as well. He even found the end zone 2 more times on 25 receptions. He was named to his 3rd straight, and last, All Pro Team. Davis was named Player Of The Year by the AP and the Pro Football Writers of America, as well as the AP Offensive Player Of The Year. The Broncos repeated as champions by winning Super Bowl XXXIII. Davis was hurt early in 1999, and was never quite the same again. He carried the ball 145 times for 493 yards and 4 TD's in 1999 and 2000 combined. In 2001, Davis carried the ball 167 times for 701 yards, but failed the score for the first time in his career. He retired after that year. For a few years, there was few better in the NFL at Running Back than Terrell. He was fast and strong, with sure hands. In fact, he only fumbled twice on a whopping 397 carries in 1998. He is a member of the Broncos Ring Of Fame, and is one of the finest to ever have suited up in the Mile High.

FULLBACK: Jon Keyworth

This choice was made on longevity, because the Broncos have had many players at this position for brief times. Cookie Gilchrist is the first All Pro in the team's history at this position. Armstrong was the second, when he played alongside Little in 1974. Howard Griffith deserves mention too, due to his blocking abilities. I chose Keyworth, an undervalued man in the teams history. Keyworth was a 6th round draft choice of the Washington Redskins in the 1974 draft, but did not make the team. The Broncos quickly picked up the former Colorado University star, and quickly made Jon their short yardage specialist. Though he ended up starting 5 games as a rookie as well, he ended up scoring a career high 10 touchdowns for Denver on 81 carries. When starting Fullback Otis Armstrong went down early in 1975, Keyworth took over. He gained 725 yards on 182 carries, and had 42 receptions, all of which led the team. These are his career highs for one season, and he also scored 4 times. With Armstrong healthy in 1976 and now playing Halfback, Keyworth spent most of the rest of his time blocking for Denver. In 1977, the Broncos played in Super Bowl XII. Though Keyworth missed 3 games that year due to injury, his highlight was scoring a TD in the AFC Championship win over the defending champion Oakland Raiders. Jon retired after the 1980 season with 699 carries for 2,653 yards and 22 rushing TD's. He also caught 141 passes for 3 more scores, and even tossed his only pass for a 32 yard score in 1979. Though guys like Little and Armstrong were considered the stars on the backfield in Keyworth's time with Denver, he may be the best Fullback in Broncos history.


Lionel Taylor will be a future CCC profilee, so I'm picking Haven. Moses was a 1st round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 1968 AFL Draft. He caught 42 balls for 633 yards and 2 scores in his rookie year. Haven then caught 39 balls in each of the two following years, and averaged 19 yards per catch to go with 7 scores. He made the All Pro Team in 1969. 1971 saw Haven snare 23 balls at a 20.4 yard average. He also scored twice. Haven only caught 3 balls for 60 yards and a touchdown for the Bills in the first 5 games of 1972. He was then traded to the Broncos and caught 15 passes for 5 scores in 8 games. One score was off a career long 76 yards pass, and he even scored another touchdown on a 22 yard run. Haven caught 28 balls for 518 yards and had a career best 8 TD's the following season. He was named to his last All Pro Team that year. Moses then caught 34 balls for 2 TD's the next year, and 29 passes and 2 scores in 1975. He had 7 touchdowns on 25 catches the following year. The Broncos reached Super Bowl XII in 1977, and Haven was a big part of the reason. He averaged 20 yards on 27 receptions, to go with 4 TD's. Haven averaged 20 yards on 37 receptions the next year, and scored 5 times. 1979 was his best season, as Haven set career highs with 54 receptions for 943 yards. He also scored 6 times. 1980 saw Haven snag 38 passes and 4 scores. Moses started just 6 games in 1982, and had 15 catches and his last touchdown. He retired after that season with 448 receptions for 8,091 yards and 56 touchdowns. His career average of 18.1 yards per catch is very impressive in any era. Haven Moses is in the Broncos Ring Of Honor, and is certainly one of the best Wide Receivers in the franchises history.


Rod was a free agent rookie signed by the Broncos before the 1995 season. He did start one game and had 6 catches for 154 yards and a score. He also returned 4 kickoffs for 54 yards. Rod started 1 game again the next season, and had 16 catches for 237 yards and 2 TD's. He also had a career high 23 punt returns for 283 yards, and a 29 yard kickoff return. Rod really broke out in 1997, when he had 70 receptions for 1,180 yards and a career best 12 touchdowns, which helped the Broncos go on to win Super Bowl XXXII. Smith then had 86 receptions for 1,222 yards and 6 scores the following year, as the Broncos repeated as NFL Champions. He also threw a 14 yard pass completion. He had 79 catches for 1,020 yards and 4 scores the following season. Rod earned his first Pro Bowl honor, when he had 100 receptions for a career best 1,602 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2000. He also rushed 6 times for 99 yards, including a 50 yard touchdown run. 2001 was a year where Rod set a franchise record of 113 catches, which led the NFL. He had 1,343 yards and 11 scores as well, and made his second All Pro Team. He had 89 catches for 1,027 yards and 5 TD's the next year. 2003 was the first time Rod did not gain 1,000 yards receiving since 1996. He had 74 catches for 845 yards and 3 TD's. He also tossed a 72 yards pass that year, and returned a punt for a score on 6 attempts. In 2004, he had 79 balls for 1,144 yards and 7 scores, to go with 22 punt returns for 223 yards. Rod made his final All Pro Team in 2005, when he had 85 catches for 1,105 yards and 6 scores. Rod was hurt in 2006, but managed 52 receptions for 512 yards and 3 scores. He tried to come back healthy, but ultimately decided to retire with team records of 849 receptions for 11,389 yards and 68 touchdowns. He also had 53 punt returns for 647 yards and a score. Though Rod made get some consideration for Canton, his only having played 3 All Pro games will work against his cause. Still, he most definetely will be put in the Broncos Ring Of Honor soon, and is one of the best Wide Receivers the Broncos have ever had. Al Denson and Steve Watson are just a few other excellent Broncos WR's that deserve mention.

TIGHT END : Riley Odoms

Riley was the Broncos 1st round draft pick in 1972. He was put to use immediately. Riley caught 21 balls for 320 yards and a touchdown. Denver also liked to hand the ball off to Odoms, and he carried the ball 5 times for 72 yards. 1973 saw Odoms snag 43 balls for 629 yards and a career high 7 TD's. He also carried the ball 5 times for 53 yards, and was named to his first All Pro Team. Odoms followed that up in 1974 with another All Pro season. He caught 42 passes for 639 yards and 6 scores. He also carried the ball 4 times for 25 yards. Riley had 40 catches for 544 yards and 3 touchdowns in 1975. He also had 5 rushing attempts for 27 yards, and was named to his 3rd All Pro Team. Riley caught 67 passes for 908 yards and 6 TD's over the next two years. He also ran 3 times for 36 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Broncos would go to Super Bowl XII in 1977. Riley had the best season of his career in 1978. He set career highs with 54 receptions for 829 yards. He also scored 6 times, and was named to his final All Pro Team. From 1979 to 1981, Odoms had 117 receptions for 1,744 yards and 12 scores. Riley was known as a ferocious blocker, and began to help the Broncos offensive line in 1982, seeing time as a Tackle. He only caught 8 balls that year. 1983 would be his last in the NFL, and he caught 4 passes in the 2 games he played. Riley retired with 396 receptions for 5,755 yards and 41 touchdowns receiving. He also carried the ball 25 times for 211 yards and 2 more scores. Odoms was an excellent blocker, and a threat downfield with an average of 14.5 yards per reception in his career. He was consistent and dependable. How many TE's can you think of that had 25 rushing attempts? For some reason, he has yet to be put in the Broncos Ring Of Honor, but Riley Odoms is the most complete Tight End in Broncos history.

TACKLE : Eldon Danenhauer

Eldon joined the expansion Broncos in 1960 as a 25 year old free agent rookie. He started right away at Right Tackle, and would do so until he retired after the 1965 season. He even got to play 4 games with his older brother Bill in his rookie year. Though the Broncos were not an AFL powerhouse, they did have a fairly prolific offense during Eldons tenure. In 1962, he was named to his first All Pro Team, and even got to return the only kickoff of his career for 11 yards. Eldon made his final All Pro Team in 1965, then retired. Though the Broncos have had many fine blockers in their history, Danenhauer's 2 Pro Bowls rank second behind Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman's 3 in Broncos history. Though he may get lost in the shuffle by some due to the teams lack of success, Eldon Danenhauer is certainly one of the best offensive tackles in Broncos history.

TACKLE : Mike Current

Mike was drafted by the Broncos in the 3rd round of the 1967 AFL Draft. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins for 1 game, then was then traded back to the Broncos and played 3 games for them. Mike was named a starter before the 1968 season, and would remain firmly entrenched as one for the rest of his career. In 1969, Current was named to his only All Pro Team. After playing just 7 games in 1975 due to injury, the Broncos left Mike exposed to the veterans allocation expansion draft for the fledgeling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played just one year for Tampa Bay in 1976, a year most noted for the team going winless. Current then rejoined the Dolphins in 1977, and started for them until he retired after the 1979 season. The Broncos got lucky that the Dolphins traded Mike back to them in his rookie year. He was a dependable stalwart on a line that opened holes for Floyd Little and Otis Armstrong. Though Claudie Minor and Matt Lepsis surely deserve mention as well, Mike Current is certainly one of the best blockers in Broncos history.

GUARD : Keith Bishop

Keith was drafted by the Broncos in the 6th round of the 1980 draft. He spent his first 2 seasons as a reserve, before earning a starting job in 1983. Bishop made the Pro Bowl twice in his career in 1986 and 1987. He retired after 1989 to become a DEA agent in Washington D.C. Noted for his toughness and extraordinary trap blocking skills, Keith Bishop is one of the finest Guards to have ever played for the Denver Broncos.

GUARD : Jerry Sturm

Jerry was signed as a free agent rookie by the Broncos in 1961. His rookie season saw him carry the ball 8 times for 31 yards, and catch a pass. He then played as a Tackle the next year, and moved to Center the next 2 years. Jerry made his first AFL All Star Team in 1962 at this position. He was then moved to Guard the next year for the remainder of his time with the Broncos. He made his final All Star Team in 1966. Jerry then went on to the New Orleans Saints the next year, and played Tackle for them for 2 seasons until being moved to Center in 1969. He was then playing for the Houston Oilers as a Center in 1971. He then joined the Pittsburgh Steelers the next year, and suited up for one game. He retired after that year. Though Jerry Sturm was a versatile lineman who played all positions, he is certainly one of the better blockers in Denver Broncos history. George Goeddeke and Mark Schlereth deserve mention as well.

CENTER : Tom Nalen

Tom was a 7th round pick of the Broncos in 1994. He spent his first year as a reserve and suited up for 7 games, though he did start 1. He was named a starter the next year, and would start every game he played in for the Broncos until he retired in 2007. He made his first All Pro Team in 1997, and even made his only pass reception that year. He continued to be an All Pro until 2000. He was a key member of the excellent offensive line that helped lead the Broncos to back to back championships in 1997 and 1998. Nalen got hurt in 2002, and started just 7 games. He returned strong the next year, and made his final All Pro Team. Tom suffered another injury in 2007, and played just 5 games. He tried to rehabilitate the injury, but then decided to retire. Tom Nalen will most likely find his way into the Broncos Ring Of Honor soon, because he is probably the greatest Center in Broncos history.

KICKER : Jason Elam

There are other Broncos kickers who deserve mention. Gene Mingo was a two time AFL All Pro who led the league in scoring twice, and is the first black place kicker in pro football history. He also returned the first punt for a touchdown in AFL history, and holds the franchise record for the longest rushing touchdown of 82 yards. Jim Turner was a long time kicker who is in the Broncos Ring Of Honor. David Treadaway had a Pro Bowl season for Denver as well. Still, Elam has to be considered the best in Denver Broncos history. Elam is mostly known for tying the NFL record of a 63 year yard field goal by casual fans, but he meant more to the team than that. No player in NFL history has scored more points for one team than Elam has with the Denver Broncos. Elam was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1993 draft by the Broncos. He has NFL records for most consecutive extra points made, best extra point conversion percentage, most consecutive seasons with at least 100 points, most seasons with at least 100 points, fastest to 300 successful field goals, fastest to 1,600 points and fastest to 1,700 points. Elam was the first player in NFL history to score at least 200 points against three or more teams as well. Factor in his 2 Super Bowl rings as well, and it's an easy call here for Elam. He may actually get into Canton one day, but we have seen several great kickers and punters get neglected before him. Players like Ray Guy, and many more, await their call. I have long stated the under appreciation of specialists by some voters. Jason Elam deserves the call, and is easily the best Kicker in Broncos history. He still is going strong as a member of the Atlanta Falcons currently.


Rick was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round of the 1975 draft. He was used as a return specialist immediately. He had 1,084 yards on 40 kickoff returns for an impressive 27.1 average. He also had an 11.6 yard per punt return average on 27 attempts. Upchurch exploded onto the NFL scene the next year, and was named to his first All Pro team. He scored 4 times on punt returns that season, which tied an NFL record. He also led the league with a 13.7 average, and a career best 92 yard return. Rick led the NFL in 1977 with 653 punt return yards. He also scored on a 87 yard return, helping the Broncos capture the AFC Championship. Upchurch, now primarily a punt returner and wide receiver, went back to the Pro Bowl in 1977. He led the NFL with a 13.7 punt return average, while scoring on a 75 yard return. 1979 was Rick's best year as a pass catcher. He had career bests with 64 receptions for 937 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also averaged 10.1 yards on punt returns, as he was honored as an All Pro. Upchurch spent his last few years as a wide receiver mainly. In 1982, Rick returned 15 punts and scored the last 2 touchdowns of his career via special teams. He also led the NFL with a career best 16.1 yards per return. His leading the NFL in punt return average 3 times is tied for an NFL record. Rick Upchurch retired after the 1983 season with 267 receptions and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 349 yards on 49 attempts, and scored 3 times. Rick had a 24.8 average on 95 kick returns, and a 12.1 average on 248 returns. His 8 punt return touchdowns are tied for the third most in NFL history.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slicing An Apple Like An Arm

Put down the sifter Granny, and put your bloomers back on. Emerging from the shadows like a recluse, it is time again for POINTLESS PONDERING. Reborn like a drunk and horny Santa in a strip mall wanting you to sit on his lap.

I may be considered a pessimist by Yankee fans, but has Hank gotten desperate? I told you how the team is having great difficulties selling seats in the new stadium, and we all see how the present state of the economy is. Hank may be gambling away the Yankees right now. Not necessarily a death knoll, mind you, but this could be painful to watch. Even for a Yankee hater like myself. C.C. Sabathia is going to make an insane amount of money for a inane amount of time. Pitchers should never be given long term contracts, given the nature of their position and it's health risks. Then you see A.J. Burnett getting big bucks as well, despite his arm injury history. In a dream word, A.J. and C.C. pitch to their abilities and help keep the Yankees in the hunt. The other side is...well..Carl Pavano. This is much more money to lose if C.C. busts, and the Steinbrenner's might have to foreclose a few of their homes if this happens. Personally, I think C.C. needs to stay in the N.L. with his bat. He has a much better chance at Cooperstown that way, but it would be impossible to decline that kind of cash. It'll all play out, and I wish the Yankees the best as long as the O's beat them.

Can we ever get off the Quarterback Band Wagon? It has gone beyond revolting. Hearing people push Peyton Manning and Kerry Collins for NFL MVP this year is hilarious. Do they even watch the game, or are their eyes fixation of every gyration made by the QB? It reminds me of the pervert in the raincoat watching the stripper with obsession. Collins was important, as far as stabilizing the position. Still, he isn't even close to being the Titans MVP. There are about 9 guys in front of him, at the least, for that nod. No one fears the Tennessee aerial attack, and game plans against their run. The blocking has been so good, it hasn't mattered. Then there is the defense, led by Albert Haynesworth. Manning took weeks to get his legs, after a preseason surgery. Granted, he has had no running game to help him much, but the Colts defense is the most important reason to why the Colts rebounded and has the team on the cusp of returning to the playoffs. This has been done despite the usual numerous injuries to Bob Sanders as well. Then some, like Skip Bayless, try to say Brett Favre is the MVP. PLEASE! Farve does lead the NFL in throwing interceptions, which is his usual annual honor.He also has coughed up 10 fumbles, which makes 157 in 17 seasons (don't count the 2 "games" he played as a rookie in Atlanta) and 303 career interceptions. PUKE! That averages out to over 27! turnovers a season. MVP of the opposition perhaps. Some are saying Eli Manning deserves the award. Huh? With or without Plaxico, Eli has been good. Without that running attack, blocking, or defense, he would be the same guy people were saying was horrible just a few years ago. Priorities need to be seen clearer. The only 2 QB's I see as reasonable MVP candidates are Drew Brees and Kurt Warner. Without them, their teams are truly nowhere. Who knows their future, this year, with them. My pick, if it has to be a QB (it usually is), would be Warner. The NFL will probably treat him much like the NCAA is treating Graham Harrell = disrespectfully.

Does Jim Zorn have Norv Turner written all over him? Probably not, because Turner is a horrible head coach. If you saw Warren Sapp's face on that NFL Showtime gig, you'd see proof. Turner's coaching ability was the question, and now Zorn is finally taking his pill. I had long been skeptical of his hiring, calling it a stop gap until The Dan tries to buy Bill Cowher in 2009. This theory seems more evident now, given the Redskins limitations. Zorn was winning with Joe Gibbs players on a Joe Gibbs game plan. The problem was that he ran Clinton Portis into the ground fast, much like Zorn and Chuck Knox did to Curt Warner in Seattle. Some may say his options were limited because Ladell Betts got hurt, but Betts was barely toting the rock anyways. Sitting on the bench, with a big contract, was Rock Cartwright, so Zorn gets the moronic Vinny Cerrato to sign the washed up Shaun Alexander instead. That was just another bad move by Zorn. Now the Dirt Bags are getting hurt again, along with Portis, and the fact that Jason Campbell is on his fifth offensive system in five years is more evident. The West Coast Offense has no chance in the NFC East, and especially with the current players. It's too feminine for the division. It also would take Zorn years to get those men, and he has that anchor Cerrato dragging him down. The only move for The Dan, given his "win now" personality, would be to fire Cerrato (FINALLY!) and gamble on Cowhers ability to call the shots.

Who really gives a crap on who wins the Heisman Trophy anymore? Get rid of the Davey O'Brien Award (for top QB), because this "award" goes to mainly quarterbacks anyways. Many aren't even that great as QB's. This list of Heisman winners who have done nothing in the NFL is long and humorous. Only 2 defensive players have ever won this award, so this sham of the "best college player" award holds even less credibility than the BcS system.

Though the North Carolina Tarheels may be the favorite of many to win the NCAA Mens Basketball Championship this year, I think one of the best stories has to be Stephon Curry of Davidson. Curry is a chip off the ol' block. His dad, Dell, was an amazing shooter as well. They both have one thing in common = they put the team first. Stephon was held scoreless in a 30 point win for Davidson over Loyola of Maryland. Why? Loyola played a triangle and two defense, placing two defenders on curry alone. Curry, who took just 3 shots that game, sat in the corner of the baseline and watched his team win. In this era of the selfish ego maniac grabbing headlines, it was certainly refreshing to see a guy get it. It's about the win, not the pay check. Curry, who eschewed the NBA to improve his overall game, currently is averaging over 30 PPG anyways.

Welp, it's about that time to make like a baby and head out. As they say in Ol' Mexico = A.M.F