Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Not Quite Mensa Level Sports Trivia Challenge

The questions will come as erratic and eccentric as a mad scientists humpbacked assistant in a dungy, defunct labratory on a now submerged island in the middle of nowhere.

Name the team, now known as the Redhawks, who went to one NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.
Who was their leading scorer?

Who is the only player ever to have led both the NBA and ABA in rebounding average for a season?

Who was Jim Marshall's first professional team?

What athlete is known as Wa-Tho-Huk?

What great boxer was named after a famous singer, who had changed his real name to avoid confusion with another very famous person?

Who is Dick Furry?
What was significant about his playing career?

Who was the famous Centre who led the famous 'GAG' line?

Who is the Rhodes Scholar that blew off the NFL in his first year of NFL eligibility?
Why did he do this?
What are 2 things he did that year?

Only 2 players averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a season for 4 professional basketball teams.
Who were they?

How many NBA All Star Centers has the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill produced?
Who were they?

So far, only 2 NFL Drafts have failed to produce an NFL Hall of Fame member.
What years were they?

Bonus points if you know the 2 players in the first draft who were named to their franchises Hall of Fames, and if you can name what extra special accolades one of these players achieved throughout both his college and pro careers.

What basketball player has a 101.5 inch wing span?

Who is one of five men's college basketball players ever to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds over a career, the NBA all-time most successful field goal percentage shooter, and ranks among the top 25 all-time point scorers, as well as in the top ten in rebounds, blocked shots, games and minutes played.
What is unique about this man today?
What other record does he still hold?
Who are the other 4 players?

Who holds the NCAA Men's basketball record for rebounding average in a year?
What team did he play for, and what year did he do it?

Who hoisted up 71 shots in a NCAA men's basketball game?
What year did this happen? How many did he make?

The team he did it against accomplished 2 records, that still stand, 3 seasons later.
What are they?

What is the first record set by Wilt Chamberlain that still stands today?

What do Jesse Arnelle and Dick Hemric have in common with a Basketball Hall of Famer who was an NBA Champion, NCAA Champion, NIT Champion, NCAA Tourney MVP, and NIT co-MVP?
Who is the Hall of Famer I speak of?
What record does he still own?
Bonus points if you know the teams these 3 played on, and if you know the player who next joined them in rare territory, and who was the 1st ever to accomplish it?

Only one American based team won the Canadian Football League Championship.
Who were they? What year did they accomplish this feat?
What did the local fans call them?

What do Ken Stabler, Bill Walsh, Garo Yepremian, Coy Bacon, Sam Wyche, and Otis Sistrunk have in common?

EZ 1 for BoSox fans : What event could happened initially that would have prevented the whole "Babe's Curse" era?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The ALMOST All Time Dallas Cowboys = Defense

REMEMBER : This is a list of players who are NOT, and maybe never will be, inducted into Canton.

Defensive Tackle : Jethro Pugh

Jethro was an 11th round draft pick of the Cowboys in 1965, and was the 145th player chosen overall. Dallas was looking for someone be the heir apparent for veteran Jim Colvin in order to compliment Hall Of Fame DT Bob Lilly, and Pugh was the man who filled the bill. Standing 6'6", he found his way into the starting lineup by his third season in 1967. He led the NFL with 4 fumble recoveries, and recorded his first career safety. Dallas would go to the NFL Championship Game that year, but lose to Green Bay. In 1968, Jethro recorded another safety, had 15.5 sacks, and was named to the Associated Press Second Team All NFL. Pugh had his only interception in 1970, then helped the Cowboys reach Super Bowl. After losing that game, Dallas returned to the Super Bowl the next year and won. Pugh recorded 4 more fumble recoveries in 1973, and would be a key member of the Doomsday Defense that helped Dallas reach Super Bowls and . After winning the Super Bowl in 1977, Pugh played one more season in 1978, then retired with 95.5 career sacks. His 14 years with the team is tied as the second longest tenure in franchise history. Though Lilly and Randy White were Hall Of Famers who played opposite of Pugh, Jethro was an excellent player in his own right.

Defensive Tackle : La'Roi Glover

Glover was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 5th round of the 1996 draft, and was the 166th player chosen overall. After playing in just 2 games with the Raiders in his rookie year, he was traded to the New Orleans Saints. Though he started just 2 of the 15 games he played, Glover recorded 6.5 sacks. La'Roi then had 10 sacks and an interception in 1998 and 8.5 sacks the following year. He made his first All Pro Team in 2000, after leading the NFL with 17 sacks. He would make the All Pro Team for the next five seasons as well. After recording 8 sacks for the Saints in 2001, Glover joined the Cowboys. He had 6.5 sacks and an interception his first year with Dallas. After 5 sacks and a safety in 2003, Glover had 7 sacks the following year. He was moved to Nose Tackle in 2005 and had 3 sacks. La'Roi then signed with the Saint Louis Rams before the 2006 season. He had 5.5 sacks that year, then 6 the next. Glover played in 13 games for the Rams last year, and recorded half a sack. La'Roi Glover's 4 Pro Bowl appearances are the 3rd most in Cowboys history by a Defensive Tackle, behind Lilly then White. He is one of the best to have played his position for Dallas.

Defensive End : Harvey Martin

Harvey was drafted by the Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1973 draft by the Cowboys, and was the 53rd player chosen overall. He played right away, and set a still standing franchise record of 8 sacks for a Cowboys rookie. Harvey continued to be a pass rushing extraordinaire, helping the Cowboys form one of the better defenses in the NFL. 1976 was the first of 4 consecutive years Martin would be named to the Pro Bowl Team, and he also had his first career interception. He had a Dallas record 23 sacks in 1977, helping the Cowboys go on to win Super Bowl XII. In that game, Harvey and Randy White shared the MVP honors. Martin then had 14 sacks in 1978, along with the last interception of his career. He had 9 sacks the next year, and recorded a safety. Harvey then had 12 sacks in 1980. In the strike shortened season of 1982, Martin had 8 sacks in 9 games. His last year in the NFL was 1983, where he had 2 sacks. He then retired with 114 sacks in 158 career games. He is also a member of the NFL 1970's All Decade Team. Harvey passed away in 2001, but he may be the greatest pass rusher in Cowboys history. I expect Harvey Martin to one day find his rightful place in the Cowboys Ring Of Honor.

Defensive End : George Andrie

George was drafted by the Cowboys in the 6th round of the 1962 draft, the 82nd player picked overall. He recovered 4 fumbles over his first two seasons while playing next to Hall Of Fame Defensive Tackle Bob Lilly at Right Defensive End. After playing on the left side of the defense in 1964, George was switched back to his original position and stayed there throughout his career after making his first All Pro Team and also scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery. Already a noted sack master, Andrie accumulated a career best 18.5 sacks in 1966, while also scored a touchdown off of the only interception of his career, and returned to the Pro Bowl. The Cowboys ended up reaching the NFL Championship game in 1967. George scored 6 of the 17 points Dallas had in the loss by taking a fumble into the end zone. He once again was named to the Pro Bowl after that season, and would achieve that honor again the following year and again in 1969 for the last time. That season saw Andrie record the only safety of his career. 1970 saw George take part of the first Super Bowl after the merger with the American Football League was completed. The Cowboys faced the Baltimore Colts, but lost in a game known for the record 11 turnovers committed by both teams, as well as 10 penalties committed by Dallas. Andrie and the Cowboys exacted their revenge the following year by winning Super Bowl VI. This was in the heyday of "The Doomsday Defense", and they did not disappoint by trouncing the Miami Dolphins 24 - 3. It is the only Super Bowl where a team has failed to score a touchdown. George played his last season in 1972, then retired with 97 sacks in his eleven seasons with Dallas. While it is a mystery as to why he has yet to be inducted into the Cowboys Ring Of Fame, George Andrie is probably the greatest Defensive End in Cowboys history.

Middle Linebacker : Lee Roy Jordan

Lee Roy was the Dallas Cowboys first draft pick of the 1963 draft. He was the sixth player chosen overall. Jordan only suited up for seven games in his rookie year, but started each game at Outside Linebacker on the left side. He ended up swiping three interceptions and recovering a fumble. Jordan would pick off one pass the next year, then none the following season. He was moved to Middle Linebacker in 1966 and would stay there the rest of his career. This was the time the famous "Doomsday Defense" was at its beginnings, and Lee Roy was the leader. He picked off one pass that year and returned it 49 yards for a score. Lee Roy had 3 interceptions the next year for a career best 85 yards, while scoring another touchdown and recording a safety. The Cowboys would end up making it to the 1967 NFL Championship Game before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the famous "Ice Bowl". Lee Roy was named to the first of three consecutive Pro Bowls that season. Jordan had 3 picks in 1968, then 2 the following year. After getting an interception in 1970, He ended up playing in Super Bowl V, the first Super Bowl after the NFL/ AFL merger. The Cowboys ended up losing in the waning seconds to the Baltimore Colts in a game dubbed "The Blunder Bowl" because it was a game that featured 11 turnovers by both teams and 10 penalties against Dallas. Lee Roy had 2 interceptions in 1971, and a career best 3 fumble recoveries. The Cowboys would go on to beat the Miami Dolphins 24 - 3 in Super Bowl VI. It is the only Super Bowl where a team was prevented from scoring a touchdown. Jordan had 2 more swipes in 1972, then had a career high 6 interceptions in 1973. In one game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Texas Stadium, Jordan picked off 3 passes in a five minute span. He took one ball for a 31 yard touchdown, and was named to the Pro Bowl after the season. Lee Roy made his final All Pro Team in 1974, after having 2 interceptions. 1975 saw Jordan tie his career high of 6 interceptions, while leading the Cowboys to Super Bowl X. The Cowboys ended up losing a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jordan again started every game in 1976, but did not record any turnovers for only the second time of his career. He then retired after that season as the franchises all time leader in tackles, and his 32 interceptions are still tied for the third most ever by a linebacker in NFL history. He was a true leader who always gave it everything he had on every play without fail. Not only was he a tackling machine, but the man helped get the ball back for his teams offense over 50 times in his career. Jordan gathered a turnover in every 3.72 games he played in his career, an outstanding percentage. His three interception game was named one of the ten most memorable moments in the history of in Texas Stadium in 2008. Not a big man in size or stature, Jordan's heart was immeasurable, and he was one of the top linebackers in the NFL almost every year that he played. Lee Roy Jordan is a member of the Cowboys Ring Of Fame. Bob Bruenig, his successor, deserves mention.

Outside Linebacker : Chuck Howley

Howley was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 1958, the 7th player chosen overall. After getting an interception in his rookie year, Howley hurt his knee in the 3rd game of 1959 and retired. After sitting out the 1960 season, Howley decided to return to the NFL. His rights were traded to the Cowboys for a few draft picks. Chuck started in 13 games at both outside linebacker positions in 1961, and recorded an interception. After having 2 interceptions in each of the next three seasons, Howley was named to his first All Pro Team in 1965, an honor he would achieve every year until 1971. He recovered a fumble in 1966, and ran 97 yards for a touchdown. In 1967, he took his lone interception 28 yards for a touchdown. He scored again the next year after having a career best 6 interceptions. In 1970, the Cowboys would reach, and lose, Super Bowl V. He was named the games MVP after having 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Not only was he the first defensive player to win the award, but he is the only player on a losing team to garner that honor. Howley refused the award because of the fact that Dallas lost the game. The Cowboys went back to the Super Bowl the next year and won. That season saw Howley intercept 5 balls for a career best 122 yards. Chuck had a fumble recovery and an interception for 41 yards in the victory. After grabbing an interception the next year, Howley only played one game in 1973. He then retired with 26.5 sacks, 17 fumble recoveries, and 25 interceptions for his career. Though he has yet to be inducted into Canton, Howley is the greatest linebacker in Dallas history. His 14 years with the team is tied as the second longest tenure in franchise history. Chuck Howley is a member of the Cowboys Ring Of Honor.

Outside Linebacker : Dexter Coakley

Dexter was the Cowboys 3rd round draft choice in the 1997 draft. He started right away, and had an interception, 2.5 sacks, and a touchdown off of a fumble recovery. He had an interception and 2 sacks the next year, then had a career best 4 interceptions in 1999. He took one swipe 46 yards for a score, and made his first All Pro Team. In 2000, Dexter ran a ball 24 yards. He returned to the Pro Bowl in 2001, after scoring twice off of interceptions. Dexter then took a lone pick for a career long 52 yards and a touchdown in 2002. Dexter made his last Pro Bowl the next year after having a sack and an interception. In 2004, he ran a ball for a career long 33 yards. Coakley was released by Dallas after 2004 due to salary cap issues, and he signed with the Saint Louis Rams. He played 2 years with the Rams before retiring due to an ankle injury. Only two linebackers in Dallas history, Howley and Jordan, have appeared in more Pro Bowls than Coakley. Only DeMarcus Ware and Bob Bruenig have matched his total. Dexter Coakley was an sound pass defender and solid in run support. He is one of the better linebackers in Cowboys history.

Strong Safety : Charlie Waters

Charlie was the Cowboys 3rd round draft pick in 1970, the 66th player chosen overall. Waters backed up Cliff Harris at Free Safety in his rookie year, but did start in 6 games after Harris had to serve military duty. Waters had 5 interceptions that season, as the Cowboys would go on to lose Super Bowl V. Waters did start 3 games the next year, had 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, as the Cowboys would go on and win Super Bowl VI. Charlie was a reserve again in 1972, but had a career bests with 6 interception for 132 yards and a touchdown. He was moved to Cornerback the next year, and had 5 interceptions for 112 yards. After 2 interceptions the next year, Waters was moved to Strong Safety in 1975. He responded with 3 interceptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys would end up reaching Super Bowl X, but lose. Charlie made his first All Pro team in 1976 after snagging 3 picks. He returned to the Pro Bowl the next year after getting 3 more interceptions, as the Cowboys would end up winning Super Bowl XII. 1978 was the last year Charlie would go to the Pro Bowl. He had a safety and 4 interceptions. The Cowboys would end up playing in Super Bowl XIII, but lose. Waters injured his knee before the start of the 1979 season, and would sit out the entire year. He returned in 1980 and had 5 interceptions. After getting 3 interceptions in 1981, he retired with 41 career interceptions. Charlie Waters 11 post season interceptions are an NFL record. Though Darren Woodson was an excellent player who deserves mention, Charlie Waters was a big play Safety who always came up big for Dallas. Especially when it mattered most. He may be the greatest Strong Safety in Cowboys history.

Free Safety : Cliff Harris

Though the Cowboys have had quite a few decent players at this position, I cannot see anyone else here but "Captain Crash", a CCC Profilee . Harris was not chosen in the 1970 NFL Draft but started immediately at Free Safety in his rookie year. He intercepted 2 passes, returning one for 60 yards. Harris also recovered 3 fumbles. Although military obligations caused him to miss the second half the season, he returned in time for the Cowboys' Super Bowl VI win. Harris also returned punts and kickoffs for the Cowboys from his second season until his fifth season. His best season returning kickoffs was in 2nd year. Harris returned 29 kicks for 823 yards at an excellent 28.3 average. All of these stats are his career highs. He took one kick 77 yards for the longest return of his career. He also averaged a career best 7.6 yards per punt return on 17 punts. Harris picked off 2 passes that year and recovered 3 fumbles as well. He ended up with 63 kick returns at a very impressive 25.7 average for his career. He also returned 66 punts in his career. Harris was steady. He intercepted 2 or more passes every year of his entire career. His career high was 5 in 1977, when the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII. In 1975, Harris took an interception 27 yards for the only touchdown of his NFL career. Harris was named to his first Pro Bowl in 1974, and would be named to the Pro Bowl each year for the rest of his career. He was a starter his entire NFL career, and was fearless versus the run. Harris was a notoriously hard hitter who would make opposing wide receivers get alligator arms when coming across the middle. He was on five Dallas Super Bowl teams during his career. Harris wore the pads of place kickers in order to keep his speed and quickness up throughout his career, making his hitting prowess even more impressive. Harris announced his retirement following the 1979 to concentrate on his business ventures, where he runs a company with former Cowboys SS Charlie Waters. Sports Illustrated named him to their Dream Team at free safety. Harris was named to the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2004. Cliff Harris changed the way the Free Safety position was played. His run support is legendary in Texas, and his intelligence was a big part of his game. Harris teamed with his best friend, Waters, to form one of the better Safety duos in the NFL throughout the 70's. Waters made 3 Pro Bowls from 1976 to 1978. Harris was noted for always being around the ball. He got the ball back for the Cowboys 47 times in his 10 year career. He has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I don't know what the voters are waiting for. He should have been in already. With his being so close to being inducted in 2004, there is little doubt in my mind that Cliff Harris will one day be in Canton. Hopefully sooner than later.

Cornerback : Cornell Green

Cornell signed as a free agent with the Cowboys before the 1962 season despite never having played college football. His brother, Pumpsie, was the first black player to ever play for the Boston Red Sox. Cornell learned fast enough to start 3 games in his rookie year. The next season saw Green set career bests with 7 interceptions for 211 yards. He also returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1965, after returning a fumble for a touchdown and snagging 3 picks. He returned to the Pro Bowl the next year after having 4 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. 1967 saw Green match his career high of 7 interceptions, and he once again was on the Pro Bowl Team. In a playoff win over the Cleveland Browns, Green returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown. Dallas would end up playing, and losing, in the NFL Championship Game. He had 4 interceptions the next year, and returned one for a score. Cornell made his last Pro Bowl Team as a Cornerback in 1969 after picking off 2 passes. He then was moved to Strong Safety in 1970 and had 1 interception for 59 yards. Dallas would go on and lose Super Bowl V. Cornell went back to the Pro Bowl the next year after having 2 interceptions. Dallas would end up winning Super Bowl VI that year. Green made his last Pro Bowl Team in 1972, after getting 2 interceptions. After getting 2 more interceptions in 1974, Green retired with 34 interceptions and 4 touchdowns. Cornell Green was named to the Cowboys 25th Anniversary Team in 1985. I find it surprising he has yet to be put in the teams Ring Of Honor, because Cornell Green is definitely one of the best defensive backs in the franchises history.

Cornerback : Don Bishop

Don went undrafted just before the 1958 season. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and played in 12 games, and caught 3 passes for 58 yards. After playing in 2 games with Pittsburgh the next year, he then joined the Chicago Bears for one game. Bishop then signed with the expansion Cowboys for the 1960 season. He appeared in 12 games and had 3 interceptions. The next year saw Don had career highs with 8 interceptions for 172 yards. Don then made his only Pro Bowl Team in 1962. He had 6 interceptions for 134 yards, while taking a fumble recovery 84 yards for a touchdown. Don then had 5 picks the following year. After playing the next two seasons, he retired due to a knee injury. His 22 career interceptions is the tenth most in Dallas history. The Cowboys have had several great cornerbacks, but Don Bishop's contributions to the franchise must be remembered. He played on some bad teams, and was one of their stars by leading the team in interceptions for 3 years. He is certainly one of the better Cornerbacks in Dallas franchise history. Everson Walls and Deion Sanders deserve mention, but they should end up in Canton one day.

Punter : Danny White

Danny was drafted by the Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1974 draft, the 53rd player chosen overall. Danny opted to join the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League instead. After 2 seasons with them, White joined the Cowboys in 1976. Though he was the primary backup quarterback, Danny handled the punting duties. In his first 4 years with the team, he threw 103 passes, completing 56, for 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He even won the one game he started over that time. He did punt the ball 70 times in his rookie year for an average of 38.4 yards per punt. He also had a career high 2 blocked. He then had 80 punts in the Cowboys Super Bowl winning season of 1977, and 76 punts in each of the two following seasons. Hall Of Fame Quarterback Roger Staubach retired after the 1979 season, so Danny ended up being the starter. He also continued his punting duties. Though he was a successful quarterback who went 62 - 30 in his career, he became the teams all time leader in punting attempts and second in yardage. He did make the Pro Bowl as a quarterback in 1982. 1982 saw Danny punt a career high 82 times. After punting just one time for 43 yards in 1985, he became a full time quarterback until he retired after the 1988 season. Ron Widby has been to two Pro Bowls, the most is Cowboys history, so he deserves mention. Sam Baker, Mat McBrier, and Mike Saxon deserve mention as well. The reason I chose Danny White is not only because of his place in the Cowboys record books, but also due to the fact the man handled quarterbacking and punting duties full time for several seasons.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The ALMOST All Time Dallas Cowboys = Offense

REMEMBER = This list, as the title implies, pays tribute to greats NOT in Canton

Quarterback : Don Meredith

Don was already a legend in Dallas before he turned pro. He went to SMU, which some called "Southern Meredith University" during his time there, and is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame. The Chicago Bears drafted Meredith in the 3rd round of the 1960 draft, the 32nd player picked overall, but traded him to the expansion Cowboys for a few draft picks. After starting five of the fourteen games he played in his first two season, Don replaced incumbent starter Eddie LeBaron during the 1962 season. Though the Cowboys would not have a winning season until 1966, Meredith became a fan favorite who was known for his toughness and determination. He led the NFL in yards gained per completion in 1965, as the Cowboys had their first non losing season by going 7 - 7. The 1966 season saw Don win the Bert Bell Awards for NFL Player Of The Year, as well as earn his first Pro Bowl nod, when he led the NFL in yards gained per pass completion again. Dallas had now joined the top tier of the NFL ranks, and would go on to play in the 1967 NFL Championship. Though they lost in the famous "Ice Bowl" to the Green Bay Packers, his leadership skills were now in the national spotlight. "Dandy Don" would make the Pro Bowl Team in each of the following two seasons, but missed several games due to various injuries. After the 1969 season, he suddenly retired from the game at 30 years old. Every home football game he played from high school to the pros was in North Texas. He then went on to enjoy a career as an NFL broadcaster for 15 years. Don Meredith is a member of the Cowboys Ring Of Honor. Though the Cowboys have had a few Hall Of Famers play quarterback during the teams 48 years of existence, "Dandy Don" was one of a kind.

Fullback : Don Perkins

Don was a ninth round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts in the 1960 draft, the 106th player chosen overall. Don never played with the Colts because he had signed a contract already with the expansion Cowboys. After the Colts were compensated, Perkins suited up for Dallas in the 1961 season. Don's rookie year saw him play Halfback and gain 815 yards on 200 carries, while catching a career high 32 passes. He was named to his first All Pro Team for that season, an honor he would be given in each of the following two seasons. Perkins had a career bests with 945 rushing yards on 222 carries in 1962. He also ran for 7 touchdowns. The next season Don moved to Fullback, where he scored 7 times on 149 carries for 614 yards over 11 games. After scoring 6 touchdowns on 174 carries for 768 yards, Don did not score in 1965 after gaining 690 yards on 177 carries. It was the only year of his career where he failed to reach the end zone. Perkins rebounded with an All Pro season in 1966 after gaining 726 yards on 186 carries with a career best 8 rushing touchdowns. He returned to the Pro Bowl the nest year after gaining 823 yards on 201 carries and 6 scores. After a Pro Bowl season in 1968, where Perkins gained 836 yards on 191 carries and 6 total touchdowns, he retired from the NFL. He retired as the Cowboys all time leader in rushing yards with 6,217 yards, and still ranks third in franchise history. Don wasn't a big Fullback, standing 5'10" and weighing 204 lbs, but he was a hard nosed runner and an exceptional blocking back. Don Perkins is a member of the Cowboys Ring Of Honor, and the greatest Fullback in Dallas Cowboys history. Robert Newhouse and Daryl Johnston deserve mention.

Halfback : Calvin Hill

Calvin was the Cowboys first round draft choice in the 1969 draft, the 24th player chosen overall. He was put to work right away and gained 942 yards on 204 carries with 8 scores. He ran one ball for a career long 55 yards, and also completed all 3 of his passes with 2 scores. Calvin was named Rookie Of The Year, and was named to the Pro Bowl Team. The next two rears were injury plagued seasons for Hill. He gained 1,045 yards on 259 carries and 15 total touchdowns while starting 14 of the 20 games he played in. The Cowboys would reach the Super Bowl both of those seasons, winning once. He then became the first 1,000 yards rusher in Cowboys history in 1972, after gaining 1,036 yards on 245 carries and 9 total touchdowns. He also snagged a career best 43 pass receptions. Calvin returned to the Pro Bowl, and would do again the following season after gaining career highs with 1,142 yards rushing yards on 273 carries. He also scored 6 times. 1974 was the last year Hill would be an All Pro, and as a member of the Cowboys. He ran for 844 yards on 185 carries for 7 scores. Due to a contract dispute, Calvin joined The Hawaiians of the World Football League for 1975, the only pro football team to emanate out of Hawaii. He joined the Washington Redskins in 1976 and played as a seldom used reserve over the next two seasons, gaining 558 yards on 148 carries and a touchdown. Calvin joined the Cleveland Browns in 1978, and was used primarily 4 seasons. He ran for 516 yards on 138 carries and 2 touchdowns, along with 107 receptions 1,248 yards and 16 more scores. He then retired after the 1981 season. Though Calvin played just 6 seasons with Dallas, he gained 5009 rushing yards and was a 4 time All Pro with them. He certainly was a great player.

Wide Receiver : Drew Pearson

Drew was signed by the Cowboys in 1973 as an undrafted rookie free agent. He broke into the starting unit as a rookie for 6 games and caught 22 passes. Drew had his best season the following year. He caught 62 balls for 1,087 yards, both of which were career bests, and went to his first Pro Bowl game. After catching 46 balls for 822 yards and a career high 8 touchdowns in 1975, Drew returned to the Pro Bowl in 1976 after 58 balls for 806 yards and 6 scores. Pearson then went to his last Pro Bowl the following year after catching 48 passes for a league leading 870 yards to go with 2 scores. His 62.1 receiving yards per game led the NFL also, which would help the Cowboys to go on and win Super Bowl XII. After 44 receptions in 1978, Drew had 1,026 yards on 58 receptions for 8 touchdowns the following season. His 18.7 yards per catch was a career best. Though Drew was still an integral part of the Cowboys offense over the next 3 seasons, his production slightly declined each year with reception totals of 43, 38, and 26 respectively. Despite missing 2 games in 1983, Drew would catch 47 passes and score 5 times. He then retired with 489 career receptions for 7,822 yards and 67 touchdowns. "Mr. Clutch" is a member of the NFL 1970's All Decade Team, and is known for several historical catches like the "Hail Mary against the Minnesota Vikings in a 1975 playoff game, another game winning catch against the Los Angelos Rams in a 1973 playoff game, and the winning catch against the Cowboys arch rival Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving in 1974. All 3 catches were part of the NFL's Top 75 Plays in NFL History by NFL Films in 1994. For some strange reason, Drew Pearson has yet to be put in the Cowboys Ring Of Honor, but he is certainly one of the greatest Wide Receivers the franchise has ever had.

Wide Receiver : Tony Hill

Tony was the Cowboys 3rd round draft pick in 1977, the 62nd player chosen overall. He only caught 2 balls in his rookie year, and returned 10 punts and 3 kickoffs. Dallas would end up winning Super Bowl XII that year. Hill really exploded onto the NFL scene the following year, and earned his first Pro Bowl bid. He snagged 46 balls for 823 yards and 6 scores. He returned to the Pro Bowl the next year, when he scored a career best 10 touchdowns on 60 receptions for 1,062 yards. He took one pass for a career long 75 yards as well. He had virtually identical numbers the following season, when he had 60 receptions for 1,055 yards and 8 touchdowns. Despite starting in 9 of the 16 games he played in 1981, Tony averaged a career high 20.7 yards on 46 catches. After 35 receptions in the strike shortened season of 1982, Hill had 49 catches and 7 touchdowns the next year. Despite missing 5 games in 1984, he managed to snare 58 balls and 5 scores. Tony made his last Pro Bowl Team in 1985, after catching a career best 74 passes for 1,113 yards. He also had 7 touchdowns. His last year in the NFL was in the following 1986 season. Tony had 49 receptions for 770 yards and 3 scores. Tony Hill retired with 479 receptions for 7,988 yards and 51 touchdowns. He and Drew Pearson formed one of the best duo's in the NFL for several years, as you can tell by their similar career statistics.

Tight End : Jay Novacek

Jay was drafted by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 6th round of the 1985 draft. He was the 158th player chosen overall. Jay was seldom used, and seldom healthy, in his first 3 seasons. He caught a total of 22 passes during that time, but started to blossom with 38 receptions in 1988. After catching 23 passes the next year, Novacek signed with the Cowboys as a free agent before the 1990 season. He immediately contributed as the Cowboys starting Tight End that year, when he had 59 catches. He went to his first Pro Bowl the following year, after catching 59 more passes. Jay returned to the Pro Bowl in 1992 after having career bests with 68 receptions and 6 touchdowns. In his 1993 All Pro season, Jay ran a ball 2 yards for the only rushing touchdown of his career. Novacek would continue to make the Pro Bowl until 1996. That year saw him have a career high 705 yards on 62 receptions, while scoring 5 times. Jay was then hurt during the Cowboys Super Bowl XXX victory,and never played again. Jay Novacek retired with 422 receptions for 4,630 yards and 31 total touchdowns. Doug Cosbie deserves mention, but Jay Novacek may be the best Tight End the Cowboys have ever had thus far.

Center : Mark Stepnoski

Mark was the Cowboys 3rd round draft choice in the 1989 draft. He was the 57th player chosen overall. He eventually took over for long time starter Tom Rafferty, and started 4 games in his rookie year. He would then start in every game he played in the NFL from 1990 until his retirement. Stepnoski made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1992, despite missing 2 games. He would achieve that honor for the next four seasons as well. The Cowboys would go to, and win, back to back Super Bowls between 1992 to 1993. He joined the Houston Oilers in 1995 and stayed with them as they moved to Tennessee in 1997. After the 1998 season, Stepnoski rejoined the Cowboys in 1999. He then started for the team until his retirement in 2001. Mark Stepnoski's 3 Pro Bowl appearances with Dallas are the most by any Center in franchise history, and that mark was recently equaled by Andre Gurode.

Guard : John Niland

Niland was the Cowboys first round draft choice of the 1966 draft, the fifth player chosen overall. He was plugged in as a starter at Left Guard right away, and stayed there for the rest of his time with Dallas. He made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1968, and would garner that nod for six straight seasons. He was an important part of an excellent offensive line that went to 2 Super Bowls, 4 Conference Championships, 6 Division Championships , and 8 seasons of playoff appearances during his time in Dallas. In 1972, Niland scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery. John made his last Pro Bowl Team in 1973, then played his last year with the Cowboys in 1974. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before 1975, then retired after playing one season with them. Dallas has had many great Guards in their franchise history, and John Niland certainly ranks near the top.

Guard : Nate Newton

Nate went undrafted by the NFL in 1984, so he joined the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL, and played with them until 1985. He then signed with the Cowboys before the 1986 season. He played as a reserve in 11 games during his rookie season, but started in all 11 games he played the next year. Nate would start in every game he played over the next four years, and missed only 3 due to injury. He made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1992, a honor he would achieve for five straight seasons, and helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XXVII. The Cowboys repeated as champions the next year, then won again in 1995. After Newton missed 3 games in 1997, he made his last All Pro Team the next year. It was also his last with Dallas. He joined the Carolina Panthers, and played in 7 games, in 1999. Nate then retired from the NFL. I left Eric Allen off this list because I am certain he will be inducted into Canton. Herb Scott and Blaine Nye deserve mention as well. Nate Newton was a very big, strong, and agile man who was noted for sound technique and crushing blocks. He is one of the best Guards to have ever played for the Cowboys.

Offensive Tackle : Ralph Neely

Ralph was drafted in the second round by both the NFL Baltimore Colts and the AFL Houston Oilers. Ralph initially agreed to play with the Oilers, who even offered Neely a gas station in his contract, but decided to join the Cowboys after Dallas acquired his rights from the Colts. He started right away at Right Tackle, and remained there for 5 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl three straight seasons from 1967 to 1969. He moved to Left Tackle in 1970, and even saw time at Right Guard. Now the Cowboys starter at Left Tackle, Ralph manned that position until 1977. He was injured halfway into the Cowboys victorious 1971 Super Bowl season, and missed the rest of the year. In 1972, Ralph rushed for 10 yards. After the Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl XII in 1977, then Neely retired. Though Ralph has yet to join his bookend, Rayfield Wright, in Canton or Cowboys Ring Of Honor, he was an excellent and versatile player. Ralph Neely is a member on the NFL 1960's All Decade Team.

Offensive Tackle : Pat Donovan

Pat was drafted in the 4th round of the 1975 draft by the Cowboys. He was the 90th player chosen overall. Donovan's was part of a Cowboys draft class tabbed "The Dirty Dozen", which helped the team to great successes. After being a reserve for his first three seasons behind Ralph Neely, Pat took over as the full time starter at Left Tackle. He made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1979, and would continue to do so until 1982. After playing out the 1983 season, Donovan retired from the NFL. The Cowboys have had a few great Tackles in their 48 years. Hall Of Famer Rayfield Wright heads the list, and Eric Williams may soon join him in Canton. Pat Donovan was also an excellent player in his own right.

Kicker : Rafael Septien

Rafael wins this spot because of service time. The Cowboys have had several other kickers go to the Pro Bowl just once like Septien did, but none lasted with the team as long. Rafael was a tenth round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, the 258th player overall, in the 1977 draft. He ended up playing for the Los Angelos Rams that year, and scored 86 points. He then joined the defending champion Cowboys in 1978, and scored 94 points. He made 46 of 47 extra point attempts, both of which led the NFL that season. Septien followed that up with 97 points the next year. He then led the NFL with 59 extra point conversions out of 60 attempts in the 1980 season, while scoring 92 points. Rafael's best season may have been in 1981, his only Pro Bowl year. He scored 121 points, while leading the NFL with 27 field goals made. He then had 58 points in the strike shortened season of 1981, and then had a career best 123 points the following year. Rafael then had 101 points in 1983, and 99 the following year. His last year in the NFL was 1986, where he scored 88 points. Septien is the Cowboys all time leader in field goal and extra point attempts and field goal and extra point conversions. His 874 points are the most ever by any Cowboy. Rafael Septien was named to the Cowboys 40th Anniversary Team in 2000, and he is the greatest kicker the teams has ever had so far.

Return Specialist : Kevin Williams

Williams, born in Dallas, was the 46th player chosen in the second round by the Cowboys in the 1993 draft. He spent his first two seasons as the Cowboys primary return specialist. He returned 2 punts for touchdowns on 36 attempts as a rookie, which was the most in the NFL that year. Kevin also found time to receive 20 balls for two touchdowns, while scoring his only two rushing touchdowns on seven attempts. The Cowboys would go on to win Super Bowl XXVIII. He took another punt 83 yards for a score the next year on 39 returns, while taking a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Kevin averaged a career best 26.7 yards per kick return on 43 attempts that year. 1995 saw the Cowboys win Super Bowl XXX, as Williams saw his punt return duties decrease as his receiving duties increased. He did return 49 kickoffs, the most he had as a Cowboy, as well as catching a career high 38 passes for 613 yards and two scores. He also rushed the ball a career high 10 times for 53 yards. Williams had an injury shortened season in 1996 and caught 27 passes for a score in the 10 games he suited up for. He returned just 21 kickoffs and 2 punts that season as well. He then joined the Arizona Cardinals for the 1997 season and led the NFL with a career best 1,458 kickoff return yards on a career high 59 attempts. Williams also returned a career high 40 punts for 416 yards, and caught 20 passes with one touchdown. He then joined the Buffalo Bills for the following season and returned 47 kickoffs for 1,059 yards, as well as returning 37 punts for 369 yards. Kevin also scored the last touchdown of his career that year on 29 receptions. Williams then caught 31 passes for the Bills in 1999, as well as returning 33 punts for 331 yards and 42 kickoff returns for 8840 yards. He then joined the San Francisco 49ers for the 2000 season. Used only as a return specialist, Kevin had 26 punt returns for 220 yards to go with 30 kickoff returns for 536 yards. He then retired after that year. His 3, 416 kickoff return yards are the most in Cowboys history. Hall Of Famers Bob Hayes and Mel Renfro deserve mention, as does Kelvin Martin. Martin has the most punt return yardage in Cowboys history, and Renfro still has the third most kick return yardage. Hayes, Martin, and Williams all share the Cowboys franchise record for 3 punt returns for touchdowns in a career. Though the Cowboys have had many decent return specialists, and Williams' 98 receptions with the team shows he was a versatile weapon, he is my pick as their best overall return specialist not in Canton.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Whining Game

Pouring out of a crashed car with bruises and bite marks all over its booty, it is once again time for POINTLESS PONDERING. That entity that never knows how or when to retire without media approval.

Next Boring Act

Is anyone REALLY that excited about what is going on in the NBA right now? Can you truly watch ANY game without an eyebrow raised in its direction? If you had read an old post of mine, STERN'S STOLEN SCRIPT, you can see it is almost going verbatim. I have long been critical of David Stern for selling out the integrity of the game in order to "go hollywood". The cash has rolled in by the buckets, but the message is convoluted with greed. Seeing the LeBron versus Kobe push was something anyone could see coming miles away. The game has become boring and predictable. Dictated by the front offices and orchestrated by their stooge refs. I'm not saying that the NBA is the only fixed game in town, but their recycled scripts are much in line with pro wrestling. The hilarity of having Kobe and Shaq play nice and sharing the MVP Award at the All Star game only sent one message in my mind = "Our bad about Donaghy. If these two can forgive and forget, shouldn't you?"

Steroids R Us

A-Fraud is the now statement to sully an easy target. The fact Alex makes big bucks playing in the Big Apple makes it almost required. But to blame the player himself is not the only route in this mess that baseball has made. Sure, the player put the needle in his arm. Most likely without a gun to his head either. Some say the pressure pushed these guys to go roid. That is the enabling message the MLB offices want you to have. A player trying to be their best at all costs is a part of competitive spirit to some. TSN blogger Big Toke raised an accurate point that it is human nature for people to seek that magic pill. I once heard a comic say he didn't care if these guys shot up. Let them jack 2000 foot home runs. Big deal! Let their sacs shrink as the ball flies. Another valid point. I still tend to look at the other side of the equation to try and balance my thoughts on this subject. You have kids watching these guys do it their way. I cannot say if it is the right or wrong way, but it is a unknown path. We have yet to see all the long term repercussions of the effects of steroids. Lyle Alzado died young trying to tell people not to do them. I still think it is cheating, and a far worse offense than gambling on the game because the player doing steroids gambles on his health and those who try to emulate him. I have long stated, since my TSN beginnings, that we can let all offenders in to Cooperstown. But not the right way. They didn't earn it the right way, so they do not deserve respect from a game they disrespected. Build a separate wing called The Cheaters Wing. Then you can let Shoeless Joe Jackson (though his case is mired in confusion as to his amount of actual guilt), Pete Rose, and all of the Roid Rangers all be inducted. Let them have the ceremony...but have them sit in general seating with paying customers in future ceremonies. Just a way of the MLB admitting its guilt while trying to wash their hands from an ugly era that made them all very cash mainly.

The Two Ryan's

Before last year, the Philadelphia Phillies rejected Ryan Howard's request to have a pay raise and contract extension. After Howard helped the Phillies win it all, the team ended up giving him what he wanted. It was a smart move, but probably was a year late. The man is the face of the franchise and may be for another decade. Washington Nationals Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman also asked for a contract extension and pay raise before last season. He was rejected as well. Zimmerman then asked for it again at the conclusion of last season and was rejected yet again.I have no idea what Stan Kasten, the Nationals Team President, is thinking. Kasten is known for not signing guys to long term contacts. This may be a move he will regret. Zimmerman is the best fielding 3rd Baseman in the game, and maybe the best since Brooks Robinson. He may get tired of the disrespect and wait until he is a free agent, and will have a very long line of teams holding offers. Considering the Nationals are many years away from winning, Zimmerman might just have another reason to go elsewhere. The man is a high quality individual on and off the field. Some know a little about his personal life and how far he has come. The fact is that Stan Kasten is playing Russian roulette with the franchise right now. The team's farm system was raped by the MLB during its last years in Montreal, when the MLB owned it. A once stellar farm system that is now amongst the worst in the game. If Zimmerman walks, you might see many Nationals fans follow suit. Washington D.C. has waited over 30 years for baseball to return, and having their team send a message that they don't care what the fans think of them is the wrong tune for such a young team. The honeymoon will be over even faster if the one guy most Nationals fans pay to see, Ryan Zimmerman, is mot signed to a long term contract very soon.

Potpourri Missed

There has been a bunch of crap going on since my last ponderance. From the multitude of personnel changes in the NFL, the Super and Pro Bowl, college basketball, the NHL, NASCAR, and even a kid holding lots of medal form and in weed form in his bong. A certain hyckocrite seemingly has retired again, and America is gearing up for hard times ahead in every form. Just because these events occurred without a ponderance, it doesn't mean I don't care. I will try to pick up the slack in the future, but that goes without promise. Since I'm not running for a political office, I can do that.

Canton Voters

I just HAD to weigh in on the recent players inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. It was another example of the voters having little clue. As you may have seen in my Crazy Canton Cuts series, there are several players still waiting on the call. Two guys who just got the nod, Bob Hayes and Derrick Thomas, were pretty far down my list of guys up to profile. Not that both aren't deserving, because they certainly are. It's just there are guys who were better than them at their positions still not inducted. This same thing held true when Fred Dean was somehow inducted last year in front of several guys, not yet inducted, who were better at his position than him. Hayes and Thomas are dead, so there is the thought that their induction is an NFL angle to garner pity by "showing a human side". I think the induction classes should be larger than they are, and the politics need to be dropped from this whole process. I really am uncertain how much these voters really know about the game, and especially the history of it.

Well, it is that time for me to make like a baby and head out. As they say in Ol' Mexico = A.M.F.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Charles Bukowski : A Tribute

There are times I like to go off course and talk about things not really sports related.

Though the man I speak of often wrote about his love for going to the track and betting on the horse, which gives this a slight taste of sports involvement, I rather speak of other areas.

Charles Bukowski was dubbed "The Poet Laureate of Skid Row" by many.

Bukowski had an alter ego named Hank Chinaski. Hank was the character used to tell us the stories of Buk's life in stories like Post Office, Ham And Rye, Women, and others.

Charles was born in a strict household run by an abusive father and relenting mother. They had met in Germany after World War I, and eventually moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1928 when Charles was 8 years old. They moved to Los Angeles, California two years later, and Charles would call the area home through most of his life. He was shy throughout his childhood, and suffered from severe acne in his teens that ended up scarring his skin. It was during his teens that Buk found his "true love". Alcohol. Charles wrote of how the bottle was something that "is going to help me for a very long time." He ended up attending a community college for two years, but longed for more. He began traveling the United States. He even was arrested by the FBI in Philadelphia during 1944 for suspected draft invasion and spent 17 days incarcerated before being given an 4-F due to flunking the physical and psychological exams given by the military. After having two short stories published by the age of 26, Buk quit writing and went on "a ten year drunk". During that time he traveled the country and spending most of the moneys he made doing small jobs in each town on alcohol. After nearly dying of a bleeding ulcer in 1955 from excessive drinking, Buk went back to writing during a time where he got married and divorced and having his only child with a girlfriend. The 1960's saw Buk get a few short stories and poems published, while writing a weekly column for an underground newspaper titled, "Notes of A Dirty Old Man". He also spent his nights working for the United States Postal Service as a letter filing clerk to earn income. At the end of the decade, he accepted an offer from a publisher, John Martin of Black Sparrow Press, to quit the post office and focus on writing.

Buk spent the next twenty four years writing six novels, six books of poetry, thirteen books of short story collections, and four non fiction books. He died in 1994, and has had eighteen books published since that include all his previously unpublished works. He also wrote a screenplay for a movie, BARFLY, in which he even had a cameo scene in it. FACTOTUM was a book of his recently turned into a movie in 2005. He also starred in an autobiographical movie released a decade after his death titled BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO THIS.

Here are just a few of my favorite things he has written or drawn :

ART : As The Spirit Wanes, The Form Appears

“Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live”

"Women are meant to suffer; no wonder they asked for constant declarations of love"

"I have one of two choices — stay in the post office and go crazy ... or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve."

"Humanity, You never had it from the beginning."

"The people walk with such an indifference I begin to hate them, but then again I've never really been fond of anything."

“There was nothing really as glorious as a good beer shit—I mean after drinking twenty or twenty-five beers the night before. The odor of a beer shit like that spread all around and stayed for a good hour-and-a-half. It made you realize that you were really alive.”

"It was true that I didn't have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?"

"Human relationships didn't work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the a cesspool."

"I could see the road ahead of me. I was poor and I was going to stay poor. But I didn't particularly want money. I didn't know what I wanted. Yes, I did. I wanted someplace to hide out, someplace where one didn't have to do anything. The thought of being something didn't only appall me, it sickened me . . . To do things, to be part of family picnics, Christmas, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Mother's Day . . . was a man born just to endure those things and then die? I would rather be a dishwasher, return alone to a tiny room and drink myself to sleep."

"The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn't interest you. This situation so repelled me that I was driven to drink, starvation, and mad females, simply as an alternative."

"Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now."

"I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn't want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn't understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores."

"This is a world where everybody’s gotta do something. Ya know, somebody laid down this rule that everybody’s gotta do something, they gotta be something. You know, a dentist, a glider pilot, a narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that . . . Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don’t wanna do. All the things that I don’t wanna be. Places I don’t wanna go, like India, like getting my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that, I don’t understand that . . ."

"There's nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don't live up until their death. They don't honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can't hear it. Most people's deaths are a sham. There's nothing left to die."

"The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidates who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn't understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go."

If I stop writing I am dead. And that's the only way I'll stop: dead.

Highly Recommended Works :









Saturday, February 14, 2009

Minnesota Vikings 2009 Off Season Needs

The Vikings are built to run the ball down opponents throats. They have a good set of RB's, and a decent OL. They got into the playoffs with this formula, but fell short of their goal. The pieces are still in place for another run, so upgrades of certain weaknesses have to be addressed to make that push for the ring.

1. Draft Defensive Backs - Antoine Winfield will be 32 in June, and is the teams best CB. D.J. Moore and Alphonso Smith will be sitting there when the Vikings pick at 22. The Vikings should think about drafting a few CB's and even a Safety because Sharper is 34 and an unrestricted free agent.

2. Get Offensive Linemen - The Vikings rely on the run and their current group of O-linemen could use an upgrade. Depth is needed at the least, and Center Matt Birk appears to be on his way elsewhere. Getting an OT would be a big boost.

3. Draft A Wide Receiver - Sidney Rice has ability, but was not healthy in 2008. Last years rookie WR's, Jaymar Johnson and Darius Reynaud, did not pan out. The current corp is not acceptable, and an upgrade is needed. Hakeem Nicks will probably be strongly considered by the Vikings in the first round. If they decide to pass on Nicks, then they best address this position in the first few picks they have.

4. Keep An Eye On QB - Gus Frerotte did a decent job, but it is unlikely he will start in 2009. Tavaris Jackson is still a work in progress, but showed strides last year. Jeff Garcia should soon be available, and has a positive relationship with Brad Childress. Garcia could do the job in 2009 while the Vikings decide if Jackson or Booty have a future with them. Taking a flier on a QB in the later rounds might be an idea as well.

Minnesota is not far off from making a strong push for a championship, but their window might be smaller than others. There is some age on their line of scrimmage, and that is the strength of the team. 2009 is the year for them to get it done, because A.P. and the rest might not be around by the next time the team reloads for a run.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New York Giants 2009 Off Season Needs

The Jints had a nice 2008, despite injuries and distractions from players and the New York paparazzi/ media. They fell short of defending their crown, but it is extremely hard to repeat as a champion. The team has several excellent players who certainly has the team a favorite to repeat as NFC East Champions, but they have their quandaries like everyone else.

1. Flip A Coin? - Both Jacobs and Ward are free agents and there will be a long line of other teams wanting their services. Ward may be the guy who will go, because Jacobs provides that between the tackle style that the G-Men need in order to remain effective. Bradshaw and Ware can try to fill the void Ward will leave, but none could do what Jacobs does.

2. Get More Pass Catchers - Even if Burress wasn't an issue, the team needs more WR's. Amani Toomer will be 35 come September, and who knows how much he has left? Hakeem Nicks or Darrius Heyward-Bey will look pretty attractive to the Jints if they are still on the board. Heyward-Bey would give the team the deep threat they do not have. If the team decides to part ways with Burress, then this need becomes even greater.

3. Get Younger On The O-Line - Sean O'Hara will be 32 come June, and is the teams Center. Getting him a youngster to tutor would be beneficial for the team. Alex Mack should be sitting right there when the Jints draft at the 29th position. The team has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and are generally a young bunch. Still, one cannot have enough depth at one of the more physically demanding positions in the game.

4. Keep Stocking The Secondary - Ross and Webster are the guys at CB, but there isn't much behind them. Getting an extra DB or two will certainly help the team in dime packages. They have youth at Safety, but more bodies will help.

The Giants are a confident team that will be bent on reclaiming the trophy. The skill is there. What happens at the RB position may be more important than their WR issues. Keeping both Ward and Jacobs is an unlikely scenario because both want to be the guy, even if there is obvious success with the three headed committee they have used the past few years. Burress appears likely gone too, but there is a chance he stays. The Giants are a family,as taught to them by the Mara's, so this might be the time to stick together and try to go back to the dance. A scenario few can say is unlikely.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Washington Redskins Off-Season Needs

Looking at my beloved Skins, I worry. Jim Zorn really does not have the personnel he needs to run his offensive scheme, and the team is aging. They did draft a few decent players last year, but the overall draft was as incompetent as the man who ran it. I think the Redskins need to start gutting their roster now if they truly are committed to Zorn and his beliefs. But, is Zorn a West Coast guy who learned under Mike Holmgren, or a Ground Chuck guy who played under Chuck Knox? I personally cannot see a West Coast scheme work in the NFC East, where a team must be tough and ready to rumble. Yet, even if the Skins decide to stay smashmouth, do they have the guys who can stay healthy to accomplish their goals? This is the time for Zorn to answer the question.

1. FIRE VINNY CERRATO! - The fact that this guy even holds a job in any function whatsoever is dumbfounding. No other team would hire him, as shown after the Redskins fired him the first time. The main reason the team has fallen on hard times is because Cerrato is a horrible G.M. Charley Casserly is truly a Redskin, having started out as an unpaid assistant with the team in his youth. He learned from Hall Of Fame coaches and Bobby Beatherd. His last job was with the Houston Texans, where he was slammed by some pundits for drafting Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young. How's that working out? Dan Snyder claims to be a true Redskin fan. If this is true, then he understands the Redskins are about tradition. Get Casserly in camp and take Cerrato deep into the woods with a shotgun.

2. Draft Defense - Cerrato made huge mistakes in wasting draft picks on a tight end not interested in football, and a wide receiver unhealthy and slower than a lineman. These moves bit the Redskins in their rear all season long in 2008. The Skins need to pay attention to the line of scrimmage, and especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have 5 D-linemen and 3 defensive backs up for contract, and there are no guarantees on who will return. Pete Kendall is also a free agent on an aging offensive line. If the Redskins allow Cerrato to continue drafting poorly, the Redskins will continue falling short.

3. Keep stockpiling Offensive Linemen - Look, the Redskins have one of the best offensive line coaches ever on the team in Joe Bugel. Just look at the juggling job Joe has done over the last few years with his oft-injured bunch to see what I mean. Take advantage of his wisdom while you can is my motto. There is a very good chance the Redskins won't be able to get a few guys that could help immediately in LB Rey Maualuga or CB/ S Malcolm Jenkins. It will probably come down to CB Vontae Davis or OT Jason Smith as the Redskins pick at 13. DE Brian Orakpo is also a possibility. Getting Smith is a sound move. They have Heyer looking as the heir apparent to Jansen at RT, and Smith could be the guy to learn behind Samuels at LT. It might not be the sexy pick, and you have the Cerrato factor destroying you, so that means the Redskins better hope to get someone later in the draft if they go another route. Whether they will get lucky and have a Chad Rinehart fall into their laps again remains to be seen, but not very likely.

4. Get Better On Special Teams - Both kicking jobs have been a mess for years. Cerrato showed his brilliance by wasting a draft pick on a punter who ended up being cut early on. They also had one of the worst placekickers in the game last year, which may have cost the team a win or two. The return game is nothing to fear either. Their top special team players are All Pro Snapper Ethan Albright and Wide Receiver James Thrash. Albright is 38 years old in a few months, and Thrash reaches 34 in two weeks. Their other top performer, Linebacker Khary Campbell, is a free agent and 30 years old. The entire unit needs help, and that will only come from good drafting and free agent signings.

5. Get Another Running Back - Clinton Portis is on his last legs. Legs that cannot last 16 games carrying the ball anymore. Ladell Betts will be 30 soon, which is old by NFL standards for this position. Betts has also had his injury issues. It would bode well for the Redskins to get a young kid they can groom and bring along this year. You have to run the ball to win it all, and the Redskins have that ability to do so. Dividing carries between Portis and Betts seems to be the best formula for 2009, assuming they stay healthy, but the team needs to keep an eye on the future also.

There is talent on this team, albeit much of it is aging. The team showed a glimpse of what they were capable of last year until injuries derailed their slim hopes. If Dan Snyder is convinced Zorn has the plan needed to win, then he has to get Jim the support he needs. Having insufficient support in the form of Vinny Cerrato will keep the Redskins in the division cellar. There are important pieces in place on both sides of the ball, but having someone in the front office with the ability to recognize and fill the gaps is a must.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Philadephia Eagles Off-Season Needs

The Eagles were within minutes of getting to the Super Bowl. Now they have as many questions as the next team to deal with. There are several aging stars that produce more to the team than just raw statistics alone. The team will have to juggle egos as well as the budget this off-season. Then there is the sad news of their brilliant Defensive Coordinator, Jim Johnson, dealing with health issues. The Eagles turning point in 2008 was when they lost to the Bengals in windy conditions. Donovan McNabb was benched, and that may have been the final straw for the under appreciated star. There are rumors he wants out, which would put a huge dent in the teams hopes for the next season or two until they see if Kevin Kolb develops into the heir apparent. The team is very capable of winning it all, so the few moves they make may be critical.

1. Keep Brian Dawkins - I put this first because I view it the most important move, assuming McNabb stays in Philly. Dawkins may not the same guy he was before his injury a few years ago, but he is still better than most at his position in the entire league. Then there are the intangibles he brings. Leadership, desire, and moxy. Irreplaceable is how I view him. In the old NFL days, this wouldn't be even up for discussion. Dawkins would retire an Eagle most likely. Now there is a dilemma that involves monetary concerns. The team must iron whatever wrinkles there are and keep him. Jon Runyan is another leader who is a free agent, but he may be on his way out due to his age and the fact he is coming off surgery. Plus the Eagles smartly stocked the O-line in last years draft.

2. Draft A Running Back NOW - The Eagles have the 21st and 28th draft picks so far, but we know they love to wheel and deal on draft day. There is a chance they could package both picks to move up to get their mitts on either Knowshon Moreno or Chris Wells, because both should be gone by the time their first pick comes along. They could stay put and snag LeSean McCoy at 28, and grab the very athletic OLB/ DE Aaron Maybin at 21. Maybin would fit perfectly into Johnson's blitz schemes. The need for a RB is obvious. Brian Westbrook is a 3rd down type at this stage of his career, and he needs someone else to tote the rock 10-15 times a game.

3. Get Another WR - One guy the Eagles might look at in the first round is Hakeem Nicks. The guy has wonderful hands and is very sound in all facets of the game. He could give Donovan another option besides Curtis and Jackson. Avant and Baskett are not too bad, but Nicks represents a huge upgrade and could allow Curtis to go in as a #3 in the slot and flourish.

4. Get More Defensive Linemen - Peria Jerry may get tabbed in the first round due to his explosive play as a DT. Jim Johnson has done a masterful job of rotating in guys, but getting more stout in the middle would help their star DE Cole.

The Eagles have done a very good job drafting, and it has translated on the field. Donovan McNabb getting a running game behind him would help, because he has pretty much been doing it all ever since he was drafted. They are hard to measure right now, as they were for me last year, because the talent is there. They easily could go all the way or not make the playoffs. Of course it all rests on Donovan's shoulders the way things lie right now, but another good off season that brings him help could get them over the hump and Philly its first trophy since 1960.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Cowboys Off-Season Plans Must Change

When one looks at the current roster of the Dallas Cowboys and sees all of the talent that has yet to achieve the goal of winning a championship, there may be a calling for overhaul. Though it may seem this is a good idea, I cannot see this as being their best path to getting back to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys can achieve winning with minor tweaking of an already stout roster. Here are a few things the Cowboys can do to get back on top :

1. Sign Ray Lewis - Lewis may be nearing his end, and came off his least productive season in years, but his impact lies far more than statistics. Though I wouldn't sign him to more than a two year deal, he will provide the leadership the team is so desperately in need of. Lewis wants to get another ring before he retires, and this is more probable a happening with Dallas than Baltimore. Plus, the Ravens have all three of their linebackers up for contract. Someone will have to go most likely, and Lewis seems to be the one many think is the one. Though Zach Thomas was not horrible last year, Lewis would represent an upgrade.

2. Draft In The Trenches - The Cowboys should use their few draft picks wisely. As it stands right now, they do not pick until 50 other players have gone off the board. Jerry Jones has wheeled and dealed on draft day, so a guy like Bobby Carpenter might garner a draft pick. If Dallas somehow stands pat on their current situation, they should get a Safety first. Guys like Louis Delmas of Western Michigan, Rashad Johnson of Alabama, William Moore of Missouri, and Patrick Chung of Oregon may be available. After they fill this much needed area, Dallas needs to go after line help on both sides of the ball exclusively. Getting a back up for Tony Romo can be had on the free agency market, and Romo's health will be dictated by the efficiency of his blockers. Depth, at the least, is a must for Dallas this draft.

3. Keep T.O. - Say what you want about Terrell Owens, the man is headed to Canton one day to pick up his bust. He is still the teams best option at WR as well, though the Cowboys desperately need to get Roy Williams more involved. Dallas is lacking a bona fide deep threat, but Baltimore just showed you can go far without one. If Dallas does not improve their blocking, then keeping T.O. becomes even more important for those quick in routes a quarterback needs to get rid of the ball.

4. Upgrade The Offensive Coaching - Dan Reeves almost came to the Cowboys rescue recently, but things fell apart suddenly. Current offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is coming off an atrocious 2008 campaign that has most pundits scratching their heads wondering what Jerry Jones sees in him. Reeves would have certainly brought balance to the offensive scheme, but there are others out there who could also help. One name that jumps out is Jon Gruden. Gruden is aware of the importance of the running game, as to where Garrett seems to eschew the idea. Hiring an experienced coach like Gruden as a consultant could help bring the balance the Cowboys offensive play calling so desperately needs.

5. Get All Players To Stay Local - This offseason should have one theme: Concentration Towards Dedication. Players wanting to make the team must make a difference now. Stay in Dallas, work on mechanics, and stay in shape. Getting sharp now will translate on the field come August.

It isn't a long list, and there are several other teams with much longer ones. Dallas expects to get to the Super Bowl again this upcoming season. Hopefully they now notice the reasons they haven't in many years. The lack of leadership amongst the players is a glaring area, but the fact the Cowboys lost the line of scrimmage battle most games should be the primary focus. Getting all players on board early will be key.

Monday, February 9, 2009

PLEASE Join Me In Prayer

I understand that several of you do not happen to surf onto The Sporting News.

I happily still do.

There is a man I want to tell you about : LEW TROOP

I ask you to peruse his fantastic artwork. He is a true wordsmith.

Lew has recently fallen ill.

I am requesting that you take a moment and say a prayer for him.

His recovery is my hope, and those of you who have been blessed to have made Lew's acquaintance certainly understand what I mean.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My NFL Predictions Versus Reality

On 8/ 10/ 08 I did a prediction for the 2008 NFL season. Predictably, I did a horrible job. Next year I'll do as poorly, God willing.


1. Dallas Cowboys
2. N.Y. Giants

3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Washington Redskins
At least I got it right on my Redskins.


1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers

3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions
I didn't suck too bad here.


1. New Orleans Saints
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Atlanta Falcons
I was (happily) way off on the most.


1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. St. Louis Rams
4. San Francisco 49ers
Seattle sent Holmgren out with a poor showing.


1. San Diego Chargers
2. Oakland Raiders
3. Denver Broncos
4. K.C. Chiefs
Other than Oakland, I did OK.


1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars

3. Houston Texans
4. Tennessee Titans
I think I did pretty mediocre here.


1. Cleveland Browns
2. Pittsburgh Steelers

3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Baltimore Ravens
Obviously a bad job guessing here.


1. New England Patriots
2. N.Y. Jets

3. Buffalo Bills
4. Miami Dolphins
I wasn't even close here.



Seattle over Green Bay = Holmgren waves good-bye to his old team one last time.
Neither team even got close.

Minnesota over N.Y. Giants = The running game is too much to handle.
G-men made it, and this is as far as Minni got

Dallas over Seattle = Dallas explodes, as Romo tries to lose his choke label.
Neither team even made the playoffs.

Minnesota over New Orleans = The running game keeps the Saints O on the sideline.
Minni making it one game was my only right prediction.

Minnesota over Dallas = Peterson and Taylor wear out a small defensive front in the 4th quarter, while controlling the clock = perfect playoff formula.
Wayyyyyyyyyy off here.


Jacksonville over Cleveland = The Jags run the ball down the Browns throats.
Neither squad even sniffed the playoffs.

Indianapolis over Pittsburgh = Payton takes his passing game to the next round.
Pitt allowed nothing all season.

New England over Indianapolis = Brady outduels Manning once again.
I guess I can say Indy made it to the plaoffs...for a game.

San Diego over Jacksonville = The Bolts have too many weapons for the Jags to contain.

San Diego over New England = The Bolts control the line of scrimmage, and play clock.
I was wayyyyyyyy off here.


San Diego over Minnesota = L.T. gets 100 yards, but Gates takes away the double team from Chambers, who is the games MVP.
I guess I can say "At least both of my pix made the playoffs"


OK, I wasn't too far off I guess. AP was solid still.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: SHAWN MERRIMAN, LB, SAN DIEGO
At least I got the pass rushing OLB part right.

NFL Rookie of the Year : FELIX JONES, RB, DALLAS
I was way off on Ryan and Flacco, as far as even playing this year.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Babbling With The Beeze And Other Ramblings

THE BEEZE has one of the great blogs on the net!

I look forward to each of his thoughts put down on digital paper.

Today I decided to take a break from posting crap that no one reads to play one of THE BEEZE's great ideas.

A game called The Interview Game.

Here goes :

1. If you had the power to put any one player in the Football Hall of Fame, Who would it be?

Chris Hanburger. He is my first CCC profilee.
SO MANY deserve it! The politics involved with the voters is frustrating, but I doubt there is a solution to appease all. This upcoming H.O.F. Class typifies the process. You see Derrick Thomas get in, though he is deserving, and wonder why others haven't been yet.

2. What would you want for your last meal?

I would probably have a hard time picking this. Maybe to try to stall? Ahhh, to keep it simple...maybe Fettuccine Alfredo?

3. Would you like to know the precise time of your death?

To quote the great Tommy Chong: No thanks man, I'm not into time.

4. If you could ask the President one question, what would it be?

"Would you say the route to an improved ecology is through better education first, or to try to improve the ecology along with trying to improve our educational system?" The reason is because the USA is now 3rd from last on earth in education...yet our planet is in need of some tlc.

5. In your profile, Under favorite music, the first two listed are...Flock of Seagulls, and Jimi Hendrix...If they could have performed together, what would it have sounded like?

Mike Score, the founder of AFOS, is a good guitarist. He started out as one on another band. In fact, he created (with AFOS guitarist Paul Reynolds) that guitar wash sound some may have heard the Edge of U2 use the past few decades.
Jimi was an inventor and innovator. We know he started distortion and feedback. If only those paramedics hadn't laid him down...who knows? I could see him having fun with all the toys that have come along in well as ones he probably would have invented.

Both men have one common theme = experimentation. You listen to Jimi's Third Stone From The Sun (the inspiration for my blog name) to 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be).... or AFOS' The Last Flight Of Yuri Gagarin to Tanglimara, and you see both men searching for sound.

I imagine it could work if they had gotten together. I see the theme being other wordly..outer space and such. Jimi would front the song most likely, which I'm sure Mike would have no problem with. Mike is a very nice man, and has always been very kind to me in all of the years that I have known him. The thought of those two men in a studio made me delve further than I thought I would as I began to answer this question.

Again, much thanks to THE BEEZE for allowing me to play the game.

Since this is the day of the big game for the NFL....

I know the Steelers look pretty damn unbeatable.

Still, I root for the underdog!

The Cardinals have had a long, strange trip as a franchise.

They have not won any championships in over 60 years!

Their last victory photo

They have had MANY GREAT players since then:

Hall Of Fame Safety Larry Wilson

Hall Of Fame Tight End Jackie Smith

Hall Of Fame Offensive Tackle Dan Dierdorf

Hall Of Fame Cornerback Roger Wehrli

American Hero Pat Tillman

I'll be posting an Almost All Time Cardinals Team soon, but those are just a few of their franchise legends.

I won't be upset if the Steelers win. We all know they had their own hard times as a franchise until the 1970's. But the Cardinals are an unusual franchise alike no other. The number of cities they have played in is astounding. They truly define the term vagabond franchise.

I am pulling for them. I guess it is because they were part of the NFC East back in their days in Saint Louis. I'd like to see them get a new trophy.

No other franchise in the NFL deserves one more than them.

If they pull it off, then my next under dog team may either be the Chargers, Saints, Titans, Eagles, Browns, or Bengals.

That is, of course, my Redskins don't make it back to the big game!