Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NFL Hall of Fame Debates: 1998-2004 Draft Classes

I'm not sure if you saw Part I of this monstrosity covering the draft classes from 1990-1997, but if you have an interest feel free to click the link above and catch up. If you're just joining us well then you are in for a treat, if you are into stats and up for friendly banter.

I recently took a look, a long look at the players who will be up for election to the Hall of Fame either currently, in the near future, and perhaps in the distant future. The players listed range from retired and eligible to those with their first Pro Bowl appearance coming this year, and even some who haven't been to Honolulu yet. And I do mean yet. Again these are players that I can see having their names mentioned either through fan or media suggestion. I do not think they all deserve, but I do think there are some who should get more attention than is most likely going to happen.

We'll pick up where we left off...

Peyton Manning: Active
10 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2003 & 2004 AP, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
2004 Offensive Player of the Year
2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year
2006 Super Bowl MVP
#5 All-Time Completed Passes (3839)
#7 All-Time Passing Yds (45628)
#4 All-Time Passing TDs (333)
#2 All-Time QB Rating (94.7)
#2 All-Time Passing Yds/G (257.8)
IN - I could keep going. He might even win his 3rd MVP Award this season and he's still got a few more solid years left in him. If Favre actually retires, again, this season, it's not unthinkable that Peyton could erase all of Favre's records in the next 4-5 years, and actually accomplish the feat in less seasons, and with, most likely, less interceptions.

Charles Woodson: Active
5 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
36 INTs
82 PDs
656 Total Tackles
OUT - But his last three seasons in GB have been 3 of his best seasons, a few more like that and he could possibly move to gain some considerable attention.

Fred Taylor: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#16 All-Time Rushing Yds (11271)
62 Rushing TDs
4.6 Yds/Att
7 1,000 yd. seasons
OUT - Fred Taylor has never gotten the credit he deserves, and while I don't necessarily think he is Canton-worthy, he is Canton-Conversation-Worthy, and that probably won't happen. He has silently amassed a pretty terrific career and has never averaged less than 4.6 yds/Carry during his 11 years in the NFL.

Randy Moss: Active
6 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#15 All-Time Receptions (843)
#9 All-Time Receiving Yds (13201)
#3 All-Time Receiving TDs (135)
#6 All-Time TDs (136)
IN- But it will take a while as more deserving (perhaps not as statistically accomplished) players are elected in. His seasons in Minnesota and Oakland when he decided to quit on his teammates are a glaring obstacle for his election.

Alan Faneca: Active
8 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
IN - He is one of the Best Lineman in the game today, or ever. Of course, that would mean electing an Offensive Lineman which the voters don't seem to enjoy doing.

Olin Kreutz: Active
6 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
OUT - Sadly to say, Olin is one of my favorites and might be one of the dirtiest players in the game, and I mean that in a good way. He's doesn't take cheap shots, no one will ever accuse him of being an eye gouger at the bottom of the pile, he just knows, and uses, all of the good little lineman tricks at his disposal. He's been the anchor of the Bears for the last 10 years and has started the last 135 games he has appeared in since taking over the Starting Center spot at the end of his Rookie Season.

Hines Ward: Active
4 Pro Bowls
#22 All-Time Receptions (800)
72 Receiving TDs
OUT - His numbers just aren't good enough, it would take someone to look at the fact that he was able to do that in A) Run First, Run Often Pittsburgh and 2) with QBs like Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, Kent Graham, Tommy Maddox, and Charlie Batch.

London Fletcher: Active
28 Sacks
14 INTs
11 Forced Fumbles
1343 Tackles
OUT - Has silently put together a very, very solid career never gaining enough recognition playing at the same time as other LBs like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, etc.

Pat Tillman: Retired (Eligible since '07)
2.5 Sacks
3 INTs
3 Forced Fumbles
331 Solo Tackles
1 Silver Star
1 Purple Heart
IN - In my book he was blossoming into one of the top Safeties in the game. Take a look at his 2000 stats. Not only that but he turned down bigger contracts out of loyalty to the, of all teams, Arizona Cardinals. He was a great player and an even better man.

Donovan McNabb: Active
5 Pro Bowls
194 Passing TDs
26 Rushing TDs
Too Close To Call - He's got a few more years left to pile up some more stats. At first glance he doesn't have the most impressive numbers but while he might not have as many TD passes as Favre and Manning, he also has a LOT less Turnovers. Donovan protects the ball very well with only 90 INTs in 10 seasons. Comparing him to the "First Ballot Lock" Brett Favre, in his first 6 full seasons Favre threw for 182 TDs and 93 INTs. And Manning amassed 138 TDs/100 INTs in his first 5 seasons. It seems like Donovan's got better numbers. But Favre and Manning both have the ring that has evaded McNabb.

Edgerrin James: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
1999 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#8 All-Time in Carries (2982)
#11 All-Time in Rushing Yds (12121)
91 TDs
Too Close to Call - Edge still has a few more seasons left in him, but it looks like he's not the #1 option in AZ and who knows who will pick him up and how much juice he's got left. If he cracks the Top Ten in Rushing Yds. he'll get some attention.

Torry Holt: Active
7 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
#11 All-Time Receptions (869)
#14 All-Time Receiving Yds (12660)
OUT - But barely, 2008 was the first time since his rookie season that he didn't break the 1100 yard mark for receiving. Based on the climate in St. Louis, I think sub 1000 yard seasons are on the horizon for Holt, which will keep him out.

Champ Bailey: Active
8 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
43 INTs
124 PDs
672 Total Tackles
OUT - Despite pretty decent numbers, the biggest thing that Champ Bailey brings to the table is the fact that QBs just don't throw in his direction anymore. That's a stat that can't be kept. He's still one of the best DB's to play the game.

Joey Porter: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
83 Sacks
12 INTs
45 PDs
22 Forced Fumbles
565 Total Tackles
On the Fence - Before this season I would have said Out, but he had quite the resurgence in 2008 amassing 17.5 sacks and 4 Forced Fumbles. A couple more seasons like that and he could very well be heading to Canton

Brian Urlacher: Active
6 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year
2005 Defensive Player of the Year
37.5 Sacks
17 INTs
62 PDs
1062 Total Tackles
IN - Tentatively, he was having a lock of a Hall of Fame career to continue the Bears MLB tradition but the past couple seasons he has had to deal with a handful of issues that have hurt his numbers and his play. Inconsistancy on the Defensive Line hurts, terrible offenses with many turnovers keeps the D on the field longer and in such tires them out. As well as an off-season back surgery. A return to perennial Pro Bowl form will be key in getting him over the hump.

Shaun Alexander: Inactive/Unretired (Eligible 2014)
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2005 Offensive Player of the Year
2005 AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
9453 Rushing Yds
#7 All-Time Rushing TDs (100)
#13 All-Time Offensive TDs (112)
OUT - He would need 2009 to be a Comeback Player of the Year type season followed by a couple of Pro Bowls to get back into consideration for Canton. Between 2001-2005 he seemed like a sure thing Pro Bowler as he gained over 7500 yds in those 5 seasons with 87 rushing TDs, 98 Total. But injuries and a depleted Seattle Offensive Line ended his production.

Tom Brady: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2001 Super Bowl MVP
2003 Super Bowl MVP
2007 AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
2007 AP Offensive Player of the Year
#51 All-Time Passing Yds. (26446 )
#28 All-Time Passing TDs (197)
Tied #5 All-Time QB Rating (92.9)
Too Close to Call - His career path looks eerily similar to that of Shaun Alexander. With reports that Brady might not be ready for 2009 he might wind up be one of those guys who hangs out on the finalist ballot every year without making it to Canton. 3 Super Bowl Wins is hard to argue against, but the numbers just aren't there, yet.

LaDainian Tomlinson: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2006 AP, NEA, PFWA, Bert Bell MVP
2006 Offensive Player of the Year
2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year
#14 All-Time Rushing Yds (11760)
#2 All-Time Rushing TDs (126)
#4 All-Time Rushing Yds/G (92.6)
#4 All-Time in Total TDs (141)
7 Passing TDs
IN - Considering that everyone thinks he had a bad 2008 season and he managed only 1110 yds and 11 rushing TDs. He's also only got 25 fumbles in his career, 18 lost. He's been very durable and is between 4-6 seasons from passing Emmitt Smith for All-Time Leading rusher, barring injury.

Steve Hutchinson: Active
6 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
IN - If Lineman were well respected and represented Hutchinson would be well on his way to a Hall of Fame bust. Ask Adrian Peterson and Shaun Alexander what they think of Hutchinson. It's no coincidence that between 2001 and 2005 Shuan Alexander was gaining so many yds and TDs and that Hutchinson was his Left Guard for 2001-2005.

Drew Brees: Active
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year
#53 All-Time in Passing Yds (26258)
#53 All-Time Passing TDs (168)
Career 63.9% Completion % (#5 All-Time)
On the Fence - He's about 3-4 years from cracking the Top Ten All-Time in Passing Yds and 4-5 years from cracking the Top Ten in TDs. If he were with a better team and had a chance at a Super Bowl ring his stock would improve.

Antonio Pierce: Active
1 Pro Bowl
7 INTs
40 PDs
7 Forced Fumbles
9 Fumble Recoveries
627 Total Tackles
OUT - For Now, his numbers don't look that great for an 8 year Vet, but then you look closer and realize the Redskins never used him. He has compiled the majority of his stats over the last 5 seasons. 2008 was a little bit of a down year, if he can turn it back on and get a few more 100+ Tackle seasons with a few more Turnovers and maybe another Super Bowl Ring, he could be considered a potential Hall of Famer.

Julius Peppers: Active
4 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
2002 Defensive Rookie of the Year
70.5 Sacks
4 INTs
41 PDs
25 Forced Fumbles
343 Tackles
OUT - Though he has been a very, very good football player and with the exception of his Sophomore Slump (7) and the 2007 oddity (2.5) he has had double digit sacks in each season. It remains to be seen if his positive drug test from his rookie season will affect the voting, but it should be noted he was busted for ephedra, a banned weight loss drug, not anabolic steroids.

Quentin Jammer: Active
13 INTs
99 PDs
4 Forced Fumbles
499 Total Tackles
OUT - see Champ Bailey. Quentin Jammer is just as good without any of the recognition.

Ed Reed: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2004 Defensive Player of the Year
43 INTs
91 PDs
6 Forced Fumbles
411 Total Tackles
#11 All-Time Non-Offensive TDs (11)
106 & 107 yd. INT Returns
IN - If he can keep up at this pace he will move up in the record books, he needs 10 to pass Deion Sanders, 11 to pass Darrell Green, and 15 to crack the Top Ten and seeing how he's had more than 5 in 6/7 seasons, I'd say that should be pretty soon.

Brian Westbrook: Active
2 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
66 Total TDs (#92)
10315 All-Purpose Yds
On the Fence - Considering he's averaging about 2000 All Purpose Yds/Season, a 10 year career would put him ahead of Tim Brown, 12 years and he would take over the #1 spot. That's not that far fetched, barring major injuries and missed game time, he will be in the Hall and own a few records.

Carson Palmer: Active
2 Pro Bowls
#102 All-Time Completions (1380)
#115 All-Time Passing Yds (15630)
#104 All-Time Passing TDs (107)
#6 All-Time QB Rating (63.7%)
Too Close to Call - Injuries might wind up taking their toll on the former Heisman Winner. If he is able to keep up his pace he still has an outside shot at ending his career in the Top Ten to Fifteen in Passing Yds, Completions, and TDs. He has already completely re-written the Bengals record books, sorry Boomer.

Andre Johnson: Active
3 Pro Bowls
#116 All-Time Receptions (486)
#137 All-Time Receiving Yds (137)
33 TDs
Too Early - He had a major breakout season in 2008, and that's saying something for a guy going to his 3rd Pro Bowl. A lot of his success ultimately relies on Teammates and QBs. He plays for the Texans and his QB is Matt Schaub so.....

Troy Polamalu: Active
5 Pro Bowls
1 First Team All-Pro
7 Sacks
17 INTs
61 PDs
7 Forced Fumbles
435 Total Tackles
IN - A very good player. He's already got the ring and the media and public love him, which will translate well when it comes to voting in 8-10 years.

Anquan Boldin: Active
3 Pro Bowls
2003 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#105 All-Time Receptions (502)
#129 All-Time Receiving Yds (129)
#1 All-Time Receiving Yds/G (81.2)
On the Fence - Much like Andre Johnson team will have something to do with this. Not to mention Larry Fitzgerald seems to be getting a slight majority of the catches, yds, and TDs between the two.

Lance Briggs: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
6 Sacks
9 INTs
45 PDs
8 Forced Fumbles
6 Fumble Recoveries
4 Defensive TDs
656 Total Tackles
Too Early - My bias might be coming out here (Double Whammy Arizona Alum and Current Bear) but Lance has avoided the injury bug and has had over 100 Tackles in each of the last 5 seasons (out of 6) and has had at least 3 turnovers to his credit (INT, FF, FR) in the last 4 seasons. If he keeps up at this pace you could expect his numbers to be more than double his current numbers which would be staggering.

Tony Romo: Active
2 Pro Bowls
#147 All-Time Passing yds (10562)
#151 All-Time Completions (831)
#130 All-Time Passing TDs (81)
#2 All-Time QB Rating (94.7)
#4 All-Time Yds/Att (8.1)
#1 All-Time Net Yds/Att (7.39)
#7 All-Time Completion % (63.6%)
IN - I know it's crazy, but he will win a big game eventually, it's not only on Romo, though he has choked plenty. But he's already moving up in the record books after only 2.5 season. He's got great passing numbers and he has been known to scramble a little bit. I think he's got a legitimate shot at over 50,000 passing yds in his career.

Antonio Gates: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro
5006 yds Receiving
#89 All-Time TD Receptions (51)
IN - He's on pace to shatter Tony Gonzalez's TE Records. When all is said and done, Gates should hold every single TE receiving record, and he's not a bad blocker either.

Eli Manning: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#124 All-Time Passing Yds (14623)
#116 All-Time Completions (1276)
#115 Passing TDs (98)
OUT - He will put up good numbers throughout his career, he already has the Super Bowl Ring, unless he wins a few more rings (3+) you can't put him in the Hall. He is a good QB. In line with guys like Phil Simms. He will probably pass Simms in the Giant Record books if he hangs around awhile. He is and has been improving over the years so it's not out of the question to think that one day he'll be on the ballot, but as of right now, I don't think so.

Larry Fitzgerald: Active
3 Pro Bowls
426 Receptions
46 Receiving TDs
On the Fence - Much like Q he will suffer for playing on the Cardinals. With the influx in recent years of more passing for offenses more receivers are putting up higher numbers and Super Bowl wins will always be an equalizer, does anyone but Matt Randle think Cardinals are ever going to win a Super Bowl?

Philip Rivers: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#146 All-Time Passing Yds (10697)
#135 All-Time Passing TDs (78)
#5 All-Time QB Rating (92.9)
Too Early - Rivers has done well in his 5 years especially considering he spent his first two on the pine behind (possible) Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Rivers is a competant safe passer and a exceptionally emotional leader. The window on San Diego is closing fast, and as long as Norvell is running things it doesn't look good for the Superchargers. A couple more years and we'll get a good read on the future of Philip.

Michael Turner: Active
1 Pro Bowl
Too Early - I could list his stats but he is a unique case of a secondary runner for the first part of his career. He played alongside and behidn LaDainian Tomlinson and wasn't able to make any real name for himself. Atlanta gave him a Pro Bowl season, first of many I assume. He was nealy unstoppable as he ran for almost 1700 yds and 17 TDs, that's over 400 yds more than in his previous 4 seasons combined, he also had 11 more TDs in year 5 than in the first 4 combined. If he can continue at this pace (1500/15) he could be mentioned in Hall of Fame talks and record books down the road.

By my count that leaves 31 players who should be entering into Canton in the next 15 years, 9 who need some breaks (MVP, Super Bowl, Records, etc), 4 who have the potential to squeak in and 32 who might get on the ballot a few times but chances are (stats, no Super Bowl, bad Team, Lineman, Special Teamer, etc) they won't be in the hall without a major public uprising.

More after the jump...

Monday, December 29, 2008

NFL Hall of Fame Debates: 1990-1997 Draft Classes

The NFL Hall of Fame. Yes I am aware it's called the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but with only 1 non-NFL player in the Hallowed Halls of Canton, I think it's safe, though not fair, to call it the NFL Hall of Fame. But that's another rant for another day. I decided to take a look at players drafted between 1990-2005 and debate, myself, whether or not they belong in the Hall of Fame when their day comes. Now I realize that there are only 4-7 players inducted each year. And yes I realize just how hard it is to make it into the Hall, and I don't want to saturate the Hall of Fame with players who don't belong, but still I figured it was about time to look at active and recently retired players who will (or in some cases have already) be up for the vote in the near future.

Looking at the list of about 70-80 players I have in front of me I assure you that there will be more that I suggest for entry than is feasible based on the voting procedures. These are the players that I think have a decent shot at the Hall of Fame, or ones who I personally think should garner attention though they most likely won't ever make it to the finalist ballot of 17. A brief look at the Hall of Fame will show that, much like the Heisman, there is a substantially low ratio of non "skill" players represented in the Hall of Fame. Just like the Heisman should pretty much be issued to the top QB every year (oh wait...it already is) the Hall of Fame tends to only recognize those who put up numbers, and in a high percentage of instances of recent memory it is offensive numbers. Thus the numbers of Lineman both offense and defense, and Kickers, Linebackers, DBs, et. al. are vastly underrepresented.

And for the record I used a mix of Pro-Football-Reference.com and NFL.com. There may be discrepencies or incomplete stats, specifically with things like Tackles, Passes Defended, etc. which were not officially kept in the past that are now. To quote PFR, "We have tackle data for all players who were active in 1994 or later. Prior to 1994, the tackle data is unofficial, inconsistently recorded from team to team, and incomplete in our database. Also, before 1994, some teams recorded assists while others didn't, so we have lumped tackles plus assists together in the tackles column for those years. From 1994 to 2000, tackles were not an official stat, but were recorded consistently and should be complete in our database. From 2001 to the present, tackles have been an official statistic". And that is where I'm getting tackle data from.

The stats are, for the most part (when applicable) including the 2008 season that just ended, but some stats may be incomplete. Also, as is always the case with Pro Bowls, some players might be added to the Pro Bowl to fill in for injured/uninterested players currently on the rosters. Also, to my knowledge, the 2008 All-Pros have not yet been announced.

Junior Seau: Active (For now)
12 Pro Bowls
6x First Team All-Pro
1994 Walter Payton Man of the Year
56.5 Sacks
18 INTs
11 Forced Fumbles
17 Fumble Recoveries
1835 Total Tackles
IN - Despite his connections to Spygate and the Patriots.

Emmitt Smith: Retired (Eligible 2010)
8 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
#1 All-Time Carries (4409)
#1 All-Time Rushing Yards (18,355)
#2 All-Time TDs (175)
#1 All-Time Rushing TDs (164)
IN - Despite the fact that I think he barely cracks the Top Ten of All-Time RBs and despite his seasons in Arizona.

LeRoy Butler: Retired (Eligible since '07)
4 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
13 Forced Fumbles
10 Fumble Recoveries
38 INTs
889 Total Tackles

Brian Mitchell: Retired (Eligible 2009)
1 Pro Bowl
1x First Team All-Pro
13 Punt/Kick Return TDs (#1 All-Time)
23,316 All Purpose Yds (#2 All-Time)
19,013 Kick/Punt Return Yds (#1 All-Time)
OUT - Barely, unless they open a Special Teams wing.

Shannon Sharpe: Retired (Eligible 2009)
8 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
815 catches (#2 All-Time TE)
10,060 Yds Receiving (#2 All-Time TE)
62 TDs (#3 All-Time TE)
IN - I would say definately but the fact that his numbers drop below those of a traditional WR might keep him at bay.

Matt Stover: Active
1 Pro Bowl
1x First Team All-Pro
#5 All-Time Points Scored
#3 All-Time Field Goals Made
OUT - Though I'd vote for him.

John Randle: Retired (Eligible 2009)
7 Pro Bowls
6x First Team All-Pro
137.5 Sacks (#6 All-Time)
29 Forced Fumbles
11 Fumble Recoveries
556 Total Tackles
Too Close - He was a terror in Minnesota, but his Seattle Seasons may count against him.

Brett Favre - active (for now)
10 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro
#1 in Completions, Attempts, Yards, TDs, and INTs
463 Passing TDs
14 Rushing TDs
157 Fumbles (#2 All-Time)
307 INTs
IN - Though I think he is the most overrated player in the history of the NFL, he is still one of the Top Ten QBs of All-Time hands down, but a personal Turnover:TD Ratio of 464:477 isn't really the greatest ratio. It's actually very Grossman-like.

Aeneas Williams: Retired (Eligible 2010)
8 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
55 INTs
13 Defensive TDs (#3 All-Time)
794 Total Tackles
OUT - But he makes a few appearances in the Final 17 in my book. He went to the Pro Bowl 6 times with the Cardinals, that enough is enough of an accomplishment to get my vote.

Erik Williams: Retired (Eligble since '07)
4 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
Stats: see Emmitt Smith
OUT - One of the leaders of the offensive line that should get 75% of Emmitt Smith's credit, alas Offensive Lineman are shunned from Canton.


Drew Bledsoe: Retired (Eligible 2012)
4 Pro Bowls
#5 All-Time in Completions and Attempts
#13 in TDs
OUT - But Pity Points for getting replaced by two potential Hall of Famers, and a few killer blocks he threw on reverses over the years. Bonus points for "his" comedic, now defunct blog.

Willie Roaf: Retired (Eligible 2011)
11 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
189 GP/189 Starts
IN - There is no valid arguement against this and any other result is absolutely ridiculous in thought.

Jerome Bettis: Retired (Eligible 2011)
6 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
1993 Offensive Rookie of the Year
2001 Walter Payton Man of the Year
#4 All-Time in Carries
#5 All-Time in Yards
#10 All-Time in Rushing TDs
IN - Maybe, it will take a few ballots.

Michael Strahan: Retired (Eligible 2013)
7 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
2001 Defensive Player of the Year
141.5 Sacks (#5 All-Time)
Twice led the League in Sacks
All-Time Single Season Sack Leader (22.5 - Thanks Brett)
IN - Popularity, coming back for the Super Bowl Season, and the Single Season record get him over the hump.

Jason Elam: Active
3 Pro Bowls
#6 All-Time in Points Scored
#5 All-Time in FGs Made
Tied for longest successful FG (63 yds) in NFL History
OUT - Sorry kickers

John Lynch: Retired (Eligible 2013)
9 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
26 INTs
16 Forced Fumbles
9 Fumble Recoveries
1058 Total Tackles
OUT - Unfortunately for one of my all-time favorites, unless the voters look at how he played, and hit, rather than the numbers in the stat column, Lynch will be on the outside looking in despite his hard nosed, hard hitting career.

Lorenzo Neal: Active
4 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
Stats: see 1999/00 Eddie George & Steve McNair, 2001/02 Corey Dillon, 2003-07 LaDanian Tomlinson
OUT - Too bad, he's one of the top FB's of All-Time, but to voters he'll just be a running Lineman.

Marshall Faulk: Retired (Eligible 2011)
7 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
1994 Offensive Rookie of the Year
3x AP Offensive Player of the Year (1999, 2000, 2001)
2x Pro Football Writers MVP (2000, 2001)
2000 AP MVP
19.154 Yds from Scrimmage (#4 All-Time)
136 TDs (#5 All-Time)

Isaac Bruce: Active (For Now)
4 Pro Bowls
#5 All-Time Receptions
#2 All-Time Receiving Yds
#9 All-Time Receiving TDs
IN - By the skin of his teeth, "Greatest Show on Turf" Super Bowl seals it.

Larry Allen: Retired (Eligible 2013)
11 Pro Bowls
6x First Team All-Pro
Stats: see Emmitt Smith, Erik Williams
OUT - see Erik Williams, but might make a couple Finalist ballots.

Tom Nalen: Retired (Eligible 2013)
5 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
see. 1000+ yd individual rushers in Terrell Davis (1995-1998), Olandis Gary (1999), Mike Anderson (2000 & 2005), Clinton Portis (2002/03), Reuben Droughns (2004), Tatum Bell (2006). Also in 1994, 2001, and 2007 the top 2 combined for over 1300 yds each season.

Kurt Warner: Active (Did Not play in the Regular Season until 1998)
4 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
1999 MVP (AP, PFWA, Bert Bell)
1999 Super Bowl MVP
2001 AP MVP
#4 All-Time QB Rating
#1 All-Time Passing Yds/G
IN - Despite the fact that he missed 4 years due to being undiscovered and bagging groceries. What he's done in Arizona is enough to give him a Bronze Bust.

Tony Boselli: Retired (Eligible since '07)
5 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
Started 90/91 Games
OUT - Frequent Injuries will be what stands between him and Canton. One of the All Around Good Guys in the NFL.

Steve McNair: Retired (Eligible 2013)
3 Pro Bowls
2003 AP MVP
#9 All-Time in Rushing Yds/Att
211 TDs (Rushing and Passing)
OUT - One of the pioneer dual threat hybrid QBs, injuries plagued him throughout his career playing in all 16 games only 4/10 seasons. Often played through multiple injuries.

Warren Sapp: Retired (Eligible 2013)
7 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
1999 Defensive Player of the Year
96.5 Sacks
438 Tackles
19 Forced Fumbles
12 Fumble Recoveries
573 Total Tackles
IN - Stats don't tell the whole story of the self proclaimed QB Killa. Sapp spent most of his career getting double teamed by Offensive Lineman and freeing up teammates Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, John Lynch, and the rest of the Feared Bucs D to destroy opposing offenses.

Ty Law: Active
5 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
52 INTs
7 Forced Fumbles
5 Fumble Recoveries
834 Total Tackles
7 Def. TDs

Derrick Brooks: Active
10 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
25 INTs
24 Forced Fumbles
1715 Total Tackles
7 Def. TDs

Curtis Martin: Retired (Eligible 2011)
5 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
1995 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#4 All-Time Rushing Yds. (14,101)
#12 All-Time Rushing TDs (90)
#7 All-Time yds from Scrimmage (17,430)
10/11 1,000 yd seasons
IN - But it will take a few ballots

Terrell Davis: Retired (Eligible since '07)
3 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
1996 & 1998 Offensive Player of the Year
1997 Super Bowl MVP
1998 AP & PFWA MVP
#3 All-Time in Rushing Yds/G (97.5)
OUT - Injuries will ultimately keep him out, he's not in the Top Ten in most of the highly regarded categories due to only appearing in 78 games.

Simeon Rice: Inactive (unsigned, unretired, as of now eligible in 2013)
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
1996 Defensive Rookie of the Year
122 Sacks (#12 All-Time)
5 INTs
28 Forced Fumbles
475 Tackles
OUT - Had he not had issues with the Tampa and Denver Front Offices regarding Injuries and Playing Time he could have been a guaranteed HoFer. 2nd Fastest to 100 Sacks behind the Late Reggie White.

Jonathan Ogden: Retired (Eligible 2013)
11 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
Started 176/177 games

Marvin Harrison: Active
8 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
#2 All-Time in Receptions (1102)
#4 All-Time in Receiving Yds (14,580)
#5 All-Time in Receiving TDs (128)
IN - Marvin, say Thank You to Peyton, and don't forget to hide the Gun.

Ray Lewis: Active
10 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
2000 & 2003 Defensive Player of the Year
2000 Super Bowl MVP
2000 Indicted on Murder Charges (charges dropped to a lesser plea)
28 INTs
11 Forced Fumbles
15 Fumble Recoveries
1635 Total Tackles
IN - Stats don't say a lot but his reputation and image should be enough to get him over the hump.

Brian Dawkins: Active
7 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
34 INTs
97 PDs
32 Forced Fumbles
16 Fumble Recoveries
913 Tackles

Tedy Bruschi: Active
1 Pro Bowl
2005 Comeback Player of the Year (From a Stroke!)
12 INTs
44 PDs
1067 Total Tackles
OUT - Sadly enough, the Former UA Defensive Lineman is a great story and an even better player, but he's not going to the Hall despite the Rings.

Terrell Owens: Active
6 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
#6 All-Time Receptions (951)
#5 All-Time Receiving Yds (14,122)
#2 All Time Receiving TDs (139)
#4 All Time TDs (141)
Largest Tumor in recorded history.
Real QB Killa (sorry Warren, but he takes them down in the media and psyche, you just physically harmed them)
IN - You can't argue with the numbers, though it will be fun watching as he gets passed by the first 2-5 ballots as other more media friendly candidates head into the Hall.

Zach Thomas: Active
7 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
20.5 Sacks
17 INTs
16 Forced Fumbles
1733 Total Tackles

Orlando Pace: Active
7 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
IN - ask Steven Jackson, Marshall Faulk, and Kurt Warner's Blindside

Tony Gonzalez: Active
10 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
#9 All-Time Receptions (916)
#1 All-Time Receiving Yds for a TE (10,940)
#1 All-Time Receptions for a TE (916)
#1 All-Time TDs for a TE (76)

Tiki Barber: Retired (Eligible 2012)
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
#10 All-Time Yds from Scrimmage (15,632)
#11 All-Time All Purpose Yds (17,357)

Ronde Barber: Active
4 Pro Bowls
3x First Twam All-Pro
23 Sacks
37 INTs
125 PDs
11 Forced Fumbles
904 Total Tackles
12 Def/Spec. Teams TDs (#6 All-Time)

Jason Taylor: Active
6 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2006 Defensive Player of the Year
2007 Walter Payton Man of the Year
120.5 Sacks (#14 All-Time)
7 INTs
40 Forced Fumbles
26 Fumble Recoveries
680 Total Tackles
8 Defensive TDs
IN - Barely, a Super Bowl would push him over the top, but his Dancing with the Stars appearance might be helpful as far as public perception.

That brings us to 1998. Tomorrow I'll have '98 through 2004 or '05 I haven't really decided how recent to go. What to expect? I'll give you a hint, the first name on the list is Peyton Manning, and he gets an "IN" vote from me. What about Edgerrin? Urlacher? Vick? Peppers? Palmer? Elisha? Who knows....

More after the jump...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stoops Era Extended Through 2013

Let’s face it, it’s been a while for a lot of things around here. It has been a long time since I’ve written an article, a long time since our Wildcats had chalked up a bowl victory, and a long time since an Arizona Football coach had gotten any respect and support.

All three of those things have changed within the last week. After Arizona’s victory over #16 BYU was the school’s first since 1998. This triggered a number of different things within the Arizona Sports community, and it appears as though big things are on the way for the Wildcats.

The biggest news thus far is that Head Coach Mike Stoops who with out a doubt had one of the hottest seats in the Pac-10.

There had been a lot of speculation that Stoops may be on the way out if he didn’t take the Cat’s bowling this season. After a lot of up and downs the season has come to end, a bowl game and a bowl victory have been achieved and with Stoops has earned himself a contract extension.

Stoops’ original contract had him in Tucson through the 2010 season, but it looks as though the athletic department hopes he will be around longer than that. Today, the University of Arizona’s athletic director Jim Livengood announced that they plan on offering a 3 year contract extension keeping him here through 2013.

The details of the contract are still under negotiation and approval through the appropriate channels still pending. That being said, it looks like Stoops will have a chance to continue to build his program and making the push to be one of the elite teams in the Pac-10 conference.

More after the jump...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tucson: A Fan's Guide to Food

Originally written and posted for the folks at FanFoodie.

Tucson, Arizona. Located 100 miles South of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the Mexican Border is best known for a few things:

JoJo's Bar featured in the Beatles hit "Get Back", sadly JoJo's no longer exists.
The site of fictional Adams College in Revenge of the Nerds.
Being the Wild Wild West where many old Westerns were filmed including Tombstone, Three Amigos, The Outlaw Josey Wales, El Dorado, Rio Bravo, and of course the 90's classic Hey Dude.

These are things that I'm sure you could figure out by visiting Tucson's Wikipedia page or searching for Tucson, AZ on imdb.com. To those of us lucky enough to live in the Old Pueblo, Tucson is known for three things:

Great Bars, Great Food, and the University of Arizona.

Everyone knows about Phoenix, Tucson is just like Phoenix with better bars, less traffic, and better weather. So here's a fans guide to food and fun in Tucson.

Visitors to Tucson are here for one thing, sports. Whether it is for Golf on one of the amazing courses out here, College Sports, Minor League Baseball or Spring Training. One thing runs true through all of those things. Food and drinks.

When attending a game at U of A thirsty folks want to go to a place near Arizona Stadium, McKale Center, or Sancet Stadium. Luckily there are more than a few places a short jaunt from those sports facilities.

Trident Bar and Grill - Located on the corner of Speedway and Campbell Trident has been a fan favorite for years. ESPN 1490 and Jody Oehler can be found broadcasting before and after basketball games from the corner booth giving away tickets and prizes. Get there early, it's usually standing room only an hour before tip-off, and the place is packed during major fall game days. Not to mention the bartender who goes by one name, "Bones" who has been featured in the Arizona Daily Star as one of Tucson's top Bartenders.

Championship Dining - Less than a mile South on Campbell at the corner of 6th and Campbell sits a relative new comer to the Tucson Bar Scene. Championship also happens to be the home of a local sports radio station on game days, you can usually find the guys from 1290 AM hanging out on the patio of Championship Dining. Pretty busy at night, the place to go if you want to spend a few extra bucks.

Dirtbags - Billed as a part of growing up, Dirtbags is located on Speedway between Cherry and Campbell and is packed full. I've never personally had anything to eat there but I've had plenty to drink there. The line forms early so get there earlier, if you're not in by 12:30 you probably aren't getting a drink.

University Blvd. - Running right up the gut and into the campus of the University of Arizona sits University Blvd. Shops abound on either side of the street and ecelectic food choices are everywhere. If the weather is right stop by Gentle Ben's Brewery, Frog n' Firkin, or No Anchovies Pizza. On game days these patios are packed with rabid fans in red. In the Fall the party starts on Friday night as ESPN 1490's Oehler hosts Beardown Fridays with fun and food for the whole family.

U of A Campus - If you're not into the whole restaurant scene and you want to get into the meat of it, skip the bars and head right to the Campus. The Mall, a long patch of grass located in between Speedway and 6th on Campbell hosts fans hours before fall contests. Tailgating Heaven. The Pride of Arizona marches right through the Red Army on it's way to Arizona Stadium, playing loudly the whole way through. If you don't know anyone but are looking for a place to enjoy the fans and fanfare just head over to the mall. If you're wearing red chances are you will run into someone more than happy to share a drink or 20. If you're lucky enough to know someone near the school or happen to be an alumni of a Fraternity there are plenty of games of Beirut and Flip Cup happening on patio's, porches, courtyards, and backyards surrounding the school.

After the game is over you can't miss with Trident or Dirtbag's.

If you're in town for the food you can find anything your heart desires.

For great Chicago Hot Dogs, Polish Sausage, Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, or the Italian Combo (Italian Beef with an Italian Sausage jammed inside) stop by one of the local Luke's locations on Stone and Fort Lowell or Grant and Columbus.

If pizza is your thing there are 4 places to go in Tucson. Rocco's Little Chicago on Broadway and Plumer, Brooklyn Pizza on 4th Ave, and the aforementioned No Anchovies and Frog n' Firkin on University.

If you're in the mood for great sandwiches try Beyond Bread on Campbell for fancy sandwiches and great bread, Bison Wiches on 4th for the 6.50 Half sandwich and soup combo with chips (way too much food). There's a Cheeba Hut for "Toasted Subs" right next to Arizona Stadium, and a little further south a taste of the East Coast at East Coast Super Subs on Park and 9th. Get extra hot peppers on any sandwich you grab there. And of course there's the college town norms like Jimmy John's and Silverbell.

For a good burger Gentle Ben's and Trident are the best places near campus, and Lindy's packs a punch on 4th. A Small hole in the wall where you can try to finish the 3 lb OMFG and get your picture on the wall and a free T-shirt.

For Mexican food there are plenty of amazing places BK's on the Southside of Town, El Guerro Canelo off of Stone and Grant and El Taco Tote on the Eastside are just a sampling of some of the best authentic Mexican in town. You can't go wrong with a taco cart on the side of the road or one of the many Los Betos, Nico's, or Los Alazones (sp?) on Campbell and Grant.

Don't get me wrong, Tucson offers much more than the typical game day fare. For modern Italian head to the Northside and visit NoRth. For a good steak take your pick from McMahon's, Fleming's, or Sullivan's.

Of course if you want to avoid the occasional line or having to hear Sweet Caroline belted by drunk sorority girls you can always venture a little off the beaten path and head to the Golden Nugget or the Home Den off of 1st, the Buffet off of 4th Ave (open at 6am!!!!), the Red Garter Saloon (featured in a Jack Daniels Commercial) or the Bashful Bandit (any Night but Tuesday, College Night). Or if you really want something different head out East to The Home Plate it's a bar and batting cages all in one.

In contrast if you are looking for the bars with the guaranteed lines out the door head to Maloney's or O'Malley's on 4th or Dirtbags around 11 PM.

More after the jump...


This was too good to pass up. While surfing yesterday I came by the FoxSports.com prediction for the Las Vegas Bowl:I don't know just how easily it is for you to make out the Highlight of that game in the screen cap but it was Mitch Payne's fourth successful Field Goal Attempt of the game that pushed the Cougars over the Cats in Vegas. Harvey Unga's 111yds on 17 carries and 3 TDs (error in the Foxsports graphic above since the official Whatif box score was 2 TDs which makes a lot more sense) helped the Cougars secure their 3rd consecutive Victory in Vegas.

Thank God video games don't determine the real outcomes of things.

In the real world, Unga managed 30 less yards (71) on the same 17 carries and Mitch Payne's foot was less the gift of Midas and more the gift of Norwood as he went 0/2 on FG trys, and his replacement, Sorensen, didn't fare much better going 0/1.

It's also nice to know that the folks at Whatif underestimated the Wildcat Senior QB. Willie T threw for 325 yds on a 24/35 night with 2 TDs and zero INT's complete with a Tebow-like 8 yard TD scamper. Compared to the fictional numbers of Willie's CGI counterpart going 12/34 for 172 yds 2 picks and 1 TD.

The fictional versions also didn't account for my new found distaste of Austin Collie, complete with his out of bounds cheap shot in the first half.

A little later today I'll have more analysis of the Cats Victory in Vegas.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Open Letter to ESPN, Fox Sports, Versus, etc

If you know someone who works in the radio or television sports industry please pass this post along. If you know others who may be interested in pursuing this cause please pass this post on. This is a letter to the programmers who decide what we the sports fan watch on Saturday afternoons.

To Whom it May Concern,

We, the sports fans, have been more than pleased with the advent of more sports programming. Nothing is better than spending a Saturday, and I mean all day Saturday, than watching College Football. We realize we have it much better than our Fathers, and their Fathers before them who did not have access to Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey Packages available for purchase. I am firmly aware that I am able to view the Golf channel when I want to watch a classic Golf Tournament and that I can choose between a multitude of games on TV.

With that said, I have a concern that needs to be addressed. College Football (in my opinion and many others like me) is better than the professional brand, and that March Madness is more exciting than the NBA Finals. Why then is it almost impossible to find any coverage of College Baseball. This is an issue that needs a resolution. With multiple ESPN channels and FSN networks that cover all major markets and regions, why am I still left searching, almost completely unsuccessfully, for College Baseball Coverage.

The 2008 season was a progressive step in College Baseball coverage. ESPN had occasional pieces covering the games. This was in large part due to the fact that ESPN Football Analyst Mark Schlereth, had a son (Daniel) playing Division I Baseball at the University of Arizona. Unfortunately though, a large portion of this coverage was not of the games themselves but of Mark on the road with Daniel and the Wildcats. This was a great segment, one I tuned into when I saw it and scoured the ESPN homepage for vid clips. In contrast, however, that was the majority of their coverage.

The programmers at the various Media outlets can say that it's just the way it is. College Baseball doesn't garner the national media attention that other sports like football and basketball do. To that I say, how can it gain any kind of following when there is no coverage to begin with. A good portion of avid sports fans who commit hours of their day to ESPN or Fox Sports, can probably rattle off all sorts of opinions about Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, and Tommy Tuberville's Mom. But that's because those are the stories that we read online and watch over and over and over again on ESPN.

Many of those fans probably hear about teams like Rice or Cal State Fullerton and think they are schools without any sports dominance due to their usual lack of appearance in the Football and Basketball Championship pictures. But both have been in Omaha 6 times over the last 10 years.

By comparison Football powerhouses like Florida, LSU, Miami, Texas, and many more have only been to the BCS Bowls 5 or less times over the same period. And in recent memory (06, 07, 08, and 09) those have held the top 10 teams.

College Baseball has what everyone is looking for. Teams don't typically schedule cupcakes since strength of schedule isn't as highly regarded. Small market teams aren't left out despite quality records. And they have the perfect playoff system in place. Not to mention the National Championships in Omaha are the draw, not the Bowl/Final Four atmosphere.

ESPN took a gamble about 5 years ago and began airing the World Series of Poker, which eventually spread from the Main Event to all of the different events. The post-season is still played, if you can find it, on TV. But where do we get the regular season updates. There is so much more to the Baseball season than Omaha.

There is no tab on the ESPN homepage that links to College Baseball coverage, and the ESPNU tab's top links are football and basketball recruiting. In fact, to find baseball coverage on the site you have to click the More link to get anything. And once there all you see about Baseball is this:

To the programmers at ESPN, Fox Sports, et al. I implore you. Cover College Baseball. At this point you would have pretty exclusive access. Fox Sports Arizona. Why not cover baseball in the Spring and pick up a few games. Last year the only games I recall seeing were the UA vs ASU game, and in that instance there was only one of them. Can we please get some College Baseball coverage. Look what happened when MMA started getting attention. And Baseball is America's past time.

More after the jump...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stadium Expansion Plans

The Arizona athletic department has been talking for years about closing in the north end of Arizona stadium. Thanks to an anonymous person inside the department fans can have a look at what the future stadium might look like.

Apparently the building on the atop the north end expansion will hold the new football offices and the video score board will be moved atop the south wall of the stadium. No word on weather or not there will be new locker rooms as a part of this improvement, all though I hope it does as this is a major short coming of the program in recruiting.

There is no definite time table or financial numbers attached to this artist rendition. Thanks to who ever took this picture and saw fit to share it with Wildcat faithful everywhere.


More after the jump...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Accolades all around

Following our huge victory over the scum devils on Saturday the gods of college football have begun to pour the spoils upon our beloved Wildcats...

For his performance against the summies Money Mike Thomas was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week...as if that were not enough Money was named to the 1st Team twice as both a WR and as kick returner when the All Pac-10 Teams were announced. Here is the complete list of Wildcats that made the teams:

First Team: TE Rob Gronkowski So., WR Mike Thomas Sr.,(First Team WR & First Team PR), OL Eben Britton Jr.

Second Team: QB Willie Tuitama Sr., DB Devin Ross Jr.

Horable Mention: C Colin Baxter So., PK Jason Bondzio Sr., P Keenyn Crier So., RB Nic Grigsby So., DL Earl Mitchell Jr., DB Cam Nelson Jr., LB Ronnie Palmer Sr., DE Brooks Reed So.

Not to be over looked in the celebration is the All Pac-10 Academic Teams, here are the Wildcats that made the smart kids team:

First Team: PK Jason Bondzio(2nd Award) Grad. 3.72 Management

Second Team: WR David Roberts RFr. 3.34 Engineering, TE Chris Gronkowski Jr. 3.27 Accounting, OL James Tretheway Grad. 3.39 Economics, DB Corey Hall Jr. 3.18 Accounting

Honorbale Mention: C Colin Baxter So.

More after the jump...

Santo Misses Out Again

For far too long former Cub Great Third Baseman and current Cub Great Announcer, Ron Santo, has missed out on the Hall of Fame. 2008 should have marked the end of this ridiculous error in judgement and voting. It was announced this morning at Baseball's Winter Meetings that Santo has once again been blocked from his rightful place in the Hall which is long over due. Once again Santo has been kept from joining with Hall of Famers and former teammates Billy Williams and Ernie Banks. (Pictured Below with Manager Leo Durocher)

Santo has already been historically aligned alongside other Cub Hall of Famers (Williams, Banks, and Ryne Sandeberg) for years with their numbers, the only 4, retired in the Cubs long and storied history, but apparently the Veteran's Committee have decided that the Hall of Fame doesn't have room for Santo just yet.

The Veteran's Committee made the mistake in 2005 leaving Santo out (by 8 votes) and 2007 (by 5 votes) and had received much criticism for the act, but clearly has not learned from past mistakes. Santo has been widely regarded as the best player not in the Hall of Fame for a long time.
The anticipation and later agonizing realization of missing out on the Hall of Fame again, by 15 votes (in 2003), can be seen in the documentary This Old Cub by Ron's son Jeff Santo. Well worth a couple hours.

The Nine Time All-Star played the majority of his career suffering quietly from Type 1 Diabetes that has since cost him both of his legs in 2001 and 2002. He was told at the age of 18 he would live to about 25. As mentioned in Santo's documentary, Santo monitored his diabetes based solely on how he felt as there weren't widely available means of testing oneself at the time. There were times where he took the plate seeing double or triple due to low blood sugar. In such instances he would just focus on "the one in the middle".

Santo, winner of 5 Gold Gloves, was also the 1973 Lou Gherig Award winner. He finished his career with 5 seasons in the top 10 of OPS, slugging %, and extra base hits. He also finished in the top ten in Batting Avg (3 x), MVP voting (4 x), OBP (7 x), Runs (3 x), Hits (4 x), HRs (7 x), RBIs (8 x), and Walks (9 x). Offensively, he is most commonly compared to Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Yogi Berra, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

Is is very disheartening to hear that Santo has once again been kept at bay from the Hall of Fame. No one from the post 1942 ballot received the 75% of votes to gain entrance to Cooperstown. I for one have been waiting years to hear Santo's name mentioned as an inductee to Cooperstown, but will have to wait two more years for that to be potentially realized. Santo has referred to the process as torture and has all but given up on his induction. I guess I might just have to finally agree with Ron that it may never happen. And it's a damn shame.

More after the jump...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fix the Big XII - and the NCAA

Can someone please, for the love of God explain this to me. Can someone explain the Big XII to me. The Big XII has made yet another confusing announcement. My Preseason Heisman pick, Texas QB Colt McCoy has been selected as the Big XII Offensive player of the year. This means that he has been selected as the best player in an offensive position. I know that sounds repetitive, and that it shouldn't be further explained. With that said.

Offensive player of the year means that he is not only the best quarterback, but he is a better Quarterback than the top Ruining Back is a Running Back (Kendall Hunter) or the top Wide Receiver is a Wide Receiver (Michael Crabtree). But in true Big XII fashion the SAME voters selected McCoy as the 2nd best quarterback in the conference. That's right, McCoy was selected as Second Team All-Big XII Quarterback. I'm starting to sense some repetitive voting patterns from those in the AP.

Quoting the ESPN report on this issue, "Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell was the only other quarterback to get a vote from the 20 voters who decided the AP's Big 12 all-conference teams. Harrell picked up four votes -- one for first team and three for second team. Thus, the race swung on whether Harrell voters picked McCoy or Bradford as their second choice.

Three of those voters went with Bradford at second team and left McCoy off the ballot."

It looks like Texas is getting screwed over again. This time on a more personal level.

Seems the Big XII can't get anything right this year. The 1st Tie-Breaker should be head to head NOT the BCS. The BCS has already been proven as the biggest piece of CRAP in the history of College Football.

Comparing the losses and why Texas should be in the Big XII Title Game and the National Championship is that they beat Oklahoma on a Neutral field. They lost on the road at the last second to the team that Oklahoma beat at home. Take the BCS out of the equation.

I for one hope Texas continues to get the votes over Oklahoma in the AP polls (1488 to 1480) and when it comes down to the vote after the season they split the title (like USC did in 2003), in the system that promised us no more split titles.

Isn't this the perfect example of why we need a playoff. Especially if Florida beats Bama, we'd see 7 teams with 1 loss and a valid argument at a shot at the title. Oh, and 3 undefeated teams with a gripe. I used to love College Football, now I just wait for November and December when we see teams getting screwed over EVERY YEAR due to the greed of the BCS, ESPN, and their supporters.

Thanks ESPN for promising us 6 more years of confusion and anti-climatic bowl seasons.

More after the jump...

Arizona Football: Will You Be Remembered?

For any of our readers that happen to live in the Greater Tucson area or have ties to anyone on the Arizona Football team, please send them to this article for the simple reason of looking at this picture for motivation.

Image from goazcats.com
More after the jump...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Duel in the Desert: Part 2

With the Big Game a couple days away it's time to get motivated. As is typical with this contest there is a lot on the line.

An Arizona win can move them up in the battle for Bowl Position.
An Arizona win can also stop ASU from reaching a bowl game for the 5th consecutive year (which would be a school record).
An ASU win would put a bright spot on the season for the Devils after coming in ranked in the top 25 before dropping 6 straight.
An ASU win would also make the Devils Bowl Eligible and they might even possibly get a better bowl bid than the Cats.

Of course the most important thing on the line is bragging rights for the next 364 days.

In honor of the late Sun Devils sportswriter Bob Moran, I bring you an updated version of his original conversation between Sparky and Wilbur leading up to the clash.

"Hello Sparky, I'm glad you could stop by."

"I felt it was only right to visit you in Tucson since last time we met you came up to Tempe." Wilbur says as Sparky enters the patio at Frog n' Firkin on University Blvd. in Tucson.

Wilbur gestured at the empty seat next to him, "I took the liberty of ordering some appetizers and a pitcher of Tempe's own Kiltlifter to make you feel right at home."

"Good choice, alcohol always helps wash away the memory of bad meetings. Is it 3 in a row we've taken from the Cats. I'm always so bad with numbers." Sparky quipped.

"I believe it has been 3 in a row, but that was just a dent into the cushion we had. 44-36 with one tie if I'm not mistaken. But then again, look who I'm asking about numbers." Wilbur rebutted. "

"I can't believe we're back down here, it seems like yesterday when we ended Arizona's bowl hopes right down here in Tucson. Wait, that was last year that we ended Arizona's hopes and it was in Tempe.....It was two years ago we ended the Wildcat hopes in Tucson, where does the time go?" Sparky said with a small grin of satisfaction.

"Well, that's neither here nor there, Arizona's got a pretty good offense this year. Freshman Keola Antolin has done remarkably well. To think we were disappointed when some little brat named Bass de-committed from U of A. And now here we have Antolin with over 500 and 10 TDs yards and Grigsby averaging 5.5 per carry. We lucked out on that one."

Sparky looked surprised, "We actually wound up getting Ryan Bass to carry the ball a few times this year, 4.6 per carry."

"I thought you weren't much of a numbers guy."Wilbur returned, "Taking nothing away from Bass but the Sun Devil running game hasn't been that impressive. 7 total rushing touchdowns this year? I'm pretty sure our True Freshman backup QB and 3rd string Running Back actually combined for 7. Heck our other two backs are both in the double digits, and Antolin didn't even have a a carry against New Mexico or UCLA."

"Speaking of New Mexico, I forgot to call you, that must have been a tough break, dropping one to New Mexico...again." Sparky returned.

"That's for sure, rough weekend. But really when it all comes down to it we were on the road, our guys were a little over confident after putting up 111 points over the first two games, and we lost by 8. On the plus side our guys bounced back and won a couple games, didn't ASU drop a game to the MWC that same weekend?" Wilbur coyly responded.

"We lost a close one that week to UNLV, who I might add beat the same New Mexico team that defeated you." Sparky announced, clearly aggravated.

"Well that's all in the past anyway, and you can't really compare who beat who in that context without sounding moronic. Who do you guys have on your list of coaching candidates?" Wilbur asked in an attempt to change the subject.

"I'm sorry, I'm confused. I could have sworn it was Stoops who has been on the Hot Seat the last couple of years"

"Well, after getting the Cats to Bowl Eligible and cleaning up the mess that Mackovick left behind after destroying one of the top programs in the 90s, his seat has cooled off. But you didn't answer my question about Erickson."

"Well, I'm still a bit confused. ASU is not typically the program that gives up on a coach after one down season. I think Dennis will be in Tempe for the long haul."

"Hmmm. That's interesting. I wonder if the guys at Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Oregon State, and Idaho, again, thought the same thing. Oh well, I'm sure I'm just letting my imagination wonder it's not like there have been 3 NFL coaches fired during the season as well as countless other college positions opening up. I'm sure that there won't be available job opportunities galore in the coming months. Erickson will probably stay in Tempe. After all, he's only been there 2 seasons. He's only left after 1 or 2 years 4 times. You're probably right."

"Good point, but Erickson has promised to bring winning back to the Valley." Sparky responded.

"I'm sure his word is as strong as the Dennis Dome practice facility he got ASU to build." Wilbur shot back, well it's getting late and that pitcher is empty. I suppose it's time for you to head back to the hotel and wait for Saturday night."

Sparky got up and reached into his wallet but Wilbur stopped him, "Sparky, your money is no good here."

"Well thanks Wilbur I appreciate it." Sparky kindly responded.

"No, Sparky, what I meant is your money is no good here, don't you have a couple bucks or a credit card. They don't take Sun Dollars in Tucson."

More after the jump...

The Duel in the Desert

As the big game approaches my skin crawls with hatred for the scummies. I can not tell you how much venom I have deep in my heart for those classless chuckle heads from Tempe. To quote a dear friend of mine, "The two easiest things to get in Tempe are STD's and a Degree."(Thanks Dom)

This weekend means everything to the true Wildcat fan. A zero win season could be wiped away with a victory over the hated scum devils. We represent one of the longest standing rivalries in college athletics with games being played since 1899. The Territorial cup is the oldest rivalry trophy in college athletics being handed out since 1899 as well. I remember vividly Chuck Cecil's 100+ yard INT return for a touchdown in 1986. That win was the middle of the amazing 9 game streak over the nothings from up north. Check out this awesome video from goazcats.com - It should help you get pumped up a bit.

I warn all my conservative friends and family to stay away from me this week. I swear like a sailor, drink like an Irishmen and fight like a drunk Irish sailor all in anticipation for the game.

This year brings a special prize for true Wildcat fans. I will spare us the discussion of the last few Duel in the Desert results, however I will acknowledge that the Wildcats failed to clinch a bowl berth the last few years as a result of losing the game. This year however the tables are turned. We have the opportunity to keep the scummies from being bowl eligible with a win. Nothing could make the bowl berth we have all ready clinched any sweeter then if we ruined the season for the Dirty Dennis and his band of Felons.

If you need help getting the hatred motor warmed up check out this site...

I leave you with this question, How do you get an asu(cks) grad off your front porch?

Pay them for the pizza!

More after the jump...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Store is Open

We have decided to re-open The Beardown Shop, your source for gear that we find humorous and stylish. Stop by and check out some of the designs and be on the lookout as more will be added in the near future. And keep an eye out for the specials. To benefit our loyal followers we will occasionally be having sales on the gear for lower prices. Sometimes with a bonus code and sometimes for limited times so check out the site for updates. You can also click the shirt and check out the aisles right now.

More after the jump...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The NFL's Top Cheerleaders - AFC

Today I am showing you all the top Cheerleaders in the NFL. As I said earlier, think of it as the Pro Bowl of Hottness. I dropped the NFC Representatives earlier so here are the AFC Champions of Cheer.

Baltimore Ravens: Lauren St., Sarah B., Kate, Lauren Sp., Abbie M. -

Buffalo Bills: Danielle, Jessica, Jill, Lisa -

Cincinnati Bengals: Heather B., Lindsay -

Denver Broncos: Sara, Nicole, Elizabeth, Romi, Stephanie, Amanda, Sarah -

Houston Texans: Andrea, Amanda, Candice, Marissa, Randi, Susannah -

Indianapolis Colts: Jessica E., Hillari, Christina, Bailey, Amy -

For the Rest of the AFC Keep Reading on the next page:

Jacksonville Jaguars: Emily C., Kelli, Kristyann, Michelle, Shenette, Sunny -

Kansas City Chiefs: Andrea, Ashley, Jeron, Jessie, Shaelley, Susie, Felisha -

Miami Dolphins: Brittany F., Jaime, Johanna, Genesis, Fabiola, Ashley, Bibiana, Jennifer B., Missy -

New England Patriots: Julia, Lindsey, Kelly, Jillian -

Oakland Raiders: Noni, Nicole J., Natalie M., Jonni, Ariel, Alisha -

San Diego Chargers: Breann, Jacquelyn, Ashley, Nicole L., Carissa, Kiirsta -

More after the jump...