Missouri Football Protest Shows Changes

Missouri Football Protest Shows Changes

University of Missouri players organized and threatened to boycott the remainder of the season’s games. The protest forced the resignation of Mizzou President Tim Wolfe, amid allegations of ignoring racism problems on campus. The successful protest demonstrates how much our country, college football, and universities have changed over the past decades. Student-athletes, like many young people, have a tradition of standing up for what they believe in. The Mizzou situation reminded me of a story Conrad Dobler shared with The Game before the Money. Dobler played for the University of Wyoming. The Cowboys (and this may surprise you) enjoyed a recent Sugar Bowl berth in 1968, under coach Lloyd Eaton. The unbeaten, fifth-ranked Cowboys fell to LSU 20-13, but the appearance helped in recruiting. Even Dobler decided, “Hey, why not play for the winning team?” when offered other WAC scholarships in addition to Wyoming’s offer. 1969 stood as college football’s 100th anniversary, honoring the 1869 Princeton/Rutgers matchup that’s widely accepted […]

Thinking Out Loud: The 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

SENIOR NOMINEES The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced two senior nominees for its 2016 induction class. The Seniors Committee, comprised of nine members on a rotating basis, selects the senior nominees. Nominees must be retired for at least 25 years. We’ve discussed My recent post countered Peter King of Sports Illustrated, declaring Stabler as more than worthy. King, however, has an actual vote in the process, and it will be interesting to see whom the rest of the voters agree with. Who else has three of the most iconic plays in history – the “Sea of Hands” game, the “Ghost to the Post,” and the “Holy Roller” – to his quarterbacking credit? Stabler also almost nearly won the “Immaculate Reception” game with a 30-yard scramble to put the Raiders ahead 7-6 in the fourth quarter. Most arguments against Stabler tend to be statistically based. Here’s a statistic to mull over: of the quarterbacks who rank in the Top 50 […]

The FWAA 75th Anniversary All-American Team

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced its 75th Anniversary All-American team today. As a member, I was privileged to nominate players. Selecting the team was an enormous and difficult task. Indeed, the third-team running back tandem of Bo Jackson and Doak Walker could just as easily been the first-team backfield. “Picking the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary teams was like taking a final exam with no wrong answers,” said 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. “Even though some answers may be more ‘right’ than others, this will add to the colorful conversation about college football, honor those chosen, and help celebrate the game.” So true. You have three selections at quarterback. Roger Staubach and Tim Tebow were the two I felt absolutely needed to be in there. Staubach helped redefine the position at the college level, and Tebow consistently impacted games more than most college players that I can remember. My short list for the third spot […]

Thinking Out Loud: Remembering NFL legend Frank Gifford

The headline regarding Frank Gifford’s death shocked me. The family reported that he died suddenly from natural causes. I was privileged to meet and chat with him in January 2013, while working on The Game before Money. He just lit up talking about the old days. His youthful energy resurfaced remembering his playing days with Tom Landry, Andy Robustelli, and Harland Svare. His eyes gleamed with delight. His eyes really stood out. The televisions of the 1970s lacked the definition to convey the color. They were a light shade of blue I’ve never seen before or since. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t pay attention to the color of a man’s eyes. Only Gifford’s stood out that much that they were memorable. Iconic. Football changed dramatically from the time Gifford started playing in high school to the time he left Monday Night Football. Gifford told me that he expected to follow his father’s rugged footsteps into the […]

Thinking Out Loud: Ken Stabler and the Pro Football Hall of Fame

My first NFL memories involve during Super Bowl 11 and explained the meaning of the NFL’s biggest day while Stabler led the Raiders to ultimate victory. The Holy Roller play remains a cherished memory, and one of the first epic plays I witnessed live on television. Stabler helped characterize the 1970s NFL. His bearded face symbolizes Raider football. The Hall of Fame has yet to induct “The Snake,” a position defended by Sports Illustrated writer and Hall of Fame voter Peter King. Many fans, however, disagree. Count me in that group. King argues that statistics and career consistency don’t land in Stabler’s favor. I get that, and statistics play a huge part. Being great for 5 years is much different than being great for 10 or 15. Yet we call it the “Hall of Fame.” The moniker implies the word “famous,” and nobody can deny #12’s fame throughout his career. Similar to the old E.F. Hutton commercials, when Stabler played, […]

This Might Surprise You: DeflateGate and 3 Surprising Facts in the Wells Report

Last post, I commented on how frustrating it was to hear announcers spout off about Tom Brady and Deflategate before reading the Wells Report. I decided to read it myself. My goal is to neither bash the Patriots nor exonerate them. I simply aim to provide an objective review of the Wells Report. CLIFF’S NOTES OVERVIEW NFL rules say the ball must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 psi. Teams prepare 12 footballs before games, and the refs check air pressure with a gauge. The NFL referee manual specifically states that if a ball measures below 12.5, the refs need to inflate it to exactly 12.5. If it’s above 13.5, the refs need to reduce it to exactly 13.5. (As stated on pg 36 of the Wells Report.) The problems that caused Deflategate, from what I can tell, stem from two inconsistencies. First, different gauges give different readings. For Deflategate, two gauges were used to measure psi at halftime and […]

Thinking Out Loud: Two Thoughts on Deflategate

THOUGHT ONE The “Deflategate” news train keeps rolling. Tom Brady has been found guilty in both the court of public opinion, and by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. His four-game suspension, currently under appeal, has been lauded by many. The media circus surrounding this controversy reminded me of what Irv Cross mentioned in The Game before the Money. He discussed the difference between today’s media and his approach while working on The NFL Today. “We reported,” Cross said. “You just didn’t wing things and sing things off the top of your head. If Tom Landry did something and I reported it, it actually happened. I had it verified, and had probably talked to the player directly involved. Today I hear, ‘I think this and I think that,’ but I don’t see much reporting.” True indeed. Few pundits bothered to read the Wells Report, duplicating the scenario that took place when baseball’s Mitchell Report hit the streets. Opinions abound, but nobody will […]

Packer Legend Terdell Middleton Passes Away

The Green Bay Packers website announced that Terdell Middleton passed away. Middleton was a popular player for the Packers in the late 1970s. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in 1978. The effort landed him on the cover of the 1979 Packers yearbook. Middleton starred at Memphis State in college and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals dealt him to the Packers during the preseason. An occasional return man, he returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown his rookie season. He became the franchise’s fourth 1,000-yard rusher in his second season, but never played a full 16-game slate afterward. The Packers released him before the 1982 season, and he played two years for division rival Tampa Bay before returning to his hometown to play for the USFL’s Memphis Showboats. After leaving football, Middleton reportedly spent 15 years as a firefighter. He passed away just a few days shy of his 60th birthday.

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