Tag Archives: star

Otto Graham: The Greatest Quarterback Ever

Many modern football fans have never even heard the name Otto Graham.  Decades before Bernie Kosar was taking the Browns through many playoff runs.  Otto Graham was the best quarterback not only in Cleveland but in the NFL.  Years before Jim Brown dominated teams, Otto Graham was dominating the league.  Graham will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  He was the 1st and possibly the biggest Cleveland sports star ever.

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham started his professional career in Cleveland during the 1946 season.  At the time the Browns played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC).  In that season Graham lead the Browns to their 1st Championship and the team finished with a 12-2 record.  The winning did not stop there.  The Browns went on to win the 1947, 1948 and 1949 AAFC Championship prior to entering the NFL in 1950.  During his first 4 seasons he played in 54 games and had 86 TD’s and 10,085 yards passing in total.  Many people considered the AAFC to be the minor leagues so to speak.  The Browns were not expected to be as dominant in the NFL.

The critics were completely wrong with their assumption.  Graham had almost the same numbers in the NFL as he did in the AAFC.  Graham would play in 72 games in the NFL and have 88 TD’s and 13,499 yards passing.  Graham and the Browns made the Championship game from 1950 to 1955.  In total Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games with them winning 7 of them.  The only years during this period where they did not win a championship was 1951, 1952 and 1953.  Their playoff record was 9-3 during those 10 seasons.

Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season.  He retired with 174 TD’s and 23,584 yards passing.  In his career Graham was a 5 time Pro Bowler and was a 7 time First Team All Pro.  He was one of the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in 1965.

Otto Graham's Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham’s Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham was able to accomplish something that will never happen again by leading his team to 10 straight championship games.  The only other player to come close was Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills made it to the Super Bowl from 1990-1994 but never won any of those games.

There are many names that are discussed when talking about who was the greatest quarterback ever.  Names like Dan Marino, John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady but none of those players achieved the success that Graham was able to do.  The only argument that any one might have against Graham would be that the playoffs were shorter with less games when he played.  The fact of the matter is he still won those titles and in both leagues.  The only reason that most people do not consider him the best is because they don’t know anything about him or what he did during his career.

As long as the stats and film are around no one can deny his greatness.  For such a short career by today’s standards he really made an impact.  Otto Graham passed away in 2003.  He left a legacy that will never be forgotten, he will live forever in the Hall Of Fame.

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“Sunday Ready” Robert Griffin III Makes A Succesful Debut

It used to be that a new NFL quarterback had time to develop and flourish over multiple season, not anymore.  There are many teams each year that need solutions for their QB position woes.  They want it fast and the best way to go now is with a top ten QB, rather than the veteran back up or fallen starting QB.  It is easier to go with a new QB and take a chance at their future.  The old system of getting a veteran QB is going away because teams just don’t want to be stagnate anymore.  Players like Cam Newton have done great things to changes the way teams look at top pick QB’s.

RG3 celebrates his 88-yard TD pass.
(Getty Images)

 

In April the Washington Redskins went in the direction that most teams are going.  That direction is with a top pick QB to be the future of their franchise.  With the second pick in the first round of the NFL Draft the Redskins selected Robert Griffin III (RG3).  RG3 had an incredible final season at Baylor in 2011 and won the Heisman Trophy.  RG3 has drawn many comparisons to Cam Newton, in terms of both athleticism and potential.

On Sunday RG3 made his highly anticipated regular season debut.  He led his Redskins into New Orleans to face the Saints and one of the best QB’s in the league Drew Brees.  Griffin got off to a great start completing his first 7 passes for 123 yards.  One of those passes was an amazing 88 yard pass to Wide Receiver Pierre Garcon.  Garcon was able to make it into the end zone for Griffin’s 1st NFL touchdown pass, which came in the 1st quarter.  Griffin’s 2nd touchdown pass came in the second quarter, a 5 yard toss to Aldrick Robinson.  Going into half time the Redskins were beating the Saints by a score of 20-14.

In the second half of the game Griffin led the Redskins down the field in position for 3 made field goal attempts.  The Saints tried to comeback in the second half but with a just a field goal, two touchdown passes and a 2 point conversion it was just not enough.  The Redskins won the game by a score of 40-32.

Griffin had an outstanding debut with 320 yards passing, 42 yards rushing, 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions.  The Redskins might just be back in a big way.  Griffin met all the expectations of the Redskin fans and his team, can he keep it up?  That will be the fun thing to watch for this season.

“Ready For Glory” The Cowboys Defeat The Giants

The 2012 NFL Season kicked off on Wednesday Night in New York City. The Dallas Cowboys came into town to face their rivals the New York Giants. The Giants are going into the season as the defending champions. The Cowboys are beginning this season like they have so many others, just wanting to not choke under pressure. The Cowboys made a statement last night, they may be ready for success.

Breakout Star Kevin Ogletree on his way to a touchdown.
(Getty Images)

The Cowboys won the game 24-17, in a game that many thought would end in disappointment for “Americas Team”. The Cowboys dominated the Giants more than the score will show. The Cowboys QB Tony Romo played with poise and threw for 3 touchdowns and had 307 yards passing. Romo made a statement in this game to all of his detractors that he is a big time QB and can lead his team to wins. Kevin Ogletree had an incredible game, going into the season as the third wide receiver for the Cowboys. Ogletree was given a chance to shine when Jason Witten was limited due to injury. Ogletree took full advantage of his opportunity with 114 yards receiving and had 2 touchdowns.

The Giants did not look like the defending Super Bowl Champions in this game. QB Eli Manning Had just over 200 yards passing and only 1 TD. The Defense of the Giants was just not enough to contain the Cowboys. Point proven when Ogletree scored a 40 yard TD when he was able to break the tackles attempted by the Giants Defense.

The Cowboys began with a bang but can they keep it up? They have a history of tanking in the late part of the season and in the playoffs when they make it. This could be a sign that everything has finally fallen into place for the Cowboys who have struggled for most of the 2000’s. Tony Romo has spent many years trying to be the QB to take the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl. He has come up short many times, will this year be the same? We will have to watch how the Cowboys play the rest of the season to truly know but I have a feeling this Cowboys team is special.

“The Fall Out” How Jon Jones Killed UFC 151

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones helped make history this past week.  It was not good history by any means.  The UFC was forced to cancel their September 1st show in Las Vegas.  Jones is completely responsible for this cancellation.  When his challenger went down due to injury on Thursday a wild ride began that did not slow down until Friday afternoon.

Jon Jones
(Getty Images)

UFC President Dana White was able to get a replacement in Chael Sonnen.  Jones would not face Sonnen with only 8 days before the fight.  Jones’ Coach Greg Jackson tried to take the blame for not letting his fighter take the fight.  With that situation Dana White was forced to cancel the show and blamed Jackson for being a “sport killer”.

The next option for the fight was Lyoto Machida.  Machida was due a title shot but not this soon.  It was announced that Machida would take the place of Henderson and the fight would be moved to the UFC 152 show on September 22nd in Toronto.  Machida later declined and the UFC went after another former champion to fill the spot.  That former champion was Shogun Rua, he too declined the fight.

With no other options for a main event fighter for Jones, Dana White chose UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.  Belfort accepted and the fight will take place on the UFC 152 show.   Belfort has great hands but does not have the genetic gifts that Jones possesses.  Belfort is much like a Dan Henderson type fighter in the sense that he is a dangerous veteran that could win but will likely lose.  This 24 hour period of insanity is a true low point for the UFC.

Traditionally when a fighter goes down due to injury the replacement is usually accepted by the remaining fighter.  Jones did not want to follow suit.  Because of this he will drive his appeal down with a fan base that does not really see him as a star yet.  Jones is a fan favorite for the hardcore MMA fans but not casual fans who are the ones that really make or break a star and a champion at the ticket window.  Jones has gone Heel (a pro wrestling term for bad guy) but he is doing it the wrong way.

MMA has had its share of heels through its history.   The most recent being Brock Lesnar and Chael Sonnen.  Both of those fighters know what they are doing with their characters and play the role well.  They make calculated moves that make themselves the bad guys but still marketable and appealing.  Jones does not have the personality or the where with all to be a true heel.

Marketing was stated as a possible reason Jones did not take the fight.  Jones was worried that he may not keep his hot streak alive and possibly lose and hurt his selling potential.  If that was his concern he would have taken the fight with Sonnen.  Even if he lost and came back to another title shot he would be in a better light and position than he is by not taking this fight.  Sonnen was the perfect opponent, he had not been training and would be moving up a weight class.  Jones on the other hand would be peaking for the fight still and would have had 3 months of training under his belt.  Now Jones will be know as the man responsible for destroying UFC 151.

There are many victims from Jones’ decision.  The Cable companies who promoted the fight and where counting on their percentage of the PPV numbers.  The UFC has also spent a lot of money promoting the fight, they even had a huge billboard at Times Square in New York City.  The fighters who will have to wait on a pay day because their fight has to be moved to October or even November.  The most hurt will be the fans who have spent their money to fly into Las Vegas, stay in a hotel  and wait to have their tickets refunded by the UFC.

Jon Jones will likely become a villain from this situation, which for most fighters could be a positive thing.  Not for Jones who needs to be liked.  He recently signed a deal with Nike and when it come to merchandise if you are not liked people will not buy you things.  Jones has a long road ahead of him, can he shake this situation?  Maybe, he could come out on UFC 152 and knock out Belfort and everyone will forget about this like it never happened.  It could be something that sticks with him his entire career and effects his earning and drawing potential.

“The End Of Drama In Orlando”- Dwight Howard Traded To Lakers

After playing eight seasons for the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The trade had been rumored since yesterday became a reality on Friday.  The trade involved The Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and 76ers.  The Lakers ended up with Howard and sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers who also recieved Jason Richardson from the Magic.  The Nuggest landed Andre Iguodala from the 76ers while the Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, three 1st round picks and a second round pick for 2013.  It was the mega trade we had been expecting almost the entire summer.

Dwight Howard is leaving Orlando as a villain.   He skipped out on a charity event recently in Orlando, that wasn’t going to win him any fans.  Howard has been playing hardball with the team since the season ended. Yet the team still tried anything they could to make him happy enough to stay.  The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy in May and the previous GM to appease Howard.  Howard did not care he still wanted to leave as a free agent.  The Magic had been that road before with Shaq in 1996 and were not about to let that happen this time around.

When trade rumors started Howard demanded going to the Brooklyn Nets and nowhere else.  Howard put the team in a rough situation by lowering his trade value.  He stated that he would not resign with any team other than the Nets or Mavericks when his contract is up after this season.   A lot of interested teams quickly ran away not wanting to lose a lot for a one year stand with Dwight.  Luckily for the Magic they were able to put together a deal that they can build a team for the future with.  The team is ready to get on with life and with Dwight Howard out of the picture will be able to.

Dwight Howards legacy with the Magic will be a tarnished one.  A story of feuding with his coach, stirring up trouble for the team and alienating himself from the fans of Orlando.  The City of Orlando had been waiting for a star when they drafted Dwight in 2004.   The team wanted to win a championship with Howard and the closest they came was the 2009 NBA Finals.  The Lakers squashed the Magic in that year and the team never returned to the championship game since.  The Magic should have realized earlier that Howard was not the man that could take them to a title.

Howard is now officially the most hated man in the NBA and it will not change anytime soon.  He cares not about the team but himself.  Howard has made his bed and no he has to sleep in it.  Good riddance Dwight Howard.

Will the Knicks Regret Letting “LINSANITY” Go?

Jeremy Lin with the Houston Rockets.
(Getty Images)

Last year’s breakout star Jeremy Lin was signed by the Houston Rockets earlier this week.  Lin signed a 3 year, $25 Million deal.  The Rockets had Lin in their training camp at the beginning of last season but let him go.  The New York Knicks had a chance to match the offer given to Lin but declined.  Houston took what many consider a gutsy move for the 23 year-old Point Guard.

Jeremy Lin busted onto the Sports Scene last February when he stepped into the starting PG spot previously held by the then injured Carmelo Anthony.  Lin made the most of his opportunity by becoming one of the teams leaders.  He dominated games and flat out won many for them during his strong 3 week stretch.  Lin was silenced quit a bit when the team started facing off against teams like the Miami Heat.  Lin suffered a season ending injury in March and the “Linsanity” in New York was put on hold.

The craze that Jeremy Lin ignited in New York was incredible.  Over night the city became crazy over this young and recently unknown star.  “Linsanity” was the name and it was popping up on signs and merchandise all over Madison Square Garden and New York.  The possibilities for marketing this type of a player were endless.

“Linsanity” has moved to the great state of Texas.  Will he continue to flourish into the superstar many feel he will be.  That is hard to say but if he does the Knicks made a bad decision.  At this point the Knicks need a star with the charisma and appeal that Lin has.  He has been replaced by a few players nearing the end of their career while he is just beginning his.

If Jeremy Lin’s star continues to rise the Knicks will never forget letting him go.  The New York fans will not let them forget what a grave mistake they made.  The Knicks have been toiling in obscurity for far to long and Lin had shown during the month where he dominated the sports media that he could be the spark the team needed.  The city of New York needed a star like Lin.  The level of regret rides on how well Lin develops and evolves his game.  As of this moment it looks like a bad decision for Knicks to let this player go.  Only time will tell and we should know a lot in just 5 months.

Bryce Harper Is Ready For The Big Leagues

Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have been playing great this year.  Surprising many, but the excitement has just begun.  On Friday the Nationals called up their 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper from Triple A Syracuse.  He was called up when Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the DL this week.  Harper is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday when he will be placed in the line up for in a game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  Harper’s debut on Saturday is the most anticipated debut of any player since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

Harper was thrust into the national spotlight in May of 2009 when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.  He was touted as being the next big thing in baseball, and possibly one of the best baseball players ever.  Later the year he left high school at 16 years old to obtain his GED in time for the 2010 June Draft. He had a short stint at a junior college before the Nationals selected him 1st overall in the June Draft.

Harper has everything one needs to be a great player.  He also has all of the hype as well.  Although some have questioned his maturity during his time in the minors.  He has been called “spoiled”, and been said to have acted arrogant on a number of occasions.  This is nothing new for the sports world.  There have been many sports stars with bad reputations that have flourished to become hall of fame players.  I feel he will grow up a lot in the big leagues and will mature very quickly.  While he has played well in the minors he has usually needed time to get settled in at each level.  This may be no different as the jump from Triple A to the majors is a big one.  I think even if he does struggle in the beginning he will ultimately turn out to be an incredible player at the big league level.

The Nationals want to win and they want to do it now.  That is why they feel this call up is the right decision.  I totally agree with them bringing him up and putting him in the line up.  Saturday is going to be a big night for Harper and the Nationals, who finally get to reap the benefits of this highly touted and paid phenom.