Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame’

Russ Grimm in Hog Heaven — former Redskins guard makes Pro Football Hall of Fame

February 6, 2010

He’s in!!  Former Redskin Russ Grimm has made the Hall of Fame in his 14th year of eligibility.  Congratulations, Russ.  It was long overdue.  Earlier today I wrote that Grimm deserved to make it but probably wouldn’t.  Here are the first three paragraphs from the article I wrote a few hours ago on Grimm getting selected.

* * *

Former Washington Redskins guard Russ Grimm was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today. Grimm, a member of the “Hogs,” the Redskins legendary offensive line, played in four Pro Bowls and four Super Bowls, including three wins. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1980s.

Grimm anchored one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history, alongside players such as Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, George Starke, Mark May, Raleigh McKenzie, and Jim Lachey.

Grimm anchored the line as the Redskins won Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks and three different primary running backs. Six different running backs led the Redskins in rushing during Grimm’s 11 seasons but the offensive line was the constant along with wide receiver Art Monk.

For the rest of the article, see http://www.examiner.com/x-37753-DC-Sports-Headlines-Examiner.

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Using Disrespect for Motivation

December 2, 2009

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog called “Using Disrespect to Motivate Yourself and Prove People Wrong.”

I decided to reprint some of it now.  You see it in sports all the time.  When you’re disrespected it gives you extra incentive to not only prove your doubters wrong, but to beat them if it’s in the sports world, or if outside of the sports world then at least to show them that they made the wrong decision.

You see, you take a personal slight, get upset about it, make it bigger than it is, and then actually relish the fact that someone disrespected you.  It takes on a life of its own – you never, ever forget – and then you do some truly great – even transcendent – things afterwards, partly because of the extra motivation.  You may say that you shouldn’t need that extra motivation, but it is what it is, and you should do whatever works for you.

I was reminded of this lately because of the recent situations involving Michael Jordan and Brett Favre, not to mention countless games in which underdogs beat favorites, and I’ve even had a few situations myself for which the concept applies.

I’ll start with me and then get to the more interesting stuff.

Three years ago I wrote about why I like working with kids with autism under my first FAQ at http://www.coachmike.net/autism-faq.php:

“I’ve always loved sports, and I root for the underdog. Anybody who has played sports or been a sports fan knows that when someone says you can’t do something, you love to prove them wrong. I prefer working with the kids who have the most severe disabilities because I love the challenge. One of the things I like most about working with kids with autism is the amount of progress that they have the potential to make.”

In the past five years, I’ve worked with a lot of children and several adults with autism.  I have never had a situation that didn’t work out well.  But sometimes schedules change. I was working on sports skills with a five-year old child once.  When he started kindergarten he had less free time so I had to stop after about eight months.  Sports was the first thing to get cut because of the “schedule.”  I could have (perhaps should have?) – said that that made sense.  But I took it personally.

I use things like that for extra motivation and can honestly say that the kids who I work with make great progress in all areas.  I believe that with all my heart, and I will do anything to make it so.  I can assure you that any kids who I work with will end up being more successful in all areas (and I usually break the areas down into 1) academics, cognitive skills and communication skills; 2) social skills, playdates, and emotional awareness and management; and 3) sports, exercise, and motors skills).

Anyway, now onto Michael Jordan.  His speech at the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in September was considered controversial because he mentioned several times during which he felt slighted and he used those incidents for extra motivation.  Jordan was famous for that.

In 1993, LaBradford Smith of the Washington Bullets (yes, the Bullets – here’s hoping new owner Ted Leonsis will change the name back and change back to the old red white and blue uniforms too) scored 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls and supposedly said, “Nice game, Mike.”  Jordan vowed to score 37 points against the Bullets the next game by halftime and he scored 36 by the half, 47 in all in just 31 minutes.

Great story, but it never happened.  At least the part about Smith taunting Jordan.

The funny thing is that Jordan admitted later that Smith never taunted him, but he just made the story up to give him extra motivation.  Here are some highlights from the game in which Jordan got his revenge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdDb32m2EsM.

Jordan didn’t mention that incident during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but he did mention the following, and I borrow from Brian Mahoney’s article from the Associated Press:

  • The coach who cut him from the varsity as a North Carolina schoolboy.

“I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.”

  • Isiah Thomas, who allegedly orchestrated a “freezeout” of Jordan in his first All-Star game.

“I wanted to prove to you, Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird), George (Gervin), everybody that I deserved (to be there) just as much as anybody else, and I hope over the period of my career I’ve done that without a doubt.”

  • Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy – Jordan called him Pat Riley’s “little guy” – who accused Jordan of “conning” players by acting friendly toward them, then attacking them in games.

“I just so happen to be a friendly guy. I get along with everybody, but at the same time, when the light comes on, I’m as competitive as anybody you know.”

  • The media who said Jordan, though a great player, would never win like Bird or Johnson.

“I had to listen to all that, and that put so much wood on that fire that it kept me each and every day trying to get better as a basketball player.”

  • Lastly, Utah’s Bryon Russell. Jordan recalled meeting Russell while he was retired and playing minor league baseball in 1994 – and with Sloan looking on in horror – told of how Russell insisted he could have covered him if Jordan was still playing. Russell later got two cracks at Jordan in the NBA finals, and he was the defender when Jordan hit the clinching shot to win the 1998 title.

“From this day forward, if I ever see him in shorts, I’m coming at him.”

Brett Favre is another example of someone who tries to prove somebody wrong.  Now let me first say that I’m not a Brett Favre fan.  I think he’s been overrated throughout his career because his tendency to throw too many interceptions hurt his team almost as much as his abilities helped him.  Also, he was very wishy-washy the last several years about whether to retire or continue to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

In fact, a couple of years ago he said his heart wasn’t in the game.  I still think the Packers made the right choice by keeping Aaron Rodgers instead of Favre.  By the time Favre wanted to come back, Green Bay had made other plans.  But having said all that, Favre is having an unbelievable season.  True, he has a great running back and an excellent defense, but Favre has 24 touchdown passes and just three inteceptions, and the Vikings are 11-1.

The thing is, Favre wanted to play for the Vikings, one of the Packers’ most hated rivals last year but he had to go to the New York Jets instead.  This year he got his wish, and you have to give him credit – the Vikings beat the Packers twice this year.  Part of Favre’s motivation is to say, “I told you so,” to the Packers and to make the Packers regret their decision.  I don’t think it’s healthy to use revenge as a motivational tool, but maybe a little bit of “I told you so” or “I’ve proven you wrong” is healthy.

Now, this isn’t the stuff of MJ legend, but when I tried out for the junior high school tennis team in ninth grade, I was cut from the team.  I made the team the next year in high school, and during my junior and senior seasons I had a combined record of 23 wins and eight losses playing at number one doubles.  Then I lettered for four years at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University, albeit a small university.  I never forgot that the “coach” wrongly cut me in ninth grade and put other players on the team ahead of me whom I was much better than.

Then in 2000, after not playing competitively for a decade, I signed up to play in a 4.0-level tennis league.  They told me I would play the first match and then I showed up and they said I wasn’t going to play the first match – I would have to watch.  So I went home, cancelled the check, and looked for a 4.5-level (higher level) league.  I found one and won six of the eight matches I played in doubles.  The local tennis board had to rule on whether to let me play after cancelling the check and writing a new one.  Luckily, they let me play.

Anytime somebody tells you you can’t do something or doubts you, you hate it.  You hate it so much, but then you savor it.  Because it gives you extra motivation.  You never, ever forget it, and then you use it to achieve something great.

Should Jay Cutler be Immediately put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

November 12, 2009

I’m thinking that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, because of his arm strength and passing yardage, should be automatically voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It’s not too early to consider Cutler the best ever.  Meanwhile, Titans quarterback Vince Young should be kicked out of the NFL.

Cutler has a career record of 21-25.  Young has a career record of 20-11.  But winning doesn’t matter.  It’s how you do it.

I’m exaggerating just a bit.  But how about judging players on the same criteria, or at least make winning even just part of the equation?

Sorry, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, and Rich Gannon.  Gannon:  can you say anything other than Vince Young can’t read defenses?  How long did it take you to become a good quarterback?  Give Vince Young a chance.  Don’t judge him using different standards than Cutler.

In reality, Young does have some deficiencies, and Cutler has a lot of talent.  But do you get the picture?  Could it be that Cutler is overrated and Young is underrated?  Why the vitriol against Young?

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Switching gears for a minute, I’ll admit that sometimes I’m wrong.  In an earlier post I suggested that Browns fans were wrong in wanting Brady Quinn to start at QB ahead of Derek Anderson.  Both players have had terrible years.  I have an idea, though.  How about putting Joshua Cribbs at QB, or at least running the Wildcat with him?  He has a great arm and game-breaking speed.  He can’t do any worse than Anderson or Quinn.  He started at QB at Kent State.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Cribbs is “one of only four players in NCAA history to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards in at least two different seasons, the others being Beau Morgan of Air ForceVince Young of Texas, and Pat White of West Virginia. Cribbs, in fact, accomplished the feat three times. He is one of only three quarterbacks in NCAA history to rush for 3,500 yards and throw for 7,000 yards in his career (the other two being Antwaan Randle-El of Indiana and Brad Smith of Missouri. Cribbs is also the only player in NCAA history to lead his team in both rushing and passing in four different seasons.”

I saw Cribbs play a game against Ohio State in the Horseshoe and I knew then Cribbs would be an NFL player.  Mid-American Conference QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich all made it as starting NFL quarterbacks and Charlie Frye is a backup. Cleveland, get your best player into the lineup, if not at quarterback, then at Wildcat quarterback, and if not there then start him at wide receiver.

Brett Favre – Greatest Player in the History of the World?

December 15, 2008

Note – I originally wrote this in July so it’s a little outdated, but I stand by it.  I’m glad Favre is doing well now though so I won’t get accused of posting this after Favre played badly.  Because, trust me, he will play badly at times later this season, most likely in the playoffs.  Actually, the Jets at 9-5 already have doubled their win total from last year, but they made a bunch of great offseason acquisitions – offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, fullback Tony Richardson, and defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, who has been the best defensive player in the NFL, to name a few.  Meanwhile Green Bay has lost more games than they lost all of last year, but I still think they made the right decision by starting Aaron Rogers.  I have to admit, I am a little surprised and impressed by what Favre has done this year, and if he leads the Jets to the Super Bowl, maybe I’ll change my tune.  But I still think he’s one of the most overrated players of all-time.  Just a few weeks ago, he threw a ball away in the end zone.  The commentator said, “That was a smart play.  The old Brett Favre would’ve tried to force it.”  By “old Brett Favre,” do you mean the one from the previous 17 seasons?  Now, they have him “managing the game.”

 

This Brett Favre thing is getting pretty old.  Every year he says he’s going to retire only to come back.  For someone considered such a tough guy, he sure acts like a diva.  Actually he is tough – he never misses a game.   But he has to be one of the most overrated players ever.  He’s had a great career, but it gets a little tiring to hear the John Maddens, Tony Kornheisers, and other members of the media constantly fawn over him.  Actually, if any other quarterback did the things Favre regularly does – throw off his back foot, throw into triple coverage – basically make a lot of dumb plays – He would be considered much less of a player. 

 

Favre has won slightly more playoff games than he’s lost (12-10) but he’s choked big time in several playoff games.  He threw 6 interceptions in a loss to the Rams in 2002.  The next year, Favre’s Green Bay Packers lost at home to Michael Vick’s Atlanta Falcons after being undefeated at home.  I don’t think Favre belongs in the same sentence as all-time greats Joe Montana and John Elway, and I’ll only put him on the same level as Dan Marino because Favre won a Super Bowl and Marino didn’t.  But I still think Marino was better.  I strongly believe that Steve Young was better than Favre, and it wasn’t even a contest.  Young did everything Favre did but was a much better scrambler and decision maker. 

 

Also, the idea that Favre never had great receivers is ridiculous.  Just because he didn’t have a Hall of Famer who played 10 years doesn’t mean he didn’t have a lot of talent.  Sterling Sharpe was one of the best of his era, and Antonio Freeman was very good too.  So were Robert Brooks, Andre Rison, Javon Walker, Donald Driver, and Greg Jennings.  Plus he had two great tight ends, Bubba Franks and Mark Chmura.  Finally, Favre had a great head coach in Mike Holmgren, and more offensive coaches who went on to become head coaches in the league than just about anyone else, including Steve Mariucci, Andy Reid, and John Gruden. 

 

By the way, when quarterbacks such as Favre, Manning and Brady, as well as receivers such as Randy Moss and Terrell Owens put up numbers that are out of this world, let’s remember that passing statistics have exploded in recent years.   I originally published the table below at http://www.coachmike.net/artmonk.php last January in my article advocating Art Monk to get into the NFL Hall of Fame.  Even football fans often don’t realize that not only was there a huge increase in passing stats during the second 14 years of the Super Bowl era, but that there was an even greater increase in these numbers during the past 14 years. 

                                         

NFL

1966-1979

1980-1993

1994-2007

Number of individual 4,000 – yard passing seasons

2

19

46

Number of individual 100 – catch seasons

0

3

50

Number of 1500 – yard receiving seasons

0

5

15

 

Favre will be in the Hall of Fame.  You can’t argue with his numbers.  Most TDs, most yards, most consecutive games, 7-1 record in overtime games, etc.  But he also holds the NFL record for the most interceptions at 305.  And counting.