Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Chris's Hall of Fame Nominees

PJ and Rus have already presented their nominees. Here are mine to complete the list.

Historical player: Roger Staubach (quarterback, Dallas Cowboys 1969-1979) In a word? Winner. Roger was the Cowboys starter for nine seasons, played in six NFC Championships, won four, and won two Super Bowls. Awards include a Heisman, six Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP. The NFL achievements all followed four years of active service in the Navy, including time in Vietnam. He retired with a 83.4 passing rating, highest career average at the time. That day also marked the saddest day of my childhood.

Roger, along with Don Meredith and Troy Aikman, spoiled Cowboys fans, who have only recently learned how difficult it can be to find a franchise quarterback. Over the combined thirty years this trio played the game, the Cowboys fielded a Pro Bowl caliber QB, while other teams are still searching for their first.

And, boy, could he run.

Current player: Vince Young (quarterback, University of Texas 2002-2005, Tennessee Titans 2006-present) Going in to the 2006 Rose Bowl, all the talk was USC. Leinart was considered the best QB in the country, Reggie Bush has just been awarded the Heisman and USC was assumed to be the greatest team of all time. Then Vince took the field.

Football is a team game. More than any other sport, it requires each player to do their job for the team to succeed. But that night, Vince put on the greatest individual performance college football has ever seen, and beat the 'greatest team of all time'.

Then for some reason, everyone doubted him going into the NFL Draft. You'd think they would have learned. The Titans clearly did, drafting him and naming him a starter during his rookie season. The Titans started 0-5 (Kerry Collins started the first three games), but went 8-3 to end the season, missing the playoffs in a last week loss to New England. Eleven playoff bound defensive coordinators breathed a sigh of relief. Vince was not only named Rookie of the Year, but was also named to the Pro Bowl, no small feat in the AFC.

Don't expect anyone to doubt him a third time.

Favorite player: George Teague (safety, Green Bay Packers 1993-1995, Dallas Cowboys 1996, 1998-2001, Miami Dolphins 1997) By most standards, Teague had a perfectly average career in the NFL. But there was nothing average about his heart.

The day was September 4, 2000, and the once proud Cowboys were being embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers. Terrell Owens scored a touchdown, ran to midfield and danced on the star. Emmitt Smith did the same later, staring down the 49er sideline, but the rest of the team was defeated. When Owens ran to the star to repeat the stunt on his second touchdown, Teague raced after him, leveling him at midfield. The hit earned him an ejection. As a Cowboy fan, I have never been prouder. Seven years later, I hope T.O. still feels that hit.

Putting it simply, Teague did the one thing that fans demand from athletes, but too often don't see: he cared.

I didn't set out to go all football. But PJ covered hockey, Rus took care of baseball (and saved me a Nolan Ryan nomination), so three football nominees it is.

But where's the basketball love? So I bent the rules a little, and am inducting a fourth player, without the express written consent of my co-110 Percenters. This brings our inaugural class to an even ten. Which is fitting, because 'ten' describes his game perfectly.

Tim Duncan (Forward-Center, San Antonio 1997-present) In a league infamous, fairly or not, for thuggery, Duncan is as clean as they come. I'll go ahead and guarantee that you will never see his name in a police blotter, and in today's world, that's saying something. But don't think for a second that the soft spoken Duncan is soft on the court.

I hate the San Antonio Spurs. But I certainly respect them, and that starts at the top, with Pop and Duncan. Duncan is the Spurs. Every adjective used to describe him also describes the Spurs. Some say boring, but I prefer fundamental, efficient, selfless, tough, flexible, relentless, you name it. Just don't forget winner: Duncan and the Spurs have four titles, and counting.


PJ said...

OK, Roger.. I'm with you. Teague.. I can go there. "Mr. Consistency" - Tim Duncan - slam dunk (ironic pun intended since he's not really the slamming dunk kinda guy, but anyway. Vince Young? Um... can we pull the reins back just a little... I mean he has all of 13 games of an NFL season under his belt. I happen to think that he is a phenomenal athlete and think he'll be quite successful in the NFL, but after less than a complete season, you're already putting him in the 110% HoF? That brings me to another question. Since these were nominations, are we going to vote on them? Or are they already in cause we nominated them? I'm confused now.

Chris said...

You saw the Rose Bowl, right? Vince is in based largely on his fine work at Texas, but he was also a rookie Pro Bowler and ROY. It's only been a year, but he has quickly proved himself capable of playing in the League.
And, yes, this is our HOF inaugural class. They are all in.

PJ said...

OK man. They can all be in. And he did have a tremendous year, especially for a rookie. I think he's got a great future ahead of him and look forward to see how he will embarrass defenses the way Vick is/was supposed to.