Brett Favre retired this week. Everything that can be said of the brilliant QB has been said, with one exception..........I am not convinced that he’ll stay retired if the Pack calls on him later. Favre can still play, and he loves it.
It’s interesting how we all have a different perspective on whatever. During the six years George Ostfeld and I have been close friends, he has taken great delight in bringing trivia questions to whatever meals we enjoy together. When I can’t answer any of them, his is a table-pounding delight. He asked me last week who is the greatest all-around athlete in history. I debated between Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson. His answer was food for thought, pardon the pun. He said I’m wrong, and that there is no answer because no athlete has ever been able to excel at every sport, so there has never been an “all-around athlete.” Right or wrong, it's his opinion, and an interesting perspective on the subject. I hate George!
There was a sports commentator in St. Louis years ago named Skip Erwin who closed all of his broadcasts with “It takes a real winner to be a good loser.” That’s pure nonsense, as all competitors know, and I knew him well enough to tell him so. As long as it’s legal and honest, if you don’t do everything you can to win, if you’re not a competitive s-o-b, then what the hell are you doing out there? I don't want any "good losers" on my team. Winning and losing have but one thing in common; each becomes habit-forming. Which habit would you rather have?
Last week, the New York Daily News reported that the Knicks have had talks with Kiki Vandeweghe about replacing Isiah Thomas as the team's president, but, strangely enough, retaining him as head coach. How many F’s does Thomas need on his report card to get totally kicked out of Manhattan?
Late breaking news: It has been learned that no fewer than seven Federal prisons are in the hunt for the playing services of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They certainly deserve long-term contracts. Too bad there’s no Fed pen in Needles, CA.
The Lakers are tremendous, and they’re doing it right now without Andrew Bynum. No return date has been established for Bynum yet, but the regular season ends April 15th. for the Lakers, so he’ll hopefully be ready for the playoffs. This team will only get better when big Bynum returns.
Per Hank Steinbrenner: “Red
Sox Nation? What a bunch of [expletive] that is. This is a Yankee country. We're
going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”
Hank, I have a suggestion. Best you win a title before you trip over your tongue.
Story of the Week
The great misconception of Fran Tarkenton is that his major contribution to the game of football was his running from the QB position. He was, to be sure, a most exciting and elusive runner, and did so with great frequency, but we who watched his career well remember his tremendous passing ability. Tarkenton was a great quarterback.
Tarkenton was a standout high school
and college quarterback in Athens, Georgia. He led the Athens High School
Trojans to a state championship in 1955 and the University of Georgia to the
Southeastern Conference title in 1959. He went on to an 18-year, record-setting
career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants of the National Football
Tarkenton was a No. 3 draft pick of the 1961 Vikings. Fran was an instant star with fledgling Minnesota with four TD passes in his first game in 1961, and rushed for a fifth in a big upset of the Chicago Bears. He became the starting quarterback early in his rookie season and continued his outstanding performances for the next six seasons. But in 1967, he was sent to the New York Giants in a trade that netted the Vikings two No. 1 and two No. 2 draft picks over a three-year period.
Five seasons later, Fran came back to Minnesota in another massive swap that cost the Vikings two veterans, a rookie and two high draft picks. In Fran's final seven years with Minnesota, (1972-1978), he led Minnesota to six NFC Central Division titles and three Super Bowl appearances.
Small by NFL quarterback standards (6-0, 190), his size was not a detriment to his performance. At retirement in 1978, he led lifetime passers in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003) and touchdowns (342). The “scrambler” rushed for 3,674 yards and 32 TDs, taking plays from sideline to sideline. His total offensive progression was a whopping 50,677 yards. To reiterate, he was as fine a passer as he was a runner, and was consistently in the upper echelon of passing ratings.
Fran was a Pro Bowl selection nine times. He was named first- or second-team All-NFL three times and selected to play in nine Pro Bowls during his career.
Fran Tarkenton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. At the NFL Hall of Fame ceremonies in 1986, Tarkenton talked about his life in business after football and his three Super Bowl losses, but he said his father made the biggest impact on his life. ''I'm thinking now of one who is not here - a little 5-foot-6 man who didn't know whether a football was blown up or stuffed,'' Tarkenton said of his late father. ''He just loved watching me play football.''
And so, too, did the people in Athens, many of whom will instinctively think of Fran Tarkenton when they're asked to name their favorite UGA athlete.
There have been NFL quarterbacks with better total stats than his, and Super Bowl wins that he never captured, but there has never been a more exciting or versatile quarterback than Fran Tarkenton. He absolutely was worth the price of admission.
Last Week’s Trivia
A quadruple-double is a basketball term, defined as an individual performance in a game in which a player accumulates a double-digit number total in four of these five categories; points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocked shots.
It's not easy to do. In NBA history,
only four players have ever recorded quadruple-double performances and they are:
Nate Thurmond, October 18, 1974, Chicago vs. Atlanta; 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, 12 blocks.
Alvin Robertson, February 18, 1986, San Antonio vs. Phoenix; 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals.
Hakeem Olajuwon, March 29, 1990, Houston vs. Milwaukee; 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, 11 blocks.
David Robinson, February 17, 1994, San Antonio vs. Detroit; 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 blocks.
Trivia Question of the Week
How can a batter strike out against a pitcher he never batted against? You’re gonna love this one. Yes, it’s tricky, but it’s in the rule book. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.