January 20, 2014 by
The January Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the MVP of the first two Super Bowls and is the only quarterback to lead his team to five NFL Championships.
After quarterbacking the Alabama Crimson Tide to an 0-10 record in 1955 and then being drafted in the 17th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, few would have predicted that Bart Starr would become known as one of the greatest winners in NFL history. Read the rest of this entry →
January 19, 2014 by
Just two years removed from surgery that resulted in him missing an entire season and being released by the team he led to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, Peyton Manning is back in the Super Bowl after leading the Denver Broncos to a 26-16 AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots.
When he leads the Broncos into Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning will not only be looking for his second Super Bowl ring, but he will be looking to be the first quarterback to start and win Super Bowls with two different franchises.
Previously, Craig Morton and Kurt Warner led two different franchises to the Super Bowl, but neither could hoist the Lombardi Trophy with both franchises.
Morton was the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII, but his squad lost both games.
Like Manning, Warner was 1-1 in Super Bowl appearances with his first team. He led the St. Louis Rams to victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV and then an upset loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. It took seven years, but Warner was able to get back to the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals as they lost Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While Warner will likely one day be a Hall of Famer and Morton was a solid NFL quarterback for nearly two decades, neither of them is in the same league as Manning.
Many already consider Manning to be among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time and if he is able to become the 12th starting quarterback to win two Super Bowls it will put an exclamation point on his legacy. Read the rest of this entry →
December 31, 2013 by
Baseball legend Stan Musial passed away in 2013 at age 92.
Unfortunately, one of the inevitable aspects of every year is that we must say goodbye to some memorable greats from the sports world who passed away during that year.
2013 was no different as the sports world lost a number of all-time greats along with many others who may not have ended their careers in a sports Hall of Fame, but who left their own marks on the history of sports.
During the year we reflected on the passing of several athletes at the time of their death including Stan Musial, Pat Summerall, Earl Weaver, Deacon Jones, Art Donovan, Bum Phillips and Ed Herrmann. You can remember the legacies of these sports stars by clicking on their name to read the original articles.
In addition to these seven, there were many other well-known figures from the sports world that we lost in 2013. Below are brief remembrances of some of those greats.
Miller Barber – Professional Golfer – 82 years old
After winning 11 PGA Tour tournaments, but never finishing better than fourth in any Major, Barber was one of the early stars of the Senior Tour. He won 24 Senior Tour tournaments, including the Senior PGA Championship in 1981 and three Senior U.S. Open Championships in a four-year period.
Walt Bellamy – NBA Hall of Famer – 74 years old
The first pick of the 1961 NBA Draft, Bellamy averaged 31.6 points per game as a rookie, but still finished nearly 19 points per game behind NBA scoring champion Wilt Chamberlain (who averaged 50.4 ppg). He went on to average 20.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game during a 14 year career in which he played for five different franchises.
Paul Blair – Major League Baseball Outfielder – 69 years old
An eight time Gold Glove winner, Blair was a key member of two World Series Champion teams with the Baltimore Orioles. He also won two World Series as a member of the New York Yankees during his 17 year career. Read the rest of this entry →
December 23, 2013 by
At age 37 and just two years removed from major neck surgery, Peyton Manning is having arguably the finest season of his career.
After watching Peyton Manning toss four more touchdown passes against the Houston Texans to bring his season total to a new NFL record 51 with a game left in the season, it seems hard to believe that it was just 18 months ago that legitimate questions existed as to whether Manning would ever throw another pass in the NFL.
It is easy now to downplay the severity of his neck injury and the four surgeries that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season and put into play the events that have led him to Denver after spending his first 13 seasons in Indianapolis.
However, in the spring of 2012, it was not over-reacting to question if Manning would ever play in the NFL again, much less wonder if he could ever return to MVP form.
You might wonder now if the Indianapolis Colts might have made a different choice had they been able to look in their crystal ball and see that Manning was going to pass for 10,000 yards and 88 touchdown passes over the next two seasons. Would they have passed on quarterback of the future Andrew Luck to stay with the quarterback of the present in Peyton Manning?
I think if you ask Jim Irsay and the Colts, he would probably say “no”, and that his team made the difficult, but correct decision for the long-term success of his franchise.
Given that Luck has quickly developed into a top-12 NFL quarterback and has led the Colts to consecutive double digit-win seasons and playoff appearances, you have to believe him.
Plus, Irsay saw first-hand what can happen when the team no longer has the services of Manning during their 2-14 disaster campaign of 2011. So even though Manning has been the better player over these two seasons, I’m not sure he would have helped the Colts win many more games and at age 37, he has only so many more seasons left before he rides off into the sunset. Read the rest of this entry →
November 08, 2013 by
With a 9-0 record to start the season, Alex Smith has the Kansas City Chiefs pointing in the right direction.
With the NFL season now officially past the mid-point, there has been quite a lot of unpredictability. Some based on off-season player and coaching changes and some that can be attributed to injuries and on the field successes and failures.
So far no team has benefited more from adding a new player and a new coach than the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith have proven to be a great combination as the Chiefs have gone from two victories and the first overall draft pick in 2012 to nine wins and counting in 2013. Granted their success is due as much to their defense and running game as it is to Smith, but he has definitely provided the stability needed under center. Reid has also proven that leaving Philadelphia was the right tonic he needed to get back to his role as one of the best coaches in the NFL.
In a league where 12 teams have either four or five victories after nine weeks (either eight or nine games depending on whether the team has already had their bye week), one or two players can make a huge difference.
A week ago the Green Bay Packers seemed poised to take control of the NFC Central and solidify themselves as a Super Bowl contender. One of the big reasons for that was the play of rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy ranks in the top ten in the NFL with 596 yards rushing in his first seven games. However, after All Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collar bone early in their Monday Night loss to the Chicago Bears, the Packers are now considered a long shot to overcome the loss of their quarterback and make the playoffs.
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October 19, 2013 by
Bum Phillips won 55 games in six seasons as coach of the Houston OIlers.
Though he is best known for his six-year tenure as head coach of the Houston Oilers, Oail Andrew “Bum” Phillips, who has passed away at the age of 90, spent more than 30 years coaching at all levels from high school to college and eventually the NFL.
However, Phillips greatest role occurred even before he ever walked a football sideline. He was an 18-year old student and football player at Lamar College (now Lamar University) when he enlisted in the Marines shortly after Pearl Harbor. He soon became one of the elite Marine Raiders.
After the war, Phillips returned to Lamar and then spent two years playing football at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Phillips spent much of the 1950s coaching high school football at a number of schools across Texas. He did, however, get his first taste of college football as he served as an assistant to Bear Bryant at Texas A&M in 1958.
He later served as the head coach at Texas Western (now Texas El-Paso) in 1962 and as the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston for the 1965 and 1966 seasons.
His first foray into the NFL came in 1967 when legendary coach Sid Gillman hired him as the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. He coached with the Chargers for four years and later served as Gillman’s defensive coordinator with the Houston Oilers.
In 1975, the 51-year old former high school coach completed his improbable journey by being named the head coach and general manager of the Houston Oilers.
Though the Oilers had not posted a winning record since 1967 and just two seasons earlier had won just one game, Phillips led his squad to a surprising 10-4 record during his first season at the helm. Read the rest of this entry →