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Sports Then and Now



Ten-Three-One: The Final Three and the Best of the Rest 1

Posted on March 30, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Seeding the Underdog Lover’s Best Tournament Ever

Butler v Kansas State

33-year-old Brad Stephens has led Butler to the Final Four.

The only thing that would have made March Madness an absolute straight flush for underdog fans is Duke losing to Baylor last night. But they came close enough for underdog fans. And this being the tournament in my memory with the most upsets and the most low seeds advancing to the Sweet 16 makes it the Underdog Lover’s best tournament ever.

The great thing about being an underdog fan is that even a nail biter, having to wait until the last minute to know the outcome of a David/Goliath match-up is almost as good as victory.

Now that Duke enters the Final Four as the only surviving one-seed, underdog lovers everywhere can begin focusing our voodoo attacks on a single target and hope to see them crash in the semi’s.

Before going any further with our March Madness analysis, it is necessary to explain the criteria we use to evaluate underdogs in a sort of reverse seeding. In other words, the top seeded dog would be the lowest seeded competitor.

What Makes an Underdog?

There are classic underdogs, and there are relative underdogs. That is why we can only get excited, early in the tournament, about the smaller schools, the long-shots, and the new arrivals.

For the first round we favor “Firsts,” “Worsts,” “Small,” and “The Wall.” Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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