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Sports Then and Now

Favre Streak Ends, But Legend Grows 0

Posted on December 14, 2010 by Dean Hybl

After 297 consecutive NFL starts, Brett Favre watched from the sidelines Monday night.

Brett Favre’s streak of 297 straight NFL starts ended Monday night in Detroit, but ironically, the end of the streak could actually do more to enhance the quarterback’s legacy than if he would have played against the Giants.

Once one of the most admired and beloved players in the NFL, the last three years have not been kind to the veteran signal caller.

The worst thing a player can be labeled in professional sports is selfish or self-centered. With his annual “will he or won’t he” saga, Favre’s indecision has turned many former admirers into critics.

Favre has always been seen as a tough and hard-nosed player who left everything on the field. However, over the last several years many have believed that Favre was more concerned about playing to preserve and grow his own legacy than to actually help his team win.

After three straight off-seasons of wondering if Favre would return, the Green Bay Packers finally gave up and moved on with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.

During his single season with the New York Jets, Favre started out strong, but injuries late in the season reduced his effectiveness and cost the Jets a playoff spot. Favre’s eventual admission that he probably shouldn’t have been playing was seen by many as just another example of how the quarterback put his own records over the success of his team.

Favre engineered his exit from New York and after waiting until the end of training camp joined the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 season.

While the mainstream media did everything they could to hype the 40-year-old Favre’s amazing season, he and the Vikings were met by a mix of indifference and ridicule by many fans who were conflicted as to whether to root for or against Favre. Read the rest of this entry →

The Surprising Fall of Matt Leinart 1

Posted on September 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Matt Leinart was never able to emerge as the clear starter in Arizona.

NFL history is full of quarterbacks who were high draft picks or Heisman Trophy winners but were unable to make it in professional football. However, I remain surprised that it appears likely that the Matt Leinart’s name will soon be added to that list.

Many of the highly regarded college quarterbacks in recent history who didn’t cut it as NFL starters really can’t be seen as surprises. Some, like Andre Ware, David Klingler, Joey Harrington and Ty Detmer were products of the system they ran while in college. Others, such as Akili Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Dan McGwire and Ryan Leaf had only limited college experience and were drafted more based on potential than on-the-field success.

Matt Leinart was not only the quarterback of two national championship squads and the winner of a Heisman Trophy, but he had the talent that would have likely made him the first pick in the NFL Draft had he left following his junior season in 2004.

Instead he returned to lead the USC Trojans to within a whisker of a third national title and then was selected with the 10th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. At the time, his drop to the tenth spot was attributed to the strength of that draft, but in reality it may have been the first sign of things to come.

Then Arizona coach Dennis Green was thrilled to have Leinart fall to the Cardinals and put him in the starting lineup for 11 games during his rookie season as a replacement for former league MVP Kurt Warner. As it turns out, that was the highlight of Leinart’s four years with the Cardinals. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Is Paying For Potential Instead Of Production 1

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Before even taking an NFL snap, Sam Bradford has signed a contract that guarantees him $50 million.

If you weren’t previously convinced that something needs to be done regarding the exorbitant guaranteed money that is being handed out to NFL rookies then hopefully the $50 million in guaranteed money the St. Louis Rams agreed to pay Sam Bradford might persuade you.

In case you might have forgotten, this is the same Sam Bradford who lost in the BCS Championship Game with Oklahoma in January 2009 and then nine months later suffered a serious shoulder injury that eventually needed surgery.

This is also the same Sam Bradford who has yet to throw a pass in an NFL game.

Yet, he now has signed a contract that dwarfs the current deals of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, a pair of all-time greats who are getting nowhere in their attempts to sign new long-term contracts. Read the rest of this entry →

Times Have Changed For Rookie Quarterbacks 1

Posted on September 17, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Matt Stafford passed for 205 yards and three interceptions in his debut for the Detroit Lions.

Matt Stafford passed for 205 yards and three interceptions in his debut for the Detroit Lions.

There was a time in the not so distant past when the biggest things a rookie NFL quarterback had to worry about on game day were wearing a cool baseball cap and keeping track of his clipboard.

Current rookies Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez are just the latest reminder that times have certainly changed, at least for top draft picks.

Instead of carrying clipboards and wearing baseball caps, highly drafted rookie quarterbacks today don’t usually have to wait long before getting a chance to show their stuff.

In the last two seasons, four of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round started the opening game of their rookie season. Only Josh Freeman of Tampa Bay, who was the third quarterback for the Bucs in their 2009 opener against Dallas, wasn’t under center from the beginning of his career.
Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Archie Griffin: 2-Time Heisman Winner
      December 11, 2022 | 1:42 pm
      Archie Griffin

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

      As a star running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Archie Griffin claimed the Heisman Trophy during his junior season in 1974 and then was able to repeat the honor the following season.

      Griffin joined the Buckeyes for the 1972 season, which happened to be the first in which freshmen were eligible to play varsity football, and made an immediate impact. After fumbling in his only carry of his first game, Griffin more than made up for it in his second game by rushing for 237 yards against North Carolina. By the end of the season, Griffin had rushed for 867 yards.

      Read more »

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