Anyone not think Tim Brady is the best NFL QB ever?

Anyone not think Tim Brady is the best NFL QB ever?

Heads up sports fans… I’m back! Apologies for the rather long break, life sometimes gets in the way of being able to write about the most glorious thing in the world… sport!

And what better time to get back into blogging than by writing a little about arguably the greatest Super Bowl ever, the 34-28 overtime comeback by the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons. There was no chance that the final score was going to become reality after Tevin Coleman scored to make the score 28-3 with 8:31 remaining in the 3rd quarter. But I should know better, after all it was Tom Brady on the other team.

Now I know what you’re saying. How can a team that was able to sack Brady 5 times, intercept a pass for a touchdown and force a fumble that led to a turnover be unable to stop New England from making this a contest? Couple of reasons… Firstly, it’s Tom Brady! We’ve seen this guy do incredible things time and again on the football field so who’s to say it won’t happen again. Secondly, when your defence has been out on the field chasing Brady and his merry band of offensive puppets for a total of 93 plays (Atlanta ran 46) and a total time of 51:36 (Atlanta had the ball for 23:24) it takes a tremendous toll on your body. For those who watched the entire game it was clear to see that the Falcon’s rush had disappeared in the 4th quarter and overtime as Brady found himself with plenty of time to pick out the receiver of this choice and march his team down the field at will.

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Who knew this guy would become the G.O.A.T.?

For those that have been missing my ability to saturate these blogs with stats, here are a few to tie you over for a while…

  • Brady becomes the only QB in NFL history with 5 Super Bowl wins, surpassing Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw who each have 4.
  • Brady set a Super Bowl record by throwing 62 pass attempts, breaking the record previously held by Jim Kelly who threw 58 for the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.
  • Brady broke his own record of 37 by completing 43 passes, also impressive was his 69.4% completion percentage.
  • Brady set a single game record for passing yards with 466 eclipsing the mark set by Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XXXIV of 414 yards.

Add to this the career Super Bowl records Brady holds already which he has added to…

  • Career Super Bowl pass attempts – 309, second is Peyton Manning with 155.
  • Career Super Bowl passes completed – 207, second is Peyton Manning with 103.
  • Career Super Bowl passing yards – 2,071, second is Kurt Warner with 1,156.
  • Career Super Bowl passing TD’s – 15, second is Joe Montana with 11.

Not to make this blog too nerdy with stats but think about these…

  • Tom Brady now has a 5-2 record in the Super Bowl.
  • Apart from the New England Patriots there are only 3 other NFL franchises with as many as 5 Super Bowl victories (Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Dallas).
  • There are only 3 other NFL franchises with as many as 7 Super Bowl appearances (Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver).

Not bad for a guy taken with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, makes you wonder what the New York Jets were thinking taking Chad Pennington with the 18th pick.

There will always be debate about who the top quarterbacks in NFL history are. Aikman, Montana, P. Manning, Favre, Brees… but there is only one Tom Brady who has shown that even at age 39 he can make ’em come to their feet and drop to their knees. And this is why he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

 

9 of the most unbreakable sports records… ever!

9 of the most unbreakable sports records… ever!

I know what you’re thinking… how many of these lists can people actually write about? I hear you, I think the same thing. But it doesn’t make reading about them any less incredible. Like thinking about Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak, or Nolan Ryan striking out 5,714 batters over his career, or Brett Favre starting 297 consecutive games at quarterback (321 including playoffs). Amazing, right? And these aren’t even on my list!

Some you’ve see before, no doubt. But I’ve tried to come up with a couple not so commonly known. Living in Australia not a lot of people around the world know of some sports native to us, Australian Rules being the most obvious one. Having said that, here is my list of 9 of the most unbreakable records in sport. Also, they have been listed in alphabetical order… there’s no way I’m listing them in order of importance or difficulty!

A.C. Green (NBA) – 1,192 consecutive games

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Green averaged 9.6ppg and 7.4rpg during his 16 NBA seasons.

There have been much better players and players who have played for longer, but none of them managed to survive as many consecutive games as A.C. Green. Consider this… only 43 players in ABA/NBA history have played at least 1,192 games (39 in NBA only). According to basketball-reference.com there have been 4,370 players in ABA/NBA history, which means that just 0.98% of players have actually made it to 1,192 games. Based on 30 current NBA teams and 12 man rosters there are currently 360 players in the league, meaning only 4 active players will play that many games in an entire career (as it turns out there are currently 8… but you get my point!). Now, imagine they don’t miss a game through injury, suspension, trade or being coached by Gregg Popovich. I know… INSANE! Well, that’s what Green did. There’s no way anyone (EVER) will play that many games without sitting for 1 of them, it’s over 14 straight seasons of 82 games. Good luck!

Cal Ripken Jr. (MLB) – 2,632 consecutive games

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Ripken playing his then record 2,131st consecutive game on Sep 6, 1995 in Baltimore.

Another ironman, and just as fascinating. Let’s use the same theory as for A.C. Green. Only 35 MLB players have ever played more than 2,632 games. According to Wikipedia there were 17,732 players in MLB history (at the end of the 2011 season), which means that a minuscule 0.20% of MLB players will reach 2,632 games. Using 32 current MLB teams with 25 man active rosters there are 800 active players, with just 2 projected to play this many career games (Alex Rodriguez is at 2,719 with Adrian Beltre at 2,567). Again, imagine playing all 162 games a year with no injuries, suspensions or days off from having played every day for a month. Can’t picture it? Neither can I.

This record is more remarkable then Green’s as it covers over 16 MLB seasons. And Ripken did it at shortstop! Never mind he also amassed 431 HR’s, 1,695 RBI and 2 MVP awards. Footage from Ripken’s record breaking game should be placed in a time capsule and opened 100 years from now… they’ll need proof that it happened as nobody will believe it.

Cy Young (MLB) – 511 wins

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Young won the pitching triple crown in 1901 and pitched a no hitter on May 5, 1904 at the age of 37.

Gone are the days of starting pitchers racking up 45-50 starts and pitching over 400 innings a season, managers would have a heart attack just thinking about it! That was the era where Cy Young carved out one of the most incredible careers in sport. Never mind he won 511 games (as astounding as that is), get a load of these… 906 games played (815 starts) 7,356 innings pitched (that’s 8.11 innings per game!), career 2.63 ERA (only Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright have sub 3 career ERA’s among active players). You see any starting pitcher lasting for 25 years and winning 20 games a season? That’s what they’d have to do to catch Young… and they’d still be 11 wins short! Kershaw has been the most dominant pitcher this century and he’s only averaged 17 wins a season since 2010. There were no middle relievers or closers to help out 120 years ago, you were on your own and Young did it better than anyone… guess that’s why he has a certain award named after him! They say records are meant to be broken, this one has been around since 1911 and isn’t going anywhere for a LONG time.

Jerry Rice (NFL) – 22,895 receiving yards

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Rice was able to dance into the end zone more than any other player in NFL history.

The NFL has become a pass first league over the last few years, which shows in the stats as 27 of the top 30 all time passing yard seasons have occurred since 2000. So it only makes sense that most (if not all) passing and receiving records will soon fall, right? WRONG! Let’s take Julio Jones as an example. He’s a physical beast, able to sprint past cornerbacks and overpower them in the air. From the 2013 to the 2015 season he averaged 112 receiving yards per game, this works out to a 16 season of 1,797 yards. His career best season was in 2015 where he caught for 1,871 (the 2nd highest single season total in history). Now, imagine his doing that for 12 seasons and 12 games… that’s what it would take to catch Jerry Rice. Now granted, Rice played into his 40’s which is unheard of in the modern day NFL. We just say Calvin Johnson retire at the age of 30. But it wasn’t just longevity that made him great. He owns 6 of the top 50 season in terms of receiving yards. He is the all time leader in receiving and total TD’s. He’s over 6,900 yards and 41 receiving TD’s more than 2nd on the all time list. His 14 seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards is 4 more than Randy Moss who is 2nd all time with 10. Think of how many players actually get through 14 seasons in the NFL these days. Now see them catching over 1,000 in every one of those seasons. Yeah, this Jerry Rice fellow was pretty good. This record is to stay.

Oscar Robertson (NBA) – Average a triple double (at least 10ppg, 10rpg, 10apg) for a season

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The “Big O” tallied 181 career triple doubles, the most in NBA history.

Plenty has been made about the season Russell Westbrook has been having. Through 76 games he has accumulated 16 triple doubles, something that hasn’t been done since Michael Jordan in 1989. But forget that, there’s a guy who has had more that 16 in a season… 5 different times!

Try and forget about that, how about someone who would average a triple double over an entire 82 game NBA season. Well, a guy named Oscar Robertson did exactly that. It’s a shame that the NBA didn’t record game by game stats on assists and rebounds, that would make for some entertaining reading. During the 1961-62 season Robertson played in 79 games and had a triple double in 41 of them. That’s right, in just under 52% of his games that season he had at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Compare that to Westbrook’s current season where he’s running at a 21% rate. Still impressive, but no Oscar. Even with a spike in triple doubles not seen for 25 years there won’t be anyone who will do it over the course of an entire season.

A final thought… Robertson average 30.8ppg, 12.5rpg and 11.4 apg in his historic season… and cam win 3rd in MVP voting. Bill Russell won with Wilt Chamberlain 2nd, you’ll read why later on.

Phil Taylor (Darts) – 14 World Championships

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This has been the most feared form in world darts this century.

Here’s the first of 2 obscure records you’ll read. Not everything is NFL, MLB and NBA (although most is), there are other sports in the world that attract quite the following. One (to the chagrin of my wife) is Darts, a sport that is very popular in the UK. And it’s biggest name ever is Phil “The Power” Taylor.

My first exposure to Taylor was the 2002 PDC World Championship and his match with Peter Manley in the final. Having not watched a lot of world class darts I was intrigued and looked forward to a long and entertaining match. I received half of my wish as it was certainly entertaining but hardly long as Taylor swept Manley with a 7-0 demolition. It was then I was hooked on watching Taylor when I could… and it was a pleasure every time.

To put into perspective there aren’t major tournaments like golf and tennis have where you compete in 4 per year. There are other major tournaments on the schedule (World Matchplay and Grand Slam of Darts to name a couple) but the PDC World Championship is the cream of the crop. And to have won it 14 times (and been runner-up 4 times) is unfathomable. There is hardly anything to compare it to in regards to total domination, and this is why it (probably) never be matched.

Tony Lockett (Australian Rules) – 1,360 career goals

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Lockett once kicked 16 goals without a miss against Fitzroy in 1995.

And now for the 2nd obscure record. Australian Rules Football (or the AFL) is hugely popular in Australia, with all sorts of entertaining and sometimes spiteful conversations occurring in workplaces all across the country on a Monday morning.  In this game it’s all about the goals, like anything the more you score the more you win. And like all sports there are those that do it better than the other, and in this case it’s Tony Lockett.

Lockett averaged 4.84 goals per game during his 281 game career. Only Peter Hudson at 5.64 per game can really challenge that average for those who kicked over 600 career goals, although Jason Dunstall at 4.66 comes close. Then consider that Lockett missed 23 games over his career through suspension. If we give 4.84 goals to each of those games his career total comes to 1,471 goals. Second on the all time list is Gordon Coventry with 1,299. The current leader for career goals is Lance Franklin with 710. At his current average per game (3.2) he would need another 203 games to pass Lockett. That would take him to 425 career games, the all time record for games played is 426. The way the current game is played it’s virtually impossible to see anyone get close to Lockett, you can quote me on that!

Wayne Gretzky (NHL) – 2,857 career points

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Gretzky celebrating 1 of his 4 Stanley Cup victories.

If you’ve been a reader since my first blog you’ll notice that there isn’t much in the way of ice hockey… if fact, there’s nothing about ice hockey! So I’m not going to pretend I’m an authority on all things NHL. But no matter what sport you follow or play, almost everyone knows about the legend that is Wayne Gretzky.

The facts say it all… 10 times leading the NHL is points, 9 time MVP, 5 time NHLPA MVP, 4 Stanley Cups (5 times to the Stanley Cup), 2 time Stanley Cup MVP. And they’re just the awards!

Gretzky is the all time leader in total points (2,857… 970 more than 2nd), goals (894… 93 more than 2nd) and assists (1,963… 714 more than 2nd). He also owns 9 of the top 11 individual seasons for total points, 4 of the top 11 individual seasons for goals and 11 of the top 13 individual seasons for assists. His 1.921 points per game average over his career is more than double all but 78 other players who have ever played in the NHL (10,056 as per hockey-reference.com). We always marvel at the best of the best, but Gretzky was more than that. This is why the simple nickname of “The Great One” couldn’t be mote fitting, not just for the man who dominated the ice but the gentleman he was off it.

Wilt Chamberlain (NBA) – 100 points in a game and 50.4 ppg for a season

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Few athletes in all of sport have been as imposing and dominant at Wilt.

And for last we have maybe the most incredible record of them all. The NBA have seen some prolific scorers over the years, but none did it quite like “The Big Dipper”

Chamberlain ended his 14 season NBA career holding numerous records (most points, field goals made and total rebounds among many). But there is one game and one season that sets him apart from any other player in history.

On March 2, 1962 in Hershey, PA the Philadelphia Warriors took on the New York Knicks. There have been many stories told about this game, least of all the number of people that claim they were in attendance (this has been inflated a little over time!). But the show Chamberlain put on for those that actually were there would never be forgotten. 100 points on 36 of 63 from the field and (more amazingly) 28 of 32 from the foul line. For a career 51.1% free throw shooter it was like a perfect storm. He exclaimed to teammate Al Attles after the game that he never thought he’d take 60 shots in a game, but sometimes fate has other plans.

The other half of this record is the face he average 50.4ppg over the entire season. Consider that is that season alone Wilt had 45 games of at least 50 points… there have only been another 328 occasions of 50 point games (from the 1963-64 season accruing to basketball-reference.com) and Wilt had 30 of those! Consider that Wilt hold 5 of the 6 highest point per game averages for a single season, with only Michael Jordan’s 1986-87 season of 37.09ppg the outlier. There have been 33 times where a player has averaged at least 30ppg since 1979-80 and only 3 averaging over 35ppg. The marks that Wilt has set will stand the test of time and nobody will come close to beating them. Oh, and that reference to the 1961-62 MVP? Yeah, Oscar and Wilt had their amazing years in the same season… and still couldn’t win MVP from Russell! Think about that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the most incredible sporting achievements we have ever seen. Please leave any feedback you might have about these or any other records that come to mind in the comments section of the blog, at usasportblog78@gmail.com or on twitter @usasportblog78.

Can RGIII revive a sputtering career in Cleveland?

Can RGIII revive a sputtering career in Cleveland?

Let’s go back to the 2012 NFL Draft. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and  Robert Griffin IIIare going 1 and 2 but there was a lot of conjecture around who would go 1st to Indianapolis or 2nd to Washington. Indy just lost their all time QB in Peyton Manning and were looking for someone to fill his shoes. Do they go with the pocket passer or the elite athlete? They decided on the Stanford product and allow RGIII to go to the Washington Redskins, a team that went 5-11 the season before and had little to look forward to.

All that happened with RGIII as their starting QB was to go 10-6 and win the NFC East for the first time since 1999.  Consider that no rookie in NFL history has thrown for 3,200 yards with 20 touchdowns at a 65.6% completion rate. Others had more yards and others had more TD’s, but nobody had that package. Add to that 815 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns and it’s maybe the greatest QB rookie season ever.

After that… you don’t want to know. 3-13 in his sophomore season of 2013 and someone who looked more like an imposter running around in a Washington #10 jersey than the 2012 Offensive NFL Rookie of the Year. Mike Shanahan was out as head coach at the end of the season which spelt apparent doom for Griffin. And waiting in the wings was his fellow 2012 draftee Kirk Cousins. With RGIII’s struggles it seemed as only a matter of time before Cousins would take over as starting QB and send the #2 overall pick to the bench.

New head coach Jay Gruden appeared to have no loyalty to Griffin so had no issue with sending him to the sidelines and going with Cousins. The 2014 NFL season saw Griffin end up with just 7 starts (and a 2-5 record), a combination of injuries and indifferent form made him tough to rely on. Gruden then had a big decision… who to bank on as the franchise quarterback?

Unluckily for Griffin, it wasn’t him. Cousins took over as the starter for the 2015 season and led the Redskins to a division title for the first time since… 2012 and RGIII. How times had changed in the 4 seasons since being drafted. Cousins started a total of 9 games in his first 3 seasons (2-7 record) but exploded in his 4th season with 4,166 yards, 29 TD’s and an NFL best 69.8% completion. Griffin didn’t see action for the entire season and it was only a matter of time before he was done in Washington.

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This is the RGIII Browns fans want to see… just in a Browns uniform.

On March 7, 2016 that became official when he was released by the Redskins, at the same time all but securing the future of Kirk Cousins. But not all is lost for Griffin when 17 days later he was signed to a 2 year, $15 million deal by the… Cleveland Browns. They’ve put their own drama behind them (see Manziel, Johnny) and are looking forward with new coach Hue Jackson. Barring another signing or trade they will be going in with Robert Griffin III as their starting quarterback.

As someone who enjoys watching immense talent my fingers are crossed that Griffin can stay healthy and get the support from Jackson and the offense he deserves. 

The rise and (dramatic) fall of Johnny Manziel

The rise and (dramatic) fall of Johnny Manziel

Who’d have thought just 2 years ago that this would be the end result for Johnny Manziel.  One of the most exciting players in college football history, he was seen as the revitalisation of the Cleveland Browns and their long history of ineptitude.  Jim Brown aside the Browns have been the poster boy for all that is terrible in professional sports, making Cleveland the most title baron city in America.  For a franchise to have only 2 seasons in the 21st century without a losing record and all but 4 of those seasons spent at the bottom of their division… you make up your own mind.

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Where will Johnny Football walk to next?

 

But on May 8, 2014 their hopes and dreams seemed to be looking brighter with the drafting of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.  Having thrown for 63 TD’s and only 22 INT’s over his 2 seasons at Texas A&M he appeared on the outside as someone who the Browns could build around and look to the playoffs in the near future.  Little did they know that the next 2 NFL season would be a roller coaster ride seemingly never to end…

Even before his first college game the writing seemingly appeared on the wall as to what was to come with charges of disorderly conduct and possession of a fake drives licence among the list filed against Manziel.  Some might say that he was only in the wrong place at the wrong time and simply standing up for a friend, but others will say that it was a subject of the company he kept and unless he made a drastic change these kind of incidents were only going to continue.

Sure enough, they did.  And Cleveland (on outward appearances) kept enabling his behaviour.  Imagine if this was happening to a player under the watch of Bill Belichick or Ron Rivera… god help that player!

 

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Manziel takes a 74.4 career passer rating in 15 games to his new team (Career Stats).

Now, this might seem to be an editorial on how much Johnny Manziel is a spoilt little brat who needs a good clip around the ears and pulled into line… and to some degree you are correct.  But it’s time that teams and the league administration got together to come up with some kind of policy that will help players that are clearly struggling with something in their personal lives that is negatively impacting their profession.  If there was a doctor, lawyer or council worker who was going through some kind of personal issue, you don’t think there would be people there to support them?  In this case (and many like it any professional sport) there seems to be a culture of “well, we tried but let’s cut them and make him/her someone else’s problem”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the Browns provided Manziel with many forms of help during his time in Cleveland, but the public perception is that he’s more trouble than he’s worth and that another team can roll the dice.  Will that be Dallas, where Texas revere him and hold him up higher than superbly cooked BBQ ribs?  We know it won’t be in Houston where the Texans have just signed Brock Osweiler to a 4 year/$72 million contract (by the way… WOW!!!!!)… so where do Manziel end up on the NFL quarterback merry-go-round?

Only time will tell, but for Johnny Football’s sake, it’s somewhere that will fit his mind and his personality.  Not always is it about where you can get the most money or which team can win a Superbowl right now, sometimes you just need to be content with where you fit.  Fingers crossed the show fits this time.