Tag Archives: Los Angeles

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Week 1)

Rookies Marshon Lattimore and Pat Elflein share a moment after playing their first game as NFL players. Photo Courtesy: NFL snapchat

While Buckeye Nation attempts to process what happened Saturday night in the 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, several former Buckeyes made their 2017 debuts in the League.

Seven Buckeyes were selected at April’s draft, three in the first round. In all, 42 Ohio State Alumni opened the season on NFL rosters.

The Indianapolis Colts have five former Buckeyes on their team. The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys are tied for second with four each.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most notable of the former Buckeyes. Elliott’s team faced off against his former 2014 National championship teammate cornerback Eli Apple and the New York Giants. Elliott rushed for 104 yards on 24 carries and caught 5 passes for 36 yards in “America’s Team’s” 19-3 victory. Apple made 7 tackles (5 solo) in defeat for the “G-Men.”

New York Jets 2nd-year linebacker Darron Lee collected 10 tackles (7 solo) and a sack in his team’s 21-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward made their return to the Buckeye State in their season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Shazier had 7 tackles (4 solo), while Heyward had a sack, a tackle for loss and 3 tackles (1 solo) in the Steelers 21-18 win over the Browns.

The Carolina Panthers and their three Buckeyes of Kurt Coleman, rookie Curtis Samuel and offensive lineman Andrew Norwell lined up against running back Carlos Hyde and the San Francisco 49ers. Coleman made 6 solo tackles in Carolina’s 23-3 win. Samuel was limited with an ankle injury. Hyde rushed for 45 yards on 9 carries and had 6 catches for 32 yards in the loss.

Terrelle Pryor Senior caught 6 passes for 66 yards in his debut with Washington against NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles. 9-year vet, Safety Malcolm Jenkins had 4 tackles for the Eagles in their 30-17 win in the Nation’s capital.

The Indianapolis Colts quintuplets of Bucks had a difficult opening day against the Los Angeles Rams. LA won by a score of 46-9. Jonathan Hankins had 2 solo tackles, John Simon collected 6 tackles (5 solo) and rookie safety Malik Hooker had 4 tackles (3 solo) in defeat. Tyvis Powell and Jake Mewhort didn’t register any statistics.

Several Bucks had to wait until Monday night to start their 2017 season. Ted Ginn Junior, Mike Thomas, Vonn Bell and Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints took on center Pat Elflein the Minnesota Vikings. Thomas caught 5 passes for 45 yards, while Ginn Junior made 4 catches for 53 yards and had one rush for 5 yards in the Saints 29-19 loss. Defensively Lattimore made 4 solo tackles in his NFL debut. Elflein the 70th overall pick (3rd round) in the 2017 draft made the first start of his career.

Joey Bosa and the Los Angeles Chargers went to Denver to face Bradley Roby, Jeff Heurerman and the Broncos in the second of the Monday Night Football double header. Roby had 5 tackles (3 solo), 2 passes defensed and a key interception in the Broncos 24-21 win. Tight end Jeff Heuerman had one catch for twenty yards to help progress a scoring drive. Bosa made 6 tackles (3 solo), and 1.5 sacks in defeat.

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NBA’s All-Time Mount Rushmore

This past summer in an interview with Sports Illustrated, 3-time and reigning NBA Champion LeBron James acknowledged Michael Jordan is his motivation. He said “My motivation…is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.” James went on to say being considered one of the greats is cool, but implied he’d like to be considered one day THE best. While those who are witnessing LBJ, that didn’t see MJ and other greats in their prime, already say he’s the G.O.A.T. But his buddy, and former teammate Dwayne Wade recently told ESPN “It’s impossible” for him to catch MJ, and “the only thing he can do is tie it.” While I agree with D-Wade, I have to say LeBron has already moved into the upper echelon of NBA all-time greats. I even consider him on the League’s all-time Mount Rushmore, and these are the others that join him.

MJ is the most influential, and skilled NBA player of all-time. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Without a doubt, Michael Jordan. His “Airness” was 6-0 in NBA Finals winning the Most Valuable Player award each time, but that’s just the beginning of the resume.

5-times he was NBA MVP (1988,1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), 10-times he made first team All-NBA, 9-times he was selected All-NBA defensive 1st-team, and in 1988 he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. The 1985 Rookie of the year is a 10-time scoring champion, he’s the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, and when he retired in 2003, his 32,292 points was second all-time. His per game average of 30.1 is still first all-time. 3-times he led the league in steals (1988, 1990, 1993), and his 2,514 steals is third in League history. 14-times he was selected to the NBA All-Star team where he won the game’s MVP award 3-times, and twice won the slam dunk contest. He is a member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary team.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the most under-appreciated and overlooked great EVER! He can make a case that he’s the greatest player to play the game on every level.

Abdul-Jabbar’s “Skyhook” is the most unguardable move in history. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Cap” won 3 New York City Catholic high school championships at Power Memorial high while leading them to a 71 game winning streak, 3 NCAA titles at UCLA which included a record of 88-2, and 6 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to his championship rings, he won NBA Finals MVP twice (1971, 1985). In his twenty seasons, Abdul-Jabbar won League MVP 6-times (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980), 10-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, 5-times selected 2nd-team All-NBA, 5-times All-Defensive 1st-team, 6-times All-Defensive 2nd-team and he led the NBA in block shots 4 seasons (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980). The NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38, 387) led the League in scoring twice and was a 19-time All-Star. He’s also the third leading rebounder in NBA history (17,440). In twenty seasons, his teams made the playoffs 18 times, got out the first round 14 times, and made the Finals 10 times. In 1997 he was selected to the NBA’s 50th anniversary team. This is just his NBA resume. His entire basketball career back to high school would be this entire post.

Magic Johnson along with Larry Bird are credited with saving the NBA from the doldrums of tape delay and decreasing popularity linked to ramped drug use among players and on court fighting.

Magic led to Lakers to 8 NBA Finals appearances during the 1980’s. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Magic won 5 titles in 8 NBA finals appearances, including his rookie season in 1980, when he also won his first of 3 Finals MVP awards (1982, 1987). 3-times he won League MVP (1987, 1989, 1990), 9-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, once 2nd-team (1982). Four times he led the NBA in assists and is the NBA’s All-time playoff assists leader (2,346). When he retired the first time in 1991, he was the NBA’s all-time leading assists man, he’s now fifth (10,141). Twice he was the NBA’s steals leader (1981,1982) and is currently 20th all-time, but was in the top 5 when he retired. Johnson is a 12-time NBA All-Star and twice won the game’s MVP (1990, 1992). He is a member of the NBA’s 50th greatest players team.

Lastly, LeBron James. If I did this list  two seasons ago when LBJ was still in South Beach, I would’ve had Larry Bird in this spot. But, James has solidified himself as the greatest small forward in history.

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LeBron James has lifted himself into the upper tier of NBA greats. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Since he’s still on the course, and the other guys on this list are in the clubhouse sipping on Arnold Palmers and smoking cigars, I won’t go through his entire resume like I did with the others. But, I must state just how impressive it is that James has led his teams to 6 consecutive NBA Finals appearances (Miami 4, Cleveland 2). And since everyone wants to compare 23’s, not even MJ did that! Even LBJ’s biggest haters can’t deny his overall impact. Both the Cavaliers and Heat missed the playoffs the season after he left via free agency, even though they boasted the same rosters minus him. His current career averages of 27.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assist per game are only matched by the names of Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Jerry West and Larry Bird. Enough said, he’s one of the top four greats to ever play this game.

For those who will ask where is Boston Celtics great Bill Russell? My reply is “He’s my Halle Berry of the NBA.” What do I mean? When people ask me who are my top five celebrity crushes, I never say Halle Berry, because she has her own list. You want early 90’s Halle? You know from “Strictly Business”, “Boomerang” or “Flintstones”? How about “Swordfish”, “X-men” or “Die Another Day” Halle? Then there’s this 50-year old version that makes most 30-year old’s look like they’re aging in dog years. You get my point? That’s the way I feel about Mr. Russell. He has his own Mount Rushmore. You can have the rookie version that led the Celtics to a Championship in 1956-57 while averaging 14.7 ppg and 19.6 rpg, or the won that led them to 8 consecutive titles while winning 5 League MVP’s, or the won that led them to a title as player/coach in his final professional season. Take your pick. Hands down Mister Russell is the greatest winner in NBA history, so he gets his own mountain. Matter of fact, he should be the logo, he won more championships (11) than the current logo man Jerry West lost (8).

The following four men are on my honorable mentions: Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan

The Oakland Raiders Mt. Rushmore

“Just win baby!” That’s all the Raiders have done in their 55 seasons as a Pro Football franchise. Photo Credit: Coliseum.com

“Just win baby!” That’s the slogan that has defined the Raiders organization since 1960, their first season of play. In 55 seasons, between Oakland and Los Angeles and back to Oakland again, the Raiders have won 444 games, 3 Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), an AFL Championship (1967), 4 Conference championships, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 21 times.

The Raiders have produced 17 Hall of Famers who have done a majority of their work in the Silver and Black. Four of them I have chosen to represent the “Black Hole” on their Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.  Just for the record, Al Davis will be on my Mount Rushmore for owners for what he did for the Civil Rights Movement by helping African-American players get opportunities in Pro Football, and by refusing to play in cities where black players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their white teammates. As well as his role in the AFL-NFL merger.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

John Madden (1969-1978) is more than the guy who’s name is on the cover of a popular video game, and the guy who has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting. He is the Raiders all-time leader in coaching victories (103) and delivered on owner Al Davis’ mantra with an AFC Championship (1976) and a Super Bowl title (XI). In his 10 seasons as head coach of the Raiders, he never had a losing season and was the youngest to reach 100 victories while leading the team to 6 AFC Championship games (5 consecutive 1972-1977). His combined regular season and playoff record (112-39-7) is the second highest win percentage in NFL history. Madden had a winning record against revered Hall of Fame coaches Tom Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bud Grant. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marcus Allen (1982-1992) his career with the organization ended bitterly with owner Al Davis, but Allen’s name is littered across the team’s record books. He is still the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards (8,545), rushing touchdowns (79) and second in total touchdowns (98). In 1982 he won NFL Rookie of the Year, and followed that up by winning NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 will with the team. A 3-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl selection with the team, he led the Raider’s to Super Bowl XVIII where he was named the game’s most valuable player. Allen holds NFL records for most consecutives seasons with a rushing touchdown (16), multiple rushing touchdowns (16) and multiple touchdowns (16). He is the first player to ever gain 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a career. In 1999 he was ranked 72nd on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, and in 2010 he was ranked 85th on NFL.com’s “100 Greatest Players” list. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tim Brown (1988-2003) had one of the most decorated careers in the game both in college and professionally. The 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner did not disappoint in Silver and Black. He is the team’s all-time leader in games (240) and seasons played (16), receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,734), receiving touchdowns (99), total touchdowns (104), all-purpose yards (19,431), punt return yards (3,272) and punt returns for touchdowns (3).  He holds 8 NFL records. The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Famer could make the case for being the “Greatest Raider.” Hard to believe he wasn’t inducted on his first year eligible. I’m biased because I wore his jersey, number 81, in my first-year playing little league football for the Columbus (OH) Raiders in 1992.

Willie Brown (1967-1978) is remembered by most people under the age of 35 as the guy that was captured in the iconic NFL Films video intercepting a pass in Super Bowl XI and appeared to be running directly to the camera as he made his way to the end zone, for a then Super Bowl record 75-yard touchdown. Brown and the Raiders would go on to win that Super Bowl, he also was a member of the Raiders team that won the 1967 AFL Championship. A 2-time All-Pro and 2-time All-AFL selection with the team, he also was selected to 4 Pro Bowl’s and 3 AFL All-Star games. He finished his Raiders career tied for 1st in interceptions (39). He is a member of the AFL All-Time and NFL 1970’s All-Decade Teams. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 1999 he was ranked 50th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the highest player from the organization on the list. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 66th on their “100 Greatest Players list.”

Raider Nation did I get it right? If not who would you have chosen? Jim Otto? Gene Upshaw? Jack Tatum? Ken Stabler? Or Howie Long? Let me know.

The L.A./St. Louis Rams Mt. Rushmore

Back again! The Rams have returned to L.A. where they spent 48 seasons before moving to St. Louis. Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have returned to Southern California, and brought pro football back to L.A. for the first time in 22 seasons since they moved to St. Louis in 1994 and the Raiders to Oakland.

The Rams organization has had great success in both of their recent homes. In St. Louis they won Super Bowl XXXIV, two NFC Championships (1999, 2001), three division titles, and made the playoffs five times. In Los Angeles, the Rams won the 1951 NFL Championship (pre AFL-NFL 1970 merger), eight Conference Championships, eleven division titles, while making the playoffs 21 times. They also won the 1945 League Championship and the 1945 NFL West division title, while calling Cleveland home from 1936-1942, 1944-1945.

As you can see, the Rams franchise has had plenty of success in their eight year history, and they’ve had seventeen Hall of Fame players and personnel to help make it all happen. That makes my job extremely difficult to narrow it to four. So here is my Mount Rushmore for the Rams organization.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Deacon Jones (1961-1971) coined the team quarterback sack and had the most vicious technique–the head slap, which is now illegal–to beat offensive lineman. Jones played in the era before the statistic became official, but had it been, according to a Pro Football Weekly article in 2000, he would have accumulated 173.5, which would make him third all-time in NFL history today, behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. His 21.5 sacks in 1967, and 22 in 1968 in only 14 games would stand today as the two greatest seasons in league history. Jones went on to win Defensive Player of the Year both of those seasons. The 8-time Pro Bowl and 8-time All-Pro selection is a member of the NFL’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, as well as the NFLs 1960s All-Decade Team. Known as the “Most Valuable Ram of All-Time,” the team retired his jersey number 75, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Merlin Olsen (1962-1976) was, and still is the most accomplished Ram to play his entire career with the franchise. His 14 Pro Bowl selections puts him in a first place tie with Bruce Matthews, Tony Gonzalez and Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history. 9-times, the defensive tackle was selected to the All-Pro team, 6 of them 1st-team honors. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time, 1960s and 1970s All-Decade Teams. Like his teammate Deacon Jones, he played in an era when major defensive statistics weren’t recorded. However, his contributions were not lost. In 1999, The Sporting News listed him the 25th best player of All-Time on their Top 100 Greatest Football Players list. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982, the Rams Ring of Fame, and the team retired his jersey number 74.

Eric Dickerson (1983-1987) has his name plastered across the NFL record book in several rushing categories. While he played for a total of four teams in his career, he’s mostly known for running past opponents in the blue and yellow while sporting his iconic prescription goggles and Jerri curl. Dickerson was a 4-time Pro Bowl and 4-time 1st-team All-Pro with the Rams in their first stint in Los Angeles. He also won the NFL rushing title three times, and the NFL MVP and Rookie of the Year in 1983 as he set the rookie rushing record with 1,808 yards. He followed up his MVP campaign by rushing for a NFL record 2,105, which still stands today. Three times he won the NFC Offensive Player of the Year award (1983, 1984, 1986) and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award in 1986. He’s a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, the Rams Ring of Honor, The Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the team retired his jersey number 29.

Marshall Faulk (1999-2005) was the centerpiece of “The Greatest Show on Turf” that saw the Rams win their only Super Bowl (XXXIV) and two NFC Championships (1999, 2001). Faulk is one of only two players to have 1,000 rushing yards and receiving yards in a season (1999). He followed that up by winning the NFL MVP in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. He is first in team history in rushing touchdowns (58) and total touchdowns (85), third in total rushing yards (6,959) and fourth in receptions (407). In 2011 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rams Ring of Honor. The team also retired his jersey number 28, and NFL.com ranked him the 70th best NFL player of all-time.

Let me know what you think Rams fans. Did I get it right? Should Kurt Warner, new Hall of Famer Orlando Pace, or someone else have made the list?