Tag Archives: NFL Kickoff 2016

2016 NFL Predictions (According to Madden ’17)

EA Sports’ Madden is the best football simulation ever. Photo Credit: EA Sports

The grass is freshly cut, the lines painted, the stadiums seats are cleaned, the pads and helmets are clacking together, coaches are yelling and blowing their whistles….it’s football season.

Finally, we can stop talking about contract holdouts, Vontez Burfect’s suspension, Johnny Football’s troubles, Deflate-gate part deux, OBJ versus Josh Norman, drug related suspensions, domestic violence arrests and just watch players do what they do best. If college football is the appetizer, the NFL has arrived as the main course.

The defending Champion Denver Broncos kicked off Thursday night in the Mile High City with a thrilling come from behind 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 rematch.

For many the official kickoff of football season is when the latest edition of EA Sports Madden Football video game is released. The 2017 edition was released back on August 26th, and I’ve had some time to play around with it.

Due to the many key injuries and recent cuts to get the rosters down to 53 players, I’ve waited until the first roster update to set up a season in franchise mode to run a simulation as accurate as possible with this season’s schedule. I’ve also stayed true to the suspensions of Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell and others. So here it is, I simulated the 2016 season and here’s what we can expect…. According to Madden, blame them if I’m wrong.

AFC Division winners: Even with Tom Brady sitting out four games to suspension the Patriots still finished 13-3 to win the AFC East and home field advantage in the AFC. Here’s a look at how each division shook out.

  
  

NFC Division winners: The NFC went as expected by most accounts. The Arizona Cardinals who are the popular choice to make it all the way to Houston for the Super Bowl, secured home field advantage with a 12-4 record. Even though the New Orleans Saints had the same record, the Cards held the tiebreakers for 1st place.

  
 AFC Wild Card winners: The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. I don’t think it would be a surprise if the AFC North got two teams into the playoffs. Within the past five years they’ve gotten three in. The surprise is that one of the teams is the Ravens and not the Steelers who in this simulation had a 9-7 season.

Seeing the Tennessee Titans make the playoffs as the second AFC South team is a bit of a surprise. I think most prognosticators would’ve peg the Houston Texans or Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South and represent the division in the tournament. Overall I like the direction the entire AFC South division is headed. All four teams have their franchise QB and are building stout young rosters on both sides of the ball.

NFC Wild Card winners: New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. It’s been a while since the Giants have been in the playoffs. They’re due. You know what happens when the G-Men get in. The Falcons need to get their franchise headed in a better direction going into a new stadium in 2017. This would be a good step if it really happens.

Rookies of the Year: The AFC offensive award went to Paxton Lynch, even though Denver had a 3-13 record. Lynch took the starting job from Trevor Siemian and threw for 3,160 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a QB rating of 71.7. The NFC offensive award went to Carson Wentz who led the Eagles to a 11-5 record. Wentz threw for 3,444 yards, 25 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions with a QB rating of 97.3.

The defensive awards went to defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of the 12-4 Arizona Cardinals for the NFC, and cornerback Xavien Howard of the 9-6-1 Miami Dolphins. Nkemdiche recorded 69 tackles (51 solo), 13.5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss. Howard made 86 tackles (67 solo) and intercepted 5 passes and had 2 forced fumbles.

Defensive Players of the Year: Middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard of the Tennessee Titans won the AFC award collecting 143 combined tackles (108 solo), 2.5 sacks and 7 interceptions to lead Tennessee to a 10-6 record.

Cameron Jordan of the 12-4 New Orleans Saints won the NFC award. The defensive end collected 18.5 sacks, 3rd best in the NFL behind J.J. Watts 21.5 and Cameron Wake’s 20.5. Jordan also added 83 total tackles (66 solo), and 15 tackles for loss.

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers won his second Most Valuable Player award by leading the NFL in passing yards (5,253), coming in third in TD passes (37) and throwing only 10 interceptions with a 104.9 QB rating.

NFL Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick–even though on the game he’s named Griffin Murphy–just did his job and led the Patriots to a 13-3 record, 3-1 without Tom Brady due to his suspension.

Wild Card round:  The Wild Card round live up to it’s name. Wild. All four games were decided by one possession. The Giants were the lowest seed (#6) to win. What did you expect? If the Giants get in, they’ll make noise. That’s what they do. Eli Manning went 21 of 31 for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead New York over Philadelphia in a rivalry matchup and Odell Beckham Junior caught 9 passes for 139 yards. Here’s the rest of the Wild Card results.

Divisional round: The Cincinnati Bengals finally win a playoff game! In another thriller, Cincinnati beat the Kansas City Chiefs in a 48-41 classic. Andy Dalton was 26 of 35 for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns to help the Bengals get the playoff victory monkey off their backs. The shocker of Divisional weekend is the 13-3 Patriots losing in Gillette Stadium to the 10-6 Baltimore Ravens 17-7. Although it shouldn’t come as much of a shock, these teams have history and the Ravens have had the better of it in the playoffs lately. Here’s how the rest of the round looked.

Championship Round: In the NFC, Eli Manning once again has the Giants on the brink of going to another Super Bowl. Eli either misses the playoffs or wins Super Bowls, but that wasn’t the case in this simulation. Drew Brees and the Saints end the Giants season. While on the AFC side, for the second consecutive season, the Bengals found themselves in another playoff war with a divisional rival.  Super Bowl 51: New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals. So not only do the Bengals win their first playoff game in over two and a half decades, they make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Only in virtual reality. I’m kidding, but I’m not. I’m a die hard Steelers fan. However, the Bengals trip to the Super Bowl ended like their other two appearances, in heartbreak. Drew Brees went 27 of 37 for 315 yards and a touchdown to bring New Orleans their second Lombardi trophy in a 35-21 victory. 

Like I said, these predictions/simulation are on EA Sports and Madden. I’d be surprised if any of them happened. Except for Rodgers and Belicheck winning MVP and Coach of the Year. I’d expect that.

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2016 NFL Rookies Superlatives

How will the rookies of 2016 fare? We take a guess?

How will the rookies of 2016 fare? We take a guess?

The 2016 NFL draft class had little star power coming into the annual spring meeting, compared to years past. Although, as a group, the story was the Ohio State Buckeye draftees (5 first round picks, 12 overall).

But, even without the star prospects (2017 Leonard Fournette), there should be a few players that help teams take the next step. 36 linebackers were chosen, that was the most of any position. By comparison, there were only 15 quarterbacks selected. It appears teams are making more of an effort to get after the passer. Who can blame them after the way the Denver Broncos proved in the playoffs that defense still wins championships in this offensive slanted league.

But back to the rookie class of 2016. When you have 253 players selected and close to a hundred more signed as free agents, it’s not an exact science to project who will be the standouts and flame outs years from now. But hey, that’s what makes this fun.

So here’s how I think this year’s class will fare at some point in their career.

Most likely to lead the league in passing yards: Cardale Jones, Buffalo Bills. Cardale Jones rose to the National spotlight when he led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the first ever College Football Playoff Championship in 2014, after starting quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a season ending injury. Many thought he should’ve entered the draft after that 3-game run, but he went back to school to finish his degree and improve his game. It didn’t work out on the field as he struggled, and lost his starting job after eight games. But, I always said Jones’ skill set is built more for the pro game than the fast break, gimmicky, spread offenses in college. His cannon of an arm and 6’5″ 250 pound frame is the pro-type NFL scouts look for at the QB position. I compare him to two-time Super Bowl winning QB Ben Roethlisberger when he entered the 2004 draft out of Miami of Ohio. Jones will start his career on the bench behind Tyrod Taylor, but the keys to the car in Buffalo will eventually be his. With offensive weapons like Sammy Watkins, tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy, Jones will have the weapons to put up big numbers.

Most likely to lead the league in rushing: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys. The 4th pick in the draft could very likely accomplish this feat in his rookie season. “Zeke” will be running behind arguably the best offensive line in the League, and with Tony Romo out for the foreseeable future, he will be featured more now that they’ll be breaking in fellow rookie and 4th round pick Dak Prescott at quarterback.

Most likely to lead the league in catches/receiving yards: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants. The 2nd round pick, gets to play with Eli Manning who likes to throw it around the field, and across from Odell Beckham Junior who is going to draw more double teams and bracketed coverage, giving Shepard more opportunities. The Oklahoma Sooner product has been compared to Tyler Lockett, but the best comparison may be to his Giants teammate, the often injured Victor Cruz, who’s spot he’s likely to take.

Most likely to lead the league in total touchdowns (non-QB): Ezekiel Elliott is a dual threat as a runner and receiver, a three down back. It won’t be a surprise to see him flirt with having 15+ rushing touchdowns, and 5+ receiving touchdowns a season for the Cowboys.

Most likely to lead the league in interceptions: Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars. Gus Bradley is building a defense similar to the one he coached in Seattle. The pass rushers they have are going to put all kinds of pressure on opposing QBs. So what does that mean? More wounded ducks for a multi talented DB like Ramsey to get his hands on. The 6’1″ 209 pound cornerback reminds me of the late Sean Taylor with his ball hawking ability and speed to fly from sideline to sideline.

Most likely to lead the league in sacks: Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears. The 6’6″ outside linebacker out of the University of Georgia is a flat out athletic FREAK. His size and speed (4.6 40-yd dash) with a 35 inch vertical leap, has the athleticism that is reminiscent of Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. To begin his career, the Bears coaches will make it simple for him by just sending him flying off the edges to get the quarterback. Floyd could very well be the next great Bears defender following in the footsteps of Brian Urlacher, Mike Singletary, And Dick Butkus.

Most likely to lead the league in turnovers: Christian Hackenberg, New York Jets. The Jets selected Hackenberg out of Penn State with the 51st pick in the second round, but re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick for one-year, so they won’t be counting on the rookie anytime soon. However Hackenberg is definitely in their future plans. I was never a fan of his, during his time in Happy Valley. In three seasons he threw 30 interceptions to 48 touchdowns, while completing only 56% of his pass attempts. Draft gurus like ESPN’s Mel Kiper at one point projected him to be the number QB selected when he entered the draft. That obviously wasn’t the case, because the book is out on him. And, it doesn’t read well. He was also accused of throwing his coaches and Nittany Lion teammates under the bus during the pre-draft process.

Most likely to be a bust, and fade into obscurity: Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers. I hope I’m wrong on this one as a fellow Ohio State alum. But, being a holdout in the fashion he was, it doesn’t bold well for him. He missed all of training camp and the preseason. The only saving grace is that other Charger rookie holdouts–16 to be exact–like LaDanian Tomlinson, Junior Seau, Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman worked out okay. Plus, Bosa isn’t playing QB or another complicated position like outside linebacker or in the defensive secondary, so you would think the Chargers coaching staff would just turn him lose and say “Go get the ball carrier” or “just get the quarterback”, making his transition simple.

Most likely to be a Hall of Famer: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys. Look, I’ve bought into the preseason hype. I did in preseason game number one. Check the tweets below and the time stamp.

    

Actually, I was a fan of his when he was at Mississippi State. Prescott probably won’t lead the NFL in passing yards or touchdown passes in a season, but he has all the pieces around him to win games, and that is what matters most. He’s fallen into the perfect situation, a la Russell Wilson in Seattle. The Cowboys have lucked up and found their new millennium triplets in Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and now Dak. Plus, this offensive line has the potential to be as dominate as the “Great Wall of Dallas” that led Emmitt Smith to the most rushing yards in NFL history. If Dak can channel his inner Troy Aikman–and Jerry Jones can avoid messing it up by forcing the chronically injured Tony Romo back into the lineup–these Cowboys can have a measure of success they haven’t had since the early-mid 1990’s. That would help Prescott’s case to get a gold jacket and bust in Canton one day.

The New York Giants Mt. Rushmore

The Giants have been making history for 90 plus seasons.

The Giants have been making history for 90 plus seasons.

The New York Football Giants are the only remaining team that joined the NFL in 1925. Therefore you know that they have a storied and proud history.

In their 90 seasons, they have won 673 regular season games, which ranks 3rd in NFL history. Their 48 playoff victories ranks 5th in League History. They’ve won 8 League Championships, 4 before the AFL-NFL merger and 4 in the Super Bowl (XXI, XXV, XLII, XLVI) era. They’ve appeared in 19 Championship games, won 11 Conference Championships, won 16 Division championships, while making the playoffs 31 times.

28 Giants players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But I have to choose only four to be the face of such a rich history. The following are the Giants 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. 
  • 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.

Lawrence Taylor (1981-1993) is arguably the greatest defensive player in NFL history. He was ranked 3rd by NFL.com on their “Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players” back in 2010. When he retired in 1993, his 132.5 sacks were the most in franchise history. The 10-time Pro Bowler and 10-time All-Pro led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles (XXI, XXV). In 1986 he was awarded the AP NFL MVP, and he’s a member of both the NFL 75th Anniversary and NFL 1980’s All-Decade team. His iconic jersey number 56 is retired by the organization, and he was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2010. In 1999, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bill Parcells (1983-1990) along with LT was the driving force behind those 1980’s Giants that won two Lombardi Trophies after the 1986 and 1990 seasons, and restored the Giants franchise to its past glory. The “Tuna” was named AP NFL Coach of the Year, Sporting News Coach of the Year, and UPI NFL Coach of the Year with the club in 1986, and led the “G-Men” to 3 NFC East titles during his tenure. He was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor in 2010, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Y.A. Tittle (1961-1964) played professional football for seventeen seasons, and I must admit, obviously I am too young to have seen him play. But by all accounts, he is a pilar in the NFL and Giants history. Although the majority of his career was spent with the San Francisco 49ers (1951-1960), his time in New York is considered one of the best times in the franchise history. After being traded to New York at the age of 34, Tittle won three consecutive MVP awards (1961-1964) and led the team to three consecutive League Championship games. He threw for a NFL record 7 touchdown passes in one game against the Washington Redskins, a record he shares with seven others including Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Nick Foles. When he retired in 1964, his 96 touchdown passes ranked 1st in team history–he’s now 5th. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, and the Giants retired his number 14 jersey and made him a charter member of their Ring of Honor.

Michael Strahan (1993-2007) post football career may turn out to be better than his on-field career was, and that’s saying something when you consider he retired as the Giants all-time leader in sacks (141.5) and combined tackles (851, 659 solo & 192 assisted), while leading the team to an improbably victory over the then undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Strahan is a 6-time All-Pro (four-times 1st-team) and a 7-time Pro Bowl selection. Twice he led the NFL in sacks, and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. His 22.5 sacks during that season is still the single season record. He’s a member of the NFL’s 2000’s all-decade team, and the Giants Ring of Honor. NFL.com ranked him 99th on their “100 Greatest Players” list in 2010, and in 2014 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Giants fans what do you think? Is this the Giants Mount Rushmore? Or did I leave someone out? If so who would you choose and who would you replace? I want to hear from you.

The Washington Redskins Mt. Rushmore

The Washington franchise had a good and bad history, the latter involving this logo. But, on the field their success in undeniable.

The Washington Redskins have a positive and negative history. The latter involves their slur of a nickname that has offended many, but also owner Dan Snyder’s reluctance to make a change has left a bitter taste in the mouth of many NFL fans. We can argue until the end of time about what they should or shouldn’t do when it comes to this controversy. I think the easy solution would be to call themselves the Washington Warriors and use their old logo with the spear on the helmet from 1965-69, or a cursive W similar to the one on the MLB Nationals hats, while keeping the team colors. But enough about that.

The positive surrounds the decades of success they’ve had on the field as they’ve won the 5th most games in NFL history (578). Since their first season in 1932, Washington has won 5 League Championships, 2 before the AFL-NFL merger in 1937 and 1942, 3 Super Bowls (XVII, XXII, XXVI), 5 Conference Championships, 14 Division titles, and made the playoffs 24 times.

19 men who’ve played in a Washington uniform have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but only four can be on the team’s 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. 
  • 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.

Darrell Green (1983-2002) was the definition of a shut down corner that paved the way for the likes of the Deion Sanders, Darrell Revis’ and Richard Sherman’s. Most football fans remember him for his elite speed; four times he won the NFL’s Fastest Man Competition. Green has the record for playing the most seasons (20) and games (295) by a defensive back with one franchise. The 7-time Pro Bowler (1984, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997) and 4-time All-Pro (1986, 1987, 1990, 1991) won two Super Bowl Championships (XXII, XXVI) with Washington. He’s the team’s all-time leader in tackles (1,163), interceptions (54), and defensive touchdowns (8). Green is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team, the Redskins Ring of Fame, 70th Greatest Redskins and Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). in 2010, NFL.com ranked him 75th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.

Joe Gibbs (1981-1992; 2004-2007) is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching wins (154) and led them to three Super Bowl victories (XVII, XXII, XXVI), and twice he was named Coach of the Year (1982, 1983). Gibbs is the only NFL coach to win three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks and starting running backs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He’s inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame.

Sammy Baugh (1937-1952) played in an era where players were ironmen, playing on both offense and defense. The 6-time All-Pro (1937, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1948) and 5-time All-Star (1938-1942) was a two time NFL Player of the Year (1947, 1948) and led the ‘Skins to two NFL Championships in 1937 and 1942. Baugh is still the franchise leader in touchdown passes (187) and 3rd in passing yards (21,886). He’s a member of the NFL 50th and 75th Anniversary, and the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. Washington made his jersey number 33 the only officially retired one in team history, and inducted him into the Redskins Ring of Fame and 70 Greatest Redskins. He was a member of the charter 1963 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sonny Jurgensen (1964-1974) is second in franchise history in passing touchdowns (179), passing yards (22,585), completions (1,831) and attempts (3,155). The 5-time Pro Bowler and 3-time All-Pro led Washington to the NFL Championship in 1960. Five times Jurgensen led the NFL in passing yards (1961, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1969) and twice he led the League in touchdown passes (1961, 1967). Jurgensen is a member of the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team, the 70 Greatest Redskins list and the team’s Ring of Fame. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

There you have it. Do you agree or disagree Redskins fans? If so, who’s not on the list that you would put on yours, and who would you replace. I want to hear from you.

The Tennessee Titans Mt. Rushmore

From Houston to Nashville, the Oilers/Texans have had an impressive 55 years of Pro Football. Photo Credit:ESPN.com

From Houston Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee the Oilers/Titans franchise has racked up 404 regular season wins, 2 League Championships (the first two in AFL history), an AFC Championships, 9 Division Championships, while making the playoffs 21 times in their 55 year history.

8 former Oilers/Titans players have been inducted in the Pro Football Hall of fame. But only four standout as the franchise’s 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. 
  • 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.

Earl Campbell (1978-1984) the “Tyler Rose” is a Texas and Houston Legend. The bruising running back was the first major star in their years in the NFL. After staring in Austin for the Longhorns, Campbell came to the NFL and became a 5-time Pro Bowler, 3-time 1st-team All-Pro (1978-1981,1983), 3-time NFL rushing champion, 3-time NFL MVP (1978,79,80) 3-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1978,1979,1980) and the 1978 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. When he retired he was the Oilers/Titans all-time leading rusher with 8,574 yards and his 73 rushing touchdowns are still number in team history. In 2010, he was voted the 55th NFL Player of all-time by NFL.com and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. His number 34 is retired by the franchise.

Warren Moon (1984-1993) can make a case that he’s the greatest passer in NFL history, in pro football history. After HAVING to spend six seasons playing in the Canadian Football League to prove he could be a quarterback, all Moon did in his eight seasons as a member of the Houston Oilers was become the team’s all-time leading passer with 33,685 yards and 196 touchdowns. He’s also the Oilers/Titans all-time leader in completions (2,632) and attempts (4,546). In 1990 he was award the NFL MVP award as well as Offensive Player of the Year. Moon was a 6-time Pro Bowler in Houston and a 3-time All-Pro (1988,1989, 1990). When he finished his career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2000, Moon had amassed 49,325 yards and 291 touchdowns; in the CFL he threw for 21,228 yards and 144 touchdowns for a total of 70,553 yards and 435 touchdowns. Those numbers would have been good enough for 3rd on both lists behind Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. The Titans made him only the sixth player in team history to have his jersey retired.

Bruce Matthews (1983-2001) has a name that still is very active in today’s NFL. He’s the father of Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Kevin and Jake Matthews, as well the uncle of Green Bay Packer and Minnesota Vikings Linebackers Clay Matthews III and Casey Matthews. Long before they arrived in the League he had his own outstanding career. He was a 14-time Pro Bowler (1988-2001), 10-time All-Pro (1988-1993,1996, 1998-200), NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year (2000), and a member of the NFL 1990’s All-Decade team. He blocked for the top two leading rushers in team history in Eddie George and Earl Campbell, and played for the team as both the Oilers and Tennessee Titans. Matthews is the All-Time NFL record holder for games played by an offensive lineman with 296. His jersey, number 74, is retired by the team. NFL.com ranked him 78th on the “100 Greatest Players” list in 2010.

Steve McNair (1995-2005) was the driving force of the Tennessee Titans that reached Super Bowl XXXIV after the 1999 Season. The 3rd pick by the Houston Oilers in 1995, he finished his career with the team as the second all-time leading passer with 27,141 yards and 3rd in passing touchdowns with 156. McNair was a 3-time Pro Bowler with the club and an All-Pro in 2003. He also was the co-NFL MVP in 2003 with Peyton Manning. His 76 wins are the most by an Oilers/Titans quarterback.

Titans-Oilers fans what do you think? Is this the right four? Or would you have gone with someone else? Say Eddie George? Ernest Givens? Or Mike Munchak?

The San Diego Chargers Mt. Rushmore

The Chargers have been the lone consistent pro football team in Southern California for more than 5 and a half decades. Photo Credit: Chargers.com

The San Diego Chargers got their start in the AFL back in 1960, in Los Angeles, before heading  south to San Diego. Their first few seasons were the opposite of the last few seasons have been. They played for the League championship 5 times in their first 6 seasons, winning the AFL Championship in their 4th season (1963). The last four seasons in So Cal have been rough to say the least. The Chargers haven’t won double digit games since 2009 (13-3), since then they’ve had 3 9-7 finishes, with an 8-8, 7-9 and 4-12 records causing them to miss the playoffs the past two seasons.

Even with their recent struggles on the field, and the uncertainty over where they’ll play in the future, the Chargers and San Diego have enjoyed tremendous success in their 56 seasons. The “Super Chargers” have won 421 regular season games, 1 AFC Championship, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 18 times. Eight former Chargers have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but only four make this list.

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.

Junior Seau (1990-2002) is an icon in Southern California due to his days as a USC Trojan, through his days as a Charger. Seau is first in all-time career tackles (1,286) and recovered fumbles by the opposition (16) in team history. When he left the team in 2002 he was first in games played (200), he’s now 2nd. He’s 3rd in forced fumbles (11), and 4th in sacks (47). #55 is a 12-time Pro Bowl Selection, 10-time All-Pro, the 1992 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, Chargers 40th and 50th Anniversary and the NFL 1990s All-Decade Teams. In 2012 the Chargers retired his jersey number, and in 2015 he was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ladainian Tomlinson (2001-2009) is the Chargers all-time leader in games played by a running back (141), rushing yards (12,490), rushing touchdowns (138), and carries (2,880). He also scored the most touchdowns in team history when you combine his rushing and 15 receiving touchdowns (153). “LT” was the 2006 NFL MVP, the same season he set the NFL record for most combined touchdowns scored in one season (31). The 5-time Pro Bowler and 6-time All-Pro is tied for the NFL record for most consecutive games with a touchdown in one season (18). Tomlinson is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, 50th Anniversary Team and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Tomlinson was ranked 61st on NFL.com’s “100 Greatest Players” list in 2010. The team retied his jersey number 21 in 2015.

Antonio Gates (2003-present) is San Diego’s all-time leader in catches (844), receiving yards (10,644) and receiving touchdowns (104). 77 of his touchdowns were from Phillip Rivers, which is an NFL Record for a QB and TE combination. Gates, an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and 5-time All-Pro, is only the second tight end in NFL history to catch 100+ touchdowns. He is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Lance Alworth (1962-1970) finished his career with the Chargers as its all-time leader in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Four and a half decades later he’s still 2nd in receiving yards (9,584) and receiving touchdowns (81), and 5th in catches 493. Alworth played in an era when teams rushed majority of the time as opposed to passing, yet still holds 7 AFL-NFL receiving records. The 7-time AFL All-Star and 6-time All-AFL performer led the Chargers to their only league championship in 1963 when they played in the AFL. Alworth has the Pro Football record for most games (5) with 200+ receiving yards, a record he shares with Calvin Johnson. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, AFL All-Time Team, Chargers Hall of Fame, and Chargers 40th and 50th Anniversary Teams. The Chargers have retired Alworth’s number 19 jersey, which was very popular during the Mitchell and Ness throwback craze of the early 2000s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 38th on their “100 Greatest Players” list. 

There you have it. Charger fans, agree or disagree? If you disagree, who would you have rather seen on the list (Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow Sr.) and who would you replace?

 

The Seattle Seahawks Mt. Rushmore

The great Northwest’s team has had a great run in the last decade.

The Seattle Seahawks have had a good run in the last four years, making the playoffs each season, winning Super Bowl XLVIII, and nearly winning Super Bowl XLIX if it weren’t for some terrible play calling. However, this franchise is approaching middle age, having been an NFL franchise for 42 years and playing 40 seasons thus far.

The Pacific Northwest’s team has won 3 NFC Championships since 2005, made the playoffs 8 times, and won the NFC West 6 times. The Seahawks have enjoyed a great level of success in the last decade, but being in the far corner of the country has caused many of their greats of the past–from when the teams wasn’t as successful–to have been forgotten. But, they’ll get their due here. This is my Mount Rushmore for the Seattle Seahawks.

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.

Steve Largent (1976-1989) is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, and many have disrespectfully forgotten his greatness. Largent was the guy the great Jerry Rice was chasing and eventually passed. When THIS #80 retired, he held all of the major records for a receiver in NFL history, including most catches (819), receiving yards (13,089) and touchdown catches (100). He also played 177 consecutive games with a catch, which was then a record. He’s the first player to catch 100 touchdowns in a career. All of these are still Seattle franchise records. Largent is the first Seahawk player to ever make a Pro-Bowl, a feat he accomplished seven times. He was a 5-time All-Pro, a member of the Seahawks 35th Anniversary Team and NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. In 1985 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His jersey number 80 was retired in 1992.

Walter Jones (1997-2009) is considered by many to be the best offensive lineman during his career. Jones was a 9-time Pro Bowl selection and 7-time All-Pro. He paved the way for Shaun Alexander to become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. He was honored by being selected to the NFL’s 2000s All Decade Team, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. The Seahawks retired his jersey number 71 in 2010, making him only the third player in team history to receive such an honor.

Cortez Kennedy (1990-2000) was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and 5-time All-Pro. When he retired, he was the Seahawks 4th all-time leader in sacks (58) and 3rd in tackles (568). In 1992 he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Kennedy is a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, Seahawks Ring of Honor, and Pro Football Hall of Fame (2012). The Seahawks retired his number 96 in 2012.

Matt Hasselbeck (2001-2010) is Seattle’s all-time career leader in passing yards (29,434), completions (2,559), attempts (4250) and 2nd in touchdown passes (174). The 3-time Pro Bowl selection led the team to its first ever Super Bowl (XL loss to Pittsburgh). He’s also a member of the Seahawks 35th Anniversary team.

Twelve’s I want to hear from you. Do you agree or disagree with this list? You would you rather see on it, and you would you replace? Let me know.