Thursday, February 11, 2010

Greatest QB of All Time

I caused a stir on my radio show on 1460 KXnO in Des Moines the day after the Super Bowl by saying that I didn’t think Peyton Manning was a Top 5 QB all time.  And I still don’t.

During the show, I mentioned that I didn’t have the list set in my head but I had Manning in the Top 10 All Time but I didn’t get how in the world people thought that Manning, with a career playoff record of 9-9, was on his way to being the best to ever play the position.

Now, Manning does a ton for his team and has more freedom than any other QB in the league but that doesn’t make him the best ever when you break it down.

Jason Whitlock wrote about this today and he doesn’t have Manning in the Top 5 either.

So here’s my Top 10 after thinking about this for a few days. My criteria are based on these factors:

  1. Championships. This why we play and it should carry the most weight.
  2. Records and Numbers: What did you accomplish while playing
  3. Come from behind wins in big moments: did you have a “moment”? What did you do when all the chips were down and you had the ball in your hands. 
  4. Surrounding Cast – who was around you when you won.
  5. If you had 1 game to win, who would you pick to be your QB?
 10. Troy Aikman: 61.5% completions. Nearly 33,000 passing yards. 6x Pro Bowler. 3x Super Bowl Champion. Pro Football and College Football Hall of Famer. Super Bowl 28 MVP.

Aikman was surrounded by OUTSTANDING talent in Dallas. The Cowboys were built to be dominant and they were while Aikman was their QB. Facts are facts for me though - the guy won. 

9.   Peyton Manning: 64.8% completions. 50,128 passing yards. 10x Pro Bowler. 1 Super Bowl Championship. 4x NFL MVP.  

For all the records and numbers that Manning has, he is just 9-9 in the playoffs and threw a costly interception that was returned for a TD in Super Bowl 44 that led to another playoff defeat - this time in the biggest game. That playoff record is huge for me. Manning is great, there is no question, but there are others who are better in the playoffs. He is tied for 2nd with 34 come from behind 4th Qtr regular season wins which puts him above Aikman.    

8.   Dan Marino: 59.4% completions. 61,381 passing yards. 9x Pro Bowler. 1984 MVP. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer.

Marino is hurt big time by the one lacking thing on his resume – Championships. He only played in 1 Super Bowl – a loss. To me that’s huge but he goes on the list because of outstanding numbers and he’s number 1 with 36 4th Qtr come from behind wins.

7.   Brett Favre: 62% completions. 69,329 passing yards. 11x Pro Bowler. 3x NFL MVP. 1 Super Bowl Championship.

Favre has played in a record 309 consecutive games. He is the toughest player ever to play the position. Favre is the only quarterback to have led a team to victory over all thirty-two teams in the league since the NFL first expanded to 32 franchises in 2002. If the game is on the line, Brett Favre can win it or lose for you with one throw but you want the ball in his hands regardless.

6.   Steve Young: Highest QB rating ever for a career of 96.8. 7x Pro Bowler. 2x NFL MVP. 43 rushing TDs. 3x Super Bowl Champion. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer. Super Bowl 29 MVP

I need to thank Jason Whitlock for pointing out Steve Young’s career because I really forget it all the time. Young was the first QB that showed you could run and throw at the position and win a Championship doing it. He lost some years due to the USFL and waiting his turn in San Fran but he was awesome once he got his chance.

5.  Terry Bradshaw: 27,989 Passing Yards. 3x Pro Bowler. 4x Super Bowl Champion. 1978 NFL MVP. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer. 2x Super Bowl MVP.  

Bradshaw won. Period. That’s the reason he’s this high to me and it wasn’t just cause of the running game and defense. He also had a stellar career passing the football.  

4.  Johnny Unitas: 54.6% Completion 40,239 passing yards. 1970 Super Bowl Champion. 2x NFL Champion. 10x Pro Bowl Selection. 3x NFL MVP. Pro Football Hall of Famer

I’m too young to say I’ve seen Johnny U play but he revolutionized the position. He showed coaches you could throw the ball down the field to win football games. His record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games (between 1956-1960) remains unsurpassed. Unitas is tied for 2nd with 34 come from behind wins in the 4th Qtr.  

3.  Tom Brady: 93.3 QB rating, 30,844 passing yards. 5x Pro Bowler. 2007 NFL MVP. 3x Super Bowl Champion. 2x Super Bowl MVP. 2009 Comeback Player of Year.

Brady goes this high to me because of the 2 things I want from my QB – I want a winner and I want someone who can lead me to a victory on a final drive of game. Brady did this against St. Louis and Carolina in the Super Bowl and against Oakland in the playoffs. When the game is on the line, you don’t want Brady to have one more shot at you. Brady has a 3-1 record in the Super Bowl. The only loss coming after his defense let him down following a great drive to put his team ahead late against the Giants. I have said this before – Brady is one SB win away for him to have a serious shot at the No.1 spot to me.

2. John Elway: 51,475 passing yards. 9x Pro Bowler. 1987 MVP. Super Bowl 33 MVP. 33 Rushing TDs. Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Elway led Denver to 34 comeback wins in the 4th quarter and overtime.  “The Drive” against Cleveland was incredibly influential on my life as a sports fan. A 15 play, 98 yard drive during the AFC Championship game to send the game to OT where Denver won will be remembered as an EPIC moment for me. Elway is No. 2 because of his 2-3 record in the Super Bowl.  Canon arm and great escapability - he could hurt in so many ways.

1. Joe Montana: 40, 551 passing yards. 8x Pro Bowler. 4x Super Bowl Champion. 3x Super Bowl MVP. 2x NFL MVP. 1986 Comeback Player of Year.   

“The Catch” against the Cowboys in 1982 and the game winning drive against the Bengals in Super Bowl 23 are just some of the amazing moments of Montana’s career. Joe threw 45 post seasons TD’s – the most ever. In the Super Bowl, Montana threw 11 Tds to 0 interceptions and never lost. Only player to be MVP of the Super Bowl 3x.  


Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Do Some Like Their Leaders Average?

Something has been eating at me for the past few years and I’m angry enough to write about it publicly tonight.

As a sports talk show host – what the hell do I know about politics right? Well, I take them quite seriously as my father has been involved in them for my whole life. I debate for a living so politics are a natural for me.

I should thank Sarah Palin for the crystallization of my thoughts on this topic cause I now know what I want to ask of my country…..and I’m serious here but:

Why do some people want to elect leaders that they think are exactly the same as them?

Maybe a better way to ask it is why are some so insecure in this country that they can not stand to think that someone else is smarter, better prepared, or better suited to lead our country? The “average” person in this country is a wonderful thing, but I don’t want “average” running the greatest nation on earth. I want "elite". 

I watched a large part of Sarah Palin’s speech at the “Tea Party” convention in Nashville this weekend and was astounded at the boorish nature of her accusations.  Her wanna-be folky talk was insulting at best, dishonest at worst. All anger and bashing, no recommendations on how to fix our country.

Speaking to people who paid $600 to listen to her speak so she could get a $100k speaking fee which she says will be put back into the “Tea Party” isn’t exactly going on 60 Minutes. No tough questions coming.

Palin's other outlet for nonsense speak is Fox News - the now media wing for radical conservatives like Palin, Beck, and Hannity.  It’s time for us "liberal elites" to start name-calling back. These "American" people are "radicals" who hide behind the American flag because they think they are more “American” than me. American by their own definition of course. If I'm a "liberal" - Fox followers are "radicals" who enjoyed watching the last 8 horrendous years cause we had someone to go blow up. 

These "radicals" love the label of “elite” too. It always seems to get a round of applause with a certain segment of middle aged, white Americans who they recruit. You know who I’m talking about - the ones who elected George W. Bush to two terms because they felt like he was going to lead our country into a time warp so Ronald Reagan could climb out of the grave to read us all bedtime stories.

Then after 911, these same white Americans felt like the “Cowboy” was the safer pick for our highest office cause they felt like they could have a beer with him. Don't get me started on 2000 but 2004 was just as bad in my book.  

And now we have Sarah Palin.

A former governor of a tiny population state who quit before the ethics scandal exploded in her face. The women who said she wanted to sell the state plane on EBay but actually used it to fly her daughter around the country on the taxpayer dime. It gets better now as the Governor’s husband was involved in major state decisions as well according to released emails.   

I was very scared when George W. Bush was elected for another term in 2004. I vividly remember thinking that in 2008, we were all going to look back and ask, “How the F did we let that happen?”

And we did and still wonder it today in 2010. Look how much damage we are still cleaning up. I’m not going to argue about Obama here, he’s made plenty of mistakes in year one – but the guy really was handed a bag of crap from day 1.    

But back to the point of this - when someone as dim as Sarah Palin said that Obama is like a law professor lecturing the country, all I could think of was: So what!? That makes him a bad President or leader? Because he wants to educate the public on an argument by using facts rather than scaring people with inaccurate threats?

Girlfriend - you had to write NOTES ON YOUR HAND and you are saying that the President can’t talk without a telepromter? Did you miss the two live Q and A sessions he did with lawmakers? At least he didn’t know what questions were coming like you do in your “interviews”.

Are some so insecure in this nation that we can’t listen to someone who might be smarter than us? Excuse me, but I want my President to be smarter than me. I want my President to know more than me. I want my President to more stable than me in the face of the crazy world.  

I truly believe that Obama is one of the top minds in our nation at the moment. The guy is so calm, so cool under fire that I think people are afraid of him because of it. They are afraid of a guy, who happens to be black, who appears so confident. They think it’s fake.

So they fall for a true fake like Sarah Palin. Someone who claims “What do you read?” is a “Gotcha” question from the media. Someone who writes down talking points on her hand like a fifth grader cheating on a math test. Someone who hides behind Facebook to control her message and is only concerned for “her brand”.

Sarah Palin is not very bright. She’s cunning and maniacal, motivated by her own personal gain rather than this country. She can’t even keep her arguments straight when she draws a line in the sand like she did with the “F’ing Retard” controversy. 

I’m a successful, middle class white male. I’m the demo that Obama has struggled with recently but I have always been 100% behind him from the first time I heard him speak about his ideas. But that’s me…. what scares me are the people that think Sarah Palin should or even could be President.

If someone can tell me one thing that she has done that has looked “presidential” in her time since she was plucked from obscurity – please share. John McCain chose her because she was in the right place at the right time, not because she was the right pick for our country.  We should always remember that. We would never have heard of her without that monumental mistake.

Obama was a Senator and CHOSE to run for the highest office. He was vetted. This Right Wing creation - she is a nightmare of epic incompetence. 

I really hope one day I figure out why people want their leaders to be on the same level as they are but then again – this is America. We haven’t always been right in the way we do business.

According to the Fox News "radicals" - that statement means I'm a traitor. 

Top 5 Sports Montage Songs

So I wanted to link sports and music for my next entry on here.

Every week, I come into the office and go to a website that lists all of the play-by-play calls from the weekend past. Fox Sports produces them which allows me to quickly go through all the best moments – the buzzer beaters, the upset specials, the great screams from the press box - to find the calls that people will remember.

It’s a lot of fun and let's me be creative with my two passions mixed together. It takes about 2 hours to do it but luckily, I have the time in the day before the show to get it done. 

The key is though, to find the right music to match the calls that came out of the past 2 days. I've got over 6,000 songs in my IPod but you have to look for the one that captures the moment. You can't put any song on there because this is how "Matt and Miller" open the show.

A bad song can start us off on the wrong foot.

Sometimes, it’s really easy like using this song for baseball season for a Cub win.

or for a Super Bowl win by the Saints

Here are my favorite 5 songs to use for sports montages.

5.  Eye Of The Tiger: I still remember running with my walkman on growing up to this song. It was easily the best pump up song of my childhood. All I needed was a meat locker to punch things in the freezing cold and I'd would have had the Rocky run down pat.  Amazing how this song has lasted.

4. Centerfield: Any baseball summer time montage works great with this track. It's a classic

3. Sandstorm: Most, including me, have never heard of the band Darude but this song has been played in arenas for several years. It's great for basketball opens that happen throughout the winter.

2. Sirius:  To be always known as the song that Michael Jordan and the Bulls came out to - Allan Parson's song is easily one of the most used songs ever but still so good.

1.  Requiem For A Tower: This one allows me to link all 3 of my favorite things - Music, Movies, and Sports. Requiem for a Dream was simply a brillant movie by director Darren Aronofsky. Jennifer Connelly's character was haunting and memorable but the music of Clint Mansell moved me. It later would be a large part of the Lord of Rings movies - that's probably why you know it but for dramatic affect and building anticipation, this song does it the best.

What do you think? Agree?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finding An Old Album New

Thirty-three years go by
And not once do you come home
To find a man sitting in your bedroom
That is
A man you don't know
Who came a long way to deliver one very specific message:
Lock your back door, you idiot
However invincible you imagine yourself to be
You are wrong - Ani Difranco Parameters 
My musical tastes are quite funny to me. I still don't understand them even after 2 decades of obsession and my behavior is not predictable at all. Often times, the albums that sit un-listened to by my favorite artists because my ear turned against them become, later in life, incredibly important.

Maybe it's cause Ani Difranco is coming to the area in the coming weeks or maybe I'm just ready to hear this particular album but Knuckle Down is now on constant rotation on my IPod after sitting cold for five years. 2005 is when I bought the album....played it three times and buried it away. For the 2000's, the only Ani release that got played consistently was the double album Revelling/Reckoning that came out in 2001.

Now, though....this album finally grabbed me.  

It's the exact same thing that happened with Achtung Baby by U2 when I was in High School. I literally hated the album for a year before I was ready to "hear" it. It was so different and such a change from what I was used to hearing from my favorite band that I rejected it. Now, it's one of the most important albums in my collection.

I don't know why Knuckle Down hits me now. Maybe it's because Ani was 33 when she put it out and I am about to turn that in April or maybe it's because I've listened to her since I was 18 and I feel a connection to her dream of achieving something bigger than just a house, 2 kids, and Christmas card.

But as the poem reads above, maybe it's because I realized now that I'm not invisible. That life is fragile and fleeting and all the waiting and wondering you do in your 20's can lead to a moment where a decision is necessary to be made about the rest of your life.

Strange place to be but Ani was always like that for me. Walking just slightly ahead of me, pointing out the scenery along the side of the road.

Here's the poem in full:

Monday, February 1, 2010

I don't know but....

This song has been in my head all day....Ani in DSM and Omaha in April!

Come home and my guitar
Has nothin to say to me
I recoil from all my friends
And then I'm in misery
Been so long since I've been held
Really since I was his
Probably just need to be held
That's probably all it is

Course, then I think of my dad
Who time travels mostly now
Back to when he was free
And holding out hope somehow
Who sits all day in a line
Of wheelchairs against a wall
Inventing ways to play out time
Like us all
Like us all

To all the people out there tonight
Who are comforting themselves
If you should happen to see my light
You can stop and ring my bell
I'm just sittin here in this sty
Strewn with half written songs
Taking one breath at a time
Nothin much going on
Nothin much going on

Little flashing zero
On my answering machine
Rats scratching at my brain
Brain shuffling its feet
Yes I have my father's heart
It may or may not keep on trying
Can't really tell you what it is
Keeps me this side of that dark line

But I'm not there to take care of him
And I'm not here to take care of me
I'm going outside to watch the house burn down
Across the street
I'm going outside to watch the house burn down
Across the street

To all the people out there tonight
Who are comforting themselves
If you should happen to see my light
You can stop and ring my bell
I'm just sitting here in this sty
Strewn with half written songs
Taking one breath at a time
Nothin much going on
Nothin much going on