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A BASN BLACK PAPER: THE BACKLOG, PART IV
THE BACKLOG: A BASN BLACK PAPER – PART IV
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief,
(Editor’s note: In our continuing series, BASN staffers will take their stabs at the process which infects every sports Hall of Fame. We continue with the NFL…)
ARIZONA CARDINALS: DL/LB Ken Harvey
While it looks as if the Cardinals’ franchise has finally stabilized in the desert, this club has been the League’s red-headed stepchild since its inception in Chicago over three generations ago. With its Chicago incarnation being the only version to gain a league championship, it would be difficult to dismiss this (along with ownership) as a prime factor as to why there are few worthy selections in the mix…
For Arizona’s Cardinals, developing an identifiable star was far more the fault of their front office than anyone else. As also-rans playing in a division thousands of miles away from where they should have been (Arizona in the NFC East?) there were few Cardinals who struck fear in an opposing offense; but Ken Harvey was one of them. Although having played as a member of the Washington football club, Harvey, at 6’2″ and 235 pounds, spent six seasons in the desert, where he became the standout on defense at right side linebacker. Whether it was just being tired of losing, or for a change of scenery, Harvey moved on to Washington. With 89 career sacks and even more ‘pressures’ (and it’s not a stat yet) Harvey deserves recognition for making his team relevant in an era where they were as as nomadic as the Bedouins (sans goats)…
(Old School): ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: WR/DB Roy Green, RB Ottis Anderson
For the St. Louis Cardinals, the offense had issues as well; but their main catalyst was a true two-way player who got his groove on early in his career. Roy Green started out as a defensive back, and was a pretty good one. In 1981, due to a shortage at wide receiver, Green stepped in and became a super-sub for the club, averaging over 21 yards a catch for over 700 yards and 33 receptions. The impact became reality the following season when Green had his jersey number changed from #25 to a wideout’s number – #81. Green would go on to amass 559 snags in a era when the statistic truly mattered, garnering two All-Pro designations and two All-League picks as well. Throughout his time in the league as a defender, receiver and returner, Green amassed over 11,000 yards of offense in his 14 seasons-and is the only star player to survive the burning sands of the St.Louis/Phoenix transition.
New York Giant fans may argue this one, but Ottis (O.J.) Anderson should go in as a Cardinal. By the time he was signed by New York, Anderson was St. Loo’s power man – eight seasons and 8000 yards worth of work put in. While Anderson’s two Super Bowls as a Giant may have capped off his career properly, he was one of the best running backs in the League in the 1980s; and should be given strong consideration for Canton.
LOS ANGELES RAMS: DL Coy Bacon, RB Lawrence McCutcheon, WR Henry Ellard, LB/FB Tank Younger, DB Rod Perry, DB Rod Thomas
The Rams bring up a very interesting situation. Having left home – only to go back again and leaving a pack of disgruntled fans in their wake in the Midwest (damn – are the baseball Cardinals THAT big in the area?), the same problem still exists where they are setting up shop again in Cali – if the team doesn’t win, everyone can go surfing! Or bike riding or whatever…just ask Al Davis – ya better just win, baby.
As the saying goes, you can’t go forward unless you go back; and for the Rams and the league to correct their mistake, they must go back – wayyyy back. Back to the days of Old School Ball, where Paul Lawrence “Tank” Younger was a sixty minute man for the L.A. Rams. Playing linebacker and fullback for five seasons before staying solely on offense at fullback, Younger made four Pro Bowls and was All-League in 1951 and is a member of the 1950s All Decade second team. How this oversight could last for so many years knowing the impact Younger had in not just being the first Black two-way player in a NFL who had only recently dropped their racist “gentleman’s agreement” in 1946 (Marion Motley was AAFC) is frankly, disgusting…
Henry Ellard, was, admittedly, one of my favorite players outside of my beloved Iggles. One of the most effective and craftiest zone busters, Ellard didn’t destroy defenses with bomb-catching speed; he merely slit arteries as he bled defenses with his route-running acumen and sure hands. Ellard would lead the league in yardage in 1988 with 1,404 – and his 13,777 yards puts him among the top 15 all time; along with his 814 receptions, how the hell can you ignore Henry?
Lawrence McCutcheon was a mainstay of the Ram offense in the 1970s. Nominated to five Pro Bowls, McCutheon was a true battering Ram between the tackles, and still had enough speed to giddyap when he had to kick it outside; this is where (with the exception of 1979) the Rams were an afterthought; and were it not for Eric Dickerson, probably would have considered moving sooner…
Lander McCoy Bacon is the answer to a trivia question (who was the first player to replace anyone in the ‘Fearsome Foursome’?) and one of the nastiest defensive linemen in football. Like David ‘Deacon’ Jones, Bacon’s stats are somewhat fried because of sacks not being an actual statistic until later – but it never deviated from him raising havoc in The Pit!
In 14 seasons, Bacon started 164 games, playing in 180 – and the powerhouse from Jackson State (pictured below), like many from the HBCUs; had their talent taken for granted.
(Old School): SAINT LOUIS RAMS: WR Torry Holt, WR Isaac Bruce, QB Kurt Warner
Meanwhile, in Saint Louis…their edition of the Rams died because – they didn’t make enough money. Not that any team in the NFL was hurting for cash, mind you. the reality that the League is one of the lucrative businesses in the world minus its second or third largest media market is testament to the NFL’s success – and their greed.
Not even a Super Bowl win could keep the team in the Heartland; but there are talents who should be acknowledged before they fade into the mist.
Torry Holt was smooth as silk – and had the best hands on the team. A two-time league leader in reception yardage (in large part from those sword stroke middle distance crossing patterns devised for ‘the Greatest Show on Turf’), Holt was a deep threat and beautiful technician on his patterns, making him a complete receiver and a seven-time Pro Bowl performer. Holt’s toughness makes him someone who could play in any era; and his stats are not of just someone who benefitted from relaxed rules against defenses as they are in present – day.
Isaac Bruce caught more passes than Holt (1024- 920) gained more yards (his 15,208 is the Rams’ all-time best) but he will not be talked of as much because of pending Hall of Famers like Terrell Owens (who got screwed by Gary Myers and the rest of the rat fuck writers) and Randy Moss. With a franchise being shutdown in the manner like the Rams were in St. Loo the least that should be done is to recognize Bruce and get him in so he’s not forgotten. The path has already been laid for former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner to get in with no problem due to his exposure on the NFL Network – so before the fantasy factory makes more garbage, give Holt and Bruce their props…
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: WR Terrell Owens, WR John Taylor, RB Roger Craig, WR Freddie Solomon, RB Ricky Watters
Out of every successful franchise which has produced multiple Hall of Famers, the argument can be made that the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers have been screwed the most by the gate keepers of the Hall. From the team which became the standard of excellence in the 1980s, you would think only Joe Montana and Jerry Rice had played! No knock on those greats, but the ‘Niners had a Bomb Squad – and they shouldn’t be penalized for drafting and acquiring talent which fit their scheme of attack better than anyone else!
How the fuck are you going to dismiss one of the most complete backs that ever played? On his 1985 season alone, Craig should have high-stepped into Canton! With over a 1000 yards running and receiving, in that era, Craig was the tailback version of The Ultimate Weapon. Generating over 13,000 yards of offense, (only four Pro Bowls?) and four Super Bowls, Craig is far more deserving than most – and if I had a ballot, he would be my second selection…
Only because Terrell Owens should be in already. Owens was fucked over by media scumbags who penalized him for being an Uppity Nigger. Second all time in TDs (153) over 15,000 yards of offense, set a record for receptions in a game at that time (19 – while playing alongside Rice!) multiple League awards, yet they choke the chicken by talking out of both sides of their mouth in calling Owens a ‘cancer’ because he was vocal about winning – and played his best under pressure. Played in a Super Bowl on one leg and could have been MVP; but the asshole reporters were too busy minimizing his efforts that day. He was made fun of by these mainstream assholes, and even though he did many charitable works as a player (such as taking care of 81 homeless families when he was a Buffalo Bill) he was always portrayed as a selfish, ‘me-first’ diva.
If how you play dictates whether you get in Canton or not, then Owens should have bypassed all the bullshit; but remember he called reporter Ed Werder a liar while a Dallas Cowboy. The fact Werder or The Mouse couldn’t come back with a response told you everything you needed to know…
This kind of bias cannot be condoned if this institution is going to carry on; they will have to curb their madness if they are to be taken seriously in the future because their actions will dictate how other worthy players (such as Randy Moss, who is eligible this year) can get co-opted because some dicknose in a press box is so envious of the man’s talent that he or she can’t hide their resentment.
John Taylor on any other team would have been an ace receiver; and even playing alongside Rice, did his share of damage with two Pro Bowl selections – and was named to the All – 1980s second squad by the Hall…
Taylor is the only receiver in League history to score on two TD receptions of 90 yards or better, made two Pro Bowls and has earned three Super Bowl rings; he also holds the Super Bowl record for highest punt return average (15.7) had he played for Ohio State instead of Delaware State, I bet you they would make more noise! Freddie Solomon’s versatility and contributions after coming from Miami in the early stages of the 49ers’ transition into the team of the decade should not be ignored because the tendency with multi-talented players is to punish them for their skills…
Because Ricky Watters got his Super Bowl ring with the 49ers, I make the point for him here. Watters played well for the Eagles as well (and Seattle) but he was one of those who was so talented that even while he was not as profiled a star coming out of Notre Dame, he was a complete back that ran hard, was a solid blocker in pass protection and caught the ball well coming out of the backfield…
With over 10,000 yards rushing, five Pro Bowls and over 460 receptions over his 12 years in the league, the press has a burr up their ass for him as well because he spoke his mind and didn’t kiss up to them – and this is the poison these gate-keeping muthafuckas use every fuckin’ time!
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: RB Curt Warner, S Ken Easley, RB Marshawn Lynch, DL Jacob Green, WR Joey Galloway
I love Earl Thomas – and I expect one day he will gain a bust in Canton; but he is not the best to ever play the position in Seattle. Kenny Easley was an impact player in every sense of the word – he made everyone better on defense – and he dictated play from the first day he walked on the Kingdome turf…
A five-time Pro Bowler, Defensive Player of the Year in 1984, and an All-1980s performer, Easley gets screwed because he took issue Seahawk management to task for their treatment of a condition which aggravated his liver. Defensively he was as important to Seattle in those early years because he was the first Seahawk to every be the focus of an opposing team’s game plan. Some cats can hit – some can catch. At the position Easley did both – well. Easley also did not like the scabs who came in to play in 1987 – or QB Jim Zorn’s desire to cross the picket line! Although he only had seven seasons in, Easley’s ability on the field cannot be denied.
Was eventually added to the Seahawk Ring of Honor – but not because he sought it; if they truly want to do right by this man, put him in Canton.
Before there was Beast Mode…there was Ground Chuck. Head Coach Chuck Knox kept it simple by running the ball – and his earth mover was Curt Warner. Warner, of the few Penn State tailbacks to play well at the next level, like Easley, played only seven seasons in Seattle, but was the focal point on offense as he could ‘four yards a carry’ your ass – to death!
Warner earned three Pro Bowls and the fact he succeeded knowing everyone knew what was coming is a tribute to the Seahawk pedigree which should propel Warner and Marshawn Lynch to Canton.
Now we know the League had a problem with Beast Mode once he gained prominence; what bothers me is no one puts the reporters in check when they go beyond what happens in the game. I always sensed Lynch got burned by an asshole reporter early on in the process, which led to his departure from Buffalo, and vaulted Seattle to elite status (along with selection and ascension of Gen. Russell Wilson to starting QB). Knowing how petty these fucks can be, Lynch will be kept dangling for a few years as the fantasy twerps will downplay his accomplishments…
Jacob Green, in the same manner, was the lynchpin along the defensive line before and during the transition where HOFer Cortez Kennedy would become the focal point of Seattle’s defense. Deceptively quick, Green had great leverage, with the ability to set up high but play low in disrupting linemen rushing from within on stunts or blowing by from outside. From an era where they did count sacks in earnest, Green snagged 97.5 sacks over his 12 years in Seattle – and likely won’t get enough support for others outside of Emerald City to make a strong enough argument for him.
Just as the case was made for Watters, Joey Galloway did similar damage as a receiver. Spending a prime chunk of his career in Seattle, the fleet Galloway, like Washington’s HOF defensive back Darrell Green, came in fast (as in foot speed), and left the same way, 16 seasons of torturing defenses with pure speed. Over 11,000 yards in total offense, 701 receptions and 77 TDs (many of the long-distance variety). Many of the fantasy geeks would abuse Galloway’s stats because he was playing in the ear of one of the best wide receiver drafts ever (1996) so he never made a Pro Bowl - and he only made the playoffs in one season (2003 in Dallas). The point I’m making is that the stupid shows which are now part of the NFL’s funds-gathering apparatus will dig and come up with nebulous shit about some wideout for your fantasy team, but would not do similar due diligence for a talent like Galloway.
Next Time: The American Football Conference!
always outnumbered…never outgunned.
Copyright (C) 2016 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.