Thursday, July 06, 2006

Peter Kings Likes Cowboy With His Latte Somehow I missed Peter ...

Peter Kings Likes Cowboy With His Latte

Somehow I missed Peter King's column where he picked Dallas to win the Super Bowl next year (not with a shaky offensive line and a quarterback who is probably less mobile than his rotund head coach), but I did catch today's piece in which King made a list of ten jilted players who belong in the Hall of Fame.

For what it's worth, I think every Hall of Fame that isn't located in Cooperstown is sort of a joke and the NFL's leads the list. As I've argued many times before, football is the quintessential team game. No single player leads an NFL team to a title. Joe Montana had Jerry Rice. Terry Bradshaw had Franco Harris and the Steel Curtain. Tom Brady has Bill Belichick's defense. Barry Sanders had Wayne Fontes and only won one playoff win in his career.
That's just the nature of the beast. So, with no real way to quantify the greatness of players on terrible teams or vice-versa (unlike in baseball, when a player has a bevy of statistics to back-up any greatness-claims, and basketball, when great players can singe-handedly lead a team into the postseason), the Hall of Fame is watered down with good players on great teams and once-in-a-generation players from bad ones. But, that's the way it is, so we've gotta roll with the punches.

Getting back on track, King listed Michael Irvin as his third-most jilted player. And to that I say, "fine." I happen to agree with him. Irvin is a Hall of Famer. King sums up why at the end of his blurb about the crackhead's candidacy (what are the odds Irvin's bust in Canton will itch itself and repeatedly ask visitors for 'just a little cash'):
Only what happened between the lines should matter. Catching 750 balls for a three-time Super Bowl winner and being the key guy in the locker room on game days ... that should make him a gimme.
"Here, here!" is what I'd say if I had a white wig on and lived in 1780. A whole bunch of catches and a whole bunch of rings and a leader in the locker room makes for a great Hall of Famer. I wrote this very thing in an e-mail to King:
Without question, Michael Irvin should already be in the football Hall of Fame. As you said, with 750 catches for a three-time Super Bowl winner, he should be a gimmie. But if that's the case, shouldn't Art Monk be a lock because he has 900 catches for, again, a three-time Super Bowl winner?
I understand, and respect, your argument that Irvin was a locker room leader. Somebody had to sling the 'ye to the other 44 guys in there. And, if not for Irvin, where but the bosoms and bare asses of naked strippers would Cowboys players have blown those lines? For that alone the man deserves a wing in Canton!
Seriously though (not that that up there wasn't serious, it just seemed like a good transitionary phrase), I'm sure Irvin was a good leader in the locker room. Things like that should be taken into question when discussing a player's Hall worthiness. Yet I'm nearly certain you'd say "Art Monk wasn't an imporant a leader for the Redskins," while dismissing his candidacy. And that, Peter, like telling your readers about your bowel movements, is just not cool.
Many factors, including loudness, more loudness, an affinity for the spotlight and thick-pinstriped suits, come into play when discussing Irvin's leadership ability. Monk was different though.
He commanded respect through a quiet, workman-like attitude. This rubbed off on Joe Gibbs' teams that didn't have a swagger like those Cowboys teams, yet won just as much. Those Redskins simply went out and did their jobs quietly and won three Super Bowls in the process. Art Monk might never have led a rah-rah speech before the NFC Championship Game, but his quiet presence did just as much as Irvin's loquacious rants.
Leaders lead in different ways. Patton was in his soldier's faces. Grant was more unassuming. Both were among the best generals this country has ever had.

Michael Irvin belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But Art Monk needs to be in there first.
p.s. Your new picture makes you look like Cruella de Ville's illegitimate son.


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