Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rush Hour: The Running Backs Post (A.D. for MVP)

In honor of Adrian Peterson (The A.D. stands for All Day) being totally deserving of the NFL MVP award, I decided to post a few fun facts about running backs rather than devote the entire post to a debate about why exactly Peterson deserves MVP over Peyton Manning.
(Reasons that come to mind are: Broncos made playoffs and beat Steelers with Tim Tebow, Denver didn't beat anyone especially good in its win streak, Denver has good defense, Minnesota's defense isn't particularly good and its offense runs around Adrian Peterson, Vikings were 3-13 last year and made the playoffs this year, Peterson had nearly record-breaking yardage and was 3rd in touchdowns, Manning was 6th in the league in yards and 3rd in Touchdowns and had more picks than Brady and Rodgers, and as a side note I tend to think articles about "intangibles" and "leadership" are shortsighted when they assume that only quarterbacks can have such qualities--throwing such words around isn't evidence, it's a feeling, it's fine, feelings are great, but admit that it's nothing more.)
Jim Brown: two sport GOAT?
Brown ranks as high in the lacrosse world than he does in the football world. Growing up with a stick in my hand, I knew more about Brown's exploits on the lacrosse field than the gridiron. When I read an article in Lacrosse Magazine a long while back that said some people considered Brown to be the greatest running back ever, I thought it might just be the lacrosse world trying to support its own. Now, of course, I realize the error of my ways. (Thank you, NEJ, for this video.)
Now if you actually believe Brown to be the best running back ever and the greatest lacrosse player ever, where does that place him in all time athlete rankings? How would he compare with, say Michael Jordan? Or someone like Jim Thorpe or Bo Jackson A lot of your opinion probably depends on what your opinion of lacrosse.
But if you're wondering what Brown thinks, he said "I'd rather play lacrosse six days a week and football on the seventh."
Check out this interview as well
And am searching hard for a Jim Brown lacrosse highlights video. Haven't had much luck yet.
Two Greatest Americans?
At Pittsburgh International Airport, there are statues of two great men: George Washington and Franco Harris. It's hard to say which one has had a greater influence on the course of our nation's history.
Okay, maybe not, but from what I hear, Harris is a super nice guy. And for those of you who haven't seen the Immaculate Reception, I'm not even judging, just sorry that your lives haven't yet been enriched by this feat of athletic brilliance. You can rectify that now.
Adrian Peterson is an inspiration.
Rather than give some short quick summary, I'll send you to this Sports Illustrated piece. It's not very long, so I recommend the whole piece.
A few lines that proved to be prophetic:
He's a young Eric Dickerson. And this guy runs angry." [Said a scouting director]
The comparison with Dickerson, the Hall of Famer who still owns the NFL's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, isn't restricted to personnel circles. Current players also see it. "He's big, strong and fast--and he runs with passion," says Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman. "That's a hell of a combination, and I definitely think he'll succeed."
Wherever Peterson goes on draft day, this much is certain: He'll take on his next challenge the only way he knows--running headlong, fast and furious, plowing through the pain. 
I really hope Peterson wins MVP not only because his on-field performance demands it but because of how he's persevered through his life.
Ray Rice is an incredibly positive role model
So Ray Rice is from my area, so I had heard of him before he became an NFL star, back when the local papers were covering him at Rutgers and people were wondering if it would be possible for Rice to make it as a pro despite his size.
Well, that question's been answered. What I really admire about Rice, though, is his commitment to giving back to his community and to being a positive role model. I am legitimately jealous of middle schoolers when Ray Rice day goes around, and local middle school boys and girls get a free football tutorial from Rice and his Ravens and Rutgers teammates as well as tons of free things and autographed pictures. Additionally, Rice's facebook page (which I "like" by the way) is always promoting kindness and positivity, and condemning bullying. Rice makes a great effort towards serving Baltimore and New Rochelle and being the kind of guy that gives athletes a new name.
On the complete opposite side of the moral spectrum, OJ Simpson is a terrible, terrible human being. Also, he was in The Naked Gun.
This of course raises the question of who the best athlete to appear in a Neilsen film was: Simpson or Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
From Airplane!: "Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes."

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