Call me crazy, but I’m ready for football season.
The temperature is going the wrong direction for my liking with the mercury approaching 90 degrees. I want the chill in the air back, Gordon Wood Stadium packed full of fans on a Friday night, or me in my trusty recliner wearing out both the remote control and my thumb flipping through a plethora of channels.
The weather, along with the start of NFL free agency, got my football juices flowing again. It’s been a little more than a month since the Super Bowl, a little more than a month until draft weekend and eternity and a day until the start of the high school, college or pro seasons.
So in my desperate quest to find anything related to the gridiron, I stumbled across BleacherReport.com’s Top 100 lists. While it didn’t scratch my itch for up to the minute football information, it did take me on a humorous trip down memory lane — and we all need those.
The crown jewel in their collection was the Top 100 worst decisions in sports history. We can all relate to horrible choices and second guessing of ourselves, but it’s a lot more entertaining when national sports franchises are the ones making all the wrong moves — and easier to poke fun.
Since I’m in the football spirit, I’ll keep my comments strictly to the gridiron items that made the list, which isn’t hard since there were 35. Hmm … what sport is America’s pastime now?
The countdown began with Notre Dame’s hiring of Charlie Weis as head coach. Being a fan of whoever plays Notre Dame, I remember at the time being a little worried, based on the success of Weis’ offense with the New England Patriots. Clearly Tom Brady’s talents, and Weis’ lack of success since leaving Massachusetts, have demonstrated what really runs the Patriots’ offensive machine. Now Weis is leading the way at Kansas, and I’m not really sweating a Jayhawk charge toward college football prominence.
The Denver Broncos came at No. 98 with their acquisition of quarterback Brady Quinn from Cleveland, when they already had Tim Tebow waiting in the wings. Granted, neither one should be a starting quarterback anywhere in the NFL, but at the time the Broncos were looking for anyone to fill John Elway’s Bigfoot-sized shoes. Now with Peyton Manning on board, as well Wes Walker and other recent additions, the Broncos’ offense is set. If the defense, which carried the load during Tebow’s magical season, can find itself again, Denver could be the odds-on favorite to take the Lombardi Trophy.
Brett Favre actually made the list three times — once for being traded from Atlanta, which ranked No. 6; once for his countless retirement/unretirement ceremonies, which came up at 16; and once for using a cell phone for a purpose Alexander Graham Bell could have never envisioned, which ranked No. 87.
Color schemes occupied the No. 80 and 81 spots on the list. First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ decision to abandon their creamsicle orange uniforms is possible the greatest fashion tragedy in sports — and someone apparently agrees with me.
Next, Boise State’s blue turf is bad enough, but Eastern Washington came up with the wonderful idea of defacing their stadium with red turf. While I’ve never seen an Eastern Washington game on television, I would imagine it would the equivalent of watching your typical game anywhere else — but with everyone in attendance have an uncontrollable nose bleed simultaneously.
Among the biggest blunders was the 1990 game between Colorado and Missouri in which the Buffaloes were incorrectly given a fifth down and goal by the officials, which allowed CU to remain undefeated and go on to capture a national championship. That gaffe was No. 68.
The Baylor Bears, until Art Briles arrived, had little to cheer about in Big 12 competition, and the low point might have been in a 1999 non-conference game against UNLV. Leading 24-21 at the UNLV 1 with 20 seconds left, then-Baylor head coach Kevin Steele opted to rush for an unneeded touchdown. What he got was an unwanted fumble as the Bears coughed up the ball and UNLV returned the pigskin 99 years as Baylor suffered a humiliating defeat — but landed at No. 58 on the list 14 years later.
Among the draft mistakes were 20 teams passing on Randy Moss in 1998 — including the Dallas Cowboys, who he feasted upon during Thanksgiving of his rookie season — along with the San Diego Chargers drafting Ryan Leaf No. 2 overall that same year. And Leaf was the one that eventually wound up in Dallas. Smooth move, Jerry. The Moss mistake was No. 44, while the Leaf disaster ranked No. 27.
To Jerry Jones’ — or more like Jimmy Johnson’s — credit, the Cowboys were also near the top of the list for orchestrating one of the greatest coup’s in NFL history. Ranking No. 4 overall was the Cowboys’ trade of Herschel Walker to Minnesota for essentially three Super Bowls. Ah, those were the days.
The Cowboys may never win a Super Bowl again, or even reach the playoffs, under Jones’ leadership, but at least there’s memories. Now if the fall would just hurry up and get here so I can fill my mind with more memories — and hopefully none that appear on this list, unless it’s a team or player I don’t like. There’s always exceptions.
Derrick Stuckly is the Editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Sundays. He may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.