Actually, I have one more twisted tidbit for you before getting serious. Today, Forbes.com released its list of of the top general managers in North American professional sports. Forget, if you can, the ridiculous fact that Kevin McHale tops the list, Cat Face (AKA Jerry Jones) is #13 and Oakland's baseball wizard, Billie Beane, doesn't show up until #26. No, the true travesty is Isiah Thomas appearing at #82, which is better than the superb Ozzie Newsome and Bryan Colangelo (among others). Something tells me the person who created the formula for this list probably had something to do with the Texans' draft day debacle.
Speaking of football, the NFL's annual free agent frenzy is upon us once again. Want to know why Cat Face isn't the 13th best GM in all the land? His Cowboys just forked over nearly fifty million dollars to fifty million pound O-Lineman, Leonard Davis. Let's think about this one logically, shall we? The Arizona Cardinals have fielded one of the league's worst O-lines for years. Davis has been the face of that woeful, underachieving unit ever since the Cards invested the number two overall pick on him six years ago. Do you really think Arizona would have happily waved goodbye to the former Longhorn if they held out any hope that his career could be salvaged? And is a giant contract really the best way to motivate Davis in the future? This is not going to end well, Cowboy fans. Of course, that was a done deal as soon as Cat Face named Wade Phillips his new head coach. Good job, Jerry.
Meanwhile, the beat goes on in New England. The Pats nabbed superfreak, Adalius Thomas, for a (relatively) paltry 5 year, 35 million dollar bargain. Throw in the newly acquired, do-it-all, Wes Welker and New England's pair of first round picks in the upcoming draft and you've got yet another reason why the Patriots remain pro football's model franchise and the odds-on favorite to take home another title in 2008.
Another move I liked: Travis Henry to the Broncos. He's a tough runner with a chip on his shoulder who should thrive in Denver's one-cut, zone-blocking scheme. Funny how someone who had almost completely fallen off the fantasy radar screen can quickly vault toward 2nd round status thanks to a solid year and a trade to the right team.
And how about the Bears? In a 24 hour span, Lance Briggs demands to be traded and Thomas Jones actually gets dealt to the Jets. Don't look now, but Chicago is shaping up to be a major player come draft day. Not only are they now the proud owners of picks 31 and 37 (thanks to the Jones deal), but I could definitely see Briggs becoming part of a draft day deal as well. Yes, there is a great deal of risk that comes with losing two guys who played such integral roles in the team's success a year ago, but if the Bears play their cards right, they may be sitting very pretty a couple months from now.
As for the Texans, their big move so far was the signing of Ahman Green. The money is a bit high (4 years, $23 million), but let's face it, this is only going to end up being a two year deal. There's no question the former Packer is better than anyone else in the Texans' backfield and, if he can stay healthy, should be capable of posting 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns. And to those who fear this might preclude Houston from taking Adrian Peterson, fear not. First of all, AP is not going to last until pick number eight. Secondly, with all the success teams have had utilizing a two-back system, do you really think the Texans would be stupid enough to pass on Peterson simply because they just signed 30 year old Ahman Green? On second thought, don't answer that.
Hey, speaking of the draft, my latest mock will arrives tomorrow. You've been warned.
Before we move to basketball, I wanted to spark a little debate. Recently, a friend asked me to rank my top ten NFL quarterbacks of all time. Here's my list (plus one). What does yours look like?
1. Joe Montana
Hated this guy when he played, but I have to respect him. Yes, he shared the field with great players and great teams. But you can't deny his ability to come through in the biggest games and the biggest situations.
2. John Elway
Quite possibly the best physical tools we've ever seen at the position. Moved into the top 3 thanks to ending with two super bowls. Yes, he elevated lesser teams to Super Bowl status, but he also played in the weaker conference (didn't have to go through the 'Niners, Bears, Giants, Redskins and Cowboys every year). Therefore, I have to give Montana the nod.
3. Brett Favre
Can't argue with three MVPs, but has only one title and benefits from the media's man-crush on him.
4. Dan Marino
Probably deserves to be top 2 or 3, esepcially since he actually orchestrated more comebacks than Elway. Unfortunately, he never had a running game or defense, so with no titles, I can't justify slotting him above the others. Again, played in the weaker AFC, so only one SB appearance is tough to overlook.
5. Tom Brady
Really saw his greatness this year in his ability to lead a rather mediocre NE team within an eyelash of the SB. Pretty much a Montana clone and he clearly makes those around him better (see: Gaffney, Jabar). Plus, has a great shot to move up the SB title list in the next few years and, of course, move up this list as well.
6. Peyton Manning
Another guy who can obviously move up this list since he's only little more than halfway through his career. Can't put him ahead of Brady, though, because he only has the one title and he didn't exactly set the world on fire in this year's playoffs, outside of the second half of the NE game. Figures to have a great shot at top 3 status by the time everything is all said and done.
7. Johnny Unitas
The original Colt superstar QB. Of course, I never saw him play a snap (I'm not that old, so hold the snarky remarks), so this is based more on what I've read in the history books than anything else.
8. Terry Bradshaw
Only saw the twilight of his career to it's tough for me to judge him fairly. Played in a different era, so stats are tough to judge, too. Still, gotta love those 4 titles. Just wish he hadn't bared his wrinkled rear in that horrid movie with Kathy Bates.
9. Steve Young
Too bad we didn't get to see him come out of Montana's shadow until so late in his career. Doesn't help that concussions caused him to call it quits early, too.
10. Roger Staubach
Pretty much between Troy Aikman and Roger here. Had to go with the Midshipman because I think he was more of a leader than the great #8. If you're choosing best Cowboy QB ever, I think most would pick Staubach, and I agree with them.
11. Troy Aikman
As for Dan Fouts, Warren Moon and Jim Kelly: They put up huge numbers in pass friendly systems. All were great QB's, but I would never choose them over anyone in the top 11. Moon never even made it to a conference championship game and Fouts only did it once. Meanwhile, Kelly was the QB for a superior Bills' team whose fortunes were changed forever by a great gameplan courtesy of Bill Parcells and Scott Norwood's tough-luck miss.
Alright, a couple of basketball blurbs before I ride off into the sunset:
- Kevin Durant HAS to win national player of the year. If anyone else takes home the hardware, college basketball might as well cancel the season and start taking tips from the NHL and pro wrestling on how to stay relevant and legitimate in the new millennium.
- While we're on the subject of KD, it's worth nothing that Durant says his ankle will be okay for the Big 12 tournament. That's all fine and good, but I'm still wondering whether or not Texas (and Durant) might benefit from an early exit, just to make sure KD is good to go when the real tournament rolls around.
- One final note on Durant: Remember when I said the Longhorns' March Madness journey is destined to end prematurely because of Texas' strange inability to get him the ball in crunch time? Well, check out what Bill Simmons had to say about this last Friday (scroll down to point three of his Texas-Texas A&M breakdown). I wouldn't go so far as to say Rick Barnes is a crappy coach, but you have to wonder why the 'Horns fall victim to this problem again and again.
- In the NBA today, Yao Ming returned, but the Rockets lost (again). As I said last week, it's going to take time for Houston to adjust to Yao's presence. But with the way Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio are playing, it just doesn't look like it's going to matter.
- Speaking of comebacks that won't alter the O'Brien trophy's ultimate destination, Dwyane Wade says he's going to put off surgery in an attempt to return to the court in time for the playoffs. Don't get me wrong, I admire the sentiment, especially since Miami's title window appears to be closing at the speed of light. But let's not kid ourselves. Wade's kamikaze style does not mesh with his recently damaged wing. There's just no way he'll be able to withstand the punishment sure to be inflicted in the postseason.
- And finally, Ron Artest is in trouble again. I really couldn't care less about Ron-Ron, at this point. But I'm sad to see the great fans in Sacramento get screwed over like this. It seems like just yesterday, Arco was rockin' as their Kings boasted the NBA's most exciting team. Now, they're relegated to putting up with Artest's antics, not to mention a mediocre and starless style of ball and one has to wonder just how long California's capital will be able to hold onto its lone pro franchise.