For some reason I put off renaming this division. Subconsciously I thought there were quite a lot of great players to choose from and it was going to be a long, drawn out debate in my head. Wrong. I know the AFC North won’t be that easy, I’ve been struggling with that one too even though the answer seems obvious. More on that in a few days.
I spent the last 30 years living between the New York and Philadelphia markets, so I think I’ve just heard way too much media hype about how great these division rivalries are. Sure, they’re good games some times, but if I don’t see Jerry Jones, or Andy Reid, or Daniel Snyder anytime soon, I won’t yearn for them. I’m actually anticipating seeing how the media in Charlotte handles a football season, especially when no one knows what to expect from the Panthers this year. Will they get malicious after an 0-2 start? As for the Giants, I’m still bitter. I’m bitter, because as a child when I was realizing that this football thing was pretty cool, I was going to have to pick a team, and I wanted to pick a local. But wait, there’s no team in New Jersey? Yes, son, there is, kind of, actually there are two. The Jets and Giants stadium is in New Jersey, but they’re called New York.
Why? No one likes, New Jersey, son. But I do, Dad. That’s because you’re from here. So all we get is Rutgers? Yes, son, and Piscataway will even become a college town one day, but it will only last a year. Damn.
That has nothing to do with renaming the division, but this blog needed closure. I think of great players, and my brain jumps to quarterbacks first. The best quarterbacks from the NFC East: Troy Aikman (3 Super Bowls, Hall of Famer), Roger Staubach (2 Super Bowls, Hall of Famer), Phil Simms (Won 1 Super Bowl, Jeff Hostetler won him another), and Ron Jaworski, ummm, no. Hold on, I’ll be right back. Sorry, just thinking of bringing Joe Theismann into this made me go next door and ask my neighbor to punch me in the heart.
You could talk to me about Y.A. Tittle. Actually you can talk to me about Y.A. Tittle for a long time, because I just like hearing Tittle said out loud. If I were a player I’d want to be on a team in the Tittle Division, but I never saw the man play so I need some more background. The same goes for Sammy Baugh, a Hall of Famer, who played quarterback, defensive back, and punted for the Redskins. He still holds several passing records and was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team, impressive.
Number 60 is Chuck Bednarik, he played linebacker and center for the Eagles from ’49-’60. He was also named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team, but is most famous for knocking Kathie Lee’s husband, Frank unconscious on the hit seen above. That’s Frank Gifford asleep on the ground. Gifford was a league MVP and a good running back, but that hit took a year and half off of his career.
The hit was so hard it made him think it was a sound decision to marry Kathie Lee after he had already been married once!
Some other players that deserve mention: Michael Irvin, Harry Carson, and Randall Cunningham (for his highlight reel alone). Carson and Irvin are Hall of Famers, but not worthy. I’ll only mention Carl Banks here to tell you that his dog bit a co-worker of mine when we were installing a chandelier for him. I wanted to swipe a game ball he got from the Browns that he had on display as payback, but I didn’t. Larry Allen was a monster and will be in the debate over who is the greatest offensive lineman ever, so will Russ Grimm, but ultimately some left tackle will win.
If Reggie White had played for a few more years with the Eagles or at least won a Super Bowl with them, this might be his. Again, I hesitate to name a division after a color, especially white, but that doesn’t lessen anything that Reggie accomplished. This color issue I’m having is going to come to a head in the AFC North, and I’m not looking forward to it.
Then there were two, Emmitt and L.T.. One spent last weekend being inducted in to the Hall of Fame, the other probably spent the weekend coming up with a defense for the 16-year-old prostitute mess. There’s no doubt about it, Lawrence Taylor has some issues if he’s not playing football or golf. Emmitt’s only off the field issue seemed to be grammar, but he righted the ship with his Hall of Fame speech. L.T. on the other hand even stole from my Father. In the late ’80’s Taylor owned a restaurant by the Meadowlands named “LT’s”. My Father left his favorite Notre Dame hat there, but called the next day and they told him they had it and he could come get it. When he went to get it, no one had a clue what he was talking about, the hat was gone. That’s around the time that my Father started dressing a little on the wild side, I blame you L.T.
Emmitt Smith holds the career rushing yards record, won 3 Super Bowls, and was the NFL MVP in ’93. I remember very vividly the game he played against the Giants at the end of the ’93 season, it’s legendary. Yet, is he the greatest running back ever? Is he in the top five? Statistically, of course, but would I pick him over Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, or even Marshall Faulk? Maybe Faulk and maybe Campbell, maybe. But maybe doesn’t horseshoe the hand grenade.
L.T. changed the game, though. Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not a Giants fan in any way, but there is only room for one L.T. in the NFL archives and it’s not someone who finds a spot on the bench during a playoff game, because he’s hurt. I’m looking at you L. Tom. That’s what I’m calling the other one from now on. Did you know that if you Google “L.T.”, L. Tom. is the first one that comes up? That’s a disgrace, America. If he were injured, Lawrence Taylor would have ingested anything possible to get on the field in a playoff game. I don’t even need to go into the stats, because it’s been covered over and over how much L.T. dominated and changed the game, just ask Joe Theismann. The man stole from my family and still I’m defending him. This division is his.
Verdict: NFC East = L.T. Division