By In Stuff

A Few New Year’s Links

Lots and lots and lots of Hall of Fame stuff coming.

In the meantime: A few links for the New Year:

The Big 4-0: At 40, Jack Nicklaus had a hard decision to make — did he want to try to be great again? If Tiger Woods can get healthy again at 40, what will he decide?

The Curse of Jim Brown. My Dad saw Jim Brown runt he ball not long after he came to America. It led him to pass along lessons about living.

The Year of Kyle.  Lots of people in sports had great years in 2015. But how many of them got in very serious car accidents, had their first child after years of trying and won a championship?

Green with Envy. Will the Eagles regret firing Chip Kelly? It’s possible, of course, but history suggests: Probably not.

May your new year come up royal flushes:

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12 Responses to A Few New Year’s Links

  1. wordyduke says:

    Thanks for all the great writing, Joe. The best to you and your family.

  2. KHAZAD says:

    He played a completely different position, but for some reason your description of Jim Brown between plays reminded me immediately of the last few years of the career of HOF left tackle Willie Roaf in Kansas City.

    If Willie ended the play on the ground, he took forever to get up. If he didn’t, he took forever to get back and forth from the huddle. He walked slowly, with his shoulders hunched over, limping, looking like he must be wincing in pain with every step. People who weren’t familiar with the Chiefs might wonder out loud if he were injured. He looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

    Then the ball was snapped, and he turned into a ballet dancer, with world class footwork, combined with the power to road grade people on running plays, and the speed to lead the way around the corner if the play called for that, as well. Then he would slowly limp back to the huddle and do it all over again.

  3. jalabar says:

    Walter Payton had very much the same on-field persona as Brown. It’s one reason Brown has said he admired Payton more than any other football player he’d met. I was too young to have watched Jim Brown. The best football PLAYER of any position that I have ever seen was/is/and I’m guessing always will be Walter Payton. But I do appreciate that people much older than I have said “You only feel that way because you never saw Brown play”.
    Jack Nicklaus – Best career in golf history
    Tiger Woods – best golfer in golf history

    At this point, I do not think Woods will reach, or come really close, to Nicklaus’ marks. However, I think and will always think that, at their peaks, Nicklaus could not have beaten Tiger. As Jack himself said of Tiger at his peak, “He plays a game with which I am not familiar”. Much like Secretariat at the Belmont, at his best I do not believe there is or has been a golfer that could have matched Woods.

    • Anon says:

      Actually the “He plays a game with which I’m not familiar” line was first uttered by Bobby Jones about Nicklaus. Nicklaus was being gracious and merely parroting the line. Agree that Tiger would beat Nicklaus more often than the other way around but I think it would be close for the most part.

      Nitpick: I would argue that Woods has ALREADY come close to Nicklaus’ records – 14 major wins to Jack’s 18 and Tiger actually has MORE total PGA Tour wins with 79 to Jack’s 72. Indeed, there are some who think that Tiger should have the Tour record for most wins since Snead total of 82 includes 5 team events back when the Tour played 2-man team events somewhat regularly. He also was credited with a win for 1 event that ended in a tie (while unthinkable now, it was not unheard of back in the day). Snead was also credited with a few questionable wins in his early days. Many people don’t realize that the PGA Tour record book did not really exist until the early to mid 80’s when a group of historians and other golf figures were commissioned by the Tour to figure out the exact numbers from the early years of the Tour. They used some objective and some subjective criteria to determine what events from the past counted as PGA Tour events and there are some who think SNead was given a few extra wins that probably shouldn’t have counted as full-blown PGA Tour events.

      • Anon says:

        Addendum: to be fair, there are also some people who think Snead should be credited with 90 wins rather than 82.

      • jalabar says:

        I tend to agree, though the 18 majors is the one I mean when I say Tiger won’t get particularly close, I don’t think. He’s still 22% short of Nicklaus’ number. And while I would argue that Tiger’s game fell off much more than Nicklaus’ did before his renaissance, that certainly does not preclude Tiger having a 40-something renaissance of his own and picking up a few or even 4+ more. But my personal opinion is that Tiger won’t win another major, and as to why, I think Tiger, somewhere around his second child and 5th mistress etal, just stopped caring as much about golf. Tiger never really had to deal with life when he was growing up, and through his young adulthood. The good AND bad of a lot of life he was insulated from, for the good of his golf. But when life forced its way into his reality due to his own character flaws, I think he found that there was more to life than golf, and some of it was pretty great, especially for someone well-off. I don’t think Tiger said, consciously, “I don’t care about golf that much any more”, but I think sub-consciously that is the reality, and he could not continue at the level he was at without the commitment to his game.

        • One of the things I’ve observed is that if people don’t get their childhood when they’re young (kids who have to work to support the family, help raise siblings, or have prodigal talents to catapult them into the adult world), they’ll often take that childhood when they get older. Sexual exploits and/or heavy drug/alcohol use often take the place of innocent child-like fun for “older children”.

  4. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    I understand that it’s de riguer for Clevelanders and ex-Clevelanders to bash Art Modell (and I’m certainly no fan of his), but I have a hard time finding fault with his decision to fine Jim Brown in 1966. Turn the clock forward to 2016 and replace Brown’s name with that of any of today’s superstars. Let’s say that Tom Brady decided he was an actor and announced that he would have to miss the first two games of the season to complete the filming of a movie. Do you really think Robert Kraft would say, “No problem, Tom, see you in Week 3”? And how would sportswriters react to such an announcement? Do we even have to ask? Given Brown’s talent, maybe it would have made sense to let him play by different rules than everyone else and miss 14% of his team’s games so he could pursue another occupation (the Raiders did something similar with Bo Jackson, though everyone agreed to that arrangement up front). But I think Modell’s position was and is defensible.

    • JuddHirschFan says:

      How much did they fine Favre when he kept skipping training camp and waffling on retirement?

      • EnzoHernandez11 says:

        Fair point, though a) fining Favre would have been perfectly appropriate, and b) Favre’s waffling involved the possibility of retirement, and not the pursuit of a second career. Again, this may have been the wrong choice by Modell in a tactical sense, but it was a defensible decision.

  5. NevadaMark says:

    I think the decision to fire Paul Brown was imminently defensible. If you had an employee who treated you with utter contempt AND wasn’t winning Eastern titles any longer, what would you do? Didn’t the Browns win the whole thing a couple years after Brown was fired?

  6. Bob Lince says:

    Jim Brown’s conservation of energy after plays, by slowly getting up and returning to the huddle, was regularly commented upon by sportswriters, and TV and radio announcers, during the latter half of his career.

    I never blamed Art Model for deciding that he couldn’t make a go of it, with the Browns in Cleveland. What I found despicable was that, having made that decision, he didn’t sell the team to someone who would keep in Cleveland, a city second to none in the NFL in the support, attendance, and loyalty of its fans.

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