Are you taking an out-of-state summer vacation?|
Story Archives: Cover of SI...
|Cover of SI...|
Has a Sports Illustrated cover ever looked so good?
For once I'm not tired of that annual commercial congratulating the Super Bowl team and asking you to sign up for a magazine that knows a lot about losing key free agents after it lost Rick Reilly to ESPN.
The Saints have come a long way since the August 30, 1999 cover which pictured Ricky Williams in his black and gold with Jim Brown leaning on his shoulder.
That was when Mike Ditka gave up an astounding eight draft selections to put the Saints' fortunes in Williams' hands (which probably before had a pizza box and some wacky weed).
One of the most unsung groups in the NFL this past season has to be the Saints' offensive line, especially after losing Pro Bowl guard Jamaal Brown.
Williams was running behind a pretty good group that featured a five-time Pro Bowl left tackle (Willie Roaf); a pair of recent high draft picks (right guard Chris Naeole, No. 10 in '97, and right tackle Kyle Turley, No. 7 in '98); and one of the off-season's prized free-agent signees (left guard Wally Williams).
Veteran center Jerry Fontenot was coming back from surgery on his right knee.
One of the problems with this group was the chemistry and a couple of the guys who were head cases and didn't seem to know what the word team stood for.
When the Saints selected Williams with the fifth pick in the 1999 draft, it marked the fifth time since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger that a team that had not had a 1,000-yard rusher for eight or more years drafted a running back within the first 10 picks, (The last New Orleans player to rush for 1,000 yards was former LSU Tiger Dalton Hilliard in 1989.)
In 1978 the Houston Oilers, suffering from a similar drought, also used their first pick to draft a Heisman Trophy-winning running back out of Texas; the Saints were hoping that Williams would repeat history and someday join Earl Campbell in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It was apparent after the crazy stories kept coming up that the only halls Willams would see needed padding.
While the line was good and Ricky had his moments, the team's strong-armed but erratic starting quarterback, seven-year veteran Billy Joe Hobert, returned after suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in the '98 season opener.
Andre Hastings, a possession receiver, was the best of an undistinguished group of wideouts.
You've come a long way in 10 years babbeeee.
Changing lanes for a second, I wonder if the people in charge of the Daytona 500 pothole track are the same central Flordians who put down the sod at the Citrus Bowl during the holiday bowl season?
Maybe the Marlins need to take another look at their infield. And finally, the NCAA wants to get tough on taunting and make it more difficult for football players with concussions to try to tough it out.
Both proposals were announced Thursday by the Football Rules Committee and must now be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.
If passed, players who draw flags for taunting gestures on their way to a touchdown would have the penalty assessed from the spot of the foul, taking away the score. Penalties that occur in the end zone would continue to be assessed on the extra-point attempt, 2-point conversion try or ensuing kickoff.
The change would take effect in 2011 and on the NCAA's web site, a release said the proposal received near-unanimous support.
I like the rule but I think you just added more anxiety to college officials, who have a tough time with judgment calls as it is. If there is some consistency in the calls, then it's great. But we all know that ain't going to happen.
Concussion prevention and treatment has also been a hot topic in recent years.
With that in mind, committee members also supported more stringent standards to keep players healthy.
If approved, injured players—including those with concussion symptoms— would have to be cleared by a doctor before returning to competition.
The action comes a month after the playing rules panel instructed the rules committee to review policies about stopping play for injuries and consider new rules to help prevent head injuries.
In previous seasons, there have been rules changes created to reduce "dangerous contact" during games.
Once again, good rule if it's enforced correctly.
At least they have backed down from making teams shake hands before contests. After all, it is still football.