Tag Archive: Steve Young


By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow Me @UnsportsmenBigJ

Remember in all creative genres it goes through stages.  From creation, the silver age, the golden age, mass produced saturation, and return to creativity.  As a 29 year old I grew up in the “golden age” of hip hop and Quarterbacking.  Looking at the NFL landscape and where it has been, I didn’t realize how privileged I was to witness the “Golden Age” of NFL Quarterbacking in the 1990’s.  Also let’s not forget the 1990’s birthed some of the best hip hop and MC’s ever.  So lets go over this “golden age” and now this new era.

The ’90’s had some of the greatest QB play ever.  No! you say, well look at the list here.  Joe Montana (I know he was near the end of his career, but he was still in the ’90’s and we didn’t buck when he came back against the Broncos in the playoffs),  John Elway, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Phil Simms, Brett Farve, Randle Cunningham, Boomer Esiason, Peyton Manning (ok I cheated on this one but he was drafted in ’98), Jim Kelly, and Drew Bledsoe (before you say WHAT!! look up those Patriot numbers and he did lead them to a Super Bowl).  I’m not even going to include Vinny Testaverde, or the wildly talented but dysfunctional Jeff George.  The point I’m making is in the ’90’s a league where it was still run, by the running backs (pun intended) we had 9 Hall of Famers, and at least 13 good/great QB’s in the league at once.  Like I said the “Golden Age”.

In hip hop it was still fighting for position in the music world, but by the time the ’90’s hit, Hip Hop had arrived.  Just think back to some of the ’90’s artist the ran the radio waves.  Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube (before the kids movies), Snoop Dog (before he became a Lion), Big L, Redman, Common, Eminem (taking my Peyton Manning liberty with this one and don’t forget Slim Shady LP was feb. 1999), DMX, Big Pun, and the list could go on and that is not even including groups that were awesome.  I mean Wu-Tang loved the kids, the Fugees, the immortal OutKast, and on, and on, and on.  But with all things, once it gets popular the levee breaks and we got saturated copycats.

In the 2000’s we fell into the trick of ranks and saturation, or should I say the word everyone wants to utter “Elite”.  Who’s ELITE!  I never heard this uttered in the 90’s, probably because it would have started a conversation that we all would still be arguing.  So after those great players retired, we were left with Manning, and Farve.  We had some new comers to the party, hell instead of me going over this list I’m going to let Bleacher Report do it for me….  I will give you a second to go over it.

………………………………………………………………….Break ………………………………………………………………………….

     I bet after the list up top I presented you, this best of the 2000’s doesn’t look or feel that great.  I know right, I mean Mike Vick, who admitted he didn’t take his craft serious is ranked.  Even Chad Pennington made the list with the water pistol arm (no disrespect Ray “Big Play” Miller but it is what it is), I love Jeff Garcia, but he couldn’t make the league in the 90’s and had top play in Canada.  I know some of you will point to Warren Moon doing the same, but that was more of a race issue rather than an ability issue.  This also why we started to see the emerging Diva Wide Receiver, and other positions self promoting.  With no strong or overly talented QB’s; the NFL looked to any talented player to market the league.  Enter the T.O., Moss, Ocho, and every wannabe Cornerback that thought they are/were Deion “Primetime” Sanders (Fred Smoot, and DeAngelo Hall to name a few).  Look at the strong QB’s of the 2000’s Peyton, Brady, Farve, Brees, and Warner, how many of them had the “Diva” player on their team? NONE, because they were the team, point blank.  When we look at hip hip a lot of the earlier names, were getting older, richer, dying, or just stopped making music.  This led to the terrible Hip Hop of the 2000’s, it was still good Hip Hop, but now you had to find it and look hard for it.  This started the trend of the illegal download.  People didn’t feel comfortable buying a Hip Hop cd when its a huge chance it would be terrible,  It even prompted a lot of older artist to say “Hip Hop is dead”.

Now going into this new era everyone should enjoy this youth movement.  The league has made it easier for a QB to come straight out of college and be successful.  We have these young guns (Newton, Dalton, Wilson, Kaepernick, Luck, RGIII, and Stafford) who are breathing life back into the position.  Now we are seeing how to creatively use these new athletic QB’s to the best of their abilities.  In Hip Hop we are starting to see a new creative movement of cross genre music.  Lil’ Wayne with a rock album, Kanye West singing?  This is not my “Golden Age” of hip hop this is something new…  Something creative.  Even our pure Hip Hop artist are making some of the best music in 10 years.  Listen to a  Kendrick Lamar, Tech9, Lupe Fiasco, and again the list can go on.  They have figured out to be lyrically great, mixed with catchy beats, and know how to massage the mainstream, while staying connected to the underground.  If this generation pans out we will be debating what was the best generation of QB’ing and MC’ing for years to come.  Hip Hop and NFL fans, to steal a line from Jim Harbaugh “Who has it better than us? NOO-BODY!!!”,  “Since this is a New Era and I got a fresh new hat!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen
     We have gotten so excited about the new 2012 trend of the new improved model of quarterbacking, with athletic mobile runners.  Yet I have realized that the running QB is devolving instead of evolving.  I got the idea for this article from reading “QBs in 2013: To Run or Not to Run” by SportsAsToldByAGirl (remember everyone reading is fundamental and you’re not biting if you give credit)…  (Also the website is an awesome read for different perspectives).  So let’s pull out our “time-turner” from Harry Potter (I use the Delorean reference a lot so let’s change it up) and go back to 1972…  Hold on, your telling me one turn is for one hour back?  That means I would have to turn this thing 359,406 times!  Forget it bring in the Delorean.

As we land in 1972 we are looking at the Chicago Bears with coach George Halas, as he decides to go with Bobby Douglass as his starting QB.  Why is this important, well for the NFL it signifies the first legitimate running QB.  By running QB I mean that they designed plays numerous times a game for Douglass to run like the wind.  So much so that Douglass ran for 968yds and 8tds that year.  Yet the Bears finished 4-9-1.  The problem really lied in Douglass’ in ability to throw the forward pass.  So Douglass and the Bears crashed and burned with this experiment.  But now modern teams picked up the pieces and modified it.

Now a lot of football historians will cry that Fran Tarkenton was probably the first running QB and to those people, I say yes you are partially right.  Fran never had run plays designed for him to use that ability.  Don’t forget that Vikings coach Norm Van Brocklin hated…  Yes, HATED that Tarkenton scrambled and ran like he did.  Yet in Fran Tarkenton we got a glimpse into what a mobile running QB could and should be.  Tarkenton definitely paved the way showing that you can and need to be an outstanding passer to go with your running ability.  We also had greats like Roger Staubach that pushed the plight further.  Then we had John Elway progress the cause even further. We were starting to see a new era of passing QB’s that are athletic and can run, now they were never the fastest but could get out there and gain yards.  The pinnacle or should I say “The Prototype” was Steve Young.

 

     I’m not just saying this because Young is my favorite QB of all time, but because Young over his career learned that his ability to run was an asset or rather a bigger threat if he could execute through the air.  For a three year period 1992-1994 Young probably was the most deadly QB or player on the field.  Why because he was pinpoint accurate with passes (still holds the QB rating career record) and if the play fell a part he could play sandlot football and use his legs.  After that zenith point with Young I think the plight of the mobile QB started to devolve.  A big portion of that has to do with the emergence of the Black QB.

 

     I don’t know if coaches felt that these athletes couldn’t grasp a complete passing game, or that the coaches never wanted to stifle their talent.  We start to see a ton of athletic guys playing QB, but a lot had question marks about their throwing ability.  Buddy Ryan literally made Randle Cunningham train to get faster in the off season, instead of teaching him how to become a dominant passer.  Kordell “Slash” Stewart at one point was played everywhere on offense except QB.  Then we get to Donovan McNabb who was an elite runner and inaccurate QB when he first entered the league.  As his career grew he wanted to prove the media and critics wrong and became a solid pocket passer only problem is he was so tentative to run I think it hurt his effectiveness.  Around that time we had the Daunte Culpepper, and a few others in the mix.  Until the arrival of Michael Vick, and that is where the devolving of the running QB hit lightning speed.

 

     The excitement and pure highlight reel making action of this QB, sent the league into a frenzy.  In all that excitement we failed to realize that his ability to read defenses, and know the playbook was lacking.  We didn’t care because this QB was running a 4.2 so why did it matter that he wasn’t the best passer?  Oh yeah it was his lack of receivers, but Tom Brady wins with average to no name receivers.  Every time his inability to command the forward pass was questioned it was met with an excuse.  Because of the ticket sales and excitement he generated teams went out and grabbed QB’s of similar ilk.

 

     Now here we stand in the mist of all these athletic mobile QB’s that are relying on their ability to run instead of using it as an added weapon when plays don’t turn out how they should.  Very Bobby Douglass/George Halas of us.  I’m not saying that a running Mobile QB can’t win a Super Bowl, because Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers have won, but both of them when they won were way more dynamic passers than runners at the time.  So I look at RGIII, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow (who is the second coming of Bobby Douglass), and Russell Wilson and think these guys are doing in the NFL what Halas tried and failed at (I left Andrew Luck off of the list because he rarely has run plays called for him).  Yes I know the names I listed are really good passers too, but why risk your franchise player, when you can allow him to execute from the pocket successfully.
     The world and media looks at these players as evolving the game, but from where I’m sitting I see it as devolution back to a formula that didn’t work.  So coaches I’m pleading with you, take away the bootlegs, stop calling read option running plays (I’m fine with the read option fake and going to the pass), stop thinking that your QB running ability is an outlet to have another running back on the field and start seeing these athletes as players that can add a dimension when the called play breaks down, not as the play to break out!
Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

 

By: Jason “Bg J” Allen

Follow me @UnsportsmenBigJ

As sports fans we sit around and argue about who is the greatest and who is the best in their prime.  At the end of the day we will never know but it is fun to speculate, so I decided to take an argument that the UnSportsMenMic team have argued a lot about.  Cool Joe vs Tom Terrific: Ultimate Grudge Match.

Now I know initial reaction from everyone that is not a Patriots fan is screaming JOE MONTANA! Period, point blank, end of discussion.  Yet I feel differently, I tend to lean toward Tom Brady so let the controversy begin.  I will look at who made their offensive talent better, who had the better overall team (defense), better coaching, durability, career achievements, and the covenant “Clutch” to make my argument.

            Let’s start with the fact that I’m a Niner fan so we can’t accuse me of bias because the bias would say Cool Joe all day.  Yes I root against Tom getting his 4th ring so he won’t tie Joe.  Yet that’s a perfect place to start Super Bowls and rings.  Joe has been to 4 and won 4, while Brady has been to 5 and won 3.  Now, everyone is saying easy win for Joe, but hold on for one second.  Montana won his first ring with a good supporting cast (Remember Rice was not with the team for the first 2 rings).  Montana made offensive stars out of Dwight Clark, and Fred Solomon at WR.  I bet no one can even name the RB on that 1981 team…  Exactly so again Montana was the star.

This is no different then Brady during his first run, Troy Brown, David Patten at WR, Kevin Faulk, and Antowain Smith at RB.  Again neithter had great talent, but both pushed their teams higher.  We all know the history of the Niners, eventually Montana got weapons like Rice, John Taylor, Roger Craig, and even Brent Jones.  Tom Brady did get help in the way of Randy Moss, and Corey Dillon.  Now he won a ring with Dillon, but was 0-1 with Moss.  I know the masses are clamoring for Wes Welker, but I’m sorry Brady made him; he was a nobody in Miami.  So for overall talent I call it Montana. Tom Brady has won with a bunch of no names and continued to be successful.  So Tom Brady wins making his teammates better.

Another knock people will throw Brady’s way is that he won his Super Bowls with great defenses and Montana led the team to Super Bowls with great offense.  Not so fast, in Montana’s 14 seasons with the Niners the defense averaged 10th in total defense.  Now with this ranking of 10th they have only ranked lower than 15th in 3 seasons (20th in ’79, 27th in ’80, and 21st in ’82).  So the defense has been extremely solid in Montana’s tenure.  In Brady’s 13 years with the Patriots the defense has an average rank of 17th; they have only been over 15th in 6 out of his 13 years.  So Brady has never had the Defenses Montana had, especially lately.  So my edge goes to Brady again for winning with a Defense not as dominate as Montana.

Now we go to coaching.  I think in general you give the edge to Bill Walsh, but in this argument you REALLY give the edge to Bill Walsh.  Walsh was an offensive coach compared to Belichick’s defensive minded coaching, which helps a QB like Montana.  Secondly Walsh changed the NFL offensively, with the West Coast offense.  Now I know the Football minds are yelling, “Belichick with the 2 set TE’s with athleticism is changing the game.” Before you jump off a cliff the 2 TE set is a function of Formation 2 in the West Coast Offense that used a H-Back (TE/FB remember Tom Rathman and William Flyod) and a TE in the formation so again a creation of the West Coast and Walsh.  Let’s not forget the great scouter of talent Walsh was (we have talked about Bill Belichick’s lack of draft impact).  Walsh had a great eye for talent, Montana goes down and he had a Hall of Famer, Steve Young (who he traded for from the Buccaneers), ready as a back up.  Brady goes down, and yes they go 11-5 with Matt Cassel, but we know Cassel was a scrub and the Pats missed the playoffs.  This also lends to the thought of Montana having a better overall team then Brady.  Better coaching edge is Montana, which means a win for Brady, because again he carries more of the burden for his team’s success.

My next argument is durability, and I know “QB’s wear dresses in this era” is what all the meat heads are saying.  Yes it was a tougher league in the Montana day so I take that in account, but Montana was a small build and you could knock him out of games.  Ask how the Bears and Giants attacked him.  Montana in his career has missed 25 games, missed one entire season in ’91 and played one game in ’92.  Brady has missed 17 games and 16 were in ’08.  Before the injury Brady was considered Eli Manning like in taking a punishment and still throwing strikes.  Montana was the same way in his prime.  Yet by pure numbers Brady is a bit more durable.  Let’s call this a tie.

Next, let’s look at awards over a career:

Awards

Joe Montana

Tom Brady

MVP

2

2

Super Bowl MVP

3

2

All-First Team

6

2

Off. Player of Year

1

2

Comeback Player of YR

1

1

Edge

MONTANA

So yes the edge is Montana, because of the All-Pro NFL First Team.  Brady lost a lot of these because of Peyton Manning’s statistical regular season dominance.

Now our last thing to take in account is “The Clutch” performances.  Brady has 27 4th Quarter comebacks to Montana’s 31.  So you would say case closed right?  Wrong Brady in Game Winning Drives has 38 and Montana has 33.  So if you need one drive to win it all, Brady is your man.  Joe Cool over the course of a comeback is more dominate. So I have to say here is another wash/tie.

So to recap, these are both Great QB’s and when it is said and done we may be looking at 1 and 2 or 1A, and 1B.  Yet if you break it down, Montana had better supporting cast (especially in a no salary cap era), better coaching offensively, better Defense, and Montana has more career achievements.  I think the durability and “Clutch” argument is a wash.  So for me Brady is the better QB, he has made less talent better, had worse offensive coaching, and a worse defense.  Being honest the difference between Brady having 4 or 5 rings has been the lack of Defensive talent and dynamic offensive playmakers.  Agree or Disagree?  Tell me what you think.

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

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