Loyalty: In keeping true to the language of baseball, Theo Epstein, the general manager of both the Red Sox in 2004 and the Cubs in 2016, after nearly a combined two-centuries of losing, brought World Series Championships to both those beleaguered big league towns. Thereupon, he decided to funnel his charitable contributions through his aptly named, “The Foundation To Be Named Later.” I feel compelled to mention that Mr. Epstein is the only general manager to have had a grandfather and great-uncle who together wrote a screenplay for a major motion picture. Those were the brothers Epstein and their movie was the immortal “Casablanca.”
Production: Often overlooked, literally and figuratively, Drew Brees this year will reach 5,000 yards passing for the fifth time. No other quarterback in NFL history, not Peyton or Favre or Brady or Unitas or Rodgers or Graham or Van Brocklin or Rivers or Eli or Montana or Bradshaw or Marino or anybody, has ever done that more than once. Helmets off in tribute to Drew Brees!
Terry Bradshaw is an enigma wrapped up inside a puzzle. He played fourteen seasons with the Steelers and finished with a touchdown passing total to interception ratio of 212-210. Most great quarterbacks are somewhere in the two-or-three-or four-to-one ratio. Peyton Manning at 529-215 and Tom Brady at 453-152 are more the norm. Yet Bradshaw won four Super Bowls. How? When the Rooney family handed the reins over to Chuck Noll in 1969, the Paul Brown protege had the patience of a saint and the wisdom of Solomon in choosing players. Putting together runners Franco Harris and Rocky Blier, receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth and a defense known as the Steel Curtain of L. C. Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, and Mel Blount, all Hall-of-Famers, with Mean Joe Greene as its anchor, Bradshaw shrewdly led that team to fame.
Tim Tebow was never destined to be as successful in the NFL as he was in his Heisman days at the University of Florida. Having gained more yardage running than passing in college, he passed at a paltry 46% completion rate with the Denver Broncos. He came up in a decade of college option quarterbacks, along with Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick, Johnny Manziel, Michael Vick and RG III, none of whom blossomed as stars. In the NFL, Bradshaw notwithstanding, a quarterback must throw at a 65% completion rate with far fewer interceptions than touchdown passes. Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, and Andrew Luck, all pocket passers, are the quarterbacks most likely to be leading teams deep into the playoffs in the coming years.
The Von Ryan Express has run off the rails once again. Taking over a defense ranked second in the NFL in Buffalo in 2014, the Brothers Ryan managed to move the Bills to number fifteen in team defense in each of the last two seasons.
That is the very definition of firing with cause.