The weather has turned as we are past the unofficial opening of summer. The beautiful forecast calls for some beautiful sports poetry.
The NBA Finals, Boston and The Bay Warriors and Celtics are here to play Al Horford and the boys took game one on the road If they win again tonight Draymond might explode
Capital One’s The Match, the QB edition Four of our top quarterbacks in the competition Brady, Rodgers, Patty, Josh, young guns verse the old ARod and TB12 took it to them for the gold
Baseball staying relevant, thanks to the NFL Tommy Pham’s a wildcard, we’re saying “what the hell?” Who hasn’t wanted to slap a fellow league member Fantasy football means a lot, Tommy’s got a temper
Avalanche and Rangers, not a lot of spoilers Both looking for a sweep against the Lightning and the Oilers Only a few shots left for Tampa and Edmonton If they don’t get it in gear both squads will soon be done
And then there were four. It’s NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend. We recap in this week’s Sunday State of Mind.
The Cincinnati Bengals, also known as Cinderella Their quarterback Joe Burrow sure is one talented fella Bengals went down to Nashville, beat up on the Titans A young team with big talent, NFL should be frightened
Another major upset, Niners over Green Bay Defense and special teams for San Francisco saved the day Jimmy Garoppolo has got to be better next week Otherwise the Niners Super Bowl chances sure look bleak
An NFC West battle, the Super Bowl’s the prize The Rams came down to Tampa and stuck it in their eyes Matt Stafford and that defense ended Tom Brady’s year Rumors are a-floating, will he end his career?
The best for last, Chiefs and Bills Regulation not enough, overtime thrills Time and time again, Mahomes comes out a winner Andy Reid earned himself a nice triple steak dinner
What a long, strange journey it’s been. We started all the way at 99, and have now arrived at our final edition of “Who Wore It Best?” Single digits can be tough, but we’re up for the challenge.
9 – Gordie Howe
I mean, “Mr. Hockey” has to make the list, right? Howe’s career spanned nearly 40 years, in which he won four Stanley Cups, six Hart Trophies, and appeared in the All-Star game 23 times.
Honorable Mentions: Ted Williams, Drew Brees, Bobby Hull, Mike Modano
8 – Kobe Bryant
Maybe the closest we’ll ever get to MJ. We all know Kobe ended his career rocking 24, but he was great enough to take the eight cake. He spent his entire 20 year career with the Lakers, in which he won five NBA Championships, the 2008 MVP, and made 11 All-NBA First Teams.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken Jr., Yogi Berra, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Alexander Ovechkin
7 – John Elway
The greatest player who was a doppelgänger of their team mascot. But that’s not the only reason Elway makes our list. He held the “couldn’t win the big one” tag his entire career, until he shut everyone up and won back-to-back Super Bowls his last two seasons in the NFL. Even if he wouldn’t have won the two Lombardis, Elway racked up an MVP, nine Pro Bowl selections, and passing title in 1993.
Honorable Mentions: Mickey Mantle, Phil Esposito
6 – Bill Russell
The man who ran out of fingers for all of his championship rings. Russell won five MVPs, was a four time rebounding champion, and a member of the NBA’s 25th, 35th, and 50th Anniversary Teams.
Honorable Mention: Stan Musial
5 – Albert Pujols
We’ve shown our appreciation for The Machine on this blog before. Pujols’ first 11 years in St. Louis were enough to get the guy in the Hall of Fame. His time with the Angels and Dodgers, while not as great, hasn’t done anything to diminish that. His approximate career numbers have him as a .300 hitter, closing in on 700 home runs, and well over 3,000 hits.
Honorable Mentions: Joe DiMaggio, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Kevin Garnett, Donovan McNabb
4 – Lou Gherig
Next to Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig was the best player on the Yankees during their incredible run in the 20’s and 30’s. Gherig was a part of six World Series championships, was a two time MVP, and won the Triple Crown in 1934.
Honorable Mentions: Brett Favre, Adam Vinatieri, Bobby Orr
3 – Babe Ruth
Keeping it young and fresh with back to back 1920’s Yankees. This one’s a no doubter though; Shohei Ohtaini before Shohei Ohtani. At the plate, The Great Bambino hit 714 home runs, slugged .690, and ended his career with an 1.164 OPS. On the mound, The Colossus of Clout went 94-46, with a 2.28 ERA, and threw 107 complete games.
Honorable Mention: Allen Iverson
2 – Derek Jeter
Christ, enough with the Yankees already. Jeets is an easy choice in a not extremely tough field. The recent Hall of Fame inductee wrapped up an illustrious career with a very succinct five World Series rings, Gold Gloves, and Silver Slugger Awards, as well as 14 All-Star appearances.
Honorable Mention: David Akers, Brian Leetch
1 – Ozzie Smith
The best defensive shortstop of all time, and possibly best overall defender ever. Smith won 13 Gold Gloves in 19 seasons. Along the way, he was a part of the 1982 World Series Championship Cardinal team, made 15 All-Star games, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Honorable Mention: Warren Moon
0 – Russell Westbrook
A nice, easy choice to get us to the finish line; not a whole lot of competition at the zero spot. The 2017 MVP is a nine time All-Star, two time All-NBA First Teamer, and is essentially a walking triple double.
Honorable Mention: N/A
We made it, friends. All the way from 99 down to 0. We laughed, we cried, and made some friends along the way. This was a fun project to complete and remember some names that haven’t been brought up in a while. Hopefully this was as interesting to read as it was to write. Who knows what our next series will be…stay tuned.
The finish line is in sight on our recurring series “Who Wore It Best.” In our penultimate edition, we’re getting into the teens.
19 – Johnny Unitas
Starting off young, fresh, and hip. While 19 turns out to be an incredibly strongly represented number, Unitas is widely known as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Four championships, three MVPs, and a member of all three of the 50th, 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams gives Johnny U the nod.
Honorable Mentions: Tony Gwynn, Willis Reed, Steve Yzerman, Jonathan Toews
18 – Peyton Manning
Back to back Colts quarterbacks to get us started here. A member of the most recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee class, Manning put up some unreal numbers en route to two Super Bowl wins. Manning’s trophy case is busting at the seams with five MVPs, the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year Award, and number retirement plaques for his number 18 in both Indianapolis and Denver.
Honorable Mention: Denis Savard
17 – Todd Helton
Todd Helton played baseball and football at University of Tennessee, and was a teammate of Peyton Manning’s. However, Helton makes our list for his accomplishments on the diamond. Helton retired in 2013 with a career average of .316, 369 home runs, and 2,519 hits. Along the way, he won three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, and a batting title in 2000.
Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers
16 – Joe Montana
Much like Unitas, Montana is a firm part of the “best quarterback of all-time” conversation. Montana lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl rings, while being the MVP in three of those four wins. One of the more accurate quarterbacks of his time, he lead the NFL in completion percentage five separate seasons.
Honorable Mentions: Whitey Ford, Brett Hull
15 – Bart Starr
If we’re including Johnny Unitas, it’s only fair to involve Bart Starr. The quarterback who lead the Packers to victories in Super Bowls I and II, while winning MVP in both games, finished his career with five championships, a regular season MVP award, and four Pro Bowls.
Honorable Mentions: Carlos Beltran, Jim Edmonds
14 – Pete Rose
Taking a bit of gamble including Rose on our list, but here we are. The all-time hit king (4,256) does have a stellar on-field resumé. Seventeen All-Star games, three World Series rings, the 1973 NL MVP, and two Gold Gloves.
Honorable Mentions: Ernie Banks, Oscar Robertson, Dan Fouts
13 – Wilt Chamberlain
Of course the only man to score 100 points in an NBA game is making our list. Wilt the Stilt averaged a silly 30.9 points per game and 22.9 rebounds per game over his 15 year career. He also won two rings, four MVPs, was a seven time scoring champion, as well as an 11 time rebound champion.
Honorable Mentions: Alex Rodriguez, Dan Marino
12 – Tom Brady
The greatest quarterback of all time at the most important position in sports. TB12’s resumé is too long to outline here; but it’s headlined by his seven Super Bowl rings. On top of that, Brady has lead the league at one point in his career in passing touchdowns, yards, and rating.
Honorable Mentions: John Stockton, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Jim Kelly, Joe Namath, Bob Griese, Aaron Rodgers, Jarome Iginla
11 – Mark Messier
Being the center piece of a dynasty goes a long way in lists like these. Messier was the unquestioned leader & captain in Edmonton, where he lead the Oilers to five Stanley Cups. He also became the only player to captain two separate teams to Stanley Cup victories when he lead the Rangers to the cup in 1994.
Honorable Mentions: Barry Larkin, Larry Fitzgerald
10 – Fran Tarkenton
Fran Tarkenton walked to Steve Young, Michael Vick, and the like could run. Not only did Tarkenton sling it for 47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns, he also ran for 3,674 yards and 32 touchdowns in his career. Another fun fact: his only MVP season came in 1975, his 15th year in the NFL.
Honorable Mentions: Walt Frazier, Guy Lafleur
Heavy quarterback representation here. Any other noise was a faint whisper from baseball. Abysmal showing by hockey and basketball. We’ll bid farewell to our ongoing series in the next edition of “Who Wore It Best.”
One of the best weekends in all of sports has arrived. The NFL is back and majority of the games have been played. Our annual tradition (one year running) of dedicating Week 1 a full SSM lives on.
We got started on Thursday, Bucs and the ‘Boys Another year of Tom Brady making defenses his toys Bucs held off Dak and his squad, escaped by only two TB12 keeps playing, wins continue to accrue
Seahawks and the Colts, met up at Lucas Oil Indy’s Week 1 hopes, did Russell Wilson spoil Seattle starts their campaign with a big road win Seahawks may be on a Super Bowl run once again
Jaguars and the Texans, oof these teams are bad Might see plenty of Urban, eating pizza while so sad Houston beat the Jags, must give them their due Texans should enjoy it now, wins likely to be few
Eagles and the Falcons, battle of the birds Falcons defense is so bad, it’s hard to put in words Jalen Hurts went out and looked like an All-Pro Good start for The Eagles, still a long way to go
Chargers and The Football Team, met up in DC What could be a high powered LA offense only put up 20 It was enough to get the win, Justin Herbert lead the way Win whatever way you can on any given Sunday
Steelers and the Bills, upset of the week Pittsburgh should not have have won this game, but played up at their peak The Bills seem to be loaded, plenty of wins ahead Getting off to a slow start should be a short term dread
Lions and 49ers, surprisingly high score Bit of a shocker here, thought this game would be a bore Still as most of us thought, Niners came out on top If San Fran keeps this offense up, they will be hard to stop
Bengals and the Vikings, week 1 overtime Burrow versus Cousins, both were throwing dimes Cincinnati held on, OT field goal, victory Brutal for all of us out there with Vikings -3
Panthers and the Jets, Darnold revenge game Played well against his former team, victory was claimed Zach Wilson threw two tuddys in his NFL debut Probably won’t take too long for Jets fans to start to boo
Cardinals and the Titans, down in Tennessee Arizona offense humming, lead by Kyler Murray Disappointing start for Derrick Henry, Tractorcito Shouldn’t be a huge concern, sure he’ll find his flow
Cleveland Kansas City, Browns and the Chiefs Brownies lead most of the game, their stay on top not brief Cleveland had more than a shot, fan’s mouths began to foam But we’ve all seen this before, comeback Patrick Mahomes
Patriots and Dolphins, ‘Bama QB battle Tua and Mac Jones, young guns back in the saddle It was Fins Up in New England though, Dolphins with the dub Mac played well in his debut, joined the NFL Club
Broncos and the Giants, in the Meadowlands Giants had a chance to win, slipped right through their hands Teddy Two Gloves did his job, Melvin Gordon too If Saquon doesn’t get more run, G-Men will be 0-2
Packers and the Saints, Jamies was the best Quarterback in this game, Rodgers did not impress New Orleans won the game, difference of five touchdowns Potential last season for A-Rod, started with a frown
Nightcap in LA, Rams versus the Bears Rams have themselves a real QB, defenses should be scared Stafford and McVay could be a coach/QB combo To get back to the Super Bowl, in short time we’ll know
We’re sadly on the downhill turn of “Who Wore It Best.” In this edition, we get into the 30’s.
39 – Dominik Hašek
Hot start for hockey! Hašek was one of the greatest goaltenders to ever do it. His career spanned four decades (1980-2011), and included two Stanley Cups, two Hart Memorial trophies, and six Vezina trophies.
Honorable Mention: Larry Csonka
38 – Pavol Demitra
Demitra seemed to be on track to becoming one of the best Czech players in the game. He recorded 768 points in 847 games before sadly passing in a plane accident in 2011.
Honorable Mention: N/A
37 – Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron has been a steady force for the Bruins since 2003. A part of the 2011 Stanley Cup winning team, Bergeron also made All-Star games in 2015 and 2016.
Honorable Mention: N/A
36 – Jerome Bettis
“The Bus” comes rumblin’, stumblin’, bumblin’ onto our list at 36. Bettis won a Super Bowl (in his home town of Detroit), was a two time first team All-Pro, and made six Pro Bowls.
Honorable Mention: Gaylord Perry
35 – Kevin Durant
An easy choice for what ended up being a stacked slot. Durant is potentially (based on how much you love/hate Lebron) currently the best basketball player on the planet. In a career with plenty of years left, Durant has already put together an incredible resume. The Slim Reaper has two NBA titles (Finals MVP in both), a regular season MVP, six first team All-NBA selections, and 11 All-Star appearances.
Honorable Mentions: Phil Niekro, Frank Thomas, Aeneas Williams, Tony Esposito
34 – Shaquille O’Neal
Another loaded number of selections here, but the most dominant big man of all time takes the cake. The Big Diesel’s career accolades are almost too much to list: four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, fifteen All-Star games, and eight first team All-NBA selections.
For as much good as Kareem has done off the court, he was as great on it. Six rings, a matching number of MVPs, 10 first team All-NBA selections, five first team All-Defensive teams, and lead the NBA in blocks in four separate seasons.
Honorable Mentions: Eddie Murray, Scottie Pippen, Zdeno Chára, Henrik Sedin, Dustin Byfuglien
32 – Magic Johnson
We all know how good Magic was as a player. For as good as he was on the court, he may have found his true life’s calling as a hottakeartist.
Honorable Mentions: Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown
31 – Greg Maddux
Maddux is the second of the 90’s Braves big three to make the list, with Tom Glavine making the cut at 47. Mad Dog ended his 22 year career with 355 wins, 18 Gold Gloves, and four Cy Youngs.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Miller
30 – Terrell Davis
Probably going to be our shortest career to make the list. Davis only played in the NFL from 1995-2001, but was good enough to make the Hall of Fame in 2017. In seven seasons, he racked up two Super Bowls, an MVP, and three first team All-Pro selections.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Raines, Martin Brodeur
The 30’s were by far our most expansive edition yet. Huge names and the honorable mention lists were incredible, specifically 32-35. One can only assume the list is going to keep improving into the 20’s.
Happy Father’s Day! Read this week’s SSM to Dad since he was probably napping in his recliner during all the action.
Madden 22 has released their latest cover Two goats, one game, great for football lovers Brady and Mahomes are your newest cover boys On the video game that has given all of us years of joy
Spider Tack introduced itself into the public eye MLB cares all the sudden, truly wonder why No chance that it could be because batting’s now a joke Anything they can do to fix a sport that’s nearly broke
Suns and the Clippers, finals in the West Phoenix and LA going to see who is the best Bucks advanced in the East to face the 76ers or Hawks Philly or Atlanta in game seven, loser has to walk
Guess who’s back? Our “Who Wore It Best” series, that’s who. We last checked in on who wore numbers 79-70 best, now we dive into the 60’s.
69 – Jared Allen
Not a huge field of choices here, but a nice selection. Jared Allen played for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, and Panthers during an above-average 11 year NFL career. He made First Team All-Pro four times, lead the NFL twice in sacks, and made five Pro Bowls.
Honorable Mention: N/A
68 – Jaromir Jagr
The flow is enough to be included on our list. That head lettuce is a thing of beauty. Jagr wasn’t half bad in his 24 seasons in professional hockey either: most career game winning goals (135), five Art Ross trophies, and two Stanley Cups.
Honorable Mention: Will Shields
67 – Francisco Córdova
Remember this guy? Cordova gets the nod for pitching nine innings in a what ended up being a 10 inning no hitter for the Pirates against the Astros on June 12, 1997.
Honorable Mention: N/A
66 – Mario Lemieux
Surprisingly strong category here at 66. Lemieux takes it home as one of the best hockey players to ever do it. In fact, Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are the only two players who occupy the list of top ten seasons for points and assists in a season. Pretty impressive company to keep.
Honorable Mentions: Ray Nitschke, Yasiel Puig
65 – James Paxton
Paxton may very well end up being the youngest athlete to make our list. However, “Big Maple” has earned his spot at 65 for recording a no-hitter for the Mariners in 2018.
Honorable Mention: Erik Karlsson
64 – Randall McDaniel
McDaniel was a stalwart offensive guard for 13 seasons, mostly with the Vikings. McDaniel started 220 of his career 222 games, made 12 Pro Bowls, and is a member of NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Honorable Mention: N/A
63 – Gene Upshaw
Another hard nosed, badass, old school NFL lineman. Upshaw played 14 years for the Raiders, scooping up three First Team All-Pro selections, five Second Team All-Pro selections, and two Super Bowl rings.
Honorable Mention: Brad Marchand
62 – Jim Langer
Jim Langer was the center for the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Dolphins. Langer won two Super Bowls and was a three time First Team All-Pro.
Honorable Mention: N/A
61 – Liván Hernández
Who else loved this absolute unit growing up? His career numbers aren’t stellar, but anyone who can hang around the majors for 17 seasons is impressive. Hernandez is a two time All-Star who won a ring as well as World Series MVP honors with the Marlins in 1997.
Honorable Mention: Rick Nash
60 – Dallas Keuchel
Not a lot of meat on the 60 bone, but a fine choice here. Keuchel has established himself as one of the steadiest pitchers in baseball since entering the bigs with the Astros in 2012. He has won four Gold Gloves, the 2015 Cy Young, and a World Series ring in 2017.
Honorable Mention: N/A
Another edition of “Who Wore It Best,” done and dusted. Nice representative spread in the the 60’s for football, hockey, and baseball. Total choke job from basketball here; maybe we’ll see some stronger effort in the 50’s?
Loud suits, awkward bear hugs, and dreams coming true. The NFL Draft comes around every April and becomes a bigger spectacle every year. Seeing these mutant freak athletes break down and hug mom or family when their name is called never fails to deliver.
On Thursday, we got our annual helping of all of the feels, Roger Godell being weird, and grainy war room footage when the NFL started the clock on their 2021 Draft. Some picks were locks, some were surprises, and we were there for all of it.
1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: more like Trevor Snorerence, amirite? This pick was made the day Lawrence declared he was leaving Clemson and going to the NFL.
2. Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets: a small town millennial moves to the big city after college; will he survive or succumb to the pressures of professional life in New York? Turns out it wasn’t the destination that was important, but the journey along the way. Sounds like a rom-com in the making.
3. Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers: drafting a QB who has barely played in college, what could go wrong?
4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons: despite having a god awful defense, you can’t blame the Falcons for drafting a guy that could very well be the best player in this draft fourth overall.
5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: yeah, no, Joe Burrow doesn’t need a left tackle, he’s fine.
6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins: Jaylen careens, dodders, and staggers his way to South Beach.
7. Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions:“Dantallica” has his left tackle, now he just needs a quarterback.
31. Jayson Oweh, LB, Baltimore Ravens: this guys last name sounds like a surprised Canadian.
32. Joe Tryon, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: some pass rush ability for this prospect, but a definite raw talent. The Super Bowl champs are going to take a flyer and try on the linebacker from Washington.
It was a glorious night for the above-mentioned 32 players and their families. After all of the pomp and circumstance of draft night one, it really makes me want to time warp to Week 1 in the fall. Rounds 2-7 will have to do for now.
Round two of who wore it best is here. We’re ranking the GOAT to wear each jersey number. If you missed part one for jersey numbers 99-90, check it out here. For now, let’s dive into numbers 89-80.
89 – Mike Ditka
Everyone knows Ditka lead the Bears to their only Super Bowl in ’85. Did you know on the field he was a five time Pro Bowler, first team all-pro four times, and was the rookie of the year in 1961? Ditka also has the number 89 retired for both the Bears and at the University of Pittsburgh.
Honorable Mention: Alexander Mogilny
88 – Patrick Kane
STRONG number here. Kaner takes the crown as a sure fire Hall of Famer with three Stanley Cups, the 2013 Conn Smythe trophy, and nine all-star selections.
Honorable Mentions: Albert Belle, Antoine Walker, Michael Irvin, Allan Page
87 – Sidney Crosby
Crosby has an even stronger resumé than Kane. Two Conn Smythe trophies, two Olympic gold medals, three Stanley Cups, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Honorable Mention: Rob Gronkowski, Dan Otero
86 – Antonio Freeman
Slim pickings at number 86. Antonio Freeman had a respectable NFL career; in 1998 he led the NFL in receiving yards, was named to the Pro Bowl, and was named first team All-Pro. He also tacked on a Super Bowl win in the 96-97 season.
Kittle hasn’t been in the NFL for too long, but has already done some serious damage. In three and a half seasons (he only played eight games in 2020), Kittle has made two Pro Bowls, was a first team All-Pro in 2019, and has racked up 3,579 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Gates, Baron Davis
84 – Randy Moss
One of the best athletes to ever play wide receiver. Moss has unreal runs with the Vikings from 98-04 and Patriots from 07-10. He lead the NFL in touchdowns in five different seasons, was a four time first team All-Pro, and is a member of the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Honorable Mentions: Prince Fielder, Chris Webber
83 – Wes Welker
Unreal bad luck for Wes Welker that he played six seasons with Tom Brady and two with Peyton Manning and has exactly zero Super Bowl rings. He did however revolutionize the slot receiver position, collecting two first team All-Pro selections and leading the NFL in receptions in 2007, 2009, and 2011.
Honorable Mention: N/A
82 – Ozzie Newsome
Ozzie Newsome was one of the first tight ends to stretch the field; he paved the way for the Gronks, Kelces, and Ertzs of the world that we see in the NFL today. He is a member of the Browns Ring of Honor, bringing in 662 catches, almost 8,000 yards, and 47 touchdowns during his career.
Honorable Mention: N/A
81 – Marian Hossa
Our second Blackhawk to crack the list. Hossa was a huge part of the Chicago’s three Stanley Cups in the 2010’s. He also was named to the All-Rookie team in 1999 and made five All-Star games.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Brown, Phil Kessel
80 – Jerry Rice
No doubter here; the original GOAT. The career accomplishments are almost embarrassing: three Super Bowls, ten first team All-Pro, 13 Pro Bowls, member of the 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams, and first team All-80’s and All-90’s Teams. Rice’s career stats are also zany: 1,549 catches, 23,546 yards, and 208 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: N/A
Heavy football and hockey vibes in this edition. We’ll crack into the 70’s in our next edition of Who Wore It Best.