Legend of The Fall: Max McGee

One of the most interesting arguments that persists are how many of the Green Bay Packers from the ’60s can make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?? Now if you ask Packer fans they believe they all should go. This belies the truth of the matter except when you look at the accolades many of them earned during their careers.

Max McGee only made one Pro Bowl although he played on 5 world championship teams.  Yet even when you take a look at Packer greats you would consider on the bubble, they still stack up with the contemporaries of their time.

  • Max McGee- 345 rec. 6,346 yards 50 TDs *1 Pro Bowl
  • Gary Collins – 331 rec. 5,299 yards 70 TDs *2 Pro Bowls **3 All Pros
  • Del Shofner – 349 rec. 6,470 yards 51 TD *5 Pro Bowls **5 All Pros
  • Raymond Berry – 631 rec. 9,275 yards 68 TDs *6 Pro Bowls **3 All Pros

Of course these are only his fellow NFL receivers yet look at his numbers compared to former Giant Shofner. He went over 1,000 yards on 4 occasions where Max never did. Yet over his last 4 seasons he caught 54 passes and fell off dramatically. McGee did as well with only 48 receptions his final 4 years yet career wise statistically stayed with him with a steadier career.

Now McGee didn’t score as often as Gary Collins yet he had a much higher per catch avg (18.5 yds – 16 yds) over their careers. As you can see he finished with 1,047 yards more than Collins. These men all played more than 10 seasons and played for the league or Super Bowl championship 3 times, well 2 in Collins case.

Berry’s numbers are out there and he is the only Pro Football Hall of Fame member of this group. Yet he along with Shofner played in the most pass conscience offenses of their day.  Johnny Unitas, who threw to Berry, was the 1st 3,000 yard QB and threw for a league record 32 TDs in 1962. Shofner was catching passes from Y.A. Tittle who broke Unitas touchdown record with 36 in 1963.

McGee played in a run heavy offense as the Packers swept to league titles in ’61 and ’62 yet the film coming up makes it seem as though he only had Super Bowl I. His best season was the ’61 campaign when he caught 51 passes for 883 and 7 scores. Its possible he could have made it to 1,000 yards had he played all 14 games.

When looking back on his career it was a lot more than his performance in Super Bowl I. He did catch a 35 yard bomb which was the key play in the 3rd quarter scoring drive that put Super Bowl II out of reach.

McGee had a steady career not a spectacular one. If falls short of the Pro Football Hall of Fame but he definitely had an incredible football journey.

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Jerry Kramer, Alicia, The Chancellor & A Hall of Fame Trip

 

As we near the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony it’s impossible not to look back at how we got here. It seems surreal as so many fans didn’t think we would see the day when Jerry Kramer would get that call to the hall. That knock on the door.

kramersWhere our odyssey began was the birth of all this love of football which started in the summer heat in Denver Colorado 1977. Outside throwing a football around when I came in to cool off and an “NFL Presents” had a special on “The Ice Bowl.” I can remember being glued to the tv as the Packers and Cowboys played in what looked like ungodly weather. Of course with John Facenda’s narrative he made the names of Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Willie Davis, Tom Landry and Jerry Kramer become etched in my mind.

Several weeks later school had started and my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Carmen and I were in the library and she gave me Jerry Kramer’s Distant Replay to read. After that I brought home at least 3 books on football a week or was reading the old NFL Punt, Pass, & Kick books at the Boys Club. Of course when I wasn’t outside playing football but the pilot light was on and I wanted to read more first on Kramer’s Packers and beyond.

Fast forward many decades and into the social media age and I looked up a couple of random old school football players and connected. Jerry was one of them. Of course to say hello and was a fan of his and make a mild acquaintance. Then in early 2010 things changed… Bored with several business writing courses I decided to write a few short stories based on championship teams to get people talking about football on Facebook. I grabbed a series of Super Bowl and conference championship rings and wrote 15 abstract stories based on what I knew of those teams and could share beyond a box score.

One of which was “The Ghost of Vince Lombardi” and the strange circumstances that befell every 2 time champion trying to win 3 in a row. Yet it was Jerry and several former players responding to the story of the Baltimore Colts not receiving a ring for losing Super Bowl III is when the “Aha” moment came. Like I said I was just trying to get Vance Lockett and a few football fanatics to talk old teams and in one day afternoon more than 500 email notifications while I was out with Edie. That validation is what started me writing and accumulating articles here.

When thinking of content to write about I thought of players who hadn’t made the Pro Football Hall of Fame who should be. If I were in that room with the writers, what would I say to make my point and  deflect counterpoints before they could take shape? On July 26th, 2011 I penned Jerry Kramer Belongs in The Hall of Fame which was read and widely shared. Alicia and I had become friends then and our conversations began.

You wouldn’t believe how many posted and emailed saying they thought Jerry was in already. No… he isn’t. One of the first conversations was with the late Dave Edwards who played across from Jerry’s Packers in The Ice Bowl for the Cowboys. Then Alicia embarked on her journey to raise awareness that her father Jerry, an all time great, had yet to have that “knock on the door”.  Alicia asked if I would help her with the page and without hesitation let her know that I would. I was known for uploading a lot of football footage from all I had recorded from 1982 to the present. So up went “The Ice Bowl” several America’s Game’s for the Lombardi Packers and she grew it from there.

All the while asking people to write Joe Horrigan and the Pro Football Hall of Fame on behalf of her father being selected. She grew that group incredibly quick and a sea of Packer fans flocked to the group in support and the letter writing took off in earnest. Posts with autographs Jerry had given fans over the years, publications shared and everything Jerry to keep the movement going and raise awareness.

There were some disappointing days when Jerry’s name didn’t make it past the semifinal round. Then when it looked like February 2016 as a finalist… this would be it! No knock on the door. However Alicia was the first to tell me Kevin Greene did get in from the hotel in San Francisco and 6 months later I was preparing to go as Kevin and Tara’s guest when I said “Alicia, you have to send me something to wear as a political statement” to which she agreed.

Fully expecting a JK for the Hall of Fame t-shirt, I opened the package to an autographed jersey. I told her I’m wearing it into “The Hall”. Now keep in mind Brett Favre was being inducted also and Packer jerseys were there 10-1. As I toured the autograph area and bunched in with fans trying to catch a glimpse at HOF members going in and out of what I believed was the Nitschke Luncheon. “Jerry should be in the hall!” “Open your doors for #64!” was shouted at least 100 times by Packer fans in the few hours before entering The Hall.

Even met my friend Ryan VanAcker entering the Hall of Fame because of my wearing Kramer’s jersey. Now 2 years later we’re attending Jerry’s enshrinement together from Arizona.

Now we’re just 48 hours away as a 7 year march for TBT and a 46 year march for Jerry concludes Saturday evening. To watch Alicia and Daniel keep up the march from the Facebook page over the years has been special. Especially Alicia as I watched the movement grow from an idea to former players rallying and writing letters, even former Hall of Famers lending their names. Proud of all the work she put in and tirelessly worked toward. I am happy to have been a part of it as a weekend that at times felt would never arrive, is actually upon us.

There will definitely be a few glasses of wine to celebrate Jerry’s enshrinement. A lifetime achievement where he will be recognized as a giant of the game. He’s always been one… its just time for his official commencement. The Chancellor of Football will be boarding a plane in less than 24 hours. I just had to chronicle this before we gather in Canton.

Congratulations Jerry Kramer, you’re a Hall of Famer!

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The NFL’s New Anthem Policy Is Bullshit

So let me get this straight…. if a player takes a knee during the national anthem his team is assessed a 15 yard penalty before the game even starts?? That is easily the dumbest rule ever passed in the NFL and the owners should be ashamed of themselves.

A sport that has been nearly 70% black since the 1970 merger doesn’t care of the plight of it’s players or what they see in their communities. Nor what they experience. What started out with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality is growing into a watershed moment that hasn’t come to a head yet. He and his teammate S Eric Reid are both unsigned and taking the NFL to court on collusion charges.

Everyday on social media is another post of law enforcement beating, tasing, killing and outright harassing my people at an alarming rate. These racist gestapo tactics have been known in the black community for years, it’s just being recorded for all of America to see. Yet many in white America want to turn a blind eye and make (the protest) seem disrespectful to our military or to our country and defend law enforcement while hiding behind a veil of white privilege.

Why do they kneel?? Go ask a black friend of their experiences with law enforcement.

When it comes to the law enforcement community it has been overtly racist for years in the difference between how blacks are treated vs white. Ironically every one of the altercations you see daily on Facebook and Twitter are unarmed black men being assaulted by 4 or 5 cops every time. Over a tail light… or leaves on their car window or golfing too slow. Yet not one white armed mass shooter has been taken into custody roughed up. Why not?? You’re judge jury and executioner whenever someone black has a tail light out.

When the officer who shot and killed Philando Castille was acquitted Kaepernick was in the spotlight again on police reform when he tweeted:

harkening back to a not to distant past how law enforcement tactics in the U.S. and their treatment of blacks was borne of the old slave patrols. Yet through the years many law enforcement agents were in the KKK. How do we know this?? Fifty years ago J.B. Stoner, Grand Wizard of the KKK, told Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad cryptically ““In the future we would not wear the white robe, or the white hooded sheets, but we will be in the police department, we will be in politics, we will be in the courts”

In the documentary “OJ Made In America” during the 1st part they offered:

 

In 2006 PBS had a special on the FBI as they warned white supremacists had infiltrated all of local law enforcement. Its purpose is to disrupt investigations against their members and to recruit new members. With all of this going on people still want to turn a blind eye to all these racist tactics that go against the freedom we profess to have in the United States. Well unless if you’re black and want to exercise your 1st amendment right and peacefully protest at the beginning of a football game.

In the future when we look back at these tumultuous times we will remember Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid as heroes. They are having to sacrifice the same as Tommie Smith and John Carlos did after their 1968 Olympic protests. In 1964 when the AFL’s black all stars decided to boycott the game in New Orleans and caused the game to be moved to Jeppeson Stadium in Houston. Forgotten is the fact KC Chief RB Abner Haynes & RB Cookie Gilchrist were blackballed after being traded from their teams in the aftermath. In 50 years….nothing has changed.

Malcolm X once opined “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Not here at Taylor Blitz Times… never in a million years. All these owners took a weak way out and got Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins to sell out his brothers to try to quell the protest. Its why Reid and several prominent players walked away from the coalition.

The owners decided to offer money to several charities black players cared about as more hush money than anything else. Now they should have stood by their players causes and they didn’t. Just as nefarious as the concussion settlement of $865 million dollars, its a p.r. move as families of former players have had to fight tooth and nail with their claims. Where the owners could have shed their privilege and used their power to influence societal change. They chose to uphold the status quo.

The best thing all black NFL players should do is all protest and take a knee together at the beginning of this next season. To be forced to stand at the National Anthem seems patriotic until you look up and vendors are still selling concessions while it’s being played. Fans are still walking around the mezzanine so it’s never been about patriotism. Its just a white privilege pivot to not pay attention to these racial atrocities taking place on American streets. If this is the land of the free we’ll find that out when Reid and Kaepernick have their day in court.

Until then lets all take a knee in solidarity.

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The 2017 Taylor Blitz Times Offensive MVP: Carson Wentz

As we near the end of another NFL season, it’s time to hand out the accolades for those players who made the season. For the second straight season the best offensive player didn’t finish the regular stanza. Yet Carson Wentz is deserving of this award as he guided the Philadelphia Eagles to the best record and homefield advantage throughout the 2017 NFC playoffs.

The fact the Eagles are in Super Bowl LII with replacement Nick Foles at QB is a testament to Coach Pederson adjusting the gameplan to their strengths.

Keep in mind Wentz had an All Pro season completing 265 of 440 throws for 3,296 yards 33 TDs to just 7 interceptions while losing a star Tackle in Jason Peters and RB Darren Sproles. He breathed confidence in his offense and during his 11-2 record before his injury, the Eagles had scored 404 points or averaging 31.7 ppg. He finished 2nd in the NFL in touchdown passes to Russell Wilson (34-33) even though he missed the last 3 games. Carson was on pace for 40 TDs and had the Iggles doing the “Electric Slide” at the 2 minute warning with games well in hand.

With all eyes on Wentz he came through in big wins against Carolina and a 51 point outburst on Denver and the “No Fly Zone.” He saved the best for last with the grit he showed against the Rams in the showcase game of the season.

On a late season road trip where many NFL observers still questioned the Eagles legitimacy. Rumblings continued after a 24-10 prime time Sunday night loss in Seattle. The high flying offense which scored over 30 points in 6 of their last 7 games looked overwhelmed that night. Now at 10-2 they had to travel to Los Angeles (9-3) to play another rising team in the Rams. The winner of this game would have to be taken serious with homefield advantage looming.

After spotting the Rams an early 7-0 lead, Wentz took control tossing 3 TDs on 3 straight possessions taking a 24-10 halftime lead.  Wentz injured his knee late in the 3rd quarter when he was sandwiched near the goal line trying to score. Although he tore ligaments in his knee he stayed on the field to throw his 4th TD before giving way to Nick Foles. Carson would finish 23 of 41 for 291 yards 4 TDs out-dueling fellow 2nd year QB Jared Goff in a 43-35 win.

That win helped cement the Eagles belief they could finish off the Rams who rallied furiously in that game. That inspired belief carried the team through the doubters now circling to say the team would lose in the postseason without him. This is what makes an MVP in our eyes and now this team is playing in Super Bowl LII.

Tomorrow the Eagles would have a better chance to win with Wentz on the field, however they wouldn’t have made it there without him. Fly Eagles Fly!

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What Would Bill Walsh Say??

In Dcecember of 2016 NFL Films presented “A Letter to Bill Walsh” by Professor Harry Edwards… What would he say to the Colin Kaepernick protest?? Before spouting nonsense…watch the vid of one of his best friends and confidant who organized the boycott of the Olympic Games of 1968 in Mexico City. Edwards still works for the 49ers and u can see him on the sidelines and in the locker room of every San Francisco 49er Super Bowl win. Then it got me to thinking “What would my Hall of Fame trip in August been like had he been there?” Sharing his connections of each inductee

It would have been great had he been alive for the last Hall of Fame ceremony and to have met him. He had links to so many who were enshrined. The 1st being Eddie Debartolo, former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, who gave him the coaching job he deserved.

hofticketHe would have mingled with all the former 49ers who were in attendance and partied all week. He would have obviously shared stories with his former offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren, whom I did meet right after his QB Brett Favre had just given his induction speech. What stories would they have shared?? I saw Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, and bumped into Brent Jones as I entered the Hall of Fame ceremony walking and joking with SS Carlton Williamson off his 1st 2 49er championship teams.

He would have had a blast talking to friend and fellow Northern Californian Dick Vermeil. Of course he was in town for the enshrinement of T Orlando Pace of his Greatest Show on Turf Rams. They were coaching confidants for decades. When Walsh first struggled with the 49ers, Dick was one of the coaches he leaned on. Who kept telling him to “hang in there” as revealed in a 2000 interview with NFL Films. Vermeil, I got the chance to share a laugh and a joke with in the Atlanta airport waiting for our connecting flight to Canton.

Had he been there with me at the time… he could have shared that laugh as Vermeil introduced me to Kevin Greene’s parents sitting next to him. It was Walsh’s failure to block Greene when he had that 4 1/2 sack performance on a Sunday Night to put him on the NFL map in Walsh’s last Super Bowl season in 1988.

Had Bill Walsh been there it would be great to wish Dick Stanfel had been as well. Remember “The Fridge” when Mike Ditka put a defensive tackle in at running back to pay back San Francisco in the 80s?? Well it was Stanfel’s defensive line of the Chicago Bears in the 1984 NFC Championship Game where he put Guard Guy McIntyre in the backfield as an additional blocker. I got to share a couple stories with Bears DT Tyrone Keyes about those glory days hanging in the Canton airport with Hall of Fame LB Ricky “Dome Patrol” Jackson. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to hear all those great stories they would have told had he been there.

stabler-crestI know he would have definitely had a lot to share with all the former Raiders in town for Ken Stabler’s enshrinement. Walsh, Madden, and Stabler were all Bay area legends. It was the Raiders legacy he was chasing all those years in San Francisco. Working to make the 49ers a perennial winner. Fighting for respect from the Bay area press..

Then you have Tony Dungy…one of the first coaches to have come up through the Minority Coaching Fellowship program he founded. Now here he was…the 1st black head coach to win a Super Bowl who was going into the Hall of Fame having coached in much the same temperament as Walsh.

hofdungyspeechCould you imagine the stories he could have shared with all those former LA Rams in attendance?? Certain elements of game plans of what to do against specific Rams they had to game plan for. All those 49ers and Rams were sitting not too far from one another…

Had Bill Walsh been there and broken away from the week long 49er party ( I still haven’t seen Gary Plummer since the Gold Jacket night…lol) could u imagine the game plan stories he could have shared at Gervasi Vineyard as everyone had wine at Kevin’s post enshrinement with all those former Rams?? What questions would they have had for Walsh?? What stories would he have shared??

Bill Walsh had links to everyone who was enshrined this year off the top of my head except Marvin Harrison. There has to be a link there somewhere…just hadn’t thought of it yet..

Joe Montana and Bill Walsh are linked forever in football lore.

Joe Montana and Bill Walsh are linked forever in football lore.

Could you imagine the fun had he been there for Canton this last August?? I definitely would have found him and shook his hand… however Walsh, Stanfel, Al Davis and Snake were up there looking down…smiling…and sharing stories of their own.

What would they have been sharing???

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