Tackling at its finest .
I’m sure many of us remember Terence Newman being referred to as a human-hurdle against the New York Giants, but Newman hasn’t always been a scrub throughout his football career. He was actually a pretty damn good corner until his age caught up to him. Back when Newman was at Kansas State, he was actually the top corner coming out of college. He was a First-Team All-American in 2002 and even brought home the Jim Thorpe Award. This resulted in him being the 5th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Although, Newman hasn’t panned out to be the shut down corner many Cowboys fans envisioned him to be, Newman has had his moments wearing the star. During his first four seasons in the NFL, he was actually one of the top corners as well. In 2005, Newman finished the season not having allowed a single passing touchdown. Not many cornerbacks in the NFL can say that. He also had a great season in 2007, making the Pro Bowl and helped led the Cowboys to a 14-2 regular season record.
It seems like that Newman is long gone.
The Newman we are accustomed to seeing now probably couldn’t cover a receiver from the practice squad at this point. As the seasons have flown by, Newman’s game was regressed in huge strides. Now the opposing receivers are stoked when they see Newman lined up across from them because they know they’ll either make a play or draw a flag. Newman, repeatedly, gives receivers ten-yard cushions when it’s 3rd and short, giving up first downs. Not to mention, he tackles like he’s playing flag-football.
Football Outsider ranked Newman as the 74th ranked corner in the 2010 season, and it didn’t get much better in 2011.
Terence Newman may have had a few good seasons in Dallas, but he definitely didn’t pan out as the “shut down” corner he was supposed to be. As a top five pick, I would have liked to have seen more consecutive seasons of high-caliber play. I expect the Dallas Cowboys and Newman to part ways after last season’s debacle. Sorry bud, but it’s about time to hang em’ up.
With the snap of a finger, Bruce Pearl goes from coaching college basketball to marketing grocery stores.
Today, ex-Tennessee men’s head basketball coach has decided to take a break from the game and has joined H.T. Hackney (a wholesale grocery company) as their VP of marketing. It’s a bummer to see Bruce Pearl have to take this route but you can’t blame him. Bruce was recently smacked with a 3-year penalty by the NCCA for not being truthful regarding a backyard cookout at his house in 2008 which included high school recruits on an unofficial visit. This penalty by the NCAA kills his chances of landing any kind of job within that 3-year time frame. It also doesn’t help his chances when regardless of where Pearl coaches, he isn’t allowed any contact with recruits within that 3-year time frame. Yeah, good luck finding another NCAA job right now. Although Bruce was offered a head coaching job for the Dallas Mavericks D-League franchise, Texas Legends, he decided to take a different route.
I’ll say, I have always thought highly of coach Pearl. As a coach, he knows his stuff. Pearl has been able to turn around every program he has touched. He won South Indiana the Div. II Championship and took Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the dance for the first time in its school history in 03’ and 05’. 2005 capped the Panthers best season in school history as they reached the Sweet 16 and finished the season ranked 23th. Since he took over the Volunteers, he has always had them in tournament contention and nationally ranked. The thing I will remember Pearl for will be his antics on the court in support of Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols. I remember one time he appeared at one of their games shirtless with orange body paint and led chants for the student body. Then, Summitt returned the favor for showing up at one of the men’s games in a cheer leading outfit. How cool is that? You don’t see that too often. I thought it was awesome how the men’s and women’s programs supported each other in that sort of fashion. It’ll be interesting to see if Bruce does decide to come back to coaching in three years and what program will give him a shot. Till then, continue to rock that orange suit at H.T. Hackney’s.
Barcelona 2005-06 Champions League Winners
Remember this guy? At one point, he was arguably the best soccer player on the planet. Ronaldinho “Gaucho “was one of the biggest names in soccer. Key word being was. Ronaldinho started his career as a teenager for the Brazilian club Gremio before making a move to the French club Paris-Saint Germain. He flourished with the club as he led his side to the 2002-03 Coupe de France finals (losing 1-2 to Auxerre), scoring both goals in the semis over Bordeaux (2-0). He earned his way onto the Brazilian national squad in the 2002 Japan/South Korea World Cup which they won, defeating Germany 2-0 in the finals. In 2003, Ronaldinho left his French side for the giants of Barcelona. This is where he established himself among the best. Ronaldinho won World Player of the Year back to back times in 2004 and 2005, leading Barcelona to a Champions League title in 2005-06. His style of play, “joga bonito”, made soccer more exciting. There were many times in which I would YouTube Ronaldinho and attempt to copy his step-overs. His technique and creativity was something special to see. At the time, there was nobody in soccer who came close to the footwork and ball-control he possessed. He had the total offensive arsenal. The buck-toothed footballer was the guy everyone wanted to see.
What about now? When I think of soccer, I rarely think of Ronaldinho’s name anymore. Some people probably forgot he still even played soccer. What went wrong? The partying, fame, and women slowly affected Ronaldinho‘s career. He even began to miss or be tardy for some of his team meetings due to partying. There were accusations that Ronaldinho was involved in multiple orgies and linked to a sex hotel. Many off-the-field issues began to pile up against him. He began to show disinterest in the game and lacked dedication. He eventually developed a drinking problem which resulted to him becoming out of shape. He hasn’t been able to get back into form and regain the quickness we were used to seeing. He slowly worked his way out of Barcelona and the Brazilian national team.
Is the match finished yet? I'm ready to party!
Where has Ronaldinho been since his departure from Barcelona? Good question. In 2008, Ronaldinho joined AC Milan on a three-year contact. He had a very good first season, but he later found himself on the bench as he had problems with his fitness the following season. He fell in and out of first team rotation and had trouble getting consistent playing time. He has also had problems staying healthy all season. His stint at AC Milan turned out to be a short one as Ronaldinho announced that he will be leaving Milan to return to his old Brazilian club, Gremio this month. Ronaldinho hasn’t been in the same form in years and has clearly lost a step. It is quite amazing how quickly this guy has fallen off the map. The Brazilian is only 30 years old! He clearly paid the toll for his over-partying lifestyle. Gaucho still has hopes of making Brazilian World Cup squad for 2014, but in my opinion, that’s going to be a long shot. Way to cut your soccer career short with your selfish lifestyle. Ronaldinho, you are now our Has Been of the Month.
Oh, Daunte Culpepper, how quickly you fell from the top. After a stellar 4 years at UCF, he was drafted 11th pick overall by the Minnesota Vikings. He didn’t play during his rookie year, but ended up starting his sophomore year and made it count, passing for over 3,900 yards with 33 TDs and only 16 INTs with many of those yards and TDs going to Randy Moss. He did so well he made the Madden video game cover for the 2002 season. However, he hit a bit of a rough patch the next 2 seasons before returning to prime form the following 2 seasons. However, after being named All Pro in 2004, after a season of 39 TDs and 11 INTs, Culpepper was never the same. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2006, but never lived up to expectations, frequently being booed and even some people asking him to be benched in favor of Joey Harrington. After his 1 season in Miami, Oakland gave him a shot, hoping his downfield passing would jump-start his career again. It didn’t, and he ended up getting cut midseason. Before the 2008 season, Culpepper retired from football only to come back and serve as the backup for the Detroit Lions. He was given a chance to start in 2 seasons, but still was terrible and has the dubious honor of saying he was part of the team in 2008 that went winless the entire season. Where is he now you may ask? Well, Culpepper is playing in the UFL for the Sacramento Mountain Lions which has served in some ways as a minor league system for the NFL. His stats from this most recent season? 1,732 yards passing, 9 TDs, 11 INTs, with a QB rating of 73. Despite a promising start to his career, Culpepper fell off hard and was never the same, earning him our spot as December’s Has Been Of The Month.
Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (21-8, former UFC Light heavyweight Champion)
Whenever you think of the UFC, Chuck Liddell is one of the first things that comes to mind. Chuck started practicing Koei-Kan Karate at an early age and also wrestled during his time in college at California Polytechnic State University. He first fought in the UFC in May 1998 and won via unanimous decision. He was submitted in his next UFC fight before winning his next 7 UFC fights and got a shot at the interim light heavyweight belt against Randy Couture. He lost late in the third round, but at that point he had built a reputation in the UFC as a dangerous knockout fighter and because of this he had a massive target on him. This was evident in his next fights against Tito Ortiz and Vernon White. Both entered cocky and over-confident that they could take out The Iceman, but both fighters ended up unconscious on the mat. He got another shot at the belt and made the most of it by knocking out Couture in 2 minutes. The fight had barely started and the Iceman connected with a right to become champion. Chuck went on to defend his belt 4 more times ending all the fights by TKO or KO. His last successful title defense against Tito Ortiz was one of the most lucrative MMA events ever and also had over 1 million Pay-Per-View buys.
All good things come to an end and in his next fight, Chuck was knocked out by Quintin Rampage Jackson in just 2 minutes. Chuck has always been known to have an iron chin and toughness, but this was the first fight he looked vulnerable. He lost a tough decision before squeaking out a decision over Wanderlei Silva. However, that was the last time Chuck Liddell would ever win in the octagon. Since then, he’s been knocked out 3 times by 3 top fighters, most recently by Rich Franklin despite breaking his arm mid-fight. His dedication has been questioned as he’s explored other opportunities such as acting (guest starred in Entourage, Dancing With The Stars). It’s unseen if Chuck Liddell will ever fight again in the UFC and rightfully so. Tito Ortiz might talk him into it, but he shouldn’t take it. He’s synonymous with the UFC and MMA as he’s one of the best lightweights to ever step into the octagon, but he’s tried extending his career too long and he’s ended up paying for it dearly. He’s still a Hall-of-Famer, and is part of the reason why UFC has become what it is today, but his legacy could have been much more if he would have ended his career years ago. This is what earns him a spot as our first ever has been.