• Broncos: Sports Illustrated preparing profile of Floyd Little

    Fri, April 30, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Former Broncos great Floyd Little told me he recently spent several days with Sports Illustrated feature writer Gary Smith. The magazine, Little said, is preparing a profile that will run in connection to Little’s August induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Smith isn’t your typical sports writer. His profiles are quirky, detailed and extremely intense. At times, Smith seems more a psychologist than a reporter. When Smith is at his best, he’s one of the finest sports writers ever.

    Here’s my favorite Smith profile, a look at Dick Vermeil. This one is nearly 27 years old, and was written before Smith used a more straight-forward style:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1120651/index.htm

  • Nuggets: Nene injury update

    Thu, April 29, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Nene did not suffer a tear to his ACL.

    He has a sprain. He might return if the Nuggets can extend their season. He won’t play in Friday’s ultra-crucial game against the Utah Jazz.

    For once, he’s enjoying some decent luck.

  • Nuggets: Nene faces yet another obstacle

    Thu, April 29, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Nene, the Nuggets mountain of a power forward, has survived cancer and major knee surgery.

    And it appears his troubles aren’t over.

    After Wednesday’s win over the Utah Jazz, the Nuggets were wondering if Nene had suffered another major knee injury.

    He’s been the ultimate survivor. He’s refused to complain about all his bad luck.

    He might be facing another obstacle.

  • Nuggets: This series has been the Sloan show

    Tue, April 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Jerry Sloan has dominated this Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz series.

    The coach of the Jazz has been the prime personality of a not-very-exciting series. He’s lifted a limited, injured team to a 3-1 advantage in this best-of-seven series, and nobody I know believes the series will last seven games.

    The Nuggets are squabbling and lost. The Jazz are blending like brothers as they march toward the second round of the playoffs. The Nuggets play disinterested, disorganized defense. The Jazz play swarming, stalking defense.

    The Jazz don’t have anyone to cover Carmelo Anthony, but Sloan devised a plan to solve that problem. He’s silenced every other Nugget, and advised his defenders to fall to the ground at the merest hint of contact from Anthony. The flopping is irritating to anyone who cares about the game of basketball, but it’s also highly effective. Sloan is employing his hard-earned influence with officials – he is a near legend, after all – to torment Carmelo.

    The Nuggets look doomed. The Jazz look ready to contend for a journey to the NBA Finals.

    Sloan is one of the great coaches in NBA history. You can always count on his teams playing basic basketball. The Jazz set picks and hustle on defense and pass the ball and in general ignore the me-first approach that pollutes modern basketball. The Jazz fully deserve to be sitting where they sit in this series. The Nuggets have been dominated by a team playing a primitive, inspiring brand of basketball.

    Sloan has never been given the credit he deserves. Sloan isn’t flashy. Sloan is hidden away in one of the NBA’s smallest markets. And Sloan has never won a title.

    But he’s a great coach, trailing only Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach and a very few others.

    He’s the prime reason the Jazz are roaring.

  • Broncos: Go ahead, make your own Tebow comparison

    Mon, April 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    Had more than a few readers express their disagreement with my view that Tim Tebow is quite similar to former Colorado State star Brad Van Pelt.

    So, let me throw open the discussion.

    Make your own comparison.

    I’ve heard from readers who say Tebow reminds them of Fran Tarkenton (Tebow is about 50 pounds heavier), and Roger Staubach (Roger was a better college passer), and John Elway (funniest thing I heard last week), and Donovan McNabb.

    Wait a minute. McNabb is a solid comparison, although Donovan, like Roger, was a pass-first college player. But McNabb is quite similar to Tebow in size and on-field personality.

    Any other comparisons? Love to hear them.

  • Avs: It’s going to take some time to savor the positives

    Sun, April 25, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Paul Stastny realizes his Colorado Avalanche flew much higher than expected, but he’s far from ready to savor his team’s surprising season.

    “It’s going to take a couple months,” Stastny said Saturday night a few minute after the Avs season-ending loss. “Right now, I’m looking back at seven months of work being done in one day. It’s going to take a couple months.”

    The Avalanche were expected to continue the franchise’s recent tumble. Instead, an extremely young team made the playoffs and put a scare into the San Jose Sharks.

    “We expected to win this year,” said goaltender Craig Anderson. “We knew what we had in this locker room.”

  • Broncos: A strange – very strange – look at Tim Tebow

    Sat, April 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Check out one of the weirdest sentences ever written by a sports writer.

    Check that. This is the weirdest sentence ever written by a sports writer.

    Don’t want to give away all the weirdness, but the wild times begin with the phrase “make him a missionary …”

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/13276708/broncos-will-regret-falling-for-tebows-goodguy-reputation?tag=pageRow;pageContainer

  • Broncos: More on Van Pelt-Tebow comparison

    Fri, April 23, 2010 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    Had a few readers offended by my comparison of Tim Tebow to former Colorado State star – and Broncos bench-sitter – Bradlee Van Pelt.

    Let’s get this straight:

    Van Pelt was a superb college football player. He didn’t craft a Tebow-like college career. He didn’t lead the Rams to two national titles. He didn’t become a state folk hero.

    He only came close.

    He did deliver quite a show, collecting 8,439 yards of total offense in 34 starts. He was the eighth quarterback in NCAA Division I history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 yards. He passed for 6,165 yards and rushed for 2,274 yards for the Rams.

    He’s a terrific athlete. He starred on his high school football and soccer team. He ran a 4.77 40 with a 32-inch vertical jump.

    Former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry was a big Van Pelt fan.

    “The most competitive player I’ve ever coached against,” Fisher told me in 2004.

    Remember, DeBerry had been coaching since 1968, when Lyndon Baines Johnson resided at The White House.

    Van Pelt was one of the better running quarterbacks in college football history. Van Pelt was an inspirational leader. Van Pelt was tough, declining to run out-of-bounds when he encountered a menacing linebacker.  He wasn’t an intelligent coward. He was brave and foolhardy.

    Van Pelt was a powerful, elusive runner. Van Pelt was a decent passer.

    So, I’ll say it again.

    Tim Tebow reminds me of Bradlee Van Pelt.

  • Ben Roethlisberger, Samson and a happy day in Fort Collins

    Thu, April 22, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Ben Roethlisberger had a towel wrapped around his head to protect himself from the Colorado sunshine. He was staring at the foothills  outside Fort Collins, smiling on one of the many of his fine football afternoons.

    “What a great place,” Roethlisberger said. “I like it here.”

    It was Sept.  20, 2003, and Big Ben had just  led his Miami of Ohio teammates to a rout over  Colorado State. Roethlisberger had delivered such spectacular football theater that even Rams fans had to appreciate this quarterback who was big enough to play the line.

    Fans, over and over, complimented Roethlisberger, who was unfailingly polite. He gave credit to Jesus. He was impressively, if blandly, polite and modest.

    I was thinking about that happy afternoon when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced  he was suspending Roethlisberger for six games. Roethlisberger deserved the penalty from the  NFL – and a jail  sentence from Georgia authorities – after a disgusting sexual incident with a 20-year-old college student.

    Roethlisberger is from a deeply religious family. I met his father in Fort Collins, and the elder Roethlisberger also talked freely and frequently about giving all credit to Jesus. The Roethlisbergers obviously had been reading  their Bibles.

    Big Ben must know the story of Samson, and he also must know how much his current plight resembles the fall of Samson, one of the most fascinating villains of the Old Testament.

    Like Samson, Roethlisberger has been blessed with everything imaginable. And, also like Samson, Roethlisberger seems determined to throw away every one of those blessings.

    Samson ended his life blinded and defeated by his enemies. His inability to tame himself led to his spectacular demise. It was a tragic, agonizing ending to a story that had so much promise. Samson, mighty Samson, could not defeat himself.

    Roethlisberger has conquered every opponent on the football field.

    During his months of humiliation and exile, we’ll see if he can conquer the personal demons that dragged him so very low.

  • Nuggets: Can Denver find a way to slow down Deron?

    Tue, April 20, 2010 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Answer:

    I don’t think so.

    On Saturday, I wondered if the Jazz had anyone to cover Carmelo Anthony. They don’t, but that didn’t stop coach Jerry Sloan from using an old-fashioned, crafty approach to defending Carmelo.

    He instructed his defenders to fall down every chance they got and hope officials bought into the act.

    Great idea. The officials loved the show and kept blowing whistles in appreciation of the acting. Carmelo ended up fouling out after three offensive fouls.

    But turns out there’s another key defensive question for the series.

    The Nuggets have no one to cover Deron Williams. He’s too big, too fast, too determined.

    The Jazz still have almost no chance in this series. Utah is too depleed by injury to match up with the Nuggets.

    But Williams gives the team hope. He lifted his team to an improbable victory Monday night at Pepsi Center.

    And he has all the skills to keep doing that heavy lifting.