2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Please, let’s get this straight: Elway is not jealous of Tebow

    Tue, November 29, 2011 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    One of the best things  about Tebow-mania is the conversation it has inspired. You can sit down with virtually anyone in Colorado – or anywhere, for that matter – and bring up Tebow and off you go. Everyone has an opinion about his throwing motion and his brand of Christianity and his looks and his leadership skills and his future.

    But there are outlandish, ridiculous sides to the discussion.

    One of those silly sides is the idea that Broncos guru John Elway is jealous of Tebow. Or feels threatened by Tebow. Or secretly wants Tebow to fail.

    Please.

    Elway carried the Broncos to five Super Bowls. He’s often mocked for losses in his first three trips, but, really, those journeys were his finest hours. He lifted three limited teams to football’s Ultimate Game.

    He ended his career with consecutive Super Bowl victories. His walk into the sunset after the Broncos defeated the Falcons to end the 1998 season remains the greatest farewell in sports history.

    He’s one of the top dozen football players to ever walk our planet. He has no reason to be wary of Tebow, who can only aid Elway in sweetening his Broncos legacy.

    Let’s get this straight. Right here. Right now. Let’s bury this forever.

    Elway is not jealous of Tebow. He is not threatened by Tebow. He is not secretly wishing for Tebow to fail.

    He has been properly critical and skeptical of Tebow. Yes, Tebow is revealing himself as a special player, a winner despite his flaws, an inspirational leader despite being the biggest square in the NFL.

    But Tebow still requires improvement.  If he’s going find long-term success, Tebow must improve his accuracy and his delivery and his performance on third downs. That’s obvious to anyone paying attention.

    And that includes Elway.

    I get e-mails and phone messages all the time from readers convinced Elway is jealous of Tebow.

    Nothing – well, almost  nothing – could be more ridiculous.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

     

     

  • Jake Plummer speaks truth about Tim Tebow

    Tue, November 22, 2011 by David Ramsey with 9 comments

    Jake Plummer is one of the most underrated athletes in Colorado sports history.  He rode into town to help repair a tattered franchise and he got run out of town even after he did a nice repair job.

    Mike Shanahan never truly warmed up to him, and neither did Denver fans. Jake’s penchant for reckless, goofy behavior – flipping off a fan, getting involved in a traffic altercation in Englewood, snarling weekly at the media – served as a smokescreen for his considerable accomplishments. Jake did not major in public relations at Arizona State. That was obvious.

    But he’s a truth teller, and much of what he has to say about Tim Tebow is the truth.

    It’s refreshing that Tebow is comfortable in his Christian faith.

    It’s getting a little old that Tebow has to remind everyone of his Christian faith several times a game. That’s Jake’s view. That’s my view.

    Here’s what Plummer had to say to Phoenix radio station XTRA Sport 910:

    “Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him.  I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better.  I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff…like you know, I understand, dude, where you’re coming from … but he is a baller. He knows how to win and when your teammates believe in you that you can do good things and that’s what they are doing. They are winning. That’s fun to see.”

    For Tebow’s response:

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/22/tebow-to-plummer-ill-take-every-opportunity-to-praise-the-lord/

     

     

     

  • Tebow delivers thrills, even to an aged, jaded, weary sports writer

    Fri, November 18, 2011 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    Taylor Good meets her favorite Bronco

    Let me come clean:

    Traveling to Broncos games is fun, especially for me. I can see my majestic high school (Denver South) from the pressbox. I can see the neighborhood where I grew up. I can think back to afternoons spent in the stands at the old Mile High in the 1970s.

    Thursday night brought an avalanche of joy to fans all over The Front Range. The Broncos defense was stingy and properly violent, but the night belonged, of course, to Tim Tebow. The 95-yard drive that carried the Broncos to victory ranks right up there with the most dazzling Broncos moments I’ve witnessed.

    I’ve been watching the Broncos faithfully since 1971. That’s 40 seasons.

    Sports writers often get accused of being cynical, and sometimes the accusation might be true. More often, it’s false.

    We – and I mean sports writers – embrace a good story the same way everyone else embraces a good story.

    And there’s no better story right now in sports than Tebow. He’s unorthodox. He looks awful one series and sent from the heavens on the next. He’s better – much better – when the game is tense and close. He’s seldom boring.

    I’ve been skeptical about Tebow. If you’ve read me much at all the past few months, you already know this.

    But my skepticism doesn’t mean I’m rooting against Tebow. Sports writers seldom root against athletes. We express our doubts, but we live in the moment just like everybody else. We can’t see the future. We have no control over the future.

    Tebow controls his future, and there’s every reason to hope. Right now, he’s doing a magnificent job of managing the present tense.

    Colorado is my home state, and the Broncos have been part of my life for four decades.

    Did my heart jump – just a little – when Tebow rampaged into the end zone?

    Sure it did.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

     

     

     

     

  • CC’s Scott Owens, a lifelong Green Bay fan, has interesting hope for his soaring Packers

    Thu, November 17, 2011 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Scott Owens is a native of Wisconsin, so it goes without saying that he’s a lifelong Packers fan.

    But he’s worried about the Super Bowl champs, who are currently rampaging through the National Football League.

    He believes the Packers are enjoying too much success, too much domination, too much fun.

    He wants to see his favorite team encounter adversity. He even wants to see the Packers – gasp! – lose a regular-season game to toughen them up for the playoffs.

    I can see his point. The best thing that could have happened to the 1998 Broncos, who were also ridiculously loaded with talent, were the two consecutive losses they suffered toward the end of the season.

    The Broncos lost to the Giants and the Dolphins, and after those defeats Denver’s opponents had no chance. The Broncos rampaged to a Super Bowl title.

    Owens is hoping for the same fate for his Packers. This is a wise hope. He’s right; Green Bay needs to encounter adversity. It’s been easy, too easy, so far for the champs.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

  • Yes, Tebow-mania is fun, but some corners of the mania are getting tiresome

    Wed, November 16, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    I’m enjoying Tebow-mania. If you want to start a conversation with anyone in Colorado – or any football fan in America – just bring up Tebow and off you go.

    But there are parts of the mania that are getting old.

    Just because “a handful” of fans are wearing No.  15s with “Jesus” on the nametag doesn’t mean there’s some kind of full-blown blasphemy going  on here in Colorado.

    It just means “a handful” of fans have figured out the best way to seize attention. Have you seen a Jesus jersey? Didn’t think so. Neither have I.

    Besides, Jesus would not wear No. 15. He would be wise enough to wear No. 7.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz

     

  • What’s gone wrong with the football Falcons? Let me hear from you

    Tue, November 15, 2011 by David Ramsey with 22 comments

    Air Force’s football team is 5-5, but that mediocre record is not, when you take a close look, even mediocre.

    The Falcons have defeated two Subdivision teams (Tennessee State and South Dakota State) and New Mexico (which belongs somewhere below the Subdivision) and Army and Navy.  The Falcons struggled mightily against their service-academy brethren. They were lucky, extremely lucky, to win both games.

    Air Force still appears on its way to a bowl game, which only shows there are far too many bowl games.

    What happened to this season of promise? I have my own answers to that question. I’ll be writing about the collapse in a column next week.

    Your thoughts? Please, let me know.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll  join me.

  • Here’s yet another fun letter from a nameless reader about Tebow

    Thu, November 10, 2011 by David Ramsey with 5 comments

    Tim Tebow inspires some strange, unhinged feelings.

    Want proof? Check out this letter I received today from a Tebow fan.

    The “you don’t like Tim Tebow because he’s a Christian” has quickly become one of the tired and tiring lines of reasoning ever devised.

    This letter reveals once again the ridiculous notion that Christians are persecuted in the United States, a nation where 85 percent of the residents say they are Christian.

    “I noticed you haven’t had your usual left wing attack on Tebow.  Could it be because he lead his team to victory.  If he were some gang banger you would love him.  Guess because he is a Christian, you have to try and destroy him.  I have read your column for a long time.  You are one of the most negative people writing a sports column.  I am sure you haven’t had much experience as a coach.  Why don’t you go out and get a real job instead of trying to destroy a good kid because he is a Christian.”

    Yes, I have a real soft spot for gang bangers.

     

  • Taking a break from the blog life; plan to return Thursday

    Tue, November 8, 2011 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I’m planning to post again on Thursday.

     

  • Remembering the legend of Army’s Glenn Davis, who might be college football’s all-time best running back

    Fri, November 4, 2011 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    My father loved football – and loved is the right word – and when I was in grade school he talked often about the heroes of his youth – SMU’s Doak Walker, Michigan’s Tom Harmon and, especially, Army’s Glenn Davis.

    Baseball is a game that often seems stuck in yesterday. Football is just as stuck in the present.  Babe Ruth is immortal. Glenn Davis is, unfortunately, largely  forgotten.

    And that’s not right.

    I was a thrill  for me to talk with Davis in 1985 for a feature. I also talked with Army’s legendary coach Red Blaik, who told me Davis was an astonishingly talented player.

    Davis played for Army in the 1940s, when Blaik had built the nation’s most powerful football  program. In three seasons, 1944-46, Davis rushed for 59 touchdowns and a mind-boggling 8.26 yards per carry. He scored every nine times he touched the football. In 1945, Davis carried a mere 82 times … for 944 yards and an 11.5 yards-per-carry average.

    Skip Scott played in the same backfield with Davis. Scott served as Air Force’s superintendent from 1983-87 (he hired Fisher DeBerry), and he recently talked with me about his memories of Davis.

    “Absolutely the best athlete I have ever seen, bar none,” Scott said. “Never seen an athlete like him.”

    Scott was not exaggerating. Davis hit .403 for Army’s baseball team and collected 64 steals in 65 attempts. He was Army’s fastest freestyle swimmer. He was a solid basketball guard. He could have become an Olympic-level sprinter if he had trained.

    He suffered a severe knee injury while shooting a movie about his life. This injury prohibited him from becoming a star in the still-infant NFL.

    What I remember most about Davis was his extreme, endearing modesty. We talked for 30 minutes in 1985. I wanted to talk about Glenn Davis.  He wanted to talk about anything else but Glenn Davis. He had won the Heisman Trophy, dated the youthful Elizabeth Taylor, risen to the status of football legend.

    Somehow, he remained humble. He said Blaik was giving him too much credit. He said  he never understood all the fuss.

    When you talk about the greatest running backs in college football history, you have to talk about O.J. Simpson. Bad guy, yes, but an absolutely spectacular runner for USC. You have to talk about Barry Sanders. You have to talk about Herschel Walker. You have to talk about Billy Sims. And – yes, Frank Schwab – Ron Dayne belongs on this list.

    Please, don’t ever make the mistake of not bringing Glenn Davis into the discussion.

    Yes, he played a long time ago, but that shouldn’t matter.

    “Among these modern athletes,” Skip Scott told me, “Glenn would still shine.”

    And that’s the truth.

  • To my friends at TCU: Yes, Dalton is enjoying strong season, but, please, let’s not get carried away

    Thu, November 3, 2011 by David Ramsey with 3 comments

    As the NFL draft approached earlier this year, I saw a need to speak up about TCU’s Andy Dalton. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was smitten with Dalton, and he wrote that the former Horned Frog should go in the top 15 picks.

    King’s view of Dalton, I wrote, was wildly overinflated. Dalton was not worth a 1st-round pick. Dalton was not a future NFL starter.

    That’s what I wrote, and I’m man enough to admit it. Didn’t believe Dalton would find success in the NFL. Had seen him play all four years at TCU and believed him to be a system QB. Nice for his college team. Not so nice for an NFL team.

    This is what I do for a living. I express my opinion about sports. Sometimes I’m right.

    And sometimes I’m wrong.

    Hear a few times a week from TCU fans who demand I express my deep sorrow for being wrong about Dalton.

    I’m not deeply sorrowful, but here goes:

    Dalton is starting for the Bengals, who have shocked the football world by jumping to a 5-2 start. He’s doing a nice job of leading the Bengals revival, which may or may not last. The Bengals last three wins have come over teams with a combined 4-19 record.

    So, hey, I was incorrect about Dalton. When I saw him play against the Broncos, he impressed me. Didn’t dazzle me. Did impress me.

    When I questioned Dalton’s future in the spring, several blinded-by-love TCU fans compared Dalton to Roger Staubach and Joe Montana. (Not making  this up.)

    Let’s look at Dalton’s numbers:

    He’s ranked No. 18 overall in the NFL quarterback rankings (right behind the benched, washed-up Donovan McNabb, who’s my fellow Syracuse alum if not my good friend) with an 82.7 quarterback rating. Dalton is not the second coming of Tom Brady. (Or Staubach. Or Montana.) He’s an efficient, no-nonsense quarterback.

    No doubt, he’s a winner. In his last 33 starts, Dalton has won 30 times.

    So there, TCU fans. Have seen the light about Dalton. Haven’t been blinded by the light, like many of you, but have seen it.

    Realize this blog post might mean TCU fans will  quit pestering me and start pestering somebody else. That’s really too bad. Enjoy hearing from my TCU friends almost as much as I enjoy hearing my good friends from Navy and my especially wonderful friends from BYU.

    Hearing from my TCU friends is one of the great highlights of my life. It really is.

    I’m on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me: @davidramz