1967 Vikings: A Rare Draft Day Feast for Purple People Eaters.

Tweet Vikings Kept Throwing Draft Picks Overboard. Much to my surprise, the Minnesota Vikings own a terrible drafting track record.  People sometimes insert an old joke here about a team not failing, but not for a lack of trying.  In other words, they tried to be bad, but failed to achieve failure.  In the case of the Vikings, their poor track record rose from a lack of trying.  They managed…

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1983 Oilers: In Houston or In Tennessee, Always Incognito.

Tweet Tennessee is the groovy franchise: Always out of sight.   Under the great leadership of Pete Rozelle the NFL turned itself into a giant marketing machine.  On one hand, the marketing worked beyond anyone’s expectations in 1960, and the NFL now stands as the most economically successful professional sports league in the United States.  On the other hand, the charm of individual teams got lost as the overall league’s…

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Belichick’s Patriots: Game Day Great, Draft Day Okay

Tweet Belichick coaches above and beyond his mediocre drafting. For the record, 1977, 1992, and 1996 were all great drafts for the New England Patriots, and for the moment we’ll set aside the idea of 2000 being the greatest draft in Patriots history simply because they drafted Tom Brady.  Anytime a franchise drafts a Hall-of-Fame player that counts as at least a good draft, provided the franchise doesn’t pull a…

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1985 Bills: What the Hellestrae? A 4 Super Bowl Loss, 3 Ring Circus.

Tweet A Slow-Twitch Muscular Draft. Borrowing an idea from the world of human anatomy, Super Bowl teams can be divided into two groups, slow-twitch teams and fast-twitch teams.  Perhaps the ultimate slow-twitch team was the 1976 Oakland Raiders.   Al Davis began accumulating talented players in the early 1960’s in a rather slow and plodding way.  His team became a very good team and stayed that way for two decades, but…

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1991 Cowboys Catch 22 Rings, and Beat the ’71 and ’74 Steelers

Tweet Big Johnson Draft Rings in Jewelry for the Cowboys. When I look at the draft I both love and hate surprises.  For example, I began this project with the idea that the 1974 Steelers draft would undoubtedly be the best of all time, but I wanted to create an objective way of measuring success.  If drafting the most Hall of Fame players were the measuring stick, then the 1974…

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2004 Cardinals: Losses keep the Cardinals operating in the red.

Tweet Survival of the Fittest, or just the oldest? One of the enduring clichés of American sports is the idea of admiring and respecting the proud tradition of a given franchise.  An NBA or NFL team drafts a young player and he immediately talks about two things: nobody thought he could do it so he overcame his doubters, and he’s now thrilled to contribute to the proud legacy of the…

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1983 Bears: Bill Tobin’s Postman Rings Ten Times.

Tweet The Bears make a Dent in the draft. If anyone bothered to watch one of the tedious retrospective shows that ESPN produced about its own history, they inevitably saw the moment when Colts draft leader Bill Tobin declared that Mel Kuiper knew nothing more about the draft than Tobin’s postman.  ESPN attempted to describe the moment as a turning point in the history of not just ESPN, but of…

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#1 Picks: How good are the Vikings at choosing 32nd or earlier in the draft?

Tweet Are the Vikings in ship shape when 32 or earlier?   I randomly chose the Minnesota Vikings and ran the numbers on all of their first round picks taken in the Super Bowl era.  It should be noted that for this exercise, all picks taken 32 and earlier qualify as first round picks.  In 1967 the first round was only 26 picks, then Seattle and Tampa Bay made 28…

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1977 Raiders: Al Davis’s Best Draft

Tweet All 9 played,6 played 100 or more NFL games, and they won 11 rings. Quick.  What do the following three players have in common:  Roman Gabriel, Craig Morton, and Mel Renfro?  They were all drafted by the Oakland Raiders but never played for the Raiders.  They were drafted before 1967, and also drafted by the Rams, Cowboys, and Cowboys respectively.  That underscores why the After Drafter Clock doesn’t pay…

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The 1978 Packers Draft: The Lead Dog of the Pack

Tweet A Wolf in Packers’ Clothing. The 1990 Green Bay Packers draft would have been the greatest one in the history of that franchise, but Ron Wolf ruined it.  The Green Bay Class of ’90 played in 1,033 NFL games, but only 488 in Green Bay uniforms.  Any time a single draft class plays in more than 1,000 games, that is a talented group.  Simply stated, if the players lack…

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1992 Lions Draft: Upon Further Review, Jason Hanson 2nd Best pick ever.

Tweet Overlooking kicker Jason Hanson has me kicking myself. Years ago when Ken Burns made the documentary The Civil War, people found it compelling and entertaining, but he had one major story-telling advantage.  With all due respect to the various Civil War scholars out there, nobody knew anything about the Civil War.  Burns could have added an episode about the regiment from the Akron Clown College and viewers would have…

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