2006 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Buccaneers no Longer in Ship Shape

Tweet Quarterbacks are not Good ‘n Plenty. What is the easiest position to fill in the NFL?  My guess would be linebacker.  It seems like every team has at least one really good one, and teams often have three or four.  The relative ease of finding a good linebacker in the draft explains why only two linebackers, Aundray Bruce and Tom Cousineau, went first overall on draft day.  Every once…

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2005 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Andy Reid Zeroes in on a Super Bowl Victory.

Tweet The Chicago Tribune sportswriters try to out-Fox the Bears. Years ago those of us in Chicago who actually read the newspaper lived through the Jay Mariotti era.  Mariotti cranked out sports copy in prodigious amounts, and followed a write-for-the-moment philosophy.  That meant after watching the Bulls lose a playoff game, he might write a column decrying the fact that Michael Jordan and his supporting cast were done.  They had…

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2004 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Jeff Fisher Goes for Break Even

Tweet Jeff Fisher spent his career coaching just good enough to not win. Jeff Fisher coached in the NFL for twenty-two years.  In ten of those years his teams won seven or eight games, amassing a record of 75 – 84 – 1 in his mediocre years.  That’s a lot of mediocrity for those keeping score at home.  If we consider three levels of mediocrity, 7 – 9 being low…

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Sometimes the #1 Pick in the Draft Rings True

Tweet Does every #1 overall pick earn a ringing endorsement when he wins a Super Bowl ring?   Since 1967 and the start of the Super Bowl era, NFL teams drafted quarterbacks with the first overall pick twenty-two times, beginning with Terry Bradshaw in 1970 and continuing through reigning number one pick Jared Goff.  The second most popular position, defensive end, earned the top spot nine times.  The third highest…

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2003 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Raiders of the Lost Art (of Drafting)

Tweet In 2004 the Raiders and Cardinals dropped the ball on identifying great quarterbacks, so the Giants and Steelers caught a break.   In 2003 the Oakland Raiders went 4 – 12 and won the Mornhinweg Atrophy after going 11 – 5 in 2002, a seven game backslide.  At 4 – 12 they finished tied for the worst record in the NFL with the Chargers, Giants, and Cardinals, putting them…

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2002 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Bears Trip on Their Own Dick Jauron

Tweet The unlucky 13 wins in 2001 doomed the Bears to a lost decade under Jerry Angelo’s incompetence. The comedian John Byner used to include a joke about playing football for a Catholic school as a kid.  He referred to the pregame ritual of the parish priest asking the boys to bow their heads and pray for God’s love and mercy, and then encouraging them to go out and kill…

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2001 Mornhinweg Atrophy: The Man Himself Wins It.

Tweet Marty Mornhinweg was like a Lion caught in the headlights. Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys once went 1 – 15.  Bill Walsh and the 49ers once went 2 – 14, so it happens.  A team struggles, hires a new coach, starts cleaning house, and the whole thing collapses.  When their team ends up as the worst one in football, fans can only cross their fingers and hope it’s an…

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2000 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Leaf Falls to the Wayside

Tweet When it comes to quarterbacks, nobody knows anything.   In 1997 the Indianapolis stunk up the joint with a 3 – 13 record, but they won the first overall draft pick in the 1998 draft.  Virtually everyone who paid attention believed the best choice that year was a quarterback, but opinion divided over two men after that.  Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning appeared to be the better leader, but with…

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1999 Mornhinweg Atrophy: The Rams and 49ers Run a Reverse.

Tweet How often do teams finish 4 or more games over .500?     In 1989 the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers both had “good” seasons.  Let’s assume a good season is any year when a team finishes four or more games over .500, meaning any time a team won nine games in a fourteen game season or ten games in a sixteen game season.  In the…

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1998 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Chiefs’ Arrow Heads the Wrong Way

Tweet The football gods deny Schottenheimer repeatedly. Apparently the English translation of the name “Schottenheimer” was “God, no.”  The man won a remarkable 200 games over twenty-one years as a head coach in the NFL, or 9.5 games per season. He also went to the playoffs eleven times, but in eight of those playoffs he lost to a Hall of Fame quarterback.  Compare that to Jeff Fisher, a man who…

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1997 Mornhinweg Atrophy: Nagging Doubts About the Colts

Tweet Sometimes owners end up losing all the way to the bank. When Donovan McNabb retired he had thrown 234 touchdown passes and 117 interceptions, a perfect 2:1 ratio.  In NFL history only eight quarterbacks with significant playing time ever managed to achieve a better touchdown pass to interception ratio than that.  One, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, just broke above the McNabb line this year, and he needs to maintain his…

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