How many of you dreamt of leading your team to a big victory while tossing around the football in the backyard or playground as a kid? Probably most of you. You likely spent many hours wondering what it would be like to be the man.
But which man would you be?
In honor of those childhood dreams we ask you which pro football career would you want to have using the example of four different players. Would you want to be the steady veteran (Tim Brown), the flash in the pan star (Kurt Warner), the one-day only star (Timmy Smith), or the best player in the world that nobody has heard of (Damon Allen)?
We make the case for each player.
Brown was a serviceable receiver for a lot of years with (mostly) one team. Brown was a solid player, but nothing spectacular (despite what Raiders fans want you to believe). Brown was a solid citizen, stayed out of trouble off the field, but nobody is ever going to mention him as one of the best receivers to ever play the game. Brown's career of posting modest numbers dupes some people (read: Raiders fans) into believing that he is a Hall of Fame candidate, but having the Raiders retire his jersey might be his highest honor.
But there is one draw back.
The Raiders gagged in horrific fashion in Brown's one-shot at Super Bowl immortality (Super Bowl XXXVII). Easily one of the worst defeats in championship game history, in any sport, as the Raiders were a -3.5 favorite.
The good: Long career, nice numbers.
The bad: Played for the Raiders
The ugly: Rusty Hilger was your quarterback.
Everybody remembers the rise of Warner. The former AFL and NFL Europe star turned grocery clerk took the NFL by storm in 1999 with the St. Louis Football Team, and lead the club to a Super Bowl title in only its fifth year in existence. Warner was the best player in the NFL for three seasons; an automatic, slam-dunk, first-pick of the draft in fantasy leagues. Warner should be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he was the most dominant quarterback of his era and fans--even those that hate the St. Louis Football Team (like us)--tuned in to see him play. Warner's career has taken a turn for the worse as injuries have hampered him. He is now trying to resurrect his career with the Arizona Cardinals. A place where most careers retire.
But for three glorious years...
The good: Super Bowl MVP
The bad: Had to play in St. Louis
The ugly: Wife, Brenda Warner
The NFL has had its share of one-year wonders. Smith was only a one-game wonder.
But what a game it was.
Smith came out of nowhere to set a Super Bowl record with 204 rushing yards in the Redskins 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Smith would never be heard from again as he faded out of the minds of football fans. But that is what children dream about in the backyard. Being the very best in the biggest game of their lives. The only drawback was this happened before the big internet boom, meaning that he couldn't milk this for years by being the butt of jokes on ESPN Page 2.
The good: Super Bowl record holder
The bad: Never able to duplicate the feat.
The ugly: Getting laughed at by former Super Bowl MVPs Larry Brown and Dexter Jackson at a card show for one-game wonders.
Allen led obscure 1980s college football power Cal State Fullerton to a perfect 12-0 record in 1984. But the NFL never took much interest. Allen instead plied his trade in the Canadian Football League where he established himself as the greatest football player ever in the Great White North. Allen holds virtually every passing record in CFL history and is closing in on Warren Moon's all-time professional football passing mark (70,553). And he's quite the gifted runner, too (much better than his overrated brother, Marcus). Allen was about a decade too early as the NFL has finally grown to embrace the quarterback that can both run and pass. As Jeff Garcia once told NFL Insider, "There is no doubt that Damon Allen could have played in the NFL."
The good: The best player to ever play in the league.
The bad: That league is the CFL.
The ugly: Your alma mater drops football.
A couple of players that just didn't make the cut.
Wait for it.
(Our long time fans know what is coming.)
You loved him when he proposed to his wife on the Tonight Show. You made sure to tune in when he portrayed a fireman on Third Watch. You cringed when he tried to play cornerback on another popular television show, CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XXXV.
The Good: Wife, Angie Harmon.
The Bad: Brandon Stokley will forever haunt you.
The Ugly: His acting is worse than his playing ability.
Hutson is, without question, the greatest player to ever play in the NFL. Imagine a receiver in today's NFL averaging 185 receptions for 2,245 yards, and 35 touchdowns every season. Would there be a question of his greatness?
The Good: Best to ever play the game.
The Bad: Nobody knows it.
The Ugly: Nobody except for one loser and his lousy internet site.
The NFL's answer to Roger Clinton and Billy Carter. Seriously, why is this guy famous? It would have been more fitting if he had married a Hilton sister, instead of The View's Elisabeth Filarski.
The Good: Elisabeth Filarski.
The Bad: Known as Elisabeth's husband or Matt's brother.
The Ugly: Star Jones drunk-dials your house on weekends.
It's easy to discount the careers of Brown and Allen. The Raiders receiver was rather pedestrian and most of his marks are going to be surpassed by the next generation of young gun receivers, probably around the time he is Hall of Fame eligible, which will hurt his already slim chances of getting in. Allen should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If there was any justice in the world Damon would trade places with his undeserving brother Marcus, but that's a pipe dream. The only upside for a CFL career would be to play for Lonie Glieberman.
So it comes down to this. Would you want to be a flash-in-the-pan for one game or three years? The choice is pretty simple. Kurt Warner is the choice, but of course without the Ann B. Davis-look alike wife. This gives credence to those morons that believe that Warner had a deal with the devil. But he did make that deal. He had to marry Brenda.
And we don't remember that being part of the dream.