Thursday, April 30, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson
I realize that it is only April and that football season is still eons away, but the NFL draft was completed this past weekend and some collegiate teams just ended their spring drills last Friday. And, really and truly, some of us are just grasping at any excuse to “talk football” and hurry the day of its return.
Serving as a delegate to the 105th Annual Convention of the Knights of Columbus of the Mississippi Jurisdiction in the capital city of Jackson during the past weekend, there was little time for yours truly to follow the actual proceedings live on the tube. However, there were non-disruptive polite conversations based on speculations about who was heading where. Verily, there is no earthly way to cover all of the predictions and wishes of the vast majority of football fans who are hoping that their teams will be the ones which Lady Luck favors heavily (or make the best pre-draft deals).
It isn’t spoken of often and very few persons even consider the shroud of secrecy in which NFL teams are wont to cloak their “away from the commissioner” dealings. Roger Goodell (the commish) has voiced his displeasure with teams who make the deals and then make public the outcome before the stamp of approval is given.
For the last few seasons, the NFL teams have been building and rebuilding with defense in mind. During the past two-day draft affair, the emphasis was again on the defensive scheme of things. There were 19 defensive players taken in the first round of 32. Centers and nose tackles are included in this figure. While most experts agree that there were no really spectacular or franchise prospects, there were notables who created a core of interest and even some who made a little history.
You can envision Houston Nutt thumping his chest with both hands on Sunday. After his first complete season at Ole Miss, Nutt had two players, Michael Oher and Peria Jerry, taken in the first round 23 and 24, respectively. That’s the first time in the history of Ole Miss this has happened. Both were All-American selectees, second for Oher.
Oher was taken by the Baltimore Ravens via New England Patriots and Jerry was claimed by the Atlanta Falcons. Oher’s life story is a book and on the best seller list, and has been turned into a movie deal. With Saturday’s proceedings, both of these athletes who had some really trying challenges, became instant millionaires. And both are defensive players.
The number one pick overall in this year’s draft went to the Detroit Lions; you know, the team which broke the record for the most losses in a season (0-16). Matt Stafford out of Georgia (go SEC), stands to make about $78 mill on the deal which he signed. He has a monumental task. Stafford is a signal caller. There was no word on whether he will start or back up the incumbent.
Doesn’t matter what the job is, he is being well paid.
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