published Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

5 at 10: NFL greats, Vols hoops and Tim Tebow named the offseason starter

From the soon to be named studios, let's go.

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    This handout from Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the Dec. 12, 2005 issue, featuring Tom Brady, the 2005 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. The issue will hit newsstands on Dec. 7. (AP Photo/HO, Sports Illustrated)

Excellence before us

It's not that often that a playoff game — or any game for that matter — in any sport features a matchup of two all-timers. That's one of the reasons that the Bird-Magic stuff was so special, it was two of the NBA's best ever meeting in critical games at the height of their powers. Same for Russell-Chamberlain.

In football it's a little different because there's so much more of the team aspect involved. But during the late 1980s, the 49ers-Giants games were an event because it was Montana vs. Taylor. In baseball, we're sure when Aaron or Mays faced Gibson or Ruth vs. Walter Johnson drew similar awe.

When you factor in the playoff factor, those match-ups naturally elevate. So when Tom Brady faces Ray Lewis on Sunday, there's a real argument to be made that this meeting features the best ever at the two most important positions in NFL history.

If Brady leads the Pats to their fourth Super Bowl, he ascends to the top of the charts in the 5-at-10's view. Quarterbacks are judged more than anything by winning, and what other quarterbacks won four Super Bowls: Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. Bradshaw had Swann and Stalworth and the best defense of a generation, and possibly ever; Montana had Rice, a slew of weapons and the best offensive coach in NFL history. Brady, well he has had Wes Welker, a great defensive coach and an assortment of running backs that are the founding partners in the less-than prestigious talent agency Retread, Neverwillbe and Scrub.

As for Lewis, he has been the soul of a defense that has been among the best over the last 15-plus years. Plus, he was the Super Bowl MVP when the Ravens won it all with Trent Dilfer taking snaps. Read that again. Who's a better middle linebacker than Lewis? Singletary? No, and it's not as close as you would like to think. Lambert? Nope. Butkus? No thanks, Lewis is every bit as mean and physical and twice as athletic.

So they take the field Sunday as the anchors for their respective franchises and as possible all-timers at their positions. We'll have our picks Thursday, but heed this advice: Enjoy this match-up because they don't come around very often.

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    Mocs' quarterback B.J. Coleman rushes for a touchdown when UTC faced the Citadel in October.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Proper approach

Our UTC football ace John Frierson caught up with former McCallie and UTC star B.J. Coleman (Chattanooga's B.J. Coleman, Tim Benford trying to shine at East-West Shrine Game) as he's preparing for the East-West Shrine game this weekend.

Loved this quote from B.J.: "It's a business trip," Coleman said Saturday. "I'm going to meet a lot of different people, a lot of scouts, and it's going to be exciting. ... It's a big, big, big week."

And he's 100-percent correct. This is the first step in the song and dance that is the NFL draft process, and Coleman is spot-on that this is a BID-ness trip. And if anyone thinks the scouts are not watching all the time — how you lead drills, how you interact with teammates and coaches, how you take direction, pretty much everything — well, they're wrong.

As Frierson told us in this story Coleman's in Florida preparing for this game with some other guys looking to climb the quarterback draft ladder. Some guys like John Brantley and Dan Persa may have more name-recognition than Coleman, but this seems like a group that Coleman can compete with and even grab some attention.

Sure, there aren't the big-name guys like Luck, RG III, Weeden et al.. But there will be no fewer than 10 QBs drafted next April, and if Coleman is going to establish a spot in that top 10, it starts this week.

Business trip, indeed.

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    Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin signals to his team as they take on Louisiana-Monroe in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 85-62 over Louisiana-Monroe.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

College hoops rewind

Three quick observations from a pretty memorable Monday in college hoops.

1) We all know the 5-at-10 is in Cuonzo "The Conz" Martin's corner, and we even said that if he finds a way to get these Vols into the tournament, he's the Coach of the Year in a landslide. But in the paraphrased words of the brilliant Winston Wolfe from "Pulp Fiction" — "Let's not go and hug each other's neck just yet." The Conz mentioned tournament possibilities in this story from our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown (Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin can see Vols in NCAA play), and he structured the claims properly. But let's remember that UT is 8-9 and 1-2 in SEC play. Are they playing better? No doubt about it. Are they are tournament team? Let's not go and hug each other's neck just yet.

2) Quick shoutout to Kansas and Bill Self for looking like the potential NCAA tournament champ the 5-at-10 believes they can be. Kansas steamrolled previously unbeaten Baylor 92-74. We're going to start a new gadget here called the 5-at-10 See-Saw, where we offer a pro and a con on a team, player, movie, whatever, and we do it in back-to-back sentences with no interruption. Here goes:

See (ProKansas): Thomas Robinson is a man and went for 27 points and 14 boards against Baylor. If the season ended today, Robinson would be the player of the year (sorry 9er, he's had a better year than A-Davis).

Saw (ConKansas): This win was at home and there are few home-court advantages as good as Phog Allen Field House. Plus, a team with youthful guards like Kansas is always, Always, ALWAYS going to be better at home.

3) Want to know a reason why SEC football is so much better than every other conference? Ask any SEC fan you know today whether he can name the three best basketball players from their favorite school or the three best football commitments from their school, and we'll bet the majority can do the latter more easily than the former. (All bets are off if you are talking to a UK fan, however.)

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    Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) comes onto the field before an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

This and that

— Alabama hired former Washington Huskies OC Doug Nussmeier as its offensive coordinator. We have a question for some of our new found UoW followers out there: Did Alabama make a good hire? Or better yet, are you upset that Nussmeier is leaving? (Two things here: One Washington coach Steve Sarkisian is a super bright offensive guy, so you know our thoughts on hiring the coordinator of a talented head coach with an impressive offensive or defensive pedigree. Second, we'd give a chunk of our paycheck — with the Mrs. 5-at-10's permission of course — if Nussmeier walked in the news conference and said in his best "Animal House" voice: "Is that a pledge pin... on your UNIFORM?")

— Denver executive John Elway announced that Tim Tebow will enter camp as the starting quarterback. OK, um, thanks. Let's see if we have this right: A Denver team that was the NFL's second worst in 2010 and started 2011 1-4 before turning it over to Tebow and winning seven of their last 11 regular-season games, winning the division and beating the Steelers in a playoff game is going to pledge to Timmy T that he'll get the first snap at camp. Elway's apparently going to go with Tim Tebow over the super-deep Denver QB depth chart of Brady Quinn and Adam Weber. OK, super. Looks as though Elway and the Denver brass have things under control. What's next, Elway's going to announce that milk builds strong bones and teeth? (Did the sarcasm come through in those last few sentences?)

— Happy birthday Muhammad Ali, who turns 70 today. And while the 5-at-10 does not remember your career, we do know that Ali lighting the Olympic torch in Atlanta in 1996 was off the charts on the chill-bump meter, as BIspy noted Monday. Here's TFP ace columnist Mark Wiedmer's view on Ali (Mark Wiedmer: Muhammad Ali also great for civil rights)

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    The Associated Press
    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning walks off the field after the Giants lost to the San Diego Chargers 21-20 in an NFL football game on Nov. 8. The Giants host the Falcons today.

Today's question

We all know that you can't win in the NFL without good quarterback play. It's just that simple. (Granted, you need other parts, too, but it still starts at QB1.)

So, let's look at the 12 quarterbacks that made the NFL playoffs this year:

NFC — Eli Manning (first round, No. 1 overall), Aaron Rodgers (first round), Matt Stafford (first round, No. 1 overall), Alex Smith (first round, No. 1 overall), Matt Ryan (first round, No. 3 overall), Drew Brees (first pick of second round)

AFC — Joe Flacco (first round), Tim Tebow (first round), Ben Roethlisberger (first round), Andy Dalton (third pick of the second round) T.J. Yates (21st pick of the fifth round, No. 152 overall), Tom Brady (the 33rd pick of the sixth round).

Take Yates out of the picture since he is the Texans' third-string QB after injuries downed starter Matt Schaub and back-up Matt Leinart. So every QB in the playoffs was a top 35 overall pick other than Brady.

Brady was picked 199 overall, sandwiched between quarterbacks Spergon Wynn (No. 183 overall) and Todd Husak (No. 202 overall). Heck, current Baylor School assistant football coach Frank Murphy (170th overall to Chicago) was picked ahead of Brady

OK, the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. But here's our question: Was Tom Brady the greatest draft day steal of all-time?


about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

Let me take you back to August...when Shannon Sharpe made every hair in America stand up with his Hall of Fame inductee you remember how that felt...and how you were holding back tears? ok good, lets fast forward a few years when Ray Lewis gets fitted for his Gold Jacket....( gold jacket,green jacket who gives a crap)

What will the feeling be like when Ray Lewis Steps up to the microphone? I have a feeling it will make (and with all due respect Shannon) Shannon Sharpe's speech look like a quote on the inside of a Dove Chocolate...short...sweet..and Heartwarming...

Tom Brady greatest draft day steal ever...possibly...most likely yes...what am I talking about...he was 199 overall...of course it was! but hey that Chargers, Giants trade ( i know I know key word is trade...not a theft) from a few years ago is paying some pretty high dividends these days...

January 17, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Did you see the Ray Lewis-Ray Rice story on ESPN Sunday morning? Ray Lewis was AWE-some.

As for his advice to young Ray Rice after a play that Ray Rice made 20-plus moves to get 2 yards, Lewis said (paraphrased): "You just ran 17 yards sideways to get nothing. If you have to step in the hole and challenge me, then challenge me. That's your job. But if you start going sideways, I've beat you."

You're spot on that Lewis' speech will be an ALL-timer.

Nice call on the "Trade (brought to you by the Manning family)" that is going to end up with the Giants getting at least one Super Bowl (and they could win it this year).

— 5-at-10

January 17, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
Livn4life said...

I hope BJ Coleman gets a shot at the NFL.It willl be a long business and hard working road for him. He is a player and that will hopefully stand out on this bidness trip. As for Denver starting Tim Tebow next year, DUH yeauh! It would be ridiculous to not let him have a start with the reins from the beginning of the season. Then the real Tebow experiment will begin. The Broncos hope it will be a really good ride. Many of us just do not know but have to applaud the effort he gave when called on last year and the effort we know he will give win or lose this coming season. We wait, we watch, only God knows how it will turn out. I think God knows!

January 17, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
chas9 said...

5/10--With her physical assets, you might not think so, but I think Dolly Parton belongs on team MF (yesterday's topic). Strong voice, talented songwriter, good businessperson and philanthropist, and serviceable actress.

Enjoyed Weed's column on UK and his take on MLK. Mark's underrated, too.

Can't argue with you about T-Rob, though I think Davis has more upside. It's fun to watch the future stars in their early stages.

Kansas looks strong, but I've believed in them too many times, only to see them fall short. I can't think of another apparently elite team that does so little in the Big Dance. Bet against them and smile all the way to the bank.

Bet against the Tarheels this year, too. After losing by 33 this week, they are exposed. Worst loss in the regular season by an eventual national champ was the 1965 UCLA team which fell to Illinois by 27 in December of that season. So reports John Clay.

January 17, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

Bigggest draft steal was the con job Jimmy Johnson pulled on the Vikes with Hershel Walker for a slew of drafts that kickstarted the Cowboys run in the early 90's. Brady was a hidden jewel. Great find by the Pats.

January 17, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
fechancellor said...

Al Davis took a flyer on the 187th pick in the 7th round of the 1987 draft that turned out to be one of the most electrifying runners in NFL history. Bo Jackson was that man.

January 17, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
patrickd said...

Eustice Chase checking in! It's gonna be a good day.

January 17, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
chas9 said...

Correction. I meant I liked Mark's take on Ali, not MLK.

January 17, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.
Redlegs11 said...

Bo was a great pick then again Terrell Davis wasn't that bad of a sixth-rounder either.

January 17, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Thats right Pdavi! What did you think of that Overeem & Lesnar Fight? talk about a one sided affair huh?

and I do believe that it is time for MR. Tito Ortiz to retire...

When I heard Mel Kiper on ESPN 105.1 the Zone (shameless plug) and he was talking about his sleeper picks...and mention Bj Coleman from Chat A Nughga... yeah thats how it sounded coming from his mouth... I said...ok BJ will get drafted...if Mel Kiper is singing your praises this early..and that was like 8 weeks ago...than you are in...Lets hope that either the Jets, Dolphins, Broncos or Cowboys pick him up late and give hime a shot.

Heres hoping that Ray Lewis (or T-Sizzle) sacks Tom Brady about 47 times this weekend and at the end Brady asks for Ray Lewis's jersey...but denied because he's already promised it to Arian Foster..again..

January 17, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Question for you Fiver and the gang.... If Barry Larkin sits at home last year and doesnt have the Baseball Tonight Crew Lobby for his Hall of Fame worthiness(ness) does he get 86% of the vote this year? or is he stuck for one more year?


January 17, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Hey Counzo, your team is in 10th place in your league, you are 8-9, you lost to the 7th place team in the OVC ( Austin Peay ) you lost to the 5th place team in the Summitt Conference ( Oakland ) and you lost to a team that is not even leading the SoCon ( C of C ) . . . but yet you can "see your team in the NCAA tourney" . . .you must have VERY good eyesite !

January 17, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Livin (Large)

Here's hoping BJ gets drafted. There are way worse ways to make a million bucks than holding a clipboard for three years. Totally concur about the Master of the Obvious Elways saying Tebow is QB1 in camp. Thanks Sherlock.

9er —

We'll see your Dolly Parton (concur) and raise you Mariah Carey (she may be cracked but supremely talented and has more Pop No. 1s than anyone).

And you and the 5-at-10 are in the same boat in regard to consistently putting too much faith in Kansas. So it goes (we're a sucker for the Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk chant). And yes, UNC looked broken the other day, even to the point that Roy Boy apologized to the guys on the floor at the end. (Think he hit them with Norman Dale's "Basketball is a volunteer activity... you got the rest of the weekend to think about it" speech in the locker room?)

McPell —

That was the biggest multi-year draft steal. Made the Cowboys into the Cowboys again.

FE to the C —

We thought about Vincent Edward Jackson, but if Bo hadn't got hurt, we'd agree with you.

Redlegs —

Great call, we forgot about TD (who actually won John Elway those Super Bowls, whether Elway wants to admit it or not).

EC —

Larkin getting 86 percent of the vote is like Woodson running away with the Heisman in 1998. Sure it may have happened any by the way, but once the ESPN crew got the ball rolling, it was a done deal. (PS — Chris Carter will get the same treatment for the next 12 months and he'll be the next one from Bristol to ride the ESPN tsunami in Canton.)

— 5-at-10

January 17, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Jay- my comments re: Counzo ?

January 17, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

The biggest draft day steal of any draft was one Red Auerbach drafting junior eligible L. Bird of Indiana State. And holding onto him for a year. That and swapping Just Breathing Carroll for Robert Parish and a pick that eventually landed Kevin McHale was no mean feat, either.

Even as a GSU fanboy, I'd like to have seen Coleman play another year. Injuries curtailed what could have been a very good senior season and I hate it for the kid.

I'll say this on the Tar Heels. Living in North Carolina for a year made me hate them. But don't read too much into Saturday's loss. Dulkys was 8 of 10 from 3. FSU shot the eyes out of the ball. That year I spent in NC I saw UCLA, Michigan State and FSU all come into the Dean Dome beat the fool out of the Heels. They wound up in the Final Four anyway with a team that had that stiff Brendan Haywood, two more stiffs in Jason Capel and Kris Lang, the incredibly overrated Ed Cota and two legitimate players, one Joe Forte and Mr. Peppers.

January 17, 2012 at 2:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

The quote from the Conz was:

"Like I told our guys," said the first-year coach, "from Florida up until now, you say [we're] one of the 65 or 68 teams, I would say yes. But you have to put a lot of work to cover some ground. I would definitely say from the time we started league play up until now, when you pick 65 or 33, 35 [at-large] teams, I would say yes."

The 5-at-10 interprets that as that's his view over the last 10 days. He doesn't think they are a tournament team as much as he thinks they have been playing like a tournament team.

So it goes.

Spy —

Here's saying that BJ will get his chance. As much as we love the draft, and the 5-at-10 loves the draft — you know this, he will have some make or break moments next August in a training camp somewhere that will be huge.

As for UNC, yes, FSU was draining shots like a young frat boy at the ADPi winter formal. Still, the Heels had a little too much quit in them for our taste. Super talented, no doubt, but will they look like Tarzan and play like Jane in the tough tournament spots?

And Spy, taking Larry Legend a year early was not a "steal." It was "Smart, not dumb like people say, it was smart and deserves respect."

If you had said taking Mike Piazza in round 62, we would have listened, but no you said Larry Legend. "Never tell anybody outside the family what you're thinking again."

— 5-at-10

January 17, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Mr. Peppers ? as in the Dr.'s son?

January 17, 2012 at 2:56 p.m.
BIspy4 said...


Having met Julius Peppers (who really is a nice guy), I will say he is Mr. Peppers. Even bigger and badder than Mr. Tibbs.

5, I'll take the cannolis.

January 17, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Yikes, Jim Caldwell..and his crooked hat...were Fired today... seems like the Colts are making Peyton's window smaller and smaller

January 17, 2012 at 3:31 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Trust us, wouldn't you like to be a Peppers too.

And yes, it appears the Colts are cutting all ties to the five families. Somewhere, Archie is having this conversation with Peyton:

AM: "Do you know how they are going to come at you? They're going to set up a meeting at a place where I feel safe."

PM: "I always thought it would be Tom Moore."

AM: "No, Irsay is the smart one and it's the smart move."

Spy —

Leave the gun, take the canoli.

— 5-at-10

January 17, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
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