Monday Notebook: Greatest QB Draft Ever...Not This One, Phil Jackson, & LIV

NFL Combine

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Thursday's NFL Draft may open with four quarterbacks being selected in the top 10. And while there's no shortage of "experts" telling who should go first, or whose S2 cognition test score is better- no one knows if any of these throwers will become great. But our obsession with quarterbacks makes every draft one where we focus on a small group of players that are likely overvalued because it's hard to find a franchise player. But while the 2023 NFL Draft is focused on whether Bryce Young goes first, or CJ Stroud or even Florida's Anthony Richardson- this draft is likely to fall short in comparison to the arguably the greatest quarterback draft ever...the 1983 NFL Draft.

It's been 40 years since six quarterbacks were chosen in that first. Three went on to become among the best to play the position, one was a decent starter during his career, one never lived up to his hype and the other is more known as a college football analyst today. 

John Elway went first in the 83' Draft to the Baltimore Colts, who were told not to draft Elway because he didn't want to play there and threatened to pass on football and pursue a career in professional baseball. In fact, Elway and his agent told the Colts if they drafted him they wanted to be traded to either the Miami Dolphins or the Dallas Cowboys. Imagine if the Dolphins and Colts executed a deal before Miami made their pick later in the first round. That Dolphins' pick was Dan Marino. Then Colts' owner Robert Irsay feared Elway's public displeasure of being taken by the team was bad for all parties. Irsay began negotiating with the Denver Broncos before the draft and eventually made a deal to send Elway to Denver for lineman Chris Hinton- the fourth pick in 83'- along with backup quarterback Mark Herrmann and a first-round pick in the 84' draft.

Eric Dickerson went second to the Rams before Todd Blackledge became the second quarterback chosen as he went to Kansas City. Blackledge had gone 31-5 at Penn State and won a national title in 1982. He never became a full-time starter and finished up his career in Pittsburgh before becoming a broadcaster.

The Bills at 14 chose Jim Kelly and he led the team to four straight Super Bowl appearances but not before he signed with the USFL's Houston Gamblers and played two seasons. He would go on to play 11 seasons in Buffalo throwing for 257 touchdowns.

The New England Patriots took Tony Eason at 15 and he played 72 games with the team and led them to a Super Bowl before losing to the Chicago Bears. Eason played eight seasons and finished his career with the Jets.

The Jets took Ken O'Brien at 24. Most watching the draft assumed the Jets would take Dan Marino and fans screamed when the team took O'Brien who was not expected to be a first round selection coming from Cal-Davis. O'Brien played a decade with the Jets and faced a rocky relationship with fans as the team never reached a consistent level of success.

Then there is the six and final quarterback taken in that 1983 NFL Draft when Miami chose Dan Marino at 27. Marino was expecting to be chosen by the Jets the pick before and he also never expected to last that long and therefore never spoke with the Dolphins before the draft. By the way, Marino was the first ever selection of the USFL by the Los Angeles Express. He never signed with the fledgling league and chose Miami instead. He replaced David Woodley in week six and became one of the great players to play the position despite never winning a Super Bowl.

Elway, Kelly and Marino went on to enjoy Hall of Fame careers. No one knows what will happen to this year's group of quarterbacks. But it will be tough to top the great class taken 40 years ago in what many believe was the greatest quarterback draft class ever...

Nuggets: The 28th and final pick of the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft? Darrell Green from Texas A&M Kingsville. He was arguably the fastest player in the league for years and was part of seven players in that first round to make the Hall of Fame...Phil Jackson went on a podcast. He made a few comments that you may or may not agree with. But we live in a "gotcha" social media world and within minutes of the podcast being posted a clip about Jackson explaining his feelings of the NBA during the bubble at Disney and mixing sports, politics and social issues some felt they needed to express what they thought of Jackson's comments and so the news cycle was underway. Now, every talking head sports debate show will have their segment where they are now political and social issue experts and know what should and should not be said. Here's the point, it's ok to agree or disagree with Jackson and leave it there. But we can't in today's "hot take" world. Everyone has to chime in with their "expert" opinion and tell you why he's right or wrong. Hence lies one of the many problems in society today. It's ok to disagree with someone and respect their views and have your own views...Good for Greg Norman and LIV Golf who played before huge crowds in Australia, Norman's home country. Norman's view of a global tour shined in his homeland and my guess is it will have success playing in countries that either rarely or never will get top PGA players-or the world's best- to come and play...If you are defending the NFL players who got suspended for betting on college football you're a knucklehead. Why? First, they made their bets at an NFL facility- against the rules and they know the rule and it's posted all over their workplace. Second, why would you risk your career- already short on average- to gamble a few dollars that's not likely to change your life, win or loss?. And if you believe that NFL players should be allowed to bet on any sports, other than the NFL, I likely would not argue but the players know the rules their union agreed to...I know the reasons hotels are moving from providing bars of soap to soap dispensers but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I like the bar of soap and I want my bar of soap. The dispenser never provides the proper soap balance and I don't like it...

Final note: The longest highway in the country is US 20 and it runs 3,365 miles and goes from Boston to Newport, Oregon. 

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