03 May 2011

Heres To The Baddest Man On The Planet

by Jacob Allen

Chapter 1. – Road to the Cover
Think Printing Press, Nirvana, Michael Jordan, the Wright Brothers airplane, the Internet, Elvis, Google, Eastbound and Down, the Model-T, Cell Phones, etc. Once in a while something or someone comes along and without notice and without question from that day forward changes the scope of how things are normally done. The man I am going to write about is one of these people. Ill get back to this.First off, congratulations to Peyton Hillis for being selected to be the Madden 2012 Cover boy. This year EA let the fans vote for the rights to grace the cover by setting up a tournament almost identical to march madness that was hosted on ESPN Sports Nation. Seeding and everything. They picked the best players the NFL had to offer and matched them up head to head. Peyton won. Many say the win was fluky. They say he didn't deserve it and that EA missed the ball on this one. I say they didn't. Scratch that. They didn't. I'm saying they didn't because they ACTUALLY didn't.

Chapter 2. – The Brady Factor

All joking aside, Peyton Hillis undoubtedly the next big thing. The NFL now has a hybrid running back that is unlike any before him. Its funny what some people do with the hand that they are dealt. Sure...most people don't carry the rock and run with it like a gazelle, or score 6 like its going out of style. I personally don't posses the athletic ability to go go gadget leap over an NFL safety that's been electronically programmed to kill me. Also I'm also pretty sure you were not blessed with the same Burmese pythons he calls arms, but unlike most of the other elite athletes he's had to grind it out and figure it out just like you and me. At every level he had a fight on his hands. Not a single thing ever, EVER, came easy. It's not as if he wouldn't score 7 TDs and maybe throw for one too against your high school team once every year playing for your rivals. He would. He's naturally gifted to the point that he could dominate your shit game in and game out at the high school level without ever trying, but he's no Adrian Peterson. He does not have breakaway speed like Chris Johnson or Jahvid Best. He's no burner like Michael Turner. Truth is its hard to say what exactly makes him as good right now as he is. One conclusion that cannot be argued is that every accomplishment he owns has been paid for and earned with blood and sweat. Peyton Hillis is the guy that was faced with a 3 way fork in the road at some point in his career. He went right, but right didn't work. So he walked miles back to the fork and then went left. Shockingly enough left didn't work either. Peyton packed his lunch and went back to the fork in the road again. This time he walked to the center road in the fork. He's still walking on this road. It seems to be working. Most people in his spot would have quit. What did Peyton do? Same thing he has always done and will always do.

Just dropped his helmet and smoked those who doubted in the chin. He's still doing it. He just did it to win the cover of Madden 2012. He is not yet a popular household player, but I assure you he will be. Fighting back is what he wants to do and its what comes natural to him. That's what's special. Never give up. Never look back. Never go down. Never stop moving the pile. He faces adversity like he faces a tackle. Its just not going to happen.

Physically speaking Hillis is a god, but somehow at the University of Arkansas he was rarely given the ball and never given a chance. Subsequently Hillis found himself behind Darren McFadden and Felix Jones on the depth chart. The coaching staff saw he was too big and too white to be a running back yet too small to be a fullback. What they didn't know is that Peyton Hillis is special. He possess that funny little "it" factor that turns water into wine. I would bet that 9/10 student athletes would transfer if they had to play behind not 1 but 2 first round draft picks their entire college career. Again i reiterate that Hillis is special. He just kept running. Instead of whining he lifted. Instead of sulking he turned himself into a pass catching machine. He stayed the course.
Fast forward to t draft day 2008. Easily the biggest day of this young mans life. Its the day that pays the bills or crushes the dreams. Hillis proudly watched his teammates get selected #4 (McFadden) and #22 (Jones) thus guaranteeing themselves zillions of dollars and security for the rest of their lives. True to form nobody thought much of him and he watched 226 people get drafted ahead of him. His rookie contract paid a whopping 400k/year.

The White Rhino flares his tusk
I get that Brady got selected in the late (6th) rounds too and i know he's a world champ but the reality of the matter is that Tom Brady has a laser rocket arm and could charm the pants off of...well anything. Tom Brady can get anyBODY to do anyTHING just but smiling and batting his lashes. Straight up. Any human being that's reading this (male or female) knows exactly what I'm saying and fully agrees with this fact. You are thinking, "Your right. No doubt. I would let Brady violate me, probably even right this second"...and you would. No shame. I don't want to like him either. Just cant not.
My point is that Tom Brady may have been drafted in the 6th round but if that day were played over and over again you would see the odds play out and you would see Brady drafted 2nd or 3rd round. He's perfect and perfect people have always been perfect. In Toms case people just flat out didn't know it yet. I'm shocked he didn't lock it up in the combine with some sort of "Jediesque" eye contact mind trick. That's what get football players like Tom Brady ahead. He went to what is supposed to be an elite program. He plays the most important position in football. He's gorgeous. He can cry on command....and generally has everything going for him in life that nobody else has.

Ok...I'm wandering, but Peyton Hillis is not Tom Brady. 3rd string white running backs that get picked 227 in the draft that have the charm of a wild beast do not make it in the NFL. Yet here we are.

Chapter 3. – It's Quinning Time: The Josh McDaniels Saga

This post is supposed to be about Peyton Hillis and I have faith that it will be, but for the time being lets talk about Josh McDaniels. Congratulations on your success with the Pats, Josh. Well done. I can imagine how difficult life must have been as a 28 year old offensive coordinator for the best offense the NFL may have ever seen . Don’t take the credit…there's no credit due to you here. Despite the cheating, and the pouting you were given the chance to replace a legend In Denver. You certainly appeared to be a “sure thing” and a cant miss hire.

I should just stop this rant right now because after a full 30 minutes of compiling creative ways to bash Josh McDaniels all I have to show is 1 paragraph and am not even relatively close to my point. I should recommend to you the readers and to myself that I should move more briskly through my thoughts and I should focus on the things I originally planned to say. So often in life it seems easy to get caught up in the moment. Right now I am caught up in the moment and I would like to thin that somehow this is going to tie back into Hillis, but for now it won't. I feel like riding McDaniels for a little bit longer. Its been one of those scenarios that with more research comes more interest and more awe in his overall demise. Maybe its easier to just review some highlights (or low lights). Why don't we give that a try.

The Rise
  • 1999 – Daddy gets him a job with his buddy Nick Saban as a graduate assistant at Michigan State. (Stock: Up)
  • 2001 – Joins New England Patriots as a personal assistant and the team upsets the heavily favored Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI (Stock: Up)
  • 2004 – Promoted to Quarterbacks coach
    and team wins Super Bowl XXXIX making that the 3rd championship in 4 years. (Stock: Up)
  • 2005-2006 – Unofficially (05) then then officially (06) gets promotion to offensive coordinator following the departure of Charlie Weiss to ND. (Stock: Up)
  • 2007 – Patriots have perfect regular season and shatter NFL offensive records under McDaniels. (Stock: Up)
Keep in mind that the Spygate controversy occurred in 2006 the year before the 2007 perfect season, and McDaniels was not ever officially blamed or fined. That said…even I am having a hard time right now identifying a single blemish on his resume from 1999-2007. It seems almost perfect and parlayed with the fact he was hired by the Pats at age 23 and was offensive coordinator by age 28 it would be hard to say that this wasn’t one of the all time great “young”coaches in history. Then a funny little thing happened. The first quarter of the first regular season game in 2008 Josh McDaniels had to swallow his first dose of cold reality. Tom Brady went down with a leg injury that would sideline him for the entire year. I can not say with confidence that McDaniels will never amount to anything again in this league, but if he doesn’t…he probably has that day to blame. In one play, on blink of an eye, his professional career flashed before his eyes. No I am not talking about Brady…he's was going to be fine. Worst case scenario is that Tom still had 3 Super Bowls, a league MVP, 1 gazillion bucks, and Gisele Bundchen to fall back on. I am talking about the offensive coach. Lets take a look at what Josh has done since the injury.

The Fall
  • 2007 – Member of coaching staff accused of cheating by filming opponents play calling from stands. (Stock: Down)
  • 2009 – Immediately after being hired by Broncos begins feuding with Denver’s Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler. Feud would eventually lead to Cutler’s departure from team. It was widely believed that McDaniels was targeting former player Matt Cassel, but when Cassel was traded to Kansas City McDaniels was only able to salvage career journeyman Kyle Orton in return. (Stock: Down)
  • 2009 - Responds to fans insistence that Peyton Hillis needs to see more playing time and more carries by giving Mr. Madden NFL 2012 a total of 13 carries the entire season. Denver openly searches for a "every down" running back. These numbers are way down from the 2008 rookie totals Peyton amassed that included 5 touchdowns on an average of 5.0 yards per carry. (Stock: Down)
  • 2009 - The Broncos finish the 2009 season with an 8-8 record, joining the 1978 Redskins and the 2003 Vikings as the only teams to miss the playoffs after a 6-0 start. (Stock: Down)
  • 2010 - Despite McDaniels stating that he planned to expand Peyton Hillis’ role in the offense the popular
    running back with M1 Abrams for biceps was traded to Cleveland for Brady Quinn. Given that Hillis was unlikely to see an increase in opportunities in 2010 because Josh McDaniels Sucks. Trade is referred to as one of the most lopsided trades in professional sporting history. (Stock: Down)
  • 2010 - Accused of his second video taping scandal. This time as a head coach. The NFL fines him big time. (Stock: Down)
  • 2011 - Fired by the Denver Broncos front office after rumors of incompetency and turmoil with owners and players. (Stock: Down)

To Be Continued.....