Not so great Wizards of the NFL
- Published: March 8, 2013 at 01:53 p.m.
- Updated: March 8, 2013 at 02:28 p.m.
"Oz the Great and Powerful" is in theaters because apparently somebody in Hollywood was kicking around ideas one day and said, "hey, remember that 'Wizard of Oz' movie that came out in 1939? We need to do a prequel of that."
If you don't know the story of Oz, he's this figure who is supposed to be all knowing and all seeing, but in the end he's exposed as a mere mortal behind a curtain. So in honor of Oz, here's a look at some of the not-so-great wizards of the NFL.
History is going to reflect kindly on Smith's overall record with the San Diego Chargers. And some apologists will even give him the benefit of the doubt for letting Drew Brees walk out the door. But his handling of the Eli Manning debacle will forever taint his legacy. When Smith traded Manning for Philip Rivers, and picks that turned into Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding, it made him look like a genius back in 2007. How does that look today?
And I won't even mention how he could have had Brees, Larry Fitzgerald and LaDainian Tomlinson in their prime.
Graves led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl, which no doubt involved a lot of smoke and mirrors. And for the Cardinals, just getting to the Super Bowl should be viewed in the same way as a normal franchise winning three ... in a row. But even with a Super Bowl appearance, the Cardinals had the sixth-worst record since 2003. Imagine how poorly it could have been if Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner didn't fall in his lap.
They always say the Cleveland Browns have this up-and-coming defense and are on the verge of being a challenger in the AFC North. And yet the Browns had the worst record in the NFL over the last three years. The big blow for Heckert was saddling the Browns with a quarterback old enough to be Otto Graham's elder brother in last year's draft. But what's worse was allowing Julio Jones to go to the Atlanta Falcons. But hey, the Browns are loaded with playmakers so I guess he just had to make that move.
There was a time when the Jacksonville Jaguars were a competitive team in the NFL. Those days seem long ago. The Jaguars didn't have a winning record during Smith's four years. But the good news for the Jags is the team is left with Blaine Gabbert, who is willing to shoulder all of the blame for the team's woes. Well, if shouldering the blame means pointing the finger at other people. Wait, it doesn’t mean that?
Peyton Manning's apologist always says he was playing with an inferior team compared to guys like Tom Brady. Well, whose fault was that? Either Manning or Polian isn't as good as you think. I'm leaning toward Polian, as evidenced by the season the Indianapolis Colts had in 2011 when they earned the No. 1 pick in the draft for the league's worst record.
If they ever made an NFL version of "Office Space", I would love for the two Bobs to sit down with Cerrato to ask the question, "What would you say it is you do here?" Cerrato had a knack for bringing in big-name players with little success, and Bruce Smith did have a couple of decent seasons with the Washington Redskins. But he'll never be able to out-live the whole Albert Haynesworth deal. Not a chance. Cerrato even said if he had to do it all over again, he would still sign Haynesworth.
The Minnesota Vikings were a pretty successful franchise during Lynn's tenure, but he'll never, ever be able to escape the stigma of the Herschel Walker trade. Sometimes you have to make bold moves when your team is close to a title, which the Vikings were, and the overall bounty looked worse in hindsight because Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson really killed it with his draft picks.
When they talk about blockbuster trades in NFL history, the Eric Dickerson deal is not typically viewed in the same regard as the Herschel Walker deal. And part of the reason is that the Los Angeles Rams gained just as many picks as the Dallas Cowboys did during the Walker trade, but the only difference is Shaw did nothing with them. Aaron Cox. Gaston Green. Congratulations, you're the most recognizable players gained in exchange for one of the greatest running backs ever. And funny, Shaw crows about it in his bio. And then, you know, there's that whole moving to St. Louis thing.
You know, if I was Millen, I wouldn't want to be introduced as a former player, Super Bowl champion, or any of that. I would want to be known as the guy who drafted Calvin Johnson. Just as long as, you know, you forget the other stuff about being general manager that Millen must be admired for during his time in Detroit, as his Lions went 31-84 for a .270 winning percentage. And you might think to yourself, why should he be proud of that? Well, look at it this way; he was general manager for 115 games when it was very obvious early on he had no idea what he was doing. That's impressive and the true definition of what being the "great and powerful Oz" is all about.