The 2011 NFL Draft begins Thursday night, and many dreams will be coming true. Both for the players and their fathers.
As a high school athlete in Southern California during the early 1980s, I had a first-hand account of the legend of Todd Marinovich, a good kid who was pushed into an NFL career by his father. Marv Marinovich conditioned his son to be an NFL quarterback from birth (for real), working his hamstrings, forbidding Big Macs and even putting a football in the crib.
How about pumping the brakes a bit?
Being an NFL superstar takes a lot of work. And in the pre-lockout NFL wage scale, you didn't have to be a superstar to be rich. Plus, when you are the superstar, even a simple outing with your kids to Disneyland becomes an ordeal.
Who wants that?
What you want is an NFL career with the optimal amount of money, limited contact and enough status to land a Playmate, without being harangued every time you go to Trader Joes. And if you get into a texting scandal? Nobody notices.
With that in mind, here are examples of the six best NFL careers you could possibly hope for.
Also considered: Being a first-round quarterback bust. But who wants to be the NFL's version of Bernie Madoff, taking the money and running? Hank Baskett nearly got it right, but he muffed an onside kick in the Super Bowl and his Playmate wife turned out to be Kendra Wilkinson.
And without further ado ...
6. Jim Sorgi
Being a backup quarterback can be kind of a drag seeing that you have to put in as much prep as the starter, but never get to play. Unless you are backing up Peyton Manning, who never comes off the field for injury or during a blowout. I like to think that Sorgi never bothered to learn the Colts' playbook and spent his Sundays on the sidelines drinking beers like the rest of us.
5. Adam Archuleta
You would most like to avoid contact if you could, but if you must get hit, at least be the guy administering punishment. Archuleta never played in a Pro Bowl, but somehow got $30 million of the Redskins' money. And then he ripped off the Bears, too. But maybe more inexplicably, he was able to snag Playmate Jennifer Walcott. Not a bad career for this young man.
4. Ray Guy
I've long wondered if punters even care if their team wins. Think about it, the only time you get a chance to play is if your team does poorly. But Guy showed just how important a punter can be. And think about this, he was a member of those rough-and-tumble, partying Raiders and wasn't thought of as a puny specialist. Instead he had the respect of guys like the Snake, the Tooz and the Mad Stork.
3. Jason Garrett
Chicks still dig quarterbacks, even backups. And Garrett got his chance to be the hero on Thanksgiving Day in 1994 doing what the rest of us would have done if put in that situation -- throwing jump balls to Alvin Harper. Garrett won a couple of Super Bowls as a backup and then proved that you don't even have to be a good coordinator to become the coach of the Cowboys. He probably got "White House" invites, too.
2. Jason Elam
Kickers are a funny bunch. Many of them live in notoriety. But a special few like Elam are held in high regard. Elam, was given one of those one-day contracts to retire as a Bronco, the kind of move typically reserved for guys like Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice. Elam has more rings than Peyton Manning (without all of the choking), went to college in Hawaii and married a cheerleader. Like the kicking version of Shane Falco.
1. David Binn
You want to talk about the life. Binn has played 18 NFL seasons, all of them in San Diego -- arguably the best spot to play in the NFL. Plus he was linked to Pamela Anderson. Just like in Elam's case, you don't have to be the hero quarterback to get the girl. The only thing missing is a Super Bowl ring. And the bad news for Binn is that Norv Turner is still there. So it might not be perfect, but it's pretty good. I smell movie career after this.