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Roger Goodell's Windmill, Andre Tippett, and More by Doug Cutler Jr

By Patriots Blog Writer Doug Cutler Jr.

First, a word about the NFL draft moving to prime-time on a week night

They just couldn’t help themselves, could they?

Earlier this year, the National Football League wasn’t content with leaving its draft day, which was the unofficial holiday that kicked off the spring and grilling season, unmolested. Nope. According to the Einsteins at the league offices, it would be better to push the start time back four hours (from a noon start to 4:00pm Eastern), just enough to screw up everyone’s ritual of actually eating lunch or supper at the proper time while watching the first round of the draft.

Apparently, that either wasn’t a radical enough change or it didn’t quite have the desired effect (read: increased revenue), so the NFL is throwing caution to the wind and hosting the first round of its next draft on a Thursday evening.

A Thursday evening? Surely you can’t be serious. What’s next? Broadcasting the draft from a Turkish prison?

As renowned pitchman Billy Mays was so fond of saying, “But wait, there’s more!” In addition to round one being on a Thursday night, rounds two and three are scheduled for the following evening, on Friday. With this change, the only people who will be watching the NFL draft on the weekend will be the families of the mid-draft hopefuls. In other words, about six hundred people. Think about that.

Congratulations, Roger Goodell. You’ve now completely destroyed everything that the NFL draft was cultivated to be and replaced it with a prime-time sitcom. You’ve turned our spring grilling jubilee into a joke…and rest assured, we’re not laughing with you.

“The best I ever saw” (part nine of a series)

This week’s featured position is linebacker and the best one I ever saw in a New England Patriots uniform is widely remembered more for who he wasn’t than for who he was. Andre Tippett was considered by many to be the second best linebacker in the NFL for much of the 1980s, but most of the time he was simply referred to as “the AFC’s Lawrence Taylor.”

Tippett, who was drafted 41st overall in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft, didn’t accomplish much during his strike-shortened rookie season. However, it didn’t take long for him to acclimate himself at the pro level and in his second season he started 13 games, finishing with a team-best 8.5 sacks. After his successful sophomore campaign, Tippett exploded for 18.5 sacks in ’84 and another 16.5 in ’85 to bag the highest two-year sack total by a linebacker in NFL history.

Physically daunting at 6’3” and 241lbs, he honed his body with martial arts training starting in 1982, ultimately achieving a fifth degree black belt in karate. With his combination of size, speed, and quickness, Tippett became a pass rush specialist, able to out-quick offensive linemen and overpower backs and ends while attacking the pocket. The hard work paid off, as he finished his twelve year career with 100 sacks (a team record), five Pro-Bowls, and two first-team All-Pro selections. In 2008 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining his NFC counterpart who so often trumped him in both name recognition and team success.

My most memorable Andre Tippett play came from game two of the ’85 season when the Patriots traveled to Chicago to take on the Bears at Soldier Field. The game wasn’t close and except for a late 90 yard reception by Craig James the Bears would have added to their total of four shut outs that year.

During the course of the game, the Bears attempted an end-around reverse with wide receiver Dennis McKinnon. As McKinnon swept to his right and turned up field, a disciplined Tippett stood his ground and welcomed the fleet receiver with open arms. More accurately, he met McKinnon with his shoulder, lifted him up with one arm, spun him around in midair as if to launch him into orbit, and then threw him down on the hard artificial surface WWE style. It was like watching a giant ruthless executioner going medieval on some poor sap who stole a couple apples from the king’s cart, but because it was just football, there was a particular beauty to the brutality.

Interesting statistic I’ll bet you didn’t know

In 2007, with Tom Brady at quarterback, Wes Welker had 112 catches for 1,175 yards, averaging 10.5 yards per reception. In 2008, with Matt Cassel throwing to him, Welker had 111 catches for 1,165 yards, averaging 10.5 yards per reception.

Answer to last week’s question:

The Patriots’ all-time playoff record is 21-13.

Question of the week:

Irving Fryar finished his career with 851 receptions, 12,785 yards, and 84 touchdowns. How many times was he voted first team All-Pro?

(Answer will be provided next week)


  1. Love the Welker comment. It seemed like he had such a huge year with Brady and then fell off last year with Cassel. I would never have guessed they were almost identical in terms of stats.

  2. I sure agree with you on the NFL draft, Doug. It's one of the highlights every year for a football fan, and only they could screw up a sack lunch. Good job, Roger.

    The bit about Welker's stats between Tom and Matt is simply amazing. That was a great find!

    When it comes to Irving--one of my alltime favorite Huskers--I'm gonna guess 3 times. His punt/kick returning abilities were fabulous, too.

    Great, fun article!


  3. So you are saying Brady was a little better that Cassel? Tell the Pats they should have "got both".

    Great job on the blog. I really enjoyed it.


  4. I couldn't agree more about the draft commentary - the league is making a mistake, IMO.

  5. Another GREAT article Doug! I totally agree with you on the draft, Tippett was an awesome LB too. I would guess 4 times for Fryer. I know Casell had a great year last year, what do you think Brady will do this year? Is he healthy?