Should Jim Tyrer be inducted in the Hall of Fame?

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Way back in 2006, a young sports reporter walked into the doors of Fanball world headquarters wearing a freshly dry-cleaned suit looking for a full-time gig in fantasy sports. After getting a lot of weird looks from the staff for overdressing, I met with the publisher, Bo Mitchell, who after several bribes finally relented and offered me a job. These days, Bo is vice president of content at SportsData, so he’s still kind of a big deal. He also was a guest co-host with me for one glorious Sunday on ESPN 1500’s Fantasy Football Sunday last season.

At any rate, Bo’s a guy whose brain is ripe for picking. And with mock draft season here, I figured it’s time to touch base with Mr. Mitchell to talk shop. So, Bo, my first question: Assuming your top three running backs are AP, Charles and McCoy, in some order, who is fourth, why is he fourth, and would you draft him over Jimmy Graham, Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson?


That day in 2006 was the last time I’ve seen you over-dressed, Magsh.

Bo Mitchell

Bo Mitchell

As for your question, you’ve astutely identified what seems to be the consensus top tier in this year’s drafts. From there, owners need to consider the three players you listed (Manning, Johnson, Graham) as well as a few other running backs, including Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy and probably even Montee Ball.

Typically at this point of a draft I would rather take the top player at another position rather than the fourth-best running back. I acknowledge that the “safe” running backs dry up in a hurry this year and I’d forfeit any chance of having a top-10 runner by passing on one with the fourth pick. However, “top-10” running backs go bust in fantasy football terms more than any other position. Even those top three aren’t immune.

Therefore, I’d likely lean toward Calvin Johnson. Manning’s numbers are going to regress somewhat and the quarterback position is loaded. I like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees just as much as Peyton. All three are very safe. Graham is tempting and he’s a differentiator given the gap between him and the next-ranked tight end on most owners’ cheat sheets. But I’m not sure that gap is as canyon-esque as some folks think. For instance, if (and it’s a sizeable if) Rob Gronkowski stays healthy, he’ll post similar numbers at a fraction of the price. That’s the thing: you can get tight ends that really should put up good numbers (e.g. Julius Thomas, Vernon Davis, Jordan Cameron and Kyle Rudolph) several rounds later.

I’m torn, but if I drafted today I’d select Megatron by a hair over Graham and Forte. Continue reading

It’s been speculated about for awhile now the idea that Andre Johnson is no longer happy playing for the Houston Texans and it came out yesterday that at least four teams are interested in trading for the veteran wideout.

I can understand where Johnson is coming from – he’s approaching his mid-30s and the Texans have not had a ton of success in his years as one of the league’s top wide receivers.

But I’m not sure a trade is in the best interests of either the team or Johnson … in fact I’m really not sure the Texans are that far from getting back on a winning track.

Sure, Houston had the top pick in the draft this year after a brutal 2-14 season that ended with a 14 game losing streak. But the two years prior a solid defense and a decent offense had this team in the playoffs – and into 2013 the Texans were a Super Bowl favorite.

Consider these factors : Continue reading

It’s been 40 years since Jim Tyrer’s career ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, who beat Washington in the first round of the 1974 playoffs. Despite his six All-Pro nominations, the end of his career merited little mention – nary a word in the Sporting News.

Tyrer played for Washington in 1974, primarily as a backup, squeezing one last season out of a top-notch career that included nine invitations to the Pro Bowl or AFL All-Star Game. The first 13 years of his career were spent with the Kansas City Chiefs/Dallas Texans franchise that was among the AFL’s strongest, at least during the years he played.

It’s been 34 years since his name popped up in the last item of Sports Illustrated’s Sept. 29, 1980 Roundup section,  where remembrances of his nine All-Star games and two Super Bowl appearances were followed by mention that he had died by suicide after fatally shooting his wife, Martha.

Tyrer did merit mention again a couple times in the early 1980s. His one year as a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist was 1981 and another when he also made a list SI’s Paul Zimmerman compiled – an informal poll of the all-time best offensive linemen.

Though voters are not supposed to consider character and conduct as part of whether or not someone should be enshrined, Tyrer has not made it into the Hall – this statement alone sparking some irony because during his playing days, by most accounts I could find, his character was never in question.

Continue reading

My cousin, Karen, died last fall after a battle with breast cancer that was nothing short of heroic. She was 54 years old and left behind her husband and four adult children. My grandfather’s struggle with cancer ended eight days after the birth of my son in 2012. These are only my family’s most recent run-ins with this awful disease, and mirror the experiences of countless others.


My dear friend and former colleague, Bo Mitchell, and his family have been run through the ringer by cancer. But as he and his lovely wife Kari have admirably shown through their efforts with the RE/MAX Results Breast Cancer Ride and the AttaBoy Ride, cancer’s not just gonna get away with it. I’m honored to have been asked to help support their efforts to continue raising money to fight cancer by participating in the first ever Breast Cancer Fantasy Football League!


This 48-team league includes four divisions, with each division featuring a local media member/fantasy football expert. I’ll be taking all comers in the End Cancer division, The Huddle’s John Tuvey will be doing his best to manhandle the Find a Cure division, Kare 11’s Dave Berggren will take your best shot in the Save 2nd Base division, and Bo himself will attempt to hold down the Beyond the Pink Ribbon division. Rather than break down the particulars in this space, here’s a link to all the who/what/when/where/why information. All of the money raised will go to support foundations fighting breast cancer, but there will be an engraved league trophy to go along with some serious bragging rights.


Before you sign up, though, please note that there will be a live draft on Saturday, August 23rd, at Poor Richard’s Common House in Bloomington. You MUST be able to attend this live draft event in order to participate. OK, now click on the link above and sign up, because space is limited. I look forward to beating you down in our head-to-head matchup, and teaming with you to beat down breast cancer.

I was not a huge fan of Johnny Manziel when he was at Texas A&M. I thought the finger-rubbing, “show me the money” routine was arrogant and sought attention for an individual over team accomplishment. And third-hand media reports about his off-the-field activities made me think the guy was kind of an arrogant jackass.

I’m also not convinced the guy is going to be a great NFL QB. Despite going in the first round, you don’t have to look hard to see that he’s undersized, that he’s got kind of a weird foot thing going on when he throws the ball under pressure and that he certainly isn’t going to make it solely as the “prototype” signal caller.

All those cards on the table, the scrutiny this rookie is under has gotten more than a little bit ridiculous.

Oh no. He went to Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend!?!?!?

Did he skip organized team activities? No – coach Mike Pettine reportedly told him to have a good time. Continue reading

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