Hey NFLRush Readers! I’m Kid Reporter John and this season I’ll be writing a series of columns breaking down the NFL action called Read Option.
I’ll tackle three main topics (the options) from around the league and occasionally add a check down option. With the Hall of Fame happening this past weekend, let’s get started!
X Option: Packers, Colts aiming to take back divisions in 2016
Favored to win their divisions, the Packers and Colts were off their game in 2015, losing the division title to Minnesota and Houston, respectively. Both teams have a chance to bounce back this year, thanks to the returns of several offensive playmakers. For Green Bay, the return of receiver Jordy Nelson should provide a huge boost to an offense that took a step back. Indianapolis get back Luck, their superstar quarterback, and with a rebuilt offensive line and loaded receiving corps, the Colts will be one of the best offenses in the NFL. Both Green Bay and Indianapolis will figure prominently into the playoff picture and maybe even the Super Bowl conversation.
Y Option: Hall of Fame inductees Brett Favre and Tony Dungy receive their moment in spotlight
The highlight of the Hall of Fame game is always the presentation of the Hall of Fame inductees, and this year was no different. On Sunday, Canton welcomed owner Eddie DeBartolo, coach Tony Dungy, quarterback Brett Favre, defensive lineman Kevin Greene, receiver Marvin Harrison, offensive lineman Orlando Pace, quarterback Kenny Stabler, and offensive lineman Dick Stanfel. The Colts and Packers are represented in that list, by Tony Dungy for Indianapolis and Brett Favre for Green Bay. Dungy and Favre represent the gold standard of a Hall of Fame inductee- difference makers on and off the field.
Based on statistics, it is easy to see why Brett Favre was a first-ballot selection. The longtime Packers legend hung up the cleats after racking up the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, and most consecutive games played of any player in NFL history. Favre was revered for his incredible talent, winning three MVP awards and leading the Packers to a Super Bowl victory, and his durability, playing for 20 seasons with 11 Pro Bowl selections and nine 30+ touchdown seasons.The football IQ of Brett Favre also one of his greatest strengths.
Tony Dungy is the only coach in this year’s Hall of Fame class after impressive tenures with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. In 13 years of coaching, Dungy’s team reached the playoffs 11 times and his 2006 Colts team won Super Bowl XLI. But his impact extended far beyond on-field results. He was the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl and his assistants, including Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, and Lovie Smith, have all coached their own teams to the Big Game. Dungy was also influential in the lives of his players, teaching them the values of family and character.
One deserving player who didn’t make the Hall of Fame cut
While eight players, coaches, and executives were honored on Sunday, one worthy player is missing from the festivities. That player is Kurt Warner, the former quarterback of the Rams, Giants, and Cardinals. Warner had the most miraculous journey to superstardom of any player, leaving a grocery store job to sign with the Rams as a third-string backup in 1999. Players out in the preseason gave Warner an opportunity to be the starting quarterback, and 16 wins and a couple months later, St. Louis won its first Super Bowl and Warner became a legend. The Northern Iowa product put up monster numbers, took home MVP awards, and was the main man in the Greatest Show on Turf, one of the best offenses ever. After a couple mediocre seasons with the Giants and Cardinals, Warner resurfaced in Arizona and reverted back to MVP form, helping the Cardinals reach their first Super Bowl and coming within inches of a Super Bowl victory. With three Super Bowl appearances, two MVP awards, and one incredible story, Warner’s career merits Hall of Fame honors.
-Kid Reporter John