Monday, November 23, 2009

James Lofton: An Unheralded Hall of Famer

764 career receptions, 14,004 receiving yards and 75 career receiving touchdowns over a 16-year NFL career from 1978-1993.

Certainly Hall-of-Fame-worthy numbers, right? And James Lofton's 2003 induction certainly proved the above credentials make him worthy of induction into Canton.

Lofton was drafted #6 overall in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers out of Stanford. During his third and fourth years in the league, 1980 and 1981, he topped 1,200 receiving yards and had 71 receptions each season. He would stay with the Packers through 1986, topping 1,000 yards each year from 1983-1985 and leading the league in yards per catch in 1983 and 1984. He also went to seven of his eight career Pro Bowls during his nine seasons in Green Bay.

Lofton played for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987 and 1988, but only had 69 receptions in those two seasons before joining the Buffalo Bills in 1989. He would play in three Super Bowls with Buffalo, and would make his eighth and final Pro Bowl in 1991 as he became the oldest player (at the time) to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He played for the Bills through 1992, then split 1993 (his final season) between the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.

Lofton was the first NFL receiver to top 14,000 yards for his career and also the first player to score a touchdown in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's. He is a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1980's and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.

After retirement, Lofton worked NFL games for Westwood One radio from 1999-2001 before becoming the San Diego Chargers' WR coach from 2002-2007 and then serving in the same capacity on the Oakland Raiders' coaching staff in 2008. He returned to Westwood One in 2009 and he teams with Dave Sims for Sunday night games.

When thinking about the NFL's all-time great wide receivers, Lofton's name probably doesn't come to mind immediately, which is probably because he spent the majority of his career playing in the obscurity of pre-Brett Favre Green Bay. But there he is, among the all-time leaders in many of the most important categories for wide receivers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Allen Iverson-Retiring?

News came this week that Allen Iverson left the Memphis Grizzlies to deal with a family issue. A report suggested that, along with his displeasure with his playing situation, could lead him to retire. Memphis GM Chris Wallace has said he expects Iverson back, but no timeframe has been given for his return to the team.

A.I. has played just three games so far this season for the Grizzlies, averaging 12.3 points per game in 22 minutes a game. There have been some rumors that a higher profile team, like the New York Knicks or Cleveland Cavaliers, may be interested in acquiring Iverson but there seems to be little substance to those rumors.

If Iverson's career is indeed over, how will he be remembered?

There's his infamous "Practice? We're talkin' 'bout practice?" rant, which will live forever on YouTube and on any "All-Time Sports Meltdowns" countdown. Then there are his clashes with coaches, from Larry Brown in Philadelphia to George Karl in Denver.

But when judging Iverson's career, I feel it's best to look at his career stats up to this point.

Over his 14 NBA seasons, 2009-10 being his 14th season, Iverson has averaged 27.0 points per game (24,020 total points), averaged 6.2 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game. He has averaged over 3o points per game in a season four times, and has also led the league in steals per game three times.

Iverson has shot 42.5 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the free-throw line in his career, along with a 31.3 percent mark from three-point territory.

The 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year has won four scoring titles, one NBA MVP Award (2001) and has been an All-Star ten times.

Iverson's decline may have started last season, as he averaged just 17.5 points per game in 57 games with the Detroit Pistons. That was the first season of his career where he did not average at least 22 points per game.

In any case, Iverson was one of the most prolific scorers of his, or perhaps any era despite his lack of size (6'0").

Whenever his career ends, the question of Iverson's Hall of Fame worthiness will come up. In my estimation, "The Answer" to that question is yes.

UPDATE-11/16/09- Multiple reports say the Grizzlies have waived Iverson after the two sides agreed to terminate his contract ($3 milion for the 2009-10 season). If he clears waivers, he will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday night. His NBA career could be over, but some rumors have suggested (even prior to his signing with Memphis) that he could play overseas.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How To Find My Work

Here are the various avenues where I can be found:

Twitter: @bradberreman24-I "re-tweet" things that interest me and also post some of my takes on sports stories

Facebook-Just search my name-"Brad Berreman"

Rotowire.com: I cover the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for the site. Not all ACC news updates are mine, but I am one of the contributors to the site's coverage of the conference.

SportsBuff.com-I post fantasy football relevant NFL news updates (stats, injury news, player transactions, etc.), focusing on the NFC.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seamheads.com: The Case For J.J. Hardy

This article is featured on Seamheads (http://www.seamheads.com/) and takes a look at SS J.J. Hardy of the Milwaukee Brewers.

I originally posted this on August 17, 2009, but I figured it was worth re-posting with today's news that the Minnesota Twins have acquired Hardy in exchange for OF Carlos Gomez.

http://seamheads.com/blog/2009/08/17/the-case-for-jj-hardy/#more-1548

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I am a sportswriter based in Minnesota, and I contribute currently to a few sports related websites. I intend to use this blog to create visibility for my work.

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