Sunday, February 05, 2012

Curtis Martin

"Don't go putting him in Canton just yet," -- Bill Parcells on Curtis Martin, New England Patriots preseason, 1995

Now be OK with you, Coach?

Canton was always where Martin was running, and yesterday he got there. A wholly deserved honor was given to a wholly honorable and admirable football player. The oldest man ever to lead the NFL in rushing is a truly singular record, and it's his.

The announcement, however, got me wondering. How much different would the history of the New England Patriots be if Bob Kraft and Bobby Grier HAD matched the offer the Jets made for Martin back in the '90s? It was Martin's departure, more than any other factor, that sent the young team that'd made the Super Bowl in the 1996 season into a slow but sure slide to mediocrity.

If Martin had remained a Pat, maybe Pete Carroll would've lasted a few more years. Maybe Bill Belichick would've been the HC of the NYJ for more than a day. Maybe the franchise wouldn't have drafted a quarterback in the sixth round in 2000.

Maybes and ifs are the most truly idle of thoughts, so I'll drop them now. We can say that what did happen worked all for all concerned, especially Martin. He was going to be a Hall of Famer no matter what team he was on, so it's good he got to be an especially well-paid one in the process.


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