Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Who is the Greatest Quarterback Ever?

UPDATE: You can see my most recent post on this topic here.


With the New England Patriots gearing up for their fourth Super Bowl Championship in seven years, there is much discussion as to where Tom Brady ranks among the all-time great NFL quarterbacks. Though finishing just his eight NFL season (and seventh as a starter,) he is definitely in the discussion of the best ever.

I decided to do some research and see if I could figure out who might be the best of all-time. It is difficult to compare players from different eras, so it is not enough to rely purely on statistics (e.g. total passing yards, touchdowns, etc.) One must also take into account team success, individual accolades and how a given player compared with his peers during the era in which he played.

Considering these factors, I selected 25 quarterbacks who are generally considered among the best to have played the game and compared them based on twelve different categories: Completion Percentage, Total Passing Yards, Total Touchdown Passes, Interceptions, Quarterback Rating, Rushing Yards, Rushing Touchdowns, NFL Championship/Super Bowl Appearances, NFL Championship/Super Bowls Won, All-Pro Teams, Pro Bowls, and NFL MVP Awards.

After examining these numbers, I then selected a final ten to be considered the best ever. I compared each of the ten finalists with each other on the above mentioned categories and totaled up their rankings for a final score. Here are the top ten, in descending order:

10. Tom Brady - Brady has certainly accomplished a lot in his short time in the NFL and has potential to be the best ever after a handful of more years in the league. His highest rankings were in completion percentage, quarterback rating and Super Bowls won.

9. Dan Marino - Marino's relatively low ranking on this list may surprise some. Dolphin Dan is arguably the greatest passer ever, but his lack of playoff success and inability to be a dual-threat QB hurt him. He played in nine Pro Bowls and ranks second in passing yards and touchdowns.

8. Peyton Manning - With still some good years left, #18 will likely move up on this list. After another handful of solid seasons, Manning could go down as the best ever. But as long as Brady keeps winning Super Bowls, he will not be considered the best of his era.

7. Johnny Unitas - Johnny U. threw for over 40,000 yards during a time when nobody passed the ball like that. He won three championships, won three MVP awards and was selected to an astounding ten Pro Bowls.

6. Fran Tarkenton - Tarkenton was a threat on the ground and in the air for the Minnesota Vikings. He led the Vikes to three Super Bowls during the 70's (failing to win any of them) and ranks as one of the best ever in passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing yards for a QB.

5. John Elway - This Broncos signal caller appeared in five Super Bowls in the 80's and 90's. Only two men have thrown for more yards in the NFL than Elway and he was picked for nine Pro Bowls.

4. Otto Graham - The oldest of this bunch, Graham was simply a winner for the Cleveland Browns in the forties and fifties. Over one ten-year stretch, he led his team to the league championship game each year. He was named All-Pro ten times and rushed for an amazing 44 touchdowns as a quarterback.

3. Steve Young - A bit of a surprise coming in third on this list, Young only won one Super Bowl as the starting QB for the 49'ers. But he ranked first among the top ten QB's in completion percentage, quarterback rating and rushing yards. Had he not started his career in the USFL and been a backup to Joe Montana for a few years, he might very well have topped this list.

2. Brett Favre - One of the most beloved players in the history of the NFL, Favre ranks first in passing yards and passing touchdowns all-time. In addition, he has won a record three league MVP awards and been to nine Pro Bowls.

1. Joe Montana - Montana tops many people's list because of his four Super Bowl wins as the quarterback of San Francisco. But it was his overwhelming consistency and versatility (his rankings on this list were anywhere from 2 to 7) are what won him the coveted spot of greatest quarterback ever.

Those also considered in this ranking were (in alphabetical order) : Troy Aikman, Sammy Baugh, Drew Bledsoe, Terry Bradshaw, Len Dawson, Dan Fouts, Sonny Jurgensen, Jim Kelly, Donovan McNabb, Warren Moon, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, Norm VanBrocklin and Kurt Warner.

So those are my rankings. Who do you think is the greatest ever?

UPDATE: ESPN.com just published an article by Mike Sando that answers the subject of this post. Though the order is slightly different, we agreed on eight of the top ten. You can read it here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Have a Dream

In honor of the King holiday, here is a video of Dr. King's famous 1963 March on Washington speech, "I Have a Dream."

If the video player does not show up, click here.

The King and I

The following was written by Willie Clark for the Orlando Sentinel...

On this MLK holiday, end King-baiting

King baiting is rampant these days. King-baiting?

I'm talking about the tried and true practice of invoking the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s name whenever someone wants to curry favor, assuage anger, rebut arguments or influence decisions by African-Americans. Regardless of political persuasion, King-baiting has become standard operating procedure in the past few years.Today, on the national holiday on which we honor the civil-rights icon, let's talk honestly about King-baiting.

For instance, when the media reported "allegedly racist" comments about blacks and welfare in his newsletter, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee responded, "Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were my heroes." End of discussion. Hillary Clinton riled some African-Americans when she said. "Dr. King's dream of racial equality was only realized when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964." That seemed innocent enough, but many thought she suggested Johnson deserved more credit than King for the passage of civil-rights legislation. Clinton's example of King-bating backfired, too.

Memo to the world: African-Americans revere, celebrate and appreciate everything Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did for the advancement of our race. We honor the supreme sacrifice he made. However, we don't genuflect and comply at the mere mention of his name. King would not have wanted it that way. He fought and died so that all Americans, especially black people, would have the right to speak their mind and make their own decisions. That's something that whites and blacks alike too often forget.

King-baiters usually employ one of three quotes. We've heard them time and time again: "I have a dream," "the content of our character not the color of our skin," and "little black boys and little black girls join hands with little white boys and little white girls."

The endless repetition and focus on these three snippets of words have reduced one of the 20th century's great thinkers to a few lines from one speech. On this holiday honoring him, it would be beneficial to revisit some of the things he said beyond those in his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech:
"Peace is not just the absence of conflict but also the presence of justice." Many laud King's call for peace and nonviolence but, when it comes to the issue of justice, they fall short. In 2007, the Justice Policy Institute released a report detailing disparities in drug sentences for whites and blacks in Central Florida, despite the fact that both races use, sell and transport illegal drugs at roughly the same rate. Last year, the Jena Six, Genarlow Wilson and Shaquanda Cotton cases highlighted the inequities of our justice system in other regions of the country. Despite all of this, year after year, these discrepancies go unaddressed. Justice for all is the cornerstone of our democracy. Neither the United States nor Central Florida will be what it was intended to be until there is fairness in our courts.
"There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel they have no stake in it; who feel they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it." The carnage in our low-income communities is well-documented. The collateral damage is a loss of a sense of safety for the entire community, which takes its toll both emotionally and financially while diminishing our quality of life. There is an extreme sense of disconnect among residents in disadvantaged communities, particularly among the youth. Real or imagined, they believe our system is working against them. Our society needs new and innovative efforts to bring them into the fold both educationally and economically. We can and we must do more.
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...I believe unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." The large number of whites supporting Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's enormous support among black women and the small but significant increase in the ranks of black Republicans are testaments to America's changing attitudes about race. In coming decades, the unenlightened minds that seek to keep us divided will become extinct. As King said, "We as a people will get to the promised land."

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How Do You Define Love?

I received this from my cousin, Kim...

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of four to eight year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That's love." ~ Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." ~ Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." ~ Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." ~ Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." ~ Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." ~ Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." ~ Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." ~ Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." ~ Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." ~ Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." ~ Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." ~ Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." ~ Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." ~ Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." ~ Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." ~ Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." ~ Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." ~ Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." ~ Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." ~ Jessica - age 8

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Getting our Rest

I've been thinking a lot recently about the rest I've been getting and not because I'm not getting enough, but because I'm feeling good. In preparation for a fast that I went on earlier this month, I cut caffeine and most sugar out of my diet in mid-December. Since then I've enjoyed a Carmel Macchiato every now and then, but mostly I've shifted to decaf coffee and diet soda and I've noticed the difference in my energy level.

I've found that even though I wake up pretty early in the morning (typically by 6 a.m.), I'm not waking up groggy. Of course, I am going to bed much earlier at night than I did in my twenties. When I was single, it wasn't uncommon for me to stay up past 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Now, I'm lucky to make it to the ten o'clock news. My body is on a good cycle and I'm getting a solid eight hours of sleep a night. I know this is going to change soon when our fourth child is born, but I do think that paying attention about what I'm putting into my body and seeking to get proper rest is making a difference.

I read the following article this morning by Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and he does a great job addressing this topic. Check out what he has to say about sleep and rest...

"From Starbucks, to Red Bull, to No-Doz, Americans are showing signs of addiction to caffeine. Sixty percent of us drink a cup of coffee a day. On average we will drink 52 gallons of soda this year. And Starbucks—they get a whopping $5.3 billion of our collective dough.
Whether we are chemically stimulating because we do not get enough sleep, or whether the caffeine itself is depriving us of precious rest, we are also sleeping less than ever before. Americans get an average of six and a half hours of sleep a night, a 25 percent drop since the early 1900s. No wonder we are stressed. And as if we needed any more help depriving ourselves of rest, scientists may have found a drug that will eliminate sleepiness.
According to a recent article in Wired Magazine, “A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called ‘orexin A’ reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests.”
Personally, I would rather not take a chemical that helps me perform like a well-rested monkey. But the prospect of a chemical that could reduce sleepiness without the side effects other stimulants are known for could have far-reaching repercussions.
While the drug is still many years away from reaching pharmacies, it reminds me how important it is to examine the trends facing society from a biblical rather than a purely cultural perspective. We live in a culture today that spurns rest.
Whether it is working later hours to have more spending power or commuting longer distances to live “the good life,” or just staying up too late to watch more TV, the truth is people are ready to skip rest to do it all. For most people, the only thing that makes this choice a dangerous one would be the potential health risks and the side effects we feel the next day. Eliminate the health risks and side effects, and ta-da!, no problem.
But what about for Christians? God built rest into the very rhythm of creation. Keeping a day of rest made His top-10 list. And believe it or not, rest serves a purpose—a divine purpose. It reminds us that God is in control. What happens when you cannot finish everything that you think you need to get done and your body is telling you, “you have to go to sleep”? You are thrown into a situation in which you must depend on God.
Rest reminds us that there is Someone we can rest in. And our need for rest is a daily reminder that we are finite creatures and must trust in an infinite God.
We cannot do it alone. And in this way rest is also a picture of the great work of salvation we are offered. We can work all we want, and we will never earn salvation. Jesus did the work for us. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest . . .” (4:9-11a).
So here’s a question for you: How are you doing at resting? It may say more than you realize about how you are doing in trusting God."

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Charismatic Growth in America

Some recent surveys done by pollster George Barna indicate that the influence of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity is growing. Pentecostalism is similar to other streams of evangelical Christianity in that there is an emphasis on the need to receive Christ as personal Savior and a belief in the authority of the Scriptures. What distinguishes Pentecostals from other fundamentalist, mainline or evangelical Christians is their emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit (particularly speaking in tongues) and Holy Spirit Baptism as a subsequent experience to one's initial salvation.

The Charismatic movement is very similar to Pentecostalism, although many individuals who consider themselves Charismatics may remain members of mainline, Catholic or evangelical denominations. Also, some Charismatics may not place quite the emphasis on speaking in tongues that other Pentecostals may, although there is an importance placed on the more miraculous gifts of the Spirit such as healing or prophecy.

The modern-day Pentecostal movement traces its roots a century ago to the Azusa Street Revival, which took place in Los Angeles. This movement has spawned a number of denominations and influenced many existing denominations as well. Some interesting points from Barna's findings are as follows:

  • Many people believe that charismatic Christianity is almost exclusively a Protestant phenomenon. However, the research showed that one-third of all U.S. Catholics (36%) fit the charismatic classification. Framed differently, almost one-quarter of all charismatics in the U.S. (22%) are Catholic.
  • Charismatic churches are generally thought to belong to a rather strictly defined group of denominations. The growth of Pentecostalism, however, has crossed denominational boundaries in recent years. For instance, 7% of Southern Baptist churches and 6% of mainline churches are charismatic, according to their Senior Pastors.
  • One widespread view is that charismatic Christianity is found mostly in small, relatively unsophisticated congregations. The research suggests something different. Charismatic congregations are about the same size as those of non-charismatic Protestant churches. Most surprisingly, charismatic ministries are more likely than other Protestant churches to use five of the seven technological applications evaluated. Those included the use of large-screen projection systems, showing movie clips in worship services or congregational events, using blogs, and web-based social networking by the church.
  • In the past, many have observed that the female pastors were more likely to be welcomed into the Pentecostal community. However, 9% of both charismatic and non-charismatic Protestant churches are currently led by a female Senior Pastor.
  • It is assumed faith trends in America are dictated by white churches, which represent about 77% of the nation's Protestant congregations. However, only 16% of the country's white Protestant congregations are Pentecostal, compared to 65% of the Protestant churches dominated by African-Americans.
To read the complete Barna report, you can visit here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FLAME to be at Impact Regional Conference

The following was taken from the online version of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine...

"The Impact Movement, an international organization that aims to positively influence the African American community through faith and action, continues its series of regional conferences January 18-21, 2008, in Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. Gospel rap artist FLAME will be among featured guests at the Chicago conference.

“I thoroughly appreciate the work that The Impact Movement is doing for the Kingdom of God,” says FLAME. “I am ecstatic about being a part of an event to help further train leaders who will contextualize the gospel for the urban community. Anyone who comes in contact with The Impact Movement’s ministry won’t leave the same.”

The purpose of the conference is to provide opportunities for young people to gather with hundreds of their peers for biblical teaching, worship and training for making an impact in their spheres of influence. “There is a move among young people to speak to the needs of our community and to take their place as leaders both in this country and around the world. Those who gather at these conferences are the hope for the future of the African American community,” said Charles Gilmer, president of The Impact Movement.

The theme of the regional conferences is Paid In Full and stems from Colossians 2:13-14 which communicates that the debt and weight of our sins has been paid in full through Jesus Christ. The Impact Movement takes the truth of Jesus Christ to the campus, community and world by producing African American leaders who are spiritually-focused, financially responsible and morally fit. An international ministry with a presence on more than 100 college campuses, the organization is noted for its biennial national conference that has hosted more than 14,000 participants. The next national conference will be held in Atlanta, December 27, 2008 to January 1, 2009. For more information, visit http://www.impactmovement.com/."

Born and raised on the inner city streets of St. Louis, the death of his best friend - his grandmother - would change his life. FLAME A.K.A. Marcus Williams-Gray quickly ran to Christ at the age of 16 and never turned back. Ministering for more than 10 years at churches, events and conferences, the Dove Award nominee and 2008 Holy Hip Hop Award Honoree is currently completing his degree in Biblical Counseling at Boyce College located in Louisville. For more information, log onto http://www.flame314.com/, www.myspace.com/flame314 or http://www.crossmovementrecords.com/.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Praying for Celebrities

There was an interesting article in the Orlando Sentinel today about a group of people called the Hollywood Prayer Network that are committed to praying regularly for celebrities. The philosophy of the group is that if more Christians prayed for those in the limelight instead of judging them, then maybe they could make a more positive effect on their lives.

There has certainly been no shortage of celebrities leading troubled lives, but there seems to be an alarming number of young women in the spotlight who are leading lives out of control. Paris Hilton's stint in jail put her on nightly newscasts and Lindsay Lohan's in again/out again relationship with rehab centers has her on the cover of magazines every time I go to the grocery store.

Arguably most well-known among this group of girls behaving badly is Britney Spears. Once a pop music queen, Britney has been on the news more for her crazy antics in recent years than anything she's done in the music world. Sadly, it appears her life is spinning wildly out-of-control unless some drastic changes are made.

Also troubling was the recent news that Britney's younger sister, Jamie Lynn, had become pregnant at the age of 16. A star of Nickelodeon's teeny-bopper show, Zoey 101, her announcement sent shock waves through the media. Unfortunately, this turn of events is merely a reflection of what is going on in our society. Girls at younger and younger ages are experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex, and those in Hollywood are certainly not the only ones doing it.

When the announcement of Jamie Lynn's pregnancy hit the airwaves, there was an outcry from many in the Christian community. Many were bothered that a role model from a kids channel had allowed this to happen to herself and to a guy she met in church, no less! I am the parent of a young girl and I, too, am concerned about who my daughter looks up to as her role models. But I appreciate the perspective given by Lisa Welchel, a women who is now a popular author but is known to most of us (at least from by generation) as Blair Warner from Facts of Life.

As a former child star herself, Welchel has gone to bat for Jamie Lynn and commended her for making a difficult choice that few in her position would have made -- to have the baby instead of having an abortion. Though not commending her for putting herself in this situation, Welchel had this to say:

"I'm so proud of her for stepping up and being courageous and taking responsibility for her choices, and I believe she's being a good role model — a good role model in that situation, to choose to have the baby, and … I am supportive of her in that situation."

I agree with Blair...er, Lisa. Those of us that are evangelical Christians are overwhelmingly in opposition to abortion. Yet when a young girl finds herself in a predicament as the younger Spears girl has found herself, we can be among the first to cast stones. I think that we need commend her for keeping this child and for choosing not to make another bad choice on top of the one she had already made.

Which leads me back to the folks that are a part of The Hollywood Prayer Network. I think what they're doing is great. I am so quick to judge the actions in the public spotlight, yet neglect to pray for them. Many of these young stars were pushed into show business at a young age, thrust into stardom and weren't able to cope to the realities of life in light of all the demands placed upon them. I often forget that. Yes, they are responsible for their decisions and actions. But I wonder what kind of difference it would make if we Christians would be committed to praying for those in the news instead of reveling in our self-righteous smugness that often accompanies their downfalls.

Within American culture we seem to get this sick pleasure in seeing individuals rise to the top and then fall from the perch that we have put them on. One of the things that I like about what those in the Hollywood Prayer Network are doing is that a number of individuals involved in the organization are actually involved in the Hollywood community and personally know many of the individuals they pray for. For them it is not a matter of simply being star struck, but they see first hand the emptiness that fame and fortune can bring. I'm glad that there are committed followers of Jesus actively involved in the lives of those that shape our culture through music, television and the movies.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Hail to the Victors

Yesterday was a great day to be a Michigan Wolverine! And thanks to my sister, Kelly, I, along with Kelly and my son, Brennan, were in attendance at the Capital One Bowl game in Orlando as we watched the Maize and Blue take on the Florida Gators. The Michigan team played great football for sixty minutes and sent retiring Coach Lloyd Carr out with a resounding victory in his final game as the Wolverines coach.

Not only was this a great game because of Michigan's win, but it was a flat-out exciting game. There were a number of big plays, outstanding catches, costly penalties and turnovers, and a great matchup between the defending national champion and a Michigan team that showed what they could do when healthy and at full-strength. With a senior class that was 0-3 in bowl games coming into yesterday's matchup, the Wolverines played an inspired and intense game.

It is great to see Coach Carr go out with a big victory. After disappointing losses to Appalachian State and Oregon and a fourth consecutive loss to rival Ohio State, many assumed that the Heisman trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow would waltz over the Wolverines without a second thought. But a ferocious U of M defense, led by Shawn Crable, neutered the potent Florida offense (except for wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was very impressive) and held Tebow to an average day.

Michigan's offense was simply spectacular. Chad Henne, who had over 370 yards passing, cut through the UF defense all day long by throwing key competions to receivers Adrian Arrington, Mario Manningham and Greg Matthews. Mark Hart was solid on the ground, although his two goal-line fumbles were shocking.

I hope that this game (and not the App. State debacle) defines the senior class of Hart, Henne and Long. They came out in a game that few thought they could win and dominated a very good Florida team. Were it not for Michigan's four turnovers (three of which happened inside the five yard line), this game could have been a two or three touchdown victory. So congrats to Lloyd, Chad, Mike, Jake, Shawn and to all Michigan fans everywhere on a huge win!

Here's a short video of Michigan fans in our section celebrating during the closing minute. Enjoy.

If the video player doesn't show up, you can view it here.