The Back Page: Deacon Jones, Albert Pujols and some NASCAR
The Back Page
The drama was building, the storylines unfolding, breakout players coming of age (Steph Curry, Paul George) but in the end it will be the Spurs vs the Heat in the NBA Finals. Going in, it looked like we would see Heat/Thunder or Heat/Spurs and after all the craziness and drama, I think we are getting the two top teams. The NHL Playoffs are down to its Final Four and both Chicago and Boston have what seem to be surprising 2-0 series leads over LA and Pittsburgh. In the midst of all that excitement, The Back Page presents some of the stories you may have missed…
NFL Hall of Famer Deacon Jones is dead at age 74
Like I said in last week’s Back Page, sometimes here at The Back Page you learn a thing or two. Deacon Jones is a Hall of Famer and NFL Legend and although he had retired way too early for me to watch him, I know and respect him as a legendary football player. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980, was voted to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All Time Team and is one of the legendary Fearsome Foursome of the LA Rams during the 70’s. All of that you can read in your average Sports Almanac. What you don’t read is that he was credited with coming up with the word “sack” when describing how he use to take down quarterbacks. I thought that was pretty cool! It wasn’t until 1982 that Sacks became an official stat in the NFL. Up until then there was no way to measure how great a Defensive Lineman was. The only thing that you could measure was the legacy he left behind. Deacon Jones left a legacy of a legendary defensive football player so whenever we think of the great defensive players of today and all of the “sacks” we measure their greatness with, let’s always remember the creator of the sack, David “Deacon” Jones.
Albert Pujols is right on track
Yes, he is struggling with Plantar Fasciitis. Yes, the team is struggling and could use some better offensive output from him. However, I think we are seeing the best of Albert Pujols now. This is what you get from a 33 year old with the years of baseball wear and tear on his body. Before you put him in the box and bury him 6 ft under, check these numbers out for the first two months of the season the past 3 years…
2013 2012 2011
Games: 53 51 56
Runs: 30 22 33
HR: 8 8 9
RBI: 31 28 31
Pretty similar numbers huh? Albert will be ok. The guy is too good to just fall off the map. No, I don’t think he will hit 350 again with 40 plus homeruns but his numbers are on par with his past 2 seasons and they finished fairly solid.
Denny Hamlin will make The Chase
Who?? The what?? Besides my Streak For The Cash write-ups on the 27inarow Forum for the NASCAR props, this is the first time I’ve touched on NASCAR. (Be looking for a first half NASCAR season review later this week!) Quick NASCAR 101. The 36 race season is divided up into 2 parts. Points won during the first 26 “regular season” races, determine the 12 drivers that will compete for the championship in the last 10 races which are called “The Chase”. It is NASCAR’s form of playoffs. Denny Hamlin missed 4 races due to a back injury caused during a crash he sustained racing hard for the win at the Auto Club 400 race at Fontana. He did not win that race and also missed the next 4 due to the injury. Most people would count him or anyone else out if they missed 4 races. That is 4 chances to pick up points. You gain points based on where you finish in the race. Basically he dropped in the standings every week he didn’t race because just for racing you pick up points. Currently he sits at 26th. He needs to be in the top 20 to even qualify for The Chase and unless he makes the top 10, he will HAVE to win at least one race and probably 2 of the 13 remaining. He has started off on the right “track” so to speak. He has won the pole by qualifying first in his first two races back. Back to back poles very rarely happen. He ran well in both, but unfortunately a flat tire sent him into the wall this past week at Dover. The Pocono race this weekend is one of his best tracks. Hamlin is the only active driver other than 5 time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson to not miss The Chase every year as a full time driver, which has been 7 years for him. People have counted out most everyone outside of the top 20. Big mistake, but not us here at The Back Page. The Back Page is always aware of what you might have missed, so keep your eyes on Denny Hamlin!