Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why I Hate Charlie Trippi

Okay, I don't hate Charlie Trippi. But I don't think he's a Pro Football HOFer based solely on his on-field performance.

Trippi's closest comp among modern quarterbacks is … well, it's Ronnie Brown, actually. Runs more than passes, blockers out front. It's not very complicated or scenic, but it got Trippi a couple of All-Pro nods and a place in the Hall of Fame.

It's mind-blowing that a runner who never won a rushing crown or a passer with a 5-11 record at quarterback and whose best showing on the all-time charts is 182nd place in punting average could be a Hall of Famer, but Trippi was the best player on the Cards' only championship team, and that's ... that's enough. Those Kurt Warner doubters may want to reconsider.

Ah, but let's not leave the remains of Charlie Trippi quite so soon. This you need to know about Trippi: He filled the stands. Like Doak Walker, Trippi was a college player who came out of school dripping excitement. The postwar National Football League needed Charlie Trippi just like it needed Red Grange in the early days. There was no TV contract; what the players, teams, and league got was based almost exclusively on the number of people who came out to watch the game. And if, like Grange, Trippi was less of a player on the field than he was in the newspapers, it's somewhat secondary. He helped salvage the game by bringing out the crowds, and that, along with being the best player on the Cards' only championship team, is more than enough.

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