In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, we welcome newcomer Marc Trotochaud and veterans Sean Reis and George Tatoris as they try to answer “Ref” Otto Gomez’s three questions: Who is the best two-sport athlete in the last 25 years? Which college football team has been the most surprisingly good (or bad)? Does Tiger Woods deserve to be on my Mount Rushmore of American athletes?
1. Tim Tebow is the next player to play multiple professional sports. Who is the best two-sport athlete in the last 25 years?
Marc Trotochaud: Michael Jordan. During the mid-’90s, after winning three straight championships with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan shocked the sports world with his brief transition into professional baseball. Although his stint in MLB was uninspiring at best (barely cracking .200 with just over 50 RBIs), he more than made up for it with his performance as an NBA player. When I look at his two-sport career, I average out the best NBA career of all time with a forgettable career in the minor leagues, putting him right in the middle of a hypothetical two-sport overall ranking. In my opinion that score puts him ahead of any other multi-sport athlete the sports world has had in the last 25 years.
Sean Reis: He’s probably the wrong answer, but I have to say Jordan. Although Jordan did not play baseball on superstar levels, he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball, meanwhile, he left his game during his prime to go and give his other passion, baseball, a try. To leave your sport, while you are the best player on the planet, and go attempt a career at another sport you love — that takes heart! LeBron James could never do that.
George Tatoris: Speed can get you a lot of places. For James Jett, speed got him to the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and the NFL in 1993. Jett was a member of America’s gold-earning 4×100 relay team in Barcelona, Spain. That’s right. An NFL player with Olympic Gold. One year later he was drafted to the Los Angeles Raiders as a wide receiver. His rookie season he led the NFL with over 23 yards per reception. He kept with the team through the move to Oakland, Calif. and during the late ’90s Raiders renaissance. He ended his career with Super Bowl XXXVII and with 256 receptions for 4,417 yards and 30 touchdowns, putting him in the top-10 list of best receivers in Raiders history. A lot of two-sport athletes only find success in one of their sports, but Jett managed to do so in both. In addition, his name is almost as good of a sprinter name as Usain Bolt.
Marc gets 2 points because a .200 in AA is still hard to get. Sean gets 0 points for the unnecessary shot at LeBron. George gets 0 points because Jett didn’t run in the 4×100 final.
2. After the first few weeks of college football, which team has been the most surprisingly good (or bad)?
Marc: It’s Sunday night and I waited to watch week two before I answered this question. Surprisingly, my answered stayed the same. Louisiana State University (LSU) has been the most surprisingly bad team this season. Their first loss to University of Wisconsin, when they had a top-five national ranking, shocked not just me, but the entire sports world. I wasn’t looking for a big bounce back this week because the strength of their opponent gave them way more room for error. Yet as I watched the highlights of their expected blowout victory, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that LSU star running back (RB) Leonard Fournette was not on the field. Fournette could sit out the rest of the season and still be the first RB taken off the board, making me nervous and disappointed that an exciting LSU team will probably fall flat.
Sean: I don’t know about the most surprising team, but I’ll tell you the least — the Lions lost 51 to 3 last week — “c’mon, man!” OK, I kid, I kid. Seriously, the most surprisingly bad team thus far has to be my Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish put up 47 points the first week, but did they even play defense because University of Texas dropped 50 on them? Those are unacceptable defensive numbers. I don’t care if you beat University of Nevada this past week. Notre Dame, get your shit together.
George: The most surprisingly good performance so far is Texas A&M. After starting the season unranked, it seemed they were destined to fall to No. 16 UCLA in the opening week. The Aggies faltered defensive-wise a few times causing the game to drag into overtime, but ultimately reigned over the Bruins, 31-24. At the end of it all, Texas A&M had 203 rushing yards and forced three turnovers from Heisman candidate Josh Rosen. The win catapulted the Aggies to No. 20 in the AP Poll and 24 in the Coaches’ Poll. Meanwhile, UCLA fell off the board. After week two, the Aggies sit at No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches’ Poll.
Marc gets 1 point for Fournette, who sat out. Sean gets 2 points for mentioning the Irish and Texas game. George gets 3 points for mentioning the Aggies early success.
3. Personally, Woods is on my Mount Rushmore of American athletes of my lifetime. Does he deserve to be there?
Marc: It would not be outlandish to argue that Woods is the best American athlete we have seen in our lifetime. I credit this argument for two different reasons: One, his dominance in the sport, and two, the amount of media coverage he attracted. All Woods did was win, and he won for over a decade. His dominance in golf hadn’t been seen for years, and the media attention that he garnered put him in the public spotlight. He was riding in the high media spotlight for years, and when he crashed the entire nation were witnesses. These reasons move Woods into my Mount Rushmore of American athletes from our lifetime.
Sean: The Mount Rushmore of Golf? Yes. However, the Mount Rushmore of American athletes during our generation? I don’t know about that top four. The first three were easy for me — Derek Jeter, James and Peyton Manning — but that fourth athlete, that’s tough. Personally, I think Woods is too easy of an argument. He has 14 major titles and the speed at which he won those was unreal, but he’s slowed down… a lot, and he’ll never pass Jack Nicklaus, so I don’t think I can place him on my generation’s Mount Rushmore.
George: The only four guys to go on any Mount Rushmore are Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, who were all competent athletes anyway. Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler who once threw a man and then asked if anyone else wanted to “whet” their “horns.” Teddy played football and literally helped create the NCAA. Washington had an arm like an MLB pitcher and rode horses like Tobey Maguire in “Seabiscuit,” according to his soldiers. Even Jefferson, the turbo-nerd of the founding fathers, shot foxes in the head. Sure, they didn’t play professionally, but these guys pretty much did more than anyone else ever did for American sportdom by inventing America — a very necessary component to American sports. Putting Woods next to those guys is unpatriotic and downright communist.
Marc gets 3 points for explaining Woods’s dominance. Sean gets 2 points because you still kept Woods out. George 2 points because Roosevelt helped create the NCAA.