View Full Version : Young and Marino from the Promise Land

08-07-2005, 02:45 PM
Quarterbacks Marino, Young Enter Football's Hall of Fame
Canton Welcomes Four New Members Sunday as Friedman, Pollard Also in Class of 2005

CANTON, Ohio (Aug. 6) - Dan Marino took the long, straight road to the Hall of Fame. Steve Young traversed a long and winding route.

Both got to the football shrine this weekend thanks to often dominant performances that few NFL quarterbacks could match and few defenses could handle. Marino was the most prolific passer in league history, and Young brought an exciting brand of uninhibited play to the game.

They will join yet another quarterback, Benny Friedman, and Fritz Pollard as the Class of 2005. Friedman and Pollard were NFL pioneers.

"I don't know that there's much difference in playing the quarterback position, other than Steve was more mobile and ran more and probably didn't go downfield that much," Marino says. "The idea is the same: You got to get the ball to the receivers and not throw interceptions.

"I am happy for Steve, it's an incredible honor for anyone who gets inducted. Look at Steve's career and I am proud to be able to go in the Class of '05 with him. He is a guy who won a Super Bowl, and you look at Steve and he had a little adversity early in his career and was able to come back and worked the way he has and to win so many games."

For Young, naturally, the feeling is mutual.

"It's kind of fun, because we're bookends, right?" he said. "Dan is the epitome of one side and I'm the epitome of one side, our style. I think that there was a style that Dan had that was very much more traditional at the time. And I think that my style, while it wasn't traditional when I started playing, I look around the league today, and absolutely, the quarterback can move around.

"So it's fun to watch the ebb and flow of the style of quarterback in the league, and we absolutely represent two opposite ends of the spectrum."

Marino and Young both benefited from playing under Hall of Fame coaches. Indeed, while Marino probably would have succeeded in any situation, his working relationship with Don Shula catapulted him to his arm's length worth of records.

"Coach Shula has been such a big part of my career and experiences," Marino says. "When you spend 13 years for a coach, it's not just Sunday at 1 o'clock for a game. It's spending time in meetings and off the field. He has been a big part of my life and has been a close friend."

Before drafting Marino with the 27th - yes, 27th - choice of the first round in 1983, when five quarterbacks went ahead of the Pittsburgh product, Shula preferred a run-oriented offense and conservative play-calling. That all changed when Marino showed up in Miami.

"It was amazing how everybody tried to defense Dan," Shula recalls. "As a young quarterback, they tried to give him all kinds of looks and blitzes. But he had such a quick release, so they discovered blitzing was not the thing to do.

"What Dan had, everybody talks about the quick release and it certainly was quicker than anybody who ever played the game ... but the thing that made Dan so special was his vision downfield. He didn't like play-action passes; he always wanted to be facing the line of scrimmage where he could see what the coverage was and where the blitzers were coming. Although he wasn't a scrambler, he never had many sacks because of his great vision and release."

That vision, that release, that competitiveness, helped make Marino the most prolific passer the NFL has seen. When Marino left the Dolphins after the 1999 season, he had NFL bests of 4,967 completions, 8,358 passes, 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns. His record of 48 TD passes in the 1984 season was broken by Peyton Manning last year.

Although he never won a Super Bowl, Marino was the 1984 league MVP, made three All-Pro teams and nine Pro Bowls. When he retired, he owned 21 NFL marks, including most seasons with 3,000 yards or more passing (13); most yards passing in one season (5,084 in '84, the only year he won a conference championship); and most games with 300 yards or more passing (63).

"I had the great opportunity and privilege to coach John Unitas," Shula says. "I first played with him, then coached him and against him. Then, of course, Bob Griese was a very different type of quarterback, a field general in a ball-control offense.

"Dan Marino brought the excitement and the feeling you were never out of a game, no matter what the score."

Young did the same for San Francisco after beginning his pro career in decidedly non-Hall of Fame style. He played for the Los Angeles Express of the USFL, then the ragtag Tampa Bay Buccaneers before Bill Walsh engineered a trade to get him to the 49ers.

Young sat behind Joe Montana from 1987-90, but replaced the future Canton inductee when Montana was injured in 1991. He kept the job for most of the rest of the decade, leading the Niners to the 1994 NFL championship - their last title.

The first modern-era left-handed quarterback elected to the Hall of Fame, Young was the league's most valuable player in 1992 and '94. A clever runner with a strong arm and, like Marino, great field vision, Young made seven Pro Bowls and was a three-time All-Pro. He held the highest passer rating in league history (96.8) when he retired in '99. He also set the highest single-season rating of 112.8, which Manning broke this season.

"To have success in football you have to live up to the standard you've left for yourself," he said, reflecting on how he followed record-setting quarterbacks Jim McMahon at BYU and Montana with the Niners. "I was fortunate to follow some great people to show me what it was really going to take."

Friedman played for four teams from 1927-34 and was one of the early NFL's great quarterbacks. A contemporary of Red Grange, he also was a strong draw at the box office. A college star at Michigan, his popularity stayed with him when he moved to the pros.

Giants owner Tim Mara purchased the Detroit Wolverines, for whom Friedman played in 1928, not only to get him in New York's lineup but to fill the stands. It worked, and the Giants began making money with Friedman in the lineup.

At 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, Friedman would have been a pip-squeak in today's game. He was an All-Star during his career, though, and Grange once called him "the best quarterback I ever played against."

"I saw Benny take terrific beatings in professional football," Grange said. "Yet I never heard him cry about it. The big ends and tackles always tried harder to discourage a great passer in pro football than in the college game, but they never discouraged Benny."

Nor could Pollard be stifled. He was the first black head coach in the NFL, in 1921, and was an outstanding player, too. A running back, he led the Akron Pros to the 1920 championship with an undefeated record and later organized the Chicago Brown Bombers, an independent team of black players that barnstormed the country from 1927-33.

"For me, I didn't know that much about him until I started reading and hearing some things and then doing the research on it," said Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, one of six black head coaches in the league today. "In the pre-integration of the game, I think it's interesting that he not only played the game but coached it."

The ceremonies will be televised live by ESPN.

08-07-2005, 02:46 PM
IMHO, these are 2 great players that more then deserve their spot in the great hall at Canton. Congrats Dan and Steve.

08-07-2005, 02:54 PM
Irvin should be in. Tainted ceremony in my opinion.

Class of 1990
08-07-2005, 04:13 PM
Irvin should be in. Tainted ceremony in my opinion.

This Irvin ?


Or this Irvin ?


The stats on your boy

Michael Irvin (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/IrviMi00.htm)

5-time Pro Bowler

Among the league's all-time top 50
Receptions: 16t
Receiving yards: 11
Receiving TDs: 34t
Yards from scrimmage: 31

08-08-2005, 11:56 PM
i have no prob putting Irvin in....great football player, made others better including smith and aikman. he was a knucklehead off field but that doesnt matter.

and damn...why do we have to hear about marino not having a ring...big deal. still an awesome player, just not in the right place....makes me wonder about shula...

08-09-2005, 12:41 AM
i have no prob putting Irvin in....great football player, made others better including smith and aikman. he was a knucklehead off field but that doesnt matter.

and damn...why do we have to hear about marino not having a ring...big deal. still an awesome player, just not in the right place....makes me wonder about shula...

Marino just wasn't on good enough teams, he had wide receivers and nothing else. He never had a running back, and never had a solid defense.

And as a Dolphins fan, I definitely don't like how some people say that he isn't up there with other guys because he didn't have a ring. If guys like Montana, Bradshaw, etc. were on those Dolphins teams, they wouldn't have won a ring either. Marino was a great QB, one of the best of all time (as a Dolphins fan I like to think he is the best but I'm obviously very biased) and I'm just happy he played for my team. It really sucks that he didn't win a ring, but it doesn't make him any worse of a player IMO.

08-09-2005, 12:15 PM
the same thing can be said about fran tarkenton that they are saying about marino. Marino is one of the GOATs. i dont like the fins and i didnt like marino when he played but he was a great player. nothing can be taken away from marino and to say he isnt one of the GOATs because he doesnt have a ring is absurd.