The Five Most Important Figures in Wisconsin Sports History

04/03/2007
"From County Stadium, in Milwaukee. It's a beautiful day for baseball, folks."
"Career highlights? I had two. I got an intentional walk from Sandy Koufax and I got out of a rundown against the Mets." -- Bob Eucker
Rockin' Robin
Not even Bud Selig saw this coming.
Thank you, Barry
Under Alvarez, the badger logo went from this...
...to this. Forward, a tradition that Alvarez preached, a tradition that Wisconsin demands.
Hammerin' Hank
Man among boys
Coach of the Century
In response to a past NutCan article composed by the Most Beloved Writer (MBL), I would like to highlight the most important figures in Wisconsin sports history. Unlike Matt's article, however, I am expanding my reach beyond the professional arena, as there have been a number of college athletes and coaches in the college ranks, and even an announcer who have made an impact for our state. Upon further review, Wisconsin has a very rich and successful sports history. Wisconsin has been home for two different baseball teams at different times, it has produced numerous hall of famers from all major sports, and it is home to one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. It might be hard to keep this list down to just five, and many of these guys could have entire articles written on them alone. That being said, here are the six most important figures in Wisconsin sports history:





6. Bob Uecker


While he has never been known for his athletic achievements, Bob Uecker is as engrained in Wisconsin's sports tradition as any figure could possibly be. Born in Milwaukee, Mr. Baseball played for the Milwaukee Braves during the 1962 and 1963 seasons as a backup catcher. When his playing career ended, arguably one of the worst playing careers in major league history, he joined the broadcasting crew for Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 and has been the voice of the Brewers ever since. He starred in the baseball flick, Major League, playing an often inebriated Harry Doyle, the announcer for the Cleveland Indians, which debuted in 1989. He was elected to the baseball hall of fame in 2003, receiving the Ford C. Frick Award which is awarded annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball". There were no summer days too hot for listening to Ueck make the calls for the Crew. "Juuuust a bit outside, he shot the corner and missed." And his signature home call has become so legendary, that it now lights up in Miller Park when a Brewer hits a home run. "Get up, get outta here, gone!". Since 1992, the Brewers have not posted a winning season, and since 1982 the Brewers have not been to the playoffs. But throughout these trying times, Bob Uecker has brought a glimmer of sunshine into many Brewer fans who just won't give in.






5. Robin Yount


Rockin' Robin was a gem of a player. In a era currently dominated by free agency in all sports where you're lucky to find a guy who stays with any particular team more than a handful of seasons, Robin Yount was as steady as they come. He spent every one of his 20 seasons wearing a Brewer Uniform, and did he ever wear it well. He won the American League MVP twice, once as a short stop in 1982, and once as a centerfielder in 1989. He is the only player to ever win the MVP at two different positions. Along with his MVP honors in 1982, he combined that with a Gold Glove and he lead the league in Slugging percentage, OPS, hits, doubles, and total bases. 1982 culminated with the Brewers reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history, resulting in the Brewers losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Upon returning to Milwaukee, the Brewers were expecting a meager crowd to greet them back. As the players were being introduced at County Stadium, Robin Yount rode in on a dirt bike, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The act turned into legend, and Brewer fans everywhere still remember this memorable act of rebellion. As legend has it, Yount was introduced, rode in from the bullpen, approached the microphone, and announced to the 20,000 fans in attendance, "I don't know if you realized this, but we lost." He topped off his brilliant career by becoming just the 17th player to record 3,000 hits, recording the feat on September 9, 1992. Yount was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1999, retiring with 3,142 career hits and a .285 career batting average. He retired having helped the Brewers become a legitimate baseball franchise.




4. Barry Alvarez


"Don't flinch." Those were the words the newly signed Wisconsin Badger's football coach told the press in his first press conference since being signed prior to the 1990 season. To say that Alvarez turned the Badger football program around would be a gross mischaracterization of the prior program. In order to turn a program around, there has to be a legitimate program there to begin with. The Badgers were inconsistent at best over prior to 1990. Between the years 1989 and 1990, the Badgers put together a total of four wins. In the 10 years prior to Alvarez, the Badgers put together a 50-67 record. The Badgers had failed to win a conference title since 1962, and they had been to six total Bowl games, with a 1-5 record to boot. Enter Barry Alvarez, who had left Notre Dame as an assistant to coach the seemingly hapless Badgers. While his first year was rough, his confidence and bold warning to those listening, his famous "Don't flinch" prophecy came true. In 1993, Alvarez led the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl win in school history. Alvarez would lead his Badgers to 10 more bowl games, winning a total of three Rose Bowls, and becoming one of the winningest coaches in Bowl history with a record of 8-3. He also led the Badgers to Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998, and 1999. Among other things, he is responsible for the Badgers logo, appropriately nicknamed the "Forward W," because of his vision that Wisconsin football was going to be run right now that he was in charge. Alvarez retired in 2005 and is currently the Athletic Director for the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers are now a perennial powerhouse, always contending for post season competition. And despite Alvarez no longer being at the helms, most Badger fans are confident that their beloved football team will forever be a contender thanks to the legacy of the great Barry Alvarez.




3. Hank Aaron


Here's a man that needs no introduction. And while many will claim that he don't belong on a list of Wisconsin sports figures, he definitely carved his mark as one of the greatest and most important figures in Wisconsin sports history. Hammerin' Hank Aaron spent 14 of his 23 years in a Milwaukee uniform, 12 with the Milwaukee Braves and his final two years with the Milwaukee Brewers. He started his playing career in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, playing for the Eau Claire Bears at legendary Carson Park. He helped the Milwaukee Braves win their first World Series in 1957. Oh yeah, he cracked 755 career homeruns unassisted by any artificial enhancements. While his homerun record is definitely the most hallowed record in all of sports, he was not a one-dimensional player. The right-fielder won three Gold Glove awards, won two batting titles, while only leading the league in homeruns four times. His career high for homeruns was 44 ('57, '63, '66), a meager mark by today's standards, but he only ever hit less than 30 in a season three times. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1982, retiring with 755 homeruns and 3771 career hits, first and third all-time, respectively.




2. Brett Favre


Is he a legitimate figure in the realm of most important Wisconsin figures even though he is still playing? The answer is an astounding yes. Despite the fact that he is still playing, there are very few players for any team in any sport that have the respect and admiration around the sports world as Brett Favre does. He was traded to the Green Bay Packers from the Atlanta Falcons in 1992, and helped a franchise in misery since the late 1960s gain its former glory. He brought excitement to the state of Wisconsin that it had not seen since the days of Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and Paul Horning, legends in their own right. And he did all this by becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks and greatest football players of all time. His stats speak for themselves; three straight MVP awards; over 5000 career completions; over 400 career touchdown passes; and over 57,000 passing yards. His legendary playing ability helped Packers become one of the league's winningest franchises over the course of his career. He was a master of comeback victories, leading the Pack to 35 4th quarter or overtime victories. He also has proven to be one of the most durable players in NFL history, putting together 237 consecutive starts from the 1992 season through the end of the 2006 season. His performance on the field as well as his character off the field has forever cemented him as one of the most important figures in Wisconsin sports history.




1. Vince Lombardi


"Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly pursue perfection knowing full well that we will never achieve it. But in that relentless pursuit we will achieve excellence. I am not even remotely interested in being good." Bart Starr recalled this about his first encounter with his new coach, Vince Lombardi, at the first team meeting in 1959. He was as serious a man as you could have met. He was meticulous in his ways, and there was method to all of his madness. What did was take a team that was as bad in the 1950s (having a record of 22-66-2) as the Cincinnati Bengals were in the 90s, and turned them into a team that compiled more championships in an eight year span than any other football franchise has ever done before or since, winning five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls. He commanded respect from all of his players, and the hard work and performance on the field is a credit to his demand for perfection. "Leaders are made, they are not born." He was honored as NFL Man of the Decade for the 1960s, had the Super Bowl trophy named after him, inducted into the pro football hall of fame in 1971, and was named ESPN Coach of the Century in the year 2000, ever cementing him as one of the greatest figures in all of sports. In Wisconsin today, Vince Lombardi is revered, perhaps to an extreme, where and whenever his name or the Packers are brought up. In fact, prior to Brett Favre, Vince Lombardi was the name that virtually anyone thought of when they thought about the Green Bay Packers. Vince Lombardi may very well be the most important figure in Wisconsin Sports History.





Honorable Mention
Curly Lambeau--founder of the Green Bay Packer
Paul Molitor--Milwaukee Brewers 3rd baseman from 1978-1992. Inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 2004
Mike Holmgren--Coach of Green Bay Packers from 1992-1998. Won Super Bowl XXXI.
Jeff Sauer--Wisconsin Badger Hockey Coach 1982-2002; 655 career wins, 2 national titles
Lew Alcinder--Milwaukee Bucks 1969-1975. Helped Milwaukee Bucks win 1971 NBA Championship
Eddie Mathews--Milwaukee Braves 1953-65; 3rd baseman, 512 career homeruns; inducted to hall of fame in 1978
Dick Bennett--Badger basketball coach 1995-2000; led Badgers to first and only final four appearance, led Badgers to 3 NCAA tournaments (school had only played in 3 tournaments in the previous 97 years)
Al McGuire--Marquette Basketball coach 1964-1977; 295-80 record, 1977 NCAA Championship, 1970 NIT Championship,
Eric Heiden--Born in Madison; 1980 Olymics, won 5 gold medals for speed skating. Set the world record in the 500m race, and Olympic records in the 1000m, 1500, and 5000m races. Elected to US Olympic hall of fame in 1983.
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8781 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 03:01:32 PM
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As I was reading Hank Aaron I saw Favre was #2 and incredulously yelped "2?!"

Lombardi is perhaps the only person you can make an argument for, but I still think you'd have to have Favre as #1.

1) Coaches aren't as important as athletes. I think we vastly overrate their role, especailly at the pro level
2) Lombardi didn't finish his career in Green Bay.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8781 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 03:02:05 PM
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Also I think the Nutcan Softball team deserves honorable mention.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - A Vote for me is a Vote against Terrorism! ...or atleast just wasted.
04/03/2007 @ 03:19:48 PM
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I agree with Jeremy, but I think he made the comment to keep the peace at home.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
04/03/2007 @ 03:33:05 PM
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That's where you're wrong. Sarah is well aware my my belief that, and the fact that, the Packers suck hardcore.

It's just reached a point where Favre is synonymous with Wisconsin, let alone Wisconsin sports.
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matt.jpgMatt - 3183 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 04:31:00 PM
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I actually made a top five Wisconsin list when I wrote the Minnesota article, but never fleshed it out into article form.

For comparison, here is my list:

5. Brett Favre
4. Barry Alverez
3. Hank Aaron
2. Bart Starr
1. Vince Lombardi
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8781 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 04:39:30 PM
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5?

You're an idiot.

emoticon
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
04/03/2007 @ 04:41:37 PM
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I stand by my placement.
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 04:45:24 PM
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He stands by his flagrant desecration of all that is sacred! emoticon
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Carlos44ec perfected this at 04/03/2007 4:46:00 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3183 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 04:54:05 PM
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Scott, where did you get the thing about Uecker and Koufax, because according to Baseball Reference his career average against him was .184
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Matt messed with this at 04/03/2007 4:55:02 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'
04/03/2007 @ 05:35:44 PM
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He hit .400 against him in 1965, and otherwise did dismally. Or so it seems.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
04/03/2007 @ 05:38:05 PM
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It looks like it came from here

Remember that discussion we had about plagerism the other day? emoticon
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
04/03/2007 @ 06:02:31 PM
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I'll stand by my stat, but I will put the reference up just to prove that I didn't make it up. I've heard Uecker mention it in broadcasts before too. Maybe someone is doing a bit of stat manipulation.

I did take it from the site Jeremy pointed out. That's why there is a * in front of it. * = not plagerized, right?
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Scott edited this at 04/03/2007 6:03:16 pm
scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
04/03/2007 @ 06:12:04 PM
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I stand by my decision to put Vince Lombardi #1 over Brett Favre. I think coaches deserve more recognition than some people give them (also I think they deserve less recognition than others). Vince Lombardi squeezed every bit of effort out of his players. While he had a number of future hall of famers on his team, what he accomplished is unprecedented.

It was probably a toss up at best between Favre and Lombardi, but Favre is still currently playing. I thought I'd give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who has been dubbed "anything of the century."

Jeremy, nice use of the word incredulously.
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Scott perfected this at 04/03/2007 6:20:44 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 06:16:25 PM
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On second thought, upon further review of the site I got the Uecker vs Koufax stat from, it is just some individual doing sports research. I'll take that line out.
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jon.jpgJon - 2680 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 07:00:35 PM
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No love for Bonnie Blair or Dan Jansen?
Also Vai Sikahema, no love?
Also, on the Favre/Lombardi thing, I could see it either way. I generally feel like Lombardi probably gets too much credit, as he was surely a good coach but, weren't there like 4-6 teams in existence at that point? Anyway, without Lombardi being the best coach of his era, the Green Bay Packers might not exist at this point in time, so you could argue he deserves to be at the top for that, though it's kind of a weird precedent to start for arguing who is the best since older people are more likely to trump younger then.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
04/03/2007 @ 07:17:15 PM
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there were 15 teams in the NFL in 1966. Fewer teams makes it harder in my opinion, because each team has a larger percentage of the "top" players. That's just my opinion. But Jon is definitely wrong.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8781 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 09:32:11 PM
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When I informed Sarah of this article she started guessing who was on it and guessed Herb Kohl.

I don't think I ever would have thought of him, but he definitely deserves mentioning, and you could make a pretty good case for him being on the list.
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scott.jpgScott - You're going to have to call your hardware guy. It's not a software issue.
04/03/2007 @ 09:58:16 PM
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I guess, owner of the Bucks. I can add to my "honorable mention" list. My dad already mentioned Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch. Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair were oversights. Al Toone and Alan Ameche, Don Hutson, Jim Taylor, and Bart Starr probably could have made the list too. I'll consider adding to it.
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2887.gifAlex - 3609 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 10:38:50 PM
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Lombardi, Alvarez, Farve, Aaron, Yount

Even with more success in the last 15 years, the Packer's Lombardi years are more legendary as is the man himself. Whether or not he deserves all the credit for their success is irrelevent.

Alvarez made Wisconsin. Football money runs major universities, and Alvarez has been the rainmaker.

Favre and Aaron need no explanation. For a while in high school our good luck charm was touching Aaron's statue on the way into Carson.

I always forget how good Yount actually was. I remember the first (or at least one of the first) packs of baseball cards I ever got, it was at my grandparents' cottage, 1989 Topps, and I got a Robin Yount card and was ecstatic. Still have it among many others.

Uecker is a good sixth too. Nothing like turning on the old AM on a hot summer day and listening to a broadcast.

Honorable mention additions:
Reggie White
Glenn Robinson
Ron Dayne

Al Toone does not belong. Do a google search. No one cares about him.

And I don't think Matthews played up to '95.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8781 Posts
04/03/2007 @ 11:35:31 PM
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Kohl also built the Kohl Center for the Badgers.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.
04/03/2007 @ 11:38:19 PM
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I don't think the article should be altered based on any of our suggestions, save for maybe the plagiarized lie. emoticon
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reign_of_fire.jpgMicah - They just want the damn ash of that field
04/04/2007 @ 07:48:32 AM
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If you're going to mention Alan Ameche, where is the mention of my Uncle Lon, who broke every single one of Ameche's high school rushing records.

That's right. Most important Wisconsin sports figures in Nutcan family history.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
04/04/2007 @ 12:51:09 PM
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I didn't put this in the article, but I think it's worth mentioning.
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sarah.jpgSarah - 3884 Posts
04/04/2007 @ 08:26:02 PM
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Favre should be #1. Lombardi had a lot of great players to work with, Favre hasn't always been so lucky and yet has still always been near or at the top of his game. You say the Packers sucked during the 50's, but before then they dominated. (I guess because there weren't that many teams and plus they were good) After the "glory days" there was a 30 year drought. Then a man came along named Ron Wolf and he decided he wanted to get a rambunctious young QB from Atlanta. That QB not only became the bestest QB ever, but others would soon follow him to the sleepy little town in the north. White, Dotson, Jones, etc, all these big free agents decided they had a shot for a ring if Favre was the QB in Green Bay.
What difference does it make if Lombardi is more nostalgic than Favre? Does that lessen the achievements of Favre? I don't think so. His stats are phenomenal, his physical, mental, and emotional toughness are unbeatable; and there's no one else I'd rather watch. He has been the reason why the Packers are able to compete on the field. He's also the reason why the Packers are competitive in the market and are financially sound. People love Favre. And you should too. Who cares if he's still playing? That's just a testament to his awesome-o-ness. He's done more for Wisconsin than Lombardi did, that's for sure. Vote Favre for #1.
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scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
04/04/2007 @ 09:02:30 PM
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But like Jon mentioned earlier, without Lombardi, the Packers may have moved from Green Bay. I stand by my decision. And the article isn't "the Best Figures", it's the Most Important. And in terms of Legacy, I'll give the benefit of the doubt to someone who has like 7 championships under his belt. When you are arguing whether Lombardi or Favre are number 1 or number 2, you know things are pretty good for the state of Wisconsin.
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
04/04/2007 @ 09:07:48 PM
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The only thing I would have changed about the list is the people on the Honorable Mention list; it definitely could be expanded to include many more Wisconsin athletes.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - 3884 Posts
04/04/2007 @ 09:23:03 PM
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They stopped playing in Milwaukee in the Favre era. I still think he's more important than Lombardi. He's kept the Packers legit.
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3609 Posts
04/04/2007 @ 09:48:03 PM
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Reggie White coming to Green Bay had more to do with other free agents signing up then Favre did. And what does not playing in Milwaukee anymore have to do with anything?
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
04/04/2007 @ 09:52:53 PM
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They stopped playing in Milwaukee because they were losing money because of it. I hardly think that Favre had anything to do with that. George Bush was elected president during the Favre era as well, but I don't think the two are related.

Lambeau Field has been sold out since the 60s, probably a large part because of Lombardi.

It was a toss up between the 2, but Coach of Century carries with it a bit of clout. Plus I wrote the article and so I get to decide. Someone back me up on this.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
04/04/2007 @ 10:23:22 PM
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I think Denny Green should be on the Honorable Mention list.
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jon.jpgJon - 2680 Posts
04/05/2007 @ 03:55:02 AM
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First of all, Matt just beat me to the Denny Green line that I was going to use when I first read the article but forgot about until today. And I remembered it before I read it just now.

Secondly, even before scott asked for backup, I felt that I should say that I actually aprove of Lombardi being number one. I think either way makes sense. It's really something that you could argue all day and at the same time realize that there's really not a correct answer anyway. One's got a trophy named after him, the other has a roughing the passer rule named after him. Which is the bigger accomplishment? It's a photo finish.
Seriously though, either is worthy, I think we mostly all agree on that.

As for Hank Aaron, there was a poll on espn.com a day or two ago that asked if you wanted Bonds to break Aaron's record. Wisconsin, at the time I looked at the results, had the highest percentage of "no" votes, as best I could tell. 80/20. The entire nation, as well as each state individually, leaned no overall also. I think.
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Jon messed with this at 04/05/2007 3:56:47 am
scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
04/05/2007 @ 07:41:50 AM
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Jon, your face has a roughing the passer call named after it. Ha.
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2887.gifAlex - 3609 Posts
04/05/2007 @ 01:12:14 PM
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I voted "yes" in that poll by the way. Which as long as were on that subject, I object to the following statement in the article, "Oh yeah, he cracked 755 career homeruns unassisted by any artificial enhancements." It's uncalled for. At worst it should be, "Oh yeah, he was never accused of or convicted of using banned enhancements." At best, deleted.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
04/05/2007 @ 02:23:33 PM
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I stand by that comment as well. The statement was an obvious crack at Bonds who is obviously guilty of performance enhancements by means of some sort of steriod. If anyone wants to accuse Hank Aaron of steriod use, be my guest, but I will not even leave it to the possibility. Until somone even hints at the possibility of Hank Aaron using performance enhancers, his record will remain 100% clean as far as I'm concerned.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
04/05/2007 @ 02:44:39 PM
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I don't think Alex is implying you should implicate Aaron did/could have taken anything. He's just saying you shouldn't matter-of-factly state he didn't, since you don't actually know that either.

Edit: Of course since he hasn't written any articles of his own that lessens the weight of his critiquing of the other articles.
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Jeremy screwed with this at 04/05/2007 2:47:24 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
04/05/2007 @ 02:52:39 PM
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I know Alex wasn't implying one way or another, but I really don't want to lessen Aaron's character saying "well, he's never been accused of it, (which implies that he could have)". I stand by my remarks regarding Mr. Aaron.
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Since 1980!
04/05/2007 @ 04:15:55 PM
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Does anyone take into account the total games played by a person during their career? How many games did Hammerin Hank play? Why not a % of games and homers?

Carl is not a Bonds fan.
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
04/05/2007 @ 04:54:45 PM
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I think there is room for that discussion in the realm of sports. But give props to a guy who can play strong and long.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - 3884 Posts
10/23/2009 @ 04:27:16 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - 04/03/2007 @ 03:01:32 PM
As I was reading Hank Aaron I saw Favre was #2 and incredulously yelped "2?!"

Lombardi is perhaps the only person you can make an argument for, but I still think you'd have to have Favre as #1.

1) Coaches aren't as important as athletes. I think we vastly overrate their role, especailly at the pro level
2) Lombardi didn't finish his career in Green Bay.


emoticon So, should he be like #6 now?
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scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
10/24/2009 @ 06:38:42 AM
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Sarah Wrote - 10/23/2009 @ 05:27:16 PM
Jeremy Wrote - 04/03/2007 @ 04:01:32 PM
As I was reading Hank Aaron I saw Favre was #2 and incredulously yelped "2?!"

Lombardi is perhaps the only person you can make an argument for, but I still think you'd have to have Favre as #1.

1) Coaches aren't as important as athletes. I think we vastly overrate their role, especailly at the pro level
2) Lombardi didn't finish his career in Green Bay.


emoticon So, should he be like #6 now?


Based on Wisconsin's reaction to this whole ordeal, I'd say Favre actually just claimed the #1 spot. People wouldn't care that much if he wasn't that important.
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Scott perfected this 3 times, last at 10/26/2009 8:09:37 am
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Tag This
10/26/2009 @ 07:42:28 AM
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I don't mind watching the Vikes play anymore. I root for whoever is playing them, but ultimately I like a lot of the players.
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scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
01/28/2013 @ 09:53:53 AM
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The recent activity on Matt's Minnesota sports figures article made me look at my article again. Among the themes in the comments here, although no one really has any overly strong objectives, is that Lombardi is rated too high because coaches get overrated too much. While perhaps that is true, and maybe moreso in some cases, just because a certain coach is unnecessarily vaulted into near god-like status doesn't mean that he isn't deserving of a high praises from a sporting standpoint. If Lombardi is rated a 23 on a 10 point scale and the next closest is rated an 8, that probably just means that Lombardi is really a 10 but the chasm between 10 and 8 is larger than perhaps 8 and 6.

I saw part of a showtime documentary on Lombardi this weekend, and it focused on his life and coaching history, from high school to college to the pros. For one thing, he coached a high school football team to a New Jersey state champsionship. Then, having no knowledge whatsoever of basketball, coached their basketball team to a state championship. The man knew how to coach, or at least how to teach, which he thought were one in the same thing.

Moving on to the Packers. To some that would acert that "coaches aren't as important as athletes", I think at least one guy named Bart Starr would disagree. He said there was a complete turnaround in attitude when Lombardi took over, starting from day 1. The team in 1958 before Lombardi got there was 1-10. That team had 15 players who were either pro bowlers, all-pro, or future hall of famers. 2 years later (in a pre-free agency era) that team was playing in the NFL championship game and then won the championship two year later. Virtually every player that has been interviewed who played under Lombardi would disagree that coaches, or at least this coach, aren't important.

So to sum up, I'm not saying that there isn't some unjustified deification of sports figures and coaches in certain circles. What I am saying is that Lombardi, according to the guys that played for him, was a superb coach that made the 1960s Packers what they were. And without the 1960s Packers, the current team might not exist in it's present state (US state or state of being).
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/28/2013 @ 10:27:37 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - 04/03/2007 @ 03:01:32 PM
Lombardi is perhaps the only person you can make an argument for, but I still think you'd have to have Favre as #1.





I believe, in the years since, I have been vindicated.
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scott.jpgScott - 6208 Posts
01/28/2013 @ 10:35:07 AM
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I don't think I'd change my placement of Favre even after his fallout. In fact, the depth and anger of the fall out actually seems to enhance his placement as one of if not the most important figure. If he wasn't one of the most important figures in the state's history, people wouldn't have cared so much.
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newalex.jpgAlex - But let history remember, that as free men, we chose to make it so!
01/28/2013 @ 01:20:25 PM
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In cases where coaches end up staying on the team longer than players, it makes total sense to put them on a list of "figures". Players probably need their own list.

Bo Ryan needs to be mentioned.
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sarah.jpgSarah - 3884 Posts
01/28/2013 @ 07:12:11 PM
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Sarah Wrote - 04/04/2007 @ 08:26:02 PM
Favre should be #1. Lombardi had a lot of great players to work with, Favre hasn't always been so lucky and yet has still always been near or at the top of his game. You say the Packers sucked during the 50's, but before then they dominated. (I guess because there weren't that many teams and plus they were good) After the "glory days" there was a 30 year drought. Then a man came along named Ron Wolf and he decided he wanted to get a rambunctious young QB from Atlanta. That QB not only became the bestest QB ever, but others would soon follow him to the sleepy little town in the north. White, Dotson, Jones, etc, all these big free agents decided they had a shot for a ring if Favre was the QB in Green Bay.
What difference does it make if Lombardi is more nostalgic than Favre? Does that lessen the achievements of Favre? I don't think so. His stats are phenomenal, his physical, mental, and emotional toughness are unbeatable; and there's no one else I'd rather watch. He has been the reason why the Packers are able to compete on the field. He's also the reason why the Packers are competitive in the market and are financially sound. People love Favre. And you should too. Who cares if he's still playing? That's just a testament to his awesome-o-ness. He's done more for Wisconsin than Lombardi did, that's for sure. Vote Favre for #1.

When I read this now, I hate myself. Thanks Brett.
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