Top 10 NFL Players Coached by Bobby Bowden at Florida State

Simply put, Bobby Bowden is a legend and will go down as one of the greatest head coaches in college football history. He has the fourth most wins (388) of any college coach, has won 12 ACC Championships and two national titles. He also has the second best all-time record in bowl games at 21-10-1 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Now that he has decided to retire, we felt it would be appropriate to honor one of college football’s best coaches by compiling a list of the 10 best NFL players that played under Bowden at Florida State. Enjoy.

1. Deion Sanders, CB (Year Drafted: 1989)
Whether you liked his brash attitude or not, nobody can deny how good “Neon Deion” was as a player. He brought true meaning to the phrase “shutdown corner” while instilling excitement and thrill into the pro game. Nobody has ever blanketed one side of the field like Sanders could and perhaps nobody ever will. He was so good that quarterbacks avoided throwing to his side of the field not only in fear of being picked off by Sanders, but also in concern that he would return the gift for six points. And not only was he one of the greatest cover corners to ever don a pair of cleats, but he was also a phenomenal punt returner as well. When his career finally wrapped up, Deion had accumulated 53 interceptions, eight Pro Bowl appearances, two Super Bowl victories, a 1994 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was also an incredibly rare two-sport athlete and to this day, young corners still try to emulate the way he played the game. (Uh, outside of his shoddy tackling that is.)

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Should G-Men fear Cowboys in 2009?

Our very own Mike Farley covers the Giants for the blog GMENDEN and in one of his recent pieces he ponders whether or not the boys in blue should be fearful of the Cowboys.

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m equally afraid of Dallas as I am of Philly. It’s not like the Cowboys purged their entire roster. They did get rid of two questionable characters in Terrell Owens and Pacman Jones. But Tony Romo is minus Jessica Simpson and is healthy…you might remember he missed a few games last season, and having Brad Johnson run that offense was like putting a toddler in charge of a nuclear power plant. TE Jason Witten was also hurt for much of the season, though he played through pain. Rookie Felix Jones made everyone forget about Julius Jones, and DeMarcus Ware was just terrorizing QBs with an NFL-best 20 sacks.

You’ll also remember that while our G-men beat up on the Romo-less Cowboys in November, 35-14, they let a less-than-100% Romo beat them in December during the skid that led to our downfall by a 20-8 score. You rememer that game, right? It was a Sunday nighter, and the Giants managed just two field goals and a safety, as Eli Manning could not get on track.

So while the Cowboys finished 9-7 in 2008, you have to wonder if they would have won at least two of those games Johnson started in Romo’s place. As much as everyone likes to poke fun at Romo and his tendency to choke under pressure, he’s been mostly very tough against us–tough to take down, and always hitting clutch third-down throws while under pressure.

The NFC East will once again be one of the toughest divisions in football and as Farley points out, nobody should be sleeping on the Cowboys.

Personally, I think cutting T.O. will be addition by subtraction, although the spotlight is now on Romo. If he can’t step up and be a leader for this team, then there’s a great chance that their talent won’t be enough again. As much as his fun-loving demeanor is one of the endearing parts of his game, it’s time for Romo to take that next step as a quarterback and put the Cowboys’ success squarely on his shoulders.

Now, that’s not to say that Romo has to do it on his own. Dallas has one of the more talented rosters in the NFL and Romo is just one key piece. But guys like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady know what it takes to get the most out of the talent around them. Romo has failed to do that so far in Dallas.

Top 10 active NFL passing leaders

The 2008 NFL season is now in the books. Well, unless you love football so much that you actually watch and care about the Pro Bowl tomorrow. You know how I would care about it? If I was in Hawaii. But that’s just me. Anyway, as some of the game’s great quarterbacks padded their career stats, let’s take a look at the active Top 10 in passing yards:

1. Brett Favre, New York Jets (65,127)—Sure, he led the NFL in interceptions this past season with 22, but Favre threw for 3472 yards and 22 touchdowns. Will this number stand, or will Favre add to it? I think I speak for every sportswriter out there when I say I’m tired of reading about and writing about Favre’s impending retirement.

2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (45,628)—With 20,000 yards to catch Favre, it will take Manning, who has averaged over 4000 yards per season for 11 years, another five seasons to get there. Manning is only 32, so I’d bet on that. Well, unless Favre retires and unretires a few more times.

3. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans (37,393)—It’s hard to believe Collins is only 36 years old, and leading the Titans to the best record in the NFL in 2008 sparked a fire under him. And that fire will continue to burn in Nashville despite how Vince Young feels about it.

4. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles (29,320)—McNabb is 82-45-1 as a starter over 10 seasons in Philly. Wait, can NFL games end in ties? Anyway, McNabb has thrown 194 touchdowns with just 90 interceptions. But the guy has no rings, and was so nervous in his lone Super Bowl appearance that he vomited in the huddle. I don’t get it.

5. Brad Johnson, Dallas Cowboys (29,054)—Johnson stopped putting up meaningful numbers a few seasons ago, and he looked awful for those three games he started in place of Tony Romo this year. Let’s just say we shouldn’t expect ol’ Brad to reach 30,000 passing yards for his career.

6. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals (28,591)—Okay, so he didn’t win his second Super Bowl ring, but Warner still has an amazingly accurate arm at 37. He said he won’t tease us all with retirement talk ala Favre, but my feeling is he’s not anywhere close to being done.

7. Trent Green, St. Louis Rams (28,475)—Green has started the equivalent of one season’s games over the past three, and he’s taken some brutal hits that have left given him multiple concussions. If I was Green, and I know I’m not, I would hang it up now.

8. Jon Kitna, Detroit Lions (27,293)—Kitna has had some bad luck. He played on some bad Bengals teams and then signed with the Lions in 2006. And though Kitna went down with an injury after four games this past season, he still was part of the first 0-16 team in NFL history.

9. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (26,446)—Here’s the irony. Brady had 76 passing yards before a brutal knee injury ended his season in Week 1. If he had played 16 games, there’s a very good chance he’d be as high as fourth on this list today.

10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (26,258)—Brees came within 15 yards of Dan Marino’s single season record of 5084 passing yards, but he still made fantasy owners happy, and still climbed onto this list as a result.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Giants absolutely crush hapless Cowboys

Cowboys-GiantsPerhaps no team in the history of the NFL needs their bye week more than the Dallas Cowboys do right now. After suffering a 35-14 blowout at the hands of division rival New York on Sunday, the Cowboys need to regroup before this season continues to slip away from them.

Brad Johnson was once again horrific while completing just 5 of 11 passes for 71 yards and two interceptions. Brooks Bollinger replaced him at halftime, who promptly threw an interception himself on his first pass attempt in the second half. Without the threat of the pass to beat them, the Giants loaded up against the run and stuffed Marion Barber, who only finished with 54 yards on the ground.

What’s worse for Dallas is that the defense that played so well against Tampa last Sunday disappeared again. The Cowboys surrendered 23 first downs, 319 total yards and 35 points. They certainly didn’t get any help from the offense, who constantly put them in poor field position all game, but still, the G-Men essentially did whatever they wanted.

Once again, the Cowboys are in serious trouble. The backup quarterback position remains unsettled and it’s not going to get any better until Tony Romo returns. The idea that Johnson could manage games and keep the team afloat until Romo was healthy again has blown up in their face and Wade Phillips continues to have no clue on how to fix the defense. Phillips better do something over the bye week or his seat will only continue to get hotter throughout the second half of the season.

Couch Potato Alert: 10/31

Florida vs. Georgia
The winner of this game should become the SEC East representative against Alabama in the conference’s title game, while the loser will probably not play in a BCS bowl game. Florida has revenge on their mind; they remember Georgia’s end-zone celebration from a year ago. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt ordered the entire bench on to the field after scoring their first touchdown in a 42-30 victory. Gators coach Urban Meyer was upset by the antics but has downplayed the animosity between the schools this week. You can expect fireworks on the field this Saturday at the Gator Bowl. National coverage will begin at 3:30 PM ET on CBS. Click here for the official Florida vs. Georgia smack thread.

Texas vs. Texas Tech
Texas is completing the final leg of their gauntlet schedule; they defeated: then-No.1 Oklahoma on Oct. 11, then-No. 11 Missouri on Oct. 18, then-No.7 Oklahoma State last week, and now face No. 6 Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday evening. Another week, another Heisman Trophy candidate will line up against the Longhorn defense. Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell has thrown for 3147 yards with 28 touchdown passes on the season. The winner of this contest will have the inside track to win the Big 12 South title, a division that features four teams ranked in the top nine of this week’s BCS bowl standings. National coverage will begin at 8PM ET on ABC. Click here for the official Texas vs. Texas Tech smack thread.

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys had home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs last season, thanks in large part to a pair of victories over the New York Giants that propelled them to a NFC East title. But the Cowboys postseason run came to a quick end, as the Giants defeated them during their improbable run to a Super Bowl title. The Cowboys are hurting coming into this week’s game, with quarterback Tony Romo missing his third straight game because of a broken right pinkie and tight end Jason Witten will be a game-time playing decision due to his broken ribs. 40-year-old Brad Johnson will be in charge of the Cowboys offense, and he has looked his age at times on the field. He has been sacked six times in two weeks, and against a Giant defense that leads the NFL with 26 sacks, Johnson’s lack of mobility will be a major concern for the Dallas coaching staff. Regional coverage will begin at 4:15 PM ET on Fox.

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