Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Few Things

One of the things I really enjoy doing each winter is attending local college games. I mostly attend college basketball games by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Boston University. Last night, a friend of mine and I went over to the Agganis Arena to catch the Boston University Men's hockey team host the University of New Hampshire.

BU routed UNH 5-0, potting 3 goals in the first five minutes of the game. UNH had come in on a seven game unbeaten streak, but were completely outclassed by the Terriers in all aspects of the game.

Going to local college games is cheap; particularly when compared to going to a Bruins or Celtics game. The games are well played and you get to see good talent playing all out at all times. College athletic events are a great way to get together with buddies and hang out or take a family to see a game without practically having to take out a small mortgage to pay for it.


I was thinking today about Patriots running backs of the last 35 years and of all the guys who "carried the mail" for them over the years. The team has had some awful feature backs such as the washed up Marion Butts in 1994, and Terry Allen in 1999, however, they have also had some very good ones. Here's my list of the top 5 Patriots running backs since 1975:

1.) Curtis Martin - letting him go to the Jets via restricted free agency was probably the single biggest personnel mistake the Patriots have ever made. He was fast, could hit the hole, and could catch the ball. In 1997, he missed a few games due to injury, so the team was concerned about his durability. After eight terrific seasons with the Jets, Martin is a shoo in for the Hall of Fame.
2.) Sam Cunningham - Sam Bam is the #1 all time leading Patriots rusher. Running behind the two best OL's in Pats history, John Hannah and Leon Gray, certainly didn't hurt. Cunningham was a tough, physical runner who shared carries with Don Calhoun to give the Patriots a terrific running game in the mid to late 70s.
3.) Tony Collins - TC was the 80s' version of Kevin Faulk, only better. A very versatile back, Collins could run the ball, had great hands in the passing game, was a very good blocker, and also returned punts and kicks. The only downfall for Collins was his drug problem. Despite his cocaine addiction, he could really play and I wonder how good he could've been if he had been clean.
4.) Corey Dillon - Three seasons with the Patriots, 35 TD's. In his first year with the team, Corey put up over 1600 yards rushing on 345 carries. However, that workload from the 2004 season caught up with him and he wasn't quite the same after that. The burst that he had was gone. Besides rushing for TD's, his specialty was being the closer, gaining the nickname "Clock Killing Corey Dillon" for moving the chains and allowing the Patriots to hold onto the ball at the end of games.
5.) Craig James - James' Patriot career was short, but he was a fast and shifty runner, who in his first two seasons with the team in 1984-85, averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He rushed for 1,227 yards for the 1985 Super Bowl team. After his great '85 season, James' effectiveness and career were cut short by knee injuries. Interesting fact: He's the last white running back to rush for over 1,000 yards.

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