The 10 most compelling offseason moments in NFL history


Does Chad Pennington signing with the Miami Dolphins count as a compelling storyline? How about Mike Goodson passing out on a highway?

They don’t? Well, that’s probably why no Jets-related storylines made cover32’s list of the 10 most compelling offseason moments in NFL history. To read the whole piece, click here. Here is an excerpt:

10. March 28, 1994 – Jimmy Johnson leaves the Cowboys

So, Jerry, let me get this straight.  You mortgage everything you own (and then some) to buy the Dallas Cowboys who at the time of the purchase were a complete and utter mess.  You then convince your old college buddy and former teammate who has become one of the best coaches in NCAA football to take the head coaching job.  Your buddy takes a team that was 1-15 in 1989 and by 1994 had won back to back Super Bowl titles with a roster stocked with so much young talent that it looks like the NFC pro-bowl squad and there appears to be no end in sight.

Am I tracking this so far?  Yeah that guy Jimmy Johnson, that’s the guy you decided you could not get along with?  You ran that guy out of town because why?  Oh, you, the owner were not getting enough credit for your team’s success.  Sure I understand, it wasn’t enough that the NFL Commissioner handed YOU the Lombardi trophy two years in a row, you’re making so much money that some suspect there is literally a money machine in the Cowboys locker room, and you’ve become the most recognizable owner this side of Al Davis.  Nope, not enough, your ego needed more say in player personnel decisions.  So on March 28 two months after winning the Super Bowl, you and Jimmy parted company and you started making the decisions.

Maybe because I am a Buffalo Bills fan and the Cowboys destroyed my Bills in two Super Bowls, but I watched every second of this divorce; loved every minute of it!

So Jerry, how’s that working out for you?  You are indeed making the personnel decisions now and Shante Carver (no. 1 in ’94), Dave LaFluer (no. 1 in ’97), and Ebenezer Ekuban (no. 1 in ’99) all thank you because Jimmy Johnson would not have drafted any of those guys in the first round.

How are you enjoying the attention now as the owner of America’s most mediocre franchise?

9.  Pat Tillman enlists in the Army

You know, some people are just better than you and me, and Pat Tillman was one of those people.  When 9-11 shook the country to its core, Pat Tillman was playing safety for the Arizona Cardinals.  He had come off a 2000 season that saw him solidify himself as one of the NFLs better safeties and the Cardinals were prepared to reward him with a three year, $3.6 million contract.

Instead of taking the money, fueled by the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, Tillman turned his back on the NFL and enlisted in the U.S. Army.

And this was not some half-hearted commitment.  This was not like Elvis who drove a jeep and sang songs at the USO or Paul Horning going to summer camp reserve duty during Vietnam.  Tillman went into the ARMY.

Folks, I spent 26 years in the Army and trust me, I am here to tell you what Tillman did was no joke!  He successfully became an infantryman and a Ranger.  He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan…and he died in Afghanistan.  Much has been written about the death of Pat Tillman, the Army cover-up and scandals.  His death and those circumstances were and are tragic.  But, I choose to remember his life.  For a NFL superstar to walk into an Army recruiter’s office and say “take me” is beyond compelling…it’s heroic.

What also was so compelling about Tillman’s story was his talent for everything:  All-American football player, he graduated from college early with honors, married and was committed to his high school sweetheart.  Hell, he turned down a contract offer from the Rams because he was loyal to the Cardinals.

Every young man should be taught the story of Pat Tillman.  Everything good, decent and compelling about being an American…a uniquely American young man was embodied in Arizona safety, Ranger, student, friend, husband and warrior named Pat Tillman.

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