Not only did longtime ESPN NFL analyst Tom Jackson signoff for the last time Saturday night, but just a day later, future Hall of Famer – yup, I said it – Alex Rodriguez announced that he will retire after Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Seeing two icons of my childhood and adolescent years ending, or nearing the end of, their respective careers in a span of two days was rough. But hey, this is one of the reasons why I write for this website. Now I can take a moment to reflect on each’s stellar career.
Thank you Tommy. As I’m sure most of you probably already know… I breathe, eat and sleep football.
Growing up in the 1990s, I have fond memories starting my Sundays watching Sunday NFL Countdown and finishing them with NFL Primetime. At the center of those two programs was Chris Berman and Tom Jackson.
I’m too young to remember Jackson as the dominant force he was during his days with the Denver Broncos, but what I do remember are his days as ESPN’s best NFL analyst.
Growing up, NFL Sunday Countdown and NFL Primetime were my two favorite shows and Boomer and Tommy have always been my two favorite personalities at ESPN. Honestly, I partially went into sports journalism because of those two men and I always wanted to sit in the chair next to them one day. The passion they demonstrated each week and the way they could captivate an audience, it drew me in. Obviously that won’t happen now, but each Sunday I felt I was right there with them. It was the day I looked forward to most each week during the fall, and even when I was playing football in high school and college.
The Buffalo Bills haven’t been too successful during my lifespan, but both Boomer and TJ made Sundays so enjoyable. It’s certainly going to be different watching football on Sundays this season.
Check out Chris Berman’s sendoff for Tom Jackson from Saturday night, after the Hall of Fame inductions. I hope you have a box of tissues sitting next to you, because you’re going to need it.
The end of the Bae. I know this is a long time coming, and quite frankly, most people are probably happy Alex Rodriguez is retiring.
However, I’m not most people.
Sure he did steroids, but so did a lot of people. Honestly, we’re at the point where people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and one day A-Rod does too.
Look, if you don’t think Alex Rodriguez is a Hall of Famer, get over yourself. The man has three AL MVPs, is a 14-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, two-time Gold Glove Award winner, four-time Hank Aaron Award winner, five-time AL home run leader, two-time MLB RBI leader, the MLB batting champion in 1996 and is a part of both the 500 home run club and 3,000 hit club. Even with the down years at the end of his career, he still averaged 41 home runs and 121 RBIs every 162 games. Come on!
According to Baseball Reference, Alex Rodriguez’s similarly ranks to Hall of Famers like Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott and Hank Aaron. If that isn’t good enough company, than I don’t know what is.
Look, I’m not here to make BaeRod’s Hall of Fame case, because I can do that all day. I’m here to remind you how great of a player he once was and that, that is how he should be remember, not for the the way he’s playing right now.
Not to mention, I love how A-Rod is being groomed into an advisory role. He can do wonders for younger players in the Yankees’ organization. He’s one of the smartest, if not the smartest player in baseball. Look no further than Didi Gregorius. He was the one mostly credited for Gregorius’ second-half surge last year.
Enjoy these last few days of the Bae because, for better or for worse, there isn’t going to be another player like him. Ever.
And in case you need a little brightening to your Monday… Frank Caliendo’s latest impression of John Madden. This time he’s talking about Brett Favre.