Woodson has faith in Mel Blount; Shanahan has it in RG III…maybe


Mike Shanahan glimpses at the scoreboard as his team trails Kansas City during fourth quarter action against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium September 28, 2008

(Rod Woodson cover photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
(Mike Shanahan photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos)

Talk of Fame Network

Super Bowl ring wearers abound this week on the Talk of Fame Network.

Visiting with our Hall of Fame hosts and Hall-of-Fame voters, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, is two-time Super Bowl champion and former head coach Mike Shanahan and Hall-of-Fame defensive back Rod Woodson, now an Oakland Raiders’ assistant coach.

Shanahan and Woodson recall the best of times in pro football while also speculating on the present. Shanahan goes in-depth into not only his own future but also that of his former Redskins’ quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who is trying to resurrect his career in Cleveland.

“He’s got a chance if he runs a system that fits him,’’ Shanahan said of RG III’s future. “He has to play in a system that equates with his abilities.’’

Many consider Woodson among the greatest defensive backs to ever play the game. His 71 career interceptions rank third all-time, and he went to 11 Pro Bowls in 17 seasons and was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. Yet when asked to name the game’s greatest defensive back he passed over himself and his contemporaries.

“Mel Blount,’’ Woodson said of the Steelers’ Hall of Famer. “To me, Mel Blount is the best cornerback to ever play in the NFL. When they make a rule (no contact beyond five yards between defensive backs and receivers) because you’re dismantling players down the field, that’s something.’’

So was Woodson, who talks about his astonishment at learning he’d been named to the College Football Hall of Fame this year, seven years after reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame and 29 years since his last college game at Purdue.

“I’m not good at math, but 1987 to 2016 is a long time,’’ Woodson joked.

There’s no yin without yang of course, and no good times without bad ones, as guest Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tells the guys. Jim is an NFL beat reporter without a beat after his St. Louis Rams pulled up stakes for Los Angeles. What’s life like for a football writer whose team has deserted his town? Jim will tell you, but he isn’t alone.

Joining Jim on the show is John Ziemann, who since 1962 played in the most famous band in pro football history: the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band. He kept the band going even after the Colts deserted Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984 and now heads up Baltimore’s Marching Ravens. Here’s a guy who marched to the beat of his own drummer, even after the only football fight song in Baltimore was a sad one.

“Being 69, sometimes I think ‘what the heck did I do?’’’ Ziemann said when asked about the classic 30 For 30 ESPN documentary, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die,” that tells the band’s compelling story.

That’s not all that’s compelling on this week’s show. The guys discuss ESPN’s decision to drop Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter and future Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis from their football broadcasts, Ziggy Ansah’s hope that one day the NFL will play a game in Africa and reluctant Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford’s decision to withdraw his trade demand and show up for OTA’s in Philadelphia.

Ron states the Hall of Fame case for Jim Plunkett, the only quarterback eligible for the Hall to start and win two Super Bowls yet not be inducted. Meanwhile, our resident Dr. Data, Rick Gosselin, chimes in with his assessment of Cowboys’ rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott’s chances of breaking the NFL rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards set by Eric Dickerson 33 years ago. He doesn’t like them despite the powerful Cowboys’ offensive line. You’ll be surprised why.

There’s all that and more, including the weekly two-minute drill and Clark’s free ad for the upcoming Coachella music festival that will headline Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters. We promise Clark won’t sing out his endorsement.

You can find the full two hour show on 80 radio stations around the country, on the TOF podcast at iTunes, on the TuneIn app or by going to talkoffamenetwork.com, the show’s website, and clicking on the microphone icon.

Listen now!

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