Forgotten Player of the Moment – RON DIXON
(by Phil Rippa)
The New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings played a Monday Night Football game that had lots and lots and lots of subplots. Brett Favre returning to play the second team he bailed on with a fake retirement. Favre, also, apparently has a jimmy that matches his jersey number. Randy Moss’ return to the Vikings. A Minnesota team desperate for a win. The Jets being all GREATEST REALITY SHOW TEAM EVER!!! But none of these were as important to me as the fact that a Roland Emmerich-esqe weather delay was wreaking havoc at the New Meadowlands and Bill didn’t make a single Ron Dixon joke on Twitter.
See Ron Dixon would easily be considered a candidate for a Veteran Presence Hall of Fame (Maybe not on the first ballot since I am thinking that is like Derek Bell, Jim Bowden, RICKEY~! Henderson and Jennie Finch. But he definitely would be in with folks like David Duval and Peter Crouch and Reno Mahe and Sam Farha). This is because of the sheer joy we as a group have been able to make jokes long after he stopped playing. Maybe that was because Bill and I are New York Giants fans. Well I am. I don’t know if Bill is allowed to be anymore or if he has to root for whomever DVOA tells him too. And Ed is just happy that someone comically embarrassed themselves and it wasn’t him.
For those of you not familiar with Ron Dixon – and let’s face it, why would you be unless you read this site – let me give a little background. Dixon was a wide receiver who the Giants drafted in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft. The fact that Dixon was picked that high (73rd overall) when he played for tiny Lambuth College in the NAIA (where he landed after bouncing around community colleges and Division II schools because he was stupid – his poor academics prevented him from attending two schools and Dixon dug ditches as he waited to get academically eligible for Lambuth. And anyone who watched the Giants in the early 00s heard about the dig ditching story. Grr…) must have meant he did something really well. That something for Dixon was that he supposedly was really really really fast.
The Giants took a chance and when Dixon played without his head up his ass, oh could he tantalize you with his talent. Problem was that Dixon never ever was without his head up his ass – on and off the field. Dixon’s rookie season immediately found him in head coach Jim Fassel’s dog house since Dixon sure loved to miss team meetings – including the one where he famously said he forgot to set his alarm because he was playing Playstation. I mean when you are getting suspended from games in September when you have been around for a minute… not the greatest way to make an impression.
Then after Fassel shoved all his chips in and no one hit their FLUSH! FLUSH! FLUSH! the Giants were in the playoffs and suddenly Ron Dixon was all THIS IS WHY THEY DRAFTED ME!!! First returning the opening kickoff 97 yards against the Eagles in the Divisional round and then taking a kickoff to the house in Super Bowl XXXV (yes, the game I still can’t rationally talk about and its almost 10 years later.) So you can see why New York was willing to put up with the antics since he could get instant points.
The winter months right before 9/11 were the highlights of Dixon’s career. Especially when a guy with that much SPEED~! was supposed to be a terror (hmm… maybe after referencing 9/11 I shouldn’t have used the word terror. Clearly I am on a watch list now.) and those were his only two career return TDs. Since the rest of his career consisted of him having to be told “Yeah – you are fast. Just run straight and we will throw you the ball” and him not actually being fast enough to out run anyone. And his return style was infuriating since he sure liked to put the ball on the turf – a lot. Oh and he got hurt – a lot. And then he would miss treatments and training sessions so he got fined – a lot.
Dixon lasted just those three scant years with the Giants and that was it. He blew out his knee and never made it back. Dixon announced his retirement and then proceeded to have tryouts with the Dolphins and Saints. Didn’t catch on with them so then it really was over. A whopping 36 catch career.
So that was Ron Dixon. A man most remember for the Super Bowl kickoff return. I, however, will always know him as the man who is (rightly) terrified of lightning. See, the opening game of the 2007 season featured the Giants hosting the Arizona Cardinals at Giants Stadium. It also featured a fast moving storm that ended up delaying the game over 20 minutes because of lightning. One of the cracks of the lightning was close enough to shake the entire stadium. That crack lead to Dixon freaking out and hightailing it to the locker room. It was clearly the only time Dixon ever showed his promised SPEED~! in a New York Giants uniform. The clip led to several days of amusement on ESPN yet somehow none of your F’ers put it on Youtube.
And too be perfectly fair to Ron Dixon, the only thing I would have done differently from him in that situation would have been too soil myself first and then head for the hills at a much slower pace.
PREVIOUS RON DIXON “JOKES”
ED: The Dolphins looking to fill the gaping hole…well, they have plenty of gaping holes now that I think of it, but their gaping hole at WR signed Antonio Freeman. Yes, THAT Antonio Freeman. Assumedly, Paul Warfield and the Mark’s Brothers wouldn’t return the Dolphins calls.
PR: Was Yancey Thigpen even contacted? Is Yancey Thigpen even still alive?
ED: I am saddened that you didn’t make a Ron Dixon joke, Phil.
BB: If you want to find Ron Dixon, find lightning and look the other way.
(WEEK THAT WAS (082004))
BB: The Twins also have two bad organizational habits. One is perpetually waiting for a player to develop, even when a better solution is around the organization or easily acquirable. The 21st century Twins have given thousands of at bats to Luis Rivas, Cristian Guzman, and Jacque Jones, despite a staggering lack of development or production. Rivas has never posted an OPS+ higher than 86 or lower than 79 in five seasons; Guzman’s OPS+ runs 37, 67, 111, 80, 77, and 78; Jones appeared to break through with a 125 OPS+ at age 27, but has come down since; his six seasons have amounted to an OPS+ of…101.
PR: But Rivas is Nanu! Gardenhire even said so. And don’t think I don’t have lingering fantasy bitterness towards Jacque Jones. I think we might have found someone that Ron Dixon can out run.
BB: Get a flash of lightning behind him and Ron Dixon will out run anyone, I don’t care how fast they are. And I don’t care if Luis Rivas has Jobu on his shoulder and his bats, he’s not approaching respectability anytime soon.
(2005 AL CENTRAL PREVIEW)
Miller is using all sorts of hyperbole in describing Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. In the first inning, when Lee was clearly lumbering around the basepaths, Miller proclaimed him “speedy”. This clearly made me wonder if I needed to run a 40. Because if Derek Lee is speedy that I can return kicks for the New York Giants since I would be faster than Ron Dixon. (Plus, with the added bonus of my ability to not be afraid of weather phenomenon.) Later it game, Miller shouted that Lee was “ONE OF THE BEST!” “One of the best” of what is left open to interpretation. I know it wasn’t “one of the best players in the game” because I can rattle off 50 guys better than Derek Lee. I am going to assume he meant one of the best at first base (though that is debatable since what is the definition of “one of the best”. To me, you would have to be in the Top 5 at your position right? Well let’s see, there is Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Jim Thome, and that isn’t even counting David Ortiz and Mike Piazza, who technically are first basemen. Then there are folks like Carlos Delgado, Mike Sweeney, Phil Nevin, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas who are down due to injury reasons. Again, though, that is me.) I don’t know, maybe he was talking about “one of the best” fielding first baseman, which I could probably see. But you know being the best fielding first baseman is kinda like being the kid with the best sight at the School For The Blind. Maybe, he meant the “One of the Best” of the guys named Lee. I could get behind that one because Derrek is better than Travis or Carlos or Cliff.
(CUBS vs. GIANTS – 080804)
PR: Anyway – Amani Toomer is still there. And I am probably the only Tim Carter fan in the world. Plus, Jamaal Taylor is fast. Not Ron Dixon fast but real fast. Of course, this all goes back to folks being able to get any of them the ball.
(2005 NFC EAST PREVIEW)