Forgotten Player of the Moment: JESSIE ARMSTEAD
(by Phil Rippa) – Originally Published (10/6/2010)
Originally I was going to write something about the initial class of New York Giants inducted into the Ring of Honor of the new Giants Stadium… err… New Meadowlands Stadium. Then I looked at the 30 names and I was like “Umm… well what I am supposed to do with this?” I don’t think any of us want me to try and pad five paragraphs about the various Mara family members. (Now if Kate Mara was one of them… that would be a different story.) And since the Giants didn’t try and give Lawrence Taylor the Chris Benoit treatment, there wasn’t much there either. And only Pieman is qualified to argue the merits of Tuffy Leemans.
The Intial Ring of Honor List:
Jessie Armstead, Tiki Barber, Al Bozis, Rosie Brown, Harry Carson, Charlie Conerly, Frank Gifford, Pete Gogolak, Mel Hein, Jim Lee Howell, Sam Huff, Tuffy Leemans, Dick Lynch, Jack Mara, Tim Mara, Wellington Mara, George Martin, Joe Morrison, Steve Owen, Bill Parcells, Andy Robustelli, Phil Simms, Michael Strahan, Ken Strong, Lawrence Taylor, Bob Tisch, Y.A. Tittle, Amani Toomer, Emlen Tunnell, George Young
There was one thing that stood out to me… and of course, every other member of the New York Sports Media. Heck, even my mom and sister noticed it so that tells you how much it stood out. (Well outside of Lawrence Taylor. Since I had to listen to a 10 minute diatribe from my sister about what a bad person Taylor is. God, if Dave Meltzer ever wants to try and vote Benoit out of the Hall of Fame again, he needs to send my oldest sister a ballot.) Anyway, the name that stood out was that of Jessie Armstead.
First thing first. Armstead was a good player, especially his years with the Giants (which was basically his entire career.) The Giants took a chance on him coming out of college – considering he had blown out his ACL while at Miami – but it was an 8th round pick. Oooof… curse all of y’alls youth. You do realize the draft had at 12 rounds at one time right? This one was only eight but there were a ton of late round finds in 93 (Troy Brown, Blaine Bishop just to name two). So yeah – Armstead would have probably gone higher if there wasn’t injury concerns (and the fact that since he was a Hurricane, he could be in jail or dead in a heartbeat).
Anyway – Armstead was a fine fine linebacker. Made the Pro Bowl five times (See this is where I love using Pro Bowl appearances to justify player qualifications); was first team All-Pro once with three more appearances on the All-Pro lists somewhere (stupid AP). He finished with 40 career sacks, averaged about 70 tackles a year.
Armstead now ownes a Honda car dealership – you are shocked I know. A former football player owes a car dealership??? I have never heard that before!!! I wonder if Jessie Armstead Honda is anywhere near Brad Banks Hyundai? Or maybe Brad Banks Mitsubishi? (Yup – this joke is clearly only funny to me but I don’t care. I WILL NAME EVERY CAR DEALERSHIP IN NEW JERSEY OWNED BY A FORMER GIANT IF I HAVE TOO!!!)
Now – I have said all those wonderful things. OH! And I loved Jessie Armstead as a player. There. However…. There is no way that Armstead should have been in the initial Ring of Honor class. Especially WHEN CARL F’N BANKS ISN’T!!!! And there are others (Joe Morris, OJ Anderson, Sean Landeta, Jumbo Elliot, etc…) but since Armstead and Banks were both linebackers and had virtually the same exact stats and number of years as a Giant. And the only reason Banks didn’t have as many Pro Bowl appearances is because Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson were already going. (See this is where I hate using Pro Bowl appearances to justify player qualifications.) Hey! This is exactly like Pro Bowl voting since Taylor and Carson both made it into Ring of Honor too. Poor poor unloved Carl Banks. I figure Bob Papa gave him a comforting hug.
I tried to think of reasons. They both work for the organization (Armstead as a consultant. Banks does color commentary on the radio broadcast). They both went to the Redskins after the Giants. And as much as Lebron might want me to make it a race issue – obviously that’s not the case either. Clearly I will need Bill to run in with some sort of DVOA breakdown that I don’t understand.
God… I can only imagine how I will feel when I look at the Jets list of inductees.