The time and place will be forever sealed in the collective memory of my fantasy football league. I’m at Sherwin’s. The nachos and salsa are flying. I had the first overall pick and I had already screwed up by taking Peyton Manning over LT. I figured it was a lot easier to get a top back in the second round then a top QB. The end of the second round approached, with me slated to pick the best back on the board. So I look in my magazine and see the name Tatum Bell at the top of the running back list. And I’m thinking, why hasn’t anyone picked this guy yet…my magazine has him ranked as the 4th best overall player. It’s now my turn to pick and I enthusiastically claim Tatum Bell. The entire room reacts in horror and shock, asking me if I am serious. I say yes, and show them my magazine’s rankings.
Not a second later do I look on the cover and see that my mag is published by the Denver Post. Of course, they are going to rank freakin’ Tatum Bell so high. They believe in the power of the Broncos running back, no matter who it is. Denver’s running backs have led or been near the lead in rushing for the past five years. Only Tatum Bell had a bad preseason, which this magazine failed to mention, and he would be the second-string back.
Sure, Tatum, or tater-tot as my dad ended up calling him, had a decent season and actually helped me notch my ONLY win of my season (this was the game he ran for three touchdowns, displaying the talent the Denver Post saw in him).
Why am I telling you this story? Because it was on the night that I drafted Tatum Bell that I also made the insane bet that Cadillac Williams would never rush for more than 500 yards, that he was a cornpoke from Auburn that wasn’t even the best back on his college team.
So today, I must eat a substantial serving of crow pie as I achknowledge that Cadillac Williams won Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year in a landslide Wednesday, receiving 47 of the 50 votes from the panel of NFL writers and broadcasters.