The Ballad of Derrick Thomas

Don't get the title of this post twisted. The post isn't actually about a song, nor does it in anyway attempt to showcase my extremely mediocre singing "talent". I've always had the impression that a ballad was the type of song that musicians write to cast attention on someone who could be charachterized as a kind of folk hero. Someone who did something really good and noble once but has been kind of forgotten about and never really received the kind of credit he/she deserved. You know the kind of people that Bob Dylan and Joan Baez used to sing about (baby boomers correct me if I'm wrong, I was born in the '70's). Plus I just thought it was a cool title.

Well in my vigilance of happenings in the sports world I have always been intrigued by the legacy of Derrick Thomas. Remember him? The 9-time Pro Bowl linebacker who played his entire career for the Kansas City Chiefs? The guy who once had seven sacks in one game? The guy who announcers, writers, commentators, fans generally referred to as "a future HOF'er"? The NFL player who died tragically in 2000 from a car accident on the way to the NFC championship game.

Since his death it's always puzzled me how few people seem to remember, or they tend to discount, what a great and feared player D. Thomas was. He was a stud at Alabama on their great late '80's teams and was the fourth pick of the '89 draft. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, he was Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is one of only 22 players to have over 100 sacks in his career.

So how is this guy not in the NFL Hall of Fame? Is it because he played for a small market Kansas City Chief team that always seemed to fall below expectations? I mean really isn't this a serious oversight like the fact that there aren't many lineman in the HOF. This should be debated every year like Goose Gossage's entry into the Baseball HOF is/was (not sure if he's in now or not). And this guy wasn't some douchebag who constantly courted trouble with the law off the field but a pillar of the community in K.C. who did a lot of charitable work.

By the way I'm not a Chiefs fan but I considered Thomas as one of those atheletes that have to be watched whenever possible because you never knew what spectacular play he might make next. If he doesn't get in next year, I for one will continue to view this as a huge travesty. K.C. fans let your voices and the memories of this fallen great be heard!!

1 comment:

Jeff R said...

I agree with everything you said. Here are the comments I added to another blog and thought they would be appropriate here too.

Here is my arguement for Derrick Thomas to be in the HOF. First is, most non-Chiefs fans believe Lawrence Taylor is the best Defensive Player ever. If that is true, then consider these stats.

DT: 169 games, 126.5 sacks, 3 safeties, 45 FF, 16 FR, 1 INT, best year–20 sacks

LT: 184 games, 132.5 + *9.5 sacks, 0 safeties, 33 FF, 10 FR, 9 INT, best year–20.5 sacks

* His first year in NFL they didn’t count sacks, I will give them to him –142 total

DT: Defensive Rookie of the Year, 9 pro bowls, NFL records–7 sacks one game and 45 forced fumbles, very active in community, 3rd and Long Foundation.

LT: 3 time Defensive Player of the year, 10 pro bowls, NFL records–NONE, community service-drug problems.

To me it is unbelieveable that he isn’t in there already. Chiefs fans need to hit the blogs so people will realize how close his stats are to “the best who ever played”. LT did change how that position was played–but DT played it just as good–I think. What about you?