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Jeff Pearlman on Ricky Bell

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Steak Snabler, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Pearlman catches hell around here sometimes, but this is really excellent:

  2. Glenn Stout

    Glenn Stout Member

    Thanks. I understand that not everyone will share your view, but one of the things I love to do is ask a writer "What is the story you've always wanted to write that no one has let you?"
  3. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    What makes this story hit home is the fact that Ricky Bell and I were born the very same day, April 8, 1955. I've had a pretty decent life, with a few ups and downs here and there, but reading this makes me appreciate it all the more. There, but for the grace of God...
  4. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Ricky Bell was a special talent. I remember the year that the Bucs shocked the Eagles in the playoffs. I also remember that loss to the Rams. Perlman wrote a nice piece. I enjoyed reading so many sources. Young scribes take note. That's how its done.
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Really well done/ well sourced story. Growing up I had a real fascination with those Mckay
    USC teams. Impressed that Pearlman was able to get quotes from Richard "Batman" Woods
    who played with Bell at both USC and Tampa. That was the era of college football when
    the tailback was king.

    When I got to the part about Bell working summer jobs to make ends meet while attending USC I
    could not help but think about how different it is today. Back then no one was arguing that college
    athletes should paid and were being taken advantage of.
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    It would have been nice if they used retro photos of USC and Charger fields, but it is a very good story. There are certain players modern fans need reminded of every few years or so. Bell is one of them. Lee Roy Selmon would be another.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Nice story that gets you at the end.

    The only technical thing that gave me pause time and again was Jeff breaking the flow of quotes for added effect.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Lee Roy Selmon is a hall of famer. Nobody who has any sense of history of football has forgotten him. Maybe modern fans don't know who he is, but they are not going to have a sense of a lot of great players who left their mark on football in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

    Ricky Bell didn't have 1/10th of the career Selmon did.

    This was a great story, and Ricky Bell's story is sad. He is a definite, "What might have been," story, although even at his best, if he hadn't gotten sick. ... his sad death doesn't change the fact that Tampa made the wrong pick when they took him over Tony Dorsett.

    Just in terms of his career, Bell had one good season out of four in which he got any playing time. Lee Roy Selmon is in the hall of fame.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Ricky Bell doesn't have a chain of restaurants named for him either:

  10. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    The one place Pearlman lost me is when he discusses Bell getting beat to death behind some horrible offensive lines in Tampa. I'm sure that was true to a certain extent, but the Bucs actually made the playoffs twice in his five years there. Tampa Bay wasn't the football wasteland it would become for most of the 80s and 90s until Bell was gone.

    If you want to talk about Bell taking a beating, I'd say 385 carries in 11 games (35 per game) his junior year at USC and 51 in one game his senior year was far more egregious.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Their o-line was really bad, and they never seemed to do much to try to improve it. Teams used to stunt on them all game, and they'd have guys getting through the line on almost every play.

    Their team was built on defense. Their crappy offense held them back, and it seemed like year after year their offensive line was a big problem. I think things got so bad around the time that Bell came into the league that they took John Hannah's brother and tried to convert him from a defensive end into an offensive lineman.

    I don't think Pearlman overstated it.
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Young scribes take note. That's how it's done.
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