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Sweetness 10 years later: Gone but not forgotten

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Sam Mills 51, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Walter Payton was one of the biggest reasons I got into the NFL and into sports in general. There were bigger backs, faster backs and more dynamic backs. But no one better combined those facets, loathed stepping out of bounds and was a better blocker out the backfield than Walter Payton. And the kicker? He loved to block. Surprised John Madden in one of his books ... and undoubtedly surprised a lot of readers. Still ticked that Mike Ditka didn't find a way to get the man a touchdown in a blowout Super Bowl win.

    We all knew he was suffering, but that man wasn't go to die that suddenly, was he? The day he did, I couldn't keep myself busy enough. Everything in the house got cleaned, the laundry got done and I kept looking for things to do.

    Tired but still unable to get my mind off of the news, I eventually ran back to the newsroom and pounded out a column in about 20 minutes. I really didn't think the SE would look at it come time for press - it was as much for me selfishly as it was for anyone else's critique. Sure enough, he ran it as is.

    It still hurts 10 years later. But, as many of you have probably figured out, those who die before their time have a spot here. Might even forsake my usual game-day stuff - at least what I've established since my homeland finally found a team to call its own - for Walter Payton, whose jersey I still have and wear.

    So this is about nothing, but there you have it.
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Well said, Sam. Still doesn't feel like it's been 10 years.
  3. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Nothing better than watching him stiff-arm the shit out of a guy, then lower his shoulder to deliver a blow.

    Go out of bounds? Piss on that.

    He was why as a 6 year old in 1983, I became a Bears fan for life.
  4. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    Nice post Sam.
  5. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    I love how the NFL Network has his image, front and just off-center, for it's studio set.

    Walter's photos are on my wall in my home-office amid lots of other sports decor.
    He's churning through the Tampa defense, diving over the Steeler line, and tiptoeing amid a montage that features a ticket from Super Bowl XX and the subsequent diamond ring.
    It's a testament to his greatness that Walter's a legend throughout the nation and not just in Columbia, Mississippi or the Magnolia State.
    Even moreso than Jerry Rice.

    How might he have affected recruiting at Mississippi's Big 3 schools had one of them extended a hand to him in the early 70s?
  6. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you've heard the story about how Southern Miss was scouting Payton one game his senior year, and he broke into the open field for a touchdown and ran the last 20 yards backwards. Reportedly, P.W. Underwood, Southern's coach at the time, when he saw that said something like, "we don't need a hot dog like that on our team," and refused to sign him.
  7. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Some years ago, Payton was scheduled to speak here and the boss asked me to get in touch and "advance" his talk. So I called the people in charge and set it up. They said up front: Look, he will call but, uh, probably not right at the time we schedule. He gets a little behind, gets a little too much going on. But he WILL call."

    So the day comes and no call and the next day goes by no call. The next day, I get home about 9 and my wife says, "You have a message from Walter. He said call him back when you get a chance."

    It took a minute. Walter? Walter who? Hell, she said, he just said Walter. Sounded like an old friend. Was real nice. We talked about 10 minutes. You don't know this guy?

    That's when it clicked - Walter PAYTON. Sure enough, he'd left his number and he answered right away. Wasn't a terrific interview was damn sure real pleasant.
  8. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    The greatest running back of my lifetime.
  9. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Agreed, and right there behind Jim Brown as No. 2 of all time.
  10. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    Haven't heard that one but don't doubt it at all.
    "Bear" Underwood had the mindset of so many other southern collegiate coaches and people in general of the period.
    He was a product of his time, with many good deeds and positive things he accomplished.
    Still, a product of his time.
    He and many others thought blacks, as a race, were not equal to whites.
  11. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Two memories of Payton: 1. The way he used to hold the ball out with one hand when running outside. I used to always think he would fumble, but he never did. 2. The game around 1984 (?) where he actually played quarterback because all the other Bear QBs got hurt.
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