Take 5: Shady, Soccer, Superteams


Smiley N. Pool, Dallas Morning News | TNS

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leaves the field on a cart after being injured on a tackle by New York Giants cornerback Logan Ryan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 11.

By The Pitt News Staff

Hall of Fame for Shady? // Carson Zaremski, For The Pitt News

Pitt has earned a reputation for producing Hall of Fame caliber NFL players. The Panthers have produced nine, which ranks fifth all-time among NCAA programs. Pitt will look to move up this list in the coming years, as it’s presented three first-ballot worthy players in the past 20 years — Darrelle Revis, Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Donald.

But one more Pitt alumni comes to mind — LeSean McCoy. Heavy debate surrounds McCoy’s probability of making the Hall of Fame, but the answer is clear if you look at the numbers.

The Buccaneers running back has made the Pro Bowl six times, earning two All-Pro nominations in his career. He ranks 22nd all-time in rushing yards and 28th all-time in rushing touchdowns. In seasons where McCoy has started in at least 14 games, he has never rushed for under 1,000 yards.

McCoy has more career rushing yards than class of ’91 inductee Earl Campbell and more career rushing touchdowns than class of ;85 inductee O.J. Simpson. He’s one of only five players in NFL history to rush for 11,000 yards and catch 500 passes in a career.

McCoy straddles the line of in or out, but his impressive statline should earn himself a spot in Canton. With his seasons in the backfield dwindling, any further accomplishments cement his status even further. 

American soccer must embrace its structure // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

When you think of some of the great football clubs in recent history, your mind gets drawn to the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. You wouldn’t think of the Los Angeles Galaxy or D.C. United.

Soccer has risen in popularity in the United States in the last quarter century, but it has never compared to the popularity of soccer in Europe — partially because of the vastly different structure of America’s soccer system. Many people argue that the United States should adapt, but that doesn’t logistically add up.

No system of promotion or relegation — where teams move to different leagues based on performance (P/R for shorthand) — exists in American soccer, like in England. The United States is nearly 30 times the size of England, though, leading to the creation of conferences. This prevents teams from having to travel longer distances so often, an advantage that wouldn’t exist with a P/R system.

The American system also houses markets like Dallas and New York City that may only support one or two top-tier teams maximum. Compare that to England, where six top-tier teams reside in London, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. If a P/R system operated in America, several theoretical instances could leave divisions with several teams in small markets or no teams in bigger markets.

The MLS has teams in two countries with different governments. North America doesn’t have a union like the United Kingdom or the European Union, preventing seamless travel for promoted and relegated teams.

American soccer can’t be like European soccer, so it shouldn’t try.

Beard to Broad Street // Eddie Lasker, For The Pitt News

The NBA has seen its share of bromances, but none rival the intensity of Daryl Morey’s love for James Harden. After stepping down from the general manager position in Houston in October, Morey took a whole page out in the Houston Chronicle to thank Harden for the years spent together.

It’s no surprise Morey expressed gratitude for Harden, as the gifted scorer’s time in Houston cemented the former’s status as an elite basketball executive. Morey’s devotion to analytics centered on Harden’s efficient scoring, propelling the Rockets to elite status in the NBA. Ultimately his teams couldn’t bring home an NBA title, but Morey’s skills as a GM proved indisputable.

Rumors swirled of his desire to bring Harden to Philly shortly after the Philadelphia 76ers signed Morey as their president of basketball operations. A reunion in the City of Brotherly Love would certainly provide excitement, but It would take a fortune of players and picks to get Harden out of Houston. No stranger to blockbuster deals, however, Morey has orchestrated unexpected trades in the past, landing Robert Covington, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

This move will likely result in the dealing of one of the 76ers young’s stars, but it’s worth it to bring the analytics king his favorite knight. Harden, arguably the most efficient scorer in NBA history, paired with Philadelphia’s tenacious defensive core could dismantle the weak Eastern Conference.

Tanking time for the Cowboys // Tyler Mathes, Senior Staff Writer

The Dallas Cowboys lost star quarterback Dak Prescott for the season to a compound ankle fracture a few weeks ago. Their defense hadn’t done them any favors in their first four games, where Prescott threw for 1,690 yards, but the offense showed signs of emerging as one of the best in the league.
While it’s sad that Prescott went down in a contract year, owner Jerry Jones needs to think toward the future. He knows that he’ll have his star back under center someday — the team has few options for the remainder of this season. Backup quarterback Andy Dalton went down with a concussion against the Washington Football Team shortly after losing Prescott, leaving former Pitt quarterback Ben DiNucci in line to start against the Eagles.

Each of the Cowboys starting offensive tackles sit on injured reserve, as well as their starting tight end and a starting cornerback. None of this looks good for the remainder of the season, but this draft class features dominant edge rushers like Gregory Rousseau out of Miami (FL) or Penn State’s Micah Parsons to complement star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and get some much needed help in the pass rush.
The Cowboys need plenty of help on defense, and they’ve given no indication that their offense will have much luck the rest of the season. It’s time to tank for as high of a draft pick as they can get at this point. This means leaving Dalton on the bench even when he’s healthy, so they can grab a defensive cornerstone for the future.

Pitt should commemorate the City’s rich sports history // Henry Jackson, Staff Writer

The Pirates’ faithful congregate around the remnants of Forbes Field every year on Oct. 13. Against the backdrop of the former center field wall, with Posvar Hall looming overhead, they gather to relive game seven of the 1960 World Series.

The event is a simple affair, really — the attendees are old-timers, attracted not by the fanfare but instead drawn by memory. They listen to a recording of the game, memorializing those very same sounds and events they lived years ago. Then, at 3:36 p.m. on the dot, they cheer as Pirate’s legend Bill Mazeroski once again hits the walk-off home run to win the World Series.

It seems unbelievable for such an event to take place annually without catching the attention of Pitt students, yet it’s harder still to fathom the amount of sports history unrecognizable on campus today. Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium have disappeared, replaced by new structures unlikely to last the century.

Such drastic overhauls have many harmful effects and deprive Pitt’s campus of character. While it may have been necessary to tear down Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field, the University could have honored them more prominently. Instead, Pitt’s campus now appears as a gray behemoth of student housing as monotonous as it is forgettable.

Efforts must be made to commemorate campus history. Landmarks such as Forbes Field and Pitt Stadium hold value because they tie Pitt’s campus to a storied past. A home plate exhibit in Posvar Hall is a nice touch, but Pitt could add much more. For college students attempting to build a new home at Pitt, finding sources of pride can prove a rough task — but it can start by honoring the area’s sports history — like those Pirates fans do every year.