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Small history of a great man: Joe Delaney

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Published on Jan 29, 2017

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The draft of the 1981 us back to a time dimension of the football that today we risk almost of ignoring (unfairly!), especially in a world where technology dominates, it invades and involves all, in a world in which any statement has dozens of videos from which you can appreciate in every aspect of the game. In those years, the scouting of young talents was simply traveling the country far and wide, with the copy of the legendary Street & Smith's in the suitcase.

Streeet & Smith, 1997. On the cover Peyton Manning

For the recruiter of any level, from college to the pros, even today, Street & Smith's is a sort of Bible, but in those years it was really essential. Nothing imaginative, as can be Sports Illustrated. It has more the appearance of the directory, the catalog of gears, screws and bolts. Printed on paper in economic, often with photos and black-and-white, but with a huge list of names, roles, heights, weights, and statistics of each type, times the 40... Clearly there was the issue of S&S for the college and the pros. The one for football, one for basketball, one for baseball. No frills. No photos of the celebrations in the endzone, no photos of the cheerleader.

S&S was the journal's perfect in a world in which Pete Rozelle, head of the historical maximum expression in the planetary of football, he wrote the call of the draft on a whiteboard. Before a chalkboard slate in the true sense, with a piece of chalk. Then on the sheet of paper from glossy white, with the pen, the transparency is projected on the sheet: the team written in beautiful handwriting on the left and the name of the selected player in the free column of this precursor of the spreadsheets...

Pete Rozelle on the board. From the first choice we understand that the year is 1970...

The draft of 1981, said.
Rozelle, immediately began to write the names of a certain level. The number one absolute the Saints take on the winner of the Heisman Trophy George Rogers, who would prove to be little more than a good runner. But the number two is the name that appears close to that of the New York Giants should be remembered with all the honors, because it is Lawrence Taylor, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Their fans in that period is not treated badly, given that after the exit of Taylor to the forefront of the college would come to console them another guy fairly well developed talent: Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

The first round continues with names that in later years would have written pieces of the history of football. Two defensive back Kenny Easley Seattle Seahawks, and Ronnie Lott at the San Francisco Fortyniners. Offensive lineman excellent, which Mark May (Redskins), and Brian Holloway, which was going to divide the glory with the immense John Hannah on the left side of the line of the Patriots. And between the first and the second round we begin to find a good QB Neil Lomax (st. Louis Cardinals), and two good running backs like James Brooks (Chargers) and James Wilder (Buccaneers). Other good shots in the second round could be Cris Collinsworth (Bengals, now commentator) and especially Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears: he and Lawrence Taylor will ensure that this draft will be remembered for the linebacker. In the second round then there are two defensive lineman spectacular, as Howie Long (Raiders) and Rickey Jackson (Saints, then converted to linebacker).

In the midst of this rain of talent the Kansas City Chiefs coach Marv Levy in the second round catch a player just as advertised, coming in from the college of the second division, which was noted more for the 9.4 on the 100-yard and 20.64 200 meters (not as a runner, even if the statistics all-purpose that brings you a behind-are latest happenings, hot rumours. But it is a runner: and at that time to be a runner in the NFL means dealing with Walter Payton, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Billy Sims, John Riggins. A runner who comes from the poor south, one told along the river from Forrest Gump that fishing the shrimp. When he is interviewed, translate it by its slang cajun a language that is comprehensible is not always trivial, as it will not be trivial for anyone to do the accounts with both the player and the man.

This story starts from when the second lap, with the number 41, Pete Rozelle next to the box of the Kansas City Chiefs, writes the name of Joe Delaney.

Joe Delaney (Kansas City Chiefs)

Joe Alton Delaney was born on 30 October 1958 in Henderson, Texas. And’ the third of eight children of Eunice and Woodrow. The father driving the truck, the family Delaney, without words, does not sail in gold. But the small community of Haughton, Louisiana, is a nest acceptable to grow the little Joe and his many brothers and sisters. Despite the contrary opinion of the father, who saw the football as a waste of time, Joe wants at all costs to enter into the bracket of the local school, the Buccaneers. Even his coaches initially do not deem it suitable to the game. When this boy, small and frail knocks at the door of the staff, the offer of joining the team to become an assistant coach and try that type of career. Joe, with tears in his eyes, he replies that he is there to play football and to become a professional player. And a dowry, he is blatantly faster than the other, then decide to give him a chance as a receiver. He does not if he does repeat two times, works hard and can get noticed from a little college in the area is viewed by the scouts of Grambling, LSU, Texas and Oklahoma. But nothing works, something is wrong. In the end, anno Domini 1977, a scholarship to get there: the university of Northwestern State (Louisiana) wants this young receiver to play in the Demons.

As soon as inserted in the program of the team, Joe must change the role to the need. A receiver on a team that mainly uses the wishbone you don't need much. Needs a minimum of adaptation, a new role in a new context: the year as a freshman has a lot of apprenticeship. You fit in well with the game, because you will also leggerino (1.78 to 84 kg) but has the instinct to sell, can't see the light of day between the lines as a few, and once in the open field is really a bad customer for all, since the base speed blinding.

On the 28th of October 1978, Joe makes the turn on his side a large number of scouts when he runs for 299 yards in 28 attempts against Nicholls. The 263 yards, earned only the second time are still today the record for NCAA. Scored 4 tds, one on a run of 90 yards. In the same period, Joe is a frequent visitor to the athletics track, as to keep ready a backup plan. Runs the strange measure of the 100 yards in 9.4, puts on a 20.64 very creditable on the 200 metres, is part of the clamping arm of the Northwestern, NCAA champion in 1981.

The guy, in short, the numbers you gave them and how.
Marv Levy, however, has never been an enthusiast for his rookie (exceptions below: Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith), but it can't not be impressed by the dedication of this boy, and by his ways from the first team guy, from his infectious smile. Joe in league with all, but in a special way with the receiver JT Smith, his favorite partner in incomprehensible dialogue in the cajun close. The defensive back of the Chiefs Deron Cherry remembers amused:

Talk with Joe? If you felt five or six words, you were lucky, spoke so quickly. It was in line with the character: he was a country guy, a person that is completely easy. And probably in the dressing room was the happiest of all of us

Joe Delaney and JT Smith

This positive atmosphere allows Joe to manage, in a natural way even the first inevitable mistakes of a runner is a rookie in the NFL: a reading wrong, a fumble, a ball dropped. Marv Levy has confidence in his guy, and Joe repays him in the best possible way. After three or four games in which, say, is familiar with the new place of work, Delaney starts to grind yard by the hundreds, with an average for run fabulous (4.8 ypc). The top against Denver (149 yards) and against Houston (193 yards).

Delaney in action during the Chiefs-Chargers

Elvin Bethea, defensive end of the Oilers (induced later in the Hall of Fame) comments:

I played against the best, OJ Simpson, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton. Delaney is in this group here. It is a Great, with the G letter capitalized.

In its first year to the Chiefs, Joe Delaney closes with 1121 yards rushing, 246 on receiving and 4 TD's in total. These numbers would have resisted for more than twenty years in the history of the Chiefs as the best season of a rookie. Driven by the its racing the Chiefs find themselves a competitiveness that seemed to be lost within the division and close with a 9-7 that does not lead them to the playoffs, but it is a promising basis on which to build for the future.
Delaney is named rookie of the year in the American Football Conference, and is the owner to the Pro Bowl. It wins the award for the entire NFL because of the devastating impact on the game by Lawrence Taylor.

The first year truly sensational, and for Joe, grew up poor, life takes a road that is altogether new. But to Haughton remains his Ford Cougar blue, and when the check arrives, Joe goes to his wife Carolyn, and she leaves on the table, with his usual smile:

Take it you, is for you and the girls. Let me just a little bit of money for this week.

Joe Delaney with one of her girls

Joe is so: immense in its simplicity

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