NFL news of October 22, 2002

Those Monday Night Football hypemeisters, Al Michaels and John Madden, were lathering it on pretty good as the Steelers took charge early against the Colts.

Several times they referred to the “incredible story” of quarterback Tommy Maddox, who went from selling insurance three years ago to the Arena Football League to the ill-fated and ridiculous XFL and, finally, to a starting job with Pittsburgh.

Maddox certainly is a good story. Even a remarkable story. But after Kurt Warner and Jeff Garcia rose from undrafted obscurity to NFL stardom, how can you possibly call Maddox’s odyssey “incredible?”

To begin with, he was a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1992, so one ought to assume he came out of college (UCLA) with more talent than Warner and Garcia. Second, he had backup experience with three NFL clubs. Third, he owned two insurance companies, which no doubt was more lucrative than stocking grocery shelves _ which is what Warner was doing before his career took off.

Nothing involving NFL quarterbacks is incredible any longer. It would not be unbelievable if Maddox, who replaced the erratic Kordell Stewart, took the Steelers to the Super Bowl this season in a sort of reprise of what Warner did for the Rams in 1999.

— Charles Bricker, South Florida Sun-Sentinel “Over the top on Monday night.”

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