Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Miami Dolphins and Their Quarterbacks, Part Three

From 1966 through 1995, three decades, the Miami Dolphins followed a three-pronged strategy to address their quarterback needs. First, and most important, when need and opportunity met, Miami used a top pick to draft a highly touted potential franchise quarterback (Griese, Marino). Second, they almost always backed up their starter with an experienced QB, usually a former starter elsewhere, who could step in and play should injury strike the starting QB (Morrall, Strock, Jaworski, DeBerg, Kosar). And third, the team would frequently spend a pick in the top half of the draft for a QB with the potential to become a starter (Norton, Theisman, Strock, Benjamin, Woodley, Mitchell). Interestingly, the only one of the latter group to actually become a starter for the Dolphins was Woodley who was the lowest pick of all of them (an 8th-rounder). Theisman and Mitchell did become NFL starting quarterbacks but not with Miami. Strock never became a starter but he did move into the second group as the quintessential backup once he’d been around long enough.

Not to make too much of this three-pronged strategy; the selections of Griese and Marino in the provided virtually all of Miami’s QB success for over 30 years. And neither selection was particularly controversial. Quite the opposite. But we do know that Miami almost certainly would not have achieved perfection in 1972 without the acquisition of Morrall, while Strock was an important security blanket for Miami for a decade. As for the young guns, Theisman, and maybe Mitchell, could well have become longtime starters for the Dolphins had the team needed one at the time those players chose to go elsewhere.

The important thing to note is that the team planned. They addressed their quarterback needs. If they didn’t have a high-quality starter they drafted one. If they didn’t have an experienced backup, they signed one. If the starter was getting old or if there was a young QB prospect they liked, they used a draft pick to get him.

When Jimmy Johnson took over for Don Shula, that calculus changed entirely. When Huizenga forced out Shula and hired Johnson it was understood Johnson was not in it for the long haul. Jimmy previously rebuilt the Cowboys from the ground up after that franchise had hit rock bottom, but he didn’t want to repeat that in his second stint as an NFL head coach. He only wanted to coach a team ready to contend right now, a team only in need of some “tweaking”. Johnson decided the team that best fit the bill was the Miami Dolphins. Miami had reached the playoffs in three of the previous four seasons and, perhaps more importantly for Johnson, they had Dan Marino at quarterback. Johnson simply had to add a few playmakers on offense and defense to help out Marino and then ride off into the sunset with one more championship. In it for the short term and determined to sink or swim with Marino, Johnson had no interest in using an important draft pick on a quarterback. He drafted only one during his four-year reign: 6th rounder John Dutton in 1998, who never played a down in the NFL. When Bernie Kosar retired after 1996, Miami had no experienced backup either.

Johnson quickly beefed up Miami’s defense but he had no luck at upgrading the running back or wide receiver positions. A parade of busts. And due to age, injuries, and the lack of weapons, Dan Marino’s effectiveness declined rapidly. When Dan missed a number of games in 1999, Johnson had to go with his only available quarterback, undrafted free agent Damon Huard. Surprisingly, despite his complete lack of experience, Huard performed well, well enough that Johnson might have preferred to keep playing him when Marino was ready to return. By the end of the 1999 season though it was obvious to everyone including Dan Marino that Marino had reached the end of the line. Marino retired and a burned-out Johnson resigned, leaving Miami’s quarterback cupboard completely bare except for the now slightly-more-experienced Damon Huard. The team had never been so weak at the QB position since their inaugural season.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Miami Dolphins and Their Quarterbacks, Part Two

From the team’s very beginning the Dolphins’ original brain trust showed the importance the team placed on the quarterback position. In their first two drafts Miami spent its top pick on a QB: Rick Norton in 1966 and Bob Griese in 1967. For some inexplicable reason, Coach George Wilson decided to make George Wilson, Jr. his quarterback in the Dolphins’ inaugural season (a real mystery). But upon drafting Griese, the time for comedy was over and Miami immediately installed the talented Griese as their starter. He had the usual growing pains you expect of a rookie QB starting for an atrocious expansion team. Norton was beyond ineffective as Griese’s backup for three years (7 career TD’s and 30 career INT’s says it all), so Miami acquired two failed starters still in their twenties, John Stofa and George Mira, to back up not-always-so-durable Griese in 1970 and 1971. As long as Miami was terrible it never mattered who backed up Griese, but when the team turned the coaching reigns over to Don Shula in 1970 and became a contender, the lack of a quality backup suddenly looked like a real weakness. Seeing the clear need for an upgrade at the position, in 1971 the Dolphins drafted Joe Theisman in the 4th round and in 1972 Shula acquired his former QB Earl Morrall off of waivers. The latter move turned out to be maybe the single most brilliant personnel decision of Shula’s entire career. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. A leg injury knocked Griese out of action in the Dolphins’ fifth game of the 1972 season but Miami never missed a beat as Morrall led Miami to 10 straight regular season wins en route to a perfect season. Miami now had tremendous experience at the backup quarterback position for the next five years but, 38-years-old in 1972, Morrall obviously was no quarterback of the future. Neither was Theisman unfortunately. Joey T decided he didn’t want to wait around playing second fiddle to Griese so he tried his luck in Canada. A few year later Miami traded away his rights to the Washington Redskins.

In 1973, Miami selected another possible heir to Griese in the 5th round, a tall, big-armed QB out of Virginia Tech named Don Strock. After Morrall’s retirement Strock moved into the backup role where he would remain comfortably ensconced until 1987. At some point Shula must have decided Strock wasn’t starting quarterback material and in truth Strock usually did play better coming into a game in relief. Shula’s doubts about Strock and Griese’s age-related decline led to Miami drafting Guy Benjamin in the 2nd round in 1978 and David Woodley in the 8th round in 1980. Woodley wound up winning the battle to succeed Griese and became the team’s starter following Griese’s career-ending injury in 1980.

The Woodley experiment lasted three seasons but the debacle of Super Bowl XVII established once and for all that the Woodley era had to come to a close. With Strock now on the wrong side of 30 (and having already failed his audition to become the team’s starter anyway) and with Benjamin traded away years earlier, Miami once again turned to the draft to find its new starter. And that turned out to be child’s play when Dan Marino dropped into their laps in 1983, leaving the team set at quarterback for the next 17 years! Marino was a true phenomenon. Not just arguably the greatest pure passer of all-time, but somebody capable of playing like an established veteran while still a rookie. Marino also was incredibly durable, not missing a single start in his first decade as a player. Strock remained as the experienced backup and unofficial assistant offensive coordinator and, with Marino in his prime, the team had no need to groom a QB of the future any time soon.

When Strock and the Dolphins finally parted ways after 1987, Miami grabbed another old veteran, Ron Jaworski, to backup Marino. For the next few years Miami really tempted fate by backing up Marino with nothing but Scott Secules. Luckily Miami never needed him to save the day but something clearly would have to be done. What Shula did was draft a young gun in 1990: Scott Mitchell. Mitchell, a 4th-rounder, finally got his chance to shine when Marino suffered a torn Achilles in 1993. And Mitchell played great (hard to believe but it's true). At any other time he would have been installed as Miami’s backup and designated the team’s QB of the future. However, in the new free agency era that was no longer possible. Based on Mitchell’s short but impressive run of games somebody desperate for a starting QB was bound to throw a pile of money in front of him and the Dolphins couldn’t possibly afford to pay a backup that kind of cash. Nobody was unseating Marino. So Mitchell left for the Detroit Lions who were soon to be disappointed by their would-be savior. Meanwhile, Miami continued with their habit of bringing in experienced backups who were starters elsewhere, first Steve Deberg, then Bernie Kosar, but the team now had no quarterback of the future as Marino entered the final years of his career.

No doubt Shula would soon look to draft another young QB with potential, but he never got the chance. At the end of the 1995 season, Shula resigned as head coach. And when it came to quarterbacks, his replacement had other ideas.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jason Taylor: Addition by Subtraction, My Ass

I try to avoid knee-jerk reactions, but Miami Herald "sportswriter" Armando Salguero's moronic comments about yesterday's newest Dolphin fiasco needs to be hit and hit hard. And now.

Here's how the big A sets the tone for his column-length brain spasm: "The Dolphins rid themselves of their biggest offseason headache and what promised to be training camp's most uncomfortable drama."

No jerk with a keyboard has business using the word "rid" when talking about a player of Jason Taylor's personal caliber. The way I see it, this guy kicked total ass for our team during its crappiest years since it was still in training pants. He has never flipped off his fans, or (I believe) the other teams'. He has been great to the South Florida community as well. We aren't talking Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson here. Next, what DOES constitute an "offseason headache" to this yutz? NOT the hangover of going 1-15? NOT having to draft another QB way high just in case the one we drafted way high last year isn't good enough after all? NOT the rest of our roster? No, the biggest headache for Salguero is that our best player was on a TV show in the offseason, and our cranky-but-legendary new GM got his bloomers in a twist about it. Big. Freakin'. Deal.

Here's another nugget of sportswriting brilliance from the Herald's Dolphin pundit extraordinaire:

"So the Dolphins are diminished on the field. But think of it as addition by subtraction, because Sunday's trade also eased Miami of all that baggage Taylor recently was carrying."

Nurse! Scalpel, STAT! First, the humble sportswriter tells (doesn't ask) us how to think of "it." Could he realize, through his own drool, that we might think differently without his genius to direct us? Second, if there were ever a LESS appropriate occasion to trot out the dread "addition by subtraction" cliche, this is it. Third, WHAT BAGGAGE are we really talking about?

Yeah, I'm gonna pick at the second and third incisions to make they bleed as much as they deserve to. WHAT does Miami "add" by losing Jason Taylor? Is it too soon to note that we are apparently retaining and praising RICKY WILLIAMS for what--showing up to mini-camp? All he did was quit on us a few times because the man loves weed more than football. But losing one of our all-time greats, great even when most of his 44 teammates aspired to mediocrity, is a plus to this jackass (Armando, not Ricky)? Does the big A recall Miami's record last year? Or that Eli Manning and David Tyree (!) are the only reason Miami is still alone in the (Perfect) record book? That the last few years have been a nightmare from which true Dolfans have yet to awaken? What is gained by yanking away the only security blankets left to us in the long, cold night? (Yep, blankets. Don't think I forgot that the powers-that-be cast out bro-in-law Zack Thomas.) I thought the Dolphin helmet was already the universal NFL symbol for "rock bottom" circa 2006-2008. Apparently Armando S. is not done digging yet.

NEXT! Exactly what godawful "distraction" would Jason Taylor's continued employ by the Dolphins cause? Fans could be distracted by Taylor's name while scanning the roster for a name they actually recognize, but probably not. Could other players be distracted by JT's proximity? "Duh, sorry coach, but I missed my assignment because that guy from Dancing With the Stars was in my line of sight." Uh, no. How about the coaches? "How can we lead our men into battle while the GM is in a tiff with one of the players?" Imagine how they'd freak if we ever found ourselves in, say, overtime, or trailing, or if a player is unexpectedly injured (thank God these are only hypotheticals)? How about Parcells himself? "Sorry, ladies and gents of the press, I'd love to bare my fangs at you and be pissy and nasty to you like I was with all my other teams, but this Taylor thing--wait, I SWORE to myself this morning I wouldn't cry--OH GOD SOMEONE GET ME A TISSUE..." It's like looking into a crystal ball, isn't it? An atom bomb wouldn't keep Bill Parcells from telling anyone in sight to shove it up their ass.

Now. To the bright tomorrow Armando foresees now that Miami's "rid" of JT: "The petty stuff like trade rumors will defer to more important theater like a quarterback competition. We will be rightfully absorbed by the twin returns of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. We will be scrutinizing whether rookie Jake Long is worth the paycheck that makes him the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman. We will be measuring the progress of Ted Ginn Jr. from Year One to Year Two..."

If you are as stupid as Armando hopes you are, you will buy that with Jason Taylor on the roster, all that...(Hold it. Did he really write "important theater"? And I almost let that slip by unmocked?...would go completely unnoticed. The Herald would have no room for all of JT's hateful "distraction". How are Ronnie and Ricky recovering? Can't tell ya; only got room for news about Jason. The Herald and all South Florida media outlets would be forced into 24/7 Jason Taylor coverage. Marlin and Heat fans would no doubt be turned away newsless as well. WTF??!!

This isn't a guy who retired in March only to unretire and (allegedly) scheme to play for our enemies in July. This isn't a guy who pre-announced his retirement during the regular season to aggravate all concerned through the rest of the year. This isn't even a training camp holdout! What the hell did Jason Taylor do to inspire the disrespectful scrawling of that ungrateful hack writer? Dance on a TV show? Would it have been better if he was caught in a hot tub with a buncha babes? What is going on here?

Maybe Salguero felt putting this kind of "spin" on this ultimate debacle would ensure his schnozz a regular home up Bill Parcells' Fruit of the Looms for the foreseeable future. Me, I'd welcome the "distraction" of Pro Bowl players who conduct themselves with class and grace on and off the field (and in some cases, the dance floor). I am really struggling for ways to love my team when it 1) sucks AND 2) dumps its best players like trash. When it was one of those at a time, it was a lot easier. Hey, Miami Herald: "think" how you can achieve some "addition by subtraction" in your very own sports bureau...

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Miami Dolphins and Their Quarterbacks, Part One

The Miami Dolphins, one of the NFL’s most successful franchises, become the NFL’s worst team, became the NFL’s worst team last year. The Dolphins were one play away from the worst season any NFL team has ever had. How did that happen? Well, it took years to turn a playoff team into a hollow shell, an embarrassment of a team utterly devoid of talent on both sides of the ball. Bad draft picks. Bad trades. Bad decisions. No one move alone could be responsible for the team’s embarrassing state, it’s death-by-a-thousand-cuts here, but one draft pick encapsulates all of this team’s questionable personnel moves this decade. In 2001, the Miami Dolphins used their 6th-round pick to select Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel. Heupel was your classic example of a college QB surrounded by superior personnel who leads his team to a national title, but is not any kind of NFL prospect due to limited athletic ability. In Heupel’s case, his arm strength and mobility weren’t NFL caliber (hence his lasting to the 6th round). Not only did Heupel fail to make the team, but it turned out he had a wrist injury when drafted and Miami actually filed a grievance to try to get some of their money back. Anyway, Heupel never caught on with Miami or any other team and was quickly out of football. Whatever. Heupel only cost the team the 6th round pick. It’s the symbolism that matters here. Josh remains the ONLY QB drafted by Miami between the years 2000 and 2005. That’s right. For the six years following the retirement of Dan Marino, the greatest player in franchise history, Miami’s brain trust chose not to expend a single valuable draft pick on finding his successor. Not only did that decision prove disastrous on its face, it ran contrary to the quarterback philosophy the team had followed successfully for three decades.

If you look at the quarterback moves made by the Miami Dolphins from 1967 through the end of Don Shula’s reign as the Dolphins’ head man, you would have to say the team followed a simple consistent three-pronged strategy for dealing with the quarterback position:

1) Use a top pick to draft a franchise QB;
2) Have an experienced backup ready at all times;
3) When it’s time, groom a QB of the future.

That plan, whether put into practice by design or accident, worked. Coincidence or not, once the team departed from that plan in this decade they began to fall apart.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cold Hard Corroboration

Not so long ago, I posted a silly little series of posts concerning who, in my opinion, was he greatest quarterback in NFL history. One of the QB’s whose career I examined was one John Albert Elway. In my post on him, I took what I thought was a reasonable and rational approach, logically weighing all the pros and cons for his case as he greatest ever. The man certainly has a lot of pros: the wins, two rings, five Super Bowl appearances, the comebacks, and lots of yards and TD’s. The two big cons for him were: (1) overall poor performances in Super Bowls; and (2) finding in the course of researching my piece that when compared to his best contemporaries Elway was the least accurate passer. Based on those two things I concluded that Elway could not be the best ever, which incidentally I do not consider to be an insult to the man. He’s got some stiff competition for the title and he had a great career after all. Yet, as you can see in the comments to my Elway post, two of Past Interference’s untold legions of fans actually took exception to my dispassionate, unbiased findings. And while what they had to say hasn’t changed my ultimate conclusion, those commentors certainly made some very good points on Elway’s behalf.

Here at Past Interference we have no illusions about our role. Past Interference is but a deer tick in the vast ecosystem that is the football blogosphere. But in their fashion the King Kong of the internet’s football world has recently weighed in on the Elway matter. Of course where Past Interference makes its case (as always) with polite, sober, clearheaded precision, The Cold Hard Football Facts, as is their wont, prefers the no-bull, politically incorrect, possibly alcohol-fueled screed. But however you want to wrap up the package, the facts are what matters and the numbers don’t lie.

CHFF picks Elway as one of the Five Most Overrated Quarterbacks Ever. On that specific issue, I’ll abstain. My only point was that Elway wasn’t THE greatest ever. CHFF notes Elway’s relatively low passer rating, his unimpressive TD:INT ratio for the Live-Ball (post-1978) era), and his unimpressive production for at least the first decade of his career. Those numbers are the very types of things I pointed to in my own post and while you might not be able to put any stock in what this website offers it’s always good to be on the side of the Cold Hard Football Facts.


The Cold Hard Football Facts also selected its Five Most Underrated Quarterback Ever. Number three on their list is Earl Morrall, a man with a most curious career that Past Interference has previously written about at length.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Favre Go Round

Man, I am loving this Brett Favre story. For a few months it actually looked Favre was really retired this time. Suckers! Ever since word broke that Favre had the “itch” to play again sportswriters and sports media types, not to mention fans, are all expressing their opinion on what Favre and the Packers should do. Should he stay retired or come back? Do they welcome him back, trade him, what? Is Favre damaging his legacy? Is he just a drama queen who needs the attention? Why can’t he stay retired already?

Well, I’m not going to offer any opinions on what Favre should do. I mean, it’s his career not mine. Only he knows how he feels. Who am I to tell somebody else what to do with their life? That’s just not who I am. (For example, see this post I wrote last year called "Brett Favre, Retire Already”. Want an extra helping of stupidity? Try Part II here.)

Ok, ok. I had an ulterior motive. I hoped Favre would call it quits after 2006 so he wouldn’t break the all-time passing marks of my all-time favorite player Dan Marino. And you have to admit; since Favre’s stats clearly seemed to show he was obviously declining it was hardly sporting for the broken-down old vet to come back and play out the string just to break some records would it? But Favre didn’t do that. Dude cut way back on the picks, had his best season in years, and led his team all the way to the NFC Championship Game and the very cusp of the Super Bowl (before the predictable playoff meltdown). Favre broke Marino’s records while playing like one of the best QB’s in the game. He earned it (and I don’t like having to admit that. Damn you Fav-ra!).

So now what? Well, clearly Favre still wants to play. And surprisingly, it also seems clear that Packers management doesn’t want him back. They’re set to move forward with Aaron Rodgers. [And spare me "It's Just Rumors" talk. The lack of a definitive statement by Favre plus Peter King's reporting that the above is true (and everyone knows Favre and King are friendly so Favre's his direct source here) mean we're well past the rumor stage]. Now if Green Bay was rebuilding I could understand the Packers hoping Favre really meant it when he said he was retired. Or if Favre was obviously washed up. Or if it was a given that Rodgers was going to be a great quarterback. But as far as we know none of those things are true! Green Bay was a Super Bowl caliber team last year. Favre might well have another great year left in him. And Rodgers hasn’t done anything yet (except piss Packers fans off by telling them to get on his bandwagon).

Looks the Pack have four options:

1) Welcome Favre back, pay him $12 mil, and bench Rodgers.
2) Welcome Favre back, pay him $12 mil, and bench Favre.
3) Release Favre, save $12 mil, and hope he doesn’t get picked up by a division rival.
4) Trade Favre, save $12 mil, and try to get something for him.

Favre’s probably the most beloved player in Packers history. He proved he could still play at a high level. His team nearly made the Super Bowl. And even if management wants Favre to stay retired, there’s no way the players would prefer Rodgers to start over Favre. No way. Rodgers hasn’t earned their confidence and trust the way Favre has. If the team goes ahead, gets rid of Favre and Rodgers plays poorly, that ain’t gonna look good. If Favre plays well for another team, that’s gonna make it worse. And if he does it for Chicago or Minnesota, the two most likely Favre suitors out there, while his old team flops, that will probably get current Packers management canned. The fans would demand to see some heads roll. Now I can see how bringing back Favre and relegating Rodgers to the bench again would cause some serious problems for Rodgers. He’s waited patiently for his shot and was promised the job this year. Out of bitterness he might be lost to the organization if it’s yanked away from him like this. But, the goal is to win a championship. Who gives the Pack the best shot at winning it right this second? It sure seems like Favre. Of course if the Pack think Favre wants his old job or nothing, they might call his bluff and release him or trade him hoping he just retires (again!). The only thing the Pack gets out of that though is peace-of-mind for Rodgers and some really bad publicity and hurt feelings for pushing a legend out the door. If Rodgers should get hurt again, as he's had a bit of a penchant for doing, Green Bay's season goes down the drain and the fans would always wonder what might have been. Actually, they'll wonder anyway if Rodgers plays and doesn't come close to what Favre did in 2007.

I can’t wait to see how this one plays out. Can anyone really picture Favre returning to Green Bay as a backup? And you thought Rodgers was feeling pressure before.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Guy Benjamin and David Woodley, Part Four

Would the Miami Dolphins have been better off had they kept Benjamin instead of Woodley in 1980?

When it comes to the franchise’s other more recent quarterback decisions (Brees/Culpepper, Fiedler/Huard) we can freely venture some educated guesses. But here we simply have nothing to go on. Benjamin threw exactly 63 passes in his professional career. That’s not any kind of meaningful sample. The one thing we can definitively say is that he lacked Woodley’s speed and in 1980 Don Shula wanted a mobile quarterback. We’ll never ever know what kind of player Benjamin might have been. We do know what kind of player Woodley was and while you can’t consider his NFL career a huge success he did lead his team to the playoffs twice, win three postseason games, and start a Super Bowl at the age of 22. That isn’t nothing. And Guy Benjamin may not have been able to come close to those achievements let alone better them.

But on a human level surely it would have been better for Woodley’s psyche had he never been anointed the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Yes, as a loner and the son of an alcoholic it’s quite possible he would have died alone and broke from alcohol-induced liver disease had he never even put on an Miami Dolphins uniform. But the media spotlight and his on-field failures had to have taken their toll on the poor guy. He tried his best but was just not equipped to cope with the incredible pressures of the modern-day NFL.

David Woodley’s life lends itself to being written about (here’s Dave Hyde’s award-winning column for example). It’s got an arc. You can hit all the obvious chapters easily enough: The Late Round Draft Pick; The Surprise Starter; “The Youngest QB To Ever Start A Super Bowl”; Failure; The Bottle; Throwing It All Away; The Downward Spiral; The End. If it hadn’t all really happened it’d be your classic cliché, a bad made-for-TV movie.

Guy Benjamin’s life and career on the other hand isn’t so pithily summarized. Benjamin’s career lasted as long as David Woodley’s, six years. But where Woodley inexplicably walked away from an opportunity to keep playing and possibly start, Benjamin left the game without ever once getting that chance he kept hoping for year after year. On the field at least Woodley got the breaks that never seemed to come Guy Benjamin’s way. Benjamin just couldn’t catch a break. Three different teams gave up on him. Because he wasn’t good enough? Maybe. But as we’ve seen Benjamin kept getting stuck in bad situations beyond his control. Not once, not twice, but three times trapped behind star quarterbacks.

If Benjamin was drafted today he’d have an entirely different career. An All-American quarterback drafted in the second round today would without question get a chance to start. His salary (not to mention the fans) would practically force his team to give him a shot. If the team refused then that QB would be on the free agent market soon enough. But unfortunately Benjamin came into the league a decade before NFL players could exercise their right to free agency.

Guy Benjamin never started an NFL game. He made no headlines as an NFL player. He never earned any off-the-field notoriety either; no arrests, no feuds, no fights, no scandals, no stints in rehab. Nobody’s written any award-winning columns about him. If he’s bitter about his NFL days I don’t know it (though he’d be only human to sometimes wonder what might have been). What I have been able to find out is this: Guy Emory Benjamin’s led one hell of an exemplary life.

While still a young man Benjamin showed his civic-minded side early serving as executive director of Athletes United For Peace, a nonprofit organization that, according to their mission statement, is "committed to promoting peace, education and friendship through programs and events for young people." In 1987, after earning a master's of arts degree in higher education administration and policy analysis at Stanford, Benjamin served as a teaching assistant there before moving on to not just teach at New College in California in San Francisco, but to found the Sports In Society Institute there, directing the school’s degree completion program for former collegiate student-athletes.

In 1996, Benjamin moved to Hawaii to become the offensive coordinator for the University of Hawaii football team while also serving as an academic advisor to the athletes at the school. After that he taught special education at Campbell High School while again assisting with the football team. Benjamin also found time to do some head coaching at the professional level in the Indoor Professional Football League (winning a championship) and in the Arena Football League’s minor league. While coaching in Hawaii he became impressed with his stepdaughter’s development at Hawaii Business College and, clearly not content to teach only football skills to young men and women, Benjamin decided to become part of the Hawaii Business College community. Starting as the job placement director, he soon became the executive director, improving the school’s "retention, graduation and job-placement rates." As HBC then floundered under new ownership Benjamin made his greatest accomplishment in teaching to date. Along with two partners he established an entirely new school, Hawaii Medical Institute. HMI specializes in national healthcare certifications and Benjamin and his partners have made the programs at the school both practical and affordable while assisting the students at the school in finding jobs.

Denied the chance to contribute on an NFL field Guy Benjamin’s contributed far more to society than most professional athletes. We could use more human beings like him.

Guy Benjamin and David Woodley
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four