Monday, June 27, 2005

Baltimore Colts 1982 Draft

I often think back to 1982 and ask myself what if? What if the Baltimore Colts drafted Jim McMahon instead of Art Schlicter? With McMahon, could the Baltimore Colts avoided their winless 1982 season? Would that have meant a better chance of the Baltimore Colts staying in Baltimore?

The top two rated QB’s in the 1982 draft were BYU’s Jim McMahon and Ohio St.’s Art Schlicter. McMahon played at BYU, who ran a pro style passing offense that had produce Gifford Neilson, a QB for the Houston Oilers and the Oakland Raider’s Mark Wilson, a 1st round pick in 1980. McMahon set all sorts of NCAA passing and total offense records while at BYU. But McMahon suffered a knee injury his senior year to go along with a knee injury that forced him to redshirt a season at BYU. Besides some injury questions, McMahon wasn’t the ideal size for a NFL QB. McMahon was about 6’1 and 185 pounds. The NFL loves QB’s who are 6’3 and 225 pounds. McMahon was also a rebel. BYU is a Mormon school. McMahon is Catholic. McMahon liked to drink beer and chew tobacco. Use of alcohol and tobacco is frowned upon in the Mormon religion. He also had an agent, Jerry Argovitz, who was a very tough agent and had his share of problems with the fat, drunk, jerk owner of the Baltimore Colts.

Art Schlichter had a storybook sophomore season in 1980 but the pressures of being a Heisman candidate and some friction between him and his college coach led to two average seasons his junior and senior seasons. Ohio St. ran the option and passed as a last resort. Schlichter had some minor injuries but noting serious. Schlichter was 6’2 and 210 pounds. Schlichter was billed as an All American kid, someone who listened to his coaches and parents and who did and said the right things.

The Baltimore Colts hired Frank Kush as head coach for the 1982 season. Kush had a successful career at Arizona St. but was fired for hitting one of his players. Kush was known as a tough coach who ran his football team like a boot camp.

Bert Jones was the QB in 1981 for the Baltimore Colts. But after a dispute with the jerk, drunk owner, Jones was traded to the LA Rams for the Rams' first and second round picks in the 1982 draft. The first round pick from the Rams was the 4th overall pick. The Baltimore Colts also had the 2nd overall pick.

The 1982 draft was considered a weak draft. Many teams were looking forward to the 1983 draft. So the Baltimore Colts went into the 1982 draft needing defense, a QB, and offensive line help. Ken Sims a defensive tackle from Texas was picked first by the New England Patriots. With the 2nd pick, the Baltimore Colts took Mississippi St. linebacker, Johnnie Cooks. The Cleveland Browns took USC LB Chip Banks with the 3rd pick.

Now the Baltimore Colts were on the clock. Even though scouts rated McMahon higher and more advanced, the Baltimore Colts still took Art Schlicter. With the second round pick acquired from the Rams, the Baltimore Colts took, punter Rohn Stark. An interesting thing happened later in the draft. Baltimore took another QB, Mike Pagel from Arizona St in the 4th round. Maybe as a way to hedge their bet in case Schlicter didn't work out? Pagel was recruited and played for Frank Kush at Arizona State.

McMahon would be picked by the Chicago Bears right after the Baltimore Colts took Schlicter. McMahon would go onto win NFC rookie of the year award in 1982. He had a 80.1 QB rating during the strike shorten 1982 season. McMahon’s stats for 1982: 120 for 210 (57.1%)for 1501 yards with 9 TD’s and 7 INTs. He would help the Chicago Bears to a 3-6 record.

Pagel beat out Schlichter for the starting QB job in Baltimore. Schlichter would not start any games and only got into three games. Schlicter’s stats for 1982. 17 for 37 (45.9%) for 197 yards with no TD pass and two INTs.

In April of 1983 Schlichter admitted to FBI agents he was in debt to bookies. The NFL suspended Schlichterfor the entire 1983 season. McMahon would have an up and down, 1983 season but he eventually became the Bears leader and lead them to a Super Bowl win in 1986. The Baltimore Colts ended the 1982 season with a 0-8-1 record, the worst in the NFL. Which meant they had the first pick in the 1983 draft, that turned out to be a crybaby QB who cried his way to Denver. Then on March 28, 1984 the drunk, bastard owner stole the Baltimore Colts in the middle of the night from Baltimore.

What if the Baltimore Colts drafted McMahon? Certainly McMahon had help winning the Super Bowl. A great defense that today includes two Hall of Fame members, Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary, and of course the great Walter Payton. He was also hurt alot and had a lot of trouble getting along with the Bears head coach Mike Ditka. I find it hard to believe McMahon and Frank Kush would have gotten along too well. But there is also no question that McMahon was a very good QB when healthy.

Could McMahon have changed things for Baltimore? Could McMahon have led Baltimore to a better 1982 record? Thus not finishing with the worst record and the top pick in 1983? Maybe the Baltimore Colts draft third or fourth and get somebody like Jim Covert or Chris Hinton to protect McMahon. Thus the Baltimore Colts would have filled two positions with future stars. Maybe the “Punky QB” helps Baltimore increase attendance and helps get a new stadium built?

So because the drunk, bastard owner is cheap and drafts Art Schlichter because he doesn’t want to deal with McMahon’s agent a once great franchise, suffered their worst season ever. What if. What if

Other things to of note. Drafted after Art Schlichter were Hall of Famers, Mike Munchak, #8, at guard out of Penn St, to the Houston Oilers and Marcus Allen, #10, a RB, a Heisman Trophy winning running back, to the Traitors. Certainly the 1982 Baltimore Colts could have used an OL the talent of Munchak.

In 1982 the Baltimore Colts had a RB, Curtis Dickey, drafted #5 overall in 1980. He was starting to come into his own.

So needing a QB, the Baltimore Colts drafted their second rated QB, even though their top rated QB was still on the board.