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We have another major football retirement worth discussing and pass rusher extraordinaire Dwight Freeney is calling it quits. The Defensive End signed a one day contact with the Indianapolis Colts so he could retire with the team where he had his greatest success.
Selected 11th overall by the Colts in 2002, Freeney would become a starter midway through his rookie season and was the runner up for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Notably, he would record 13 Quarterback Sacks and his elite spin move would baffle offensive lines and he would quickly become known as one of the top pass rushers. The next season, Freeney would again record more than 10 Sacks (11) and would go to his first Pro Bowl. The next two seasons were even better as not only was he named a Pro Bowler but also a First Team All Pro. His 16 Sacks in 2004were enough to lead the NFL and in 2006 he would help the Colts win the Super Bowl.
From 2008 to 2011 Freeney would be named to the Pro Bowl, netting him seven trips in total. The 2009 season would also be his third selection as a First Team All Pro. The Colts would not resign Sweeney after the 2013 season and he would spend the next four years playing for the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and Settle Seahawks.
Dwight Freeney retires from the National Football League with 125.5 Sacks, enough for 17th all-time. He will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023 and should receive Hall of Fame consideration and he will definitely land a solid spot on out Notinhalloffame.com Football list.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to thank Dwight Freeney for all of the gridiron memories and we wish him the best on his post-playing career.
The New England Patriots have announced the three Finalists for their Hall of Fame and all three of them were members of the organization’s first three Super Bowls.
Matt Light is a first time nominee. The former Left Tackle played 153 Games in the NFL and started all of them in a career that was spent only in New England (2001-11). The former Purdue Boilermaker was a second round pick and was chosen for three Pro Bowls.
Richard Seymour is being nominated for the second time. Seymour played for New England from 2001 to 2008 and as a Patriot he was named to five straight Pro Bowls (2002-06) and three straight First Team All Pro squads (2003-05).
Mike Vrabel is a nominee for the third time. Vrabel played 125 (starting 110) for the Pats at Linebacker and was a Pro Bowl and First Team All Pro in 2007.
You can vote on who you think should be in the Hall at patriots.com/2018hof
Whoever is selected will be the 27th person selected for the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
Following the death of Bruno Sammartino another significant former professional wrestler also passed away as Paul Jones died at the age of 75.
Jones began his career in 1961 and competed in various promotions across the United States but by decade’s end he would find a somewhat permanent home in the Carolina working for Mid-Atlantic predominantly in tag teams. Up until that time Jones worked mostly as a babyface but a move to Championship Wrestling from Florida Jones would adopt a cocky heel persona and would dub himself “Number 1” Paul Jones. Over a three year period (1972-74) Jones would prove himself as a bona fide singles star winning the Florida Heavyweight Title four times and also the Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship.
He would return to Mid-Atlantic in 1974 though this time he would excel in both tag teams and singles. In an eight year run (the first half as a face, the second as a heel) his most memorable tag team partner would be Ricky Steamboat who he captured three Mid Atlantic and one World Tag Team Title and would win the Mid Atlantic Title and the United States title three times.
In 1982 Jones would become a manager and would lead “Paul Jones’ Army”, which essentially was a mid-card heel faction in Mid-Atlantic and Crockett Promotions. His most notable feud was against “The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant and he would also manage Manny Fernandez and Rick Rude to the World Tag Team Titles. He would leave the NWA in 1989.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Paul Jones at this time.
It was reported today that Bruno Sammartino passed away today at age 82. While the cause is not yet known it was disclosed that the professional wrestling legend had been battling serious illness over that past few months.
From Abruzzo, Italy, Sammartino’s family hid from Nazi soldiers during the latter part of World War II and the family would move to the United States in 1950. A natural athlete, Sammartino got into bodybuilding and weightlifting and was before long a barrel chested toughman who got into amateur wrestling and was a natural fit for the rank of the pros.
Beginning his career in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, Sammartino was an instant hit, as not only did he appeal as an ethnic babyface to the Italian-American community he physically looked the part of a wrestling superstar.
Pittsburgh loved Bruno but working for Vince McMahon Sr.’s Capital Sports Promotion in New York City was an even greater fit. With a large Italian community, Sammartino was made for New York City and before long he was a top of the card act there as well as Toronto, where he sold the house in bouts against Lou Thesz. Capital Sports would break away from the National Wrestling Alliance and have “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers as their champion but he was a little long in the tooth and was not the draw that McMahon Sr. needed. Sammartino had previously left McMahon Sr. earlier feeling jilted on previous payoffs but as they say in the WWE (then named the WWWF) “never say never” and he returned to New York.
On May 17, 1963 Sammartino defeated Rogers to win the World Wide Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship in less than a minute and Bruno was established as the biggest star in the Northeast. He would hold the championship for what is still a record seven years, eight months and one day and successfully defended his belt and sold out Madison Square Gardens against what seemed to be every major heel in the 60’s.
That list included:
Dr. Jerry Graham
Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd
George “The Animal” Steele
Professor Toru Tanaka
Waldo Von Erich
The title run could have easily reached a decade but Bruno himself decided that he needed a break and he lost the belt in 1971 to Ivan Koloff (who would be beaten shortly after by Pedro Morales). With all due respect to Morales, he wasn’t the draw that Bruno was and McMahon Sr. offered Samamrtino a reduced schedule and higher gate percentage to get him to be the champion again. He would defeat transitional champion Stan “The Man” Stasiak on December 10, 1973 to begin his second reign as WWWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Sammartino would enjoy another long reign (three years, four months, twenty days) and would have notable title defences against many of the previous challengers (Steele, Ladd, Arion, Blassie, Koloff and Von Erich) and new challengers such as Baron Von Raschke, John Tolos, Ken Patera, Don Leo Jonathan and Nikolai Volkoff). While all of those were big names the highest profile challenger he has was a young Texan named Stan Hansen who in a botched move legitimately fractured Sammartino’s neck but they worked that injury into storyline and Sammartio would defend the belt against Hansen in a high profile match at Shea Stadium. Sammartino would again tire and he would drop the championship to “Superstar” Billy Graham in 1977.
Over the next three years Sammartino had a reduced schedule in the WWWF but would embark on more national and international tours. Still, the WWWF was where he was always going to be best known and in 1980 his protégé, Larry Zbyszko turned on him leading to a major feud, which headlined Shea Stadium resulting in Sammartino defeating Zbyszko in a Steel Cage Match. Bruno would retire from wrestling in 1981 but shortly after the relationship between Sammartino and McMahon would sour again.
Bruno would learn that the deal he made during his second title run did not see him make the percentage of the gates that he was promised. Following the death of Vince McMahon Sr., Vince McMahon Jr. brokered a deal with Sammartino (he had sued the WWWF) that would not only give Bruno back pay but would see him return as an analyst. Part of the arrangement saw Bruno’s son, David compete in the now named in WWF, which segued Bruno into coming back on occasion to team with his son. David Sammartino was pushed but wasn’t ready and his tenure with the World Wrestling Federation was not a good one and the younger Sammartino and younger McMahon were constantly at odds. David would quit out of frustration but Bruno would be used more often in main events in the east competing against the likes of Roddy Piper and Randy Savage. David Sammartino would be brought back in 1988 but would be fired when he struck a fan. Feeling that the fan was a plant by Vince Jr., the elder Sammartino left also (though his contract was expiring anyway).
To call the breakup between Vince McMahon Jr. and Bruno Sammartino acrimonious would be an understatement. If asked in interviews, Sammartino would openly trash Vince McMahon Jr., the WWF product and the rampant drug use of the performers. His criticism received national attention, especially when he appeared on the Phil Donahue show on a panel where Vince Jr. himself was on. In later years when the WWE Hall of Fame was re-established and when asked if he would be open to be inducted his standard answer was always “Give me a break.”
It was largely believed that Sammartino would never set foot in anything WWE related but after years of olive branches by COO Jean Levesque, Sammartino did return to the fold and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. For many, including us at Notinhalloffame.com (we had him ranked #1 until he was inducted) the WWE Hall of Fame lacked a certain credibility without Bruno in it and Triple H deserves every honor possible in mending this fence.
The Hall of Fame would not be a one off appearance as Sammartino would also appear at other WWE events and do interviews for WWE Network events. He would return to the WWE Hall of Fame as an inductor in 2015 for Larry Zbyszko.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to extend our condolences to the friends, family and fans of Bruno Sammartino. You will always be a legend to us and we know we are not alone in that sentiment.