INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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The request was simple enough from my friend Tom Kakert of Hawkeyereport.com.
Vote for four Iowa football players at each position from the history of the sport at the school. Mount Rushmores, if you will.
By the way, who would be on the Mount Rushmore of the Beatles? I’d probably go with John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Well, Kakert asked Scott Dochterman, Marc Morehouse and myself to add our votes with his, as well as those of Blair Sanderson of his site and Lyle Hammes, who has written two books on Hawkeye football.
Monday, he released his site’s Mount Rushmore of Iowa quarterbacks. I’m stunned to say they were my four picks. They were:
Chuck Long: Heisman Trophy runner-up, QB of Iowa’s 1985 Big Ten champions.
Randy Duncan: The 1958 Big Ten MVP and the QB of three teams that finished the season in the national Top 5.
Chuck Hartlieb: The single-season Iowa passing leader with 3,738 yards, in 1988.
Brad Banks: Heisman runner-up, QB of Iowa’s 2002 co-champs.
My toughest quandary was whether to take Banks instead of Ricky Stanzi or Drew Tate. Banks was a one-year wonder, while Stanzi and Tate had 3-year bodies of work including some unforgettable wins in Hawkeye lore.
But we’re talking about a Rushmore here, and someone who came extremely close to winning a Heisman belongs there if he played at Iowa.
For those of you too young to remember Hartlieb, he was a dynamic quarterback, a player who could take an offense downfield lickety-split. To me, the Mount Rushmore of Iowa passes would have to include Hartlieb to Marv Cook in 1987 for a go-ahead, 28-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-23 with six seconds left at Ohio State.
I didn’t see Duncan play, but a quick read of his accomplishments make his selection easy. Long was simply great. He made an art form of completing 17-yard sideline passes that rendered defenses helpless.
Iowa lost just three Big Ten games over the two years Hartlieb was the Hawkeyes’ starting quarterback,
But like I said, it was tough to exclude Stanzi and Tate. The latter was utterly magnificent in helping Iowa share the 2004 Big Ten title despite an injury-battered crew of running backs. Stanzi was as responsible as any Hawkeye player for the program’s resurgence in 2008 and its 9-0 start in 2009.
Tate-to-Holloway in Orlando and Stanzi-to-McNutt in East Lansing will forever be part of Iowa football lore, too. If you argue Tate or Stanzi should be in the final four, you have plenty of evidence to support your cases. What do you say?
And in a late edit, I must add Matt Rodgers. He was Iowa’s last Rose Bowl quarterback, and he was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten player in 1990 and 1991, and the league’s co-offensive MVP as a junior.
I’ve heard from a few people who think Rodgers belongs in the top foursome, and they have valid reasons.s
It will be interesting to see if, two years from now, we would enter Jake Rudock’s name in the conversation. It will take some magic to join the company of the half-dozen aforementioned quarterbacks.
So, who would be the Mount Rushmore of “Seinfeld?” I’m leaning toward Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer.