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Founder, The Sports Court
Drew Pearson and Julian Edelman were both collegiate QB’s turned wide-receivers.
On top of this, Pearson and Edelman were both seen as afterthoughts coming into the NFL, only there to fill up space. Pearson went undrafted and Edelman was a late 7th rounder.
However, the two combined for 4 Super Bowls, 14,704 yards, and two of the greatest catches in NFL History.
The two-star receivers have a lot in common, to the point where it looks as if Pearson and Edelman are twinning.
Pearson came into the Cowboys camp during his rookie year as an undrafted receiver with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Coming into camp, Pearson knew he had to be on his A-game.
“Things were a lot different back then. I was one of 80 some free agents along with the 17 draft picks they had that year. We had a full two weeks in Thousand Oaks with Coach Landry and he just tried to kill us. He was trying to get people to quit and he got half of them by the end of that first week. He wanted to see who was tough enough and could improve once the veterans got there,” said Pearson at the NFL Hall of Fame media day.
Meanwhile, Edelman came into his rookie camp as a 5’10, 196-pound seventh-round pick with one thing, a chip on his shoulder.
However, things were rough for the kid for the undersized late rounder. Edelman’s first training camp saw fans boo him off the field after a poor performance fielding punts (for the first time in his career).
As time progressed, Edelman got better and just good enough to make a spot on the Patriots 53 man roster; the rest is history.
3 Super Bowls, 1 Super Bowl MVP, one of the most clutch catches in NFL history later, Julian Edelman decided it was time to hang up his boots.
Pearson helped pave the way from college QB’s to transition to the WR position, Julian Edelman followed in Pearson’s path. Both carved out largely successful careers.
Despite there being a lot of talk about whether Pearson should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the kid from South River, New Jersey, waited it out and at 70 years old, 38 long years since retiring from the NFL, Pearson was inducted into the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame.
His ‘twin’, Julian Edelman, is now in a similar situation. Many NFL fans are debating whether the Prince of Foxboro is worthy of a spot in Canton.
Edelman - who wasn’t a ‘star’ wide receiver during the regular season always appeared and made plays when it mattered the most. Tom Brady’s right-hand man had the second-most receptions, receiving yards, and 100-yard games in playoff history. The undersized wideout who got booed off the field after his first day on training camp also has the 4th most receiving yards and 5th most receptions in Super Bowl history.
Judging by the ways things have gone with Pearson, Edelman may have to wait 38 years, but it’s all worth it in the end as Pearson stated in his press conference.
Founder, The Sports Court
American sports have everything. From fairytale stories of underdog teams to the biggest markets in the world, being a sports fan in America is an experience that no other sports fan from any other country can truly appreciate until they come to America.
In the US, unlike most countries where there are only 1-2 major sporting leagues, America has 4. On top of that, the MLS, PGA, Tennis, UFC, and collegiate sports, are all very well in the mix.
If you combine all of this, America has 9+ major sports, an unprecedented number that no country comes even close to reaching.
However, despite this all, there is something in two sports that haven’t been developed yet, something that could draw eyes to an American sporting event, unlike any other championship can.
A tournament consisting of every minor league baseball team and every MLB team in the country, all single elimination. And the same with hockey, all minor league hockey teams (go Hershey Bears!) and all NHL teams, all in one big tournament.
The majority of the world already uses this idea, but America doesn’t, and it’s a shame.
Perhaps the most successful version of this format is in England, the tournament is called the ‘FA Cup’, one of the most prestigious soccer events in the whole world. This tournament allows millions to see clubs they never heard of before, such as Marine AFC, an 8 tier side who advanced to the 3rd round of the Cup and played Tottenham Hotspur.
The best part about this - despite the fact one of the world's biggest clubs played an 8th division side - is that they played the game on Marine’s home ground, Rossett Park!
American soccer also uses this format, and teams such as FC Cincinnati, who were in the USL at the time (have since joined MLS) advanced to the semi-finals. Another club based out of Orange County, California, called Orange County FC, who play in the NSPL, the 4th division of American soccer, beat their hometown rivals, Orange County SC, who play professionally in the USL.
video via Los Angeles Sports Today/Youtube
The tiny 4th division club went on to beat another USL side, Las Vegas Lights, in a penalty shoot-out, before losing in the fourth round of the cup to MLS side, LA Galaxy.
This format in both baseball and hockey could forever change the game. It would be a huge attraction for lower league teams and could help bring in much-needed money to smaller budgeted teams as well as creating buzz around the team and getting more eyes on a local team!
Hypothetically, imagine the New York Yankees versus the Down East Wood Ducks, or the LA Dodgers versus the Modesto Nuts.
On the other side, hockey is scientifically proven to be the most unpredictable sport, it’s truly a sport where anything can happen.
Every hockey fan in the world would love to see a game between the Boston Bruins and Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
With a good TV Provider such as ESPN/ESPN+, both of these tournaments have the potential to be huge and largely beneficial to both sports.
A tournament that gets eyes on to the screen for a sport is a win, and these tournaments will help drive and generate much-needed buzz and revenue to teams who are smaller and have much tighter budgets than big teams such as the New York Yankees, who are valued at over $4 billion.
In sum, I hope Rob Manfred or Gary Bettman read this article and give this idea a good look because the format has worked in nearly every other country, and why not give the underdogs a chance in the land of opportunity, the United States of America.
photo via https://content.sportslogos.net/news/2015/03/header-milb-logos.png
Founder, The Sports Court
When asked the simple words, “do you know of Bert Patenaude?”, most American soccer fans will look confused, wondering, who is this man?
Little do they know, Bert Patenaude is one of the most influential players to ever touch the ball, American or not.
Born on November 4, 1909, in the town of Fall River, Massachusetts, Patenaude was put into a hotspot for soccer from day one, living in the thriving city of Fall River.
In the late 19th century and early on in the 20th, Fall River was one of the leading cities in the textile industry. This brought in immigrants from all around the world to work at factories in hopes of supporting their families.
Many from Scotland (hence the Kearny Scots in NJ, one of USA's finest amateur clubs), England, and everywhere in between came to the northeast of the USA in search of work.
Thousands, if not millions came in, and after work, they’d do two things. Spend time with family and kick a soccer ball.
Kick a soccer ball.
Rich factory owners started to realize the tremendous opportunity of owning a soccer team as they saw the increase of popularity of soccer in the states. From there, hundreds to thousands of teams were formed.
Bert Patenaude grew playing in competitive local leagues near the Fall River area before signing his first professional contract with the Philadelphia Field Club of the American Soccer League (ASL).
With a knack for the net and the passion for the game exploding in the states, Patenaude found success very quickly. In 8 games, Patenaude scored a casual 6 goals.
Patenaude moved teams after 8 games, going back up to the New England area, signing for J&P Coats in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Editor's note: As you’ll see throughout this story, many teams are named after companies of the rich owners, this was an excellent way for them to promote their business. Many of these owners brought in top European players as the pay in America was much better. The one but: the players had to work for the owners' companies (typically in factories) as well!
Quickly after signing, Patenaude moved teams yet again, this time moving back to his hometown of Fall River, signing for Sam Mark's Fall River Marksmen.
Sam Mark, a big baseball fan, always dreamed of owning a baseball team, however, when he saw soccer and the popularity it had, he jumped on board and started his own team, the Marksmen.
Due to MA’s blue laws, the Fall River Marksmen played their games in Tiverton, Rhode Island, so they could play on Sundays.
It was at this field, at this stadium, that the legend of Bert Patenaude would grow.
Patenaude helped lift the Marksmen to the 1930 National Challenge Cup (now known as the US Open Cup, a tournament that is still running to date, the oldest ongoing soccer competition in the US).
Later this summer, Patenaude did something that had never been done before.
While representing the USMNT at the first ever FIFA World Cup located in Uruguay, Patenaude scored a hat trick in the team's second game of the tournament. This marked the first ever World Cup hat trick.
Patenaude’s hat trick wasn’t officially announced until November 10, 2006, and when the Patenaude family found out, they were ecstatic.
Over the years since 1930, their were many arguments as to who had the first ever World Cup hat trick. With the camera being blurry and the players' numbers not being as large and apparent, it was hard to tell for sure who got the goals! The match report said Tom Florie, a fellow USMNT player, got the first goal.
Naturally, for years, many thought Guillermo Stabile, an Argentinian, was the one who got the first WC hat trick, recording one only two days after the USMNT played.
However, 76 years later, Colin Jose, a U.S. soccer historian, stumbled across interviews of Arnie Oliver and Jim Brown, two players on the 1930 USMNT World Cup team. Both players talked about the legendary Bert Patenaude hat trick.
At the time Colin Jose found those interviews, Patenaude was only recorded with two goals, not three.
Jose also found the match report from US Coach, Robert Millar, who wrote about Patenaude's hat trick in his report.
Patenaude himself always knew he got a hat trick, and his family did as well. The Patenaude family, who still reside near the Fall River area to this day, found out that Bert Sr. was credited with his well deserved hat trick after Colin Jose made sure FIFA knew about these artifacts and FIFA credited Patenaude for the goals.
The day this happened was November 10, 2006, a day that the Patenaude family will never forget.
Bert Patenaude passed away on his 65th birthday on November 4, 1974, but his name will live on forever in not just the history of American soccer, but the sport of soccer as a whole.
Overall, Patenaude scored a total of four goals during the 1930 World Cup tournament. It took 80 years for any player to surpass Patenaude for the most goals scored at a World Cup by an American, Landon Donovan doing so at the 2010 edition.
Following the 1930 World Cup, Bert Patenaude continued to dominate on the club scene, dominating with the Fall River Marksmen, scoring 114 in 112 games.
During this time, Sam Mark was suffering financially and decided to move the team to New York. He merged the team with the New York Soccer Club and rebranded the club as the New York Yankees (sounds familiar, doesn’t it!).
On Sunday, April 5, 1931, Patenaude scored 5 goals at the Polo Grounds against the Chicago Bricklayers in front of 12,000 fans in a National Challenge Cup Game.
The Boston Globe described Patenaude as ‘slippery as an eel’.
Bert Patenaude would continue his goal-scoring rampage, becoming the most prolific goalscorer in American soccer history along the way. The Fall River native bagged another 5 goals against his former club, the Pawtucket Rangers, in an ASL game. On top of all of this, the goal machine himself scored 10 goals in a game while playing for the Philadelphia German-Americans in the later days of his career.
Throughout his storied career, Patenaude also played for the Newark Americans, Kearny Irish-Americans, St. Louis Central Breweries, and the Philadelphia Passion.
Despite not being picked for the 1934 World Cup squad after being suspended by his club team for behavior ‘unbecoming’ of a player, the legend of the kid from Fall River will live on forever. Bert Patenaude was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1971 and will forever be remembered as the American who got the first ever World Cup hat trick.
With 170 goals in 174 games (most likely more with games not being tallied, etc), Patenaude is undisputedly one of the greatest soccer players of all time.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey