Remembering a “Fantasy” Hall of Famer


I have played Fantasy Football every year since the 1991 NFL Season. Each year one of the positions I fret the most about is tight end. There really are only a few players at that position that you can rely on week-in and week-out. As such I usually get stuck with someone that will give me a steady "two-catch, 24-yard performance" each Sunday or Monday. So, having my tight end actually score a touchdown is like winning the lottery.

Why am I telling you this? Recently, Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winlsow visited Canton to participate in our "Heart of a Hall of Famer" character education series. The popular program provides students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it took beyond athletic ability for legendary Hall of Famers to achieve success on and off the football field. Winslow did an excellent job but while he was visiting the Hall of Fame I recalled one of the most incredible performances of his career and in NFL history.

No, I am not writing about his legendary performance against the Miami Dolphins in the 1981 divisional playoffs where he battled heat stroke to pull in 13 catches and one TD as well as block a possible game-winning field goal. I am referring to his 13-catch, 144-yard, and five-TD game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 22 earlier that season.

Yes you read that correctly, FIVE touchdowns. When will my fantasy tight end deliver five TDs in a game? Winslow's performance that day actually tied an NFL mark held by end Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals who pulled in five scoring grabs against the old Baltimore Colts on Oct. 2, 1950. The only other player to match that effort was Jerry Rice who torched the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 14, 1990.

In that game Winslow scored four of his touchdowns on passes of 15, 25, 4 and 5 yards from quarterback Dan Fouts. He scored his fifth on a three-yard option pass from running back Chuck Muncie that put the finishing touches on the Chargers' 55-21 blowout of the Raiders. The win, which lifted San Diego to a 7-5 record, put an end to a two-game losing streak and seemed to recharge (excuse the pun) the team for the rest of the year. San Diego would go on to win the AFC Western Division title with a 10-6 record and advanced all the way to the AFC championship game.

As for Winslow, he finished the year as the league's leading receiver for the second-straight season and earned consensus All-Pro honors. His numbers that year alone - 88 catches for 1075 yards and 10 TDs – equal the combined sum of the last three years of fantasy effort by my tight ends…UGH.

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