(every Friday during the NFL season, OOB will run a nostalgic feature about the Lions’ upcoming opponents)
The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t even in existence for the first half of the 1990s. Yet one of their players ended up being named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the ’90s. One of their players also was the first to be placed into the Pride of the Jaguars, the team’s own Hall of Fame. And one of their players made five straight trips to the Pro Bowl. Only one of their former players is a network football game analyst. Oh, and only one of their players has his number “taken out of circulation” — usually the first step in having it permanently retired.
He’s Tony Boselli, for all of the above.
I could go on, and add that Boselli is also the only Jaguar who’s half-owner of the highly successful Whataburger franchise, along with former teammate Mark Brunell. Or that he helped found a church. Or that he operates the Boselli Foundation, which works with at-risk youth and helps them to cultivate high self-esteem and to succeed at home, at school and at play — according to the foundation’s description at Wikipedia.
Boselli, in typical repose as a player
No, I’m not a Tony Boselli geek. I knew very little of what I’ve just recited before looking him up on the Wiki. What I did know, however, is that Boselli was so outstanding at left tackle for USC that the Jaguars made him their first-ever draft pick, back in 1995. And I knew that he played at the highest level in the NFL, hence all those Pro Bowls. Boselli is also the only player in NFL history to have the distinction of being the first pick of two expansion teams: the Jaguars and the Houston Texans, who selected him in the expansion draft of 2002. But Boselli, bothered by injuries, never played a single down for the Texans and retired.
But the fact that jumped out at me was Boselli’s being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s, despite only playing in half of the decade. That’s how dominant of a left tackle he was.
Today, Boselli, 36, analyzes games for Fox Sports, and although he seems to get saddled with a lot of Lions games, being low on the totem pole, he does a pretty good job. Plus, it’s good to see an offensive lineman get some TV love; that’s usually reserved for the quarterbacks and defensive stars.
Boselli was part of the Jags team that made it all the way to the Final Four in the team’s second season, in 1996 — just like their expansion sisters in Carolina. It’s amazing, when you think about it, that of all the players an expansion team needs, the Jags went after an offensive tackle as their first pick, as opposed to a skill player or a defensive manimal. But they were right; Boselli was a one-man wrecking crew for runners like James Stewart. And that’s why they went to the Final Four in 1996.
To me, it only seems like yesterday when Boselli came out of college so highly-regarded. Now he’s done all those things that I mentioned at the top, plus is forging a new career in TV, in addition to his church and hamburgers endeavors.
Not bad for just another “big ugly” in the trenches, eh?