|The Ellis Hobbs Factor
By: Mike Gerken
If you have read my articles before, you know that I have been a Patriots fan and a Iowa State Cyclone fan for a long time and have been through the good times as well as the bad. (If you haven’t read my previous articles, shame and you and your homework is to go back and read them all!) Regardless of how this post season ends up going, we are no doubt still in the good times. Being a Patriot fan got a little more sweet for me last April when I was stuck at a wedding where the beer had run out before the Bride and Groom arrived at the reception. I remember sitting at the table wishing I could be in front of a TV watching the draft instead of watching some strangers do the chicken dance and trying to get updates off a friend’s cell phone. Then it happened, things started to turn around. Not only did they tap a few more kegs of beer, but there it was, in bold print on the cell phone, the Patriots had just taken CB, Ellis Hobbs III, from Iowa State. Needless to say, I jumped out of my seat, took a quick sip from my cup, grabbed the first person I could find, gave them a big kiss on the cheek and………. Then I was slapped by a little old lady who was not feeling the same excitement I was. It didn’t matter at all, the Patriots had just selected a great player from the greatest Division 1-A college in all the land, Iowa State.
The next day, as soon as I could get in front of a computer, I went to every website I knew where Patriots fans congregated to let them know that they had just drafted a star in the making. Some people felt my enthusiasm, others were cautiously optimistic, and still others thought I was a complete nut job and that this kid would be lucky to make this team because he is about 3 flapjacks tall. I stood my ground and let everyone know that while he was short, he played big, he was smart, and was multi-dimensional, plus he loved to play football. Ellis Hobbs just stood out as a prototypical Bill Belichick player.
Fast forward to training camp. This is a difficult time for me because it is so hard to get good information on players. I relied on you guys (thanks) for any information I could get on how Hobbs was doing. Things started out slow, but slowly his name would creep into threads from people who were at training camp, and his name would show up in newspaper articles from the Boston area. Was it coming true? Was Hobbs going to live up to the hype that I had created, even if I was only one person doing all the hyping? Then the games began, and Hobbs made his first splash as a spark plug returning kickoffs. Hobbs then made a few plays on defense, and once again I was trolling the fan websites to see if there was any love for the man from Iowa State. Sure enough, slowly but surely, more people started to believe. It was weird, but I almost had a proud feeling, like I had something to do with making Ellis Hobbs a good football player. While our paths did cross when we both walked the halls in Ames, I never once gave him advice on how to play or how he could become a better player. Sure there are other Cyclones in the NFL, more than one might guess, but Hobbs is probably the highest drafted player from the school, and he is on the Patriots, so it must be fate that he would have a chance to be great.
Fast forward to mid-season. My enthusiasm had dwindled a bit after the rough start the team got off to. Not only were they struggling, but the injuries were beginning to mount once again, specifically in the secondary. So why hadn’t Ellis been given a shot to show his skills? Was it possible that after all my “pimping” of this guy that he was not good enough to get on the field even with all the injuries? I laid low for awhile, hoping the really smart football people would forget my proclamations of the next great corner. Then, the day finally came. Hobbs was on the field as the starter at corner. My hands got sweaty and I became nervous. “Just don’t screw this up” I thought to myself. To my relief, he didn’t, in fact, he played pretty good. Next weeks game came and went, and again, Hobbs held his own out there with the other NFL players. It was coming true, Hobbs could play with the big boys, just like I had said so many months ago. Sure I had made my bold prediction on no scientific evidence. In fact, in the four years that I watched him play at Iowa State, I would say that none of those games I was completely sober at (sorry mom), but what I did see with my glazed over eyes was a guy who was special and was good football player.
Fast forward to the post-season. In his first post season game, Hobbs once again proved to his critics that he could indeed play the game. I won’t say he played a perfect game, but you got a sense that after he had gotten his hands on the ball a few times, the Jags decided they should maybe throw to someone else. I am not saying Hobbs is a shutdown corner, he has a long ways to go before that title can be bestowed onto him, but he shows flashes, and that is a good start.
So what will happen next for Ellis Hobbs and the Patriots? Who knows, but lets hope for a little more cyclone magic.
As Ellis says in his intro:
“Mike Gerken, from the up and coming Iowa State”
||The Ellis Hobbs Factor
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