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Two First Names, No Championships

Life doesn’t always offer you a choice. You play the cards you were dealt. The earliest example of this is your name, no one picks their own name as a newborn. We rely on our parents to have enough common sense to select something that is, at the very least, half-way decent.

As a father of two (not to brag), the best place to start with the naming of your offspring, is your last name. If Harold Howard had named his son Harry, instead of Scott, imagine the added adversity he would’ve faced.

On the other hand, there’s nothing Harold could do about his son’s werewolf DNA, or his surname being Howard…Scott was destined to be a two first name guy.

I’ve always believed a guy’s name will spell out a lot about his fate. Crossing the finish line, and raising the Lombardi Trophy becomes an uphill task when your first and last name are interchangeable.

Hailing from Pitt, Curtis Martin was a much maligned late 3rd round draft pick. Martin made an immediate impact with the Patriots, as he won Rookie of the Year, and made his first of five Pro-Bowls in 95’.

In only his second year, he played a major role in New England getting to Super Bowl XXXI. While Martin scored a touchdown in the game, the Pats lost 21-35 to Green Bay.

After becoming a free agent, Curtis signed with the Jets in 98’, and firmly established himself as one of the league’s best running backs. Unfortunately for Martin, the 1998 season would be the last time he had a proper shot at winning a Super Bowl, as the Jets made the AFC Championship game, but lost 23-10 to the Broncos.

Two first names, & two AFC East teams the Bills couldn’t stop in the late 90s’ early 00’s.

Cris Carter probably gets a free pass because his name is an alliteration, which automatically makes it sound cool. Nevertheless, he still finds himself here.

Carter spent three turbulent seasons in Philadelphia, before finding himself, and his eventual hall of fame game in Minnesota. One of the greatest receivers, and showman the game has seen, Cris made 8 pro-bowls through 16 seasons.

The closest Carter came to a Super Bowl was the same year as Martin’s last hurrah, 1998. The Vikings finished the regular season 15-1, and were heavy favorites against the visiting Falcons in the NFC Championship game….but they don’t play the games on paper, and Atlanta upset Carter, and Minnesota 27-30.

Bring back the true purple, no more off-brand matte.

Well, you knew this one was coming didn’t you. Look, it pains me to say it, nobody wants to say it, other then Pats fans…but damn, 28-3.

Matt Ryan is the archetypal two first name guy. Adopting the nickname of Matty Ice was a noble attempt to change his pre-destined fortune, but you can’t escape the demons of giving up the largest lead in Super Bowl history.

Ryan was the MVP that season in 2016, he was the Rookie of the Year in 2008, has made 4 pro-bowls, and like Martin and Carter, Matt will probably find himself inside a tailored gold jacket when he retires….but when you watch him now, he may just be the saddest man to ever throw a football.

We’ve touched on these arbitrary elements to a player, and his game previously, but unless you’re Ron Artest, there isn’t a whole lot a guy can do about his name.

Sure, Scott Howard won a Nebraska high school basketball state championship. But for every outlier like Corey Dillon and Isaac Bruce, there are five-times as many guys named Eddie George, Hugh Douglas, Trent Cole, Derrick Mason, Bart Scott, Fred Taylor, John Randle, Zach Thomas, Troy Vincent, Al Wilson, Dan Morgan, Patrick Willis…you get the picture.

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