It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!
Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.
This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.
Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?
There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.
The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and conrtibutors like Walter Camp were not considered.
WALTER CAMP REGION
1. Steve Young
San Francisco 49ers QB
The Pro Football Hall of Famer and Greenwich native is the top overall seed in our tournament, and it’s probably going to be tough to knock him off.
Steve’s parents moved him to Greenwich from Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was eight years old. He spent his youth playing football and baseball in the town, and starred at Greenwich High School in the late ’70s. Though the football team rarely threw the ball, Young used his legs to amass over 1,900 yards on 275 carries in his junior and senior years.
“Steve was never outstanding as a passer and did not have a particularly strong arm, but he was a great, great runner,” Greenwich football coach Mike Ornato told the New York Times in 1995. “He had excellent speed, and he was a deceptive, slashing type of runner.”
The Cardinals never won the state title in football while Young was there–they didn’t even win the FCIAC title (maybe because they never threw the ball). But Young did enough to be named all-state in 1979. He was also an all-state baseball player, even tossing a no-hitter against New Canaan.
Of course, Young went on to a ridiculous amount of success in both college at BYU (Davey O’Brien Award winner, first-team All-American, College Football Hall of Famer), and in the NFL (7-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-NFL, 2-time NFL MVP, and 3-time Super Bowl Champion).
16. Nick Tronsky
Duckpin Bowling Champion
Alright—we know—you’re probably going to vote for Steve Young here, but hear us out—Nick Tronsky was no joke as an athlete either. The New Britain native was called “one of the all-time greats of duckpin bowling” by the Sunday Herald back in 1949, when he ranked as the No. 1 bowler in the nation.
The National Duckpin Bowling Congress named him Male Bowler of the Year five times, and he was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame back in 1961.
So basically, he was the Tiger Woods of duckpin bowling back in the ’40s,
Alright, now go ahead and vote for Steve Young.