Somewhere, in the afterlife, if you believe in such things, John Butler is smiling.
That’s because he made the best trade in pro sports history.
The trade didn’t involve Babe Ruth or Lou Brock, who were sold for basically nothing and turned into Hall of Famers, but Michael Vick and LaDanian Tomlinson.
People may forget that it was the San Diego Chargers, coming off a 1-15 season, that had the first pick in the 2001 draft right after Vick led Virginia Tech to the national title game against
Butler, who built the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 1990s and went onto San Diego before dying of cancer in 2003, however, was weary of signing a top pick with top pick money at quarterback right after the disastrous pick of Ryan Leaf by the Chargers in 1998. So Butler, after being unable to come to terms with Vick before the end of the draft, made the shocking move of trading an instant superstar and got a player he was very high on, Tomlinson along with a third-rounder that year, a second-rounder the following year, and Tim Dwight.
The move was compared by some to the Colts giving away John Elway or the Blazers passing on Michael Jordan. Others called in a smart move. Even until about a year ago, it was a highly debatable topic.
Guess who is smiling now.
You have to wonder how things would be different if the Chargers had picked Vick. Would the Falcons have ridden LT and Matt Schaub (who the Falcons gave away this spring) to a Super Bowl last season? Would the Chargers have ever made the playoffs in a hyper-competitive AFC?
But one thing you can’t wonder is how smart the LT-Vick trade ended up being for
The sun is a little brighter today in