How Not to Be a Sports Parent–A Lesson From the Father of J.D. Walton
Danny Walton, father of Denver Broncos center J.D. Walton, has given me a crash course in parenting. As a father of a 2-year-old son with another son on the way, I thank him for this masters course on how not to be a sports parent.
It all started with a mock draft in which I said the Broncos should draft a center in the 2nd round of the upcoming NFL draft. Now, let’s take a moment to realize what a mock draft is–complete prognostication, very little basic in reality, and mostly an exercise in futility. The reason I do mock drafts is to emphasize team needs and the players who might be available to fill those roles. In the grand scheme of things, complaining about a mock draft might be one of the stupidest things on earth.
Still, Mr. Walton took the time to complain about my belief that the Broncos could use an upgrade at center.
Your prediction for Broncos 2nd round pick at center is just stupid. You need to do research so you don’t embarrass yourself. Walton is one of their best linemen.
At first, I didn’t realize who I was dealing with. I figured it was just some fan hate mail. But, doing my due diligence, I Googled the strange domain name of his email address and found that Mr. Walton, an employee of the Denton Independent School District, lists his son as one of his accomplishments.
My assessment of Walton was a completely unbiased result of charting linemen during the Broncos games I watched. As someone who has coached in similar schemes as the Broncos used with Tebow under center, I knew that high rushing totals didn’t always equal great line play. With the Broncos, this held true as their line struggled for much of 2011 and the Broncos still put up huge numbers. I did not scout every center in the league, but of the ones I did, Walton was the worst. On the Broncos OL, he was clearly the weakest link.
Of course, I’m not alone in my assessment of Walton. Matt Miller (as part of his B/R 1000 series) ranked Walton as one of the worst centers in the NFL, saying: “Hands down, the worst run-blocker I scouted at center. Fails to engage the defender, doesn’t have the strength to hold his ground and is run over consistently. “ Pro Football Focus ($) ranked Walton as their worst center of 2011 noting he gave up 15 QB pressures, 4 QB sacks and 4 QB hits. They also credited Walton with their worst (by far) run blocking grade. Recently, Ben Muth at Football Outsiders also remarked how the Broncos could upgrade the center position this offseason, saying Walton, “got shoved around at times.
I’m not the only person getting fan mail from Mr. Walton either. Other members of the national and Denver media have told me that “Danny doesn’t like me very much,” or remarked “Is J.D.’s dad emailing everybody?”
The Broncos recent pursuit of Jeff Saturday was telling exactly how the Broncos felt about their starting center. Even if they were comfortable with him, they felt he could be upgraded by a man who reportedly contemplated retirement before signing with the Green Bay Packers. Make no mistake, Jeff Saturday chose the Packers over the Broncos and the Broncos were very interested in signing Saturday. However, Mr. Walton emailed again:
Wow!!!! Can you believe the Broncos coaches and the personnel decision makers decided to keep and support the “worst center in the entire NFL”, JD Walton? What are they thinking? … Looks like the “weak link” maybe centering to one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. … You don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to JD, and it is not right to repeat what other people have said about him, they obviously don’t know either. Be positive, the world could use a little more of it.
I guess that’s the point isn’t it
My job actually is to study the game of football and to repeat what other knowledgeable people say about it. It is also, my job to state my opinions–positive and negative and not worry about whose dad might be lurking on the other side of the computer screen. Plenty of people disagree with me on various topics, but simply stating that “I’m wrong” (with no supporting evidence other than your DNA similarities) is ridiculous.
Speaking of jobs, does the Denton ISD pay Mr. Walton to spend his Monday mornings emailing sports writers? Doesn’t Mr. Walton have better things to do than make sure no body is saying bad things about his son? Does his son even know his dad is wasting his time on this nonsense?
This is helicopter parenting not at it’s worse, but possibly at its most hilarious.