Sports fans often debate how teams from different eras would fare against each other, but they also debate how a dominant college team would fare against a bad pro team.
Well, Bennie Blades – who starred at Miami, was the No. 3 pick in the 1988 Draft and played 10 NFL seasons – believes his Hurricanes would have fared favorably against the Lions, with whom he played from 1988 to 1996.
“To this day, I tell people I think our ’87 team – and I know definitely our ’86 team who lost to Penn State – would have whooped the crap out of our 1988 Detroit Lions team,” Blades, a former Pro Bowl safety, said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “There were guys there – great guys, but we just weren’t good in a lot of positions in 1988.”
The 1987 Hurricanes went 12-0 and won the national championship, while the 1986 Canes went 11-1, ultimately losing to Penn State, 14-10, in the Fiesta Bowl.
Does Blades really think that team would have beaten an NFL team?
“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “Look at the guys we had. We had Vinny Testaverde, and he played a lot of years in the NFL. (We had) the most dominant, to me, defensive lineman that’s ever played this game, Jerome Brown. He was a man amongst boys in 1986. Look, I’ll take him over any defensive lineman any day of the week. With him upfront, you got guys like Dan Stubbs, who played for the 49ers for a lot of years. We were just stacked at every position in 1986. People talk about the ’87 team and we came back and won it, but ’86, we had a lot of guys who did go on to play in the NFL and play prominently.”
Blades said losing to Penn State in January 1987 remains one of the most difficult experiences of his life.
“That ’86 loss was the hardest loss I think I’ve ever had to deal with,” he said. “That ranks right up there with losing my younger brother. Even still right now, that cuts so deep because when you have a defense – we were so dominate that day. Those guys had less than 150 yards total offense in four quarters, and you still lose the ball game? When you tell people that, (they say), ‘There’s no way you guys lost.’ But at the end of the day, scoreboard dictates who wins. We don’t own any regrets, but a lot of us still harbor ill feelings towards those Penn State guys.”