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Old 07-18-2007, 08:07 PM
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Default Charger Great Chuck Muncie on All-Pro Football and the NFL

Charger Great Chuck Muncie on All-Pro Football and the NFL

Jul 18, 2007 8:39pm - Author: Brian Ekberg

Chuck Muncie might not be a household name today, but in the late 1970s and 80s there were few more talented running backs in the National Football League. After starting out with the New Orleans Saints, Muncie found fame in San Diego as one-third of a potent offensive attack that included quarterback Dan Fouts and tight end Kellen Winslow. Traded to the Chargers in 1980, Muncie led his team to three playoff appearances, including a pair of back-to-back classic match-ups against Miami and Cincinnati in 1981. Though the Bolts never made it past the conference championship game in that stretch, Muncie's hard-running earned him three straight Pro Bowl appearances and a Pro Bowl MVP award in 1980.

Muncie appears as one of the more than 240 NFL playable legends in the All-Pro Football 2K8. At a recent press 2K Sports event celebrating the launch of 2K8, we got to check out which pros Muncie would put on his all-legend team, and to speak with the Chargers legend to get his thoughts on the videogame, the state of the NFL, and which current running back reminds Muncie of himself.

SportsGamer: So tell us your thoughts on what you've seen of the game so far.

Chuck Muncie: I'm not a big [videogame] person. I mean, I play it a little bit. My nephew is always beating me every time we play. But seeing what [2K Sports has] done, the realistic part of the game, you can actually put your schemes together, put a team together, the type of personnel that you want on your team, whatever you're thinking as an individual. The graphic design is amazing, what they've done with the graphics and everything. You know, the guys look real. I mean, it looks real. These guys look real on that screen and the stadiums are amazing...

SG: We saw you up on stage earlier picking your team from all those NFL legends. In your opinion, where do you start when building a successful football team?

CM: You know, it's amazing. There's [240] guys on the roster. I'm an offense-minded guy; I looked at all those quarterbacks and I go, "Geez, how do you pick one of these guys, from a Troy Aikmen to a Roger Staubach to a Warren Moon," I mean, who do you side with these guys, Steve Young and then all the way across the board. They've got the big name guys here. And the thing that is great here about it is they have a little history. If you go into the gold-tier [roster], it says, "Walter Payton: Did you know Walter Payton was the number seven all-time leading rusher," you know, that type of information. You've got a lot of young people playing this game and might not remember Walter Payton, might not remember Chuck Muncie, or Roger Staubach, and guys like that. But now they're going to be able to see a little bit of the history of these guys.

SG: Yeah, it's cool to go back and realize what a guy like Fred Biletnikoff could do on the field.

CM: Absolutely, because these guys watch… the ESPN Classics and then they go, "Wow, that guy was pretty good," and then they see him here for the [Oakland] Raiders as a coach but now be able to really go, "Hey". It's kind of like being on the field with him, you know, being part of it and so with this game, so it's great.

SG: I want to ask you a couple of questions about the real-life NFL as well. I want to get your thoughts on health care for former players.

CM: Well I tell you the league has done a horrible job, you know, providing healthcare. I think there's only like 16, 17 guys who have gotten total disability from the NFL and that's ridiculous. I mean, out of the thousands of players that have played this game, guys who can't walk, guys who really cannot hold a job because they're handicapped physically, you know, they just can't be on their feet, I mean, the NFL really has not done anything to step up.

[The NFL has] the money. They have the resources. It's not even involving the money side. It's the resources that they have there, I mean, even with the trainers and the doctors that are team physicians on the team, if you've got a guy that's living in that area he should be able to go to a team physician, especially if he played for that team at some point in time to receive something, you know, to a general practitioner and go to get some advice, get a physical and find out just how to take care of him. They have to do something.

There's a lot of guys that financially can't afford any healthcare. You look at the guys that played in the '60s and the early '70s, I mean, I was the first million-dollar contract. I've got three older brothers that all played professional football, and they were making $20,000, $25,000 a year, $10,000 a year. It's just amazing. And back then, you know, they didn't have the medical services that they have now. So the surgeries and the injuries that they sustained while they were playing were--just crippled guys. And so for the league not to be able to have anything in place for this is a travesty.

SG: You mentioned that salaries of course have ballooned over the last two decades. But having been a former player from the '70s and '80s, how has the game changed from a physical standpoint?

CM: Well I mean the guys are bigger, faster, stronger, obviously. But the things that the league has done, the changes that the league has made with the no blocking below the waste, can't lead with the helmet… I mean, could you imagine Kellen Winslow running an 80-post pattern, catching a post out of the middle of the field and the safety can't hit him with the helmet? He would still be running to this day. So I mean--they've changed it--it's become more entertaining because they want to see the big scores, they want to see those things but physically the players are bigger, faster and stronger, but the game has become more of an entertainment thing.

SG: And of course the marketing budgets have blown up too.

CM: Absolutely. I mean, the marketing dollars are amazing, what's available to these guys. But the one thing I will go back on is looking at the free agency, what's happened with the league with free agency. I think that's really shooting a lot of guys in the foot because now you look at the life expectancy of a player who's not your top-tier guy, not your quarterback or your receiver or your star running back but your interior linemen, the second string guys; those guys bounce around the league because the teams only want you there for three years. If you look at the life expectancy of those lower-tiered guys, they're only playing two or three years in this league because now the NFL would have to pay in and they would get their pension, their retirement, they would qualify after three years. So they're getting them out of there.

You don't have the household names. But, you know, I can look on TV and I'm going to see the same eight or nine guys that are making all the commercials and stuff where before… it was more regional. You know, you might have a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers guys doing stuff on the east coast or the [New York] Jets guys. But now everything is on a national basis and there's only, like I said, eight or nine guys that you see on TV.

SG: Any current running backs today that remind you of yourself?

CM: Well you know, there's a couple guys out there. I mean, really I think the style has changed because you don't have an every down back anymore. You've got guys that are two and out. They get to carry the ball twice and shoot I would have played 30 years if I only had carried it twice.

SG: [laughter] You'd still be going.

CM: I'd still be running… I love [Kansas City Chiefs running back] Larry Johnson. I think he's a durable back. He's a big guy. He's a rumbler, you know? And it's kind of funny, you look at these guys or meet these guys and they're big guys, they're thick, but none of them are 6'4", 230 pounds and stuff. But they look at me and they go, "Wow, you were a running back?" And I go, "Yeah, I was." But Larry is probably the most dominant back that's out there right now.

SG: Of course I have to ask you about LaDainian Tomlinson. Have you met him?

CM Oh, yeah. I've met L.T.. I mean, we've had a few times down there. The day that he broke one of my records down there, the all-time touchdown record for the Chargers, I was there for that and actually presented him the ball after the game and everything. So, no, a great guy, him and his wife are wonderful people and having a representative like him with the Chargers is definitely a hats off.

SG: With such a huge media focus on the Pacman Jones and the Chris Henry's of the NFL, it's nice to know there's guys like L.T. in the league that are really good guys, solid citizens, solid individuals. I think that gets downplayed a little bit by the media. What do you think?

CM: Absolutely. Unfortunately, the media--that's not exciting enough for the media where it should be across the board. We're talking about guys doing positive things in their communities, positive things in the cities that they're playing in, you know, with their non-profit organizations, with their fundraising efforts that they're doing. You don't hear enough about that on a national level. You hear about it in that city but, like you said, the PacMan Jones guys like that, Terrell Owens guys that are always in the spotlight in a negative way but are I guess **** sells news. So that's unfortunate.

SG: Chuck, thanks so much, man. I could talk to you all day. I appreciate it.

CM: No problem. Thank you!
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:09 PM
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Great post Boltz , Chuck brings back plenty of memories for me , as 1980 was the first year NFL Football was telecast to Australia and I fell in love with the Charger's due to the likes of Muncie , Fouts , Winslow , Joiner , JJ , man , those were great times.

Don't know exactly what it was about Muncie but I loved watching him play , was a hell of a running back , that's for sure. Got hold of a Jersey this past year , very rare , cost me Wayyyyy to much , but I just had to have it , have since found out how hard it is to get hold of any of his stuff , so I guess I'll hold onto it for a while.

Glad to hear his doing OK , Thanks for the memories Chuck.
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:30 PM
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Chuck was the man during those Air Coryell years. Teamed with Fouts, Washington, Jefferson, Winslow, Joiner & Chandler. Least us San Diegan's forget our Special Teams play maker Hank Bauer. The '82 team will always be an all time favorite along with the '94 & '06 teams for breaking new barriers. I met Muncie just a few months ago. What a delight to hear stories from the early 80s.

Last edited by Meanz business; 07-18-2007 at 10:32 PM..
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:07 AM
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Other Chargers in the game are Natrone Means, Ron Mix and John Jefferson. Jim Harbaugh and Johnny Unitas also played for us.
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:43 AM
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Someone needs to post LT vs Steve Nash on ESPN's who's now. Everyone vote for the MVP of sports. Log on to and click on Who's Now. Vote for LT!!!
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