The Day The Chargers Avoided Disaster

On last night's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," the plucky host who stole Larry Sanders' show out from under him mocked the NBC SundayNightIsFootballNight crew for analyzing how the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons would deal with Michael Vick's guilty plea. We understand the easy joke — Who cares about football? He tortures dogs! — but we're not sure what Costas and Co. were expected to talk about. It is, after all, a football show.

Anyway, to risk continuing to be Insensitive Bastards by actually discussing Ron Mexico's impact in football terms, but Lion In Oil brings up a great point: It turns out that the Chargers' trade of Vick's draft slot might have been one of the NFL's great trades.

[The late John] 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.

Remember, too, that the Chargers picked Drew Brees in the second round that year, who turn out pretty great himself, albeit not for the Chargers. Wherever you are, Mr. Butler, we salute you. We hope you have some pit bulls as pets up there.

A Look Back At One Of The Great Trades Of All Time [Lion In Oil]