Monday, September 28, 2015

Madden '04 Monday #8 - R.J. Bowers (Baseball Player?)

Name: Raymond Keith "R.J." Bowers

Real Life Image: 

Game Image: 

Example of Bowers on Cardboard:
R.J. Bowers has 6 lifetime cards to his name, but all are from when he played BASEBALL!  Here's one example from

Here's a tribute video of some of the best Steelers RBs of all time set to "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica.  If you watch it, you'll notice Bowers is NOT in the video, and also isn't listed on the "not pictured" list.  Thankfully, some commenter noticed this and said, "What, no R.J. Bowers?"  Awesome.

Team and Position on Depth Chart in Madden '04: Bowers is a Cleveland Brown in Madden '04, and he's somewhat of a rarity as a backup at the fullback position (most teams just have one).  His 52 rating as a 29 year old is solidly behind 26 year old Aaron Shea's 70, so it makes sense that Bowers wouldn't start.

Some Notable Ratings: Bowers has 70 speed, which is above average for a FB, but otherwise his stats are a mess.  He's the 2nd worst FB in the game (Dan Alexander is the worst at 50) but Bowers is the worst overall in both awareness (his 30 is worst by 11 points) and carry (with a 52).  This means he's got poor awareness of where defenders will be and fumbles easier than any other fullback - a terrible combo.

Professional Career: Bowers' NFL career is the short part, so I'll mention that first.  He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Panthers in 2001, and was released pretty quickly thereafter.  The Steelers then signed him, and he made an impact at the end of 2001, with 18 carries for 84 yards and one touchdown.  Despite that, the Steelers moved on, and so Bowers was a Cleveland Brown in 2002-03.  He only saw five games over the two years, including just one in 2003, but that one game was where he caught his only NFL touchdown on his 2nd career catch.  He was then put on the IR with an injury and never played in the NFL again.

BEFORE the NFL is where Bowers' career is so fascinating though.  He excelled at baseball and football in High School in Hawaii, so much so that the Astros made him an 11th round pick in 1992.  Bowers spent six years in the organization, boasting okay speed and 80 power but never really displaying it fully (lifetime .249/.326/.384 slash with 37 homers).  So after trying ball, he pulled a Chris Weinke of sorts and went to college to try football.  And Bowers excelled at Division III Grove City College, exiting the school as the all time leader in NCAA and NCAA D-III history in rushing yards for a RB (regardless of divison).  Danny Woodhead, who played Division II, passed the overall record in 2007, and then Nate Kmic passed that record (as well as the D-III record) in 2008, so Bowers is now 3rd all time.  But that's still quite the impressive list of accomplishments for a single athlete - 6 years of organized baseball, set a college record, score a few NFL touchdowns...not bad at all!

Why do I remember him? Even back then I had a slight affinity for the Browns, and when I realized they owned the 2nd worst fullback in the game he became a favorite of mine.  The name R.J. Bowers is also infinitively more interesting than Dan Alexander, so I tended to always drift towards Bowers when picking my teams.  I've never made him that good as FBs play a very small role in my offenses typically, but he's good for the rare short yardage plunge or out of the flat TD reception here and there, so he's always been a fun guy to have on my teams.

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