North Texas Daily

Column: Fine’s legacy is second to one

Column: Fine’s legacy is second to one

Column: Fine’s legacy is second to one
March 05
17:34 2019

Quarterback Mason Fine is now a senior and will leave the North Texas football having made his mark in multiple ways. For the past two seasons, he has led the Mean Green to bowl appearances nine consecutive seasons wins. Looking at his record as a whole, Fine has cemented himself as the second greatest football player to ever don the Mean Green.

Other players have gone and played professionally, but was their impact as great as Fine’s? Let’s look back at the end of the Dan McCarney era when North Texas got obliterated 66-7 by Portland State. With all due respect, I guarantee you if Fine were on the field that day, a 59-point blowout does not happen. That was the end of the McCarney era at North Texas and the beginning of head coach Seth Littrell and Mason Fine.

I fully understand that North Texas has produced several NFL players over the last two decades. Zach Orr, Jamize Olawale, Lance Dunbar, Craig Robertson and Patrick Cobbs round out some of the more notable alumni who have played ball in the NFL. Jeffrey Wilson left the Mean Green last year and made an impact late last season with the San Francisco 49ers, but nobody compares to Fine and the Hall of Famer who is unquestionably the greatest football player ever at North Texas.

Mean Joe Greene is the unquestioned leader in the clubhouse for greatest football player ever to step foot in Denton. He was drafted fourth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969 and helped lead the Steelers back to the promise land.  Greene was a four-time Super Bowl champion, a 10-time pro bowler and either All-pro or All-AFC team in all nine of his seasons. Last year, the Hall of Famer was honored with a statue outside of Apogee stadium and a residence hall named after him.

Sure, Littrell and Graham Harrell contributed to Fine’s success the last two seasons, but with Harrell gone and Littrell seriously entertaining Power 5 schools, the one constant has been Fine. Littrell hand-picked the 6-foot quarterback from Peggs, Oklahoma to help lead the Mean Green back into relevance. Boy, has Fine delivered.

Who has the most passing yards in school history? Fine. Who is second in passing touchdowns and only six away from breaking the record? Fine. Who has the most passing yards in one season? Fine.

When Fine left the bowl game against Utah State, it was a dead heat at seven apiece. The entire team crumbled without their superstar quarterback and lost 52-13. Fine was the fifth athlete in history to be awarded the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year back-to-back seasons. He was named to the All C-USA Freshman team in 2016 and has been on countless quarterback award watchlists since then, with buzzes circulating he would end up on the Heisman watch during his 2018 career year.

Nobody wanted to give the undersized dual-threat back from a small town in Oklahoma a shot to play college ball. Littrell ultimately decided that Mason Fine was going to be his quarterback at North Texas and both parties have reaped the benefits. The only thing left is for the duo to make one last shot at a Conference USA championship and a bowl game win.

That’s the only thing missing from the second greatest football player from North Texas.

Featured Image: North Texas senior Mason Fine runs the ball in a game against Rice on Oct. 27, 2018 at Apogee Stadium. File.

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Dillon Swan

Dillon Swan

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1 Comment

  1. Sir James
    Sir James March 06, 09:38

    Editor:
    Get an old Mean Green Football Media guide & read how in the 1960’s North Texas had 3 NFL #1 draft choices & about 14 others drafted in the NFL over a 4 year period.
    Signed:
    A Big Mason Fine Fan

    Reply to this comment

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