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Purdue's Rushmore: Sic transit gloria

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

BTN is partnering with SB*Nation and its B1G sites to compile a list of each school's Rushmore. BTN has compiled a list of ten nominees for the Purdue list. You can vote for them at the bottom of this article. Purdue's four greatest football players will be shown on BTN Live at 6 pm ET this Thursday, so make sure and get your vote in before that. Click here to see more info about how the lists have been compiled and a schedule for every B1G team.

Rushmore is a 1998 movie directed by Wes Anderson. It stars Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, and is one of my favorite movies. I was extremely happy to learn that the BTN was going to be choosing each team's four best players in honor of the film. You see, Rushmore has four major characters, so the BTN is looking for each team's four best players.

Before I choose my Rushmore, I will give my reasoning as to why the following great Boilermakers didn't make the list:

  • Mike Alstott (1992-95): Alstott was an absolute beast at Purdue and for the Bucs, but it takes more than your own Gritcoin to make my Rushmore.
  • Otis Armstrong (1970-72): While Otis was a great running back in his time, I couldn't choose him over the other RBs.
  • Mark Herrmann (1977-80): Mark Herrmann was a solid QB, but he ranks far below the QBs that attained Rushmore status.
  • Mike Phipps (1967-69): He beat Notre Dame three times as QB, and he was there when my dad went to Purdue, but that's apparently not enough.
  • Duane Purvis (1932-34): He has a burger named after him at Triple XXX, and he was a great football player and javelin thrower, but I have a strong bias against putting pre-war players on the list.
  • Dave Rankin (1938-40): He's in the same pre-war boat as Purvis, and actually was a fighter pilot in WWII. Thanks for your service, Mr. Rankin, but you didn't quite make Rushmore.

And now the moment that no one has been waiting for: My personal Rushmore list.

Rod Woodson (1983-86) - Max Fischer

Just like Max Fischer in Rushmore, Rod Woodson could do everything. Check out this video of him running the hurdles in Europe after being drafted by the Steelers. A two-time All-American and three time All-Big Ten selection, Woodson is probably the best pure athlete that has ever suited up for the Boilers. Woodson normally played CB, but his last game against Indiana he played RB as well as returning kicks and punts. He played in 90% of the plays during Purdue's 17-15 win. That Old Oaken Bucket Game was Woodson's magnum opus, just like Max Fischer's Vietnam War play Heaven and Hell, in which he (Fischer) directed and starred.

Leroy Keyes (1966-68) - Herman Blume

Herman Blume, played by Bill Murray, is an important character in Rushmore. Leroy Keyes is a very important character in Purdue football history. He was voted 2nd and 3rd in Heisman voting, and a two-time consensus All-American. The above video is an awesome, old-style newsreel about Keyes. Rather than have me list any more of his accomplishments, just watch the video. It is great, just like Leroy Keyes.

Bob Griese (1964-66) - Rosemary Cross

Two main characters in Rushmore both fall in love with Miss Cross, and it is easy to see why. She is very attractive, and shows that she is cool by smoking while sitting on the bleachers. Bob Griese has that same charisma, as evidenced by this old commercial. More importantly than his ability to sell a product, Griese was a two-time consensus All-American who led Purdue to a Rose Bowl. He was pretty solid in the pros as well, winning two Super Bowls, as well as going undefeated for a season as the starting QB for the Miami Dolphins.

Drew Brees (1997-00) - Dr. Peter Flynn

Dr. Peter Flynn, played by Luke Wilson, doesn't have a large part in Rushmore, but it is pivotal. He sets up Max Fischer for the best joke in the movie. Drew Brees was definitely not a joke at Purdue, but you can see him set up Seth Morales for one of the most important plays in modern Purdue football history. It's hard to make out, but I think I can see Morales saying "O R they?" as he crosses the goal line. Seriously though, I had the pleasure of watching Brees in person while I was a student and it was absolutely amazing. He led the Boilers to the Rose Bowl using Joe Tiller's innovative offense, and proved he was more than a system quarterback in the pros as he led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory.

If you want a slightly different Purdue Rushmore discussion, check out these articles at Hammer and Rails. The writer jumboheroes agrees with my list, while Travis has Alstott in place of Griese. Both of these articles reference Mount Rushmore for some reason; that landmark isn't even in Rushmore. They must have been thinking of North by Northwest.