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Philly March Madness: (3) Brian Dawkins vs. (14) Scott Rolen

Mar 21, 2011, 2:04 PM EDT

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

BD
(3) Brian Dawkins

Before there was Ed Reed, before there was Troy Polamalu, there was Brian Dawkins. Dawkins joined the NFL in 1996, when John Lynch and Rodney Harrison—a pair of great players in their own right—were just becoming starters, but no safety from that period was the total package like #20. All three were ferocious tacklers, yet Dawkins had superior range and a nose for the football. He could do everything—blitz, run support, hit, and cover. The Clemson grad was an instant starter, but when Jim Johnson joined the Eagles in 1999, his career took off. That first year, Dawk finished with 4 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, and a trip to Honolulu. That line became typical over the next decade, as he appeared in eight Pro Bowls all together and was voted a first team All Pro five times. A member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, Dawk became just the tenth player ever to join the "20/20 club" for sacks and interceptions, and in one of his most famous performances, he became the only player in NFL history to record a sack, interception, forced fumble, and touchdown catch in a single game, returning a shovel pass on a fake punt 57-yards against the Texans in 2002. So much success on the field could only be overshadowed by the man's love for the fans in Philadelphia. It has been speculated if one were to cut Brian Dawkins, he would bleed midnight green. Sadly, he had to finish his illustrious career elsewhere, but the man nicknamed "Weapon-X" will always be a Philadelphia Eagle. -Kulp

SR
(14) Scott Rolen

Once upon a time, before there were WFCs or "The Machine," there was Scott Rolen. Reaching the big leagues in 1996, Rolen was the first in a line of players who were saddled with the expectations of restoring the Phillies as one of the teams to beat in the National League. A former second-round pick, Rolen went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 1997, and the following season he won his first Gold Glove, something he would soon become known for. While he was a power-hitting third baseman, Rolen wasn't as flashy at the plate as he was in the infield. He held his own at the dish, batting .282 with 150 home runs and 559 RBIs in seven seasons with the Phillies. His defense is what really turned heads though, and he would claim Gold Gloves in 2000, '01, and '02, en route to eight for his career. Some observers have even suggested he may well be the best fielding third baseman in Major League history. Unfortunately, Rolen wasn't happy with the Phillies. Only once during his tenure did the club finish above .500, and as a result he criticized management's willingness to win. Eventually he got his wish to be traded, and in the midst of the '02 season—his first year selected to appear in the All Star game—the Fightins shipped him to the Cardinals for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith. While Rolen played the prime of his career with another organization, Phillies fans have imagined Rolen back in red pinstripes from time to time, but a lengthy career here just wasn't meant to be. -Kulp

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)