With the 224th pick overall in the 2003 NFL Draft (7th round), the Seahawks selected Kansas State WR Taco Wallace. Immediately upon being announced, Taco became a fan favorite and great expectations were instantly placed on his shoulders. The Seahawks were going to go down in history and Taco Wallace was going to be leading the way. He was, in my heart, going to be the new era Seahawks' version of Steve Largent. I had it in my mind that he would get his full name on his jersey, and I was going to buy that jersey the minute it hit the stores.
Jay Leno mentioned Taco in a monologue shortly after the Seahawks made the pick, heaping more and more pressure on the WR to succeed. Leno said at the time (and the crowd all looked at each other and sort of shrugged):
The Seahawks have signed Taco Wallace to a multi-year contract. What kind of name is Taco? Are we so obsessed with food in this country we’re naming our children after it?
After being signed, his popularity began to skyrocket. Someone who I think is named "Novak" created a fanpage for Taco and offered his scouting report on Wallace to give fans an idea of what to expect in the years to come:
Positives: NAME IS TACO...Team-oriented player with explosiveness in and out of his routes … Runs precise patterns and maintains his speed into his breaks … Looks smooth when turning to adjust to the ball in flight … Has a great feel for the sidelines and easily finds the open area in the zone … Despite his slight frame, shows tenacity going for the ball in traffic … Has the body control and flexibility to turn and adjust to the poorly thrown pass … Aggressive upfield blocker who shows determined intent to stay with his assignment.
Taco's legend grew during mini camps and OTA's and soon his wikipedia page was updating with many illuminating facts about his life. They included:
-Good friends with comedian Conan O' Brien
-His unusual name actually stemmed from an incident at a mexican restaurant where he was reported to have eaten 34 tacos in one sitting. From this day the eight-year old gradually became referred to as Taco Wallace instead of his original name Chimichanga Wallace.
-Most football fans know Taco Wallace by the number eighty-two displayed proudly on his jersey. His original number was eight. He changed it to eighty-two when he displayed an eighty-two inch vertical while jumping off his knees at the 2003 NFL Scouting Combine. After the amazing vertical he showcased his speed by running a 0.31 40-yd dash which led many scouts to predict top-5 selection. Unfortunately he was named Taco so he dropped to the seventh round where the Seahawks may have received the steal of the 2003 draft.
-Tired of subpar quality fast-food, Wallace opened a rival fast-food mexican restaurant. His obsession with quality may have been short-sighted though when advertisements revealed that a single taco platter was priced at $34.95 The venture was a stunning failure. The only patrons were Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones. Matt liked it which led him to seek involvement with the Chunky Soup franchise.
Taco became so entangled in pop culture and folklore that his name was being used in slang. According to urbandictionary.com when you said "Taco Wallace," it could mean anything you want. For example, I'll quote from Urbandictionary's Taco Wallace page:
Person 1: Hey
Person 2: Hey Taco Wallace.
related words: taco wallace fart blumpkin revie
So there you go, go out and use it. (Don't even ask me why those 'related words' are related to Taco, I won't get into it here)
Despite signing a multi-year deal, he was let go by the Seahawks after two years, and before he could become a Hall of Famer. The fact that he failed to catch on with the team (or make a catch with the team) after so much was expected of the 7th rounder, is why he makes this list. But mostly because his name is Taco.
Taco Wallace, despite 'busting' out of the league, didn't bust out of our hearts. He's drifted into relative obscurity, but if you're wondering what he's doing now, just check here.
Oh and also, NFL.com's official page for Taco Wallace does not list his real name, just "Taco Wallace". So, even though I'm sure he has a real name, in my mind, it's Taco (It's actually Lawrence, or Larry for short).
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