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Classic Team Logo of The Day

04 Nov

This is a “script” logo, used from 1956 until 1969, of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. It was used in the team’s glory years under Vince Lombardi, and the legendary coach often donned a cap with this logo on it. Green Bay, under Lombardi, boasted a roster with many future Hall of Famers, but the pre-Lombardi club, from 1956 until 1958, included players who would go on to play for other organizations, like Billy Howton, Tobin Rote, Tom Bettis, John Sandusky, Babe Parilli and Marv Matuszak.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

04 Nov

1967 Topps football card of former pro football flanker Otis Taylor, who enjoyed an 11 year career in the AFL and NFL, all with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was one of the most dynamic receivers of his era, and was a two-time All Pro, two-time AFL champion, led the NFL in receiving yards in 1971, and was a key player on the Chiefs’ squad that won Super Bowl V. After retiring as a player Taylor worked as a scout for Kansas City for 11 years.

 

NFL – Throwback Thursday: Doug Williams Conquers The World

28 Oct

Super Bowl XXII, a very historic championship game, is the subject of our Throwback Thursday feature this week, the eighth week of the NFL season. On this week’s slate is a game between the Denver Broncos and the Washington Football Team, the 2 franchises who played in that historic title game on January 31, 1988. History was made before the game even started, as Doug Williams was announced as Washington’s starting quarterback, becoming the first African American to start at the position in a Super Bowl. He was an unlikely starter. He had entered the year as a backup and was 0-2 in the only starts he did make in the regular season. After leading the Redskins to their 2 playoff wins to reach the big game, he earned the start in the Super Bowl. His start hit a snag when he had to undergo an emergency root canal the night before the game, but he was pronounced fit to play. Denver, behind star QB John Elway, was making their second appearance in the title game in a row, having lost to the New York Giants the previous year.

The game started out slowly for Williams and the Redskins. Elway hit Ricky Nattiel on a 56 yard touchdown pass and Rich Karlis added a 24 yard field goal to give Denver a 10-0 lead after the first quarter. Near the end of the quarter, Williams twisted his knee awkwardly while dropping back to pass and had to leave the game. He returned in the second stanza, with a vengeance. The Redskins’ receiving corps at the time was small and speedy, and were collectively nicknamed “The Smurfs”. They also earned the moniker of  “The Fun Bunch” for their colorful touchdown celebrations. In the second period of this game, they got to celebrate a lot. Williams engineered an incredible 5 touchdown drives, throwing touchdown passes of 80 and 50 yards to Ricky Sanders,27 yards to Gary Clark, and 8 yards to Clint Didier. Also, the game’s other hero, Timmy Smith, ran 58 yards for a score. When the dust settled, the Redskins found themselves with an astonishing 35-10 lead going into halftime. The halftime show of the game was the first time a major act was booked to entertain the crowd and the television audience. The performers? Chubby Checker and The Rockettes. In another tidbit of trivia involving this game, Herb Alpert played the National Anthem on his trumpet, the last non-vocal performance of the song to date.

 

The Fun Bunch celebrates another TD

 

The third quarter of the game was scoreless, but the outcome had already pretty much been determined. Smith wrapped up a record-breaking day on the ground with a 4 yard touchdown run in the final quarter to give Washington a 42-10 victory. Williams was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, deservingly so with his play. Smith would have been a good choice also, as he set a new Super Bowl record with 204 yards rushing on 22 carries, a mark that still stands to this day.

 

Doug Williams enjoyed an historic victory in Super Bowl XXII

 

Classic Team Logo of The Day

28 Oct

Last week we featured an old logo of an Atlantic Coast Conference college football team, the Syracuse Orangemen. This week, we feature a newer logo of the same school. The Orange began their gridiron program in 1889 and play their home games in the Carrier Dome. We listed all of the school’s alumni who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last time, but there are many more who have enjoyed time in the pros, including Dwight Freeney, Donovan McNabb, Chandler Jones, Rob Moore, Daryl Johnston, Joe Morris, Gary Anderson, Jim Nance, Walt Sweeney, Al Bemiller and Dave Lapham.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

28 Oct

1989 Score football card of former pro football quarterback Doug Williams, who played 9 seasons in the NFL and had a short stint in the USFL. He has been inducted into the rings of honor of both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Football Team. He guided the Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XXII, winning the game’s MVP Award and becoming the first African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. After his playing days, Williams spent time as a high school and college coach, pro scout and as a front office advisor and executive. He is currently a senior advisor for the Washington franchise.

 

NFL – Throwback Thursday: The Ol’ Ball Coach Was A Player, Too!

21 Oct

It’s week 7 of the NFL season, and one of the matchups this week finds the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Indianapolis Colts. Our Throwback Thursday feature travels back to the 1969 season for a game between these 2 teams played on October 26th of that year. Coach Don Shula’s Colts were coming off the huge disappointing loss in the Super Bowl the previous season to the New York Jets. They were battling inconsistency as they started the year with 2 straight losses, then rebounded with a pair of wins. The 49ers were a team they hadn’t lost to since 1962, so a third consecutive win looked like a sure thing, especially with Baltimore being at home. San Francisco was enduring a down period in their history at this point. They were in the midst of a decade of mediocrity and coach Dick Nolan was struggling to make any headway in his quest to turn the franchise around, as the Niners entered this game winless at 0-4-1.

After a scoreless first quarter, Tommy Davis opened the scoring with a short field goal for San Francisco, but the Colts answered that with a drive that ended with Tom Matte hauling in an 11 yard touchdown pass from John Unitas to take a 7-3 lead. Quarterback Steve Spurrier, a career backup getting a rare chance to start, then guided a drive before the half with Ken Willard running in from 5 yards out, giving the 49ers the lead back at the half. San Francisco came out in the third quarter on fire. Spurrier led another drive in which he cashed in for a touchdown with an 18 yard scoring toss to Dick Witcher, then the defense took command by pilfering a Unitas throw, courtesy of John Woitt, which he ran back 57 yards for a touchdown to give San Francisco a shocking 24-7 lead. The proud Colts rallied as Unitas found his favorite target on the day, Jimmy Orr (8 catches for 146 yards), for a short touchdown pass, then closed the gap again with a one yard touchdown run by Matte. That was the end of the scoring, however, and Baltimore found themselves on the short end of a 24-21 score at the final gun.

Nolan’s 49ers won only 4 games in the ’69 season, and ironically half of those wins came against the Colts, as they upset them again later in the season. He was building something for the future, and the team won 3 straight Western Division titles to start the 1970s. The Colts were underachievers at 8-5-1 for the year, and Shula departed for Miami after the season, where he would find great success on the way to becoming the winningest coach in NFL history. Shula’s departure didn’t initially hurt the Colts, as they won the Super Bowl under Don McCafferty in 1970.

 

Steve Spurrier shined in a rare starting performance

 

Classic Team Logo of The Day

21 Oct

This is an old, outdated logo of a college football team that plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Syracuse Orangemen. Known as the “Saltine Warrior”, the Native American character was used beginning in 1968, but was jettisoned in 1979 when a group of Native students protested the cartoon-like depicture of their culture. The Orangemen won the national championship in 1959 and boasts one Heisman Trophy winner, the late Ernie Davis. The school has a long list of alumni who have gone on to pro careers, including 8 Hall of Famers – Jim Brown, Al Davis, John Mackey, Jim Ringo, Larry Csonka, Art Monk, Marvin Harrison and Floyd Little.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

21 Oct

1974 Topps football card of former pro football quarterback Steve Spurrier, who played 10 seasons in the NFL but is much better known for his college coaching prowess, where he earned the nickname of “The Ol’ Ball Coach”. He was a highly touted Heisman Trophy winner coming out of college, but didn’t meet expectations in the pros, although he did carve out a long career as a backup QB and punter, mainly with the San Francisco 49ers. Spurrier had a short, unsuccessful run as an NFL coach in Washington, but in college he was a seven time SEC Coach of  The Year and his teams won 6 SEC titles, and a national championship in 1996.

 

NFL – Throwback Thursday: More High-Flying AFL Action

14 Oct

The Denver Broncos face off with their AFC West rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders, this Sunday in a week 6 game on the NFL schedule. For Throwback Thursday, we’ll go back to the high-flying early days of the American Football League, to a game played between these clubs on December 15, 1963. The Raiders were based in Oakland at the time and this contest was played at Frank Youell Field, a glorified high school stadium that was Oakland’s home then. Prior to 1963 the Raiders were one of the AFL’s weakest franchises. They had finished the 1962 season with a 1-13 record, and Buffalo Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson had to loan the club $400,000 just to keep them afloat at one point. The Raiders’ fortunes turned around that season, however, when they hired a brash young assistant from the San Diego Chargers’ staff, Al Davis. Of course, Denver was the ultimate sad sack franchise of the AFL for the entire 10 year existence of the league. This game was the penultimate regular season contest of the ’63 season, with the Raiders enjoying an 8-4 record while the Broncos wallowed in last place of the Western Division at 2-9-1.

The game started out as expected with the Raiders scoring twice, on touchdown passes of 32 yards from Tom Flores to Bo Roberson and 18 yards from Flores to Art Powell, one of the AFL’s brightest stars in it’s formative years. Denver rounded out the first quarter scoring when rookie fullback Billy Joe rambled in from 9 yards out to cut Oakland’s lead to 14-7. Flores answered that by hitting his running back, Clem Daniels, with a 26 yard touchdown pass. The Broncos mustered up a field goal from Gene Mingo, and the clubs went into halftime with the Raiders holding a 21-10 edge.  When Flores threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day, from 43 yards out to Daniels again, Oakland took a sizable 28-10 and it looked like the lowly Broncos were finished.

Denver quarterback Mickey Slaughter rallied the troops, however. He threw a 9 yard touchdown pass to Gene Prebola, and then led a drive that ended in a short scoring run by Hewritt Dixon, and suddenly Denver entered the final quarter down by only 28-24. The Broncos’ defense was their Achilles heel in 1963, as they allowed a total of 473 points overall for the season, by far the highest total in the AFL’s history. So it was easy pickings again for Flores, and he found Powell again for his fifth TD toss of the day. Slaughter didn’t give up easily. He engineered another drive and hit his All-AFL split end, Lionel Taylor, with a 29 yard scoring throw to pull his club to within 4 points again at 35-31. That would be all the scoring for the day, and Oakland held on to improve to 9-4. They finished the regular season the following week by outscoring the Houston Oilers in a 52-49 barnburner to end their season at 10-4, a miraculous climb from the previous year. It was only good enough for second place in the West as San Diego won their third division crown in 4 years. The Broncos put up a game effort on this day, and Taylor and Prebola both garnered over 100 receiving yards, but their reward for the “moral victory” was a date with the mighty Chargers in the regular season’s final week. The Chargers demolished them 58-20.

 

Al Davis transformed the Raiders’ franchise in 1963

 

Classic Team Logo of The Day

14 Oct

Used from 2002 until 2010, this is a logo of a historically black college football team from the Southwest Athletic Conference, the Prairie View A&M Panthers. The school played it’s first season in 1907, and has won 11 conference titles and 5 HBCU national championships, and has an .861 winning percentage all-time. Panther alumni who have enjoyed pro football careers include Otis Taylor, Jim Kearney, Sam Adams, Ken Houston, Jim Lee Hunt, Clem Daniels, Bo Farrington, Jim Mitchell, Charley Warner, Alvin Reed and Clarence Williams.