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Classic Team Logo of The Day

25 Jan

Logo of a college football team that plays in the  American Conference, the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. The school’s football program began play in 1979, and formerly played in the Mid-America Conference and Conference USA. They have won 6 conference titles, and their home stadium is known as “The Bounce House”. Former Knights who have gone on to play pro football include Brandon Marshall, Kamar Aiken, Leger Douzable, Daunte Culpepper, Shawn Jefferson, Asante Samuel, Josh Sitton and current players Matt Prater, A.J. Bouye, Gabriel Davis, Latavius Murray, Blake Bortles, and Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

25 Jan

1995 Topps football card of former pro football defensive end Mark Pike, who enjoyed a 13 year career in the NFL, all with the Buffalo Bills. Despite his longevity, he was never a full time starter for the Bills, but like his teammate Steve Tasker was a valuable member of the special teams units. The “bomb squads” were a point of emphasis for Bills’ coach Marv Levy, and he valued players who helped the team in that third phase of the game. Pike has served as an instructor at Jim Kelly’s football camps, and helped his son Zeke open a sober living home for recovering addicts.

 
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NFL – Throwback Thursday: Breaking The Moulds

31 Dec

The NFL regular season of 2020 wraps up this weekend, and a pair of old AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, square off with both having positive seasons. Both made the playoffs in 1998 also, and our final Throwback Thursday feature will go back to that season, and a wild card playoff game held at Miami’s Pro Player Stadium on January 2, 1999. The teams had identical 10-6 records for the year but the Dolphins won the division based on tiebreakers. The Bills were already a couple of years removed from the Jim Kelly era, and were quarterbacked by Doug Flutie, who they signed after he had an illustrious career in the Canadian League. Dan Marino was still leading the Dolphins’ passing attack, but was past his prime and nearing the end of his long career.

The first half was relatively quiet offensively as far as scoring went. Olindo Mare kicked a pair of field goals for an early Miami lead, then Flutie led a drive that culminated in a 1 yard rushing touchdown by veteran Thurman Thomas to put the Bills up 7-6. In the third quarter the Dolphins regained the lead at 14-7 when Karim Abdul-Jabbar scored on a short run and Stanley Pritchett ran in for a successful 2 point conversion. Throughout the game, Flutie enjoyed tremendous success hooking up with his favorite target, wide receiver Eric Moulds, to highlight Buffalo’s offensive attack. Moulds, who had a record-setting day with 9 receptions for 240 yards, hauled in a Flutie aerial and turned it into a 32 yard touchdown to tie the game after 3 quarters. Miami took control in the final stanza by scoring twice, on another Mare field goal and a 12 yard touchdown toss from Marino to Lamar Thomas. The Bills could only muster a late Steve Christie field goal and fell to their AFC East rivals, 24-17. Buffalo was done in by their own mistakes in the contest. Despite the success with Moulds and throwing for 360 yards overall, Flutie had 3 turnovers, an interception and a pair of fumbles. Moulds also had a black mark on his day as he fumbled once, as did long-time Bills’ legend and future Hall of Famer Andre Reed. Those 5 turnovers were the death knell for Buffalo in the game.

In some ways this game was the beginning of the end of the Bills’ dominant run in the AFC in the 1990s. After one more season of playing together, on February 10, 2000, Buffalo released 3 of their star performers from that era, all on the same day – Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith. The franchise was about to enter a 17 year drought of missing the playoffs after the 1999 season.

 

Bills’ WR Eric Moulds has a record-setting day in a losing cause

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

31 Dec

Logo of a college football team that plays in the West Division of the  Mountain West Conference, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels. The school played their first season in 1968. Former Rebels who have enjoyed pro football careers include Randall Cunningham, Ickey Woods, Eric Wright, Keenan McCardell and Charles Dimry. Besides pro football players, former UNLV alumni include ESPN SportsCenter  anchor Kenny Mayne and CEO and co-founder of Death Row Records Suge Knight.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

31 Dec

1997 Fleer football card of former pro football running back Karim Abdul-Jabbar, who played 5 seasons in the NFL, mostly for the Miami Dolphins. He led the Dolphins in rushing yardage his first 2 seasons with the team, and also led the NFL in touchdowns in 1997 when he scored 16 times. Born Sharmon Shah, the devout Muslim had his name changed by his Imam, but confusion with the famous basketball player led to controversy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar eventually sued the Miami back. He changed his name again, and now goes by Abdul-Kareem al-Jabbar.

 
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NFL – Throwback Thursday: Growing Pains

24 Dec

It’s week 16 for the NFL season and the battle for playoff positioning is on. One of the important matchups with playoff implications is between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts. We’ll feature these 2 franchises in this week’s Throwback Thursday post. The game chosen was played on Halloween, October 31, 1971. It was played at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, where the Colts were located at the time. Baltimore was enjoying another fine season after having won the Super Bowl the previous year, while the Steelers, perennial losers in the 1960s, were in their third season under coach Chuck Noll. The team would gradually be built into the dominant force in the NFL in the 1970s, but at this point were still suffering some growing pains, and were a couple years, plus a couple more excellent drafts, from reaching that status.

The Colts opened the scoring on a 1 yard plunge by Norm Bulaich, then added a pair of field goals by their Super Bowl hero of the previous season, kicker Jim O’Brien, to go up 13-0. A young Terry Bradshaw engineered a drive that he climaxed himself with a short touchdown run to get Pittsburgh on the board. The Colts proceeded to own the rest of the first half as their veteran quarterback, Earl Morrall, connected with Willie Richardson on a pair of touchdown throws of 19 and 49 yards. Morrall continued Baltimore’s dominance in the third quarter as he hit Ray Perkins for a 60 yard touchdown. The Steelers now found themselves in a 34-7 hole that they weren’t capable of digging their way out of. In a sign of things to come in the future, Bradshaw showed some growth in his game as he continued to fight the battle against heavy odds. He found Ron Shanklin for a 31 yard touchdown, then scored on a short run by himself for the only score of the final quarter to make the final score a somewhat more respectable 34-21 margin for the Colts.

A look back at that season finds that the outcome of this game was fairly predictable. Baltimore was a seasoned veteran team, with players like Morrall, John Unitas, Tom Matte, John Mackey, Mike Curtis, Rick Volk and Bubba Smith to lean on. Pittsburgh’s future dynasty was still in its infancy. Bradshaw’s offensive options were backs Frenchy Fuqua and Preston Pearson, and his receivers the likes of Shanklin, Jon Staggers and Frank Lewis. Super Bowl stalwarts like Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth were still a few years away.

 

A young Terry Bradshaw leads his Steelers against the Colts

 

 

 

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

24 Dec

Logo of a Historically Black College (HBCU) football team that plays in the West Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions. The school began play in 1916 and has won a couple of recent division titles. Former Golden Lions who have played pro football include L.C. Greenwood, Manny Sistrunk, Robert Brown, Willie Frazier, Mike Lewis, Terry Nelson, Wallace Francis and Dante Wesley.

 
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Classic Sports Card of The Day

24 Dec

1968 Topps football card of former NFL wide receiver Willie Richardson, who enjoyed a 9 year career in the league, most notably with the Baltimore Colts. He was twice named to the Pro Bowl and also a two-time All Pro, in 1967 and ’68, and helped the Colts win the NFL title in ’68. His younger brother Gloster Richardson also played in the league. Richardson passed away in 2016 at the age of 76.

 
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NFL – Throwback Thursday: A Century Shootout

17 Dec

The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants clash on this week’s NFL schedule, so for the Throwback Thursday feature we’ll explore a game played on October 29, 1967 between these 2 franchises, back when they were bitter rivals in the league. They had long been Eastern Conference opponents who battled each other for supremacy, but things were slightly different in the ’67 season. The NFL had merged with the American Football League the prior year, with the 2 leagues becoming one starting in 1970. With that being the case, along with the addition of Atlanta and New Orleans as expansion franchises, the league split their 16 teams into 4 divisions with names that all began with the letter “C” – Century, Capitol, Central and Coastal. The Browns and Giants, and also the Cardinals and Steelers, were assigned to the Century. The Cardinals were on the decline and the Steelers were perennial losers in the 1960s, so it was left to the Browns and Giants to renew their rivalry, now as Century Division opponents.

The Browns came into Yankee Stadium sporting a 4-2 record while the G-men were right behind them at 3-3. Cleveland, with most of their championship club intact from a few years earlier, came in as the favorites. Jim Brown had been retired for a full year, but the Browns replaced him with another future Hall of Famer in Leroy Kelly. The Giants were in the midst of a dismal period, but made a bold attempt to improve their standing in the off-season by trading for scrambling quarterback Fran Tarkenton. The Browns owned the opening quarter. With New York’s defense concentrating on stopping Kelly and the ground attack, Cleveland quarterback Frank Ryan went to the air, connecting with flanker Gary Collins for a 14 yard touchdown. Lou “The Toe” Groza, the Browns’ aging placekicker, added a short field goal to put his club up 10-0. Tarkenton and the Giants’ offense came to life in the second quarter. The mad scrambler ran 15 yards for his team’s first score, and Tucker Frederickson scored from 3 yards out to give New York a 14-10 lead. Kelly’s 8 yard touchdown run put Cleveland back on top, but Tarkenton was just getting warmed up.

He found his tight end, Aaron Thomas, open for a 32 yard touchdown and a 21-17 Giant halftime lead. Tarkenton never missed a beat as the second half unfolded. He threw a pair of touchdown passes, of 30 and 12 yards, to Joe Morrison and, now holding a 35-17 lead, it looked like a New York rout was on. The Browns were a proud club in those days, and they were far from finished. Groza cut into the lead with another field goal, then Ryan turned to his other receiving threat, Paul Warfield. The cerebral Cleveland signal caller hit the future Hall of Fame wideout on consecutive scoring throws of 33 and 32 yards, and suddenly the Giants’ lead was cut to a single point at 35-34. New York’s defense stiffened after that, and Pete Gogolak added a late field goal to secure a 38-34 win. The victory moved the Giants into a tie in the standings with Cleveland at 4-3, and celebrated contributions from Thomas, who snagged 5 Tarkenton aerials for 110 yards, and their ground game, with Tarkenton’s scrambles and hard running from Frederickson and Ernie Koy totaling 137 yards on the ground. Cleveland got a huge game from Warfield, who burned the Giants’ secondary for 126 yards on 5 receptions, but bemoaned the fact that 4 turnovers had likely cost them the game.

The Browns extracted revenge later in the year with a 24-14 win over New York on their way to the Century Division crown, while New York fell to 7-7 and a second place finish. Still, it was a major improvement from their 1-12-1 mark of the previous year, and the acquisition of Tarkenton was a major impetus for that.

 

Tarkenton upgraded the Giants in 1967

 

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

17 Dec

Logo of a college football team that plays in the  Big 12 Conference, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The school, based in Lubbock, Texas, began play in 1925 and has won 11 conference titles. Many former Red Raiders have enjoyed careers in pro football, including Patrick Mahomes, E.J. Holub, Donny Anderson, Zach Thomas, Dave Parks, Wes Welker, Joe Walter, LaAdrian Waddle, Bake Turner, Danny Amendola, Michael Crabtree, Curtis Jordan, Dave Lloyd, Anthony Lynn, Sammy Morris and Billy Joe Tolliver.

 
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