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Classic Team Logo of The Day

04 Jan

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Logo of a small college football team, the Austin Peay State University Governors, who first began play in 1930  and currently compete in the Ohio Valley Conference. Former Governors who have played pro football include Jeff Gooch and Percy Howard, whose only reception in his NFL career was a touchdown catch in Super Bowl X for the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

04 Jan

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1955 Bowman football card of former Detroit Lion lineman Dick Stanfel, who was a standout guard for the Lions in their last dominant period in the NFL, which was way back in the 1950s. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and helped the Lions win NFL championships in 1952 and ’53. He was also named to the league’s All Decade team for the 1950s. After his playing career ended, Stanfel spent over 35 years as an assistant coach, mostly an offensive line coach, and won a Super Bowl ring as O-line coach for the Chicago Bears in 1985. After being overlooked for decades, he was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, posthumously, by the Veteran’s Committee in 2016.

 

NFL – Bills’ Season Review – Part 1

02 Jan

Seventeen straight years – that’s how long the Buffalo Bills’ NFL longest playoff drought has now been extended following a largely disappointing 2016 season that saw the end of Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach. This section of our yearly review of the Bills’ season deals with management and coaching,  and the fact that Ryan and his brother Rob were both jettisoned tells the tale of another head coaching failure in Buffalo. Despite a constant coaching carousel not being a good thing, Ryan deserved to go. In his final game as coach, the team displayed the same negative attributes that marked his two year regime – undisciplined play, unforced penalties, poor time management, confusion on play calls and personnel, and just disorganization in general. If I’m Bills’ owners Terry and Kim Pegula, the play in overtime that sealed the win for Miami, Jay Ajai’s long run on which the Bills had only 10 men on the field, is evidence enough to relieve him of his duties. Add in the defensive meltdowns in Miami and Oakland that cost the team valuable wins and there is no way Ryan, a supposed defensive genius, should keep his job. He never managed to fix any of the problems that plagued the team from day one of his regime. The defensive players vowed they would play hard to try to save Ryan’s job, yet the lack of effort and poor tackling in some of the team’s heart-breaking losses this year was pathetic. Critics can say the lack of continuity is the reason for the Bills’ problems, but when continuity equals mediocrity it’s time to make changes.

General manager Doug Whaley has apparently survived to pick the new coach and run another draft, and in my mind he deserves to stay, but the players he has drafted and signed need to reverse the regression they showed under Ryan when a new coach takes over, in order for him to stick around after 2017. The Pegulas gave Ryan all of the resources he could ask for to turn this team into a winner, including a bloated 29 person coaching staff, and he couldn’t get the job done. It’s time for Whaley to find a competent head coach, not just a carnival barker, to lead this team. Any coach who claims he needs a five year rebuilding plan should be eliminated from consideration. All this team needs is a real leader who will demand accountability from his players and who has some semblance of organizational skills.

 
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Classic Team Logo of The Day

02 Jan

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Logo of a college football team, the West Virginia Mountaineers, used from 1970 until 1979. Members of the Big 12 Conference, their program has been in existence since 1891. They’ve had 11 consensus All Americans over the years, and have sent many players on to pro football careers, including Sam Huff, Chuck Howley, Joe Marconi, Darryl Talley, Mike Vanderjagt, Ron Wolfley, Marc Bulger and Jeff Hostetler. Current NFL players who are former Mountaineers are Tavon Austin, Bruce Irvin, Karl Joseph, Adam Jones, Geno Smith and Pat McAfee.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

02 Jan

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1968 Topps football card of former NFL defensive end Lamar Lundy, who played 13 seasons in the league, all for the Los Angeles Rams. He was the least-known member of the Rams’ famed “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line, which also included Deacon Jones, who invented the term “sack” and is widely regarded as the top pass rusher of all time, and Merlin Olsen and Rosey Grier, who both went on to careers in television and movies. Lundy didn’t need to take a back seat to any of them, however, as he was a force in his own right. He was a two-time Pro Bowler, and one amazing statistic of his career is that he garnered 3 interceptions, and returned all 3 for touchdowns. Lundy was hired as an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers when he retired, but illness kept him from pursuing that avenue. Lundy passed away in 2007 at the age of 71.

 

NFL – Throwback Thursday: Tittle’s Record-Setting Day

29 Dec

The NFL enters their final week of play this weekend, and the schedule includes a match between 2 NFC East rivals who we already featured in a TBT post earlier this year – the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. In fact, this is the third time we’ve featured this matchup, having highlighted a 72-41 Redskin victory over the Giants in 1966, back in 2013. This game, like the one we featured earlier this season, took place in an era when the Giants were a dominant force in the league, while the ‘Skins were an also-ran. On this day, October 28, 1962, Giant quarterback Y.A. Tittle became only the fourth signal caller in pro football history to throw for 7 touchdowns in a single game, a feat that to this day has only been accomplished 7 times in history and still stands as an NFL record. Prior to this game, the only times a QB had done this happened in 1943, by Sid Luckman of the Chicago Bears, in 1954 by Adrian Burke of the Philadelphia Eagles, and in 1961, in the old American Football League, by the Houston Oilers’ George Blanda.

 

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Giants – Redskins 1962 Game Program

The game was a see-saw battle in the first half as Tittle and Washington rookie Norm Snead took turns filling the air with scoring passes. Tittle, who would wind up being league MVP in ’62, took charge in the third and early fourth quarter, racking up 4 of his 7 TD throws to turn a tight 21-20 game into a 49-20 rout. Snead led a late charge to close the gap to 49-34 at the final gun. Tittle’s feat overshadowed a pretty good showing by the rookie Snead, who threw for 346 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a couple of long bombs to future Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. It was Tittle’s day in the sun, however, as he passed for a remarkable 505 yards and the 7 TDs on 27 of 39 passes, numbers that are common in today’s game but were extremely rare in the “three yards and a cloud of dust” era. The venerable old Giant quarterback connected all day with his 2 favorite targets, as Del Shofner caught 11 balls for 269 yards and a TD, and Frank Gifford hauled in 4 for 127 yards and a score. It was a sweet revenge game for New York tight end Joe Walton, who had played for Washington for 4 years before being traded to the Giants prior to the 1962 season. Walton caught 6 passes from Tittle for 63 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the record-tying seventh one.

Not only did Tittle and the Giants take control of this game in the third quarter, they took control of the Eastern Conference, as the loss was Washington’s first of the season after a 4-0-2 start, sending them on a tailspin to a 5-7-2 final record. The Giants used the win as a springboard to a 12-2 final record and a second straight NFL championship game appearance against the Green Bay Packers.

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Y.A. Tittle pressured by Redskins’ defense

 

Classic Team Logo of The Day

29 Dec

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Logo of a college football team that plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The school has fielded a football program since 1888, although they only played one game that season, beating North Carolina in the first football game ever played in the state. Former Demon Deacons who have had success in pro football include Billy Ray Barnes, Jim Clack, Brian Piccollo, Norm Snead, Bill George, Jimmy Orr, Ricky Proehl and Calvin Pace.

 

Classic Sports Card of The Day

29 Dec

69toppssnead

1969 Topps football card of former pro football quarterback Norm Snead, who played 16 seasons in the NFL for 5 different teams. His most successful stint was a seven year run with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1960s. Snead was a four-time Pro Bowler, including his first 2 seasons, in 1961 and ’62, with the Washington Redskins. After retiring as a player, he coached at The Apprentice School, a small college football program at a school that trains students for careers in shipbuilding.

 

NFL – Throwback Thursday: A Baseball Game?

22 Dec

This week’s Throwback Thursday game features a look back to a playoff game from the 1970 season between two teams who are scheduled to play on this week’s NFL schedule, the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. This game may have been one of least exciting playoff games in league history, unless you’re a fan of great defense or inept offense, depending on your perspective. The Cowboys, at the time, possessed one of the NFL’s toughest defensive units, the “Doomsday Defense” as they were aptly named, and this game was a showcase for them. They totally throttled Detroit’s offense and harassed Lion quarterbacks Greg Landry and Bill Munson, coming up with 3 sacks, an interception and 3 total turnovers, while holding the Lion passing attack to a meager 80 yards.

The problem was that Dallas’ passing offense was worse, as their quarterback, Craig Morton, completed only 4 of 18 throws for 22 net yards. Luckily, the Cowboys had a top-notch running back in Duane Thomas, and coach Tom Landry fed him the ball. The talented but moody Thomas carried 30 times for 135 yards in a workman like performance in which his longest run of the day was 16 yards. The Cowboy defense wound up shutting out the Lions, but Dallas could only muster an early field goal. Late in the final quarter, defensive linemen Jethro Pugh and George Andrie combined to sack Landry in the end zone for a safety, boosting the final margin of victory for Landry’s club to 5-0. It was more likely of a score between the cities’ baseball clubs, the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, than a football score.

Dallas advanced through the NFC playoffs to the Super Bowl that year, where they lost a heartbreaker to the Baltimore Colts on a late field goal in a game that became known as the “Blunder Bowl” since both teams made so many mistakes. Landry ran out of patience with Morton’s inconsistency the following season and made a change at quarterback, launching the dynamic career of future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach.

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Dallas QB Craig Morton and coach Tom Landry discuss strategy (photo courtesy of Spokeo.com)

 

Classic Team Logo of The Day

22 Dec

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Logo of a college football team that plays in the Southeast Conference, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Their program began in 1890, and they won a couple of unofficial national championships in the 1920s. Former Vandy players who’ve gone on to pro careers include Phil King, Bill Wade, Tom Moore, Pat Toomay, Corey Chavous, Jay Cutler, Corey Harris, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Will Wolford.