TLW's NFL Football Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: July 1, 2012. Last Update: Apr. 5, 2021.
In 264 B.C.E. the first recorded Gladiatorial Combat in Rome is held to honor the deceased Junius Brutus as the Romans decide to revive an old Etruscan sport with a modest display of three couples; Roman moralists approve of public violence and pain while disapproving of public kissing, ornaments on women, and Greek philosophy (which condemns gladiator events) - a quirk that survives into 20th cent. C.E. movies and TV?
In 72 C.E. Roman emperor (69-79) Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus) (9-79) uses Jewish loot and slaves from the failed Jewish Rebellion of 70 C.E. to begin the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater (Amphitheatrum Flavianum) AKA the Roman Colosseum (named after a colossal statue Emperor Nero built there) near the Forum N of the Palatine Hill; the fighting area is 500 ft. x 600 ft., and has a cap. of 50K; the 100-day opening celebration features 5K animals and 2K gladiators; the expeditions to find animals eventually deplete Mesopotamia of lions, Nubia of hippos, and N Africa of elephants; 1K sailors are permanently stationed to operate awnings to keep the sports fans cool; gladiators consist mainly of outcasts, POWs, slaves charged with crimes, and a few adventurous soldiers and nobles, who survive an avg. of 5-34 fights and die between the ages of 20-30; superstar gladiator Asteropaeus (named after a dude in the Trojan War) wins 107 Vs; the usual prize is an olive branch or wreath and a few small coins?; by the next cent. Roman chariot racers earn more than modern-day sports stars, with charioteer Gaius Appuleius Diocles amassing a fortune of 35.86M sesterces ($15B in modern money) - was his sports agent named Jerry?
On Jan. 1, 404 C.E. Roman emperor (395-423) Flavius Honorius (384-423) and his main gen. Flavius Stilicho (Stilico) (Stilcho) (359-408) celebrate a triumph in Rome, only the 4th in the last cent. (Constantine, Theodosius); an arch is erected claiming the total destruction of the Gothic nation, which will never rise again; Honorius spends several mo. in Rome, trying to make everybody feel good again by visiting the clergy on the one hand and attending the Dec. games on the other, the latter featuring not only chariot races but wild beast hunts and a military dance along with gladiator fights, which are interrupted by Christian poet Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, who gives a speech denouncing them, followed by Asian monk St. Telemachus (a myth?) rushing into the arena to tell them to make somebody stop the fight and being stoned to death by angry spectators, causing whimpy Honorius to pass laws prohibiting human sacrifices; grumblers predict that the martial spirit of the Romans, their obliviousness to the sight of blood, and their contempt of death will evaporate, making them easy prey for the bloody barber-arians - and they are right, since Rome falls to the Goths in 476?
In 1561 the Merchant Taylors' School in London is founded by headmaster ("Founder of English Lexicography") Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611), becoming the largest school in England and taking on pupils incl. Edmund Spenser, Thomas Kyd, and Thomas Lodge, teaching Latin, Greek, music, drama, phys-ed incl. soccer ("footeball"), and "good manners". In 1581 Mulcaster pub. Positions Wherein Those Primitive Circumstances Be Examined, Which Are Necessarie for the Training Up of Children, which advocates "footeball" (soccer) for students, and calls for the introduction of referees, containing the first pub. reference to teams ("sides" and "parties"), positions ("standings"), and coach ("trayning maister") - he's the king of reinvention?
In 1823 Rugby Football is allegedly first played at Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, England when student (later Anglican clergyman) William Webb Ellis (1806-72), "with fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game"; he really bans the practice of hacking (kicking in the shins to tackle), but the first story plays better so it becomes The Story?
Meanwhile in 1776 the Yanks rebel from England and found the U.S., going on to give the word football its true meaning, a real man's game with full contact and high scores for a better betting spread. Like England, the game started in school, this time in the univs.
On Nov. 6, 1869 teams from the State U. of N.J. (Rutgers) and Princeton U. meet in New Brunswick, N.J. for the first Intercollegiate Football Game, which Rutgers wins by 6 to 4; there are 25 players per team (reduced to 11 in 1880), with a spherical ball, each score counting as a game, and the contest consisting of 10 games; the ball could be advanced only by kicking or batting it with the feet, hands, head, or side; after each score, teams change direction. In 1873 U.S. football clubs the adopt uniform Harvard Rules. On May 14, 1874 the first internat. Harvard Rules rugby football game is played in Cambridge, Mass. between Harvard U. of the U.S. and McGill U. of Montreal, Canada.
On Nov. 30, 1876 (Thur.) the Princeton football team plays Yale in New York City on Thanksgiving, starting a tradition (ends 1882).
On Sept. 29, 1882 the U. of Minn. Golden Gophers football team plays its first game, defeating Hamline U. 4-0; in 1890 they defeat the rival U. of Wisc. Badgers 63-0.
On Nov. 30, 1882 (Thur.) (Thanksgiving) after Yale and Princeton tie 0-0 for the last 3 years, the student-run Intercollegiate Football Assoc. holds its first Thanksgiving Day Championship Game, starting a tradition.
In 1889 Yale U. football coach ("Father of Am. Football") Walter Chauncey Camp (1859-1925), known for revising the rules of football initiates the practice of naming the best college football players each season for the College Football All-American Team. In 1891 he pub. American Football.
In 1890 the first Army-Navy Football Game is played in West Point between the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen; Navy defeats Army by 24-0; starting in 1899 games are played mainly in Philly.
On Mar. 11, 1892 the first public game of Basketball is played in the Springfield, Mass. YMCA in front of a crowd of 200; the student team defeats the faculty team 5-1; "Grand Old Man of Football" Amos Alonzo Stagg (1862-1965) scores the only faculty basket, then later this year becomes head football coach at the U. of Chicago (until 1932), lasting 41 seasons, incl. five undefeated, winning 314 games as a coach; he goes on to introduce the huddle, man-in-motion, and the end-around play, and invent the batting cage in baseball.
On Sept. 28, 1892 the world's first Night Am.-Rules Football Game is played in Mansfield, Penn. by teams from Mansfield State Normal School (later Mansfield U.) and Wyoming Seminary of Kingston, Penn., using the newfangled electric lights, but they are so dim that it ends after 20 min. and 10 plays at halftime with a 0-0 tie after several players run into a light pole; there are no names or numbers on uniforms, and the ball is larger and rounder than modern-day footballs, resembling a basketball with laces.
On Nov. 19, 1892 Harvard U. plays football against Yale U. in Springfield, Mass., introducing the Flying Wedge at the start of the 2nd half in place of the usual Princeton V (V Trick).
On Sept. 28, 1895 the first Prof. Am.-Rules Football Game is played in Latrobe, Penn.
In 1895 Spalding's Official Football Guide begins pub., ed. (until 1924) by Walter Chauncey Camp (1859-1925), who was first called "the Father of Am. Football" in 1892 by Caspar Whitney (1862-1929) in Harper's Weekly, going on to turn it into a game of crazy, er, heroes that captures the Am. imagination.
In 1898 the Arizona Cardinals (originally Morgan Athletic Club, then Racine Normals) are formed in Chicago, Ill., becoming the oldest U.S. football club to survive to modern times; after getting dark red uniforms from the defunct Chicago Maroons college team, they change their name to Chicago Cardinals in 1920 and join the NFL, then merge with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1944 for one season, then move to St. Louis, Mo. in 1960, where they become known as "the Big Red", then move to Phoenix, Ariz. in 1988, playing in the Sun Devil Stadium of Arizona State U., becoming the Phoenix Cardinals, changing their name to Arizona Cardinals in 1994; they don't win a Super Bowl until ?.
In 1903 Kentland, Ind-born playwright George Ade (1866-1944) pub. College Widow, the first play about Am. football, about the rivalry between Atwater College and Bingham College; star halfback Billy forsakes Bingham to play for Atwater to be near his babe Jane, daughter of the pres.; made into the 1917 Broadway musical "Leave It to Jane" by Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, and P.G. Wodehouse.
On Oct. 9, 1905 after Harvard U. pres. (1869-1909) Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), ed. of the Harvard Classics, known for turning Harvard into an internat. research univ. and giving blacks W.E.B. DuBois et al. opportunities comes out in opposition to college football, calling it "a fight whose strategy and ethics are those of war", where "the weaker man is considered the legitimate prey of the stronger", concluding "no sport is wholesome in which ungenerous or mean acts which easily escape detection contribute to victory", causing The New York Times, Harper's mag., McClure's mag., and Nation mag. to back him up, calling for reform or outright abolishment of the sport, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt holds a meeting at the White House with Walter Camp, Bill Reid, and Arthur T. Hillebrand representing Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, talking them into saving the sport via rule changes; too bad, on Nov. 25 19-y.-o. Union College halfback Harold Moore is knocked-out in a game against NYU and dies of a cerebral hemorrhage six hours later, causing NYU pres. Henry MacCracken to call for protective headwear for athletes, and the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune to run the cartoon "Grim Reaper Smiles on the Goalposts" on Dec. 3, becoming known as football's first concussion crisis; on Dec. 28 after two White House conferences convened by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt to "encourage reforms" in college football to prevent injuries and deaths, followed by a meeting of 13 U.S. colleges and univs. organized by NYU chancellor Henry MacCracken, a meeting of 62 higher education institutions appoints the Am. Football Rules Committee, which convenes next Jan. 12, banning the flying wedge, creating the neutral zone, and increasing the distance for a first down from 5-10 yards; next Mar. 31 they form the Intercollegiate Athletic Assoc. of the U.S. (IAAUS), which changes its name to the Nat. Collegiate Athletic Assoc. (NCAA) in 1910; in 1921 it conducts the first NCAA nat. championship, the Nat. Collegiate Track and Field Championships; in 1939 it conducts its first basketball championship; meanwhile failing to abolish football, lame retro Eliot goes after baseball, basketball, and hockey, uttering the soundbyte: "I understand that a curve ball is thrown with a deliberate attempt to deceive. Surely this is not an ability we should want to foster at Harvard" - since I got in the loop I can see the future?
In 1906-10 U.S. football games are played on fields marked with 5-yd. checkerboard lines.
On Dec. 5, 1908 the U. of Pittsburgh becomes the first football team to use uniform numbers.
In 1912 Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) of West Point injures his knee trying to tackle James Francis "Jim" Thorpe (1888-1953) of Carlisle Indian Industrial School of Carlisle, Penn. in a football game, which Carlisle wins by 27-6; Thorpe's coach from 1907-14 is Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner (1871-1954).
In Jan. 1913 after newspaper headlines announce that he once played pro baseball, U.S. athlete (mixed Amerindian and white) James Francis "Jim" Thorpe (1888-1953) is stripped of the two gold medals he won in the 1912 Olympic Games and his amateur status revoked because in 1909-10 he received $2 a game for playing semi-pro baseball in the Eastern Carolina League in Rocky Mount, N.C., but didn't use an alias like other college summer players; his runner-up, Karl Hugo Wieslander (1899-1976) of Sweden refuses to accept Thorpe's decathlon medal; on Oct. 13, 1982 the Internat. Olympic Committee (IOC) finally agrees to restore Jim Thorpe's 1912 gold medals; they are officially returned to him in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 1983 - thanks, king? When Thorpe's medals are reinstated, Wieslander is declared joint winner.
In 1919 George Whitney Calhoun (1890-1963) and Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau (1898-1965) found the Green Bay Packers football team with $500 from the Indian Packing Co.; it joins the NFL in 1921, with Lambeau as coach from 1921-49, winning six championships and racking up a 209-104-21 (.626) record.
On Sept. 17, 1920 the Am. Prof. Football Assoc. is founded at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio, with James Francis "Jim" Thorpe (1888-1953) as pres. #1; in 1922 it is renamed the Nat. Football League (NFL); the 13 initial teams incl. the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Dayton Triangles, and Decatur Staleys; the 8-3 Akron Pros defeat the 10-1 Decatur Staleys for the league title; player season salaries are $1.9K; after the season ends, Staleys coach George "Papa Bear" Halas (1895-1983) buys the team from A.J. Staley for $5K, moves to Chicago, Ill., and after another season renames them the Chicago Bears because they play on the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field, and bears are grown-up cubs; avg. NFL game attendance is 5K. In 1923 Halas strips the ball from Jim Thorpe and returns it 98 yards, setting an NFL record that stands until 1925.
On Dec. 14, 1920 Notre Dame U. football star (#66) (1917-20) George "Gipper" Gipp (1895-1920) dies in South Bend, Ind. of pneumonia; on his deathbed he tells coach (1918-30) Knute Kenneth Rockne (1888-1931) "Sometime when the boys are up against it and the pressure's really on Notre Dame, tell them to win one for the Gipper"; he once ran the 100 yards in 10.2 sec. in full uniform, and has a contract to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs. On Nov. 10, 1928 Notre Dame defeats Army 12-6 at Yankee Stadium after Coach Knute Kenneth Rockne (1888-1931) gives his famous halftime Win One for the Gipper Speech, repeating the deathbed words of star Notre Dame player (#66) George "Gipper" Gipp (1895-1920): "The last thing George said to me, 'Rock', he said, 'Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper'"; Gipp is portrayed by Ronald Reagan in the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American.
In 1922 the NFL begins requiring players to sign contracts instead of oral agreements sealed with a handshake.
In 1922 the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team backfield from 1922 to the Rose Bowl game of 1925 gains legendary status as the Four Horsemen, incl. QB Harry Augustus Stuhldreher (1901-65), HB Don "Midnight" Miller (1902-79), HB James Harold "Jim" Crowley (1902-86), and FB Elmer Francis Layden (1903-73).
In 1922 Bobby "Rube" Marshall (1890-1958) (end) of the Rock Island Independents and Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard (1894-1986) (HB) of the Akron Pros break the color barrier to become the first black players in pro football, joining the NFL.
In 1923 Arda Crawford "Ard" Bowser (1899-1996) of the Cleveland Indians (later Bulldogs) becomes the first NFL player to use a kicking tee, besting Jim Thorpe of the Oorang Indians in a contest.
On Oct. 9, 1924 Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (begun 1922) opens, becoming the home of the NFL Chicago Bears.
On Oct. 18, 1924 Notre Dame football team (coach Knute Rockne) becomes famous not only for its Four Horsemen but its Seven Mules (linemen), with a 9-0 record, incl. a 13-7upset of Army at the Polo Grounds in N.Y., with sports writer Grantland Rice writing "the most famous football lead of all-time": "Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their r eal names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below."
On Jan. 1, 1925 9-0 Notre Dame defeats 7-0-1 Stanford by 27-10 to win the 1925 Rose Bowl, becoming the last ride of the Four Horsemen; Ernest Alonzo "Ernie" Nevers (1903-76) rushes for 114 yards, more than the Four Horsemen combined, and is named MVP, causing him to be compared to Jim Thorpe, and Pop Warner to call him "the football player without a fault"; Nevers signs as a pitcher with the St. Louis Browns next year, gives up two homers to Babe Ruth in his 1927 60-homer season, then is signed by Red Grange to the NFL, saving it from bankruptcy; in 1929 he scores 6 TDs and kicks four extra points (40 points total) for the Chicago Cardinals against the Chicago Bears. On Nov. 21, 1925 3-time All-American college star Harold Edward "Red" Grange (1903-91), "the Galloping Ghost" plays his last football game for the U. of Ill., and joins the Chicago Bears less than a week later on Thanksgiving Day for the unheard-of sum of $100K, saving the NFL from oblivion as avg. game attendance at Wrigley Field zooms to 10K; too bad, he leaves to form his own Am. Football League in 1926 with his team called the New York Yankees, but it folds in one season, and he returns to the Bears in 1929-34.
On Dec. 26, 1925 the first East-West Shrine Football Game for college seniors is played in San Francisco, Calif.; West defeats East by 6-0; proceeds go to the Shrine's Hospital for Crippled Children; the motto is "Strong Legs Run That Weak Legs May Walk"; meanwhile on Feb. 6 the NFL adds a rule making college players ineligible to play until their college class graduates.
In 1926 Bennie Russell, son of Benjamin Russell, owner of men's long underwear maker Russell Athletic in Alexander City, Ala. (founded 1902) invents the Sweatshirt while playing football at the U. of Ala. in Tuscaloosa.
In 1929 the NFL changes the shape of the football to make it more aerodynamic and easier for a passer to handle; after some slight mods in 1934 it remains unchanged throughout the cent.
In 1932 the Boston Braves football team of the NFL is founded by George Preston Marshall (1896-1969); next year they change their name to the Boston Redskins, then move to Washington, D.C. in 1937, becoming the Washington Redskins, enjoying a monopoly as the only NFL team in the Am. South until 1960; the first NFL Indoor Playoff Game sees the Chicago Bears defeat the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 on Dec. 18 in front of 11,198 fans indoors at Chicago Stadium on a 80-yard field goal; Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski (1908-90) of Chicago passes to Red Grange for the game's only TD.
In 1933 the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team is created by De Benneville "Bert" Bell (1895-1959) from the defunct Frankford Yellow Jackets (folded in 1931), and named after the eagle insignia of FDR's Nat. Recovery Act. On July 8, 1933 the Pittsburgh Steelers (originally Pittsburgh Pirates) NFL team is founded by "the Chief" Arthur Joseph "Art" Rooney (1901-88).
On Dec. 17, 1933 the Chicago Bears defeat the New York Giants 23-21 in the first NFL Championship Game, becoming the NFL's official start; Red Grange of Chicago tackles Giants wingback Dale Burnett on his way to the winning TD in the game's last play. Arda C. Bowser (1889-1997), inventor of the kicking tee becomes the last surviving member of the first NFL championship team.
On Nov. 29, 1934 the Detroit Lions football team begins the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day Football Game, playing the Chicago Bears at the U. of Detroit Stadium before 26K fans; meanwhile FDR gives a speech in Warm Springs, Ga. on his 10th anniv. of going there to help his polio.
In 1935 the first Heisman Memorial Trophy (given to recognize "the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi") is awarded by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City to "one-man football team" John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger (1914-2002) of the U. of Chicago, who gave future U.S. pres. Gerald Ford (U. of Mich. center) a permanent scar below his left eye last year; in 1936 he becomes the first player drafted by an NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and ends up using the trophy as a doorstop in his library; after the club's Cleveland, Ohio-born athletic dir. John William Heisman (b. 1869) ("pioneer of Southern football") dies on Oct. 3, 1936, the award is broadened to incl. players W of the Mississippi.
On Feb. 8, 1936 the first 1936 NFL Draft is held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philly, with the last-place hometown Eagles getting the first pick; there are nine rounds, after which it goes to 10 next year; the first player selected is Heisman Trophy Winner John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger (1914-2002), who never plays in the NFL after he is traded to the Chicago Bears, who won't meet his demand of $1K/game, and ends up working for a Chicago Rubber co.; #2 pick Riley Henry Smith (1911-99) becomes the first drafted player to play in the NFL, playing for the Boston/Washington Redskins in 1936-8.
In 1936 Orlando Stadium in Orlando, Fla. opens, changing to the Tangerine Bowl, Fla. Citrus Bowl, and Camping World Stadium; in 2017- it hosts the NFL Pro Bowl.
On Dec. 12, 1937 the 1937 NFL Draft at Hotel Lincoln in New York City selects 100 players in 10 rounds, incl. the first players for the expansion St. Louis Rams.
In 1938 Fawcett Stadium (cap. 22K) in Canton, Ohio is dedicated, becoming the site of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in 1962.
On Jan. 15, 1939 the first NFL Pro Bowl is played in Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, Calif.; the N.Y. Giants defeat the Pro All Stars 13-10.
On Dec. 8, 1940 the Chicago Bears defeat the Washington Redskins 73-0 to win the 1940 NFL Championship, the lopsided win caused by the introduction of the T-formation by coach George "Papa Bear" Halas (1895-1983), quarterbacked by lucky (to not live in Europe?) Jewish-Am. QB Sid Luckman (1916-98).
In 1941 William Bradford Huie (1910-86) pub. How to Keep Football Stars in College in the Jan. 1 issue of Colliers, causing a firestorm of controversy by revealing how college football tries to win at all costs, with the soundbyte "We who have recruited Alabama's players know who our competitors have been. And we've offered no higher prices than were necessary to compete in the open market."
In 1944 the Football Writers Assoc. of Am. begins naming a college football All-American team.
In 1945 the Cleveland Browns football team is founded, with head coach Paul Eugene Brown (1908-91), who pioneers the modern offense, the face mask etc. before being fired on Jan. 9, 1963.
In 1946 the bankrupt Miami Seahawks of the All-Am. Football Conference are purchased by a Baltimore, Md. group and renamed the Baltimore Colts in honor of the area's horse racing history; after three seasons and a 10-26-2 record, the whole AAFC (Colts, Browns, Yankees, 49ers) joins the NFL. Coach Curly Lambeau purchases Rockwood Lodge for the Green Bay Packers, becoming the first self-contained training facility in prof. football history; too bad, the board of dirs. doesn't like it and he ends up leaving the team in 1949.
In 1946 the Mid-Am. Conference (MAC) of the NCAA Div. 1 is founded by five teams in the Great Lakes region from W N.Y. to Ill., incl. Ohio U., Butler U., U. of Cincinnati, Wayne (State) U., and (Case) Western Reserve U., followed in 1948 by Miami U. and Western Mich. U., the U. of Toledo in 1950, Kent State U. in 1951, Bowling Green State U. in 1952, Marshall U. in 1954-69, Central Mich. U. and Eastern Mich. U. in 1972, Ball State U. and Northern Ill. U. in 1973, the U. of Akron in 1992, SUNY in 1997, the U. of Central Fla. in 2002, and Temple U. in 2005, becoming known as the "Conference of Quarterbacks" for supplying QBs to the NFL.
In 1947 the Buffalo NFL football team ditches the name Buffalo Nickels for Buffalo Bills in honor of Am. West showman Buffalo Bill Cody.
In 1948 L.A. Rams player Fred Gehrke (1918-2002) paints horns on the Rams' helmets, creating the first football helmet emblem.
In 1948 Ewell Doak Walker Jr. (1927-98), who turned the Cotton Bowl into "the House that Doak Built" wins the Heisman Trophy, then goes on to play for the Detroit Lions (#37) in 1950-55, becoming its #1 player and helping them to two NFL titles.
In 1948 6'0" Marshall, Tex.-born QB Yelberton Abraham "Y.A." Tittle Jr. (1926-2017) is drafted by the Baltimore Colts (#63), going on to be named AAFC Rookie of the Year and lead the Colts to the AAFC playoffs; in 1951 after several straight 1-win seasons, the Colts fold and Tittle is drafted by the San Francisco 49ers (#64), becoming part of the 49ers' Million Dollar Backfield (Fearson/Fabulous Foursome) and becoming the first prof. football player to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, coining the football term "alley-oop"; in 1955 he leads the league in TD passes; in 1961 after being named to four Pro Bowls he is considered washed-up and traded to the New York Giants (#14), leading them to three straight NFL championship games, all losses; in his final season (1964) a photograph showing him bloody and kneeling in the end zone helmetless after being tackled becomes an icon; he retires as the all-time NFL leader in passing yards, passing TDs, attempts, completions, and games played; in 1971 he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his jersey number 14 retired by the Giants.
On Aug. 14, 1948 the Denver Bears A-baseball team (later AAA) debuts in Bears Stadium in Denver, Colo., which becomes Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos in 1968-2001; the team is sold in 1985 and renamed the Denver Zephyrs, relocating to New Orleans, La.
On Aug. 12, 1950 the New York Giants of the NFL defeat the Ottawa Roughriders of the CFL 20-6 in Ottawa, becoming the first Internat. Game by an NFL Team.
In 1950 6'1 190 lb. QB Charles Kenneth Hall (1935-) becomes a star with the Sugar Land H.S. Gators football team in Sugar Land, Tex., setting 17 nat. football records in 1950-3, many of which stand for 50+ years, becoming known as the Sugar Land Express; in 1999 the Kenneth Hall Trophy is established for the most outstanding U.S. h.s. football player.
In 1951 Los Angeles Rams QB Norman Mack "Norm" "the Dutchman" Van Brocklin (1926-83) passes for an NFL game record 554 yards on Sept. 28, which stands until ?; he also leads the Rams to an NFL title against the Cleveland Browns with co-QB Bob Waterfield.
In 1952 Rookie Los Angeles Rams defensive back Richard "Dick" "Night Train" Lane (1928-2002) gets a record 14 regular season interceptions, going on to become the #1 cornerback in the NFL.
On Oct. 18, 1953 Willie Thrower (1930-2002) becomes the first black QB to play in the NFL, for the Chicago Bears; too bad, he is cut next year, and the next black NFL QB takes a snap in 1968.
In 1956 the NFL Players Assoc. (NFPLA) is founded; it is not recognized until 1968.
In 1956 after starting 1-3 and QB George Shaw getting injured, Baltimore Colts coach Weeb Ewbank decides to give a chance to Swiss-watch-crewcut-loving Pittsburgh, Penn.-born #19 John Constantine "Johnny" Unitas (1933-2002), who had been cut by the Steelers and played semi-pro ball; he goes on to gain the nicknames "Johnny U" and "Golden Arm".
On Sept. 29, 1957 City Stadium in Green Bay, Wisc. opens, seeing the Green Bay Packers defeat the Chicago Bears by 21-17 in front of a capacity crowd of 32,132, becoming the home of the Green Bay Packers (until ?); in Sept. 1965 it is renamed Curley Lambeau Field AKA Titletown USA, the Frozen Tundra, and the Shrine of Pro Football.
On Dec. 28, 1958 the 9-3 Baltimore Colts (QB Johnny Unitas) defeat the 9-3 New York Giants 23-17 in OT at Yankee Stadium in the nationally-televised 1958 NFL championship, "the greatest game ever played", credited with establishing pro football as a major sport in the U.S.; after leading 14-3, Baltimore falls behind 17-14 until QB Johnny Unitas produces a late drive and Steve Myhra (1934-94) kicks a 20-yd. field goal to force OT, then FB Lino Dante "Alan the Iron Horse" Ameche (1933-88) scores the winning TD on a 1-yard run; the Colts defeat the Giants again next year 31-16, after which in 1962 coach Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank (1907-98) is booted out, and scooped up by the New York Titans, who are renamed the New York Jets.
In 1958 the U. of Buffalo Bulls reject a chance to play in the Tangerine Bowl when their two black players are banned from participation, incl. RB Willie R. Evans (1937-) and DE Mike Wilson, becoming their first and only bowl bid until Jan. 3, 2009, when they play Connecticut U. in the Internat. Bowl in Toronto, Ont.; East Texas State defeats Missouri Valley 26-7; Evans is drafted by Ralph Wilson for the inaugural season of the AFL Buffalo Bills.
On Aug. 14, 1959 Dallas businessman Lamar Hunt (1932-2006), son of Tex. oil tycoon H.L. Hunt calls for the formation of the Am. Football League (AFL), and is turned down, but he prevails next year after talking seven other wealthy guys into forming the "Foolish Club", and founds the Dallas Texans, which in 1963 becomes the Kansas City Chiefs.
Big year for U.S. football, which is for real men, not that sissy rugby and soccer stuff? In 1960 the Am. Football League (AFL) is founded (until 1969) by Lamar Hunt et al.; WWII Marine fighter ace Joseph Jacob "Joe" Foss (1915-2003) becomes AFL commissioner #1 (until 1966); the Buffalo Bills, owned by Ohio-born Ralph C. Wilson Jr. (1918-) joins the AFL, with QB (until 1970) Jack French Kemp (1935-2009); the new (Aug. 14, 1959) Denver Broncos, owned by Robert Lee "Bob" Howsam (1918-2008) joins the AFL, and on Sept. 9 wins the first-ever AFL game over the Boston Patriots by 13-10, then compiles a lousy 39-97-4 record during the decade, becoming the only AFL never to play in a title game, having its first winning season in 1973; meanwhile future Super Bowl winning QB (1997-8) John Elway (1960-) (Denver Broncos #7) is born this year, and joins the team in 1983, fighting to turn around its born-loser image and finally doing it before retiring in 1999.
On Jan. 28, 1960 after twisting the arm of Washington Redskins owner (since 1932) George Preston Marshall (1896-1969) (owner of a TV monopoly in the South) by buying the rights to their fight song "Hail to the Redskins", the new Dallas Cowboys NFL franchise (originally the Dallas Steers then the Dallas Rangers) is created by Clint William Murchison Jr. (1923-87) et al., going on to become rivals of the other Southern team the Washington Redskins (greatest rivalry in sports?); after the Redskins defeat them 26-14 in their first contest they finish their first season 0-11-1; in the 1970s the song Dallas Cowboys Pride by Charley Pride becomes their anthem, followed in 20?? by Feed Me by Keize Montoya.
Also in 1960 Pete Rozelle (1926-96) becomes commissioner of the Nat. Football League (NFL) (until 1989), and the Dallas Cowboys join the NFL, giving it 13 teams, while the Cardinals relocate from Chicago, Ill. to St. Louis, Mo. on Mar. 13, giving the city two teams with the same name; Jack Mara and Wellington Timothy "Duke" Mara (1916-2005), owners of the New York Giants (the largest market) agree to share TV revenue on a league-wide basis, giving the league a needed boost; on Dec. 26 the 1960 NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field in Philly sees the Philadelphia Eagles, led by QB Norman Mack "Norm" "the Dutchman" Van Brocklin (1926-83) and backup QB Christian Adolph "Sonny" Jurgensen III (1934-) defeat the Green Bay Packers in Franklin Field in Philadelphia by 17-13, becoming the only post-season D of Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, after which they go on to win five titles in seven years, incl. the first two Super Bowls; in 1964 the Eagles trade aging Jurgensen to the Washington Redskins for QB Norm Snead, only to find out that there's a lot of life left in him, and Lombardi ends up as his coach in 1969, after which he doesn't retire until 1975.
On Apr. 12, 1960 Candlestick Park (AKA the Stick) in San Francisco, Calif. (begun 1958) opens, becoming the home of the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers until 2000; state tax auditor Al Dermody (1910-2004) won a newspaper contest with 16K entries by naming it after the nearby Candlestick Point rock formation; the Beatles play their last live commercial concert there on Aug. 29, 1966.
Also in 1960 Milton Ross "Milt" Plum (1935-) of the Cleveland Browns (#16) ends the season with a record 110.4 NFL passer rating, the highest until 1989; he started the season with 16 TDs without an interception in the first 10 games.
On Oct. 1, 1961 the $24M District of Columbia Stadium (begun July 8, 1960) E of the U.S. Capitol Bldg. near the W bank of the Anacostia River and the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. opens, designed to host both baseball and football, with the first circular "cookie-cutter" design, becoming the home of the Washington Redskins (until 1996) and Washington Senators (until 1971); in Jan. 1969 it is renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
On Nov. 28, 1961 running back Ernie Davis (1939-63) of Syracuse U. becomes the first African-Am. to win the Heisman Trophy, getting drafted by the Washington Redskins, traded to the Cleveland Browns, then developing leukemia in 1962 before playing a single pro game.
In 1961 AFL Houston Oilers QB (#16) George Blanda (1927-) ends the season with an NFL record 36 TD passes, which it takes Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins until 1984 to surpass with 48.
On Aug. 11, 1962 the first NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio sees the New York Giants tie the St. Louis Cardinals 21-21. In 1962 Harland James Svare (1930-) is named head coach of the Los Angeles Rams (until 1965), becoming the NFL's youngest head coach at 31 years 11 mo.
On Jan. 9, 1963 new Cleveland Browns owner (since 1961) Arthur Bertram "Art" Modell (1925-2012) fires longtime coach (since its founding in 1945) Paul Brown.
On Jan. 29, 1963 the first members of the Nat. Prof. Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio are named; it is dedicated on Sept. 7; complaints that it favors the NFL and snubs the AFL lead to the creation of the online Am. Football League Hall of Fame.
In 1963 James Nathaniel "Jim" Brown (1936-), #32 of the Cleveland Browns surpasses Joe Perry's 1958 record of 8,378 yards by rushing 8,390 yards.
In 1963 the NFL New York Titans (founded in 1960) are bought by oil magnate Leon Hess (1914-99), entertainment industry exec David Abraham "Sonny" Werblin (1910-91) (chmn. of Madison Square Gardens, who builds the Meadowlands Sports Complex), and women's apparel manufacturer Philip H. "Phil" Iselin (1902-76) (all Jewish-Am.), becoming the New York Jets (AKA Gang Green); they play at the Polo Grounds until 1964, then switch to Shea Stadium; in 1984 they move to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
On Oct. 28, 1964 Jim Marshall (1937-) of the Minn. Vikings carries the ball 60 yards in the wrong direction into the San Francisco 49ers' end zone, scoring a safety for them; even so, Minn. wins 27-22.
On Dec. 27, 1964 the Cleveland Browns upset the Baltimore Colts 27-0 to win the NFL championship as QB Frank Ryan throws three long TDs to Gary Collins, becoming the city's last major title until ?; the team later becomes a prey of the NFL Denver Broncos and QB John Elway on Jan. 11, 1987 when he leads the 98-yard game-tying drive later called "The Drive".
On Jan. 2, 1965 the AFL New York Jets sign U. of Ala. QB Joe Namath for $427K, doubling his own outrageous asking price to woo him away from the NFL Baltimore Colts.
In 1965 QB (since 1960) Jack French Kemp (1935-2009) leads the Buffalo Bills to a 2nd straight AFL title, becoming the AFL MVP; in 1971 after 10 years with the Bills, he quits to become a Repub. rep. from N.Y. (until 1989).
On June 8, 1966 the Nat. Football League (NFL) and Am. Football League (AFL) announce a merger. On Oct. 1, 1966 (All Saints Day) after sports exec David Dixon (1923-) sees the Astrodome in Houston, Tex. and says "I want one of these, only bigger", the New Orleans Saints football team receives an NFL franchise, and on Nov. 8 La. voters approve a constitutional amendment to build the La. Superdome, estimated at $35M; too bad, it doesn't get started until Aug. 11, 1971, and when finished on Aug. 3, 1975 it costs $165M. On Nov. 27, 1966 the Washington Redskins defeat the New York Giants by 74-21, becoming the highest-scoring game in NFL history (until ?).
The big 666 year safely behind it, America acknowledges itself as the new Rome by establishing its own national gladiator match with the Super Bowl number for year #x always 1966 + x? On Jan. 15, 1967 Super Bowl I (NFL World Championship) is played at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. to nearly 28K empty seats with tickets just $6; the Green Bay Packers (NFL) (coach Vince Lombardi) defeat the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) (coach Hank Stram) 35-10; Packers QB Bryan Bartlett "Bart" Starr (1934-) (#15) is MVP, throwing two TD passes; Chiefs QB is Leonard Ray "Len" Dawson (1935-) (#16); despite a hangover, 34-y.-o. wide receiver William Max McGee (1932-2007) catches seven passes (compared to four all season) for 138 yards and scores the first points in a SB, a TD on a 37-yard pass from Bart Starr; too bad, he later dies after falling from a roof; the announcer is Wyo.-born Curt Gowdy (1919-2006); no rerun tape is saved; superstar Paul Hornung (known as the 2nd part of "Thunder and Lightning" with Jim Taylor) is the only Packer not to play, suffering from a pinched nerve; Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt (1932-2006) invents the term Super Bowl when his daughter says the word "Super Ball" with her Texas twang?; Halo Effect sees the Dow Jones Industrial avg. decline for a year after an AFC team wins the Super Bowl, and increase for a year after the NFC team wins.
On Aug. 20, 1967 Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, Calif. (begun in 1965) opens, becoming the home of the NFL San Diego Chargers; in 1997 it becomes Qualcomm Stadium.
On Dec. 31, 1967 the Ice Bowl (-13F, wind-chill of -46F) sees QB Bart Starr plunge into the end zone from the 1-yard line with 13 sec. left to give the Green Bay Packers under coach Vince Lombardi a 21-17 NFL Championship Game V over the Dallas Cowboys to a packed house, their 3rd in a row and 6th in eight years.
In 1967 the bottom-of-the-barrel Denver Broncos NFL franchise drafts running back Floyd Douglas Little (1942-), becoming their first draft pick, saving the team from relocation and becoming known as "The Franchise", leading the NFL in rushing in 1968-73, and retiring with 6,323 yards rushing and 54 TDs.
In 1967 Travis Williams (1946-91) of the Green Bay Packers sets an NFL record in his rookie season with four TDs on kickoff returns; too bad, he ends up a homeless alcoholic, and dies at age 45.
On Jan. 14, 1968 Super Bowl II (2) is held in Miami, Fla. in the Orange Bowl; the Green Bay Packers (NFL) defeat the Oakland Raiders (AFL) 33-14; Packers QB Bart Starr is MVP for the 2nd straight time; Vince Lombardi is carried off the field for the last time after nine years as Packers coach; Raiders QB (1967-74) Daryle Pat "the Fireman" "the Mad Bomber" Lamonica (1941-) completes 15 of 34 passes for 2 TDs.
On Sept. 26, 1968 the Cincinnati Bengals NFL team is founded as an AFL expansion team by former Cleveland Browns coach (1945-63) Paul Eugene Brown (1908-91), who becomes coach #1 (until Jan. 1, 1976); it joins the NFL in the 1970 AFL-NFL merger; he keeps asst. coach Bill Walsh down for years, telling other teams that he's not head coach material, then loses two Super Bowls to San Francisco 49ers teams coached by him.
On Oct. 6, 1968 5'11" Omaha, Neb.-born Marlin Oliver "the Magician" Briscoe (1945-) becomes the first starting African-Am. QB in prof. football (AFL), going on to set a Denver rookie QB record of 14 TD passes in five starts, and a cord 335 passing yards against Buffalo on Nov. 24; too bad, coach Nick Saban won't use him as a starter in the 1969 season, so he moves to the Buffalo Bills, only to be told that he can't be a QB and must become a wide receiver, going on to lead in TD catches and receptions before moving to the Miami Dolphins in 1971 and winning two Super Bowls.
On Nov. 17, 1968 the Heidi Game (Bowl) sees an Okland Raiders comeback V over the New York Jets preempted by NBC-TV with 65 sec. to go to show the 104-min. made-for-TV film Heidi, dir. by Delbert Mann of "Marty" fame and starring Blake Edwards' daughter Jennifer Edwards, causing angry phone calls by legions of pissed-off football fans after the score goes from 32-29 to 32-43 as Oakland scores two TDs in the space of 9 sec., while announcer Curt Gowdy doesn't know he's off the air; the NFL gets language accepted in its TV contracts guaranteeing that games will be shown in their entirety to local markets.
On Jan. 12, 1969 Super Bowl III (3) ("biggest upset in NFL history") is held in Miami, Fla.; the 18-point underdog New York Jets (AFL) shock the 13-1 Baltimore Colts (NFL) (who skunked the Cleveland Browns 34-0 in the NFL title game) 16-7, and make shaggy, mustachioed, swinging single Jets MVP QB (#12) Joseph William "Broadway Joe" "Joe Willie" Namath (1943-) (born in Beaver Falls, Penn.) (who boldly predicted a win in advance) into a celeb on a par with rock stars after he passes for 206 yards and holds his right index finger aloft while leaving the field; later in the year he is snubbed for Johnny Unitas for NFL greatest QB of all time; the V is a vindication for Jets coach Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank (1907-98), who was fired from the Baltimore Colts in 1962 and hired in 1963 to build the new revamped New York Titans franchise up; on June 6 Joe Namath resigns from the NFL after commissioner Pete Rozelle tells him he must sell his stake in a bar - what have you been up to, Mr. Moneybags?
On Feb. 4, 1969 John Earl Madden (1934-) becomes head coach of the Oakland Raiders (NFL).
On Feb. 8, 1969 after a game-fixing libel suit by U. of Ala. coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (1919-83) over a 1969 article that is taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court results in a $3M damage award, the weekly Saturday Evening Post (founded 1821) pub. its last issue, dated Jan. 10 (50 cents) (vol. 242, #3), suspending pub. after 148 years; the cover story is "Anybody Want to Buy Chicago?"; it resumes in summer 1971 as a bimonthly, with a circ. of 500K.
On June 22, 1969 the highly-polluted Cuyahoga (Mohawk "Cayagaga = crooked river, Seneca "Cuyohaga" = place of the jawbone) River in Cleveland, Ohio catches on fire, with 50-ft. flames, typing the area, its pollution, sports teams, and fans all at the same time, launching the Cleveland Sports Curse, in which no major league team in any sport from this town wins a nat. title from 1964 until the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 - you are my darling, don't take my sunshine away?
On Sept. 21, 1969 Steve O'Neal (1946-) of the New York Jets kicks a regular season record 98-yard punt vs. the Mile-Hi Denver Broncos.
In 1969 due to aging first-string players Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus et al., the once NFL-king Chicago Bears go on a slump, with a combined 28-69-1 record through 1975, and 1-13 record this year; pudgy Bears defensive coach Abraham "Abe" Gibron (1925-97) becomes head coach in 1972-4, going 4-1-1, 3-11, and 4-10; in 1973 he is filmed singing Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" during a game against Denver while looking uninvolved with the play, becoming a blooper reel favorite.
In 1969 Richard Albert "Dick" Vermeil (1936-) of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the NFL's first full-time special teams coach.
On Jan. 11, 1970 Super Bowl IV (4) is held in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, La. with record $15 ticket prices; 13-pt. favorite Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) defeat the Minn. Vikings (NFL) 23-7; Chiefs QB Leonard Ray "Len" Dawson (1935-) is MVP; Chiefs QB Thomas Raymond "Tom" Flores (1937-) becomes the first Hispanic starting QB to win a Super Bowl; Chiefs WR Otis Taylor (1942-) makes a big TD catch; Chiefs coach Hank Stram (1923-2005) becomes the first to wear a microphone for NFL Films during the game; Vikings coach (1967-83) Harry Peter "Bud" Grant Jr. (1927-) goes on to lead the Vikings to four straight SB losses; a hot air balloon bearing the Vikings' colors crashes inside the stadium during the pregame show; winning players get $15K, losers $7.5K.
On June 30, 1970 $45M Riverfront Stadium in in the Golden Triangle (junction of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers) in Cincinnati, Ohio opens, becoming the home of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (until Dec. 16, 2000). becoming the home of the NFL Cincinnati Bengals (until 2002) and the ML Cincinnati Reds ("the Big Red Machine") (until 1999); Roy Rogers jokes that he was born at 2nd base; on June 30 their grand opening hosts the Atlanta Braves, and Hank Aaron hits the first homer; on July 14 it hosts the 1970 ML All-Star Game, in which Reds star Pete Rose collides with Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse at home plate; in Sept. 1996-2002 it becomes Cinergy Field; it is demolished on Dec. 29, 2002.
On July 16, 1970 $55M Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Penn. opens, becoming the home of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and the ML Pittsburgh Pirates; it closes on Dec. 16, 2000, and is demolished on Feb. 11, 2001.
On Sept. 21, 1970 NFL Monday Night Football, produced by Roone Arledge (1931-2002) debuts on ABC-TV, with hosts ("I'm just telling it like it is") Howard William Cosell (Cohen) (1918-95) (until 1983), former Dallas Cowboys QB (1960-8) Joseph "Dandy Don" Meredith (1938-), and Keith Jackson (1928-); the Cleveland Browns defeat the visiting New York Jets 31-21; on Nov. 23 ever-schmucky Cosell arrives drunk, slurring his speech and puking on Don Meredith's boots at halftime, leaving the stadium before the 2nd half (Cosell doesn't like ex-jocks who broke into sportscasting); in 1972 former NFL New York Giants star Francis Newton "Frank" Gifford (1930-2015) becomes a host (until 1997); in 1983 Cosell quits after calling football "a stagnant bore".
In Sept. 1970 the circular Three Rivers Stadium at the Golden Triangle (junction of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers) in Pittsburgh, Penn. opens, becoming the home of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (until 2000). On Jan. 4, 1976 48-y.-o. kicker ("the Fossil") George Frederick Blanda (1927-2010 ) plays his last game at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Penn. in the 1975 AFC Championship Game, kicking a 41-yard field goal for the Oakland Raiders, who lose 16-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers; in 26 NFL seasons the former star QB completed 1,911 of 4,007 pass attempts for 236 TDs.
In 1970 Allen "Al" Davis (1929-2011) becomes the principal owner of the Oakland Raiders (until 2011).
Starting with the 1970 season, every home game of the Denver Broncos football team is sold out (until ?), allowing local TV coverage and making the team's fortunes the main interest of the whole Colo. Front Range region, plus surrounding states; beginning with the 1977 season, superfan Tim McKernan (1940-2009) (a mechanic for United Airlines) gains fame as the Barrel Man, appearing at games in his shorts, shoes, hat, sunglasses, and a barrel with suspenders, even during snowstorms; he finally retires after the 2007 season.
On Jan. 17, 1971 Super Bowl V (5) (1971) ("Blunder Bowl") (11 total turnovers) is held in Miami, Fla., becoming the first to be played on artificial turf; for the 1st time the winners of the Am. (AFC) and Nat. (NFC) Football Conferences of the NFL (instead of the winners of the AFL and NFL) play in it; the Baltimore Colts (AFC) (coach Don McCafferty), led by QB Johnny Unitas defeat the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) 16-13 on a 32-yard field goal by toe-kicking rookie Jim O'Brien (1947-) with 5 sec. left, becoming the first team with the most turnovers to win the SB; Cowboys linebacker (1961-73) Charles Louis "Chuck" Howley (1936-) is MVP, the first from a losing team; Unitas retires in 1974.
On Nov. 30, 1971 Buzz Kulik's Brian's Song debuts, based on Gale Sayers' 1970 autobio. "I Am Third", a tear-jerker ABC-TV movie of the week starring James Caan as white cancer-stricken Chicago Bears player Louis Brian Piccolo (1943-70), and Billy Dee Williams as black player and roommate Gale Eugene Sayers (1943-2020); incl. the song The Hands of Time (Brian's Song), composed by Michel Legrand.
On Jan. 16, 1972 Super Bowl VI (6) (1972) is held in New Orleans, La.; the Dallas Cowboys (NFC), coached since 1960 by fedora-wearing Thomas Wade "Tom" Landry (1924-2000) defeat the Miami Dolphins (AFC) and its no-name defense 24-3 for their first SB win; Cowboys' QB (#12) (1969-79) Roger "the Dodger" Staubach (1942-), AKA Capt. America and Capt. Comeback completes 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards and 2 TDs, incl. one to tight end Mike Ditka (1939-), and becomes the first Heisman Trophy winner to also become Super Bowl MVP; the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders ("America's Sweethearts") appear later this year, with Western-style uniforms featuring midriff-baring tops and vests, skimpy white shorts, and go-go boots, which are later changed to cowboy boots; a TV movie about them is shown in 1979, drawing half the U.S. TV audience.
On Aug. 12, 1972 Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (begun 1968), designed by Am. architect Charles U. Deaton (1921-96) opens as the home for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs (until ?), becoming known for the loudest fan noise in the NFL (116 dB), and dubbed the "toughest play to play" by Sports Illustrated mag.; the inaugural game is with the St. Louis Cardinals; Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium is built next to it for the ML baseball Kansas City Royals, opening next Apr. 10 (until ?), then hosting the 40th All-Star Game on July 24, the two being called the Truman Sports Complex.
On Dec. 23, 1972 Pittsburgh Steelers RB Franco Harris (1950-) performs the Immaculate Reception, retrieving a seemingly incomplete pass just before it hits the ground for a 60-yard TD with 5 sec. to play, lifting the Steelers past the Oakland Raiders 12-7 in the AFC divisional playoff game.
In 1972 after the Baltimore Colts lose the AFC title game 21-0 to the Miami Dolphins, owner Carroll Rosenbloom (1907-79) swaps the team for the Los Angeles Rams with owner Robert Irsay (1923-97); investor Hugh Franklin Culverhouse (1919-94) helps broker the deal, going on to buy the new NFL (NFC) Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, and stink himself up by keeping the payroll one of the lowest in the league, causing talented players incl. Steve Young and Doug Williams to bolt.
On Jan. 14, 1973 Super Bowl VII (7) is held in Los Angeles, Calif.; the "perfect (ultimate) season" (16-0) Miami Dolphins (AFC) (coach Don Shula) with the "No-Name Defense" defeat the "Over the Hill Gang" Washington Redskins (NFC) 14-7 (coach George Allen), keeping them from crossing midfield more than twice, despite a blunder by Cyprus-born kicker Garabad Sarkis "Garo" Yepremian (1944-2015) (#1/#47), whose 42-yard field goal attempt leading 14-0 with 2 min. left in the game is blocked by William Glenn "Bill" Brundige (1948-) (#77), and after retrieving it he stupidly tries to pass for the first down and fumbles it to Redskins cornerback Michael Thomas "Mike" Bass (1945-) (#41) (his former teammate on the Detroit Lions), who returns it 49 yards for a TD; Dolphins' free safety Jacob E. "Jake" Scott III (1945-) (who wears #13 until 1978, which is later made famous by QB Dan Marino and retired), who makes two interceptions is MVP; Dolphins golden-haired QB Robert Allen "Bob" Griese (1945-) (#12), who fractured his right leg and dislocated his ankle in game 5, and was replaced by Earl Morrall for 10 games returns for the AFC championship game; the next perfect season is the New England Patriots in 2007 - not (18-1).
On Sept. 14, 1973 Pres. Nixon signs into law a measure lifting the NFL's home game blackout policy; from now they can only blackout a home game locally if it is not sold-out within 72 hours of game time.
On Dec. 16, 1973 NFL halfback Orenthal James "O.J." "the Juice" Simpson (1947-) becomes the first to rush for 2K yards in a season (2,003 yards) - not counting Gretna Green and Rockingham? On June 12-13, 1994 (night) the slasher-style murder of Nicole Brown Simpson (b. 1959) and friend Ron Goldman (b. 1968) leads to a great media circus as her hubby, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson (1947-) is arrested on June 17 after a 60-mi. low speed pursuit in his white Ford Bronco (which causes the NBA Finals on TV to be interrupted), and then in a televised media circus trial tried and acquitted on Oct. 5 next year, while most Am. whites believe him to be guilty, and most blacks believe him innocent; the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer "reminded us what good, basic journalism is about" (Ted Koppel) by breaking many authentic stories about the case; O.J.'s Wisc.-born bleached-blonde surfer boy "professional houseguest" Brian "Kato" Kaelin (1959-) (son of Gilligan and Ginger?) becomes a celeb, and ends up flip-flopping and saying he believes he's guilty.
In 1973 the first commercials for Bud Lite are aired, starring NFL stars Matt Snell and Ernie Stautner, and mystery writer Mickey Spillane; later ads feature 35+ celebs incl. Billy Martin and Bubba Smith.
On Jan. 13, 1974 Super Bowl VIII (8) is held in Houston, Tex.; the Miami Dolphins (AFC) defeat the Minn. Vikings (NFC) and their Purple People Eaters and scrambling QB (#10) Francis Asbury "Fran" Tarkenton (1940-) 24-7, winning their 2nd straight; Dolphins QB Robert Allen "Bob" Griese (1945-) only throws seven passes; Dolphins RB Lawrence Richard "Larry" Csonka (1946-) rushes for 145 yards and 2 TDs and becomes the first RB to become Super Bowl MVP; a 30-sec. commercial costs $103K.
On July 11, 1974 the World Football League (WFL) plays its first games.
On Dec. 9, 1974 former Beatle John Lennon (1940-80) appears on Monday Night Football during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams, and is interviewed by Howard Cosell, uttering the soundbyte that football games "make rock concerts look like tea parties"; the Redskins win by 23-17.
On Dec. 21, 1974 the Sea of Hands Game between the 11-3 Miami Dolphins and 12-2 Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. sees a final-seconds throw by Oakland QB Ken Stabler to RB Clarence Davis, who wrestles the ball from multiple Miami defenders to secure a 28-26 victory, ending Miami's historic run of Super Bowl appearances.
On Jan. 12, 1975 Super Bowl IX (9) (1975) is held in New Orleans, La.; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) and their Steel Curtain defense defeat the Minn. Vikings (NFC) 16-6, with the Vikings' only points coming on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone; Steelers' RB Franco Harris (1950-) is MVP.
On Nov. 8, 1975 5'7" 165 lb. runt defensive end (#45) Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger (1948-) finally gets to play football for Notre Dame U. in the last game of the season and his last year of elibility, getting a sack on Georgia Tech QB Rudy Allen on the 2nd and last play before being carried off the field by teammates, becoming only the 2nd to be carried off the field after Marc Edwards; portrayed in the 1993 film "Rudy" starring Sean Astin.
On Dec. 6, 1975 the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. (begun 1973) opens as the home of the NFL Detroit Lions and NBA Detroit Pistons; it features the first domed roof supported completely by air.
On Dec. 28, 1975 Dallas Cowboys QB (#12) (Roman Catholic) Roger Thomas "Roger the Dodger" "Captain Comeback" "Captain America" Staubach (1942-) publicizes the Hail Mary Pass with a comment to WR Drew Pearson in a playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings: "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary."
In 1975 the Chicago Bears begin a new era after drafting running back #34 Walter Jerry "Sweetness" Payton (1954-99), who goes on to rush for 110 TDs in a 13-season 190-game career, averaging 88 yards per game while only missing 1 game.
On Jan. 18, 1976 Super Bowl X (10) is held in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) defeat the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) 21-17; Steelers wide receiver Lynn Curtis Swann (1952-), who suffered a concussion a week earlier and spent two days in the hospital performs spectacular receptions, incl. the game-winning 64-yard TD pass reception from QB Terry Paxton Bradshaw (1948-), along with an acrobatic 53-yard 2nd-quarter catch, and becomes the 1st wide receiver to become SB MVP.
In 1976 Eagles fan, substitute teacher, and bartender Vince Papale (1946-) benefits from an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles set up by new coach Dick Vermeil, and ends up playing with them for three seasons (1976-8), becoming a real-life Rocky story in Philly.
On Jan. 9, 1977 Super Bowl XI (11) (1977) is held in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (1st time); the Oakland Raiders (AFC) defeat the Minn. Vikings (NFC) 32-14 as Bud Grant coaches the Vikings to their 4th Super Bowl loss in eight years; Raiders CB William Ferdie "Willie" Brown (1940-) returns a Fran Tarkenton interception 75 yards for a TD, setting a record that stands until Super Bowl XL in 2000 (Kelly Herndon, 76 yards); Raiders WR Frederick S. "Fred" Biletnikoff (1943-) is MVP.
On Sept. 14, 1977 (Wed.) the weekly sports show Inside the NFL debuts on HBO, switching to Showtime in Sept. 2008 (until ?), featuring NFL Films footage of the past week's games along with commentary, analysis, and interviews by Al Meltzer and Chuck Bednarik; in 1978 the new hosts are Len Dawson and Merle Harmon, who is replaced in 1980 by Nick Buoniconti; in 1990 Chris Collinsworth joins; in 2002 the hosts are Cris Carter, Dan Marino, Bob Costas, and Chris Collinsworth.
On Dec. 24, 1977 the Ghost to the Post Play in the NFL playoffs sees the Oakland Raiders defeat the Baltimore Colts 37-31 in double OT after Ken Stabler completes a 42-yard pass to TE Dave "the Ghost" Casper that sets up a game-tying field goal in the final seconds from the 15-yard line, after which Casper catches a 10-yard TD pass, becoming the last playoff appearance for the Baltimore Colts; on Jan. 1 the Raiders are defeated 20-17 by the Denver Broncos at the AFC championship game in Denver, Colo.
In 1977 Denver Broncos electrifying WR (#80) Ricky "Rick" Upchurch (10952-) sets an NFL record with four punts returned for TDs; in 1977 he leads the NFL with 653 punt return yards, helping his team gain their first Super Bowl appearance.
On Jan. 15, 1978 Super Bowl XII (12) is held in New Orleans, La.; the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) defeat the Denver Broncos (AFC) and their Orange Crush defense 27-10, with mobility-challenged Broncos QB Larry Craig Morton (1943-) intercepted 4x in the first half; in the final seconds Dallas linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson (1953-) (#56) crumples an orange cup in his hand and shouts "There's your Orange Crush"; Cowboys defensive tackle Randall Lee "Randy" White (1953-) (#54) and defensive end Harvey Banks "Too Mean" Martin (1950-2001) (#79) share the MVP award.
On Aug. 12, 1978 Oakland Raiders defensive back John David "Jack" "the Assassin" Tatum (1948-2010) paralyzes top New England Patriots WR Darryl Floyd Stingley (1951-2007) in a preseason game; on Sept. 10 the Oakland Raiders defeat the San Diego Chargers 21-20 in a last-min. play in which Raiders QB Kenneth Michael "Ken" "the Snake" Stabler (1945-2016) "fumbles" the ball ahead to Pete Banaszak (1944-), who then dittos to David John "Dave" "the Ghost" Casper (1952-), who falls on it in the end zone for a 21-20 win, becoming known as the Holy Roller (Immaculate Deception) Game, after which the rules are changed to only permit the fumbling player to recover a fumble on a 4th down play or any down after the 2-min. warning.
On Sept. 7, 1978 (Thur.) the flop sitcom The Waverly Wonders debuts on NBC-TV for 9 episodes (until Oct. 6), starring retired NFL star Joseph William "Broadway Joe" Namath (1943-) as ex-pro basketball player Joe Casey, who teaches history at Waverly H.S. in Eastville, Wisc and coaches the school basketball team, whose only decent player is a girl, Connie, played by Kim Lankford (1955-).
On Nov. 19, 1978 the Miracle at the Meadowlands AKA The Fumble sees the Philly Eagles losing by 17-12 with no timeouts in the final secs. when Giants QB Joe Pisarcik fumbles a handoff to RB Larry Csonka, after which CB Herman "Herm" Edwards Jr. (1954-) recovers it and returns it for a TD, allowing the Eagles to win by 19-17; the Eagles go on to design the Victory *Kneel) Formation as a result of the "Herman Edwards Play".
On Jan. 21, 1979 Super Bowl XIII (13) is held in Miami, Fla.; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) defeat the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) 35-31 in a nail-biter as the Cowboys score 14 consecutive points but can't recover a 2nd onside kick with 22 sec. left; Dallas tight end Jackie Larue Smith (1940-) drops a 10-yard TD pass from Roger Staubach with the Steelers leading 21-14 in the 3rd quarter; MVP is Steelers' QB Terry Paxton Bradshaw (1948-), whom a week earlier Cowboys linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson (1953-) described as so dumb that he couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted him the "c" and the "a".
On May 31, 1979 the Am. Athletic Conference (AAC) is founded in Providence, R.I. by the Nat. Collegiate Assoc. Div. 1, with 11 members incl. U. of Central Fla., U. of Cincinnati, U. of Conn., East Carolina U., U. of Houston, U. of Memphis, U. of South Florda, Southern Methodist U., Temple U., Tulane U., and U. of Tulsa.
On Jan. 20, 1980 Super Bowl XIV (14) is held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. in front of a record crowd of 103,985, with Steelers fan waving terrible towels; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) defeat the Los Angeles Rams (NFC) 31-19, with MVP QB (2nd time) (#12) Terry Paxton Bradshaw (1948-) throwing a 73-yard scoring strike to WR (#82) John Lee "Johnny" Stallworth (1952-) (which never worked in practice), clinching it; a record 4th SB win for the Steelers in six years, who now begin a long drought (until 2006).
On Jan. 27, 1980 the first 1980 Pro Bowl game is held in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii; the NFC defeats the AFC 37-27; on Jan. 25, 2015 the venue is moved to the U. of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., followed by Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Jan. 31, 2016, and Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 29, 2017.
On Jan. 25, 1981 Super Bowl XV (15) is held in New Orleans, La.; the Oakland Raiders (AFC) defeat the Philadelphia Eagles (NFC) 27-10, jumping out to a 14-0 lead; MVP is Raiders scrambling 6'3" QB James W. "Jim" Plunkett (1947-), who avoids a sack and tosses a short pass to RB Kenneth Leon "Kenny" King (1957-), who breaks a tackle by CB Herman "Herm" Edwards Jr. (1954-) for a SB record 80-yard TD reception; Tom Flores of the Raiders becomes the first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl.
On Oct. 4, 1981 Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. opens - with Jimmy Hoffa buried in one of its concrete pillars?
On Jan. 10, 1982 the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC title and qualify for their first Super Bowl when Dwight Clark makes The Catch, a leaping catch of QB Joe Montana's pass in the end zone. On Jan. 24, 1982 Super Bowl XVI (16) is held in the new $55.7M Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., the first SB played at a cold weather site; the San Francisco 49ers (NFC) defeat the Cincinnati Bengals (AFC) 26-21 despite being outgained 356-275 total yards and Bengals tight end (#89) Daniel R. "Dan" Ross (1957-2006) having a SB record 11 receptions; a goal line stand by #57 Dan Bunz (1955-), who stops Cincinnati RB Charles Alexander (1957-) after he catches a 3rd down pass before halftime proves pivotal, and becomes known as "the Stop"; MVP is 49ers QB Joseph Clifford "Joe" Montana Jr. (1956-); in Nov. 2009 after the 2008-9 recession, the Silverdome is sold for $583K.
On Sept. 21, 1982 after getting pissed-off at never being allowed to see their contracts, Nat. Football League (NFL) players begin the 57-day 1982 NFL Strike (ends Nov. 16), their first-ever regular season walkout, and the longest in the history of pro sports (ends Nov. 16), leaving a 9-game season; the players obtain a wage scale based on longevity, along with severance pay, but fail to obtain a union-controlled salary fund and a fixed percentage of TV revenues.
On Jan. 3, 1983 (Mon.) the Minn. Vikings defeat the Dallas Cowboys 27-31 despite Cowboys RB (#33) (1977-87) Anthony Drew "Tony" Dorsett (1954-) setting a record with a 99-yard TD, breaking the record of 97 yards set by Andy Uram (1939) and Bob Gage (1949); in 1988 after a career total of 12,036 yards, he is traded to the Denver Broncos, adding another 703 yards before retiring.
On Jan. 30, 1983 Super Bowl XVII (17) is held in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; the Washington Redskins (NFC) defeat the #1-rated defensive team Miami Dolphins (AFC) 27-17, holding Miami to nine first downs and four completions and gaining their first NFL title since 1942; Redskins RB (#44) Robert John "the Diesel" "Riggo" Riggins (1949-) (who got into a contract dispute in 1980 and sat out the 1980 season, then returned in 1981, uttering the soundbyte "I'm bored, I'm broke, and I'm back") is MVP, rushing for 166 yards on 38 carries, incl. a 43-yard run on a 4th-and-1 for a TD which gives Washington its first lead, 20-17, with only about 10 min. remaining.
On Apr. 3, 1983 the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (AKA the Humpdome) in Minneapolis, Minn. (begun 1979) opens as the home of the NFL Minnesota Vikings and ML baseball Minnesota Twins; it features a fiberglass fabric roof that is self-supported by air pressure.
On Apr. 26-27, 1983 the 1983 NFL Draft at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City becomes known as the Year of the Quarterback for the six QBs selected in round 1, incl. John Albert Elway Jr. (1960-) (pick #1) (Stanford U.) (Denver Broncos #7), James Edward "Jim" Kelly (1960-) (pick #14) (U. of Miami.) (Buffalo Bills #12), Charles Carroll "Tony" Eason IV (1959-) (pick #15) (U. of Ill.) (New England Patriots #11), Todd Alan Blackledge (1961-) (pick #17) (Penn State U.) (Kansas City Chiefs #14), Kenneth John "Ken" O'Brien (1960-) (pick #24) (UCD) (New York Jets #7), and Daniel Constantine "Dan" Marino (1961-) (pick #27) (U. of Pittsburgh) (Miami Dolphins #13); Elway balks at being drafted by the loser Baltimore Colts, and gets traded to the Mile-Hi Denver Broncos, saved from bankruptcy in 1984 by Prairie du Chien, Wisc.-born Patrick Dennis "Pat" Bowlen (1944-2019), which proves to be a good decision as he becomes the entire Colo. area's new sports god and wins three Super Bowls.
On Aug. 6, 1983 the first-ever NFL game played in Europe sees the Minn. Vikings defeat the New York Giants 28-10 in Wembly Stadium in London.
On Jan. 22, 1984 Super Bowl XVIII (18) is held in Tampa, Fla.; the Los Angeles Raiders (AFC) (first franchise to represent two cities in the SB) defeat the Washington Redskins (NFC) by 38-9; Raiders' MVP RB Marcus Allen (1960-) has 20 carries for 191 yards, incl. a record 74-yard TD run from scrimmage where he reverses the field and finishes with an escort from WR Cliff Branch (1948-); NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle forgets their $50M court battle and presents the trophy to Raiders owner Al Davis; Apple Computer's Super Bowl XVIII Halftime Commercial for its new Macintosh computer (introduced on Jan. 24), dir. by Ridley Scott convincingly equates its rival Microsoft and their plug-ugly buggy user-unfriendly generic PCs and monopolistic practices with Orwell's Big Brother; Apple engineer Jef Raskin (1943-2005) and his student Bill Atkinson (1951-) allegedly talked Steve Jobs into visiting Xerox Parc in Palo Alto, Calif., where they viewed and nonchalantly lifted the ideas of the mouse and pop-up windows; it uses the Motorola 68000 microprocessor as the CPU.
On Mar. 27-28, 1984 (night) after falling attendance, owner (since 1972) Robert Irsay (1923-97) moves the NFL Colts (founded 1953) out of Baltimore, Md. under cover of darkness to Indianapolis, Ind., leaving Baltimore without an NFL team until 1996; their first home game in the RCA Dome on Sept. 2, 1984 is a 21-14 loss to the New York Jets, after which they go 12-36 in their first five years, and only have five winning seasons and three playoff berths in their first 15 years, ending up 90-228 through the 1997 season; Robert's son Jim Irsay (1959-) takes over the team after his death, ramping the team up to a record 12+ games won per season for six consecutive seasons.
On Oct. 15, 1984 Monday Night Football hosts a football game in Denver, Colo.'s Mile-High Stadium featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Green Bay Packers in the middle of a major snowstorm, becoming known as the Slip 'n' Slide Game; although it hardly ever snows in dry Denver (on the plains in front of the Rocky Mts.) thousands book ski trips, boosting the ski industry.
On Nov. 23, 1984 the Hail Flutie Game sees 5'10" Boston College Eagles QB Douglas Richard "Doug" Flutie (1962-) throw a last-second 48-yard game-winning Hail Mary (55 Flood Tip) to Gerard Phelan to defeat the U. of Miami. Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl by 47-45 (greatest offensive play in college football history until ?), after which Flutie wins the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 1; he is then drafted as the 285th pick in the 11th round of the NFL draft (lowest ever) because he's undersized, causing him to hop to the N.J. Generals of the USFL in 1985, followed by the Los Chicago Bears in 1986-7, New England Patriots in 1987-9, then hopping to the CFL in 1990-7 (3 Grey Cups, 6 MVPs), becoming the youngest U.S. player to make the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, returning to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills in 1998-2000, then the San Diego Chargers in 2001-4, finishing with the New England Patriots in 2005 - undersized fans have 20 years of hope?
In 1984 #13 Daniel Constantine "Dan" Marino Jr. (1961-) of the Miami Dolphins throws an NFL season record 48 TD passes, which it takes Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts until 2004 to break with 49.
On Jan. 29, 1995 Super Bowl XXIX (29) (1995) is held at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Fla.; the San Francisco 49ers (NFC) defeat the San Diego Chargers (AFC) 49-26 (the first Chargers SB game; they are an underdog by a record 18.5 points); 49ers QB #8 Jon Steven "Steve" Young (1961-) (a Salt Lake City, Utah-born descendant of Brigham Young) throws six TD passes and becomes MVP, finally leaving the shadow of Joe Montana, who won four SBs (1981, 1984, 1988, 1989), two with Young as backup QB; the first SB in which both teams score in all four quarters; a record 75 total points (until ?) and 10 total TDs (until ?).
On Nov. 18, 1985 (Monday Night Football) Washington Redskins QB (since 1974) (#7) Joseph Robert "Joe" Theismann (1949-) suffers "The Hit That No One Who Saw It Can Ever Forget" when a flea-flicker play goes wrong in 5 sec. and New York Giants left tackle Lawrence Taylor sacks him, causing his right leg to snap so that everybody can see, ending his career and making left tackles the #2 highest-paid players in the NFL after QBs.
On Dec. 2, 1985 to celebrate its 500th regular season game on Nov. 11, causing them to ask fans to vote for their favorite game, who picked the Oct. 23, 2000 Jets comeback over the Dolphins, Monday Night Football airs its highest rated game (60M viewers) as the 13-0 Chicago Bears and their "46" defense are swamped and defeated 38-24 by the Miami Dolphins, led by QB Dan Marino in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.
On Jan. 26, 1986 Super Bowl XX (20) is held in New Orleans, La. after the Chicago Bears film their Super Bowl Shuffle, and QB James Robert "Jim" McMahon Jr. (1959-) moons a TV heli during SB practice; the 15-1 Chicago Bears (NFC) and their "46" defense and hot-tempered coach Mike Ditka (1939-) and never-injured running back Walter "Sweetness" Payton (1954-99) defeat the New England Patriots (AFC) 46-10; 300+-lb. rookie defensive tackle (#72) William Anthony "the Refrigerator" Perry (1962-) scores a 1-yard 3rd quarter rushing TD and does a Super Shuffle in the end zone in a total romp over the hapless Patriots, reminiscent of an outtake from "Planet of the Apes" (the gorillas vs. the orangutans); Chicago defensive end (#95) Richard Lamar Dent (1960-) is MVP; the Bears aren't invited to the White House to honor their win until Bears fan Pres. Obama on Oct. 7, 2011, who calls them "the greatest team in NFL history".
In 1986 the U. of Miami Football Team, coached by Jimmy Johnson takes NFL-style intimidation of opponents to college football; a 14-10 Fiesta Bowl V over them by Penn State sees Miami Heisman Trophy winner QB Vincent Frank "Vinny" Testaverde (1963-) throw five picks and turn the ball over 7x; in 2010 Sports Illustrated picks them as the most-hated sports team in U.S. history.
On Jan. 11, 1987 the New York Giants romp over the Washington Redksins in the NFL title game in Giants Stadium 17-0; meanwhile after QB John Elway (1960-) stages the legendary 4th-quarter late game-saving 98-yard 15-play The Drive, the Denver Broncos defeat the Cleveland Browns in OT 23-20 in Cleveland to win the AFC title; people in Cleveland begin to think they live under Denver's shadow, while people in Denver feel they have a Super Bowl jinx to beat. On Jan. 25, 1987 Super Bowl XXI (21) is held in Pasadena, Calif.; after the paper tiger Denver Broncos (AFC) led by QB John Elway make it to halftime with a 10-9 lead, the New York Giants (NFC), led by QB (#11) Phillip Martin "Phil" Simms (1955-) come back in the 3rd quarter and score 17 unanswered points, followed by 7 more to start out the 4th quarter, then blow them out 39-20, incl. a 44-yard flea-flicker in the 3rd quarter using Phil McConkey as the flicker; millions quit watching in the 4th quarter, costing advertisers big bucks; MVP Giants' QB Phil Simms is the first to tell the TV cameras "I'm going to Disney World" after the game ends, and sets SB records with 10 consecutive completions, .880 completion percentage, hitting 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and 3 TDs; Budweiser introduces Spuds MacKenzie (real name Honey Tree Evil Eye, 1987-93) in its Bud Light ads, drawing criticism for attracting children to booze, causing them to retire him, er, her in 1989.
On Sept. 21, 1987 the NFL Players' Strike begins, mainly over the issue of free agency; on Sept. 27 football fans suffer through their first Sunday without football; on Oct. 4 NFL owners organize zany games with replacement and non-striking players at sparsely attended stadiums; on Oct. 15 it ends after 24 days - every athlete dreams of a second chance, these men lived it?
On Nov. 29, 1987 San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana (1956-) completes an NFL record 22 consecutive passes.
Shut yo' mouth or you're outta here, this is the land of the free, as long as you like being unemployed? On Jan. 16, 1988 CBS-TV sports commentator Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder (1919-96), famous for predicting the outcome of 18 of 21 Super Bowls is summarily fired one day after telling a TV reporter in Washington, D.C. that "During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid"; this event signals the arrival of the Regime of Political Correctness in the U.S., where the leftist mainly Jewish-controlled media attempt to stifle all free speech by creating an atmosphere where anybody expressing an opinion not in line with their super-liberal agenda of acceptance for integration, racemixing, homosexuality, feminism, affirmative action, and secularization (de-Christianization) of the govt. is open season for any govt. entity, univ., or corporation to fire at will, with the action accepted without question and applauded openly by the media as not to be questioned - actually the horrible boat trip from Africa aboard slave ships already weeded out the weak and left the main pop. ready for prime time? On Jan. 17, 1988 the Washington Redskins win the NFC championship by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 17-10; after another big John Elway 4th-quarter game-saving drive, the Denver Broncos defeat the Cleveland Browns 38-33 to win the AFC title; people in Cleveland begin to think they live under Denver's shadow, while people in Denver feel they have a Super Bowl jinx to beat. On Jan. 31, 1988 Super Bowl XXII (22) is held in San Diego, Calif.; the Washington Redskins (NFC) blow out the Denver Broncos (AFC) 42-10 after Denver momentarily appears to have broken their SB jinx with a 56-yard John Elway bomb to Ricky Nattiel for a TD on their first play from scrimmage, and a 10-0 opening lead; too bad, Washington doesn't wait till the 3rd quarter like the New York Giants, exploiting Denver's weak secondary to score 35 points in the 2nd quarter with four TD passes by QB (#17) Douglas Lee "Doug" Williams (1955-), making the rest of the game into a super bore in which Redskins rookie running back (#36) Timothy LaRay "Timmy" Smith (1964-) rushes for a record 204 yards like a hot knife through butter, incl. a 58-yard TD run; the largest deficit overcome to win a SB (10 points); outraged advertisers watching the masses turn the channel at halftime half-seriously clamor for a "No Denver in the Super Bowl" rule; Washington's Doug Williams is MVP (first black SB starting QB and MVP); speaking of Denver, in 2005 Timmy Smith is arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer in Denver, sentenced to 2.5 years, then released on Mar. 3, 2008.
On Jan. 22, 1989 Super Bowl XXIII (23) is held in Miami, Fla.; the San Francisco 49ers (NFC) come from behind to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals (AFC) 20-16 with "the Catch" (Montana to Rice) after San Francisco begins on their 8-yard line, and ends with a 10-yard TD completion to 49ers WR (#82) John Gregory Taylor (1962-) with 34 sec. left, who also makes a record 45-yard punt return; Bengals punter (#11) Leland Eric "Lee" Johnson (1961-) makes a SB record 63-yard punt; 49ers WR (#80) Jerry Lee Rice (1962-) is SB MVP; Bengals QB (#7) (1984-92) Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason (1961-) wins the NFL MVP award, and is named to the Pro Bowl, but is so depressed by the SB loss that he declines to play in it.
On Feb. 25, 1989 Los Angeles, Calif.-born oil tycoon Jerral Wayne "Jerry" Jones Sr. (1942-) buys the NFL Dallas Cowboys from Bum Bright for $140M, firing coach Tom Landry in favor of his old teammate at the U. of Ark. Jimmy Johnson, then firing gen. mgr. Tex Schramm to assume complete control.
Speaking of big blacks? On Oct. 3, 1989 Arthur Lee "Art" Shell Jr. (1946-) becomes the first African-Am. coach of a prof. football team, the NFL Los Angeles Raiders (until 1994). On Oct. 12, 1989 after an 0-5 start the Dallas Cowboys stage The Trade, trading trade running back (since 1986) Herschel Junior Walker (1962-) (#34) and three draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings for defensive back Issac Holt, running back Darrin Nelson, three other players and eight draft picks, using the picks to land a Super Bowl core of Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, and Kevin Smith.
On Oct. 26, 1989 N.J.-born atty. Paul John Tagliabue (1940-) becomes the new NFL commissioner (until Aug. 8, 2006), succeeding Pete Rozelle, going on to expand the NFL by six franchises. On Nov. 23, 1989 (Thanksgiving Day) the Bounty Bowl at Texas Stadium in Dallas sees Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan allegedly put a $200 bounty on Cowboys kicker Zendejas, whom they had cut earlier in the season, and another on QB Troy Aikman; the Eagles defeat the Cowboys by 27-0; on Dec. 10 a rematch (Bounty Bowl II) in at Veterans Stadium Philly is also won by the Eagles 20-10. On Dec. 25, 1989 the NFL holds its first Christmas Day Game.
On Jan. 28, 1990 Super Bowl XXIV (24) ("Massacre Bowl") is held in New Orleans, La.; the San Francisco 49ers (NFC) blow out the totally lame Denver Donkeys (Broncos) (AFC) 55-10 in the most lopsided SB win ever, giving the 49ers their 4th SB title and leaving the hapless Broncos 0-4 in Super Bowls; MVP 49ers QB Joe Montana completes 22 of 29 passes for 297 yards and a record 5 TDs; as Jerry Rice crosses the goal line for the 3rd time he raises his arm in a magic moment that summarizes the game.
On Apr. 1, 1990 CBS-TV fires sportscaster Brent Mussburger (1939-), popular host of "The NFL Today" (began 1973) for having too much power, and he leaves with the parting soundbyte "Folks, I've had the best seat in the house. Thanks for sharing it, I'll see you down the road"; he moves to ABC-TV.
In 1990 the NFL introduces a 17-week regular season with byes, and expands the playoffs to 12 teams, adding two wild card teams to bring in more TV money and streamline a complex tie-breaking system; as of the Jan. 2005 wild card playoffs, the home team is 42-18 vs. the visiting team, 18-12 for the NFC and 24-6 for the AFC; in Jan. 2001 all four home teams win for the first time; 3 home teams win 11x; 2 home teams win 2x; in 2005 only 1 home team wins.
In 1990 L.A. Raiders star Bo Jackson (1962-) suffers a hip injury causing him to be released, but next June he begins walking without crutches, and the month after that new "Bo Knows" Nike ads incl. him again; he signs with the Chicago White Sox, but turns out to be washed-up.
In 1990 Univ. of Colo. football coach William Paul "Bill" McCartney (1940-) founds the bizarre crypto-Christian cult called the Promise Keepers, which likes to assemble adult males in football stadiums for some kind of ritual love fest sansa sex to help men "keep their promises" to spouses, families, God, their churches, and themselves; by 1996 they have a budget of $115M and a staff of 400, and attract over 1M to 22 stadium events during the year - love for all except feminists, homosexuals, religious and political liberals, non-Christians...?
On Jan. 27, 1991 the super-patriotic Super Bowl XXV (25) is held in Tampa, Fla.; Whitney Houston sings a stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, which is the first ever to reach the top 40; the N.Y. Giants (NFC) (head coach Bill Parcells) defeat the Buffalo Bills (AFC) (head coach Marv Levy) 20-19 after Bills' kicker (#11) Scott Allan Norwood (1960-)'s 47-yard field goal attempt with 4 sec. remaining sails wide right; Giants' QB Ottis Jerome "O.J." Anderson (1957-) is MVP.
On Jan. 26, 1992 Super Bowl XXVI (26) is held in Minneapolis, Minn.; the Washington Redskins (NFC) defeat the Buffalo Bills (AFC) 37-24, leading 24-0 by the 3rd quarter; Thurman Thomas (1996-) of the Bills misses the first two plays from scrimmage when he can't find his helmet; a reception by James Arthur "Art" Monk (1957-) becomes the first TD overruled by instant replay in a SB; Redskins QB Mark Robert Rypien (1962-) is MVP, passing for 292 yards and two TDs.
In 1992 the AFC San Diego Chargers become the first NFL team to start 0-4 and make the playoffs (11-5) (until ?).
On Jan. 31, 1993 Super Bowl XXVII (27) is held in Pasadena, Calif.; the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) defeat the Buffalo Bills (AFC) 52-17, converting nine turnovers into 35 points; Bills WR Don Lee Beebe (1964-) collars showboating defensive lineman Leon Lett Jr. (1968-) from behind at the end of a long fumble return and knocks the ball out of his hands for a touchback; Cowboys QB (#8) Troy Aikman (1966-) is MVP; 3rd consecutive SB loss for the Bills.
In 1993 Mike Holmgren (1948-) becomes head coach of the troubled Green Bay Packers NFL team, building it into a championship team.
On Jan. 30, 1994 Super Bowl XXVIII (28) is held in Atlanta, Ga.; the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) defeat the Buffalo Bills (AFC) 30-13 in the Bill's 4th straight SB loss; a 46-yard fumble return by James Washington helps to tie the score and turn the momentum against Buffalo; Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith (1969-) is MVP; Geoffrey Stephen "Steve" Christie (1967-) of Buffalo makes a SB record 54-yard field goal.
In Mar. 1994 the NFL makes the most sweeping rule changes in 20 years, permitting a 2-point touchdown conversion along with other changes to minimize the impact of field goals.
On Jan. 29, 1995 Super Bowl XXIX (29) is held in Miami, Fla., and the San Francisco 49ers (NFC) defeat the San Diego Chargers (AFC) 49-26 (the first Chargers SB game; they are an underdog by a record 19 points); 49ers QB #8 Jon Steven "Steve" Young (1961-) (a Utah-born descendant of Brigham Young) throws six TD passes and becomes MVP.
On July 29, 1995 the NFL (NFC) expansion team Carolina Panthers (known as Buffalo Bills South because of the large number of former Bills players) play their first game, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars by 20-14, going on to finish a record 7-9, followed by 12-4 in 1996.
On Jan. 28, 1996 Super Bowl XXX (30) (1996) is held in Tempe, Ariz.; the Dallas Cowboys (NFC) defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) 27-17 after Steelers QB (#12) Neil Kennedy O'Donnell (1966-) (career leader in fewest interceptions per pass attempt) serves up the easiest interceptions in SB history, with Dallas cornerback Larry Brown Jr. (1969-) snagging two, the 2nd with 4 min. left, setting up the clinching TD, and becoming MVP; Dallas defensive end (#94) Charles Lewis Haley (1964-)) becomes the first player to win five Super Bowl rings.
On Jan. 26, 1997 Super Bowl XXXI (31) (1997) is held in the La. Superdome in New Orleans, La.; the Green Bay Packers (NFC) defeat the New England Patriots (AFC) 35-21 (first win since 1967), with Packers QB Brett Lorenzo Favre (1969-) dancing around like a little boy after giving Green Bay the early lead, and New England pulling within 27-21 late in the 3rd quarter; Packers kickoff receiver (Heisman Trophy winner) Desmond Howard (1970-) (known for The Pose in a 1991 Michigan-Ohio game) runs a 99-yard kickoff return, becoming the first KOR to win the MVP award; Patriots owner Robert Kenneth Kraft (1941-) falls out with coach (since 1993) Duane Charles "Bill" "Big Tuna" Parcells (1941-) over being given input in personnel decisions, and he refuses to fly home with the team, then jumps to the New York Jets a few days later, uttering the soundbyte "If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries."
In 1997 6'1" 2-way player Charles Cameron Woodson (1976-) of the U. of Mich. becomes the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy (until ?); U. of Tenn. QB Peyton Williams Manning (1976-) is passed over, but is chosen #1 in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts over Washington State U. QB Ryan David Leaf (1976-), who goes to the San Diego Chargers with a 4-year $31.25M contract and rookie record $11.25M signing bonus, only to become known as the "No. 1 draft bust in NFL history" after he is let go in 2000 after just four wins as a starter in three seasons; Woodson goes on to play for the Oakland Raiders (#24) in 1998-2005 and 2013-?, finally intercepting Manning in a home game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 11, 2015; watch video.
On Jan. 25, 1998 Super Bowl XXXII (32) is played in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.; the underdog Denver Broncos (AFC) defeat the Green Bay Packers (NFC) 31-24 to win their first Super Bowl in five attempts after QB (#7) John Elway (1960-) refuses to slide and takes a hit which makes him whirl like a helicopter on a third-and-6 with the score tied and less than 5 min. to go, giving them a first down and a go-ahead TD a few plays later; Broncos RB (#30) Terrell Davis (1972-) (not QB John Elway) is MVP; when the team returns, a giant parade is held for them in downtown Denver as if the pope were in town?
In 1998 the loser (3-13) Indianapolis Colts draft QB Peyton (Gael. "royal") Williams Manning (1976-), who goes 3-13 in his first season then puts the team into the playoffs year after year, leading them to eight (seven AFC South and one AFC East) division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl championship (Super Bowl XLI) before a neck injury gets him booted out in 2011.
On Oct. 25, 1998 Jason Elam (1970-) of the Denver Broncos ties the 1970 63-yard field regular season field goal record of Tom Dempsey of the Saints in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The coming Armageddon is delayed by blond big boy god John Yahweh? On Jan. 31, 1999 Super Bowl XXXIII (33) is played in Miami, Fla., featuring Cher singing the U.S. nat. anthem; the Denver Broncos (AFC) defeat the Atlanta Falcons (NFC) 34-19 (2nd straight win); Broncos defensive tackle (#97) Michael Timothy "Mike" Lodish (1967-) becomes the first player to play in six SBs (Buffalo 1991-4, Denver 1998); MVP QB John Elway gets both a passing and running TD, incl. an 80-yard TD pass to Rod Smith which beats Atlanta safety Eugene Robinson, who received the Bart Starr Award for "high moral character" only to be arrested for soliciting an undercover ho the night before the game; happy big Leave it to Beaver boy Elway retires after the game; the Falcons had been the laughing stock of the NFL since their inception in 1966; the Atlanta coach is Elway's former Broncos coach Daniel Edward "Dan" Reeves (1944-), whom Elway got fired after two Super Bowl blowout losses - keep it up, Danny boy?
In 1999 the Madden Curse begins after Barry Sanders is featured on the cover of the Madden NFL 2000 video game, then retires from the Lions before training camp; Michael Vick of the Falcons (Madden 2004) breaks his right fibula and plays only five games; Donovan McNabb of the Eagles (Madden 2006) misses seven games because of a sports hernia; Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks (Madden 2007) breaks a bone in his left foot.
In 1999 $290M LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. opens as the new home of the NFL Tennessee Titans (formerly Houston Oilers and Tenn. Oilers).
In 1999 after a group of native Americans file suit in 1992, The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancels the trademark of the Washington Redskins; a federal judge overturns their decision in 2003; on June 18, 2014 after more pressure the board does it again.
On Jan. 30, 2000 Super Bowl XXXIV (34) is held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.; the St. Louis Rams (formerly L.A. Rams) (NFC) (coach Dick Vermeil) defeat the Tennessee Titans (formerly Houston Oilers) (AFC) 23-16 after "The Tackle", where Titans QB (#9) Steve LaTreal "Air" McNair (1973-2009) throws a complete pass to wide receiver Kevin Tyree Dyson (1975-) (#87), and Rams linebacker (#52) Michael Anthony "Mike" Jones (1969-) tackles him 1 yard short of the goal line (despite Dyson stretching out his right arm in vain), stopping a game-tying score as time expires, causing Vermeil to weep; former grocery bagger Rams QB (#13) Kurtis Eugene "Kurt" Warner (1971-) (who led the NFL in passing in the regular season) is the MVP.
In 2000 the John Mackey Award for college football's most outstanding tight end is established; the first winner is Tim Stratton of Purdue U.
On Jan. 28, 2001 Super Bowl XXXV (35) is held in Raymond Jones Stadium in Tampa, Fla.; NFL turf consultant George Toma (1929-) deploys inflatable snakes on the field when it is seeded 2 weeks earlier; the Baltimore Ravens (AFC) defeat the N.Y. Giants (NFC) 34-7 as three TDs are scored in a 36-sec. span in the 3rd quarter, starting with Ravens DB Duane Starks intercepting a Kerry Collins pass and returning it 49 yards for a TD, then Ron Dixon of the Giants running back the ensuing kickoff 97 yards, then Baltimore's Jermaine Lewis countering with an 84-yard kickoff return; Ravens LB (#52) Raymond Anthony "Ray" Lewis (1975-) is MVP.
In Apr. 2001 the NFL bans players from wearing Do-rags and bandanas underneath their helmets except for medical reasons.
On Sept. 9, 2001 after Va.-born Michael Dwayne Vick (1980-) leaves Virginia Tech after his sophomore year, and is drafted #1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, who sign him to a $135M multi-year contract, biggest in NFL history (ends 2008), he makes his NFL debut in San Francisco, Calif., leading the Falcons to a 24-16 win.
On Oct. 21, 2001 Denver Broncos (NFL) offensive tackle Matt Lepsis puts a cut (below the knee) block on San Diego Chargers defensive end (and former Bronco) Maa Tunavasa, ending his playing career; NFL Players Assoc. pres. Gene Upshaw calls on the league to ban cut blocks, but he is ignored, and Broncos and other teams' offensive linemen continue to break defensive linemens' legs so their teams can score more points.
On Jan. 6, 2002 (final game of the 2001 season) Giants defensive end (#92) (1993-2007) Michael Anthony Strahan (1971-) gets a half-sack on Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre for a season record 22.5 sacks (until ?); too bad, many believe that Favre laid down for his friend with the Packers ahead by nine points, haunting him for life?
On Feb. 3, 2002 (after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue cancels a week's slate of games after 9/11, pushing the season back) Super Bowl XXXVI (36) is held in New Orleans, La.; the halftime show features U2; the underdog New England Patriots (AFC) (coach Bill Belichick) defeat the St. Louis Rams (NFC) (coach Mike Martz) (QB Kurt Warner) by 20-17 for their first SB title, capped by a 48-yard field goal by 6'0" #4) Adam Matthew "Mr. Clutch" Vinatieri (1972-) as time expires; 2nd-year Patriots QB (#12) (6th round draft pick, who replaced Drew Bledsoe after an injury) Thomas Edward "Tom Terrific" Brady Jr. (1977-) is MVP.
9/11 or no 9/11, they're not taking away Yankee football? On May 11, 2002 $325M Gillette Stadium in Foxborough (near Boston), Mass. opens on May 11 as the new home of the NFL New England Patriots; on July 28 $430M Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash. opens as the new home of the NFL Seattle Seahawks; in June 2011 it becomes CenturyLink Field; on Aug. 24 $352M Reliant Stadium in Houston, Tex. opens as the new home of the NFL Houston Texans; on Mar. 19, 2014 it is renamed the NRG Stadium after Reliant Energy's parent co. NRG Energy; on Aug. 24 $500M Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. opens as the new home of the NFL Detroit Lions.
On Sept. 8, 2002 the "Texas Super Bowl" (Paul Tagliabue) sees the new NFL Houston Texans defeat the Dallas Cowboys 19-10, becoming the 2nd expansion team to start 1-0 after the 1961 Vikings (against the Bears).
On Sept. 24, 2002 after former Pittsburgh Steelers center (1974-88) Michael Lewis "Iron Mike" Webster (1952-2002) dies in Pittsburgh, Penn., becoming the first NFL player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by Nigerian-born Am. forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu (1968-); the NFL tries a coverup by claiming he died of a heart attack until 4K former NFL players sue the NFL in 2011, and they reach a $765M settlement on Aug. 30, 2013, followed by a final settlement on Apr 22, 2015, requiring $75M for medical exams, $10M for R&D, and no limit for damages; in Sept. 2015 the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Boston U. announce that they found CTE in 96% of NFL players and 79% of all football players; in 2015 the film Concussion starring Will Smith as Omalu is released.
On Jan. 26, 2003 Super Bowl XXXVII (37) is held in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.; the top-ranked defense Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) defeat the top-ranked offense Oakland Raiders (AFC) 48-21 as coach Jon Gruden gets even with former boss Al Davis; the Bucs return three of five Rich Gannon interceptions for TDs, incl. a 44-yard one by linebacker Derrick Brooks, and a 50-yard one by Dwight Smith with 2 sec. left; Bucs free safety Dexter Lamar Jackson (1977-) is MVP.
On Sept. 22, 2003 ABC's Monday Night Football features the Denver Broncos hosting their nemesis the Oakland Raiders in front of a crowd of 76,753, the largest ever home game attendance (least no-shows); the Broncos defeat the Raiders by 31-10.
In Sept. 2003 $365M Soldier Field II in Chicago, Ill. opens as the home of the NFL Chicago Bears.
On Nov. 4, 2003 NFL Network is launched, reaching 71.9M subscribers by 2015.The 38-D Cup Wardrobe Malfunction Bowl? On Feb. 1, 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII (38) is held in Houston, Tex., and the New England Patriots (AFC) defeat the Carolina Panthers (NFC) 32-29 as 6'4" MVP (for the 2nd time) Patriots QB (#12) Thomas Edward Patrick "Tom Terrific" Brady Jr. (1977-) duels 6'2" Carolina's QB (#12) Jake Christopher Delhomme (1975-), the two QBs passing for 677 yards and six TDs; Delhomme makes a SB record 85-yard pass completion to Muhsin Muhammad II (Melvin Darnell Campbell Jr.) (1973-); Carolina becomes the first #3 seed to reach the SB; Justin Timberlake exposes Janet Jackson's breast during the halftime show, and she later claims a "wardrobe malfunction", triggering the Nipplegate controversy; at the Grammys, Timberlake comments "What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys are offended"; a record $550K FCC fine results in mass self-censorship at radio and TV stations all the rest of the year, and Howard Stern flees to unregulated satellite radio, debuting on Sirius Satellite Radio (launched on July 1, 2002) in Jan. 2006.
On Nov. 15, 2004 a steamy intro to ABC's Monday Night Football (Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys) featuring naked white blonde babe Nicolette Sheridan of the hit show Desperate Housewives dropping her towel and jumping into the arms of big tall black Eagles receiver Terrell Owens in his locker room draws complaints from angry viewers and the NFL, and an apology from ABC; announcer John Madden was originally picked for the skit, but didn't have the time?
On Dec. 26 Indianapolis Colts QB (#18) Peyton (Gael. "royal") Williams Manning (1976-) breaks Dan Marino's 1984 record of 48 TDs in the regular season in a game against the San Diego Chargers, with 49, which it takes Tom Brady of the New England Patriots until 2007 to beat (50); Manning ends the season with an NFL record QB rating of 121.1.
In 2004 5'11" Tex.-born RB Jamario Thomas (1985-) of the U. of North Tex. sets an NCAA record for the fastest to reach 1K yards, with 1,801 yards for the season, and the NCAA freshman record for five 200-yard games; too bad, after injuries his performance drops for the rest of his college career, and he is not drafted by the NFL.
On Feb. 6, 2005 Super Bowl XXXIX (39) is held Jacksonville, Fla., and the 14-2 New England Patriots (AFC) defeat the 13-3 Philadelphia Eagles (NFC) 24-21; Patriots WR (#83) Deion Branch (1979-) is MVP; the pregame talk about Terrell Owens returning from a broken ankle is eclipsed by aPatriots wide receiver mockingly flapping his wings after a TD catch; the Patriots' 3rd win in four Super Bowls (the 2nd team ever), and 3rd straight SB win by 3 points; the once-powerful San Francisco 49ers finish the season 2-14 at the bottom of their NFC West division as Joe Montana fades away on TV commercials, and Jerry Rice tries out for the Broncos and retires rather than face being cut, then ends up on TV's Dancing With the Stars; 43.8M lbs. of love-the-skin-you're-in avocados are eaten during the game by viewers.
On Feb. 5, 2006 Super Bowl XL (40) is held in Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. (first time ever in Detroit) before a cap. 65K crowd; the Rolling Stones perform Microsoft's anthem Start Me Up at the halftime show, causing grumbling by Motown performers, who are only allowed to do a pregame show; the Pittsburgh Steelers, led by QB (#7) "Big Ben" Rothlisberger (1982-) (who wears jersey #7 because his childhood hero was John Elway) (2nd youngest starting SB QB after Dan Marino) defeat the 4-point-underdog Seattle Seahawks, led by QB (#8) Matt Hasselback (1975-) by 20-10; Jerome Abraham "The Bus" Bettis (1972-) returns to his hometown on an Elway-like sentimental journey, while Microsoft-backed Seattle no-name defense and offense led by MVP QB Shaun Alexander (1977-) (with a record 28 TDs during the season) fails to take the 6.7 lb. $25K Tiffany & Co. Lombardi Trophy to Emerald City rather than Steel City; tickets are now $600, and a 30-sec. ad costs $2.5M.
On Mar. 8, 2006 NFL owners approve a 6-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement with the players' assoc., increasing the salary cap to 59.5% of league revenues; only the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals (who had a 52-108 record in the 1990s) vote against it.
On Sept. 1 Jamestown, N.Y.-born Roger Stokoe Goodell (1959-) succeeds Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner (until ?).
In Sept. 2006 the $455M "giant Hostess Ding-Dong" Ariz. Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., designed by Dennis Wellner opens, featuring 88 luxury lofts, a roll-out natural grass field, and retractable roof.
On Nov. 13, 2006 #19 Joseph Keyshawn Johnson (1972-) of the Carolina Panthers becomes the first player to score a TD on Monday Night Football with four different teams (New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys); he is released by the Panthers on May 1, 2007 after one season, and retires.
On Nov. 23, 2006 Thursday Night Football debuts on NFL Network (until ?); in 2014 CBS Sports begins simulcasting the games.
On Dec. 10, 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson (1979-) of the San Diego Chargers scores his 29th TD, breaking the NFL season record held by Shaun Alexander.
In 2006 Michael Lewis (1960-) pub. The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, the story of homeless 6'4 310 lb. black Michael Jerome Oher (1986-) (pr. oar), who has an 80 IQ but moves so fast that he becomes an NFL left tackle offensive lineman star after the NFL passing game begins to explode in the late 70s and linebackers begin killing QBs by exploiting their blind left side in the early 80s; he was adopted by affluent white Memphis, Tenn. couple Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Roberts Tuohy.
On Jan. 1, 2007 Denver Broncos cornerback (#27) Darrent Demarcus Williams (b. 1982) (AKA D-Will) is killed in his limo in downtown Denver, Colo. by drive-by shooters in a SUV right after his team loses their final game and is eliminated from the playoffs; the SUV is traced to Brian Hicks, leader of a Denver gang called the Elite Eight, formed in a New Year's Eve, 2002 pact, resulting in over 100 people being arrested in Apr. 2007 in the largest gang-drug sweep in Denver history; on Mar. 11, 2009 Willie Clark is found guilty of the murder.
On Feb. 4, 2007 Super Bowl XLI (41) is held in Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Fla., becoming known as the "Soul Bowl" for being the first in which there are two (any) black head coaches, Tony Dungy (1955-) of the 15-4 Indianapolis Colts, and Lovie Lee Smith (1958-) of the 15-3 Chicago Bears; the first SB appearance for the Colts since their move to Indianapolis in 1984 (384 games), and the 2nd #3 seed to play in the SB (first Carolina in 2004); the two team home stadiums are only 188 mi. apart (a record); the Colts' only SB win came in 1971 in Miami; the Indianapolis Colts, led by QB Peyton Williams Manning (1976-) (#18) defeat the Chicago Bears led by QB Rex Daniel Grossman III (1980-) (#8) by 29-17; Lovie Smith becomes the first African-Am. coach to lose a SB; the score is still 22-17 in the 4th quarter; Snickers runs an ad showing two men accidentally kissing, then validating their heterosexuality by tearing out their chest hair, which pisses-off the gay lobby and causes the ad to be cancelled later; the halftime show features head kerchief-wearing Prince, who performs "Purple Rain" in the rain (first SB to be played entirely in the rain), and gives one of the best SB halftime shows ever, not looking like a has-been like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones?; too bad, his guitar solo features a silhouette performance projected on a beige sheet, where he appears to sprout a long serpent-like phallus, while his guitar handle appears to become a pitchfork and his kerchief turns into horns? - and he's supposed to be a Jehovah's Witness?
On Dec. 29, 2007 the New England Patriots defeat the New York Giants 38-35 to go 16-0 for the first perfect NFL season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins; New England QB (#12) Thomas Edward Patrick "Tom Terrific" Brady Jr. (1977-) beats Peyton Manning's 2004 record of 49 TD passes in a season with 50, which it takes until 2013 to beat. On Feb. 3, 2008 Super Bowl XLII (42) is held in Cardinals (U. of Phoenix) Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.; the underdog 5th-seeded wild card New York Giants (coach Tom Coughlin) defeat the 18-0 New England Patriots (coach Bill Belichick) by 17-14 to deny them the first perfect NFL season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins and become the first NFC wild card team (3rd consecutive) to win a SB; there are a record three lead changes in the 4th quarter; the Patriots, led by QB (#12) Thomas Edward Patrick "Tom Terrific" Brady Jr. (1977-) had already defeated the Giants by 38-35 in the final game of the regular season; Giants QB (#10) Elisha Nelson "Eli" Manning (1981-) (little brother of last year's SB-winning QB Peyton Manning) leads "Eli's Drive" to score the winning TD with 35 sec. left in the game, after instant hero David Mikel Tyree (1980-) makes a miracle helmet catch to set it up with 1:15 remaining, before which Manning eludes the grasp of four defenders and pulls free to throw the ball; Fox Network charges $2.7M for a 30 sec. commercial.
On Aug. 16, 2008 the $720M Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. opens as the home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts.
In 2008 Tony Dungy (1955-) pub. Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life, which becomes the first NFL-related title to reach #1 on the NYT bestseller list.
On Feb. 1, 2009 Super Bowl XLIII (43) is held in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) defeat the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals (NFC) by 27-23, becoming the first team to win 6 SBs; when the Cardinals were still in Chicago, they merged with the Steelers for one season in 1944 under the name Card-Pitt; an ad featuring devout Christian Fla. U. QB (#15) Timothy Richard "Tim" Tebow (1987-) (first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy) claiming that his mother disregarded physician advice to abort him becomes controversial; on Apr. 22, 2010 Tebow is selected as #25 in round 1 of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos in the hope he will become their next John Elway, only to see him become way too controversial from his habit of kneeling in Christian prayer on the field; they let him go after the 2011 season despite winning a playoff game.
On May 2, 2009 the the indoor practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Tex. collapses in high winds, causing 12 to be hospitalized and permanently paralyzing scouting asst. Rich Behm (1975-).On May 27, 2009 $1.3B Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Tex. opens as the home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys; the first pre-season home game is played on Aug. 21, and the first regular season home game on Sept. 20; on July 25, 2013 it is renamed AT&T Stadium.
On Jan. 31, 2010 (Sun.) the NFL Pro Bowl is held for the first time in the continental U.S. at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., becoming the first Pro Bowl held before a Super Bowl.
On Feb. 7, 2010 Super Bowl XLIV ("the Who Bowl", with the Who Dat Saints vs. the Colts from the Hoosier State, and the Who playing the halftime show) is held in Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Fla.; the New Orleans Saints (NFL) defeat the Indianapolis Colts (AFC) by 31-17 (1st ever SB win); New Orleans QB Andrew Christopher "Drew" Brees (1979-) is MVP; meanwhile on Feb. 6 Dem. La. lt. gov. Mitchell Joseph "Mitch" Landrieu (1960-) is elected by a landslide as the first majority-black white mayor of New Orleans since 1978, when his daddy Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu left office.
On Jan. 2, 2011 the 8-8 Oakland Raiders become the first NFL team to go undefeated (6-0) in their div. (AFC West) and not make the playoffs; to rub it in, they ended the season with a 31-10 defeat of 10-6 div. leader Kansas City Chiefs.
On Feb. 6, 2011 Super Bowl XLV (45) (2011) is played in Arlington, Tex.; the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25; Christina Aguilera flubs a line while singing the U.S. nat. anthem; Packers QB (#12) Aaron Charles Rodgers (1983-) is MVP; Pres. Obama serves White House Honey Ale at his Super Bowl party, becoming the first U.S. pres. to home-brew beer in the White House.
On Jan. 8, 2012 the NFL wild card John 3:16 Game sees the Denver Broncos defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 after Bible-thumping QB (#15) Timothy Richard "Tim" Tebow (1987-) throws a bomb to WR (#88) Demaryius Antwon Thomas (1987-) that goes for an 80-yard TD on the first play of OT (shortest in NFL history, 11 sec.); Tebow throws for 316 yards in the game, and averages a playoff record 31.6 yards per throw, with a 31.6% audience share during the final 15 min., causing Christians to pull out his favorite Bible verse, John 3:16; too bad, the Broncos trade Tebow in the offseason for Peyton Manning. On Feb. 5, 2012 Super Bowl XLVI (46) (2012) is played in the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.; the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 21-17; Eli Manning is MVP. On Mar. 2 the NFL announces the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal (Bountygate), where defensive players were paid bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players since 2009; on Mar. 21 head coach Sean Payton is suspended for 1 year, and defensive coordinator Greg Williams is banned from the NFL indefinitely. On June 24 the 2012 NFL Referee Lockout begins; it ends on Sept. 26. On Sept. 24 the Fail Mary Game sees the Seattle Seahawks defeat the Green Packers 14-12 after a last-sec. Hail Mary ends up in both teams' hands simultaneously despite a flag thrown that should have given the Packers the win, causing a firestorm of controversy about the inferior replacement officials. On Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving) a game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets at MetLife Stadium sees the Butt Fumble, in which Jets QB Mark Sanchez collides with the backside of teammate Brandon Moore and fumbles the ball, which is recovered and returned for a TD by Steve Gregory of the Patriots; the Patriots go on to win 49-19.
On Feb. 3, 2013 Super Bowl LXVII (47) (AKA the Harbaugh Bowl, HarBowl, Super Baugh, Brother Bowl, Superbro) in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. sees the Baltimore Ravens, led by QB (#5) Joseph Vincent "Joe" Flacco (1985-) and coached by John Harbaugh (1962-) defeat the San Francisco 49ers, led by well-tattooed QB (#7) Colin Rand Kaepernick (1987-) and coached by his younger brother James Joseph "Jim" Harbaugh (1963-) by 34-31; first SB in which both teams are undefeated in prior SB appearances; last game for Super Bowl XXXV MVP Ray Lewis; after a halftime show by big bouncing Beyonce and Destiny's Child, the power goes out in the stadium for 34 min., throwing the momentum of the game and causing the Ravens' 28-6 score to dwindle steadily until they make a final goal line stand and run out the clock; 108.4M U.S. viewers watch it; CBS-TV charges $4M for each 30-sec. commercial; Flacco is named MVP.
On Aug. 29, 2013 the NFL agrees to a $765M settlement in a concussions lawsuit brought by former players.
On Sept. 29, 2013 QB Peyton Manning (#18) leads the Denver Broncos to a record 52-point win over the Philadelphia Eagles (52-30), setting an NFL record of starting the season with 16 touchdowns without an interception in only four games; on Oct. 13 the 5-0 Broncos defeat the 0-5 Jacksonville Jaguars by 35-19 after being favored by a record-tying 28 points, largest spread since the 1960 NFL-AFL merger; on Oct. 20 the 6-0 Broncos are defeated 39-33 by the Indianapolis Colts in Manning's long-anticipated return to his old home field. On Dec. 8, 2013 #5 Matthew Phillip "Matt" Prater (1984-) of the Denver Broncos kicks a record 64-yard field goal in a game against the Tenn. Titans, which the Broncos win 51-28. On Dec. 22, 2013 QB (#18) Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos beats Tom Brady's 2007 record of 50 TDs in a regular season with 51 in a 4-TD 37-13 win over the Houston Oilers; on Dec. 29 Manning raises the TD record to 55 in a 34-14 win against the San Diego Chargers, passing Drew Brees' 2011 record of 5,476 passing yards with 5,477; the Broncos become the first team to score 600+ points in a season (606); Manning scores 31 points in the first half, then retires for the game.
On Jan. 26, 2014 the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Hololulu, Hawaii becomes the first with a "fan-friendly" format aimed at fantasy football nuts; Team Jerry Rice defeats Team Deion Sanders by 22-21. On Feb. 2, 2014 Super Bowl LXVIII (48) ("Marijuana Bowl" because Colo. and Wash. are the only two states to permit recreational marijuana use) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (first outdoor SB in a cold weather city) sees the 13-3 Seattle Seahawks (NFC), led by QB (#3) Russell Carrington Wilson (1989-) and coached by Peter Clay "Pete" Carroll (1951-) defeat the 13-3 Denver Broncos (AFC), led by QB (#18) Peyton Williams Manning (1976-) (first to lead two different teams to the SB) and coached by John Fox (1955-) by 43-8 as Seattle's Legion of Boom shuts Denver's offense down; Denver muffs the first snap of the game to give Seattle a safety at 00:12; the score is 22-0 at halftime; Seattle linebacker (#53) Malcolm Smith (1989-) is named MVP; a U.S. TV record 111.5M viewers watch it; ads sell for $4M for 30 sec.; Manning blames fan noise, but Seattle already defeated Denver in the preseason by 40-10; Denver loses a record 5th Super Bowl.
On May 20, 2014 a group of retired NFL players incl. Jim McMahon, Richard Dent, and Keith Van Horne of the Chicago Bears, and Jeremy Newberry of the San Francisco 49ers file a lawsuit alleging that the NFL illegally supplied them with narcotics and other drugs to mask injuries to keep them playing, leading to medical complications after retirement.
On July 17, 2014 Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (cap. 68.5K-75K) opens as the home of the San Francisco 49ers; on Aug. 7 their first game is a 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, followed by a 34-0 loss on Aug. 17 to the Denver Broncos; on Feb. 7, 2016 it hosts Super Bowl 50 (L).
On Sept. 8, 2014 after a video of him knocking out his fiancee Janay Palmer in an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. on Feb. 15 emerges, the Baltimore Ravens fire star running back Raymell Mourice "Ray" Price (1987), who is banned by the NFL; previously on Mar. 27 a grand jury indicts him for 3rd deg. assault, on Mar. 28 Rice and Palmer are married, and on July 25 Rice is suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season, the video release causing mgt. to backpedal at jet speed. On Oct. 19 (Sun.) Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning bests Brett Favre's career TD record of 508 with 510 in a 42-17 blowout of the San Francisco 49ers in Denver, with four TDs to his credit, plus two more running TDs.
On Jan. 11, 2015 the 2014 AFC Title Game sees the 12-5 Indianapolis Colts led by QB Andrew Luck defeat the 12-5 Denver Broncos led by QB Peyton Manning by 24-13, causing doubts about Manning, who is suffering from thigh injuries returning next year; after the game, Denver fires coach John Fox and hires former John Elway backup QB Gary Kubiak as new head coach (until ?). On Feb. 1 (Sun.) Super Bowl XLIX (49) at the U. of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. sees the New England Patriots (coach Bill Belichick) defeat the Seattle Seahawks (coach Pete Carroll) by 28-24 after Seahawks QB Russell Wilson throws a slant pass to Ricardo Lockette in the end zone that is intercepted by Patriots rookie CB (#21) Malcolm Terel Butler (1990-) on 2nd and goal from the Patriots' 1 yard line with 20 sec. left in the game; right before that Seahawks WR (#15) Jermaine Kearse (1990-) makes a miracle catch of a tipped ball inside the 10-yard line; Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz perform the halftime show; a 30-sec. commercial costs $4.5M; Patriots QB Tom Brady is MVP, setting a record of 12 Super Bowl career TDs; all they had to do was give the ball to Seahawks RB (#24) Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch (1986-)?
On Mar. 23, 2015 after being arrested in Calif. in 2014, five-time Pro Bowler Darren Mallory Sharper (1975-) (#42) (Green Bay Packers, 1997-2004) (Minnesota Vikings, 2005-8) (New Orleans Saints, 2009-10) pleads guilty to nine counts of date rape, receiving nine years in prison, plus another 20 years in La. On Apr. 15 New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez is found guilty of first degree murder of Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison, uttering the soundbyte "You're wrong". On Apr. 28 the Nat. Football League (NFL) announces that it will finally begin paying taxes.
On Apr. 8, 2015 the NFL hires its first female official (zebra), Pascagoula, Miss.-born Sarah Bailey Thomas (1973-) (#153).
On Feb. 7, 2016 Super Bowl 50 (not L) (Golden Anniv.) at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. sees the 12-4 Denver Broncos (AFC) (8th SB appearance) (coach Gary Kubiak) defeat the 15-1 Carolina Panthers (NFC) (coach Ron Rivera) (first SB with former SB players as head coaches) (3rd straight season played by #1 seeds) by 24-10 after a super boa-constrictor-like performance by the 2000's Orange Crush defense (#1 in the NFL), led by linebacker (#58) Vonnie B'Vsean "Von" Miller (1989-), who sack 6'5" 245 lb. Panthers QB (#1) (since 2011) Cameron Jerrell "Cam" Newton (1989-) (NFL MVP) 7x after he came into the game calling himself Superman and got so much Kryptonite and was knocked on his cam so many times that he turned back into Clark Kent (a classic Greek tragedy?), walking out of the post-game interview and later admitting that he's a "sore loser"; Miller was drafted #2 in the 2011 NFL draft after #1 Newton; Broncos WR (#11) Jordan Shea Rashad Norwood (1986-) sets a SB record for longest punt return (61 yards); Broncos 6'5" 230 lb. QB (#18) (since 2012) Peyton Williams "the Sheriff" Manning (1976-) (known for frequently shouting "Omaha" before snaps) wins his 2nd SB (XLI) (first QB to win with two different teams) (oldest QB to play in a SB after John Elway of the Broncos) (largest age difference between opposing SB QBs at 13 years, 48 days), and sets a record for winning 200 games; Miller is named SB MVP, going on to sign a record $114M contract with the Broncos with a $70M guarantee on July 15, 2016, making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history; a 30 sec. commercial costs $5M; the nat. anthem is sung by Lady Gage; the halftime show features Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars w/Mark Ronson; Beyonce's performance of her new single "Formation" pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, and apparently pays tribute to the Black Panthers; Manning gives a free plug to Budweiser brand beer in his victory speech; Manning retires on Mar. 6 after earning a record $250M plus endorsements. On Mar. 7 Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning announces his retirement, with a record 539 TD passes, 71,940 passing yards, and 200 wins; he wears black high-top shoes to honor his hero Johnny Unitas, and ends with the exclamation "Omaha!"
In spring 2016 NFL and college football players begin using the new Zero1 Football Helmet, designed to reduce the risk of concussions. In the 2016 NFL season all stadiums are required to have metal detectors for fans.
On Aug. 26, 2016 (Fri.) during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, Calif., San Francisco 49ers biracial QB Colin Kaepernick (known for practicing in cop pig socks) refuses to stand for the U.S. nat. anthem, with the soundbyte: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder", stirring a firestorm of controversy, after which Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks sits during the anthem before a preseason game on Sept. 1, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos kneels during the anthem during the season opener against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 8, Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs stands for the anthem before the season opener on Sept. 11 against the San Diego Chargers while raising his right fist, and four Dolphins players incl. RB Arian Foster kneel before the entire Seattle Seahwaks team stands while linking arms for the nat. anthem before their season opener against the Miami Dolphins. On Dec. 25 (Sun.) after starting them on a losing streak with an OT field goal on Nov. 27, the 8-6 Denver Broncos' playoff chances are ended by their rival the 10-4 Kansas City Chiefs when 345 lb. nose tackle (#92) Dontari Poe (1990-) tricks the defense into thinking he's going to try a QB sneak and instead pooches the ball to Demetrius Harris, becoming the largest player in NFL history to throw a TD pass (until ?), and the first to record a sack and TD in the same season.
On Feb. 5, 2017 Super Bowl LI (51) at NRG Stadium in Houston, Tex. sees the New England Patriots overcome a 28-3 deficit late in the 3rd quarter to defeat the Atlanta Falcons by 34-28 in OT (first SB to go into OT); a record 5th SB title for the Patriots (9th appearance, incl. two in 3 years), all under coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady (7th appearances), who also becomes SB MVP for a record 4th time; the 50th anniv. of Super Bowl I (Jan. 15, 1967); the Falcons are 0-2 in the SB; the halftime show features Lady Gaga, who parachutes in from the open roof and gives a surprisingly patriotic performance that doesn't trash Trump on her big stage; a drone show is a first; too bad, Falcons coach Dan Quinn gave the game away by not running the game clock down on each play, giving New England enough time to score the tying TD and go into OT, then get lucky and win the coin toss, giving them a chance to win with one more TD? On Aug. 17 Philadelphia Eagles defensive end (#56) Christopher Howard "Chris" Long (1985-) (son of Howie Long) becomes the first white NFL player to demonstrate while the Nat. Anthem is being played at an NFL game, joining safety Malcolm Jenkins #27) during a game in Philly; he goes on to move to the Philadelphia Eagles and help win SB 52. On Sept. 22 Pres. Trump utters the soundbyte: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired!'"; on Sept. 24 200+ NFL players show their disagreement by kneeling during the playing of the nat. anthem, incl. almost the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, vs. less than 10 the week before.
On Feb. 4, 2018 after the Cleveland Browns go 0-16 and the Denver Broncos go 5-11, and Eagles QB Carson Wentz gets injured in Dec., Super Bowl LII (52) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., first SB in Minneapolis since 1992 sees the 13-3 Philadelphia Eagles (coach Doug Pederson) defeat the 13-3 New England Patriots (coach Bill Belichick) (record 10th SB appearance) by 41-33 to win their first SB (first NFL title since 1960) and deny the Patriots a record-tying 6th SB win, tying the Denver Broncos with the most SB losses (5); former backup Eagles QB (#9) Nicholas Edward "Saint Nick" Foles (1989-) catches a 1-yard TD pass from Trey Burton with 34 sec. to play in the first half to make the score 22-12; Patriots QB Tom Brady connects with Rob Gronkowski for a 4-yard TD with 9:22 remaining to make the score 32-33, after which on a 4th and 1 from their own 45 Zach Ertz of the Phillies catches a 2-yard pass, then scores a 11-yard TD on 3rd and 7 that puts the Eagles up 38-33; with 2:09 remaining Patriots QB Tom Brady (oldest SB QB at 40 years 185 days) is sacked while coming in for the winning TD by Eagles Brandon Graham and fumbles into the hands of Eagles Derek Barnett, leaving 1:05 on the clock, then winning the game after Brady's hail mary is knocked down in the end zone; Brady loses despite a record 505 passing yards, and 613 total yards for his team; a record 1,151 combined yards (Patriots 613, Eagles 583) (vs. 929 in 1988) and 74 points; the Eagles have a record 3 missed PAT conversions; the Eagles become the first team since SB XLV to win a SB while wearing their midnight green home jerseys; Pink sings the nat. anthem, and nobody kneeled in protest; the halftime show features Justin Timberlake; MVP is Nick Foles; on June 4 (p.m.) after several players refuse to attend over his support for standing for the playing of the nat. anthem at games, Pres. Trump uninvites the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House, and holds a Celebration of America event on the South Lawn of the White House instead.
On Apr. 26-28, 2018 the 2018 NFL Draft sees the last-place Cleveland Browns select 6'1" 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Reagan Mayfield (1995-) from Oklahoma U., who becomes their 30th starting QB since 1999; in his first NFL appearance on Sept. 20, he leads Cleveland to their first win in 19 games, 21-17 over the New York Jets, ending a 635-day winless streak.
On May 23, 2018 the NFL bans on-field kneeling during the playing of the U.S. Nat. Anthem; too bad, some players do it anyway; on Aug. 22 after ESPN announces that it will discontinue the Nat. Anthem before each Monday Night Football, Pres. Trump sends out an email to supporters calling for a boycott, calling it a "spineless surrender to the politically correct liberal mob".
On Nov. 18, 2018 former Dallas Cowboys linebacker #50 (1982-9) Jeffrey Charles "Jeff" Rohrer (1958-) comes out and marries his partner Joshua Ross, becoming the first NFL player in a same-sex marriage.
On Nov. 19, 2018 (Mon.) the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams (NFC), led by QB (#16) Jared Thomas Goff (1994-) defeat the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs (AFC), led by QB (#15) Patrick Lavon Mahomes II (1995-) by 54-51, becoming the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history, and first NFL game where each player scores 50+ points, plus the first NFL game where the loser gets 50+ points.
On Jan. 4, 2019 former NFL football star Burgess Owens gives an interview to Fox & Friends about the ratings boost the league got after nat. anthem protests began to fade, uttering the soundbyte: "The biggest takeaway from the last two years, we are in the fight for the heart and soul of our nation. We are fighting for our American, Judeo-Christian values and we're fighting against a very evil force of socialism and Marxism that destroy everything they come close to. The NFL has been changed forever and people don't realize this. But it used to be a place where we come together, no matter what our political persuasion was, and there was unity because we had God, country and family... The Marxists and socialists made that so that we have these young people coming out of these environments. They're anti-American, they're anti-white, they're anti-capitalist, and that is the message that now is going around the world and throughout our communities, that this is a place that's not for black Americans." On Jan. 6 the 9-7 Philadelphia Eagles defeat the hot 12-4 Chicago Bears 16-15 after Bears kicker Cody Parkey (#1) misses a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds. On Jan. 20 (Sun.) the 2018-2019 NFC Championship sees the Los Angeles Rams defeat the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in OT after an officiating mistake with 45 sec. left in a 20-20 game sees Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman head-butt Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis at the 7-yard line and not get called, raising outcries from coaches and fans in vain; if they made the call, the Saints could have run the clock down and sent Will Lutz to kick a field goal and won 23-20; the league office didn't want a small-town team to be in the Super Bowl in place of a big-town team?
On Feb. 3, 2019 (Sun.) Super Bowl LIII (53rd) (2019), held at the new $1.6B Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. sees the 11-5 New England Patriots (AFC) (coach Bill Belichick) defeat the 13-3 Los Angeles Rams (NFC) (coach Sean McVaey) 13-3 in the lowest-scoring SB so far (until ?), with no TDs until the 4th quarter; Patriots QB Tom Brady's 6th SB win; MVP is Patriots WR (#11) Julian Francis Edelman (1986-); the halftime show is headed by Adam Levine and Maroon 5, backed by rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott; the smallest SB audience since 2009.
On Mar. 14-15, 2020 after their 2011 collective bargaining agreement runs out, the NFL Players Assoc. settles a new collective bargaining agrement with the NFL, effective through the 2030 season, creating a 17-game regular season, compensated for by shorting the preason to three games; the rules on marijuana drug testing are relaxed, with the commissioner replaced by a neutral decision-maker; NFL rosters go from 53 to 55 players, with 14-player practice squads; playoffs will start with seven teams per conference instead of six.
On Sept. 10, 2020 the NFL season begins with the Texas Titans at the Kansas City Chief, with the fully woke NFL authorizing the playing of the Black Nat. Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson at all games, stenciled slogans "End racism" and "It takes all of us" in end zones, jerseys carrying "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Hate" lettering, players allowed to take a knee during the nat. anthem; meanwhile the mainly white audience is turning them off in droves, with the audience dwindling by 1M since five years earlier.
On Sept. 27, 2020 the NFL fields two female coaches and a female referee at the same time in a game between Washington and the Cleveland Browns incl. coach Jennifer King of Washington, coach Callie Brownson of the Browns, and NFL official Sarah Thomas.
On Feb. 7, 2021 Super Bowl LV (55) (2021) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. sees the 2ild card 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC) (QB Tom Brady) defeat the 14-2 Kansas City Chiefs (AFC) (QB Patrick Mahomes) by 31-9; the first time a team plays a SB in its home stadium; Brady becomes the SB's oldest player (43), oldest SB MVP (record 5th time), and first to win MVP with multiple teams; the Bucs become the 3rd SB team to score no TDs; the least-attended SB (24,835 fans).
The teams who still haven't been to a Super Bowl are the Elvis Sandwich BLTJ: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars; the teams who haven't won a Super Bowl are the Bengals, Bills, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Texans, Titans, and Vikings.