A Lifetime Passion of Intrigue Begins With One Game: Joe Montana & Super Bowl XXIII

superbowl23topps1

Hello once again football fans. Yesterday was the 59th birthday of Joe Montana, possibly the greatest Quarterback of All-Time. And it got me thinking back to a Sunday night in January of 1989, when a lifetime passion of interest and research got started while staring at the TV with wide eyes.

The first game that I really remember watching was Super Bowl XXIII. Here was this 6 year old kid being absolutely mesmerized by what Joe Montana was doing on the field. I remember being completely captivated and glued to the TV during that final drive culminating in the game winning pass to John Taylor for the score was pure magic. Joe Montana became my favorite player.

The 49ers Drive

I was just beginning to get into football and being able to know who some of the players were as well as what was going on in the game. I know that I had watched many games before Super Bowl XXIII with my Dad, but this was the game that stuck in my memory. Joe Montana looked in total control leading the 49ers down the field against an excellent Bengals defense to win it all. I couldn’t be moved from the screenJohn Taylor TD catch SB XXIII as I watched each play. Passes to Roger Craig, John Frank and Jerry Rice and then finally to Taylor in the end zone captured the imagination of this 6 year old. Joe Montana was already The Comeback Kid and it was his 3rd Super Bowl win, but it was a new beginning for me.

The following season in 1989, I tried to watch as many 49er games as I could. But, growing up in the Northern Virginia area made this very difficult as I had to hope that we would be lucky enough for a game to be on as the late double header or on Monday Night. The Niners appeared on Monday Night three times in 1989 against the Saints, Giants and the Rams and won all three. My Dad would at least let me stay up long enough to watch some of the game. Obviously not all of it on a school night, which bummed me out quite a bit back then but I was 7. What did I know? I knew that I wanted to watch Montana and those 49ers as much as I could.

joe-montana 1989It was a great run for San Fran in 1989. 14-2 during the regular season and the top seed in the NFC in the playoffs. At this point, I was finally able to sit down and watch the games. The first was the Divisional Matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Watching the pregame show I learned about how good the Vikings were. With Herschel Walker in the backfield, Steve Jordan and Anthony Carter catching passes the Vikings had an offense that could move the ball at will. But the bigger threat was the Defense. I didn’t know it at the time but the Vikings had an incredible defense that was known for getting after the Quarterback in historical fashion. With future Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, Defensive Player of the Year Keith Millard, Al Noga and Henry Thomas the Vikings defensive line looked like it could be the second coming of the Purple People Eaters. I was nervous in the beginning but that Jerry Rice TDdisappeared very quickly. In the 1st quarter San Francisco took the lead when Montana hit Jerry Rice for a 72 yard touchdown. Joe then proceeded to hit Brent Jones, John Taylor and Rice again as the 49ers scored 27 unanswered RonnieLott300x192points. Ronnie Lott added insult to injury for Minnesota with a 58 yard Interception return for a score in the 4th. Roger Craig added one more touchdown as the Niners won 41 -13. The ground game from the Vikings was not a threat as Walker ran for 29 yards on 9 carries and Steve Jordan was the only player for Minnesota to have a good game offensively with 9 catches for 149 yards. And as for my worry about the Vikings D, Joe Cool wasn’t sacked once. I could breathe a sigh of relief and try to keep my excitement of the anticipation for the next game in check for another week.

NFL Playoffs Rams Giants 1990The 49ers took on their old NFC West rival the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship. The Rams had squeaked by the Giants the week before 19-13 and were coming into Candlestick to take on the 49ers for the third time that season. Now, I knew about the Rams. I tried to pay attention to the teams in the NFC West and the Rams were one of the two losses the 49ers suffered during the regular season. San Francisco got payback winning the second matchup in LA on a Monday Night 30-27. That night John Taylor achieved history becoming the first player in the long tenure of the NFL to have two receiving touchdowns of 90 yards or more in the same game. So how would this game go? The Rams featured a 1,000 yard rusher in Greg Bell, 4,000 yard passer Jim Everett and two amazing deep threats in Henry Ellard and Willie “Flipper” Anderson. Both Ellard and Anderson gained over 1,000 yards at more than 18 yards per catch which is a rare occurrence. Not to mention the Rams featured a run stuffing defense and the maniac Kevin Greene on the outside blitzing the QB. Which team could make the adjustments from the previous match-ups and make it to the Super Bowl?

Joe Montana vs Rams

Once again I was nervous. A 7 year old watching his new found favorite team attempting to get into the Super Bowl for the 4th time (even though it was only the 2ndMike Lansford one that I remembered) could be a little nerve wracking. It was a battle in the 1st quarter and the Rams came out on top after the opening period 3-0 from a Mike Lansford field goal. I remember thinking how can that guy kick a football with no shoe on (card to the right)? That has to hurt but Lansford booted it right through. The Niners offense got going in the 2nd quarter and was not stopped. Once again, my nervousness subsided and instead I sat grinning from ear to ear watching Montana take the team in for score after score as San Francisco rolled up the next 30 points. Greg Bell only gained 20 yards for the Rams. Ellard and Anderson were held in check so much that Fullback Buford McGee 1989 NFC Championship:  Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ersended up as the leading receiver for the Rams with 7 receptions for 53 yards. The Rams had a shot with Anderson deep downfield but Lott got there in just the nick of time to tip the ball away from what would have been a surefire touchdown for LA. The Rams 5th ranked rushing defense allowed the 49ers to run for 179 yards and a score and Kevin Greene never sacked Montana. I should have realized that the offensive line of Center Jesse Sapolu, Guards Guy McIntyre & Bruce Collie, and Tackles Harris Barton and Bubba Paris would protect Montana the same way they did against the Vikings. With the 30-3 dominating win, I was going to get to watch my favorite player and my favorite team play in the Super Bowl once again.

The two weeks of waiting for Super Bowl XXIV was excruciating. I couldn’t wait to see my favorite team led by my favorite player in the Super Bowl for the 2nd straight year. Plus, how many 7 year olds have the patience to wait two weeks (much less 2 seconds) for anything. The 49ers were taking on the Denver Broncos and its own star at QB in John Elway. The Broncos sported the best defense in the NFL and the 49ers had the best offense. Several of my classmates at school were telling me that Denver was going to kill Montana and that the 49ers would lose. I knew I had watched two very dominating playoff wins but, eh here come those butterflies again.

Joe Montana SB XXIV

This time there was never a moment of doubt or worry once the game got started. The 49ers blew away the Broncos in record breaking fashion. Joe Montana hit Jerry Rice, Brent Jones and John Taylor for a total of 5 touchdown passes, a new Super Bowl Jerry Rice TD Broncosrecord. All of my favorites were getting into the act as both Roger Craig and Tom Rathman scored rushing touchdowns. The defense dominated Elway and the Broncos as Kevin Fagan, Don Griffin, Pete Kugler, Larry Roberts and Daniel Stubbs all recorded sacks. Chet Brooks and Mike Walter grabbed two interceptions and virtually shut down Denver 55-10. It was all smiles on the 49ers sideline and it was the same in my living room as well watching this performance. As I have gotten older I don’t like to see the Super Bowl this one sided, but as a 7 year old who fell in love with the 49ers and the game it was quite enjoyable.

Joe Knows Super Bowls

A few months after Super Bowl XXIV, I found the NFL Films video for the 49ers season entitled “Masters of the Game” and I couldn’t stop watching. Every time my Joe Starkeyparents would take me and my sister over to Blockbuster to rent some videos I always picked that one out. I watched it so many times that I became so familiar with almost every player on the 49ers roster and how the games came out. I could also recall (and can still hear) numerous game calls from the great Joe Starkey “TOUCHDOWN 49ERS!!!” I can still name every starter from the 1989 San Francisco 49ers all these years later and then several backups as well.

The 1990 season ended in a disaster for me as a fan. Montana got knocked out of the NFC Championship Game against the Giants and San Fran lost on its opportunity at three consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. For years if I heard the name Leonard Marshall it would make me growl because of that hit. It burned me up and even sometimes I still find myself with a little snarl when I hear his name, but as a fan of the game of football I can look back and acknowledge that Marshall was an exceptional player for many great Giants defenses for so many years.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana (L) congratulates Chiefs running back Marcus Allen  after his fourth touchdown in their game against the Houston Oilers in the AstrodomeI was upset when the 49ers traded Montana to the Chiefs, but as he went to Kansas City I started looking more at the Chiefs and realizing what a great team it was. They had just grabbed Marcus Allen as well and had players like Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Dan Saleaumua, Will Shields, Tim Grunhard, Willie Davis and J.J. Birden. I had a new team to cheer for as Montana got very close to taking KC to the Super Bowl for the first time since after the 1969 season. Still I watched history happen.

On Monday Night October 17, 1994 I was allowed to stay up once again and watch joe-monday-magicMontana magic as he and John Elway had an amazing battle to the end at Mile High. I remember once again being on the edge of my seat as I wanted to see my old hero come through in what was possibly his final season (and it was). The Chiefs broke the 21-21 tie in the 4th quarter with a Lin Elliott Field Goal. But then Elway did what he does best and took the Broncos down the field and he crossed the goal line himself from 4 yards out to give the lead back to Denver with time Willie Davis TDwinding down. That is when Joe Cool is at his best. With the clock dwindling, the Chiefs drove down the field with Montana at the helm brining back memories of Super Bowl XXIII. Finally Montana hit Willie Davis from 5 yards out, and with a quick switch of the ball from his right hand to his left, the referee threw his arms into the air. Joe Montana had done it once again. It was one of the greatest games I ever watched and I would still put it up there as one of the tops I have ever seen in my life.

Joe retired after the 1994 season. He had spent 13 seasons by the Bay and 2 more in America’s Heartland. He was still my favorite player and even though his career was over I was still trying to get my hands on as many Joe Montana cards as I could. I Joe Montana 1990 toppsstarted collecting football cards in 1990. My first cards were a few 1990 Pro Set that came in boxes of Wheaties. At Christmas my parents bought for me the complete set of 1990 Topps and this is where I got my first Joe Montana cards. For my 11th birthday my parents really helped with the quest for Montanas, as they bought me 43 different Joe Montana football cards. My collection now stands at over 220. With of course the most prized possession, his rookie card from 1981 Topps. As a kid when you see that a card is worth $200, you never really think that you have a chance to obtain the tough rookie. Except finally one summer day in 1997. I just came home from a trip to a friend’s house for a week and my Dad handed me the Valley Trader which has ads for many things for sale

My Joe Montana Rookie. Not Mint but I don't care.

My Joe Montana Rookie. Not Mint but I don’t care.

throughout the Shenandoah Valley. He had circled that someone was selling a Montana rookie card for $80. I looked at him puzzled because they always told me that spending that much on one card was ridiculous. But he said if I think the card is in good enough shape, and obviously paying with my own money. that if I really wanted it they would take me over. We drove over to the guy’s house and I took a look at the card. It wasn’t in Mint Condition but then again he wouldn’t be asking $80 if it was. I thought it was a fair asking price and bought that 1981 rookie. It was a card I had dreamed of obtaining for several years and I just kept looking at it the whole ride home as I couldn’t believe that I finally had the #1 card from my Most Wanted List.

A few years later, in 2000 Joe Montana was to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I was there with my Dad of course.

Watching Joe Montana captured my imagination and fascination as a kid and really got my interest in the NFL to grow exponentially. The more I watched Montana and the 49ers, the more I saw players for other teams and of course with the help of NFL Films, collecting cards and watching games with my Dad it all peaked my interest to want to know as much as I could about all the teams and players. Football cards were a big help with finding out about players and their careers. I wasn’t just interested in collecting Montana cards, but to get any that I could. I now have well over 40K football cards at the last count.

And now, I research the NFL with any chance I get. I read whatever I can find and watch pretty much everything that involves the history of the league. I love to try and spread the knowledge that I have gained to my friends and anyone who will listen. My friends all know that if they want to know something about a player, a team or a stat to ask me. Even in this time of smart phones where you can find anything you want at your fingertips, they still come to me. That is the main reason behind this blog and the many different aspects of the game with history, bizarre and rare stats and stories that I love to share. I have always tried to tell people that you must look at the history of the game and the players that came before the ones you are watching now to truly understand the greatness. I have been successful in getting some of the younger generation to look into the greats of the past and not be forever blinded to the stars of today. It puts a smile on my face every time that I have started someone on looking more into their favorite team or the league in general. And now it has also spread to my time with the Marshall University Softball Team in writing about the greats of the past and coming up with trivia questions and allowing fans and our own players to see and appreciate who came before them.

All starting with a wide eyed 6 year old kid, sitting on the living room carpet late one Sunday night in January 1989, watching Joe Cool take the 49ers down the field with 3:04 remaining to win the Super Bowl.

49ers Super Bow XXIII

The Day of Days

D-Day

Hello once again football fans. Today is D-Day, the 71st Anniversary of the Day of Days when the Allies advanced on Normandy Beach. On this day of remembrance for the thousands of soldiers who risked their lives and those who lost their lives, it is also a day of life beginnings and that is no different in the NFL.

76 players share a birthday with the Anniversary of D-Day. 24 players were born before it going all the way back to Dutch

Bobby Mitchell at his Hall of Fame induction 1983.

Bobby Mitchell at his Hall of Fame induction 1983.

Dave Grayson returning one of his 48 career INTs

Dave Grayson returning one of his 48 career INTs

Gaustad in 1889 who played Guard for 14 games over three seasons for the Minneapolis Marines from 1921 to 1923. Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, the first African-American player for the Washington Redskins, was nine years old when D-Day happened. Wide Receiver Tommie Smith, who spent two games with the Bengals in 1969, was born on D-Day 1944. 51 players have been born after the Day of Days coming all the way to the youngest DeAndre Hopkins the new star for the Houston Texans born in 1992.

Six players were named to 16 Pro Bowls with DB Dave Grayson leading the Al_Nesserway from the old AFL with six, HOF Bobby Mitchell with four, Saints Running Back Rueben Mayes and Packers Guard Josh Sitton going to two each, and Kicker Olindo Mare and Special Teams Ace Bill Bates with one each. Al Nesser, who played in 93 games from 1920 to 1931, too early for the Pro Bowl, was named All Pro once in 1921 with the Akron Pros.

Also born on June the 6th in 1969 Linebacker Mike Croel, a 1st Round pick of the Broncos in 1991, was named Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 10 sacks.

Mike Croel card

Yes, June 6th is also a day of life for many throughout the history of the NFL. But, there were two players born on this day that actually served in World War II.

Stu ClancyThe oldest was Stuart “Stu” Clancy. Born in 1906 in Branford, Connecticut he lasted 50 games in the NFL from 1930 to 1935. He played for the Newark Tornadoes, Staten Island Stapletons, and the New York Giants.  He scored five touchdowns in his career with four coming on the rushing side and one receiving. He participated in the first ever Championship Game played at the end of the season in 1933. The Giants lost the game 23 to 21 to the Chicago Bears. Clancy had 3 rushes for 7 yards in the game. Even in his mid-30s, Clancy still signed up and fought in World War II. Clancy passed away in his hometown of Branford in 1965 at the age of 59.

The next was Salvatore “Sal” Rosato. Born in 1918 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania Rosato played 23

Sal Rosato 1948 Bowman Football Card

Sal Rosato 1948 Bowman Football Card

games for the Washington Redskins after his term in the service. He was a Fullback for Villanova in college, and then went into the military. After World War II he came back and played three seasons in the NFL scoring 5 total touchdowns for the Redskins and playing in the 1945 Championship Game. Washington lost 15-14 to the Cleveland Rams (yes the Cleveland Rams) thanks to two touchdown passes from Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield and a safety in the 1st Quarter. Rosato, also being one of the fortunate soldiers to come back from overseas, passed away in 1959 of a heart attack while playing basketball at the age of 40.

You can see the entire list of all the NFL players, including 46 Hall of Famers, who served during World War II right here Football and America: World War II as the Pro Football Hall of Fame has done a fantastic job compiling all of the names.

This is an important day to remember for all those who sacrificed so much, but also in the hopes that nothing like this will ever happen again. Let June 6th and all other days, be days of life. Good night football fans.

Those who never came home. In the hopes that no humans should ever have to suffer this again. Live On.

Those who never came home. In the hopes that no humans should ever have to suffer this again. May your memory Live On.

So Many Greats in One Day

marionmotley1951bowmancardArt_Donovan

Good afternoon football fans. Another day has come and that means we are another day closer to the kickoff of the 2015 NFL Season. Even though not much goes on during the month of June, outside of OTA’s, there are still many great players who were born on each day. Players who built the league on their backs, Hall of Famers and men who still continue to amaze us today.

As we finish up the 1st weekdays of June, there are a total of 54 players who were born on this day that have played in a combined 2,295 games. Ranging all the way back to Guard Pudge Wyland (born in 1891) to the youngest; Linebackers Cameron Gordon and Johnny Millard, Tackle Oday Aboushi and Safety Josh Evans born 100 years later.

Some suited up for only one game while 11 of them played in 100 or more. Two went on to be Hall of Famers, one may end up with a bust in Canton, while a few others will most certainly be in their own franchises’ Halls of Fame.

The two already enshrined in Canton immortality are Marion Motley and Art Donovan.

marion-motleyMarion Motley was signed by the Cleveland Browns in 1946 to the newly formed All-America Football Conference. Paul Brown the legendary Head Coach of the rightly named Browns signed both Motley and another future Hall of Famer Bill Willis, re-breaking the color barrier in professional football (the Los Angeles Rams would break the color barrier just after in the NFL signing Kenny Washington and Woody Strode). A full year before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball. Now I say re-breaking the color barrier in Pro Football because there had been previously some African-American football players in the 1920’s including Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard. Pro Football became all white around the time of the depression. But the signing of Motley and Willis helped to not only re-integrate football, but the two legends helped to blow the doors down for more to follow.

Motley was a road grader all to himself coming out of the backfield in Cleveland. He was enormous for his time at 6’1” and 232 pounds. But Motley wasn’t just big, he could run. Several clips exist in the archives of NFL Films that show Motley running defenders over and then running away from them. Motley helped to power the talent laden MarionMotleyVsBills1948Cleveland Browns to every Championship win in the four season AAFC existence. Once the league was dissolved, or rather swallowed up by the NFL, the Browns along with the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Colts joined the NFL (the original Colts actually became defunct after 1950 but then returned in 1953). The Browns behind the power of Marion Motley dominated the NFL in its first season in the league going 10-2. Motley, Otto Graham and the rest of the Browns showed the NFL that they were a REAL team by blowing up the defending Champions Philadelphia Eagles in the first game of the season 35-10. The Browns rolled through the rest of 1950 outscoring its opponents 310 to 144. Motley already 30 years old and having served in World War II, led the Browns and the NFL in rushing with 810 yards and a whopping 5.8 yards per carry. He only played three more seasons with the Browns retiring in 1953. At the time of his retirement, Motley trailed only Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren on Pro Football’s All-Time Rushing List with 4,712 yards. He came back for seven games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955 at the age of 35 but only gained eight more yards. Marion Motley from Leesburg, GA had come into Professional Football and punished defenders and the notion that Black players did not belong for 106 games and FIVE Championship wins in EIGHT Appearances.  The Brown’s went 94-14-3 with Motley on the roster. Marion Motley born on this day in 1920, passed away June 27, 1999 in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the greatest of all-time.

art-donovan_pg_600Art Donovan was one of the most colorful characters in NFL History. Fans no doubt remember his quick wit on ESPN and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Late Show with David Letterman.  Fans may even remember his autobiography entitled Fatso that came out in 1987. But before Donovan was making appearances on television and audiences across the country laugh, he made appearances in offensive player’s nightmares as a 6’2” 263 pound terror on the Defensive Line. Donovan bounced around the NFL his first few years, each time playing for a team that went out of business. He first started with the Colts in 1950. But that 1st edition of the Colts ended after the season and he moved on to the New York Yanks. The Yanks folded after the season and then Donovan moved on to the Dallas Texans. The Texans ended operations after 1952 and so once again Donovan found himself in need of a team. However, the Texans franchise got moved to Baltimore and were renamed the Colts andFatso so Donovan latched on with the 2nd version of the Colts and also his 2nd time in the city. He became a star the 2nd time around being selected for five straight Pro Bowls from 1953 through 1957. Donovan was an immense run stopper and a terror to opposing Quarterbacks during the days when there were not so many rules to protect them. He once told a story about hitting Norm Van Brocklin (another Hall of Famer) so hard that Van Brocklin vowed to get him back, and did with a pass right into Donovan’s face. He said the next time he rushed, he did it with his arms up and his head down. Arthur Donovan also participated in the “Greatest Game Ever Played”. The 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Colts and the New York Giants that went to Overtime and was seen by millions of people. He was one of 12 Hall of Famers to have played in the game. The Colts won the game as Unitas led Baltimore all the way down the field with Alan Ameche plunging over the Goal line. It was the 1st of back to back Championships for the Colts. Art Donovan retired after the 1961 season having pounded opposing offensive lines for 138 games. Art Donovan born on this day in 1924, passed away August 4, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Another one of the greatest of all-time.

Both Motley and Donovan served during World War II. Motley with the U.S. Navy and Donovan with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific. Donovan was involved in two major battles at Luzon and Iwo Jima. Motley and Donovan only met on the field once in 1950 when Donovan was a rookie Defensive Tackle with the Baltimore Colts. The Browns won the game 31-0. Both players were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame together in 1968.
Donovan_Art_Induction_180-220 Motley_Marion_Induction_180-220

Three other notable NFL Birthdays today are that of Torry Holt, Kevin Faulk and Marques Colston who have combined for 2,018 receptions. Not bad for birthdays from today.

Torry Holt and Kevin Faulk were both born in 1976 and came into the league together in 1999. Holt a 1st Rounder at 6th overall to the Rams and Faulk in the 2nd Round at 46th overall to the Patriots. Both players made significant impacts on teams that have been looked at as some of the best of all-time.

torry-holt-isaac-bruce(RobertoSchmidt-AFP-GI)Torry Holt became a massive weapon on the outside for “The Greatest Show on Turf”. The St. Louis Rams put together an incredible arsenal of weapons with Holt, Isaac Bruce, Rickey Proehl, Marshall Faulk and Az-Zahir Hakim that when the strong armed Kurt Warner took over for the injured Trent Green the Rams ran roughshod over the NFL all the way to the Super Bowl scoring 526 points. Holt finished his rookie season with a mere 52 catches for 788 yards and 6 scores. However, during the playoff run to the Super Bowl Holt caught 20 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. Holt then picked up right where he left off beginning a string of eight consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards with the first six in a row going for over 1,300 yards. He is the only player in NFL History with 1,300 yards receiving or more in six consecutive seasons. Torry “Big Game” Holt also grabbed over 80 passes in those eight straight seasons and finished his 10 years in St. Louis with 869 receptions for 12,660 yards and 74 touchdowns. He went to seven Pro

080210-N-4965F-030 HONOLULU, HI (Feb. 10, 2008) Tory Holt, wide receiver for the National Football League’s (NFL) St. Louis Rams and National Football Conference (NFC) 2008 all-star team, fields a pass from Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, during the 2008 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium.  The NFC defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) by a score of 42 to 30. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl (Released)

Torry Holt in his 7th Pro Bowl

Bowls, led the league in receiving yards twice in 2000 & 2003 and led the NFL in receptions with 117 in 2003. Holt played one more season in Jacksonville nabbing 51 catches for 722 yards. When he retired following the 2009 season, Torry Holt was 11th All-Time with 920 catches (currently 17th), 10th with 13,382 yards (now 12th) and 20th with 74 touchdown catches (now 30th). Holt was always a ton of fun to watch as he and Bruce would continue to befuddle and torch defensive backs. I believe both should end up in Canton one day. Holt may have to wait a while as the voters struggle to figure out what to do with receivers in the way that receiving numbers have exploded over the past couple of decades. Still, Holt was a dominant receiver and should be given his due eventually. I mean six straight years with over 1,300 yards is dominating I don’t care how numbers have blown up. No one has even sniffed that much. The next closest is Marvin Harrison with four in a row and that ended in 2003. Torry Holt should be a Hall of Famer one day.

Kevin FaulkKevin Faulk was one of those players who will never reach Canton, but he willKevin Faulk rings be remembered as a major impact player and one of the best in a team’s history. Faulk was a fan favorite and a very reliable player for the Patriots offense during some great years and several Super Bowl runs. He never rushed for more than 638 yards in a season and caught over 50 passes twice. Still NFL Super Bowl XXXIX Patriots vs Eagleshe gained over 12,000 All-Purpose Yards and became the type of player that Tom Brady could look to when he needed a 1st down. Faulk stuck with the Patriots for his entire career going all the way through the 2011 season and playing in 161 regular season games and another 19 playoff games including four Super Bowls and three Super Bowl Championships. He ran for 425 yards in the postseason averaging 4.83 per carry and caught 14 passes in the Super Bowl.

Marques Colston upMarques Colston is another player who has been a lot of fun to watch. One of the last to come from Hofstra before the school got rid of the football program and a 7th round selection in 2006 Colston made the Saints roster and then became a favorite target for newly signed Quarterback Drew Brees. Colston finished his rookie season with 70 catches for 1,038 yards and 8 scores. The 6’4” receiver has grabbed 70 or more passes seven times in his nine years and a career high 98 in 2007. Colston, even with a loaded group of hands for Brees to spread the ball around, has six 1,000 yard seasons and has scored double digit touchdowns twice. The big man from Pennsylvania has been a joy to watch as first the underdog from the back end of the draft to a mainstay in the Big Easy. He has added another 58 catches for 788 yards and 4 touchdowns in 10 playoff games.Drew+Brees+Marques+Colston+NFC+Championship+66uetI1xLkAl Colston grabbed 7 passes in the Saints Super Bowl win in 2009. He is the Saints All-Time leader in receiving. Colston is another example of a player who can make a major impact no matter the draft status or what school he played for. Any player who is given their opportunity to succeed or fail can possibly come through and make a difference for a team. However, Colston may never make it to Canton but he will always be remembered in New Orleans and to many Saints and NFL fans as a great player with excellent hands who helped bring New Orleans back after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

A great day of birthdays today in the world of the NFL and there will be a great many tomorrow as well. Who was born on D-Day and what were their stories, stay tuned to the sportsmenublog to find out.

Art Donovan's Jersey & World War II Jacket on display at the Hall of Fame.

Art Donovan’s Jersey & World War II Jacket on display at the Hall of Fame.

Is Denver’s Receiving Core One of the Best Ever?

Updated for the finish of the 2014 season and looking forward to the 2015 season.

sportsmenublog

 Demaryius ThomasJulius ThomasEmmanuel Sanders  Wes Welker

Good evening football fans. Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while but I had a few other things that I needed to get done. However, I’m back at the keyboard and have another interesting one for today.

While watching Mike and Mike the other morning they discussed a topic with Hall of Famer Cris Carter that really got my mind going. They were trying to decide if anyone has ever had such a great arsenal of weapons on the receiving end as what Peyton Manning has right now with the Broncos. Honestly when you can say that Wes Welker is possibly the fourth best option, well then that is a loaded group of receivers. They were trying to think of teams that had a legitimate group of 4 pass catchers not including a Running Back. Greenberg talked about the crew that Fouts had in San Diego in…

View original post 3,488 more words

A Pioneer, An Actor & A Tall Man From Wabash

1926 NFL Champions Frankford Yellow Jackets

1926 NFL Champions Frankford Yellow Jackets

Good Sunday afternoon, and Happy Memorial Day Weekend football fans. So what exactly do a pioneer, an actor and a tall man from Wabash have in common? Well, I have been posting on Twitter Pete Metzelaars Bills Crdhttps://twitter.com/scotthall82 many of theTimmy Brown card #NFLBirthdays that have come up over the past two weeks, but sometimes I have noticed that there have been some interesting stories or players that Twitter just doesn’t allow for the space to be able tell. Such is the case with today May 24th. A total of 56 players have been born on this date in NFL History and have played in a combined 3,339 games through this past season. 14 of those men have played long enough to log over 100 career games each, and 7 of the 56 have been voted to 13 Pro Bowls. However, there are three in particular that have great stories and memories of my own to tell.

To begin, is a player who appeared in 96 games during the NFL’s earliest decade, Adolf “Swede” Youngstrom.

Buffalo All-Americans

Swede Youngstrom had risen to an All-American while in college at Dartmouth playing every position on the Offensive Line as well as being an excellent defensive player. He is even credited with blocking NINE punts his senior year for Dartmouth. Shortly after college, Youngstrom was running a candy store in New Hampshire with Dartmouth teammate (and future NFL Hall of Famer) Ed Healey when the team from Buffalo approached Swede about playing for their squad in 1920 for the young American Professional Football Association which was later named the National Football League in 1922. Youngstrom was an outstanding Guard for the Buffalo All-Americans winning 18 games in those first two seasons. Buffalo finished 9-1-1 in 1920 good for 3rd in the League and then 9-1-2 in 1921. Buffalo believed to have won the League Title in 1921, but after a disputed loss to the Chicago Staleys at the end of the season, it gave the tiebreaker and the Title to Chicago. The game was a rematch on the demand of Staley Player/Coach George Halas and was not supposed to count in the standings. The APFA did count the game and according to the tiebreaker rule at the time (since eliminated from the books) the 2nd game counted MORE then the first.

Buffalo had defeated the Staleys 7-6 in the first, and originally only scheduled game between the two teams November 24th. Buffalo and Chicago met in the rematch December 4th (one day after Buffalo had beaten the Akron Pros 14-0) and Chicago won 10-7 off of a Guy Chamberlin 75 yard Interception return for a touchdown and a Dutch Sternaman 20 yard field goal. The only score of the game for Buffalo came from Steamer Horning returning a blocked punt for a score (presumably blocked by Youngstrom). The 1921 Title was given to the Chicago Staleys as this was before an actual Championship Game was played (1933 was the first between the Bears & the Giants). He stayed with the Buffalo franchise through 1925 and spent the most time with the team then any other player who suited up for Buffalo.

Swede Youngstrom also played with some non-league teams during the pioneer days of the NFL. Youngstrom was featured

The Haven-Villa of Winter Haven squad in 1926. Swede Youngstrom 4th from the left kneeling row.
The Haven-Villa of Winter Haven squad in 1926. Swede Youngstrom 4th from the left kneeling row.

in 1920 with the Union Club of Phoenixville. A team that defeated the APFA Champions the Canton Bulldogs 14-7 at the end of the season but could not count as an actual professional title. He later played in 1921 for the newly formed Union Quakers of Philadelphia, a team that was made up mostly of players from the Phoenixville squad. Swede also suited up for the Millville Big Blue in 1925 and the Haven-Villa of Winter Haven in 1926.

Swede Youngstrom finished out his career in the NFL with two seasons for the Frankford Yellow Jackets winning a Championship in 1926. Youngstrom served as a Player/Coach for the Yellow Jackets during his final season in 1927. Youngstrom was revered as possibly the best Guard of his time. Only two Guards who played during the 1920’s are featured in the Hall of Fame in Mike Michalske and Walt Keisling, however both played the majority of their careers during the 1930’s. Maybe one day Swede Youngstrom will find his place in Canton.

Pete MetzelaarsNext up is a tall Tight End from the most recent Buffalo franchise who turns 55 today. Pete Metzelaars at 6’7″ was taller then most Tight Ends during his time in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His career spanned 235 games over 16 seasons and four straight trips to the Super Bowl with Bills. Metzelaars was originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 3rd Round of the 1982 draft. After three years in Seattle he was traded to Buffalo and once Jim Kelly joined the team in 1986, the tall man from Wabash College became a featured part of the offense. Now, Pete didn’t catch passes back then the way Tight Ends do now as some have argued for status as Receivers. But then again in an offense that featured three Hall of Famers for Kelly to give the ball with Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and later James Lofton it was a little difficult to put up the astronomical numbers. However, Metzelaars made his catches count collecting first downs, tough yardage and the big score when the Bills needed him most. Over his 10 seasons in Buffalo Metzelaars only grabbed 302 passes for 2,921 yards and 25 scores. But, the Bills were 14-8 in the games that he scored. He later played one year in Carolina and two more in Detroit before retiring after 1997. I remember watching him in those early 1990’s Bills games as a kid and just loved watching the big man get downfield or level a defender on a big block for Thomas. I always loved it when the Bills came on TV when I was growing up as they were so much fun to watch. And with a name like Metzelaars and with his size he was hard to forget. Pete Metzelaars finally won a Super Bowl as a member of the Colts coaching staff in 2006. He is currently the Tight Ends Coach with the San Diego Chargers. Metzelaars was also inducted into the Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 2011.

Timmy Brown running another back for a touchdown.

Timmy Brown running another back for a touchdown.

And finally today celebrating his 78th Birthday is Timmy Brown the football player and actor. Brown was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 27th Round of the 1959 NFL Draft. He only played one game for the Pack, but then in 1960 he began an eight season run with the Philadelphia Eagles showcasing his versatility. Rarely used in 1960 he still managed to score four touchdowns for the eventual NFL Champions.

He scored all four in the final two games of the season with a rushing and receiving touchdown in each. Brown showcased his ability for the Home Run shot as he scored on a 53 yard reception from future Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen vs. the Steelers and then a 34 yarder against the Redskins the following week. In 1961 his explosiveness came into full frame as Brown took a kickoff return 105 yards for a touchdown in a win over the Browns. Over his eight season with the Eagles Brown scored 62 times covering 1,894 yards. An average distance of 30.55 yards per score. Six times he covered over 90 yards. In fact in 1966, his second to last season with the Eagles, Brown set a record for covering 90 yards or more. Coming into a November 6th matchup with division rival Dallas there had been 230 touchdowns scored since 1923 of 90 yards or more. Many players had scored multiple times going for 90+, including Brown. But none had ever had more than one in a single game until Timmy Brown took a 1st quarter kickoff back 93 yards for a score, and then did it again from 90 yards away in the 2nd. Philly went on the win the game 24-23. Since then only John Taylor (1989), Tyrone Hughes (1994), Chad Morton (2002), Devin Hester (2006), Andre Davis (2007), Ted Ginn (2009), Josh Cribbs (2009), and Leon Washington (2010) are the only players to have accomplished this feat since. Brown led the NFL in Kick Return yardage in 1961 and 1963; Kick Returns for scores in 1961, 1962 & 1966; and All-Purpose Yards in 1962 & 1963. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times in ’62, ’63 and ’65. Brown played one final season in Baltimore in 1968 before retiring. At the time of his retirement his 64 scores ranked 17th All-Time, his 4,781 Kick Return Yards ranked 3rd and his 12,681 All-Purpose Yards was good for 4th All-Time in NFL History.

From M*A*S*H* the series

From M*A*S*H the series

Brown was beginning to get into acting toward the end of his career and he continued after football was over. He was featured in several films as well as some TV shows but the main place I knew him from was MASH. He played a small role in the film as Cpl. Judson but took on a more main role in the TV series as Dr. Oliver Harmon “Spearchucker” Jones. Jones’s character was originally played in the movie by another football star Fred Williamson. Brown got the role for the TV show and became one of only four people who played in both the movie and the TV series. Of course Gary Burghoff as “Radar” was the main one to be featured in both. It was a short lived character but one that I remember fairly well as my Dad and I both watch MASHTimmy Brown as Spearchucker quite often and I always wondered what happened to Jones as his character just disappeared. Well, this is what you can learn when you start doing some research on the internet. Brown as “Spearchucker Jones” only lasted about 6 episodes of the first season as the producers reportedly learned that there were not any African American surgeons in the Korean War. Still a memorable character for me as of course his role was as a former football star and of course he was played by a former football star as well.

There are many other Birthdays to celebrate for today in the world of the NFL but you will have to follow me on Twitter @scotthall82 to check some of those out. Until tomorrow football fans.

 

Another Rarity: Teammates with 1,000 yards Receiving & 18 Yards Per Catch

The Marks Brothers Duper & Clayton

The Marks Brothers Duper & Clayton

Hello there folks. I know I have been gone for a while but I have come back to once again spread some NFL History knowledge of little known facts and figures.

As you can tell from any of my past blog posts I love to research some of the strangest oddities that just come to me while even looking up something completely different. Such as for today’s topic of just how often, especially in the world of the West Coast Offense, have teammates finished a season with 1,000 yards receiving and averaged at least 18 yards per catch.

A Receiver has gained 1,000 yards at a clip of at least 18 yards per catch 132 times since Jim Benton became the first in 1945 for the Los Angeles Rams. However, for a pair of receiving teammates to accomplish this in the same season it has only happened SEVEN times. What got me looking into this statistical anomaly was a chance glance at the 1999 Washington Redskins while posting on my Twitter Page (@scotthall82) some NFL Birthdays. Albert Connell’sAlbert Connell birthday was this past Wednesday May 13th and as I was looking up information on Connell, I went to the team page for 1999 as I was pretty sure that both he and Michael Westbrook both had 1,000 yard seasons. As I was checking my facts I happened to notice that both Connell and Westbrook averaged over 18 yards per catch as well for the season. And so that got me thinking and off on another wild statistical chase, How many times have teammates finished a season with 1,000 yards receiving and more than 18 yards per catch in NFL History?

That big season in 1999 for Westbrook and Connell was the last time that this has happened in the NFL. Only 16 players since 1999 have finished a year with more than 1,000 yards and at least 18 yards per catch and none of them were teammates. Westbrook finished with 65 catches for 1,191 yards with 9 scores and 18.3 yards per catch. Connell was right behind him with 62 receptions for 1,132 yards with 7 touchdowns and also 18.3 yards per catch. Both receivers were major deep threats for Washington all season long in what

Westbrook & Connell hug after another long score.

Westbrook & Connell hug after another long score.

proved to be the best season for both of their careers. Westbrook finished the season with five 100 yard games in which he averaged better than 17 yards per catch in all five, including over 20 in three of those games, and more than 30 yards per catch in two ball games. All nine of his touchdown catches were longer than 10 yards and five went for more than 20. For Connell, he ended the year with four 100 yard games with three of those going for over 20 yards per reception. Connell also nearly had half of his games averaging more than 20 yards per catch. All seven of his scoring grabs were from long distance as the shortest touchdown of the season for Connell was for 19 yards. The combination of Westbrook and Connell gave Quarterback Brad Johnson a tall and speedy pair to trust through the air. Teaming up with reliable Larry Centers out of the backfield (led the team with 69 receptions) and a pounding running game with Stephen Davis rushing for 1,405 the Thunder and Lightning offense of the Redskins helped carry the team to the NFC East Title at 10-6 and a trip into the playoffs. Washington beat the Lions in the Wild Card Round then dropped a 1 point loss to the Buccaneers in the Divisional round.

Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell were able to succeed as consistent deep threats in the age of the West Coast offense when most teams were running some sort of version of the quick slants and screens, get rid of the ball quickly offense. In fact, they were the first pair to get back to 1,000 and 18.0 in 10 years. Since the days of the speed demons of Henry Ellard and Willie “Flipper” Anderson of the Los Angeles Rams.

Henry Ellard and Flipper Anderson

Henry Ellard and Flipper Anderson

In 1989, defenses had a hard time slowing down Ellard and Anderson as the two Receivers blew past opponents and gained yards in huge chunks. Henry Ellard led the way with 70 catches for 1,382 yards with 8 touchdowns and an average of 19.7 yards per catch. Flipper Anderson finished with 44 grabs for 1,146 yards and 5 touchdowns at an average of 26.0 yards per catch. Anderson also set the record that still stands for most receiving yards in a game. The 2nd year Wideout torched the New Orleans Saints in a Sunday Night Primetime matchup for 336 yards on 15 catches. Anderson caught the game tying 15 yard score to send the game to OT where the Rams would win it with a Mike Lansford field goal. Ellard the old pro was in his 7th season and coming off a year in 1988 in which he led the league in receiving yards with 1,414. He followed that season up in 1989 with five 100 yard games averaging better than 19 yards per catch in each. Three of Ellard’s touchdown catches covered 40 yards or more. For Anderson, he only had two 100 yard games but yet for the entire season the deep threat had only one game that he did not average more than 19 yards per grab. The yardage came so easily to both Ellard and Anderson that the pair had two of only five 200 yard receiving games during the entire 1989 season for the whole league (oddly enough the Rams participated in another record breaking receiving game as John Taylor of the 49ers became the 1st player to have two 90 yard scoring grabs in the same game). The 1989 Rams featured a 4,000 yard passer in the strong armed Jim Everett and a 1,000 yard rusher in Greg Bell and a tough D that helped the Rams to an 11-5 record and a Playoff berth. The Rams explosive offense led the team into the NFC Championship to face the 49ers. San Francisco learned from past experiences and slowed down the two fire burning targets to the point that Fullback Buford McGee led the team in receiving with 7 catches in the 30-3 loss.

You don’t have to go back to far to find the next pair for 1,000 and 18. And in fact these are the only two players who did it twice.

Mark Duper and Mark Clayton

Mark Duper and Mark Clayton

The Mark’s Brothers of Duper and Clayton for the Miami Dolphins accomplished this rare feat in both 1984 and 1986. The High Flying Act of Duper and Clayton provided a young flame throwing QB by the name of Dan Marino to torch defenses every Sunday. The first time these two went for 1K and 18 per was in Marino’s record setting season of 1984. The youngsters were only in their 2nd season together as teammates. Clayton in his 2nd season the NFL and Duper in his 3rd. Clayton was the leader that year going for 73 catches for 1,389 yards with 18 scores and averaging 19.0 yards per grab. Duper was no slouch with 71 receptions for 1,306 yards and 8 trips to the end zone and 18.4 yards per. Clayton went over 100 yards in a game six times with five of those games averaging over 19 yards per catch. Half of his NFL record setting 18 scoring grabs covered 20 yards or more. Three of Clayton’s touchdown catches went for more than 60 yards. Duper finished with four 100 yard games and averaged more than 20 yards per catch in each. Four of Duper’s scoring catches went for more than 20 yards including long gainers of 74 and 80 yards. Miami made it all the way to Super Bowl XIX on the arm of Marino and the speed of Clayton and Duper. However the 49er Defense tightened up on the two targets as neither went for 100 yards or scored a touchdown in the loss.

The Mark’s Brothers did it for the 2nd time in 1986. This time Duper led the way with 67 catches for 1,313 yards with 11 touchdowns and averaged 19.6 per catch. He went over the century mark eight times with six of those games averaging over 20 yards per grab. Eight of his 11 scoring grabs covered 20 yards or more with three scores of over 50. Clayton chipped in with 60 receptions for 1,150 yards with 10 scores and 19.2 yards per catch. Clayton ended the season with three 100 yard games and each one averaging over 20 yards per catch. Six of his scoring catches were for more than 20 yards including a 68 yarder against the Raiders. The Dolphins finished the season 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

Before the Mark’s Brothers did their double time of 1,000 and 18, the New England Patriots had a pair of deep threats in the late ’70’s that helped get big gains.

Harold Jackson Stanley MorganHarold Jackson and Stanley Morgan were deep burners for the Pats in 1979. Both receivers averaged over 22 yards per catch. Harold Jackson at the age of 33 led the Patriots with 45 catches for 1,013 yards with 7 TDs and averaged 22.5 yards per catch. Jackson in his 12th season with his 3rd team had four games in 1979 averaging better than 29 yards per catch and had three scoring grabs of over 40 yards. Stanley Morgan in only his 3rd season caught 44 passes for 1,002 yards with 12 touchdowns and averaged 22.8 yards per catch. Morgan had six games at better than 25 yards per grab and an astounding EIGHT touchdowns of over 30 yards. The Patriots finished the season 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Both Jackson and Morgan finished their respective careers with over 10,000 yards receiving. Jackson became only the 3rd receiver to ever cross the 10,000 yard barrier in 1981. When Morgan retired in 1990 he ranked 5th All-Time in receiving yards with 10,716.

There was an 11 year gap between Jackson & Morgan going back to the previous time of this rare feat.

In the old AFL in 1968 we find Hall of Famer Lance Alworth and Gary Garrison of the San Diego Chargers

Lance Alworth

Lance Alworth

with 1K and 18. In 1968 Lance Alworth was already well on his way to Canton with his 6th straight 1,000 yard season, 6th straight Pro Bowl and 6th straight All-Pro selection. Gary Garrison was the young kid on the outside for San Diego in only his 3rd season. Alworth led the team as he always did with 68 catches for 1,312 yards with 10 scores and 19.3 yards per catch. He added six 100 yard games all at over 17 yards per grab and three of his touchdown catches covered over 70 yards. For Garrison he set career highs with 52 receptions for 1,103 yards with 10 touchdowns and an incredible 21.2 yards per catch. Gary GarrisonGarrison finished the season with seven games averaging over 20 yards per catch. He also added three scores of more than 50 yards each. The Lightning quick striking Chargers even featured a Tight End Jacque MacKinnon who averaged 19.6 per reception. However the Chargers finished 9-5 and missed the playoffs. By the end of Alworth’s career he became the 2nd in NFL History with over 10,000 yards receiving (behind the Jets Don Maynard). At the time of Garrison’s retirement in 1977 he was 16th All-Time in receiving yards with 7,538.

And now we go back to 1961 and the first time that this feat was accomplished. Staying in the old AFL with the high flying Houston Oilers.

Charley Hennigan and Bill Groman were the 1st teammates

Charley Hennigan

Charley Hennigan

to both gain 1,000 yards at over 18 yards per catch in the same season. In 1961 the Houston Oilers enjoyed its 2nd AFL Championship in only the 2nd season of existence (that was the last title for the Oilers/Titans Franchise until the Titans won the AFC Championship in 1999 but lost in the Super Bowl). Hall of Fame QB George Blanda at the age of 34 had two amazing targets to throw the ball. Charley Hennigan set the league record that stood til 1995 of 1,746 yards. His record breaking performance came on 82 catches with 12 scores and averaged 21.3 yards per grab. Ten of his 13 games totaled over 100 yards and even three went for more than 200. Nine of his games Hennigan averaged better than 20 yards per catch. Nine of his scores covered 30 yards or more. Bill_GromanGroman had led the league as a rookie in 1960 with over 1,400 yards. He now added 1,175 yards on 50 catches for 17 scores and 23.5 yards per catch. Groman finished with eight games at over 20 yards per grab and eight of his touchdown catches covered 30 yards or more. In those first two years Groman set a rookie record with 1,473 yards (which still stands), set the mark for most TD receptions in the 1st two years of a career with 29 (which also still stands) and led the league in eight different categories. Groman’s best days were now behind him. He did win two more AFL Titles with the Buffalo Bills in 1964 & 1965. Hennigan saw some more success as he became the 1st player History with over 100 catches grabbing 101 in 1964. A record that stood 20 years until Art Monk nabbed 106 for Washington in 1984. When Hennigan retired following the 1966 season he ranked 10th All-Time between both leagues and was 1st in AFL History with 6,823 yards. However, what Hennigan and Groman did together in 1961, combining for 2,921 yards, was a mark that stood for a pair until 1995. The Chargers became the first team to have a trio of players over 1,000 yards each in 1980. But yet, for a pair of receivers to combine for more than what Hennigan and Groman did, the Lions Herman Moore (1,686) and Brett Perriman (1,488) finally broke the record with 3,174.

It has been 15 seasons since Westbrook and Connell were the last to accomplish 1,000 yards and 18 yards per catch each. Who will be the next pair? Or, in this day of quick passes will it happen again? Since Hennigan & Groman in 1961, this is the longest gap with previously going from 1968 to 1979 the longest before. If I had to take a guess I would say the New York Giants with Odell Beckham and a healthy Victor Cruz could have a good shot at being the next. But can they go long enough times to get to 18 yards per catch? We shall see. It’s all part of the fun.

Charley Hennigan and Bill Groman at a reunion

Charley Hennigan and Bill Groman at a reunion

Can DeMarco Murray Reach History?

NFL: St Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys

Good Sunday afternoon football fans. Week 9 is here and history is being made in the ground game. With all of the focus lately on the passing game and the records that continue to fall in either passing or receiving stats, it is good to see that one of the basics and oldest traditions in football still exists. Running the football.

DeMarco Murray has run for over 100 yards in all 8 games this season, a record to begin a season, in helping lead the Cowboys to a 6-2 record and the lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys take on a great defense today in the Arizona Cardinals and without Tony Romo. How much will the Cowboys lean on Murray today with Todd Bowles’ defense 3rd against the run? Philly’s LeSean McCoy ran for 83 yards last week against the Cards and that has been the highest total by a single back that Arizona has allowed thus far this season. In fact, when the Eagles ran for 110 yards as a team this past week that was also the highest against the Cardinals. Dallas leads the NFL in rushing with 161 yards per game and the lowest total as a team was 123 in a 34-31 Week 3 win over the Rams. Murray has been the lead horse running behind probably the best run blocking line in the league. And the pace that Murray is currently on is one that could end up in the record books.

DeMarco Murray is already in the record books for the most consecutive 100 yard games to start a season as he has crossed the century mark in all eight games. He leads the league with 1,054 yards at the halfway point. If he can continue this pace of 131.8 yards per game, he will pass Eric Dickerson by season’s end with 2,108. But it is a long season and Murray has been a player with an injury history. However, this offensive line has allowed Murray more freedom and space to run before he takes a 1st or 2nd shot and if he can stay healthy at least through today’s game and next week against the Jaguars Murray still has the bye week coming up in Week 11. Murray’s lowest output of the season was 100 yards on 24 carries against the Rams. He still averaged 4.17 yards per carry and has only had one game so far that he did not average over 4 yards per carry (he averaged 3.97 against the Seahawks while running for 115 yards in the win). So as Murray continues his climb and chase after the coveted record of 2,105, let’s take a look at the other Running Backs that have run for over 2,000 yards and see what their pace was at the halfway point of the season.

OJ Simpson2,003 O.J. Simpson: In 1973 O.J. Simpson was the 1st player to make it to 2,000 yards and he did it in a 14 game season. In fact Simpson’s average of 143.07 yards per game would have put him to 2,289 yards had the NFL been playing a 16 game schedule back then. Simpson began the season strong running for over 100 yards in the 1st five games including 250 yards against the Patriots in Week 1 (a record for Week 1). His streak of consecutive 100 yard games was halted in Week 6 by the eventual Super Bowl VIII Champs the Miami Dolphins (55 yards on 14 carries). To finish off the 1st half of the season, Simpson came back with 157 the following week against a great Kansas City Chiefs defense. Simpson finished the 1st half of the season with 1,025 yards in just seven games. Simpson slowed in the 2nd half but just a little bit with 978 yards over the final seven games.

Chris Johnson2,006 Chris Johnson: In 2009, Chris Johnson was just a second year player out of East Carolina whose game was built on speed and the ability to break off a long run. And in 2009 Johnson did just that. He broke off 22 runs of 20 yards or more and three times Johnson blazed for 80 yards or more on single carries. Eight times Johnson had multiple runs of 20+ yards in the same game. Through the 1st eight games of the season, Johnson had 12 runs of 20 or more yards including four carries of over 50 yard gains (91 yard run against the Texans and 89 yard run against the Jaguars). Johnson’s season as a whole started slowly. He put up 57 against the Steelers in Week 1 and came back the next week with 197 against the Texans (Johnson had 149 yards in just two carries against Houston). His next three games were all under 100 with 97, 83 and 34 and had totaled 468 yards through the 1st five games. Johnson heated up for the next three games with 128, 228 and 135 to give him a halfway total of 959 yards. Johnson continued his long runs and gained 1,047 yards over the final half of the year.

Terrell Davis2,008 Terrell Davis: In 1998, Terrell Davis’ career hit its peak after a consistent climb through his 1st four seasons. Davis was a monster for a Broncos team that was 8-0 through the 1st half and looking to repeat as Super Bowl Champions in what was believed to be John Elway’s final season. Davis reached the end zone 14 times in the first eight games of the season as Denver averaged 34 points per game through the 1st half of 1998. As for his rushing yardage totals, Davis began the year on a hot streak. Other then only putting up 75 yards against the Patriots in Week 1, Davis ran for over 100 yards for the next seven games. Piling up games of 191, 104, 119, 168, 208, 136 and 149 gave Davis a midway total of 1,150. Davis was looking at obliterating Dickerson’s record and was even averaging 143.75 yards a game putting him past Simpson’s average from 1973. Davis slowed down a good bit in the 2nd half from his 1st half pace. Davis ran for 858 in the 2nd half and had only four 100 yard games in the last eight games. However, he picked it back up in the end with 178 in the final game against Seattle to get to 2,000 yards and then blew up in the playoffs with 468 yards in just three games on the way to back-to-back Super Bowl titles. When including the playoffs, Davis rushed for a record of 2,476 yards over 19 total games averaging 130.32 yards per game.

Barry Sanders2,053 Barry Sanders: in 1997, Barry Sanders added to his resume what was already looking to be one of the greatest runners of All-Time. At the age of 29 and coming off of a league leading 1,553 yards in 1996, Sanders exploded and ran his way to the record books. Sanders became the oldest player to run for over 2,000 yards at 29 years old, three years older than Simpson and Davis. Sanders also set the mark for consistency. After beginning the season with only 53 yards combined in the 1st two games, Sanders went off with 14 straight 100 yard games. He set the record not only for consecutive games of 100 plus yards rushing but also broke the record of 12 games in a season of at least 100 yards set by Eric Dickerson in 1984 and tied by Barry Foster of the Steelers in 1992. The first half total for Barry Sanders was 893 yards. Well off of a 2,000 yard pace, but when you run for over 100 yards in every game to finish a season you can get right back on. Over the final eight weeks Sanders ran for 1,160 yards to become the 3rd player ever with over 2,000 yards.

Jamal Lewis2,066 Jamal Lewis: In 2003, Jamal Lewis used two enormous performances against the Cleveland Browns to reach the 2,000 yard plateau. In his 4th season, but only 3rd season on the field after missing 2001 with a knee injury, the 240 pound Lewis bowled his way over opponents. Lewis only gained 69 yards in the opening week loss to the Steelers but was only handed the ball 15 times. The following week Jamal Lewis set the record for most yards rushing in a game blasting off 295 against the Browns on 30 carries, just south of 10 yards per carry. Lewis rumbled for six straight games of over 100 yards with 295, 132, 115, 131, 101 and 134 and then ended the 1st half of the season with 68 yards against Jacksonville. After eight games Lewis  gained 1,045 yards averaging just over 130 yards a game and on pace to finish just short of Dickerson’s record. Lewis stayed pretty steady through the 2nd half gaining 1,021 yards over the final eight games including 205 in the 2nd matchup against the Browns. In gaining 500 yards against one team in two games helped Lewis to gain the 2nd highest single season total in history to that point.

Adrian Peterson2,097 Adrian Peterson: In 2012, Adrian Peterson was entering his 6th season and was coming off of a devastating knee injury from the year before. He was attempting to come back much sooner than anyone would expect from tearing ligaments especially since he injured his knee late in the season in 2011. Peterson started the year in Week 1 and while he played solidly, he didn’t look like his old self. He had a couple games in the 1st half of the season averaging less than 4 yards per carry and only reached the century mark once in the 1st six games. But by the 7th game of the season, Peterson blew up. After rushing for 499 yards through six games, Peterson got hot going for 153 against the Cardinals in game seven and then following that up with 123 yards against Tampa. Peterson’s 1st half total reached 775 yards as he got stronger and stronger with an incredible 2nd half of the season effort. Over the final eight games of the season Peterson went crazy with 1,322 yards including six games of over 150 yards. Peterson rushed for 199 yards in the final game of the season in a win over the Packers to help get the Vikings in the playoffs and put Peterson at just 9 yards short of being the new single season rushing king.

Eric Dickerson2,105 Eric Dickerson: In 1984, Eric Dickerson was just a 2nd year player and coming off a record breaking rookie season leading the league with a rookie record of 1,808 yards and another rookie record of 18 rushing touchdowns. Dickerson began his 2nd year strong with 138 opening weekend against the Cowboys and then 102 on the Browns. Dickerson was stymied in the 3rd game with 49 in a loss to Pittsburgh and then 89 in a win over the Bengals. But then Dickerson ran off four straight 100+ yard games to finish off the 1st half of the season. Rushing for 120 over the Giants, 107 against the Falcons, 175 on the Saints and then 145 in the 2nd matchup against Atlanta put Dickerson on a great pace but not a record breaking pace. Dickerson finished the midway point of the season with 925 yards and averaging 115.63 yards per game. After eight games Dickerson was looking to finish just short of Simpson’s record and also just shy of being only the 2nd player with over 2,000 yards rushing. But a strong 2nd half of the season put Dickerson right up there.

The Hall of Famer rumbled off two games of over 200 yards and another 191 yard effort before the season came to a close. Dickerson passed Simpson in the 15th game of the season with 215 yards on the Houston Oilers and then closed the year with 98 yards in a loss to the 49ers. 12 total 100+ yard games, 4 of those games going for more than 175 and then 2 games of over 200 helped Dickerson to become the new record holder at 2,105.

What kind of pace can DeMarco Murray keep? Luckily for Murray, Dallas has a strong offensive line and a very good passing offense with Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley even with Brandon Weeden at Quaterback. I believe if he stays healthy, the record will be his.

It’s time for kickoff. Enjoy the games everyone and maybe will we see continuing history. That’s part of the fun of each week in the NFL.kind of pace can DeMarco Murray keep? Luckily for Murray, Dallas has a st games of over 200 helped Dickerson to become the

Is Denver’s Receiving Core One of the Best Ever?

 Demaryius ThomasJulius Thomas Emmanuel Sanders  Wes Welker

Good evening football fans. Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while but I had a few other things that I needed to get done. However, I’m back at the keyboard and have another interesting one for today.

While watching Mike and Mike the other morning they discussed a topic with Hall of Famer Cris Carter that really got my mind going. They were trying to decide if anyone has ever had such a great arsenal of weapons on the receiving end as what Peyton Manning has right now with the Broncos. Honestly when you can say that Wes Welker is possibly the fourth best option, well then that is a loaded group of receivers. They were trying to think of teams that had a legitimate group of 4 pass catchers not including a Running Back. Greenberg talked about the crew that Fouts had in San Diego in the early 80’s with Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow but you would have to add in back Chuck Muncie. Cris Carter suggested the Houston Oilers Run and Shoot offense in the early 90’s with Warren Moon at the helm. Moon had targets Drew Hill, Haywood Jeffires, Ernest Givins and Curtis Duncan all Wide Receivers.

 Drew Hill Haywood Jeffires runsErnest Givins Curtis Duncan

So naturally this sent me on a long research journey (that I always love doing anyway) to find groups that could put up numbers year after year. Now the importance was on finding a whole receiving core. There have been 111 times in NFL History that 2 or 3 teammates have finished a season with over 1,000 yards. There have been 5 times that a trio of teammates have all gone for over 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. A very rare feat in NFL History but even sometimes having 3 players with over 1,000 yards has not given way to a legitimate 4th or even 5th option. So in starting I looked at the history of each franchise to see how many times a team has had at least 4 players with at least 500 yards receiving. The Broncos look to be set to have Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker all go for 500 yards.

Going all the way back to the 1930’s is when you will find the 1st time even one player finished a season with 500 yards.

Don Hutson

Don Hutson

Green Bay Packers legend Don Hutson was the first in 1936 with 536. Then in 1943 the Packers were the first team with 2 players with over 500 yards each (Don Hutson 776 and Harry Jacunski 528).

As the passing game continued to evolve, it only took 4 years for a team to have 3 players with at least 500 receiving yards. The Washington Redskins with Slingin Sammy Baugh at Quarterback had Eddie Saenz (598), Bob Nussbaumer (597) and Hugh Taylor (511) all hit the 5 century mark.

15 seasons went by before an organization had 4 different players with at least 500 yards receiving. In 1962 in the AFL, the Broncos had Lionel Taylor (908), Bob Scarpitto (667), Gene Prebola (599) and Bo Dickinson (544). This has happened another 145 times since.

In 1983, the Dallas Cowboys took the next step of showing a well balanced receiving core. Dallas had 5 players all with over 500 yards. The Cowboys were led by Tony Hill (823) and followed by Ron Springs (589), Doug Cosbie (588), Butch Johnson (561) and Drew Pearson (545). This has happened 11 times since with most recently the Broncos and the Saints in 2013. The Miami Dolphins (1992 & 1993), Philadelphia Eagles (2005 & 2010) and the New Orleans Saints (2011 & 2013) are the only franchises that have done this twice. However, in 2011 the Saints set the mark with 6 players all over 500 yards with Jimmy Graham (1,310), Marques Colston (1,143), Darren Sproles (710), Lance Moore (627), Robert Meachem (620) and Devery Henderson (503).

Here is a look at each franchise and all the seasons that each has had at least 4 players with over 500 yards receiving each and in order of most to least. You might be surprised at some of the teams that are at the top as well as the ones at the bottom. See where your favorite team ranks: Updates from the 2014 season are in bold

11 Times – Philadelphia Eagles: The first was in 1988 led by Keith Jackson (869), Cris Carter (761), Keith Byars (705) and Mike Quick (508). The Eagles have accomplished the feat each of the past 5 seasons and even had the same 4 players for the first 4 years from 2009-2012 with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and Jason Avant. Philly is one of 3 teams to have done this 5 straight seasons, but the only team with the same 4 players in 4 consecutive seasons (added in with LeSean McCoy in 2010). Update: The Eagles did it again in 2014 to still lead the NFL at now 11 times with Jeremy Maclin (1,318), Jordan Matthews (872), Zach Ertz (702) & Riley Cooper (577).

9 Times – Miami Dolphins: The first time was in 1984 with Dan Marino shattering all the records throwing to Mark

The Marks Brothers Duper & Clayton

The Marks Brothers Duper & Clayton

Clayton (1,389), Mark Duper (1,306), Tony Nathan (579) and Nat Moore (573). In fact, with Marino at the helm the Dolphins did it again in 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1995. The Marks Brothers were participants in 5 of these seasons. The last time for Miami was in 2010.

9 Times – New York Giants: The first time for New York was in 1984 with Phil Simms at QB throwing to Bobby Johnson (795), Zeke Mowatt (698), Lionel Manuel (619) and Earnest Gray (529). The Giants didn’t accomplish it again until 1999. The G-Men are one of the 3 teams that have pulled this off in each of the past 5 seasons but with 10 different players.

8 Times – Indianapolis Colts: The first time for the Colts was back in Baltimore in 1979. The Colts were led by Joe Washington (750), Don McCauley (575), Reese McCall (536) and Glenn Doughty (510). Indy hit the mark 5 times with Peyton Manning leading the team and most recently in 2012 during Andrew Luck’s rookie season.

7 Times – Dallas Cowboys: The first time for Dallas came in 1978 with Tony Hill (823), Drew Pearson (714), Preston Pearson (526) and Billy Joe DuPree (509). In 1983 the Cowboys became the first team with 5 players. Dallas had the group of 4 again in 1988, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011. With Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley you have to wonder if the Cowboys will get there again this season, even with DeMarco Murray leading the league in rushing.

Todd Christensen

Todd Christensen

7 Times – Oakland Raiders: The Raiders got it started back in the old AFL days in 1967 the first time with Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff (876), Billy Cannon (629), Hewritt Dixon (563) and Bill Miller (537). Then the Raiders went for 3 straight seasons from 1983 to 1985 with Tight End Todd Christensen leading the team each time. It then took 17 years before the Raiders had the 4 players with over 500 yards again in 2002. The last time for the Raiders was 2012.

7 Times – Green Bay Packers: The first time for the Pack came in 1983 with James Lofton (1,300) leading the team. Lofton was joined by John Jefferson (830), Paul Coffman (814) and Gerry Ellis (603). Green Bay didn’t reach this feat again until 1999 and then again in 2001, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

7 Times – Denver Broncos: The first time for Denver was the first time for any franchise back in 1962. However it didn’t happen again until 1981. The Broncos passing game reached it again in 1988, 2002, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Denver is in prime position to have 4 players again this season. And all 4 players are a legitimate threat to go over 1,000 each. If they do, it will be the first time in NFL History.

Times – Pittsburgh Steelers: The franchise known as a run heavy team first had 4 players with over 500 yards each in 1981 with Hall of Famer John Stallworth (1098), Bennie Cunningham (574), Jim Smith (571) and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (505). It took another 25 years but it has happened quickly with Big Ben at QB accomplishing the feat in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Update: Big Ben spread the ball around again this time hitting five targets for all over 500 yards with Antonio Brown leading the league (1,698), Le’Veon Bell (854), Heath Miller (761), Markus Wheaton (644) & Martavius Bryant (549).

Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow

Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow

7 Times – San Diego Chargers: The Dan Fouts led Air Coryell got it going in 1984 with Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner (793), Pete Holohan (734), Bobby Duckworth (715), Wes Chandler (708) and Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (663). The Bolts did it again in 1987, 1994, 1995, 2010 and 2013. With Phillip Rivers back there it could definitely happen again. Update: And it did happen again with Rivers tossing to Malcolm Floyd (856), Antonio Gates (821), Keenan Allen (783) and Eddie Royal (778) all providing steady targets.

7 Times – New Orleans Saints: For the Saints it had never happened until Drew Brees took over at Quarterback. There have been only 2 times that the Brees led Saints have not had at least 4 players with over 500 yards. Since 2006, only 2007 and 2010 this has not happened. Update: And of course this past season was no different with Bress delivering the pigskin to Kenny Stills (931), Marques Colston (902), Jimmy Graham (889) & Brandin Cooks (550).

6 Times – San Francisco 49ers: The first time for the Niners was in 1986 with Jerry Rice (1,570) in his first 1K season followed by Dwight Clark (794), Roger Craig (724) and Russ Francis (505). The 49ers had the group of 4 again in 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998 and 2000. It has been quite a while for San Fran, but there is a great group by the Bay that could possibly get there this year.Ahmad Rashad

6 Times – Minnesota Vikings: Former host of the NBA’s Inside Stuff Ahmad Rashad led the way for the first time for the Vikings in 1978 with 769 yards and was followed by Sammy White (741), Rickey Young (704) and Bob Tucker (540). The Vikings hit the mark again in 1981, 1986, 1995, 2004 and 2009. Oddly enough it never happened during the years of Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Jake Reed on the outside.

6 Times – Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers: This nomadic franchise did it first in the old AFL in 1965 with Charley Frazier (717), Ode Burrell (650), Charley Hennigan (578) and Willie Frazier (521). It took 24 more years before Warren Moon and the Run and Shoot offense did it 4 straight years. Moon and his group accomplished the feat in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992 with the same 4 players until Drew Hill went to the Falcons in 1992. Another 20 years went by before the now Titans did it again in 2012.

6 Times – Kansas City Chiefs: The first time for the Chiefs was back in 1964 with Frank Jackson (943), Fred Arbanas (686), Chris Burford (675) and Abner Haynes (562). 19 years later KC reached the mark in 1983 and then again in 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2013.

5 Times – St. Louis Rams: Even though the Rams franchise has had some of the most prolific passing offenses in the early days of the NFL, the Rams never had 4 players with 500 or more yards until the beginning of the Greatest Show on Turf in 1999. Isaac Bruce (1,165), Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1,048), Tory Holt (788) and Az-Hahir Hakim (677) got the fireworks started. The Rams then did it again in 2000, 2001, 2005 and finally in 2012.

Larry Centers was a part of a group of 4 with 3 different teams Arizona, Washington and Buffalo

Larry Centers was a part of a group of 4 with 3 different teams Arizona, Washington and Buffalo

4 Times – St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals: The first time for the Cards was in 1984 with Roy Green (1,555), Pat Tilley (758), Ottis Anderson (611) and Doug Marsh (608). The Cardinals did it again in 1985 and then again in 1993 and 1994. Even with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston all with over 1,000 yards in 2008 Arizona was close to making it for a 5th time with Jerheme Urban finishing with 448 yards.

4 Times – New England Patriots: The first time for the Pats came in 1989 with Hart Lee Dykes (795), Cedric Jones (670), Eric Sievers (615) and Irving Fryar (537) playing for a combination of 4 different QBs with Steve Grogan, Marc Wilson, Tony Eason and Doug Flutie. 21 years later the Pats had finally done it again and it has been 3 times in 4 years with 2010, 2011 and 2013.

4 Times – Atlanta Falcons: It took 26 years before the Falcons had 4 players with over 500 yards each for the first time. In 1992 Atlanta was led by Andre Rison (1,119), Mike Pritchard (827), Michael Haynes (808) and Drew Hill (623). Drew Hill was a part of this feat 4 seasons in a row having first been with the Oilers from 1989 through 1991. The Falcons repeated it in 1994 and then not again until 2013. Update: The Falcons went back to back for the 1st time in franchise history as Julio Jones (1,593), Roddy White (921), Harry Douglas (556) & Devin Hester (504) as crossed the 5 century mark.

3 Times – Detroit Lions: The first time for Lions came in 1984 with Leonard Thompson (773), Mark Nichols (744), James Jones (662) and Jeff Chadwick (540). It didn’t happen again for Detroit until 2007 and then again in 2011.

3 Times – New York Jets: Even with the prolific passing of Joe Namath to players like Don Maynard and George Sauer, the Jets didn’t have a group of 4 with over 500 yards each until 1985 with Mickey Shuler (879), Wesley Walker (725), Al Toon (662) and Kurt Sohn (534). The Jets hit the mark again in 1993 and for the last time in 2000. None of the 3 times did the Jets have a 1,000 yard receiver to lead the group.

James Lofton and Andre Reed

James Lofton and Andre Reed

3 Times – Buffalo Bills: The Bills didn’t reach the feat with 4 players for over 500 yards until the 3rd season of the Bills run to the Super Bowl in 1992 with Hall of Famers Andre Reed (913), James Lofton (786) and Thurman Thomas (626) along with Don Beebe (554). The Bills repeated this in 1993 with 2 different players as Lofton and Thomas were replaced by Bill Brooks and Pete Metzelaars with over 500 yards. The last time was in 2001.

3 Times – Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens first accomplished the feat in 1997 with Derrick Alexander (1,009), Michael Jackson (918), Jermaine Lewis (648) and Eric Green (601). The Ravens got back at it in 2010 and 2011 led both times by Anquan Boldin.

2 Times – Chicago Bears: The Bears have been known throughout its long and storied history as a smash mouth, run it down your throat type of offense. It has only been recently that the Bears have been a little bit more pass happy. It took Chicago 89 years before finally having 4 players with at 500 yards receiving. In 2009 the Bears were led by Devin Hester (757), Earl Bennett (717), Greg Olsen (612) and Johnny Knox (527). Chicago did it again this past season with 1,000 yard receivers Brandon Marshall (1,295) and Alshon Jeffery (1,421) joined by Martellus Bennett (759) and Matt Forte (594). The Bears could very easily get it for a third time this season so long as Cutler can stay healthy and cut down on mistakes. Update: The same group of 4 did it again for the Bears albeit with a change in order as Alshon Jeffery (1,133) led the team again followed by Martellus Bennett (916), Matt Forte (808) and Brandon Marshall (721).

Cris Collisnworth

2 Times – Cincinnati Bengals: The only 2 times that Cincy has accomplished the feat was in the 1980’s in 1981 and 1986. Cris Collinsworth led both teams with over 1,000 yards each time (1,009 & 1,024) and was followed by Dan Ross (910), Isaac Curtis (609) and Steve Kreider (520) in 1981 and Eddie Brown (964), James Brooks (686) and Rodney Holman (570) in 1986.

2 Times – Cleveland Browns: The teams from Ohio have been an identical match. The only 2 seasons for the Browns, 1981 and 1986. In 1981 the Browns were led by Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome (1,002), Ricky Feacher (654), Greg Pruitt (636) and Reggie Rucker (532). In 1986, Brian Brennan (838) led the way followed by Reggie Langhorne (678), Wesbter Slaughter (577) and Herman Fontenot (559).

2 Times – Washington Redskins: Even with Quarterbacks like Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen and Receivers like Charley Taylor, Art Monk, Gary Clark and Rickey Sanders Washington never had 4 players with at least 500 yards each until 2000. And when it finally did, it was with 5 players: Albert Connell (762), James Thrash (653), Larry Centers (600), Irving Fryar (548) and Stephen Alexander (510). It didn’t happen again until Robert Griffin III’s rookie season in 2012.

2 Times – Houston Texans: For the team that has only been around since 2002 the Texans have had at least one of the best pass catchers of the past decade in Andre Johnson. And the Texans have tried to surround him with some other legitimate threats. The Texans have had at least 4 pass catchers with 500 or more yards in 2007 and 2010. Johnson led the way for both groups followed by Kevin Walter (both times), Owen Daniels (2007), Andre Davis (2007), Arian Foster (2010) Jacoby Jones (2010) and Joel Dreessen (2010).

1 Time – Seattle Seahawks: For the Seahawks it took 26 years to accomplish it for the first time, and it has been 12 years since. Seattle hit the mark for the only time in 2002 with Koren Robinson (1,240), Darrell Jackson (877), Bobby Engram (619) and Itula Mili (508).

1 Time – Carolina Panthers: The Panthers first came into existence in 1995 and have had some very good to great players catching passes. However, it wasn’t until last season that the Panthers finally had 4 players with at least 500 yards receiving. Greg Olsen (816) led the way followed by Steve Smith (745), Brandon LaFell (627) and Ted Ginn (556).

Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith

Mark Carrier

Mark Carrier

There are 2 teams that have never had at 4 players with at least 500 receiving yards in the same season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been around since 1976 and have only had 3 players with 500 yards 8 times in franchise history with the most recent time being in 2011. The other is the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have been around for 19 fewer years then the Bucs and yet have had 3 players with 500 or more yards 8 times as well, with the most recent coming in 2012.

After going through all of this history, I would have to agree that this year’s squad for the Broncos might just be the most lethal. When a team can rely on 3 Wide Receivers and a Tight End as possible 1,000 yard receivers, it is just incredible. Remember all a player needs to average is 62.5 yards per game to reach 1,000. All 4 of Peyton’s main targets are threats to have a 100 yard game at any time. And last night’s game helps to prove that. Emmanuel Sanders with over 100 and 3 scores and even Demaryius Thomas with yet another 100 yard game shows what Denver can do offensively. This past season Denver was the third team to ever have 4 players all with over 750 yards each with Thomas, Decker, Julius Thomas and Welker. The first time this happened was in 1990 with the Run and Shoot Oilers. Haywood Jeffires, Drew Hill, Ernest Givins and Curtis Duncan all had over 750 yards. The 2009 Steelers were the next team with 4 players all over 750 yards with Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and Mike Wallace. The Broncos could very well become the 1st team to accomplish the feat twice and possibly in back to back seasons. Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas are all big time threats for Denver and this offense could be looking at another record setting year for the Broncos.

Broncos

Update: Due to injuries, Denver’s receiving corp did not accomplish the feat of 4 players with 500+ yards receiving. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders tore through opposing defenses combining for 3,023 yards which is the 2nd highest total ever for combined receiving yards from two players (151 yards behind the Lions Herman Moore and Brett Perriman in 1995). However, Julius Thomas missed three games and ended the year 11 yards short of 500 but still nabbed 12 touchdowns. Wes Welker missed two games and finished with 464 yards. So in the end, Denver did finish with one of the best duos in NFL History for yards with Thomas and Sanders and even a great triple threat with 32 combined scores from Thomas, Julius Thomas and Sanders. This group was extremely dangerous but just missed out on some historical marks as a group of four. What team will have a shot at it in 2015. Less than 100 days until we can begin to find out.

An Argument for the Forgotten Great One

Still time to consider Sharpe for the list of 25 semi-finalists.

sportsmenublog

QuintEvents-NFL-On-Location-NFL-Hall-Of-Fame-Bronze-Sculptures

On this Hall of Fame Saturday I present to you a case for a forgotten legend.

One of the main arguments for including an NFL player for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “Can you write the history of the game without including him?” 

There is one Wide Receiver who is being overlooked and forgotten. He came up in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s. He led his team in receptions and yards every year he played. Led the league in catches three times, touchdown receptions twice and yards once. For his career he averaged 85 catches for over 1,100 yards and 9 TD’s per season. He was mostly the only weapon his team had. Sounds like a Hall of Famer right? Then why is he not in? Who is this great one?

It is Sterling Sharpe.Sterling Sharpe

Sharpe had his career cut short after 7 seasons…

View original post 856 more words