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50 Years Ago: The Ice Bowl 0

Posted on December 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
It was 50 years ago that the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers met in the Ice Bowl.

It was 50 years ago that the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers met in the Ice Bowl.

There have been a lot of iconic games during the nearly 100 year history of the NFL, but no game has quite combined championship drama with unprecedented weather conditions like the 1967 NFL Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Played fifty years ago on December 31, 1967, the game has become known simply as “The Ice Bowl.”

The buildup to the 1967 NFL Championship Game actually started a year earlier when the Packers made a late goal line stand to preserve a 34-27 victory over the Cowboys in the 1966 NFL Championship Game played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Neither team had an easy path through the 1967 season. In actuality, the two best teams in the NFL during the regular season were the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Colts. However, they were in the same division and only one of the two teams could make the playoffs in an era before the wild card.

Baltimore entered the regular season finale in Los Angeles with a 11-0-2 record, including a 24-24 tie with the Rams during their earlier meeting. Not only did the Colts lose their chance at an undefeated regular season during their 34-10 loss, they also lost a chance at reaching Super Bowl II. Instead, the Rams earned the Coastal Division title and a spot in the playoffs.

Even though the Rams had a better record (11-1-2) than the Packers (9-4-1), their divisional playoff game was played in Green Bay on December 23, 1967. The Rams had defeated Green Bay 27-24 in a hard fought regular season game two weeks earlier, but this time the Packers dominated. Read the rest of this entry →

Colts Legend Lenny Moore 1

Posted on December 09, 2017 by Dean Hybl

Lenny MooreDuring the days when the Colts ruled Baltimore, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was one of the most exciting players in the NFL.

For 12 seasons with the Baltimore Colts, Lenny Moore was one of the most versatile and explosive players in the game. Read the rest of this entry →

Some Notable Football Ankle Injuries, Then And Now 0

Posted on December 01, 2017 by Joe Fleming

McFadden-injuryProfessional football is one of the highest-satisfaction professions, as nine out of ten former athletes say they are glad they played the game. But fewer than half these men would want their children to participate in the sport, due to the frequency and severity of the injury. 90 percent of former players suffered at least one major injury during their careers, typically to their ankle, knee, hip, or foot.

To get back on the field faster, many injured football players wear orthotic braces over their injured joint. These devices are not the cumbersome braces they were just a few years ago. Instead, most braces are very lightweight yet also very strong. For example, ankle braces for running can fit snugly without inhibiting a runner’s motion, providing support and stabilization to the vulnerable joint, and helping to absorb the shock of the foot’s impact with the ground.

Don’t miss these notable ankle injuries:

Jerry Kramer, 1961 Green Bay Packers

Both before and after Kramer strained several ligaments in his left ankle during the championship game against the Minnesota Vikings, he was known as one of the toughest football players of his or any era.

As a youth in the 1950s, Kramer lost a fist-size chunk of his right side during a high school workshop incident and he was accidentally shot in the arm with a double-barrel shotgun. In college, doctors left a large, zipper-style scar on his neck after they removed a chipped vertebra.

After joining the Packers in 1958,  Kramer detached his retina during a game against the Los Angeles Rams in 1960. Four years later, he missed an entire season after surgery to remove four large wooden splinters that were lodged in his groin near his spine from a 1953 calf-chasing incident. Read the rest of this entry →

Football is Part of America’s Thanksgiving Tradition 0

Posted on November 22, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Football has been part of the Thanksgiving tradition for nearly a century.

Football has been part of the Thanksgiving tradition for nearly a century.

Ever since the first professional football league was formed in the early 1900s, football has been as much a part of Thanksgiving Day as pumpkin pie, turkey and dinner at Grandma’s.

Upon creation of the NFL in 1920, the league initially played multiple games on Thanksgiving Day.

In 1920 there were a total of six games played on Thanksgiving. Included during that first season were matchups between the Canton Bulldogs and Akron Pros, Daytona Triangles against the Detroit Heralds, and the Elyria Athletics against the Columbus Panhandles.

The first matchup between two current NFL franchises was in 1922 when the Chicago Cardinals defeated the Chicago Bears 6-0. The first regular Thanksgiving rivalry, the Cardinals and Bears met every year between 1922 and 1933.

The following year, the Cardinals played the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day while the Bears faced the Detroit Lions.

From 1934-1938 the Bears and Lions played annually on Turkey Day.In 1939 and 1940 the only Thanksgiving Day game was played between the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.

No Thanksgiving Day games were played during World War II, but since 1945 the Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day ever year.

From 1951 through 1963 the Lions and Packers were a regular Thanksgiving tradition.The Lions and Packers met on Thanksgiving Day every year between 1951 and 1963. In 1962 the Lions handed the Packers their only loss of the season.

The Packers and Lions met annually on Thanksgiving from 1951 through 1963. In 1962 the Lions ended the Packers hopes for an undefeated season with a 26-14 Thanksgiving Day victory.

However, after the Lions handed the Packers their only loss of the 1962 season in a shocking Thanksgiving massacre and then the following season played the defending champions to a 13-13 tie, Vince Lombardi and the Packers thought they should share the Thanksgiving experience with the rest of the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys made their first Thanksgiving Day appearance in 1966 when they defeated the Cleveland Browns 28-14. With the exception of the 1975 and 1977 seasons, the Cowboys have hosted a game on Thanksgiving ever since.

When the AFL began play in 1960 they also started playing games on Thanksgiving Day. From 1960 through 1969 the AFL had at least one game on Thanksgiving every year.

Following the NFL-AFL merger and realignment in 1970, the league settled on having two Thanksgiving Day games with Detroit and Dallas traditionally serving as the hosts.

In 2006 a third game was added originally televised by the NFL Network and now on NBC, but unlike the two other games of the day, the host site has been rotated between several teams.

Below are some specific games and memories from the Golden Era of Thanksgiving football that helped solidify football as an important part of the American holiday:

November 29, 1934 – In the first Thanksgiving matchup between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, the Bears won 19-16 to improve their season record to 12-0. They defeated the Lions again the following week in Chicago to finish the regular season undefeated.

November 22, 1951 – In what became a Thanksgiving Day tradition for more than a decade, the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers 52-35. Jack Christiansen scored on punt returns of 71 and 89 yards and Bobby Layne tossed four touchdown passes.

November 27, 1952 – In their only year of existence, the Dallas Texans had already become wards of the NFL by Thanksgiving and were playing out the schedule wherever they could find a potential audience. On Thanksgiving Day, the winless Texans faced the Chicago Bears in Akron, Ohio. In front of a sparse crowd, the Texans claimed their only victory of the season with a 27-23 victory over the Chicago Bears. Read the rest of this entry →

Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star 2

Posted on November 12, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Bulldog Turner

Bulldog Turner

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft. Read the rest of this entry →

4 Football Players You’ve Forgotten About and What They’re Up to Now 0

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Carol Trehearn

Football-1The names of the latest NFL superstars usually stay in the national spotlight for several years after retirement. These players become commentators on major news stations, launch their own restaurants or fashion lines and appear as guests at a variety of events and fundraisers. But what about the players who never achieve superstar-status?

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the players who fall out of the spotlight after retirement, keep reading to learn about four football players you’ve forgotten about, and what they’re doing since leaving the field:

Jake “the Snake” Plummer

You’ve probably heard of plenty of former NFL players who have gone on to launch restaurant chains, become actors or start a career as sports commentators. Less common are stories of football players who continue careers as professional athletes, but in different sports. But that’s exactly what Jake “the Snake” Plummer went on to do. His 10 year NFL career included runs with the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos. But when he abruptly retired in 2007 after getting traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Plummer went on to launch a new career as a professional handball player. In his very first appearance as a professional handball player, Plummer and his brother/partner took second place in the U.S. Open of Handball.

Plummer now runs handball tournaments and occasionally steps back into the world of football as a sports commentator.

Joe Horn

If you were a Kansas City Chiefs fan in the late 1990s or a New Orleans Saints fan in the early 2000s (or an Atlanta Falcons fan in 2007), you may remember Joe Horn for his over-the-top touchdown celebrations. Now, if you live in the South, you may be more likely to recognize his brand name faster than his real name. That’s because Horn is founder of the barbecue sauce Bayou 87. His sauce claims to blend the flavors of New Orleans with cajun culture.

When he isn’t stirring up his signature taste, Horn is also known for partnering with other former players and coaches to host youth football camps across the country. Read the rest of this entry →

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