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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 1

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 →

Vintage Video: The Magic of Roger Staubach 0

Posted on October 08, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Roger Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins and 23 fourth quarter comebacks during the 1970s.

Roger Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins and 23 fourth quarter comebacks during the 1970s.

It seems like just about every week at least one NFL quarterback leads his team to an exciting comeback victory.

Of course, exciting comebacks are nothing new. In the 1970s, Dallas Cowboys star Roger Staubach became known as Captain Comeback for his many late miracle comeback wins.

As part of our Vintage Videos series we look back at the career of Staubach, including some great YouTube videos of one of the iconic quarterbacks in NFL history.

During his nine seasons as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, Roger Staubach seemed to always have the uncanny knack of making the big play needed to lift his team to victory. He led the Cowboys to 23 fourth quarter game-winning drives during his career, including 15 times with his team trailing.

The Cowboys reached the playoffs in eight of his nine seasons as the starting quarterback and advanced to the Super Bowl five times.

He was named MVP of Super Bowl VI and also led Dallas to the title in Super Bowl XXII.

Staubach was a winner even before joining the Cowboys.

He spent three seasons at the Naval Academy and as a junior in 1963 won the Heisman Trophy while leading the Midshipmen to a 9-1 record and a number two national ranking.

After graduating, he spent five years in the U.S. Navy, including a tour in Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry →

Dallas and Green Bay Take Centerstage Today in Rematch of 2016 Playoff Thriller 0

Posted on October 08, 2017 by Chris Kent

Call it a rematch.

The Dallas Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in week five of the NFL season today. While revenge will be the intent of the Cowboys, the Packers will be looking for their third straight win and with it claim early season supremacy over their NFC brethren.

Green Bay’s 34-31 win over Dallas in last season’s NFC divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium – AKA Jerry World – ended the Cowboys unexpected storybook season at 13-4. Dallas won the NFC East for the second time in three years, buoyed by a franchise-record 11-game winning streak. While the Cowboys were in control of their eventual division championship throughout the season, their season came to an abrupt end when Aaron Rodgers worked his late-game magic with a one-of-a-kind throw that has been firmly entrenched in the storied lore of this matchup.

Aaron Rodgers and Jared Cook connected on this clutch play in last's year's dramatic playoff win over Dallas.

Aaron Rodgers and Jared Cook connected on this clutch play in last’s year’s dramatic playoff win over Dallas.

Facing third-and-20 from his own 32-yard line with 12 seconds left to play, Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to his left and spotted tight end Jared Cook running toward the side line. Rodgers fired a long pass to Cook who caught it while bending at the knees and dragging the tips of his two feet inbounds before falling out of bounds. Three seconds remained which then ticked away as Mason Crosby drilled a 51-yard field goal to send the Packers to the NFC Championship game and Dallas into the offseason one-and-done. It was a bitter defeat for the Cowboys and their fans who have waited nearly nine months for the two teams to meet again.

The defeat was even more deflating for Dallas when you consider that the game was full of drama, something the Cowboys’ franchise has always been known for. Dallas went up 3-0 – its’ only lead of the game – at the 11:28 mark of the first quarter before Green Bay scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-3 lead with 8:14 left in the second quarter. Playing from behind nearly the whole game – a position they were rarely in the whole season – the Cowboys were taken out of their normal comfort zone. The Packers lead 21-13 at halftime.

Rodgers three-yard touchdown pass to Cook gave Green Bay a 28-13 lead early in the third quarter, a score which remained entering the fourth quarter. Dallas continued its’ rally by scoring consecutive touchdowns 7:31 apart in the fourth. The second one came when Dak Prescott connected with Dez Bryant on a seven-yard scoring play. Prescott’s two-yard run provided the two-point conversion and the game was tied 28-28.

The Packers retaliated on their ensuing drive with Crosby’s 56-yard field goal putting Green Bay up 31-28. That left the Cowboys with 1:33 following the ensuing kickoff. Prescott took Dallas on a 6-play 47-yard drive in 58 seconds to set up Dan Bailey’s 52-yard field goal knotting the score at 31 apiece. There were still 35 seconds left and Rodgers used it to put the Packers in position to win it behind his now legendary play.

Rodgers finished the game 28-for-43 for 355 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception while compiling a 96.6 quarterback rating. Prescott, in his first career playoff game, was 24-for-38 for 302 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and had a 103.2 QBR. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott – who lead the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards during the 2016 regular season – ran 22 times for 125 yards. Mistakes were relatively even as each team had one turnover while the Cowboys had a slight 3-2 edge in sacks. Read the rest of this entry →

The New York Jets Know You Should Always Be Closing 1

Posted on October 03, 2017 by Andrew Scott
Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown will be looking for his third straight win when facing his former team.

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown will be looking for his third straight win when facing his former team.

The New York Jets know that to pull off an upset against the Cleveland Browns, the Browns being a one-point favorite at SBG Global Sportsbook, they need to know their A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing. Always be closing. They learned the hard way that, as head coach Todd Bowles told the team’s official website, “when you get somebody down, you have to kick them while they’re down. We didn’t do that this game [against the Jaguars], but we pulled out a win. Going forward, we need to make those types of plays to close people out.”

To his point, no one is downer than the Browns. As matter of fact, the only person who’s arguably lower in the head coaching pecking order than Bowles, it’s probably Cleveland’s own Hue Jackson. It actually does boggle the mind that it’s 0-4 Browns rather than the 2-2 Jets who are the faves on this one, when it could and probably should be the other way around. But then again, it could have been, the other way around, with the Jets the team with the losing record and the Browns breaking even, that’s how similar these two are. There but for the grace of God, right?

Sure, the Jets have won two straight, but they have lost their two road games – which mirrors their ATS record as well. Moreover, Josh McCown, their starting quarterback, who knows Jackson well, has never won three starts in a row. So, if one thinks about it, McCown is sort of like Ultraman. You know, “Because of Earth’s polluted atmosphere, Ultraman can only retain his gigantic form for three minutes. Time is running out.” Will McCown lead a team to a three-game-winning streak for the first time in 15 years before he runs out of time? If can’t get it done against the Browns, then he’s certainly no more than a two-hit wonder. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      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 more »

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