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75 Years Ago: NFL Action on “A Day That Will Live in Infamy” 0

Posted on December 04, 2016 by Dean Hybl
December 7, 1941 was Tuffy Leemans' Day at the New York Giants football game.

December 7, 1941 was Tuffy Leemans’ Day at the New York Giants football game.

The first Sunday in December of 1941 began much like Sundays have for years prior and for the 75 years since.  The morning for many included a church service and then was followed by Sunday afternoon National Football League action.

Though the NFL in 1941 was not the Sunday national obsession that it has become over the past 75 years, there was still excitement for the final three games of the regular season.

In New York, a crowd of 55,051 packed the Polo Grounds for “Tuffy Leemans’ Day” as the New York Giants were recognizing their All-Pro running back in the final regular season game of his sixth NFL season. Leemans had led the NFL in rushing with 830 yards as a rookie in 1936 and as was common during the era, he was a multi-threat who also could be a passer, receiver, punt returner and play defense. He would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.

The Giants entered the game with an 8-2 record and having already clinched the East Division title. Their opponents, the cross-town rival Brooklyn Dodgers (yes the Brooklyn Dodgers was also the name of an NFL team from 1930-1943) entered the game with a 6-4 record.

Brooklyn had defeated the Giants 16-13 earlier in the season, but a recent loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers had knocked the Dodgers out of contention for the division title.

On this afternoon, Brooklyn All-Pro Pug Manders was a one-man-show as he scored touchdown in the second, third and fourth quarters to give the Dodgers a 21-0 lead. He sandwiched touchdown runs of three and two yards with a 65-yard interception return for a score. The Giants made the final score 21-7 when Kay Fakin caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Hank Soar.

As would be the case in all the NFL Stadiums that day, soon after the Pearl Harbor Bombing commenced at 12:55 Eastern time, the public address announcer told all servicemen in attendance to report to their units immediately.

At Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC, the Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles were each finishing out the season. The Redskins were 5-5 on the year, while the Eagles were 2-7-1 entering the final contest.

In front of a crowd of 27,102, the Eagles scored early on a run by Jack Banta. Future Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh hit Al Krueger for a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to tie the contest.

The Eagles regained the lead in the third quarter with a six-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Thompson to Hank Piro to make the score 14-7.

By the time Baugh tossed a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes to Joe Aguirre to secure the 20-14 victory, many of the initial audience was likely gone. Soon after the bombings, the Public Address Announcer started to page high-ranking government and military leaders, though he did not mention the attacks. Read the rest of this entry →

Cowboys and Steelers on Par with Dominant Eras; Meet Again in 2016 0

Posted on November 13, 2016 by Chris Kent

As two of the National Football League’s iconic franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers evoke legacies and memories that date back to the 1970’s. That is where the two franchises forged their reputations as being elite. The two teams met in a pair of Super Bowls and combined to play in seven during the decade. With wins over the Cowboys in Super Bowls X and XIII,

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970's.

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970′s.

the Steelers gained the upper hand in the matchup in the 1970’s during which they went 4-0 in Super Bowls and claimed the status as the team of the decade. The two Super Bowl matchups between them in the 1970’s were classics. Pittsburgh claimed a pair of four-point victories with a 21-17 win in Super Bowl X and a 35-31 victory in Super Bowl XIII.

While both franchises fell off the very top of the NFL pedestal in the 1980’s, they came back to prominence in the 1990’s during which they met in a third Super Bowl, that being Super Bowl XXX in 1996 which Dallas won 27-17. It was the third Super Bowl title in a four-year span for the Cowboys who were the team of the decade. Dallas was lead throughout the 1990’s by Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, who collectively were known as, “The Triplets.” They combined with a mammoth offensive line that featured multiple pro bowlers and a pro football hall-of-famer in guard/tackle Larry Allen that dominated opponents. Meanwhile, the Steelers had emerged as a contender with back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game in 1994-95. Pro football hall-of-famers Rod Woodson and Kevin Greene were part of those Pittsburgh teams and soon to join in 1996 would be another eventual hall-of-famer in Jerome Bettis.

The mere mention of the Cowboys and Steelers dueling on the gridiron is enough to get any football fan’s attention. The names on each side represent a hall-of-fame roll call of players and coaches. For Pittsburgh it is the dominant era of “The Steel Curtain” defense in the 1970’s that took the league by storm. That defense was made famous by the likes of “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, and Mel Blount who are all in the pro football hall of fame. L.C. Greenwood was also part of the Steel Curtain and was named to the NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team. Leading those great Steelers’ teams was the late Chuck Noll who was 4-0 in Super Bowls, the only coach in the Super Bowl era besides Bill Belichick to win four. Those Pittsburgh team’s of the 1970’s also had firepower on offense behind the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster who are all in the pro football hall of fame. Read the rest of this entry →

Prescott’s Impressive Play Poses Quarterback Dilemma in Dallas 0

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Chris Kent

Who Dak?

Prescott has lead Dallas to five straight wins.

Prescott has lead Dallas to five straight victories.

That is a question that has been answered with rave cheers from Dallas Cowboys Nation through the first six games of the 2016 season. To answer the question in terms of a bio, he is Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott, the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback from Mississippi State University who stands 6-2 and weighs 223 pounds. Drafted in the fourth round with the 135th pick overall this past spring, Prescott was pressed into action much sooner than expected due to the compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae suffered by veteran starting quarterback Tony Romo in a preseason loss at Seattle on Aug. 25. Since then, Prescott has played well and above his rookie status. He has opened his NFL career with a 5-1 record as a starter and has already set an NFL record by throwing 176 passes without an interception to start a career, surpassing the record of 162 formerly held by Tom Brady. While he lost a fumble and threw the first interception of his career in a 30-16 win at Green Bay on Oct. 16, Prescott has shown tremendous poise. He has guided Dallas to five straight wins, the team’s longest win streak since 2014 when they won six straight and were 6-1.

Prescott is a sturdy quarterback with a strong arm and mobility. He has made smart decisions with where he throws the football which is perhaps his most impressive quality. Six games into his NFL career, Prescott is 125-for-182 for 1,486 yards and 7 touchdowns. Even more impressive is his completion percentage of 68.7 and the fact that he has only thrown one interception thus far. He is averaging 247.7 passing yards per game and has an average per attempt of 8.2. While Prescott benefits from playing behind the best offensive line in the league and the impact running of rookie Ezekiel Elliott – who leads the NFL with 703 yards rushing – , he is also capable of avoiding the rush. Prescott has run for three touchdowns this year while totaling 67 yards on 20 runs. Prescott stands to only benefit from a healthy Dez Bryant – a pro bowl wide receiver – who is schedule to return from a knee injury on Oct. 30 when the team hosts Philadelphia. Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Minnesota Vikings Doing It With Mirrors? 0

Posted on October 17, 2016 by Tony Samboras
Sam Bradford was a key addition following the injury to Teddy Bridgewater.

Sam Bradford was a key addition following the injury to Teddy Bridgewater.

In 2015, the Minnesota Vikings surprised a lot of people, finishing 3rd in the NFC with a record of 11-5. In the process, they upended archrival Green Bay for the NFC North title. Coming into the 2016 season, they were given a reasonable chance of making the playoffs, though no one was really predicting a repeat conference win over the Packers.

The teams chances of making another run for the playoffs took a serious hit early in the pre-season when starting QB Teddy Bridgewater went down with a season-ending injury. This was already an offense that struggle last season, finishing 4th worst in the league with 321 YPG. The fact is receiver corps was young and inexperienced coming into the season didn’t figure to help matters much.

The one person the Vikings knew they could count on was All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson, who led the league in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 yards and 11 TDs. The ability to count on him lasted exactly five quarters as he too would go down with a season ending injury.

With two big blows to its playoff hopes for the season, Head Coach Mike Zimmer was called upon to begin doing damage control. The first thing the team did was go out and trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for veteran QB Sam Bradford. Often injured, Bradford was at least able to bring some starting expense to the table, something the Vikings couldn’t find internally.

Next up was to simplify the offense and try to limits mistakes. The thought was the defense was certainly good enough to keep games close, which could result in a few wins if the offense didn’t shoot itself in the foot. While this notion and winning with Bradford at QB seemed a long shot at best, a 5-0 record speaks volumes about never underestimating good defense in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: There Will Never Be Another Vin Scully 1

Posted on September 25, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

Vin Scully has been an icon since announcing his first major league game in 1950.

After more than six decades, legendary Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is saying goodbye to the broadcast booth. To say that we will never see another Vin Scully may be quite an understatement.

Since he debuted as the third announcer along with Red Barber and Connie Desmond for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, Scully has been baseball’s great storyteller.

Listening to a Vin Scully broadcast is not just an afternoon enjoying live baseball. It is an afternoon remembering both legendary and relatively obscure players from baseball’s past while also likely having American culture and history woven into the conversation.

Scully is not just a walking baseball encyclopedia, he is a walking American history book.

Having grown up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, Scully spent two years in the U.S. Navy before attending Fordham University. During his college career, Scully played on the baseball team while writing for the school newspaper and broadcasting football and basketball games on the radio.

Following his graduation, Scully was a fill-in announcer for CBS Radio station WTOP in Washington, DC. It was during this time that Red Barber, the Sports Director for the CBS Radio Network, recruited him to broadcast college football games.

After joining the Dodgers broadcast team in 1950, Scully continued to learn his craft from the legendary Barber. In 1953, Barber got into a salary dispute with World Series broadcast sponsor Gillette, propelling the 25-year-old Scully into the broadcast booth for his first World Series. He still holds the record as the youngest broadcaster to announce a World Series game.

He eventually became the lead announcer for the Dodgers and stayed with the team when they moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.

Though he is originally a New Yorker, it was in California where Scully truly became a broadcasting legend. Announcing Dodger games during the era of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills, Scully became a fan favorite as many would bring transistor radios to the stadium just to hear Scully call the action. Read the rest of this entry →

Pain On The Gridiron: The 5 Most Common NFL Injuries 0

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Kara Masterson

nfl-injuryFootball may always be fun to watch, but unfortunately, it is not always pleasant to play. According to research by the United States Safety Commission, football is the third most dangerous sport, so it is no surprise that members of the NFL regularly deal with injuries. Players get hurt basically every day in professional football. The dangers of the game are almost endless, however, these five injuries are the most common reasons for injury in the NFL.

Knee Injuries

An analysis of injury data from the NFL shows that knee injuries are the most common football injury by far. This happens because the players are often hit right in the middle of pivoting and making other risky knee movements. Though it is possible to recover from knee injuries, it takes quite a bit of time. In some cases, players cannot continue playing afterwards. Depending on the situation knee injuries can be very serious and even require surgery and physical therapy.

Ankle Injuries

The ankle is also a delicate joint in the leg, and it is therefore the second most likely source of injury. Ankle injuries tend to happen during improper tackles, such as the outlawed “horse collar tackle,” so some players end up needing lawyers, such as those at Ahlander Injury Law, to seek damages after another player hurts their ankle. Injuries like this can also be serious depending on the situation, but if you get it looked at as soon as possible you should be able to have a steady recovery. Read the rest of this entry →

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