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Pro Football Hall of Fame Gets a Bit Closer to Legitimacy 0

Posted on February 03, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Nearly 50 years after retiring from the NFL, Jerry Kramer (#64) has finally been selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Nearly 50 years after retiring from the NFL, Jerry Kramer (#64) has finally been selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For me and likely many other long-time lovers of the history of pro football, the relationship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame has always been a messy one.

I have enjoyed the great fortune of visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame multiple times over the years, including taking my kids to Canton in 2015. The museum is a wonderful place to see, recall and learn about the many great moments, players and teams that have been part of the nearly 100 year history of the NFL.

However, while the Hall of Fame was created to be a historical archive to tell the story of professional football, over the years it has become more associated with the players specifically enshrined as Hall of Famers.

That is where for me the relationship starts to get a bit challenging.

While most of the 310 men who have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame through 2017 are unquestionably deserving, the process in which players are chosen has often been an uneven process in which some former players, coaches and administrators are quickly recognized while others with similar credentials either wait for many years or are totally omitted.

Made up of sports media professionals, the Hall of Fame selection committee has a long history of personal vendettas and bias.

Longtime committee member Paul Zimmerman reportedly said that Ken Stabler would never get inducted in his lifetime and sure enough Stabler was not inducted until the year after he died in 2015.

My greatest frustration with the Hall of Fame selection committee stems from their regular practice of making players and coaches who clearly have Hall of Fame credentials wait extended periods of time before being inducted.

Among the clearly deserving Hall of Famers who have been forced to wait beyond their initial year of eligibility were Fran Tarkenton, Shannon Sharpe, Derrick Thomas, Hank Stram, Willie Lanier, Tom Mack and Willie Wood.

The one position that has historically been treated with limited respect by the selection committee is position of wide receiver. Entering 2018, 25 modern era wide receivers have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, but only four of them (Jerry Rice, Raymond Berry, Paul Warfield and Steve Largent) were selected in their first year of eligibility. Read the rest of this entry →

3 Reasons Why The Eagles Will Win Super Bowl 52 0

Posted on January 30, 2018 by James Andrews

SB52It’s just days until the 52nd Super Bowl and the excitement is mounting. Even those of you who aren’t avid American Football fans will be tuning into watch this epic battle which will take place in Minneapolis.

Tom Brady is, once again, leading the Patriots onto the field; he’s chasing his sixth Super Bowl win and hoping to be named MVP. That’s not even all the records he’s hoping to break.

Money certainly isn’t a motivating factor, although the winners and the losers both get a reasonable chunk of change.

If you’re a gambling person, and let’s face it who doesn’t like a flutter on the Super Bowl, then you might be considering putting some money on the Patriots.

If you are then it is essential to use a legal betting site like https://www.legalbettingonline.com/sports/football/nfl/superbowl.html; if you’re going to win you need to be sure you’ll be able to collect your winnings.

But, playing against them is the underdogs, The Eagles; they can’t be written off yet! Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

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