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Archive for the ‘NFL’s Forgotten Stars’


Remembering the NFL Minister of Defense Reggie White 1

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Minister of DefenseToday’s Sports Then and Now blog remembers the late Reggie White.

An ordained pastor and Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman, this NFL defender brilliantly embodied his fitting Minister of Defense nickname.

During a storied 15-year NFL career, the Minister of Defense delivered his football version of a fire and brimstone sermon by dominating opposing offenses.

Whenever Reggie White set foot on the football field, he constantly administered defensive pressure. And, when away from the gridiron, he tirelessly catered to the needs of inner-city youth and those less fortunate through his work as a Christian minister.

NFL.com rated White as the #7 NFL player of all-time, and ESPN Sports Nation named him the greatest player in Philadelphia Eagles history. His storied career validates their lofty choices.

White graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1984 after being named SEC Player of the Year during his senior season. The Minister of Defense then played two years in the now defunct USFL with the Memphis Showboats, earning the 1985 USFL Man of the Year Award.

After the USFL folded, White proceeded to the NFL and starred for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985 – 1992. Read the rest of this entry →

Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch 1

Posted on January 01, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Drew Pearson

Drew Pearson

The January Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is one of the greatest clutch receivers in NFL history and a player whose exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame is one of multiple horrible miscues made by the HOF selection committee.

During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Football’s Forgotten Stars: Atlanta Falcons 18

Posted on August 21, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Every team in the NFL has its own collection of heroes. Players who played key roles in helping that franchise reach their greatest heights. Some of these players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are forever immortalized. However, many players who endeared themselves to the home fans, but were not quite Hall of Fame worthy, have been forgotten as time passes and new players take their place.

This fall we are going team-by-team across the NFL featuring some of the “Forgotten Stars” whose greatness was valuable to their team, but who have been largely forgotten over time. We are not simply highlighting the best players from a franchise who are not in the Hall of Fame, but instead featuring some of the players who were important contributors and helped define the team during their era.

Some of these players probably should be in the Hall of Fame and were well known stars, while others were simply solid players and are remembered primarily only by true fans.

This week we look at the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise that despite having some great players during their 45 years in the NFL, just celebrated the first Falcon with at least five years of service with the team to enter the Hall of Fame with the recent induction of Deion Sanders.

Many of the players we are featuring probably would already be in the Hall of Fame had they played in New York, Dallas or for some other consistently successful team. Instead, they toiled in obscurity in Atlanta for a franchise that took more than 40 years to register their first back-to-back winning seasons.

William Andrews – Had it not been for an injury suffered during the 1984 preseason, it is very likely that William Andrews would have a bust in Canton and be on the short list of NFL all-time great running backs. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Football’s Forgotten Stars: Arizona Cardinals 5

Posted on August 14, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Every team in the NFL has its own collection of heroes. Players who played key roles in helping that franchise reach their greatest heights. Some of these players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are forever immortalized. However, many players who endeared themselves to the home fans, but were not quite Hall of Fame worthy, have been forgotten as time passes and new players take their place.

Over the next few months, we will be going team-by-team and featuring some of the “Forgotten Stars” whose greatness was valuable to their team, but who have been largely forgotten over time. We are not simply highlighting the best players from a franchise who are not in the Hall of Fame, but instead featuring some of the players who were important contributors and helped define the team during their era.

Some of these players probably should be in the Hall of Fame and were well known stars, while others were simply solid players and are remembered primarily only by true fans.

With only a few exceptions, we will be focusing primarily on players whose careers ended prior to 2000 to shine the spotlight on players from past generations.

We start with the Arizona Cardinals, a franchise that has been around since the beginning of the NFL, but has bounced between three different locations.

Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals

One of the original NFL teams, the Cardinals have enjoyed only intermittent success over the last 90+ years. They are also a franchise that has struggled to maintain a strong fan base as they originally played in Chicago before spending 28 years in St. Louis and now more than two decades in Arizona.

During that time, the Cardinals have won only two championships, the last in 1947 and appeared in one Super Bowl. However, there have been many great players who have worn the cardinal red, including 16 Hall of Fame players, 10 of which played a significant portion of their career with the Cardinals.

In addition to those Hall of Famers, many other great players have become fan favorites in Chicago, St. Louis or Arizona. Below are features on six players who all were valuable players during their time with the Cardinals. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

      Read more »

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