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A Look at the Best NFL Teams of the Decade 0

Posted on January 22, 2020 by John Harris

2020 is here and a lot has been made of the upcoming Super Bowl, the pending draft and the greatest players of the past decade but what about the franchises that have kept us entertained throughout the past 10 years? Now, we look at the best sides of the 2010s.

NUMBER 5 – DENVER BRONCOS 

It’s quite easy to forget about the Broncos because they’ve been someway off the pace in the last few years. The first half of the decade though was a different story. 2010 saw a poor campaign with 12 losses but when expectations were low Denver took off; five seasons followed where they finished in first place in their division, which was aided with the arrival of Comeback Player of the Year Peyton Manning in 2012. 

The post season was a sore subject for many years though with defeat in NFL Super Bowl 48 a hard pill to swallow but you can’t keep a good Bronco down and their decade reached it’s peak in 2015 as they finally lifted the Super Bowl with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.

NUMBER 4 – BALTIMORE RAVENS 

John Harbaugh has done a tremendous job with the Ravens over the last 12 years but, despite a more than competitive decade, they could have achieved so much more. Four division triumphs, a conference win and narrow Super Bowl glory – where Joe Flacco was named MVP – were the highlights and a win rate of .613 ensures the franchise keeps improving decade on decade. If they can continue the progression into the 2020’s then we’ll have a team on our hands and given they’ve switched style from a defense first approach to a now eye catching offense who knows what lays in wait.

NUMBER 3 – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 

The Seahawks spent the entire decade challenging at the top of their division with all but one of the campaigns ending with the minimum of a second-place finish. Their post season displays were respectable too and although back to back Super Bowl wins eluded them after defeat to the Patriots in 2014 there is simply no ignoring their success the year before where they destroyed the Broncos 43-8, which was the biggest Super Bowl win of the decade.

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NFL at 100: Top 100 Players of All-Time – 75-51 0

Posted on January 01, 2020 by Dean Hybl

One of the cool parts of the NFL celebrating 100 years in 2019 is remembering the great moments and players that have helped shape the history of the game.

The NFL Network and others have developed their own All-Time teams or top 100 player lists.

Not to be out-done, we have also chosen Sports Then and Now’s top 100 players in NFL history.

We are breaking the selections into four groups of 25. You can read our players 100-76 here. We will be featuring the top 50 in two subsequent posts.

In a sport that has seen great change and evolution over 100 years, creating any comprehensive all-time list is going to be subjective and open to interpretation. You can read more about the criteria we used to select our top 100 players.

This is the second of four posts announcing the ST&N Top 100. This one includes players 75-51 (the team listed is the one they were most associated with during their career).

Shannon Sharpe

75. Shannon Sharpe – Denver Broncos – 8 Pro Bowls; 4 time 1st Team All-Pro: The most dominant tight end of his era, Sharpe was a key weapon for John Elway during the 1990s. He caught 80 or more passes three times and also had three 1,000 yard seasons. He helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 and then caught 67 passes to help the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl following the 2000 season.

74. Ernie Nevers – Chicago Cardinals –5 time 1st Team All-Pro: A four-sport college star at Stanford, Nevers played five seasons in the NFL (1926-27 with the Duluth Eskimos and 1929-31 with the Chicago Cardinals) and was a first team All-Pro as a fullback each season. In 1929 he established an NFL record that still stands when he scored all 40 points (six touchdowns and four extra points) in a 40-6 win over the Chicago Bears. He was an inaugural inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

73. Paul Warfield – Miami Dolphins – 8 Pro Bowls; 2 time 1st team All-Pro: One of the greatest deep-threat receivers in NFL history, Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per reception for his career. With 85 career touchdown catches out of 427 career receptions, he averaged a touchdown for every five receptions throughout his career. He helped the Cleveland Browns win the NFL Championship during his rookie season and then proved to be a key addition for the Miami Dolphins as they went to three straight Super Bowls and won consecutive titles in 1972 and 1973.

72. Randall McDaniel – Minnesota Vikings – 12 Pro Bowls; 7 time 1st team All-Pro: One of the top offensive linemen of the 1990s, McDaniel was a first-team All-Pro guard seven times and second-team twice between 1990 and 1998.

71. Randy Moss – Minnesota Vikings – 6 Pro Bowls; 4 time 1st team All-Pro: Few players have created the immediate buzz that Moss did as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. He caught 69 passes for 1,313 yards and a league-high 17 touchdowns as the Vikings went 15-1. He eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards 10 times during his career and had nine seasons with 10 or more touchdown receptions. In 2007 with the New England Patriots, he established an NFL record with 23 receiving touchdowns to help the Patriots finish 16-0 during the regular season.

70. Steve Largent – Seattle Seahawks – 7 Pro Bowls; 1 time 1st team All-Pro: The first Superstar of the Seattle Seahawks franchise, Largent was one of the most prolific receivers of his era.  He had 70 or more catches six times in his career and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards eight times, including twice leading the league. He had double digit touchdown receptions three times and was the first player in NFL history with 100 touchdown receptions. At the time of his retirement he was the NFL career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

69. Jonathan Ogden – Baltimore Ravens – 11 Pro Bowls; 4 time 1st team All-Pro: A dominant left tackle, Ogden was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the final 11 seasons of his career. He was called for only 15 holding penalties in 12 seasons.

68. Ray Nitschke – Green Bay Packers – 1 Pro Bowl; 2 time 1st team All-Pro: A key member of the Green Bay Packers five championship teams in the 1960s, Nitschke was a two-time first team All-Pro and three time second team All-Pro at middle linebacker. He had 25 interceptions and recovered 23 fumbles during his career.

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George Blanda: NFL’s Great Old Man 0

Posted on December 15, 2019 by Dean Hybl
George Blanda

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

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The 4 Greatest British Boxers of all time 0

Posted on December 12, 2019 by Varun Kumar

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in Boxing in the United Kingdom. Citizens of the UK now prefer to watch live boxing matches on the Sky website. The country has produced world champions, such as Carl Frampton, Anthony Joshua, Amir Khan and Kell Brook in recent years. To add to the list of fine boxers, here are the top 5 boxers in the history of boxing in the United Kingdom.

BRIGHTON,SUSSEX – FEBRUARY 16,1922: Ted Kid Lewis (R) lands a left punch against Tom Gummer during the fight at The Dome, ,on February 16,1922 in Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom. Ted Kid Lewis won by a KO 1. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images)

John “Jack” Broughton

John “Jack” Broughton was the true pioneer of modern boxing. He was the first person to codify a set of rules to be used in boxing contests. Born in the village of Baunton in Gloucestershire, Broughton left home at age 12 and made his way to Bristol where he worked at the waterside. He gained recognition as world champion after defeating Bill Greeting and Tom Pipes. In his 42 years fighting career from 1725-1767, Broughton never lost a fight. He also held the Bare’ Knuckle Championship of England for over 20 years.

He operated a boxing arena in London from 1742 until his death. His rule of pugilism was used in boxing until the London Prize Ring Rules surpassed it in 1838.

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NFL at 100: Top 100 Players of All-Time – 100-76 2

Posted on November 16, 2019 by Dean Hybl

One of the cool parts of the NFL celebrating 100 years in 2019 is remembering the great moments and players that have helped shape the history of the game.

The NFL Network has been sharing their selections for the top moments, game-changers, teams and characters. Soon they will be unveiling their list of the top 100 players in NFL history.

In a sport that has seen great change and evolution over 100 years, creating any comprehensive all-time list is going to be subjective and open to interpretation.

That is likely even more pronounced when trying to choose the top 100 players of the NFL’s first 100 years.

Some will certainly rely heavily on statistics as a guide, but my opinion is that while individual season statistics and the number of seasons leading the league in a statistical category can help identify greatness, career and all-time statistics are not as helpful and can be misleading when trying to pick an all-time team.

Whether it is related to the number of games played each season, move from playing both ways to position specialization or rule changes that impact offensive production, there has been enough change over the history of the game that I believe reduce the importance of career statistics.

 That is why for the Sports Then and Now list of the Top 100 Players in NFL history we chose to give greater emphasis to other factors. The things we looked at when choosing our top 100 included All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, number of times leading their league in statistical categories, how they compared to other players from within their era and peak performance. Team success was given greater weight in ordering quarterbacks, but played only a minor role in selecting players from other positions.

The result is a Sports Then and Now Top 100 list that I fully expect to look very different than the list that will be unveiled on the NFL Network beginning on November 22nd. For our list, we made sure not to forget those players from the 1920s-1950s whose career statistics are well below players from future decades, but who were clearly all-time greats.

The distribution of players by era for the ST&N Top 100 is very interesting: 1920s-1930s: 8; 1940s-1950s: 13; 1960s: 24; 1970s: 15; 1980s: 12; 1990s: 12; 2000s: 8; 2010s: 7. However, 14 of our top 20 played a majority of their career after 1980.

This is the first of four posts over the next couple weeks announcing the ST&N Top 100. This one includes players 100-76.

100. Larry Wilson – St. Louis Cardinals – 8 Pro Bowls; 5 time 1st Team All-Pro: The creator of the safety blitz, Wilson was a hard-nosed player who was one of the top defensive players of the 1960s. He registered 52 career interceptions and scored seven defensive touchdowns during his career.

99. J.J. Watt – Houston Texans – 5 Pro Bowls, 5 time 1st Team All-Pro: When healthy, J.J. Watt has clearly distinguished himself as an all-time great. He has earned first-team All-Pro in each of the five seasons in which he has been healthy throughout the year and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times in his first four years. Unfortunately, a recent injury that has ended his 2019 season marks the third time in the last four years that he has played in eight or fewer games.

98. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings (primary team) – 7 Pro Bowls; 4 time 1st team All-Pro: A three-time NFL rushing champion, Adrian Peterson was the most dominant running back in the NFL during his 10 seasons in Minnesota. After suffering a major knee injury in 2011, the next season he rushed for 2,097 yards, which is the second highest single season total in NFL history.

97. Derrick Brooks – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 11 Pro Bowls; 5 time 1st team All-Pro: Often over-shadowed by more flamboyant teammates, Derrick Brooks was the steady leader of a Tampa Bay defense that was among the best in the league for nearly a decade. In their Super Bowl winning season in 2002, Brooks was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year as he returned three interceptions for touchdowns during the regular season and had another score in the Super Bowl.

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Earl Morrall: The Perfect Backup 0

Posted on November 16, 2019 by Dean Hybl
Earl Morrall

In a career that started in 1956 and ended in 1976, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was never really a leading man, but he seemed to be part of the supporting cast for many huge moments in NFL history.

The second overall pick in the 1956 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, Earl Morrall joined a San Francisco 49ers team that already included the famous “Million Dollar Backfield” of Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson.

Morrall started four games during his rookie season, but just before the start of the 1957 season was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks.

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    • George Blanda: NFL’s Great Old Man
      December 15, 2019 | 3:07 pm
      George Blanda

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

      George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

      Read more »

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