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50 Years Ago: Joe Namath and the Jets Shock the World 0

Posted on January 11, 2019 by Dean Hybl
Joe Namath dominated the attention prior to Super Bowl III, but few expected his team to win.

Joe Namath dominated the attention prior to Super Bowl III, but few expected his team to win.

With apologies to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the most shocking sports victory of the 1960s took place 50 years ago on January 12, 1969 when the underdog New York Jets lifted the fortunes of an entire league by defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Though the American Football League (AFL) was completing its ninth season and the champions of the AFL and National Football League (NFL) were meeting for the third straight year, most people did not consider the two leagues to be equal. In fact, it is reported that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle believed it might be another decade before the AFL would be an equal to the NFL and that a new format for the Super Bowl might be needed.

In hindsight, we know that the two leagues were indeed much closer in competitiveness than Rozelle believed, but at the time his reasoning was hard to argue against. The NFL Champion Green Bay Packers had claimed the first two Super Bowls by a combined margin of 68-24 and the current NFL Champion Baltimore Colts were perhaps an even more dominant champion than Green Bay.

While the Colts were an established NFL power, the New York Jets were an AFL upstart that had just completed the second winning season in franchise history and were making their first-ever trip to the playoffs.

However, one “ace in the hole” for the Jets was roaming their sidelines. Head Coach Week Ewbank had won two NFL Championships during his nine year tenure as coach of the Baltimore Colts. After moving to the Jets, he had taken the team from a basement dweller to league champions.

During both his time with the Colts and the Jets, Ewbank had the benefit of having an elite franchise quarterback leading the offense.

In Baltimore, he turned Johnny Unitas into an all-time great. Though New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath had not yet reached that status level, in 1967 he did become the first quarterback in pro football history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season. Read the rest of this entry →

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Two Memorable Days at Old RFK Stadium 1

Posted on December 29, 2018 by Dean Hybl

1981-Eagles-RedskinsThe Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins will renew their rivalry on Sunday for the 169th time as both teams look to close out the 2018 season with a victory.

Since they first met on October 21, 1934 when the Redskins were still playing in Boston, the Eagles and Redskins have played many memorable games. As division rivals, they typically play twice a year, which has created great drama and familiarity for both the franchises and the fans. They have met one time in the playoffs, with the Redskins ending the Buddy Ryan era in Philadelphia with a 20-6 win over the Eagles during the 1990 season.

The Redskins hold the all-time series lead 85-77-6, but interestingly enough, the Eagles actually have out-scored the Redskins 3,535 points to 3,336.

I had the great pleasure of witnessing two of the most exciting games in the series, both played at the old RFK Stadium in Washington.

The first was during the 1981 season and the second was in 1989. Both games included some fantastic individual plays and exciting endings that resulted in the team that had seemingly been in control for most of the game making a fatal mistake that cost them the win.

December 6, 1981 – Week 14 – Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) at Washington Redskins (5-8)

After reaching the Super Bowl during the 1980 season, the Philadelphia Eagles started the 1981 campaign with six straight wins and seemed poised for another championship run. However, they entered the week 14 game at Washington having lost two straight games and three of their last five.

Conversely, in their first season under the leadership of Joe Gibbs, the Redskins opened the 1981 campaign with five straight losses. After climbing to 5-6 on the season with an overtime win over the New York Giants, they stumbled with consecutive losses to enter the game against the Eagles with a 5-8 record and trying to avoid a losing campaign. Read the rest of this entry →

Paul Warfield: The Perfect Receiver 1

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Warfield-DolphinsThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was perfection personified as a wide receiver during his NFL career.

Known for his fluid movement, grace and jumping ability during his 13 year NFL career, Paul Warfield was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and key performer for the Miami Dolphins during their 17-0 campaign in 1972.

Because the role of the wide receiver has changed so much and today’s star receivers get the ball thrown to them so many more times than in the pre-1978 era, Warfield is often overlooked when discussing all-time greats.

But, think about this. Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per catch for his career (427 receptions, 8,565 yards) and 19.9% of his receptions went for touchdowns (85). By comparison, Julio Jones has averaged 15.5 yards per catch for his career and a touchdown in 6.9% of his receptions (46 TDs in 669 catches). Antonio Brown averages 13.4 ypc and a TD in 8.7% (70 of 804) of his receptions. Terrell Owens averaged 14.8 ypc and a TD in 14.2% of his receptions. Even Jerry Rice, considered the greatest receiver of all-time, averaged only 14.8 ypc and a TD in 12.7% of his catches. Read the rest of this entry →

The Athletes Who Went Broke 0

Posted on November 30, 2018 by Scott Huntington

The story of the athlete who turned rags to riches by going pro is one we love to tell. Often, professional sports takes this story to the extreme with the biggest stars earning hundreds of millions. The top 100 highest-earning athletes, according to Forbes, brought in a cumulative $3.8 billion last year.

But the story of pro athletes going from riches to rags is almost as common. According to Sports Illustrated, 78 percent of former NFL players experience financial stress after just two years out of the league, and 60 percent of NBA players go broke after five years of retirement, although the NBA disputes this claim.

Athletes Who Went Broke

Tyson

Whatever the case, though, stories of former stars falling on rough times are plentiful. There was Mike Tyson, who earned more than $400 million over the span of his career but declared bankruptcy before he retired. According to a New York Times article about his bankruptcy filing, Tyson spent lavishly. Tyson has claimed that his former promoter, Don King, cheated him out of tens of millions of dollars.

Read the rest of this entry →

Preston Pearson: The Ultimate Third-Down Back 0

Posted on November 17, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Preston-Pearson-Cowboys-2The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month played in five Super Bowls with three teams during a 14-year NFL season, but is likely best known for being the ultimate third-down situation back during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

When Preston Pearson was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1967 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois, there was no expectation that he would develop into one of the most versatile backs in the NFL. In fact, given that Pearson was a two-year starter in basketball and never played a snap of college football, he was a long-shot to ever play a down in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

Ideas for the Best Sports Themed Vacations in the USA 0

Posted on November 09, 2018 by John Harris
The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore is one of many cool sports destinations for a sports themes vacation.

If you’re a devoted sports fan, there’s a good chance you grab every opportunity to watch your favorites on television, and with very few sports not getting airtime on one of the hundreds of channels available, that’s a lot of sport! Watching on TV is great, but how often do you get to see sports played live? There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a sporting arena, being able to see what goes down as it happens while you’re surrounded by thousands of other passionate devotees of your team or country.

The problem is it’s not a cheap day out in many cases, especially for the more popular sports, and it can be hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on watching a ball game you could have stayed at home and watched for considerably less. One answer to the problem is to combine your love of sports with your annual vacation, or even a weekend away with the family. Everyone gets to enjoy the activities they’re interested in, and you get to breathe in the atmosphere of some of the most exciting and interesting sports grounds and sports-related tourist attractions, all as part of the cost of a vacation you’d have taken anyway.

Why you should take a sports-themed vacation

The chance to see and experience these places and events is something you’ll remember forever, so it’s worth making an effort to organize a few tours and attend a live event.

If you’re managing on a restricted budget, you obviously don’t want to overstretch yourself financially. However, there are still options out, therefore, you, as you can consider looking into personal loans for bad credit that can actually improve your credit ratings if you make sure the repayments are always made on time. It does you good to have memorable experiences, and may well be more rewarding than most other possessions and activities you spend your money on, so don’t let money stand in the way of living life to the full.

Baseball

Cooperstown, New York, is a must visit place for baseball fans, as you can tour The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and see where the game was invented at Doubleday Field. There’s also the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, where you can see eerily lifelike wax models of all your baseball heroes.

The movie Field of Dreams is a baseball-themed legend, and you can see what it feels like to play on the Iowa baseball diamond; a real treat for a family day out. Wrigley Park is a few hours to the east, where there are guided tours of one of the country’s most famous ballparks.

Louisville, Kentucky, may be best known for its horse racing and as being the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, but there are plenty of other sporting attractions, and baseball fans can watch a fascinating demonstration of bat-making as part of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

Further north in Boston, is another legendary stadium. Take a tour around Fenway Park and get to the heart of what it feels like to play on this iconic ballpark.

Babe Ruth has to be one of the best-known names in baseball, and you can visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. If you’re more of a Ty Cobb fan, then his museum is a bit further south, in Royston, Atlanta. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Paul Warfield: The Perfect Receiver
      December 10, 2018 | 3:36 pm

      Warfield-DolphinsThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was perfection personified as a wide receiver during his NFL career.

      Known for his fluid movement, grace and jumping ability during his 13 year NFL career, Paul Warfield was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and key performer for the Miami Dolphins during their 17-0 campaign in 1972.

      Because the role of the wide receiver has changed so much and today’s star receivers get the ball thrown to them so many more times than in the pre-1978 era, Warfield is often overlooked when discussing all-time greats.

      But, think about this. Warfield averaged 20.1 yards per catch for his career (427 receptions, 8,565 yards) and 19.9% of his receptions went for touchdowns (85). By comparison, Julio Jones has averaged 15.5 yards per catch for his career and a touchdown in 6.9% of his receptions (46 TDs in 669 catches). Antonio Brown averages 13.4 ypc and a TD in 8.7% (70 of 804) of his receptions. Terrell Owens averaged 14.8 ypc and a TD in 14.2% of his receptions. Even Jerry Rice, considered the greatest receiver of all-time, averaged only 14.8 ypc and a TD in 12.7% of his catches.

      Read more »

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