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Sports Then and Now



An Exciting Thanksgiving Highlights Week 12 NFL Storylines 0

Posted on November 28, 2012 by Andy Larmand

Golden drumstick: Tom Brady earned Player of the Game honors for his Thanksgiving Night performance in New England’s win over the Jets.

If Thanksgiving isn’t the greatest holiday in the world, then I don’t know what is? What could be better than incredible food cooked by a mother or grandmother, family and friends and getting to watch football all day? Happy Thanksgiving.

The Lions kicked off Week 12 on Thursday afternoon in their 68th straight annual Thanksgiving Day game. They hosted the AFC-leading Texans, fresh off of their 43-point performance against the Jaguars just four days earlier. It was Detroit, however, who got out to a fast start at home as Mikel Leshoure scored a rushing touchdown on their first drive. It was the first 1st quarter rushing TD for the Lions since 2010 and just their second offensive touchdown in the 1st quarter this year. It was also the first rushing touchdown the Texans had allowed all season and the first time Detroit scored an opening-drive TD all year. So they had that to be thankful for.

The lead would not remain, however, and the Lions lost their ninth straight Thanksgiving Day game, 34-31, in overtime. That is good for the longest losing streak on Thanksgiving all-time. Entering the game, teams playing four days after an overtime game since 1987 were 4-13, but the Texans won anyway. Calvin Johnson became the seventh player in NFL history with 7,000 receiving yards in his first six seasons. With a Joique Bell touchdown run in the 4th quarter, the Lions now lead the league with 16 offensive 4th quarter touchdowns this season. With wins in their last two, the Texans improved to 3-7 all-time in overtime games after starting 1-7 in their short history. With 188 yards on Thursday, Andre Johnson now has 461 in his past two contests, the most in consecutive games in NFL history, according to Elias. The overtime period featured two turnovers and two missed field goals before Houston won it. The winning field goal was the first time they led all day. The Texans became the first team ever to win two overtime games in a five-day span.

The other yearly participant, the Cowboys hosted the Redskins in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. Like the Lions, Dallas dropped their annual contest to the Redskins 38-31. They did, however, come back from down 35-13 in the 4th quarter to make it close. With the loss, Dallas fell to 0-14 in their history when trailing by 25 points or more at the half. It was Tony Romo‘s first career home loss in the month of November (14-1) and his first ever loss on Thanksgiving (5-1). Washington was victorious on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 1973 and won their first ever game against their division rivals on Turkey Day. Robert Griffin III threw four touchdowns in his first career Thanksgiving Day game.

On Thanksgiving Night, the Jets hosted the Patriots and were thankful when it ended as their division rivals hammered them 49-19. Julian Edelman scored two more touchdowns to bring his total to four in his past two games, which equals his total in his first 45 career games. He became the fourth player in NFL history with a receiving TD, punt return TD and fumble return TD in the same season. In the 2nd quarter, New England scored three touchdowns in 53 seconds, becoming the third team since 1970 to accomplish that, according to Elias. In their past two games, the Patriots have combined for 108 points, which is good for the third-highest two-game stretch in history. Also, the win guaranteed that the 8-3 Pats would be the only team to finish .500 or better in each of the last 12 seasons. Tom Brady threw three TD passes, extending his streak to 43 straight games with at least one.

With a chance to win their sixth straight, the Bucs took on the NFC-leading Falcons at home. Despite three Connor Barth field goals and two Atlanta turnovers, Tampa fell to their NFC South rivals, 24-23. The Bucs had a chance to win six straight games for the first time since their championship season in 2002. In the loss, rookie running back Doug Martin became the first Buccaneers player with 1,000 rushing yards and 9+ rushing touchdowns since 1995. Though they are 9-1, seven of those wins for Atlanta have come by seven points or less.

Read the rest of this entry →

Best Quarterbacks in NFL History: Where Does Favre Rank? 8

Posted on December 27, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Where does Brett Favre rank among the top quarterbacks in NFL history?

Now that it appears Brett Favre’s 20-year NFL career is finally in its last stages, it provides an opportunity to analyze where the gunslinger ranks among the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

There have been many superstar quarterbacks who fall short when selecting the all-time greats because while they may have posted excellent career numbers, they never measurably made their team better.

The best quarterbacks make an average team good, a good team great and a great team into a champion.

Trying to analyze the value Favre brought to the Packers and recently to the Jets and Vikings can be challenging. Given his tendency for risk taking and the subsequent risk-reward results, did Favre make average teams perform at a higher level than they would have otherwise or did he make key mistakes at inopportune times that kept great Packer and Vikings teams from going as far as they maybe would have had he not been such a gunslinger?

During his 19 years as a starting quarterback, Favre has led his team to at least eight victories 17 times and to double digit win totals 10 times. However, Favre has a 2-3 record in NFC Championship Games and late interceptions cost his team in each of his last two trips to the conference title game.

Favre will retire as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, touchdown passes, passes intercepted and times sacked. However, he ranks only 17th in completion percentage and 21st in passer rating. So, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between how great he has been and how many of his records are purely a result of his longevity.

Since the game of football and the quarterback position have evolved so dramatically from the early days of the NFL, for the purpose of creating this list, I have included quarterbacks whose primary careers occurred after 1955. There is no question that Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham and Sid Luckman deserve to be recognized as among the best quarterbacks of all-time, but to try and thoughtfully compare their careers to those of today’s stars in virtually impossible.

Because quarterback stats have increased so dramatically even during the last 55 years, using just single season or career stats to analyze all-time greatness isn’t really an accurate assessment of where a player ranks among the best of all-time. Other qualities such as team success, comparison to others from that particular era and quality of the skill position players around the quarterback also can be used to chronicle success.

Below is my take on the top 10 quarterbacks in NFL history. In general, the selections are not significantly different than those listed in many other all-time quarterback lists.  Rather, there are some differences in my order than on other lists. If you have an opinion, please feel free to provide your own top 10. Read the rest of this entry →

Favre Streak Ends, But Legend Grows 0

Posted on December 14, 2010 by Dean Hybl

After 297 consecutive NFL starts, Brett Favre watched from the sidelines Monday night.

Brett Favre’s streak of 297 straight NFL starts ended Monday night in Detroit, but ironically, the end of the streak could actually do more to enhance the quarterback’s legacy than if he would have played against the Giants.

Once one of the most admired and beloved players in the NFL, the last three years have not been kind to the veteran signal caller.

The worst thing a player can be labeled in professional sports is selfish or self-centered. With his annual “will he or won’t he” saga, Favre’s indecision has turned many former admirers into critics.

Favre has always been seen as a tough and hard-nosed player who left everything on the field. However, over the last several years many have believed that Favre was more concerned about playing to preserve and grow his own legacy than to actually help his team win.

After three straight off-seasons of wondering if Favre would return, the Green Bay Packers finally gave up and moved on with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.

During his single season with the New York Jets, Favre started out strong, but injuries late in the season reduced his effectiveness and cost the Jets a playoff spot. Favre’s eventual admission that he probably shouldn’t have been playing was seen by many as just another example of how the quarterback put his own records over the success of his team.

Favre engineered his exit from New York and after waiting until the end of training camp joined the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 season.

While the mainstream media did everything they could to hype the 40-year-old Favre’s amazing season, he and the Vikings were met by a mix of indifference and ridicule by many fans who were conflicted as to whether to root for or against Favre. Read the rest of this entry →

Classic Rewind: Favre Runs Packers Past the Falcons 0

Posted on November 23, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Beginning in 1933, the Green Bay Packers would play two or three home games in Milwaukee in an effort to draw extra revenue.

In 1955, the team almost moved to Milwaukee permanently unless the team built a new stadium in Green Bay to replace City Stadium which was seen by the NFL as too small and too inadequate.

Two years later, Lambeau Field opened in Green Bay but the team continued to play a few of its eight home games in Milwaukee at County Stadium, which was originally for the city baseball’s team at the time, the Milwaukee Braves.

But on October 12, 1994, Packers president Bob Harlan announced that starting with the 1995 season, the team would play all of its home games at Lambeau Field.

Two months later, the Packers played their final home game in Milwaukee against the Atlanta Falcons in a critical game for both teams and their chances for the postseason.

The Packers entered the game with a 7-7 record and needing to win their final two games of the season to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Green Bay was in the third year of the Brett Favre era, as he became the team’s starting quarterback back in the fourth game of the 1992 season, the first season with Mike Holmgren as head coach.

The Packers finished that season with a  9-7 record, just missing the playoffs, but made it to the playoffs in 1993 with a 9-7 record where Green Bay defeated the Detroit Lions 28-24 in their NFC Wild Card game before being eliminated by the eventual world champion Dallas Cowboys the following round. Read the rest of this entry →

No Surprise Here: Brett Favre Reports To The Vikings 0

Posted on August 19, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Brett Favre is back...again.

So is anyone really surprised that Brett Favre has made his way to Minnesota in time for the second preseason game of the year? Even though he wanted to keep everyone in suspense until the very end, his decision to play in 2010 was about as surprising as seeing hamburgers and fries on the menu at McDonalds.

I guess after all these years there shouldn’t be any self-absorbed behavior by Favre that surprises me, but I must admit that his comments during his latest comeback press conference are a new wrinkle.

According to Favre, he is coming back this year as a “favor” to his Viking teammates.

I guess that sounds somewhat noble, but coming from Favre it just isn’t an easy line to swallow. Given his past actions, I just can’t believe that Favre doesn’t do much that isn’t in some way slanted toward benefiting Brett Favre.

Certainly his $16.5 million salary is a motive, but I think the bottom line is that Favre just isn’t ready to give up his status as football’s greatest gun slinger. Read the rest of this entry →

Brett Favre Is Retiring? Only Time Will Tell 1

Posted on August 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Brett Favre could have his own reality series based around his regular retirements and flip-flops.

Given that I have previously written two stories about Brett Favre retiring from the NFL, please pardon me if I am not totally convinced by the rumors today that the future Hall of Fame quarterback is again announcing his retirement.

As many have written in other stories today, I will begin believing that Favre has played his last game if he is not in uniform on September 9th when the Minnesota Vikings face the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. However, I won’t really be convinced until I see Favre mugging with his bust at the Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton.

Though in the last four years Favre’s indecision has become the butt of many jokes and he has made some of the worst PR decisions this side of LeBron James, he is still a ferocious competitor and very proud individual.

For that reason, if he has indeed decided not to play again it seems highly likely that the reason is that his 40-year-old body has finally betrayed him after 19 years in the NFL.

Though he would never officially commit for 2010, up until the last couple weeks it seemed that even Favre was preparing for him to play this season. At the time he underwent ankle surgery in May it was generally believed that action pretty much guaranteed that he was readying himself for another season. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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