Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



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 →

Vintage Video: The Magic of Roger Staubach 0

Posted on October 08, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Roger Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins and 23 fourth quarter comebacks during the 1970s.

Roger Staubach led the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins and 23 fourth quarter comebacks during the 1970s.

It seems like just about every week at least one NFL quarterback leads his team to an exciting comeback victory.

Of course, exciting comebacks are nothing new. In the 1970s, Dallas Cowboys star Roger Staubach became known as Captain Comeback for his many late miracle comeback wins.

As part of our Vintage Videos series we look back at the career of Staubach, including some great YouTube videos of one of the iconic quarterbacks in NFL history.

During his nine seasons as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, Roger Staubach seemed to always have the uncanny knack of making the big play needed to lift his team to victory. He led the Cowboys to 23 fourth quarter game-winning drives during his career, including 15 times with his team trailing.

The Cowboys reached the playoffs in eight of his nine seasons as the starting quarterback and advanced to the Super Bowl five times.

He was named MVP of Super Bowl VI and also led Dallas to the title in Super Bowl XXII.

Staubach was a winner even before joining the Cowboys.

He spent three seasons at the Naval Academy and as a junior in 1963 won the Heisman Trophy while leading the Midshipmen to a 9-1 record and a number two national ranking.

After graduating, he spent five years in the U.S. Navy, including a tour in Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry →

Dallas and Green Bay Take Centerstage Today in Rematch of 2016 Playoff Thriller 0

Posted on October 08, 2017 by Chris Kent

Call it a rematch.

The Dallas Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in week five of the NFL season today. While revenge will be the intent of the Cowboys, the Packers will be looking for their third straight win and with it claim early season supremacy over their NFC brethren.

Green Bay’s 34-31 win over Dallas in last season’s NFC divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium – AKA Jerry World – ended the Cowboys unexpected storybook season at 13-4. Dallas won the NFC East for the second time in three years, buoyed by a franchise-record 11-game winning streak. While the Cowboys were in control of their eventual division championship throughout the season, their season came to an abrupt end when Aaron Rodgers worked his late-game magic with a one-of-a-kind throw that has been firmly entrenched in the storied lore of this matchup.

Aaron Rodgers and Jared Cook connected on this clutch play in last's year's dramatic playoff win over Dallas.

Aaron Rodgers and Jared Cook connected on this clutch play in last’s year’s dramatic playoff win over Dallas.

Facing third-and-20 from his own 32-yard line with 12 seconds left to play, Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to his left and spotted tight end Jared Cook running toward the side line. Rodgers fired a long pass to Cook who caught it while bending at the knees and dragging the tips of his two feet inbounds before falling out of bounds. Three seconds remained which then ticked away as Mason Crosby drilled a 51-yard field goal to send the Packers to the NFC Championship game and Dallas into the offseason one-and-done. It was a bitter defeat for the Cowboys and their fans who have waited nearly nine months for the two teams to meet again.

The defeat was even more deflating for Dallas when you consider that the game was full of drama, something the Cowboys’ franchise has always been known for. Dallas went up 3-0 – its’ only lead of the game – at the 11:28 mark of the first quarter before Green Bay scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-3 lead with 8:14 left in the second quarter. Playing from behind nearly the whole game – a position they were rarely in the whole season – the Cowboys were taken out of their normal comfort zone. The Packers lead 21-13 at halftime.

Rodgers three-yard touchdown pass to Cook gave Green Bay a 28-13 lead early in the third quarter, a score which remained entering the fourth quarter. Dallas continued its’ rally by scoring consecutive touchdowns 7:31 apart in the fourth. The second one came when Dak Prescott connected with Dez Bryant on a seven-yard scoring play. Prescott’s two-yard run provided the two-point conversion and the game was tied 28-28.

The Packers retaliated on their ensuing drive with Crosby’s 56-yard field goal putting Green Bay up 31-28. That left the Cowboys with 1:33 following the ensuing kickoff. Prescott took Dallas on a 6-play 47-yard drive in 58 seconds to set up Dan Bailey’s 52-yard field goal knotting the score at 31 apiece. There were still 35 seconds left and Rodgers used it to put the Packers in position to win it behind his now legendary play.

Rodgers finished the game 28-for-43 for 355 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception while compiling a 96.6 quarterback rating. Prescott, in his first career playoff game, was 24-for-38 for 302 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and had a 103.2 QBR. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott – who lead the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards during the 2016 regular season – ran 22 times for 125 yards. Mistakes were relatively even as each team had one turnover while the Cowboys had a slight 3-2 edge in sacks. Read the rest of this entry →

2017 NFL Preview: 5 Bold Predictions 0

Posted on September 09, 2017 by Dean Hybl
One big question for 2017 is whether Marshawn Lynch can regain his past Beast Mode greatness after sitting out 2016.

One big question for 2017 is whether Marshawn Lynch can regain his past Beast Mode greatness after sitting out 2016.

The 2017 NFL season got off to an interesting start on Thursday night when the defending champion New England Patriots gave up three fourth quarter touchdowns in a 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

As we kickoff the full schedule Sunday, below are five bold predictions for the season as well as my picks for the playoffs and Super Bowl.

1. The 1972 Miami Dolphins Can Pop The Champagne Now – Based on some of their off-season moves, some thought that ten years after their undefeated regular season the New England Patriots might be poised for another run at perfection.

Well, that thought didn’t last long. The Chiefs exposed the New England defense and the offense showed that the losses of receiver Julian Edelman to injury and running back LeGarrette Blount to the Philadelphia Eagles are harder to replace than might have been expected.

While there are several other teams with talented rosters, including the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, no team looks good enough to be a legitimate threat to perfection.

What may be in jeopardy this season is the 0-16 mark that has been achieved only once, by the Detroit Lions in 2008. While the Cleveland Browns, who went 1-15 last season, appear to be better and will probably win 3-4 games, the New York Jets could be a threat for dubious perfection. They have unloaded a number of talented veterans from their 5-11 team from last season and could struggle every week in 2017.

2. Ezekiel Elliott Will Struggle – After a Federal Judge granted the request by the NFLPA for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of a six-game suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott, it looks like the second year running back for the Dallas Cowboys could play the entire 2017 season.

Last year Elliott took the NFL by storm as he led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards while helping the Cowboys to a 13-3 record.

His off-season has not been as smooth. Elliott has been involved in a number of off-the-field incidents during his brief career and that culminated with a six game suspension from the NFL in August.

Though Elliott may avoid missing time due to the suspension in 2017, it doesn’t mean that the off-the-field issues will not be a distraction. Many players throughout NFL history have been unable to repeat great rookie seasons without the added pressure of the national media spotlight that Elliott has endured in recent weeks and will likely see throughout the season.

While having the great Dallas offensive line will certainly help, it would not be a surprise to see Elliott’s numbers decline a bit in 2017. Read the rest of this entry →

Cowboys and Steelers on Par with Dominant Eras; Meet Again in 2016 0

Posted on November 13, 2016 by Chris Kent

As two of the National Football League’s iconic franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers evoke legacies and memories that date back to the 1970’s. That is where the two franchises forged their reputations as being elite. The two teams met in a pair of Super Bowls and combined to play in seven during the decade. With wins over the Cowboys in Super Bowls X and XIII,

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970's.

Chuck Noll coached the Steelers to a 4-0 mark in the Super Bowl in the 1970′s.

the Steelers gained the upper hand in the matchup in the 1970’s during which they went 4-0 in Super Bowls and claimed the status as the team of the decade. The two Super Bowl matchups between them in the 1970’s were classics. Pittsburgh claimed a pair of four-point victories with a 21-17 win in Super Bowl X and a 35-31 victory in Super Bowl XIII.

While both franchises fell off the very top of the NFL pedestal in the 1980’s, they came back to prominence in the 1990’s during which they met in a third Super Bowl, that being Super Bowl XXX in 1996 which Dallas won 27-17. It was the third Super Bowl title in a four-year span for the Cowboys who were the team of the decade. Dallas was lead throughout the 1990’s by Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, who collectively were known as, “The Triplets.” They combined with a mammoth offensive line that featured multiple pro bowlers and a pro football hall-of-famer in guard/tackle Larry Allen that dominated opponents. Meanwhile, the Steelers had emerged as a contender with back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game in 1994-95. Pro football hall-of-famers Rod Woodson and Kevin Greene were part of those Pittsburgh teams and soon to join in 1996 would be another eventual hall-of-famer in Jerome Bettis.

The mere mention of the Cowboys and Steelers dueling on the gridiron is enough to get any football fan’s attention. The names on each side represent a hall-of-fame roll call of players and coaches. For Pittsburgh it is the dominant era of “The Steel Curtain” defense in the 1970’s that took the league by storm. That defense was made famous by the likes of “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, and Mel Blount who are all in the pro football hall of fame. L.C. Greenwood was also part of the Steel Curtain and was named to the NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team. Leading those great Steelers’ teams was the late Chuck Noll who was 4-0 in Super Bowls, the only coach in the Super Bowl era besides Bill Belichick to win four. Those Pittsburgh team’s of the 1970’s also had firepower on offense behind the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster who are all in the pro football hall of fame. Read the rest of this entry →

Cowboys Seek to Stay Afloat Without Romo and Suspended Defenders as 2016 Season Opens 4

Posted on September 10, 2016 by Chris Kent

The questions for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be on defense. With defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy

DeMarcus Lawrence leaves a void on the defensive line for Dallas.

DeMarcus Lawrence leaves a void on the defensive line for Dallas.

Gregory along with linebacker Rolando McClain all facing at least four-game suspensions due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the unit projected to have some weak links. Lawrence and Gregory are each suspended the first four games while McClain is suspended the first 10 games. This is the second straight year that McClain has been suspended as he missed the first four games of the 2015 regular season, also due to substance abuse violations.

While the defense will have to weather the storm with some new faces acquired from the draft and free agency, the offense has a glaring absence. Tony Romo. Again.

Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra in a preseason loss at Seattle on Aug. 25. It is the fourth time in his career that he has sustained a back injury and it is the second straight year that the veteran pro bowl quarterback will miss multiple games with an extended absence. Romo will be out anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks from the time of the injury. Romo missed 12 games in 2015 due to two fractures of his left (non-throwing shoulder) clavicle, an injury he has sustained three times in his career dating back to 2010.

The Cowboys now turn to Dak Prescott, a rookie fourth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State. Prescott was impressive in the preseason during which he went 39-for-50 for 454 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 137.8. He also showed his versatility by carrying the ball seven times for 53 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Who Do You Want to Win? Roger Goodell or Jerry Jones?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top