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Sports Then and Now



In the NFL, and in Buffalo, it’s the Year of Living Hypothetically 0

Posted on October 24, 2009 by John Wingspread Howell

The Bills dramatic victoy over the Jets is the lone highlight of the young season.

The Bills dramatic victoy over the Jets is the lone highlight of their young season.

So far, at least, it’s been a very strange season in the NFL. Some have called it bizarre.  I think that adjective applies.

The one thing that distinguishes the NFL from other major professional sports is its parity. That is no accident. The league has gone to great lengths from its straight bottom up draft (compare to the NBA’s lottery draft) to revenue sharing to salary caps, the league has done everything other than working a handicap into game scores to establish and maintain relative balance. The result is that the NFL is the most watched professional sport in the United States, and pro football has supplanted baseball as America’s pastime.

That being said, what’s going on this year? We’ve had a string of lopsided victories, including a 59-0 routing of the Tennessee Titans by the less than peak-performing Patriots. And what’s more, how have the Titans gone from winning 13 games last year to being unable to score 13 points this year? In addition, we have as many as five other teams that threaten the maxim that on any given day any given team can beat any other. More than once, sportscasters have said of the game they were reporting, “this doesn’t even resemble the NFL.”

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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