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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

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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