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Sports Then and Now

Could it be the Buffalo Bills vs. the Detroit Lions in Super Bowl XLVI? 17

Posted on September 25, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Could this be the year that the Buffalo Bills return to the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl matchup has been set. Maybe not in the minds of NFL management, but in the stars, in destiny, in all the places that matter.

It will be a Detroit versus Buffalo Super Bowl. You’ve heard of the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius?” This is the dawning of the Age of the Incredulous!

Both teams have not only been shut out of the playoffs for more than a decade but have also been shut out of hope, expectations, respect for nearly that long.

But something happened in the alignment of the universe over the off-season. Perhaps the Lock Out had something to do with it. Perhaps it was something completely unrelated. But this year, if  you’re intuitive, psychic, clairvoyant, you can already sense it. You don’t suspect. It isn’t a hunch. It is a future fact as certain as the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons, yet as unsettling to the natural order as Global Warming.

For three consecutive weeks, these teams whose defeats are assumed, whose prospects are failure until proven successful, whose prospects have been as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet, are suddenly clicking. These teams that have in the past frequently played a good game, come back from a deep deficit, only to fall behind again at the last minute of regulation time, or lose a sudden death shoot out, are suddenly coming back and staying ahead. They are suddenly assuming victory and playing as if they will and must win, as if failure is not only not an option, it isn’t even a plot line. Read the rest of this entry →

Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions Take the NFL Back to 1980 14

Posted on September 25, 2011 by Dean Hybl

With a 3-0 start, the Buffalo Bills seem to be pointing in the right direction to start the 2011 season.

Considering that each team has posted only one winning season since 2000, dual 3-0 starts by the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions has the NFL turned upside down and fans in both cities celebrating like it is 1980 all over again.

Indeed, it was 31 years ago that both franchises started the season with perfect records during the first month of the season to become the darlings of the NFL.

The NFL was a little different back in 1980 as both teams relied on rookie running backs to spark their team. The Bills featured former Auburn Tiger Joe Cribbs while the Lions had a budding star in former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Simms.

Of course as we fast forward to 2011 the focus is no longer on the running game, though solid runners have helped both teams to their early starts.

The focus in today’s NFL is on the passing game and the Bills and Lions rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Stafford much more than the 1980 squads relied on their starting quarterbacks Joe Ferguson and Gary Danielson.

Entering the 1980 season, both the Lions and Bills were coming off four straight losing seasons.

Following a 2-14 campaign in 1979, the Lions drafted Sims with the first pick in the NFL draft. Under third year head coach Monte Clark, the team won their first four games in dominating fashion. They outscored the Los Angeles Rams 41-20 and then combined an explosive offense with a dominating defense to allow their opponents seven points each in the next three games as they outscored the Packers, Cardinals and Vikings 76-21.

Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t maintain the momentum and finished just out of the playoffs with a 9-7 record. However, the winning season was their first since 1972 and started a four year stretch in which the Lions posted a 30-27 record and twice advanced to the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

Lions Win! Buccaneers Record Remains Safe 3

Posted on September 27, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Faithful Lions fans celebrate following the 19-14 win over the Redskins.

Faithful Lions fans celebrate following the 19-14 win over the Redskins.

After 19 straight regular season losses, the Detroit Lions finally ended the second longest losing streak in NFL history with a 19-14 victory over the Washington Redskins.

It marked the first win for the Lions since defeating Kansas City 25-20 on December 23, 2007. The Lions have won only two of 27 games since starting the 2007 season with a 6-2 record.

That the victory would come against the Washington Redskins is somewhat surprising considering that the Redskins have historically dominated the Lions. In 37 all-time meetings entering 2009, the Redskins held a 27-10 series lead, including a 14-2 mark against the Lions since 1983.
Read the rest of this entry →

Times Have Changed For Rookie Quarterbacks 1

Posted on September 17, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Matt Stafford passed for 205 yards and three interceptions in his debut for the Detroit Lions.

Matt Stafford passed for 205 yards and three interceptions in his debut for the Detroit Lions.

There was a time in the not so distant past when the biggest things a rookie NFL quarterback had to worry about on game day were wearing a cool baseball cap and keeping track of his clipboard.

Current rookies Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez are just the latest reminder that times have certainly changed, at least for top draft picks.

Instead of carrying clipboards and wearing baseball caps, highly drafted rookie quarterbacks today don’t usually have to wait long before getting a chance to show their stuff.

In the last two seasons, four of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round started the opening game of their rookie season. Only Josh Freeman of Tampa Bay, who was the third quarterback for the Bucs in their 2009 opener against Dallas, wasn’t under center from the beginning of his career.
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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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