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Sports Then and Now



How Has the College Game Changed the NFL? 0

Posted on November 19, 2020 by Christopher Alpizar

Pros Looking Over Their Shoulders

We don’t normally think of the college game leading the charge in terms of the evolution of football but there is increasing evidence that the NFL is adopting some of their measures. It’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog, yet it is proof positive that all good ideas don’t necessarily germinate at the professional level.

Nevertheless, there are inherent differences between the two games, some of which will never be bridged. Wooing high school kids, and their parents or guardians is a different animal altogether than the sterile task of drafting a college kid onto a professional team. Alabama coach, Nick Saban, has etched his storied legacy in the college ranks but toiled at the NFL level for eight years. Below he explains why he prefers coaching at the collegiate level.

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They are The Topps! 10 Iconic Football Cards 0

Posted on April 18, 2020 by Dean Hybl

In this time when we are all spending time at home, I have spent some of my time looking at some of my old sports cards and memorabilia. As part of a new series about sports cards, I am starting by sharing 10 of my favorite football cards. Not necessarily my favorite players, but 10 cards that I think are cool, different or just unusual.

With a few exceptions, Topps Football Cards for their first couple decades were largely static pictures of players either as staged pictures or later pictures of players standing or sitting on the sidelines.

In 1972 the Sunoco Football Stamps came out with most of the pictures being awesome game action photos that were far better than anything Topps had ever produced on a football card. Beginning in 1972 with their own special action cards and then the next year in the regular series, Topps started trying to have more game action photos, though the results were a bit mixed.

Though cards produced in the last 30 years have gotten significantly better in terms of action pictures, my heart belongs to the Topps Football Cards from the 1950s through the 1970s, so all of my picks for this article are from that time period.

1973 MaCarthur Lane – Green Bay Packers

The 1973 Topps football card set was one of the first where Topps successfully incorporated action photos into the regular set as player cards. They were slightly hindered by the fact they could not show the team logos, so there are some cards with some interested color patches to block out the logos, but some of the action shots are pretty good.

My favorite of the action shots is the card of Green Bay Packers running back Macarthur Lane because it looks like he is holding a flat football. Though likely an illusion created by his hand, I remember seeing this card as a kid and thinking he was so strong that he flattened the football.

Lane spent 11 seasons in the NFL, playing for the Cardinals, Packers and Chiefs. His most productive season was with St. Louis in 1970 when he rushed for 977 yards and 11 touchdowns. Traded to the Packers before the 1972 season, he teamed with John Brockington to help the Packers reach the playoffs for the first time since 1967. In 1976, Lane led the AFC with 66 receptions while playing for the Chiefs.

He finished his career with 4,656 career rushing yards and 2,786 yards receiving. Lane passed away in 2019.

1958 – Lamar McHan – Chicago Cardinals

Though he spent 10 seasons as a quarterback in the NFL, there is a pretty good chance that you have never heard of Lamar McHan. However, from the first time I ever saw his 1958 Topps card, it has been among my favorites.

In 1958 Topps seemed to try and have some type of action within many of their cards, though they were clearly all staged as part of photo shoots. There is the iconic photo of Jim Brown running with the ball, but without his helmet.

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What’s Brett Favre Doing These Days? 1

Posted on April 06, 2020 by Martin Banks

Before Aaron Rodgers, the Wisconsinite dynasty that is the Green Bay Packers was led by another legendary gunslinger. Millennials might not recall the glory days of Brett Favre delivering laser-guided long-range passes to Antonio Freeman, Mark Chmura and Donald Driver, but he is one of the league’s few three-year consecutive MVPs and a respected Hall of Fame quarterback.

You might spot Favre appearing on the occasional sporting goods commercial, but if you guessed that he’s got much more going on, you’d be right. So what is your favorite QB up to these days?

Staying Active

It’s not just in the commercials that Favre continues to live up to his athletic past. The 16-season NFL quarterback still covers 100-plus miles per week on his bicycle. 

By the look of him, he could step right in behind center today and do just fine. He’s also taken up competing in triathlons and even an Ironman competition in Key West. 

Favre points out that he’s discovered a love for travel., and has visited such places as Yellowstone National Park with his wife, Deana. 

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A Look at the Best NFL Teams of the Decade 0

Posted on January 22, 2020 by John Harris

2020 is here and a lot has been made of the upcoming Super Bowl, the pending draft and the greatest players of the past decade but what about the franchises that have kept us entertained throughout the past 10 years? Now, we look at the best sides of the 2010s.

NUMBER 5 – DENVER BRONCOS 

It’s quite easy to forget about the Broncos because they’ve been someway off the pace in the last few years. The first half of the decade though was a different story. 2010 saw a poor campaign with 12 losses but when expectations were low Denver took off; five seasons followed where they finished in first place in their division, which was aided with the arrival of Comeback Player of the Year Peyton Manning in 2012. 

The post season was a sore subject for many years though with defeat in NFL Super Bowl 48 a hard pill to swallow but you can’t keep a good Bronco down and their decade reached it’s peak in 2015 as they finally lifted the Super Bowl with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.

NUMBER 4 – BALTIMORE RAVENS 

John Harbaugh has done a tremendous job with the Ravens over the last 12 years but, despite a more than competitive decade, they could have achieved so much more. Four division triumphs, a conference win and narrow Super Bowl glory – where Joe Flacco was named MVP – were the highlights and a win rate of .613 ensures the franchise keeps improving decade on decade. If they can continue the progression into the 2020’s then we’ll have a team on our hands and given they’ve switched style from a defense first approach to a now eye catching offense who knows what lays in wait.

NUMBER 3 – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 

The Seahawks spent the entire decade challenging at the top of their division with all but one of the campaigns ending with the minimum of a second-place finish. Their post season displays were respectable too and although back to back Super Bowl wins eluded them after defeat to the Patriots in 2014 there is simply no ignoring their success the year before where they destroyed the Broncos 43-8, which was the biggest Super Bowl win of the decade.

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Security at the Super Bowl 1

Posted on January 08, 2019 by Martin Banks

The Super Bowl is one of the largest, most high-profile events held in the U.S. every year. Teams work toward the big game all year, and fans — at least those of the teams that do well — spend the whole season looking forward to it. Tens of thousands of fans attend the game, while millions more watch it at home or their local sports bar.

Planning security for such a large-scale event is no small matter. Law enforcement spent two years planning security for last year’s Super Bowl, which was held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. This season’s Super Bowl, which will be held at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, will require a similar level of preparedness.

super-bowl-halftime-e1517505746645

Policing the Party

Last year, the Minneapolis Police Department was the lead agency in charge of security for the Super Bowl. It certainly did not do it alone though. The department’s approximately 840 officers worked together with various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen helped provide security. In total, nearly 2,000 federal agents played in a role in security for last year’s Super Bowl, including members of the FBI, which heads up the counterterrorism efforts surrounding the big game each year. Read the rest of this entry →

Do Wonderlic Scores Correspond With Success in the NFL? 0

Posted on December 15, 2018 by Alex Merashi

NFL-studyWhat is a Wonderlic Test?

The Wonderlic Test is an important test that has been widely used by prospective employers to assess different abilities in a candidate. It has 50 questions to be answered in 12 minutes. A score of 20 reflects average intelligence and a score of 10 points and below means that a candidate is illiterate. In NFL, the test has played an important role in assessing team making efforts in a player.

The NFL uses the test to assess the critical thinking abilities of a player. As a matter of fact, the NFL usually doesn’t consider whether a player is good in Math or understands what the meaning of certain words is. It cares about the ability of a player to solve problems within the shortest time possible.

Wonderlic Score and Success in NFL

Wonderlic Tests help to analyses the potential of an NFL player. It measures a players skills, and how the player can perform at the next level. Therefore, if you are curious about whether the score determines the overall performance of a player, the truth is that the test offers a good comparison on what to expect in the future.

Ideally, the Wonderlic Test focuses on the problem-solving skills of an NFL player in an environment that is mentally taxing. Time and again, NFL teams get standardized Wonderlic Scores or results. This is usually a solid result, and it doesn’t doom a players chances of performing exceptionally well in NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

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