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Sports Then and Now



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 Dan Newman

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 →

How Is The Current Generation Of NFL Athletes Different From The Old Generation? 0

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Lora Young

football-2The way we develop is always a wonder to behold. It’s easy to get lost in the grand scheme of things, especially with how busy and upbeat modern-day life is. But once in a while it’s nice to take a breather and take a look back at how we used to be. One good way to appreciate how far we’ve come as the new generation is to appreciate how much we’ve grown since our forefathers.

The realm of the NFL will always be one that is held close to the soul of the nation. The athletes who are worthy enough to play in the league are no less than legends in their own right. Sure, we can easily compare modern NFL players with each other. There are many sites that provide fantasy football stats for the extremely enthusiastic football fan. But there’s a certain sense of nostalgia in looking back at how things and people used to be.

So, how exactly is the new generation of NFL athletes different from the legends of old?

Only The Elites Get Into The NFL

While this hasn’t technically changed over the past years, this is still an important thing to note because the competition for the spots on the rosters has only grown fiercer. NFL athletes earn an average of about $2.1 million per year and only 1% of all college football players ever actually make it into the NFL. The modern NFL player is very well paid. In fact, they are far better paid than their older counterparts who still needed to find side jobs in order to sustain themselves.

A big part of this is because not many people paid for athletes to compete. Football wasn’t as popular or as profitable as it is today. Read the rest of this entry →

Preston Pearson: The Ultimate Third-Down Back 1

Posted on November 17, 2018 by Dean Hybl

Preston-Pearson-Cowboys-2The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month played in five Super Bowls with three teams during a 14-year NFL season, but is likely best known for being the ultimate third-down situation back during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.

When Preston Pearson was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round of the 1967 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois, there was no expectation that he would develop into one of the most versatile backs in the NFL. In fact, given that Pearson was a two-year starter in basketball and never played a snap of college football, he was a long-shot to ever play a down in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Network’s A Football Life Has Jumped the Shark 0

Posted on September 30, 2018 by Dean Hybl

NFL Network's show A Football Life debuted in 2011.

NFL Network’s show A Football Life debuted in 2011.

In case you are not familiar with the term “Jumping the Shark”, it refers to the great 1970s TV Show Happy Days. Towards the end of its run on ABC, they had an episode when “The Fonz” somehow ended up on water skis and actually jumped a shark (or at least a mechanical shark). To fans, it signaled the moment when they knew the show was out of realistic plots and was on its way towards the end.

Given that the first three episodes of season eight of A Football Life have included a pair of shows about quarterbacks with a combined total of one conference championship appearance during their careers, I think it is clear that this once great show has passed its “Jump the Shark” moment.

When A Football Life first came on the air in 2011, it provided a fresh and innovative approach for telling about the football journeys for some of the great figures in recent NFL history. Most of those highlighted were living at the time they were featured, though that has not always been the case.

After starting with a two-part episode about New England Coach Bill Belichick, they followed up with a fresh look at a pair of former teammates whose lives ended early, Reggie White & Jerome Brown. Other tales from the opening season focused on the cinema worthy stories of Kurt Warner, Walter Payton, Ed Sabol, Mike Ditka, Tom Landry and Al Davis.

Though the second season began with a nod to the “flavor of the moment” by featuring Tim Tebow, the remainder of the season was excellent with every episode telling a unique, behind the curtain, story about an NFL Legend.

As a fan of NFL history, if there has been anything significant to criticize about the choices of former players to feature, it would be that they have almost totally ignored players from the pre-Super Bowl era and in reality, have focused disproportionately on players from the 1980s to today.

The term "Jumping the Shark" refers to an episode of Happy Days where "The Fonz" jumped a shark.

The term “Jumping the Shark” refers to an episode of Happy Days where “The Fonz” jumped a shark.

Not counting shows on former players who became coaches or broadcasters, through the first seven seasons there have only been four shows featuring players whose primary years in the league occurred prior to 1970 (Jim Brown, Joe Namath, the Los Angeles Rams Fearsome Foursome and Chicago Bears greats Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus).

To me that is really a shame. I understand maybe not going back to the beginning of NFL history to feature former greats who have been gone for generations, but given that NFL Films originated in the 1960s, I cannot understand why they have basically ignored that great era of the NFL and AFL.

Off the top of my head, I can name 10-20 players who were active in the 1960s and either are still alive or were alive when the series started that would be great to feature. Players like Bart Starr and Willie Davis from the great Packer teams, the first Dallas Cowboy draft pick Bob Lilly, Sam Huff, Alex Karras, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen, Len Dawson, John Brodie, Lenny Moore, Hugh McElhenny, Fran Tarkenton and the recently deceased Tommy McDonald are just a few of the many players from that era that had amazing NFL journeys and would have been great to feature in the series.

Though the bias to the post-merger era has always been there, in the early years there was at least a balance with some shows featuring players from the 1970s and early 1980s.

However, in recent years, the show seems to have become more of a vehicle for current broadcasters and recently inducted Hall of Famers.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Elvin Hayes: The Big E
      February 29, 2020 | 1:12 pm
      Elvin Hayes

      The Vintage Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month came to national prominence in college basketball’s “Game of the Century” and then won an NBA title while becoming one of the top players in league history.

      A three-time college basketball All-American at the University of Houston, Elvin Hayes helped lead the Cougars to three straight NCAA Tournaments and a pair of Final Fours.

      Read more »

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