But at 6-4, Antonio Gates was considered a tweener by the NBA so he pursued an NFL career. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chargers and has gone on to play 15 seasons, getting voted to eight Pro Bowls.
Jake Scott is tied with his former safety running mate Houston on the NFL’s all-time interception list with 49. But Houston played five more seasons. Scott also has one more career interception than Hall of Fame safety Willie Wood. And Wood played three more seasons.
The NFL passed on a combine invitation to Antonio Gates in 2003 for an obvious reason. He was a basketball player and a very good one. He led Kent State to back-to-back Mid-American Conference championship in his final two seasons and was an honorable mention All-America power forward.
Joe Kapp spent eight seasons in the CFL, winning a Grey Cup and appearing in two CFL All-Star games. Former CFL coach Bud Grant brought Kapp to Minnesota in 1967 and he took the Vikings to the playoffs for the first time in 1968, then took them to their first Super Bowl in 1969.
Hank Stram, a Chicago native, treated the meaningless preseason game like a Super Bowl – and ran up the score in a 66-24 triumph over the Bears. Willie Lanier was a rookie with the Chiefs and spent most of the game watching from the sideline as Stram kept his starters on the field throughout.
The 1971 AFC playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins was the longest pro football game ever played. It was a game that sent the two franchises in opposite directions – the Dolphins would go on to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls and the Chiefs would go the next 14 seasons without qualifying for the playoffs.
On this podcastt we’ll discuss with Willie Lanier the 1970 regular-season game that featured a bench-clearing brawl with the Oakland Raiders that wound up a 17-17 tie, costing the Kansas City Chiefs a playoff spot and the chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Saquon Barkley could rise to the level of the opponent. He rushed for 194 yards against Southern Cal in a Rose Bowl, 137 against Washington in a Fiesta Bowl and 194 yards against Ohio State. He slapped a 200-yard game on Iowa and 100-yard games on Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska.
But there was more at stake in that Super Bowl than AFL pride and the chance to show the world that the Kansas City Chiefs had assembled one of the greatest defenses ever – in fact, the last Super Bowl championship defense to lead the league across the board in all four the major statistical categories – run, pass, total and scoring defense.
Kirk Cousins finished seventh in the NFL last season with 4,093 passing yards – his third consecutive 4,000-yard season. He finished eighth with 27 TD passes, more than past NFL MVPs Drew Brees (26) and Matt Ryan (20).
The Eagles will be better on paper in 2018 with the return of quarterback Carson Wentz, who was building an NVP campaign before a knee injury ended his season in December. Philadelphia went on to win the Super Bowl with backup QB Nick Foles.