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NFL History


No place like home? Not in the NFL

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Age now an enemy of the NFL

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Preseason doesn’t matter? Think again

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Thirteen of the 51 Super Bowl champions went unbeaten at home and 32 of the champs lost one game or fewer. Only one Super Bowl champion ever finished with a losing record at home – the 2007 Giants, who went 3-5 that season at the Meadowlands.

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This is the youngest the NFL has ever been. Those experienced players who don’t make mistakes have been disappearing, replaced on rosters by the salary cap-friendly younger players who do make the mistakes that can cost a team games.

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Since 1960, 35 of the 57 NFL champions posted winning records in the preseason. Only 11 of the NFL champs since then finished the preseason with losing records.

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Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end in history to catch 100 passes in a single season when he caught 102 for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. Witten became the second when he set the position record with 110 receptions in 2012.

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Of the 15 players identified as the best at their positions in the sport’s first 50 years, 14 of them have already been enshrined in Canton. The only one still waiting on a bust is guard Jerry Kramer.

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The HBCU provided opportunity for talented black players in the once-segregated South to play football. And did they ever. The HBCU have produced 31 Pro Football Hall of Famers, including eight members of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team.

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With Lance Alworth, Michael Irvin, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson and Roger Craig as his targets, Unitas would be the best player in any league. Who are you going to double? Are you going to put a linebacker on Tomlinson? Someone will always be open and my quarterback will find him.

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Stephon Gilmore was paid a king’s ransom to help the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title. Miami coach Adam Gase is working overtime to try and derail New England’s NFL juggernaut.

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Bill Belichick owns seven Super Bowl rings – five as head coach of the Patriots and two as the defensive coordinator of the Giants. He has won 237 career games, fourth most all-time behind Hall of Famers Don Shula, George Halas and Tom Landry.

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Lloyd Wells was the first full-time African-American football scout and his arrival created pro football opportunities for players at historic black colleges and universities. He signed eight future All-Pros and four Hall of Famers for the Kansas City Chiefs of the 1960s.

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Southern Cal ranks second all-time with 509 NFL draft picks. But the Trojans lead with 80 first-rounders — and a staggering 20 of them have been offensive tackles.

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Dan Rooney also was the driving force of a rule that opened the NFL door for minorities to be hired as head coaches and general managers. Fittingly, it was dubbed, “The Rooney Rule.” He practiced what he was preaching, hiring Mike Tomlin 2007.

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Football teams played only 10 home games while baseball teams played 77 home games – so for decades NFL teams were essentially playing in stadiums built for baseball. Lots of bad seats with bad site lines. But there was a nostalgic vent to some of those old ballparks.

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Greatness isn’t restricted to the quarterback position at Michigan. The Wolverines have become a football factory that churns out blue-chip offensive linemen.

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Jim Kelly was the greatest quarterback in Buffalo Bills history, but it was the USFL, he said, “where I learned the passing game.”

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