Johnny Robinson played safety his final 10 and intercepted 57 passes, which ties him for 13th all-time. He led the AFL with 10 interceptions in 1966 and then led the NFL, again with 10, in the first season of the merged leagues in 1970.
Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi believed winning can become a habit. So can losing. So he played to win every time his Green Bay Packers took the field. During his nine seasons in Green Bay, Lombardi posted a 42-8 record during the exhibition season.
Even though he was just 49 days removed from a broken leg, Terrell Owens promised to play if his Eagles reached the Super Bowl – and he did. Did he ever. Owens caught nine passes for 122 yards to almost single-handedly keep the Eagles in the game in a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
With the NFL suspension of Paul Hornung for the 1963 season because of gambling, Jerry Kramer assumed Green Bay’s placekicking chores and led the Packers in scoring with 91 points. Before the era of soccer-style kickers, Kramer approached the football straight on.
Carl Peterson had been the director of personnel for the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles that won the NFC championship and would play in the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Peterson had a couple future NFL general managers on his Philadelphia Stars personnel staff, Bill Kuharich and Terry Bradway.
The New England Patriots have a chance this season to achieve one of the few milestones that has eluded them in the Bill Belichick era – a third consecutive AFC championship, a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Anderson wound up passing for more yards (32,838) and more touchdowns (197) than any quarterback in his 1971 draft class. He won four NFL passing titles, two in the 1970s and two more in the 1980s, and was the NFL MVP in 1981 when he took the Bengals to their first Super Bowl.
Bill Bates and Steve Tasker were two of the greatest special-teams aces in NFL history. Both retired in 1998. I asked them then what the toughest part of their job was and both gave me the same answer – convincing a new group of teammates each year that what they do on special teams is important.
Steve Tasker was drafted by the Houston Oilers and spent a season and a half there before being waived. He was claimed by Buffalo where coach Marv Levy, one of the NFL’s original special teams coaches, had a plan for Tasker.