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NFL History


TOFN podcast: HOF MLB Willie Lanier revisits the 1970 bench-clearing brawl with Raiders

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TOFN podcast: HOF MLB Willie Lanier revisits Super Bowl IV

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Is 12 enough for the Lombardi Packers?

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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.

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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.

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There are two other Lombardi Packers who were voted to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team but have never been discussed as Hall of Fame finalists — tight end Ron Kramer and wide receiver Boyd Dowler.

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If players were voted into Canton based strictly on productivity, Joe Jacoby and Everson Walls would already have their busts. But Jacoby didn’t get into the room as a finalist until his 18th year of eligibility and Walls didn’t reach the room until his 20th year. The clock was ticking on them the moment they arrived. They wouldn’t have the luxury of 20 years of potential discussions like a Lewis, Moss and Urlacher.

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After the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, there was a two-year window when Otis Taylor was the best wide receiver in football. He went to his first two Pro Bowls in 1971-72 and was a two-time first-team All-Pro. In 1971, he was the only player in the NFL with 1,000 yards in receptions.

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Lynn Swann doesn’t have the statistics to qualify for the Pro Football Hall of Fame — not with just 366 career catches. But he’s enshrined in Canton because of his reputation of playing big in the biggest games.

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The Hall of Fame has never given cornerbacks a fair shake. There are only 14 pure cornerbacks in the Hall of Fame and three of them were enshrined as seniors.

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Upton Bell was the personnel director of two Suepr Bowl teams, the youngest GM in the NFL and a WFL franchise owner. He was also the son of the most pwoerful commissioner in NFL history, Hall of Famer Bert Bell. If you want to understand how the NFL went from a Mom and Pop shop into a $14-billion business, read “Present At The Creation.”

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Former NFL offensive line coach Howard Mudd was a stickler for technique. He not only wanted defenders blocked, he wanted them blocked the right way. That led to some sticky moments on the practice field, in the meeting rooms and on game-day sidelines.

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All you need to know is that Jones and Olsen are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Brown has received consideration as a senior candidate. Olsen and Jones both were named first-team all-decade for the 1960s, and both also were named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team.

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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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