billsportsmaps.com

December 6, 2011

NFL, 2002 Season: map with helmets.

Filed under: NFL>2002 helmet map,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 9:21 pm

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In 2002, the NFL added its 32nd franchise, the Houston Texans. And also that season, the NFL also underwent its most extensive re-alignment of its divisional format since the AFL/NFL merger of 1970. In 2002, in place of the 6 divisions, 8 divisions were instituted – 4 in the AFC and 4 in the NFC.

The major changes were:
-Seattle Seahawks switched conferences, to the NFC (NFC West).
-Arizona Cardinals moved from NFC East to NFC West.
-newly-formed AFC South comprised of Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.
-newly-formed NFC South comprised of Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-both the AFC Central and the NFC Central were renamed AFC North and NFC North.

The scheduling format was also tinkered with. One of the new elements that was long overdue was the elimination of the situation where teams were often playing every team in the other conference more than every team in their own conference. A team could actually go on forever not playing a team in their own conference if they finished, year-in, year-out, in certain places in the final standings. It was a pretty basic and glaring flaw. Another scheduling modification in 2002 was the drop from 4 games to 2 games per team that were scheduled the following season based on final standings. In other words, since 2002, good teams have not been punished with as tough a schedule the following season; and poor teams have not been rewarded with as soft a schedule the following season. And wins per first-place teams has increased since 2002, as the second link coming up shows (at the [1]-footnote below). First link is to the en.wikipedia page on the ‘2002 NFL season/Expansion and re-alignment [see third paragraph and down]‘…
Here is an excerpt from that Wikipedia article…”The league also introduced a new eight-year scheduling rotation designed so that all teams will play each other at least twice during those eight years, and will play in every other team’s stadium at least once. Under the new scheduling formula, only two of a team’s games each season are based on the previous year’s record, down from four under the previous system (the previous system also used standings to determine interconference match-ups). An analysis of win percentages has shown a statistical trend upwards for top teams since this change; the top team each year now averages 14.2 wins, versus 13.4 previously.[1]…”(end of excerpt).
[1], from June, 2008, from MIT-alumni-run site called The Fount.info ‘16-0: The myth of Perfection ‘.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII [Super Bowl 37], which was played in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium.
_
Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets, aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations on the 2002 map; some helmet illustrations I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘National Football League‘.

November 14, 2011

NFL, 1966 and AFL, 1966: location-maps, with final standings / Plus NFL, 1970: location-map with final standings / Plus a short article on the 1966 agreement which led to the 1970 AFL/NFL merger.

Filed under: NFL>1966/'70 helmet maps,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 9:11 pm
    NFL, 1966 location-map with final standings…

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    AFL, 1966 location-map with final standings…

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Helmet illustrations seen above and on 1st, 2nd and 3rd map pages from MGhelmets.com/nfl.




In 1970, the 16-team National Football League merged with the 10-team American Football League [AFL (IV, 1960-69)]. The agreement to merge had been in place since June, 1966. The first aspect of the merger was the institution of a deciding-game between the two leagues. This game was initially called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, and matched up the champion teams of each league, beginning in January 1967 [with the teams playing for the AFL/NFL championship title of 1966]. The first of these games was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and was, strangely, broadcast simultaneously by NBC and CBS, and was not a sell-out. In that game, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to win AFL-NFL World Championship Game I.

This gridiron football championship game, which was signified by the rather pompous use of Roman numerals to differentiate each subsequent game, would eventually become known as the Super Bowl. [The NFL's 2011 season will be decided on February 5, 2012, in Super Bowl XLVI (Super Bowl 46), at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.]

Almost from the start, circa 1966-68, many media outlets were referring to the game as ‘the Super Bowl’, but the first game officially known as the Super Bowl was the third one [Super Bowl III, January 1969 (Jets vs. Colts).]

Here is a cool advertisement from 1966 which shows the NFL teams’ helmets back then (note: the illustrator of this Norelco ad made an error with the Cowboys helmet-logo, making the points on the Cowboys helmet-star too wide, but otherwise this is a great illustration that even correctly shows the Bears’ and the Lions’ and the Cardinals’ unusual facemasks of that era) {thanks to this blog, packerville.blogspot.com for that}.

Below is a really nice set of illustrations of 1967 NFL home uniforms. I have no idea who drew the artwork or even which publication the images originally came from, but it was sent to Uni Watch Blog in early January 2016 by Todd Radom {here/about halfway down the post, there}. As far as accuracy with respect to 1967 uniforms, the illustration below is about 99% accurate, with the then-expansion-team the New Orleans Saints’ helmet the only major inaccuracy (in the illustration below, the Saints’ helmet color is a shade too light and not “old-gold” (or brownish) enough, plus there is no black-white-black center-helmet-stripe).
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Between 1966 and 1969 (4 seasons), the NFL and the AFL played separate regular seasons, as well as separate playoff formats. At that time, the NFL had 15 teams in 1966, then 16 teams from 1967-69, with the addition of the New Orleans Saints in ’67. At that time, the AFL had 9 teams in 1966, then 10 teams from 1968-69, with the addition of the Cincinnati Bengals in ’68. In this time period (the 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 seasons of both the NFL and the AFL), the Green Bay Packers won AFL-NFL World Championship Games I and II, while the New York Jets won Super Bowl III, and the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl IV. It is worth noting that circa 1959 to 1964 or so, many, many people associated with the NFL (the owners especially) considered the AFL to be a joke league that was way weaker than the NFL. But the AFL got the last laugh…the NFL lost the last two match-ups between an NFL-championship-game-winner and an AFL-championship-game-winner, with Broadway Joe Namath and the Jets under Weeb Ewbank stunning the Baltimore Colts in the 1968 season finale (in Super Bowl III, in January 1969); and the Kansas City Chiefs under Hank Stram similarly up-ending the favored Minnesota Vikings in the 1969 season finale (in Super Bowl IV in January, 1970).

When the 1970 NFL season rolled around, 3 teams had moved over from the pre-1970- NFL to the AFC, in order to even out the size of the 2 new conferences (at 13 teams each). Those three teams that moved over from the ‘old’ NFL to the new AFC were the Pittsburgh Steelers (1933-present), the Cleveland Browns (1950-1995; 1999-present), and the Baltimore Colts (1953-1983/moved to Indianapolis, IN as the Indianapolis Colts, 1984-present).

    NFL, 1970 – Location-map

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NFL, 1970
___

Thanks to MG’s Helmets, http://www.mghelmets.com/, for the helmets on the NFL, 1966 map; the AFL, 1966 map; and the NFL, 1970 map.
Thanks to Adsense admin.
Thanks to thefind.com/merchandise; thanks to ebay.com.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net.
Thanks to LogoShak.

October 25, 2011

NFL, NFC West: map, with brief team and league history, and titles list.

Filed under: NFL>NFC West,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 8:32 pm


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NFC West



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Arizona Cardinals
Est. 1898 as the Independent semi-pro team the Morgan Athletic Club of Chicago, IL (Morgan Athletic Club {Independent}, 1898). / Name changed to Racine Normals (Racine Normals {Independent}, 1899-1901) [Racine being the football field (Normal Park) in the South Side of Chicago where the team was located at]. / In 1901 name changed to Racine Cardinals (Racine Cardinals {Independent}, 1901-06;1913-18; 1918-19). / Joined NFL [APFA] in 1920 as the Racine Cardinals (NFL, 1920-21). / In 1922 name changed to Chicago Cardinals (NFL, 1922-1959). / In 1960 moved to St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Cardinals (NFL, 1960-1987). / In 1988 moved to Greater Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Cardinals (NFL, 1988-93). / In 1994 name changed to Arizona Cardinals (NFL, 1994-2013).
Arizona Cardinals Helmet History -
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Arizona Cardinals Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/cardinals.

The Arizona Cardinals’ franchise history is the oldest and arguably the most complicated in the NFL. The Cardinals were founded in 1898, as the gridiron football team [an amateur team] of the Morgan Athletic Club, of Morgan St. in the Irish neighborhood of the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. The team’s founder was Chris O’Brien, a local painting and decorating contractor. Later in the first year, the team’s name was changed to the Racine Normals (Racine Normals, 1898-1901). This was after the team began playing at Normal Park at Racine Ave. and 61st St. in Chicago. In 1901, the team got their present nickname from the faded maroon jerseys they bought from the University of Chicago’s football team – O’Brien quipped, “That’s not maroon, that’s cardinal red.” (Racine Cardinals, 1901-06; 1913-18; 1918-21). The team disbanded in 1906 due to lack of local competition. The Racine Cardinals (still under O’Brien), re-formed in 1913, this time as a professional team. In 1917, the Racine Cardinals won the championship of the long-since-defunct Chicago Football League. In 1918, the team suspended operations due to WW I and the Spanish Flu epidemic. They resumed playing later in 1918. So the Arizona Cardinals’ franchise history goes back, in a continuous sense, to late 1918, and makes the Cardinals the oldest team in the National Football League.

The Racine Cardinals would be a charter member of the NFL [APFA] in 1920. The 1920 Cardinals finished 6-2-2 and ended up tied for 4th place with the Rock Island Independents (NFL, 1920-25). [The Akron Pros (NFL, 1920-1926) won the first NFL [APFA] title, in 1920.]

In 1921, the Cardinals would be forced to cede sole territorial ownership of the Chicago area, with the Decatur Staleys (the present-day Chicago Bears) moving into Chicago and Wrigley Field, and promptly winning the 1921 APFA [NFL] title. The Cardinals never really got over this, and for almost four decades (39 years), the Cardinals played second fiddle to the Chicago Staleys (in 1921) and the Chicago Bears (from 1922 on).

Below, the Chicago Cardinals first home, Normal Park, located in the South Side of Chicago
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Image credits – Normal Field, http://www.angelfire.com/fl/TheCard/gallery/gallery2.html . Comiskey Park w/ gridiron markings, http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/azchi/cardschi.html . Cardinals’ Helmet History (1920-1959), images courtesy of The Gridiron Uniform Database, at gridiron-uniforms.com/cardinals.

In 1922, the Racine Cardinals changed their name to the Chicago Cardinals, so as to not be confused with the briefly-lived Racine, Wisconsin NFL team called the Racine Legion (NFL, 1922-24). Also in 1922, the team moved from Normal Park to a few miles east, to the Chicago White Sox’ ballpark, Comiskey Park (which was also in the South Side of Chicago). The Cardinals would play at Comiskey Park from 1922 to 1925, returning to Normal Park from 1926-28, and would again play at Comiskey Park for 30 straight seasons (from 1929 all the way to 1958).

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Photo credit: Paddy Driscoll: ‘The Last Drop Kick‘ (ProFootballHoF.com).

Powered by the offense that halfback/drop-kicker John “Paddy” Driscoll provided the team, the Chicago Cardinals won the 1925 NFL title. But the Cardinals really only won the championship by hastily organizing and winning 2 late-season games against extremely weak opposition, winning those, and then having the league give a favorable ruling to them with respect to the team that rightfully deserves the 1925 NFL title, the Pottsville Maroons. This was the era of unbalanced schedules in the APFA/NFL (1920-1932). [The Pottsville Maroons, formed in 1920 as a semi-pro team from the coal-town of Pottsvile, Pennsylvania, were an NFL member from 1925 to 1928.] The Pottsville Maroons looked set to have the best record in the league in late 1925, after they had defeated the Chicago Cardinals in Chicago by a score of 21-7, on December, 6th. 1925. But then the Cardinals quickly arranged two more games in a 3-day span in mid-December that year, against very weak opponents, to fatten their winning percentage and be able to claim the title. Amazingly, this was not a violation of league rules at the time. The Cardinals played those two games – both of which were versus teams that had already disbanded for the season [the Milwaukee Badgers (NFL, 1920-1926) and the Hammond (Indiana) Pros (NFL, 1920-1926).] One of these teams (Milwaukee) illegally fielded four [ineligible] high school players. The Cardinals won both games. Meanwhile, the Pottsville Maroons had scheduled a non-league, exhibition game against former Notre Dame players (“the Notre Dame All-Stars”). The problem was that, to make a bigger profit, Pottsvile played that game versus the Notre Dame All-Stars not at their tiny, 5,000-capacity high school stadium called Minersville Park in Pottsville, but down the road in Philadelphia, at the 32,000-capacity ballpark Shibe Park. That turned out to be a mistake that Pottsville would eternally regret. Because the NFL team that owned the Philadelphia franchise back then, the Frankford Yellow Jackets (NFL, 1924 to 1931/1926 NFL champions), of the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia, complained to the league about Pottsville engaging in territorial infringement by playing that lucrative game in Philadelphia, while Frankford was playing a home game that same day. The league suspended Pottsville (who claimed a verbal agreement had been made with the league office to be allowed to play that game in Philadelphia), and voided their chance at the title. Pottsville had one more league game scheduled, a winnable one, in Rhode Island versus the Providence Steam Roller (NFL, 1925-31/1928 NFL champions), and Pottsville was not allowed to play that game. So the top of the final standings for the 1925 NFL season read thus:
1st place: Chicago Cardinals, 11-2-1 (.846 Pct). 2nd place : Pottsville Maroons, 10-2-0 (.833 Pct).

In early 1926, at the annual league meeting, and to his credit, Cardinals owner Chris O’Brien refused to accept the title, saying his team did not deserve to take the title from a team that had beaten them fairly. It also must be pointed out that while Pottsville did certainly violate rules (as weak as Frankford’s case of “infringement” was), so too did the Chicago Cardinals. Because not only did the Cardinals players knowingly play against those 4 ineligible high schoolers (on the Milwaukee Badgers), but one of the Cardinal players, Art Folz, admitted to being the person who had recruited those four teenagers. Art Folz was banned for life for playing in the NFL as a result of this. The owners, however, absolved O’Brien of any wrongdoing at that February, 1926 meeting – the other owners agreed that O’Brien knew nothing about the ineligible players. [We'll never know if O'Brien did, but if he did know, logic would dictate that he most likely would have claimed the title.] {see this – ‘The Discarded Championship (PFRA [former site] via WaybackMachine)‘.

The Chicago Cardinals under Chris O’Brien might have refused to accept the 1925 NFL title, but when Charles Bidwill took over ownership of the Cardinals in 1932, he claimed the title, and the Bidwill family, who still own the Cardinals franchise to this day, have been the strongest opponents of Pottsville’s 1925 NFL title-claim (which was last rebuffed by the NFL in 2003…
From ESPN site, from January 28, 2008, by David Fleming, ‘Pottsville, Pa. and Cardinals each claim rights to 1925 NFL title‘.
{See this, from en.wikipedia.org, ‘1925 NFL Championship controversy‘.}

In 1947, the Cardinals won an actual, uncontested league title. The Cardinals had amassed a set of offensive talent called the “Million Dollar Backfield”, which included quarterback Paul Christman, fullback and place-kicker Pat Harder, halfback Elmer Angsman, and the final piece of the puzzle, Georgia Bulldogs’ [college] standout halfback Charley Trippi, who was signed for the then-record $100,000 by the Bidwills, who out-bid rival-league AAFC teams for Trippi’s signature. Trippi was born and raised in the eastern Pennsylvania coal-town of Pittston.

Below: the 1947 Chicago Cardinals’ Million Dollar Backfield
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Photo credits – http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=35774910 (Associated Press). ‘Memories of the Cardinals’ Last N.F.L. Championship‘ (nytimes.com, Jan.15,2009).

In 1947, the Cardinals went 9-3, and were set to face either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Philadelphia Eagles for the title – both went 8-4 and an extra quasi-playoff game was scheduled at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh – which the Eagles won 21-0. So on December 28, 1947, on an icy field at Comiskey Park in Chicago, the Cardinals faced the Eagles. It was both teams’ first appearance in a NFL title game. Because of the frozen and slippery field conditions, many players on the Cardinals, including Trippi, wore tennis sneakers instead of cleats. Both Charley Trippi and Elmer Angsman scored 2 touchdowns each – Trippi on a 44-yard run in the 1st quarter and a 75-yard punt return in the 3rd quarter; while the speedy Angsman scored on two different 70-yard runs, one in the 2nd and one in the 4th quarter. Besides the tainted 1925 title, it is the Cardinals’ only title. The Cardinals franchise has the longest running title-drought in the NFL [63 years as of 2010].

In 1959, the Cardinals played their first 4 games [at the future Bears' stadium] Soldier Field, then in a failed attempt to find a new locale, played their final 2 home games in suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota. As mentioned, the Cardinals had always had second-team status in Chicago to the Chicago Bears, and by the late 1950s, it was obvious that the only way the Cardinals were to survive was by relocating.
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Above: Helmet illustrations and shoulder patch illustration from: gridironuniforms.com/cardinals.

After the NFL surveyed the viability of a team in St. Louis, Missouri, and found the conditions favorable, the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960, becoming the St. Louis (football) Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals [NFL], 1960 to 1987). From 1960-65, the team played at Sportsman’s Park [officially by then known as Busch Stadium (I)], which was the home of the St. Louis (baseball) Cardinals. Then the football Cardinals played at Busch Stadium (II), also along with the baseball Cardinals, from 1966 to 1987. By the late 1980s, the no-longer-adequate Busch Stadium, plus fan-indifference due to the team’s longstanding mediocrity led the Bidwill family to decide to relocate again, and the Greater Phoenix, Arizona metro-area became their new home.

The Phoenix Cardinals debuted in 1988 (Phoenix Cardinals, NFL 1988 to 1993). The Cardinals played their first 18 seasons in Arizona at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium, in Tempe, AZ. The Cardinals changed their name to the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 (Arizona Cardinals, NFL 1994-present). In 2005, the Cardinals moved into the state-of-the-art University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, AZ. The Cardinals have sported their trademark frowning-cardinal-head-logo on white-helmet-with-grey-facemask since 1960 (ie, since their first season in St. Louis). The helmet logo was re-designed in 2005, to make it look “meaner”, although it could be argued that they only made the bird look more like a cartoon (at least they kept the classy grey facemask).
The St. Louis Cardinals won 2 NFL Championship titles (1925, 1947).
The Cardinals are 0-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2009 season].

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St. Louis Rams
Est. 1936 as the Cleveland Rams of Cleveland, OH, a team in the second [of 4] AFL leagues that existed in the 20th century, the AFL (II) of 1936. / Joined NFL in 1937 as the expansion team the Cleveland Rams (NFL, 1937-45)/ in 1946 moved to Los Angeles, CA as the Los Angeles Rams (NFL, 1946-1994)/ in 1995 moved to St. Louis, MO as the St. Louis Rams (NFL, 1995-2012):
St. Louis Rams Helmet History -
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St. Louis Rams Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/rams.

The St. Louis Rams also have a convoluted history. The NFL Rams’ franchise played 8 seasons in Cleveland, OH; 49 seasons in Los Angeles/Orange County, CA, and are currently [2011] playing their 17th season in St. Louis, MO.

The Rams’ NFL franchise traces its roots to the Cleveland Rams of the short-lived AFL (II) of 1936. This 6-team league lasted just 1 year. Attorney Homer Marshman founded the Cleveland Rams in 1936. His general manager Damon “Buzz” Wetzel suggested their nickname, after the Fordham (NY) Rams college football team (his favorite team). Like the Fordham Rams, the Cleveland Rams originally wore red and black (in the AFL in 1936, and in their first season in the NFL in 1937). After the Rams’ 1936 season in the AFL (II), where they finished in second place to the Boston Shamrocks, Marshman learned of the NFL’s intention of expanding for the 1937 season, and his bid was selected over bids from groups in Los Angeles and Houston (the NFL wished to keep its teams, at that point in time, in a concentrated area of the Northeast and the Upper Midwest). No front office or coaching staff, and just four 1936 Rams’ players made the jump over from the AFL of 1936 to the Cleveland Rams of the 1937 NFL – {See this photo of Mike Sebastian, William “Bud” Cooper, Harry “The Horse” Mattos, and Stan Pincura (the four members of Cleveland Rams who joined the NFL in 1937}. So the NFL considers the 1936/AFL (II) version of the Rams to be a separate entity.

The Cleveland Rams joined the NFL’s Western Division in 1937, making the league a balanced 10-team league again, and filling the gap left by the Cincinnati (football) Reds, who were an expansion team in 1933 (along with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), but folded midway through the following season (1934). The Cleveland Rams played their first 2 NFL seasons in the cavernous Cleveland Municipal Stadium, but were barely able fill even a fraction of it. The club had a very poor first season, going 1-10. The next season they changed their uniforms to navy blue and yellow-orange; they finished 4-7. In 1939, the Cleveland Rams began playing in dark royal blue and yellow-orange, which would become the colors of the Rams’ franchise from 1939 to 1948, from 1950 to 1963, and from 1973 to 1999 (51 seasons). [The St. Louis Rams have been wearing navy blue and metallic gold since 2000.] The Cleveland Rams organization had a shaky start in the NFL, even playing in a high school football stadium for a while (in 1938, at Shaw Stadium in east Cleveland). They played at Municipal Stadium in 1936 and ’37, from 1939 to ’41, and in December 1945 in the NFL Championship Game. For some games in 1937, and for the 1942, 1944 and ’45 seasons, the Rams played mostly at League Park (which was home of the MLB team the Cleveland Indians from 1901 to 1946). The Cleveland Rams were forced to remain dormant for the 1943 season due to lack of players, because of World War II. The team never had a winning season until UCLA phenom Bob Waterfield was drafted by the team in early 1945. For the 1945 season, Waterfield immediately started as quarterback. He also handled kicking and punting duties, as well as playing defensive back (with 20 interceptions in 4 years). Waterfield led the team to a 9-1 record, and they faced the Washington Redskins in the 1945 NFL Championship Game. The Rams beat the Redskins 15-14, on a frozen field, at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium, with Waterfield throwing touchdown passes of 37 and 44 yards. But the margin of victory was the 2 point safety that was awarded to the Rams, after a Redskin pass attempt in their end-zone struck the field goal crossbar, and fell to the ground. **{See this article, on the 1945 NFL Title Game, from the NFL website.} Bob Waterfield was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player for 1945. That was the first time in the NFL that a rookie won the honor.

The 1945 title game was the last game the Rams played in Cleveland. Their owner at the time, Daniel Reeves, claimed the team had lost $40,000 that year, despite winning the title. He was also threatened by the presence of a Cleveland team in the nascent All-America Football Conference (1946-1949). This league was formed in late 1944, but put off playing the 1945 season because of World War II. By late 1945, it was becoming apparent to the Rams management that this new AAFC team, to be called the Cleveland Browns, would put a dent in the already thin Rams’ fan support. Reeves began talking to the city of Los Angeles about playing at the 90,000 seat Memorial Coliseum. In January 1946, the Cleveland Rams moved west to California. When the Los Angeles Rams began play in the fall of 1946, they became the first major-league team in America to set up shop west of St. Louis, Missouri. Which is ironic, because 48 years later, the franchise would move to St.Louis.

The Los Angeles Rams ended up as trailblazers on another front, as well. Because the Memorial Coliseum commissioners stipulated that as part of the lease agreement, the Los Angeles Rams must be integrated. So the Rams signed two black UCLA players, Kenny Washington {see this}, and Woody Strode {see this}. The Los Angeles Rams played at the 90-to-100,000-capacity Memorial Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 (34 years).

In 1948, Rams’ halfback and off-season commercial artist Fred Gehrke painted the team’s helmets with a set of ram’s horns. This became the first example of an insignia on the helmet of a pro football team. Here is a good article on Gehrke and his designing of the Rams helmet logo, from Sports Illustrated, from Sept. 5 1994, by Mark Mandemach, ‘Rembrandt Of The Rams
Fred Gehrke got out his brushes and changed helmets forever
‘ (sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault).

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Photo and Image credits above -
helmethut.com/leatherram.
toddradom.com/athletes-as-artists-andrew-mccutchen-and-the-1948-la-rams.
gridiron-uniforms.com/Rams 1948.
profootballhof.com/history/infographic-wednesday.

The Los Angeles Rams were about to enter their glory days. They ended up playing in four NFL Championship Games between 1949 and 1955. And though they only won one NFL title in this period, in 1951, the greatness of this team cannot be diminished. Wide receivers Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch and Tom Fears were the Rams’ two big offensive weapons. Bob Waterfield, and from 1950 on, Norm Van Brocklin, both helmed the squad at quarterback. For a while the two worked in tandem, which is unheard of in pro football. To say the team emphasized the passing game would be an understatement. In 1950, the NFL began allowing unlimited substitutions, and the Rams exploited the rule change. They ended up averaging 38.4 points per game that season (1950), a record to this day. Their wide-open offense proved so popular that the Rams became the first pro football team to have all its games televised. Despite their local television deal, the LA Rams of the mid-to late 1950s still drew extremely well. In 1958, for example, when the Rams went 8-4, they averaged 83,680 per game (6 games), including 100,470 for the Chicago Bears and 100,202 for the Baltimore Colts.

Below, the Rams’ first star, QB/K/P/DB Bob Waterfield – Photo on left: seen with his high school sweetheart and wife of 20 years, the film star Jane Russell. Photo in middle: Waterfield seen charging down the sideline for a 13-yard touchdown run versus the [now-defunct] Baltimore Colts of 1951 (gridironuniforms.com) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, October 22, 1950 – final score Los Angeles Rams 70, Baltimore Colts 22 {boxscore from pro-football-reference.com, here}. At right is an [unattributed] illustration of Bob Waterfield in his 1948 LA Rams uniform….
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Photo credits – Findagrave.com/Bob Watefield. Action photo from 1950 from Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum, from ‘100 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History Part II: 50-21 ‘. Color illustration: from a 1994 Los Angeles Rams’ game program [artist was unattributed] via http://store03.prostores.com/servlet/dcbcollectibles/the-Football-Collectibles/s/496/Categories .

There were two other successful periods for the Rams in Los Angeles. In the mid-to-late 1960s, the Rams featured the Fearsome Foursome, the great defensive line of Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, and Lamar Lundy. The 1967 Rams, who were led by head coach George Allen, went 11-2-1, and became the first NFL team to draw over a million spectators in a season (14 games [ie, home and away gate figures combined]). In 1969, Allen hired a 33-year old Dick Vermeil to be the NFL’s first-ever special teams’ coach; the Rams went 11-3 that year. But these Rams were never able to win in the playoffs. And the next good Rams teams, of the mid-to-late 1970s (who were coached by Chuck Knox) had the same problem, losing in the NFC Championship Game 4 times in 5 seasons (1974-76; 1978). The Los Angeles Rams did make it to the Super Bowl – once – in the 1979 season, but lost to Pittsburgh 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.

In 1980 the Rams moved south of downtown Los Angeles to Anaheim, Orange County, CA and Anahiem Stadium (home of the MLB team the California Angels). The Rams needed a smaller stadium, because the dreaded blackout rule was killing them – they couldn’t come close to selling out the then-93,000-capacity Coliseum, so their product was being diminished in their home town because games were being blacked out. The solution was a smaller venue. The Rams played at the 69,000-capacity Anaheim Stadium for 15 seasons (1980-94), but that situation never really worked out for the Rams (or, actually, for the Angels as well, because the renovations made at the stadium to accommodate the Rams ruined the atmosphere for baseball games there, and after the Rams left, the Angels pretty much gutted the stadium and returned it to the respectable, mid-40,000-capacity ballpark it originally was). By the early 1990s, the Rams were foundering, both on-field and with respect to waning fan interest and another inadequate stadium situation. They found that neither Orange County nor the city of Los Angeles was willing to build a new stadium, and, true to the tenor of the times, the Los Angeles Rams became yet another NFL team in the first half of the 1990s that openly courted other cities (to get a free stadium). Baltimore, MD was first sought after (Baltimore would steal the Browns from Cleveland soon after, in 1995/96), but that deal fell through.

The city of St. Louis, now 7 years without an NFL team, stepped up with a sweetheart deal, and the Rams moved back east, to St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Rams did not change their uniforms at all when they first moved to Missouri (they did do an overhaul of their gear in 2000 [right after they had won the Super Bowl], switching to navy blue and turning their rams’ horns and trim color from yellow-orange to metallic gold). For the first half of the 1995 season, the Rams played at Busch Stadium (II), then moved into the publicly-financed Trans World Dome in November 1995 [the stadium is now called the Edward Jones Dome].

The Rams continued their lackluster form until ex-Eagles coach Dick Vermeil came out of retirement, returning to the Rams’ organization and taking the Rams’ head coach job in 1997. The Rams of this era became a very high-powered offensive force that featured WR Isaac Bruce and RB Marshall Faulk (Hall of Fame, 2011) and were led by a QB, Kurt Warner, who came out of nowhere – from the Iowa Barnstormers of the now-defunct Arena Football League. Warner went from stocking supermarket shelves to hoisting the Super Bowl trophy in 5 years flat. In the 1999 season, in Super Bowl XXXIV [39], the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans by a score of 23-16, with the final touchdown a 73-yard completion from Warner to Bruce, and with the win clinched by a last-second, one-yard-line tackle by Rams’ linebacker Mike Jones on Titans’ WR Kevin Dyson {see this ‘Final play of Super Bowl XXXIV‘}.

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Photo credits – unattributed at 6magazineonline.com, ‘Top 10 NFL games of the 2000s‘.

The Rams won 2 NFL Championship titles (1946 [as the Cleveland Rams], 1951 [as the Los Angeles Rams]).
St. Louis Rams: 1 Super Bowl title (1999).
The Rams are 1-2 in Super Bowl appearances [losing to the Steelers in the 1979 season, and losing to the Patriots in the 2000 season].

The San Francisco 49ers were established in 1946 in the 8-team All-America Football Conference (1946-1949), and played the 4 seasons of that league’s existence. The AAFC merged with the NFL in 1950. Coming into the NFL from the AAFC along with the 49ers were the Cleveland Browns and the first Baltimore Colts (I) [who have no affiliation with the present-day Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts' franchise and who wore green and silver and who lasted only one season before folding after the 1950 season]. In the 1949 off-season, players from the other 4 surviving AAFC teams were distributed to other NFL teams. The 49ers were named after the California Gold Rush of 1849. The 49ers have most often played in scarlet [bright red] and white jerseys (sometimes with black trim), and their classic look (now restored since 2009) features an understated three-stripe sleeve motif in white or scarlet on the jersey, with gold pants and a gold helmet with a grey facemask. Illogically (since the team is named after a gold rush) from circa 1946 to 1963, the 49ers usually wore silver, and not gold, helmets and pants. {See this, 1962 San Francisco 49ers uniforms, and 1964 San Francisco 49ers Uniforms (from gridiron-uniforms.com}. It wasn’t until 1964 that the 49ers began wearing gold helmets and gold pants for good (the oval “49ers” logo debuted in 1962 on a silver helmet).

The San Francisco 49ers began play in the 13-team NFL in 1950 in the 7-team National Conference (the old Western Division). From 1946 to 1970, the 49ers played at Kezar Stadium, which was located adjacent to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Though utilitarian in design (with a single tier of bleachers ringing the entire 54,000-capacity stadium), Kezar had a great atmosphere. {here is a youtube.com video, ‘San Francisco 49ers Tribute to Kezar Stadium‘} {here is the Kezar Stadium page at the StadiumsofProFootball.com site}. Because Kezar was built close to several San Francisco residential neighborhoods including the Flower Power nexus of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, considerable amounts of Niners fans walked to games [San Franciscans - reducing their carbon footprint before the phrase even existed]. The 49ers final game at Kezar Stadium was on January 3, 1971 – the 1970 NFC Championship Game, which the 49ers lost to the Dallas Cowboys. That was only the 49ers’ second playoff appearance at that point in their history (their first was in 1957, when the Niners went 8-4, then lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual ’57 champions the Detroit Lions). Along with the MLB team the San Francisco Giants, the 49ers moved into the poorly-sited, cold and windy Candlestick Park in 1971, and have played there ever since (the Giants have their own ballpark now, on another part of San Francisco Bay, where weather conditions are much more favorable). [Candlestick Park is frankly inadequate now, and is pretty much an albatross for the football team.] Through the early 1970s, the 49ers continued their new-found competitiveness, appearing in 3 straight NFC Championship Games (1970-72), but they lost all three to the Cowboys (the Forty Niners would get their revenge in the 1981 season).

In 1977, the San Francisco 49ers were acquired by real estate developer Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. After the 1978 season, DeBartolo hired former Stanford coach Bill Walsh as the 49ers’ new head coach. From the en.wikipedia page on the 49ers…{excerpt}…”Walsh is given credit for popularizing the ‘West Coast offense‘. The Bill Walsh offense was actually created and refined while he was an assistant coach with [the] Bengals. The offense utilizes a short, precise, timed passing game as a replacement/augmentation of the running game. The offense is extremely difficult to defend against as it is content to consistently make 6-8 yard gains all the way down the field.”…{end of excerpt}. Notre Dame grad Joe Montana became the 49ers starting QB in late 1980, after he led the 49ers to what was then the greatest comeback in NFL history, beating the New Orleans Saints 38-35 in OT, after trailing the Saints 35-7 at halftime. In 1981 Walsh overhauled the defense – new arrivals included CB/S Ronnie Lott, LB Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds, and DE Fred Dean. The much-improved defense led to a more balanced team, and the 1981 49ers had the best record in the league (13-3), making the playoffs for the first time since 1972. And once again, the 49ers and the Cowboys faced off in the NFC Championship Game. This time, San Francisco won 28-27, on a 6-yard TD completion from Montana to WR Dwight Clark, with 58 seconds left. Montana never saw the receiver or the reception, and had thrown the pass off-balance after being chased towards the sidelines by 3 Dallas defenders, and it first looked like he was just throwing the ball away to avoid the sack or the loss of yards. But Dwight Clark was able to leap high enough to snare the ball with his fingertips.
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Image credits – photo [in 2 different cropped versions] by Walter Iooss, Jr/Sports Illustrated magazine {SI.com/vaults}. 49erswebzone.com, ‘What is your favorite 49ers memory/moment?‘. SI cover from http://www.claremontshows.com/catalog/publications/sportsillustrated/simags.htm

The play is known as “The Catch”, and is one of the most legendary and important plays in NFL history. It marked a turning point in the league’s balance of power, as it signaled the start of the ascension of the San Francisco 49ers as one of the greatest teams of the NFL. The 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl (XVI) that year over Bill Walsh’s old team, the Cincinnati Bengals, by a score of 26-21. The 49ers went on to win 5 Super Bowl titles in a 14-year span. The San Francisco 49ers are the only NFL team to have won more than 1 Super Bowl title and still be undefeated in Super Bowl appearances. The 49ers’ 5 Super Bowl titles are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the second-most Super Bowl titles [the Pittsburgh Steelers have the most, with 6 Super Bowl titles].
The San Francisco 49ers won no NFL Championship titles [between 1950-1965].
San Francisco 49ers: 5 Super Bowl titles (1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994).
The 49ers are 5-0 in Super Bowl appearances.

The Seattle Seahawks joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were the 29th and 30th NFL franchises. Both played their first season in the opposite conference, then switched the next season (1977), with Seattle ending up in the AFC West, from 1977-2001. In 2002, with the restructuring of the league following it’s 32-team set-up, Seattle moved back to the NFC, joining the NFC West (2002-on). The Seahawks have played in 3 stadiums. First was the Kingdome, which was opened in 1976 and demolished in 2000. The Seahawks played in the Kingdome from 1976 to 1993. The Seahawks played the first half of the 1994 season at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium, when the concrete ceiling of the Kingdome partially collapsed {see this ‘Kingdom/Ceing Collapse‘, from en.wikipedia.org}. The MLB team the Seattle Mariners left the inadequate and unsafe Kingdome in 1999, and the Seahawks followed suit in 2000, returning to Husky Stadium for a two-year spell (2000-01). Then in 2002, the Seahawks moved into the state-wide-voter-approved publicly funded Seahawks Stadium [now called CenturyLink Field].

Below is a link to a pretty nice page on the history of the Seahawks’ uniforms…
Seatle Seahawk Uniform History (http://mickelyantz.com/HawksUnis.html) seattle-seahawks_helmet1976-81_d.gif

The Seahawks’ helmet logo is based on Native Northwestern Haida tribal art. From Thegreenglare.com/’Seahawks Logo Design – Case Study‘, …”Although, stated as indigenous to NW coastal indian art, some elements of the design seem to be borrowed from other artistic forms. One notable area seems to be in the eye/brow region. Although, you could make a case that certain lines resemble the Kwakiutl/Haida in expression; i.e. round pupil, curved brow and socket region. It does seem, however, that these lines more closely resemble elements of the ‘Sky God’ Eye of Horus. Not surprising since this is a powerful and popular symbol derived from the Egyptian hieroglyphs to represent their Falcon. Most other areas of the logo resemble more closely to the Haida form, however, loose in it’s interpretation. The Osprey is linked firmly to the design due to the indigenous moniker ‘Seahawk’, as well as, in image via the auricular feathers (covering the ear) with it’s bold horizontal lines. The aquiline beak portion of the design is clearly Haida Eagle in form…” {end of excerpt}.

The Seahawks originally wore silver helmets and pants, royal blue or white jerseys, and royal blue and forest green trim. In 2002, using fan-voting to arrive at a color-scheme-change, they re-tooled the Seahawk logo and changed their primary color, including their helmet-color, to a greyish-dark-blue-green color called “Seahawk blue”. Navy and lime green (actually a very distracting neon green) were trim colors. (Hey Seahawks front-office, what exactly was wrong with royal-blue/silver/forest-green?). They also turned the shape of the Seahawk logo into the shape of a squeeze of toothpaste {see this}, and they got rid of the subtle second-eyelid on the bird. In other words, they dumbed it down. This color scheme lasted from 2002 to 2011. Then it got worse. In 2012, the Seahawks again messed with their once great color scheme – changing their colors to a god-awful dark-blue-grey/neon-green/light grey. Question: Why? Answer: Because Nike. The Seahawks look horrible in their new colors, especially when you notice the strange U-shaped pattern that is on the top of their helmet and in their jersey and pants stripe-detail {see this (mickelyantz.com)}. That strange U-shaped pattern that the Seahawks have plastered all over their gear now is supposed to be feathers (explanation for that is in the excerpt two paragraphs below). Feathers?

Here are the 2012 Seattle Seahawks uniforms (gridiron-uniforms.com). Here is an article on the 2012 Seahawks uniforms, ‘Pics: Seattle Seahawks New Uniform Makes Debut‘ (news.sportslogos.net). As a commenter at that last link says of the Seahawks’ new uniforms, ‘Sweet mother of Jesus, its the Arena League’ [comment made by FormerDirtDart at the previous link]. As another commenter at that article says, ‘Is it the Seattle Seahawks or the Seattle Nikes? This is about as trashy as it gets when it comes to the new uniforms. Shame on Nike! Least subtle sports branding I’ve ever seen.’ [comment made by Matt at the previous link].

Here is an excerpt from the Seahawks Wikipedia page…’On April 3, 2012, Nike, which took over as the official uniform supplier for the league from Reebok, unveiled new uniform and logo designs for the Seahawks for the 2012 season. The new designs incorporate a new accent color, “Wolf Grey”, and the main colors are “College Navy” and “Action Green”. The uniforms incorporate “feather trims”, multiple feathers on the crown of the helmet, twelve feathers printed on the neckline and down each pant leg to represent the “12th Man”, referring to the team’s fans.’…{end of excerpt}). Yeah, because whenever I think of loud fans, or the concept of the 12th man, I always think of a strange U-shaped pattern plastered on players’ domes and running down their pants legs.

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-1 in Super Bowl appearances [losing to the Steelers in the 2005 season].
___

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘NFC West‘.
Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets , aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations for the 8 maps in this series. There are two problems with this set of helmet illustrations at the HelmetsX3 site – the metallic helmets are shown too dark, and the site hasn’t been updated since 2009 or so. So all the helmet illustrations in this series are from the HelmetsX3 site except for the helmet illustrations of all the silver or gold (or pewter) helmeted teams – Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay; as well as new Buffalo, recently new Arizona, recently new Indy, and also Tennessee helmet illustrations, all of which I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.

Thanks to mlive.com, for the photo of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Thanks to Cardinals’ Photo Album site, for many of the old Chicago Cardinals photos.
Thanks to Maple Leaf Productions for information on designs of old, circa 1920s and early 1930s NFL helmets [on pdfs, like this one for Arizona Cardinals Uniform and Team History.
Thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniforms Database (gridironuniforms.com), for giving billsportsmaps.com permission to use images from their gridiron uniform database.

October 17, 2011

NFL, NFC South: map, with a brief team and league history, and titles list.

Filed under: NFL>NFC South,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 9:11 pm

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NFL, NFC South

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Photo credits- Atlanta Falcons’ Tommy Nobis, http://www.trunkbunker.com/bestnumber60.html. New Orleans Saints’ Archie Manning, NFL photos via AP via New York Times, ‘Football’s First Family‘. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Lee Roy Selmon, his page at Pro Football Hall of Fame site. Carolina Panthes’ Julius Peppers, Allposters.com via ScoresReport.com.
Helmet illustrations from: The Helmet Project.

The Atlanta Falcons were established in 1966, as the 15th NFL team. Their nickname was chosen as the winning entry of a name contest, the name submitted by a local school teacher. The Falcons’ first home was the just-built Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, which opened in 1964 (and which was also the home of the Atlanta Braves ball club). The Falcons played there for 26 seasons, then moved into the state-built Georgia Dome in 1992. The Falcons’ distinctive black-profile-of-large-bird-in-downstroke logo was re-vamped in 1997 – the shape of the bird was made to look like the letter F, and red accents were added.
The Falcons are 0-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Denver Broncos in the 1998 season].

The New Orleans Saints were the 16th NFL team, and began in the 1967 season. The Saints took their name from the fact that the franchise was born on November 1st [1966] – the Roman Catholic Church’s All-Saints’ Day. Their logo is the fleur-de-lis (flower of the lily, in French), which is a symbol of the city of New Orleans, and evokes the city and region’s French and Acadian history. The Saints spent their first 3 decades as the NFL’s least successful franchise. It took the Saints 34 years to win their first playoff game (in 2000). The 21st century has been a different story. 4 years after the city recovered from Hurricane Katrina (Aug-Sept.2005), the Saints appeared in their first Super Bowl game (Super Bowl XLIV [44]), and upset the favored Indianapolis Colts. Trailing 10-6 to start the second half, the Saints successfully executed the first onside kick before the 4th quarter in Super Bowl history. The Saints went on to win 34-21, bringing New Orleans and the state of Louisiana its first professional sports title. The Saints first called Tulane University’s Tulane Stadium home, from 1967-74, then moved into the gargantuan Louisiana Superdome in 1975. In 2005, the Superdome was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and the Saints were forced to set up temporary base in San Antonio, TX. The Saints played their first 3 home games at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Home games 4-7 were played at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA (69 miles north of New Orleans). Their final home game of 2005 was played at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The Saints resumed playing at the repaired Superdome in 2006.
New Orleans Saints: 1 Super Bowl title (2009).
The Saints are 1-0 in Super Bowl appearances.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were, along with the Seattle Seahawks, the 27th and 28th expansion teams in 1976. Both played their first season in the opposite conference, then switched the next season (1977), with Tampa Bay ending up in the NFC Central (from 1977-2001). The Bucs were the worst-ever expansion team (NFL or otherwise), going 0-14, not winning their first game until the 13th week of their second year. But they improved swiftly after that (with a strong defense), first making the playoffs in their 4th year in 1979, going all the way to the NFC Championship Game (losing 9-0 to the Rams). The Bucs wore light orange with red trim; their logo was a feathered-hat-wearing pirate who looked anything but threatening. That was changed in 1996, with a metallic brownish-gray, called pewter, becoming their dominant color, and a pirate flag on a sword being their new logo. The Bucs won the Super Bowl in the 2002 season, blowing out the Raiders (Super Bowl XXXVII [37]). The Bucs played at Tampa Stadium (aka the Big Sombrero, for it’s oblong shape) from 1976 to 1997, and since 1998 have played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. [note: the term Tampa Bay refers not to a city, but to the metro area of Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Bradenton.]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1 Super Bowl title (2002).
The Buccaneers are 1-0 in Super Bowl appearances.
Note: featured player Lee Roy Selmon recently passed away, {see this, from Sept.4,2011, from thesportingnews.com, ‘Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon dies at 56‘.}

The Carolina Panthers joined the NFL in 1995, as the 29th franchise (along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 30th franchise). Charlotte, NC-based, but representing both North and South Carolina, the Panthers were able to privately fund the building of their Carolinas Stadium through the sale of over 40,000 permanent seat licenses, which were all bought in less than a day. Unlike previous expansion teams, Carolina (and Jacksonville) were very competitive from the start. The Panthers were 7-9 in their first season, and in their second season (1996), the Panthers were 12-4, made the playoffs, and went all the way to the NFC Championship Game, losing to Green Bay. [The Panthers made it to the Super Bowl 7 seasons later, in 2003.] In 1995 they played at Clemson University’s Memorial Stadium, in Clemson, SC. Since 1996, they have played at their 73,000-capacity stadium in uptown Charlotte, which is now called the Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers are 0-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to the Ravens in the 2003 season].
_
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘NFC South‘.
Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets , aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations for the 8 maps in this series. There are two problems with this set of helmet illustrations at the HelmetsX3 site – the metallic helmets are shown too dark, and the site hasn’t been updated since 2009 or so. So all the helmet illustrations in this series are from the HelmetsX3 site except for the helmet illustrations of all the silver or gold (or pewter) helmeted teams – Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay; as well as new Buffalo, recently new Arizona, recently new Indianapolis, and also Tennessee helmet illustrations, all of which I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to mlive.com, for the photo of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.


October 8, 2011

NFL, NFC North: map, with a brief team and league history, and titles list.

Filed under: NFL>NFC North,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 8:59 pm

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NFC North map



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To see the full map of NFL, 1920-1960 click on this address,

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/nfl_timeline1920-33_2.gif

Chicago Bears
Est. 1919 as the Independent semi-pro team the Decatur Staleys (of the A.E. Staley Co.) of Decatur, IL./ Joined NFL [APFA] in 1920 as the Decatur Staleys (NFL, 1920)/ in 1921 moved to Chicago, IL: Chicago Staleys (NFL, 1921)/ in 1922 their name changed to Chicago Bears (NFL, 1922-2012):
Chicago Bears Helmet History -
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Chicago Bears Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/bears.

The Chicago Bears’ franchise began as the Decatur Staleys, a semi-pro team that started up in 1919. The team was sponsored by the A.E. Staley Co. of Decatur, IL, a corn and food starch processor. The Decatur Staleys were a charter member of the NFL [APFA] in 1920. In 1919-20, the team played at Staley Field, which was on the company property in Decatur. After the 1920 season, AE Staley sold the team to player/coach George Halas and his partners, and the team moved to Chicago and to Wrigley Field [the home of the National League baseball team the Chicago Cubs]. In 1921, the Chicago Staleys won the APFA title in their first season in the Windy City. As per an agreement Halas had made with AE Staley, the team had kept the Staleys name (and their colors) for that first year after moving, then changed their name to the Chicago Bears in 1922. The Decatur Staleys originally wore red jerseys in 1919 and 1920, and the Chicago Staleys also wore red jerseys in 1921 {see this article from the Gridiron Uniforms Database blog, by Bill Schaeffer, from June 8 2014, Say It Ain’t So, Joe…er, George!, where it basically is proven that the Decatur Staleys, the team that became the Chicago Bears, originally wore red, before George Halas bought the team after the 1920 season and, in 1922 {see this}, changed their colors to navy blue and orange, a color scheme that was similar to that of Halas’ alma mater, the University of Illinois.} The Bears were renters at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970. In 1971, the Bears began playing at Soldier Field (which opened in 1924). This U-shaped stadium featured Doric columns rising from behind the stands, yet the seats were just planks until 1978, when individual seats were installed. In 2002, because of stadium renovations, the Bears played 124 miles south of Chicago in Champaign, IL, at Illinois University’s Memorial Stadium. The Bears moved into the futuristic and totally re-built Soldier Field (II) in 2003.
Chicago Bears’ first NFL title was in 1921 (as the Chicago Staleys). The Chicago Bears won 8 NFL Championship titles (1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963).
Chicago Bears: 1 Super Bowl title (1985).
The Bears are 1-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Indianapolis in the 2006 season].

Green Bay Packers
Est. 1919 as the Independent semi-pro team the Green Bay Packers (of the Indian Packing Co.) of Green Bay, WI. [2 seasons, 1919 and 1920, as an Independent team]/ Joined NFL [APFA] in 1921, Green Bay Packers (NFL, 1921-2012):
Green Bay Packers Helmet History –
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Green Bay Packers Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/packers.

The Green Bay Packers began as a semi-pro team sponsored by the Indian Packing Company of Green Bay, WI. The Green Bay Packers joined the NFL [APFA] in 1921. The Packers are the last vestige of the small-own teams that were common in the NFL in it’s early years (1920s and 1930s). The Green Bay Packers are the only major-league team in the US that is non-profit and 100% fan-owned. The Green Bay Packers original colors of navy blue and gold were inspired by Notre Dame football. The Packers, with ACME PACKERS emblazoned across their navy blue jerseys in big gold letters, started out playing at Hagemeister Park (1919-22), which at first had no gates, no stands, and no clubhouse (a single stand was built in 1920). A hat was passed around for donations, at halftime, while the two teams would go to opposite end zones to discuss tactics, with the fans crowded around and joining in on the discussion [now the Packers players show their bond with the fans by jumping into the end zone stands to celebrate touchdowns]. Their next venue was Bellevue Park (1923-24), which could hold about 5,000. City Stadium was their next home, from 1925 to 1956. Its capacity was initially 6,000, and by the 1950s, it held 25,000. During this time, and all the way into the 1990s, the Packers played 3 home games per season in Milwaukee, WI – first at Borchert Field (1933), then for 18 years at the Wisconsin State Fair Park (1934-51), then briefly at Marquette Stadium (1952), then for 42 years at Milwaukee County Stadium (1953 to 1994). The Packers moved into their current home in Green Bay in 1956. Originally called New City Stadium, its name was changed to Lambeau Field in 1965 to honor the team’s founder, first star player, and long-time coach Curly Lambeau.
Green Bay Packers’ first NFL title was in 1929.
The Green Bay Packers won 9 NFL Championship titles (1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965) [note: for 1966 and 1967, see note at bottom of this post].
Green Bay Packers: 4 Super Bowl titles, (1966, 1967, 1996, 2010).
The Packers are 4-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Denver in the 1997 season].

Detroit Lions
Est. 1929 as the Independent semi-pro team the Portsmouth Spartans of Portsmouth, OH./ Joined NFL in 1930 as the Portsmouth Spartans (NFL, 1930-33)/ in 1934 moved to Detroit, MI as the Detroit Lions (NFL, 1934-2012):
Detroit Lions Helmet History -
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Detroit Lions Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/lions.

The Detroit Lions’ franchise was originally located in Portsmouth, OH, which is in southern Ohio on the north shore of the Ohio River. The Portsmouth Spartans, established in 1929 as an Independent semi-pro team, wore purple and gold and played for 4 seasons in the NFL (1930-33), at the 8,200-capacity Universal Stadium in Portsmouth, Ohio. The Portsmouth Spartans just missed out on an NFL title in 1932. The 1932 season had ended tied between the Spartans and the Bears, so an extra game was arranged in Chicago. Due to a blizzard, the game was moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, and was played on an 80-yard field. The Bears won 9-0. This led the NFL to adopt a divisional structure, a balanced schedule, and a championship game the next season (1933). The Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit, MI after the 1933 season. In their second season in Detroit (1935), the Lions won the title. They first played at the University of Detroit Stadium (1934-40; ’47); then played at Tiger Stadium (1938-39; 1941 to 1979). In 1975, the Lions moved 21 miles north to Pontiac, MI, and played at the Pontiac Silverdome for 27 seasons. In 2002, the Lions returned to downtown Detroit, to the indoor stadium Ford Field, which incorporates a 6-story former warehouse.
Detroit Lions’ first NFL title was won in 1935. The Detroit Lions won 4 NFL Championship titles (1935, 1952, 1953, 1957).
The Lions are the NFL team with the most seasons played without making a Super Bowl appearance [streak is at 45 seasons without a Super Bowl appearance as of the 2011 season].

Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are the second NFL franchise from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The first was the Minneapolis Marines, who were originally an Independent pro team (est. 1905), who were in the APFA/NFL from 1921-24 {here are the 1923 Minneapolis Marines’ 1923 uniforms (gridiron-uniforms.com)}. In 1929, the franchise was re-started as the Minneapolis Red Jackets, but folded in 1930. The Minnesota Vikings began in 1961, as the NFL’s 14th team. The Vikings were so named in honor of the large population of ethnic Scandinavians living in the state. The Vikings played at Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington, MN (about 10 mi. south of the Twin Cities), from 1961 to 1981 (they shared the stadium with the Minnesota Twins ball club). Since 1982, the Vikings have played at the drab Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Vikings are 0-4 in 4 Super Bowl appearances, losing in the 1969 season to the Chiefs, in the 1973 season to the Dolphins, in the 1974 season to the Steelers, and in the 1976 season to the Raiders.

My illustrated thumbnail histories from 2008 (with NFL, 1920-1960 map)…
Spartans/Lions old logos and helmets
Packers, Bears old logos and helmets

[note: 1966 and 1967 NFL Championship wins by Green Bay are not identified as titles, because of the Super Bowl. Green Bay won those first 2 Super Bowls (which were officially known as AFL-NFL Championship Games). The same also applies to the 1968 NFL Championship win (by the Baltimore Colts), with the title going to Super Bowl III winners the New York Jets; and to the 1969 NFL Championship win (by the Minnesota Vikings), with the title going to the Super Bowl IV winners the Kansas City Chiefs.]
_
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘NFC North‘.
Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets , aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations for the 8 maps in this series. There are two problems with this set of helmet illustrations at the HelmetsX3 site – the metallic helmets are shown too dark, and the site hasn’t been updated since 2009 or so. So all the helmet illustrations in this series are from the HelmetsX3 site except for the helmet illustrations of all the silver or gold (or pewter) helmeted teams – Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay; as well as new Buffalo, recently new Arizona, recently new Indy, and also Tennessee helmet illustrations, all of which I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to mlive.com, for the photo of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Thanks to The Wearing Of the Green (and Gold) A (hopefully) comprehensive look at the uniforms of the Green Bay Packers, 1919 to today.
Thanks to NFLteamhistory.com.

Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use the football uniforms illustrations at gridiron-uniforms.com.

October 5, 2011

NFL, NFC East: map, with a brief league history, and titles list.

Filed under: NFL>NFC East,NFL, divisions,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 9:33 pm

nfl_nfc_east2011map_post_f.gif
NFC East map


This post begins a new series, which will be filed under the Category “NFL>Divisions”. There will be 8 posts in this series, one for each of the eight 4-team NFL divisions. The four NFC divisions will be posted this season [2011]; the four AFC divisions will be posted from 2012 to 2014. (Note from Sept. 29, 2013: sorry for the delays but this category’s coverage became more expansive [and thus time-consuming on my part], with respect to the 3 AFC divisions I have posted so far).

The map is a simple location map, with current [2011] helmets shown next to each team’s current stadium-location. All the other NFL teams’ stadium-locations are also shown on the map. Any franchise shits of the 4 teams being featured are noted, with an arrow pointing towards the city the franchise moved to. At the far right of the map page is a brief history of the NFL, and below that is a titles list that includes, for the 4 teams being featured…A). Team’s year of establishment. B). Team’s Super Bowl titles. C). Team’s NFL Championship titles [from the pre-Super Bowl era of 1920-1965] (or, as with many AFC, teams, their AFL titles). D). Team’s total playoff appearances [1933-2010]. E). Teams total seasons in the NFL [counting this season - 1920 to 2011]. [I put the total seasons column next to the total playoff appearances column so it is easy to get a picture of each team's frequency of post-season play.]

At the lower right of the map page are short profiles of the 4 teams in the division. The profiles include a listing of all home venues the team has played in. Those profiles are also in text form further down in this post.

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/nfl_timeline1920-33_2.gif
nfl1920-1960map_nfc-east_nygiants_frankford-yellow-jackets_redskins_eagles_cowboys_.gif

The New York (football) Giants
The New York (football) Giants began in the 1925 NFL season. They played at the New York (baseball) Giants’ ballpark, the Polo Grounds [in northern Manhattan Island] from 1925 to 1955; at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx from 1956 to 1973; at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT, from 1973-74; and at the Mets’ Shea Stadium in Queens, NYC in 1975. In 1976, the Giants moved into Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A new stadium, MetLife Stadium, was built on the same site and opened in 2010. They have shared Giants Stadium, and now MetLife Stadium, with the New York Jets since 1984. The Giants began wearing their trademark dark-blue-helmet-with-single-red-stripe in 1949 {see this, New York Giants, 1949 [uniforms], from the great site called Gridiron Uniforms Database}. The Giants’ iconic ‘ny’ logo was introduced in 1961 (1961-74), and re-introduced in 2000, with a metallic, and slightly lighter blue helmet. In 2000, grey facemasks were also re-introduced (see Giants’ helmet history below).

New York Giants’ first NFL title in was in 1927. The New York Giants won 4 NFL Championship titles (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956).
New York Giants: 3 Super Bowl titles (1986, 1990, 2007).
The Giants are 3-1 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Ravens in 2000 season].

Est. 1925 as an NFL expansion franchise, the New York (football) Giants (1925-2013).
Below – New York Giants helmet history (1925-2012)
new-york-giants_helmet-history_1925-2012_segment_.gif
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/giants.

The Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins’ franchise began in 1932, in Boston, MA. The Boston (football) Braves played their first season at the Boston (baseballl) Braves’ ballpark, Braves Field. They changed their name to the Boston Redskins a year later, in 1934; and five years later, in 1937, they moved to Washington, DC. The Redskins won their first NFL title in their first season in DC. The Redskins have played at Fenway Park in Boston from 1933-36; at the Washington Senators’ ballpark, Griffith Stadium, from 1937 to 1960; at RFK Stadium from 1961 to 1996; and just outside the District of Columbia in Landover, MD, at FedEx Field, since 1997. The Redskins have a blatantly racist nickname, but team ownership is both unrepentant about this fact, and adamant in its neolithic refusal to change its hateful moniker. So, with that bigoted legacy in mind, it is no surprise that the Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate. They resisted integration until threatened by the Kennedy administration with Civil Rights legal action in 1962.

Washington Redskins’ first NFL title in was in 1937. The Washington Redskins won 2 NFL Championship titles (1937, 1942).
Washington Redskins: 3 Super Bowl titles (1982, 1987, 1991).
The Redskins are 3-2 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Dolphins in 1972 season, and lost to LA Raiders in 1983 season].

Est. 1932 as an NFL expansion franchise, the Boston (football) Braves of Boston, MA (NFL, 1932)/ in 1933 changed name to Boston Redskins (NFL, 1933-36)/ in 1937 moved to Washington, DC as the Washington Redskins (NFL, 1937-2012):
Washington Redskins Helmet History -
washington-redskins_helmet-history1932-2012_segment_b.gif
Washington Redskins Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/redskins.

The Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are the second franchise in the Philadelphia area. The first was the Frankford Yellow Jackets, who played in the NFL from 1924 to halfway through the 1931 season, when they folded. The Frankford Yellow Jackets had to play on Saturdays [Pennsylvania Blue Laws], yet still drew well (+15,000 per game] and were successful, winning the 1926 NFL title. When the Blue Laws in PA were relaxed in 1933, the NFL placed 2 of 3 new franchises that year in the state – the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Pirates [now Steelers]. The Eagles’ name was chosen in honor of the eagle logo of the New Deal-era National Recovery Act {‘National Recovery Administration‘}. The Eagles played at the Phillies’ ballpark the Baker Bowl from 1933-35; at Municipal Stadium from 1936-39/1941; at the Athletics’ ballpark Shibe Park [later called Connie Mack Stadium] from 1940 to 1957; at Penn University’s Franklin Field from 1958 to 1970; at Veterans Stadium from 1972 to 2002 (sharing the venue with the Phillies); and at Lincoln Financial Field since 2003. To deal with the vast legions of unruly Eagles fans, the city of Philadelphia built jail cells in Veterans Stadium, and operated a court of law there, from 1997 to 2002.

Philadelphia Eagles’ first NFL title in was in 1948. The Philadelphia Eagles won 3 NFL Championship titles (1948, 1949, 1960).
The Eagles are 0-2 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Oakland in 1980 season, and lost to New England in 2004 season].

Est. 1933 as an NFL expansion franchise, Philadelphia Eagles (NFL, 1933-2012):
Philadelphia Eagles Helmet History -
philadelphia-eagles_helmet-history_1933-2012_segment_.gif
Philadelphia Eagle Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys were the second NFL franchise in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The first, the Dallas Texans of 1952, did not last the season at the Cotton Bowl, and the NFL had to take over the team, which was made defunct following the 1952 season.. That was the last defunct NFL franchise {List of defunct NFL franchises (en.wikipedia.org)}. The Dallas Cowboys began in 1960, the 13th NFL team. They debuted their metallic silver blue helmets in 1963. They won their first Super Bowl title in their 10th season (1969 season). The Cowboys have won 5 Super Bowl titles (second-most). They played at the Cotton Bowl from 1960 to 1971; in Irving, TX [a western suburb of Dallas], at Texas Stadium, from 1972 to 2008; and in Arlington, TX [20 mi. west of Dallas], at Cowboys Stadium, since 2009.

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Super Bowl titles, (1971, 1977, 1992, 1993, 1995).
The Cowboys are 5-3 in Super Bowl appearances [lost to Baltimore Colts n 1970 season, lost to Steelers in 1975 season, and lost to Steelers again in 1978 season].

Thanks to whoever put a link to my map of NFL, 1920-1960/Giants, Lions, Redskins at the New York Giants’ Wikipedia page, at ‘Logos and uniforms of the New York Giants/Uniforms‘ [ Giants, Redskins old helmets ].
From that same series 4 years ago, here is the Eagles and Steelers version.

Thanks to misterhabs.com/Helmets , aka Helmets, Helmets, Helmets site. At that site I got most of the helmet illustrations for the maps in this series. There are two problems with this set of helmet illustrations at the HelmetsX3 site – the metallic helmets are shown too dark, and the site hasn’t been updated since 2009 or so. So all the helmet illustrations in this series are from the HelmetsX3 site except for the helmet illustrations of all the silver or gold (or pewter) helmeted teams – Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Tampa Bay; as well as new Buffalo, recently new Arizona, recently new Indy, and also Tennessee helmet illustrations, all of which I found at each team’s page at en.wikipedia.org… ‘National Football League‘.
Thanks to mlive.com, for the photo of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘NFC East‘.

Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use the football uniforms illustrations at gridiron-uniforms.com.

January 31, 2009

NFL, 1997 Season: Map with Helmets.

Filed under: NFL>1997 helmet map,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 11:26 am

nfl_1997season_helmets_map_post_b.gif



Thanks to http://www.misterhabs.com/helmets.htm, for the helmets.

In the 1997 NFL Season, the Denver Broncos became the first AFC team to win the NFL Title in 14 seasons, when they defeated the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 32. The victory marked a turning of the tide: in the 10 Super Bowls since 1997, it has been AFC 7, NFC 3. The younger AFC, which comprises the 10 AFL (1960-1969) franchises among its 15 members, has begun a period of dominance over the older NFC, which has 8 franchises formed before 1960. True, the NFC’s New York Giants beat the AFC’s New England Patriots in last season’s Super Bowl, and they deseved the victory, with a stunning comeback drive. But the Patriots were heavily favored, as are the AFC’s Steelers, over the NFC’s Cardinals, in this season’s Super Bowl.

1997 was the first season the Denver Broncos first wore their flashy, futuristic navy blue and orange uniforms. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also debuted their new pewter-colored/ skull and crossbones gear that year, ditching their rather festive pale orange uniforms with the winking pirate who sported a feathered hat (who on earth decided that look was a good idea ?). The full list of changes (uniforms and otherwise) for the 1997 NFL season can be seen {here}.
Here are the uniforms from 1997 {gridiron-uniforms.com/1997}.

January 9, 2009

NFL, 1978 Season: Map with Helmets.

Filed under: NFL>1978 helmet map,NFL/ Gridiron Football — admin @ 7:11 pm

nfl_1978season_helmets_map_post.gif




Since I have pretty much stopped following the NFL (except for when my hapless Buffalo Bills are on),  and have no desire to delve deeply into the over-commercialized miasma that is the NFL today, I decided to whip up a map from the halcyon days of the late 1970′s in the NFL.

In 1978, the NFL expanded the regular season from a 14-game to a 16-game schedule. The playoffs were also expanded, with an extra wild card team from each conference qualifying for the post-season. This increased the playoff teams from 8 to 10.  Here is Wikipedia’s page on the 1978 NFL season  {Click here}.

Here is a real blast from the past…the intro for The NFL Today on CBS, circa 1978  {Click here (Youtube) }.  This show started a half hour before the first games on Sundays, not an hour before. And as smarmy as Brent Musburger was, he and his colleagues did not shout over each other and engage in the sort of banter suitable for junior high schoolers. Why are the co-hosts on the pre-game shows on Fox (and CBS these days) always so hyped up? There is zero sense of decorum. And back then there were no freaking fantasy football stats continually cluttering the screen and the show content itself  {see this, The fantasy that’s ruining football, by Dave Zirin at the Los Angeles Times}. 

And there was no ridiculous Fox Sports NFL robot, jumping up and down and pointing at the viewer, appearing on the screen before and after every commercial break, which means every few minutes. Here is a what a commenter at the ipetitions.com site’s post about a petition to get rid of the stupid Fox NFL robot said, about the stupid Fox NFL robot [which is, Har Har, named 'Cletus']:…”: It doesn’t make any sense…why does the (presumably metal) robot have a helmet? Is there a robot football league? Who is he gesturing to? Why is he “warming-up”…he’s a robot… It’s a stupid, stupid, unnecessary part of the broadcast. I watch the broadcast for football, not to see some extremely pointless, confounding robot thing. Get rid of it, nitwit executives.”…{comment made by Jeff Miller at Fox Sports NFL, please lose the dancing robot, “Cletus”. (ipetitions.com/cletus)}. {Also see this, I don’t usually complain about robots (foreverdunk.com).}

I am sorry, but these days the NFL is mostly unwatchable {see this (Musings From the Coast)}.  The sheer volume of television commercials the NFL and their complicit networks are able to cram into a game is stupefying. I used to think it was pathetic that European football (aka soccer) teams had to resort to putting sponsor advertisements on the front of their jerseys. It took me a few years to realize that the trade-off for the fan was that they still got to watch 45 minutes-plus of a sporting event completely free of commercial interruptions. And sure, there are TV time-outs in other North American sports, but not to the blatant extent that there are in NFL broadcasts. And with baseball on TV, you know every half-inning there will be one minute and 30 seconds of ads,  plus ads when there is a pitching change. This is not a problem; it actually is convenient, if you want to get something from the refrigerator, etc. But it is a common occurrence in NFL broadcasts for there to be a punt or kickoff, then another round of commercials. It’s like they are holding you hostage. And don’t get me started on the commercials themselves, with their infantile points of view. It just got to the point with me where I said ”enough”. Watching the NFL on TV these days literally sucks the life-force out of me. 

Thanks to the Helmet Helmets Helmets site {Click here}.

February 1, 2008

The NFL, 1969-Map.

Filed under: NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 8:06 pm

nfl_1969_post_2d.gif




This map shows the 16 teams that made up the NFL, in 1969.  The four division format had started in 1967.  Two of these four divisions still exist today, but with different names.  The Capitol Division (Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys) is now known as the NFC East.  The Central Division (Bears. Packers, Lions, Vikings) is now known as the NFC North.   Expansion teams of this era are as follows.

13th NFL team- Dallas Cowboys, established 1960.   14. Minnesota Vikings, est. 1961.   15. Atlanta Falcons, est. 1966.   16. New Orleans Saints, est. 1967. 

Also shown on the map is the helmet evolution of all these 16 teams, from the late 1950′s through to the present time.  All these franchises are still in existance.   City changes,  and team name changes are noted.  The following year (1970), the NFL merged with the 10-team AFL, to form a 2-Conference, 26-team NFL.

Here is a program from the 1968 playoffs that nicely shows some of the helmets of that era.nfl_1968_program_with_helmets.gif 

Click here to see the synopsis of the 1969 NFL season.

January 29, 2008

NFL Thumbnail Histories: The AAFC; the Cleveland Browns; the San Francisco 49ers; and the Baltimore Colts/ Indianapolis Colts.

Click on the image below for my map of NFL, 1920-1960, plus helmets of 49ers and Colts…
cleveland_browns_aafc_c.gif



The All American Football Conference was formed in 1944, but did not begin play until 1946, due to World War II.  The AAFC had advantages that other competitor-leagues did not.  The AAFC was bankrolled by ownership groups that were, in most cases, wealthier than their NFL counterparts.  And the founder of the league, Arch Ward, was editor of the influential Chicago Tribune newspaper.  This gave the new league much more media attention.  Also, the league began right after a major disruption in the NFL (ie, World War II).

aafc_logos_c1.gif

There was one big problem with the AAFC, though.  That was the disparity in team strength.  And while it was true that the Cleveland Browns won all 4 of the AAFC’s Titles, to say they were the only good team would be untrue, as the San Francisco 49ers, the New York (Football) Yankees, and the Buffalo Bills all fielded strong squads.  But aside from the Los Angeles Dons, the other franchises, such as the Chicago Rockets, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the spectacularly unsuccessful Miami Seahawks, held the league back.  In the end, the league’s lack of a draft kept the talent levels static: the Browns dominated to the point of turning the AAFC boring. 

The crowds that Cleveland, San Francisco, Buffalo, and Baltimore drew could not be ignored, though, and the NFL opted for a merger in 1950.  They balked at allowing the Buffalo Bills in, though, citing the city’s small size, and cold weather (and ignoring the fact that Green Bay is smaller and colder).   So the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the original Baltimore Colts were given franchises in the NFL.  The Colts lasted only one season (another franchise was formed as the Baltimore Colts three years later(1953)).   The fans in Buffalo had to wait another decade for football, when the town won a franchise in the AFL (of 1960 to 1969).

Thanks to the SSUR, and (http://www.logoshak.com/).

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