Weird and Interesting NFL Facts

Every now and then, I come across interesting and sometimes strange facts about the NFL. So I thought I’d compile some of the betters ones into a list and share them.

1. In 1943, the Detroit Lions and New York Giants battled it out to the tune of a 0-0 tie. The last such scoreless game in NFL history.

2. In 2009, Brandon Marshall caught 21 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs. Those 21 receptions are an NFL record. To put it more in perspective, Sam Aiken, the Patriots 3rd WR in 2009, caught just 20 passes all season!

3. When the AFL was first forming in 1960, the NFL did everything it could to block the rival league. The Oakland Raiders were supposed to be the Minnesota Raiders but the NFL setup the Vikings to steal the fan base there. Similarly, the Cowboys were added to block the Dallas Texans. The Texans tried there luck in Dallas anyways and were unsuccessful so they moved in 1963. You know them today as the Kansas City Chiefs.

4. In 1977, Walter Payton rushed for 275 yards against the Minnesota Vikings despite being horribly sick with the Flu.

5. In 1979, Payton rushed, caught, and threw a TD all in the same game (which was also against the poor Vikings). The only other player to do this in the last 40 some odd years was David Patten in 2001 against the Colts.

6. In 1942, Hall of Fame WR Don Hutson of the Packers led the league with 74 receptions. The WR in 2nd place caught just 27.

7. The longest non-scoring play from scrimmage was a 98 yard pass play from Jim Hart to Bobby Moore in 1972 when Moore was dragged down at the 1 yard line. You know Moore today by the name Ahmad Rashad. This leads us nicely to…

8. Tom Brady’s 99 yard TD pass to Wes Welker marked the 14th scoring play of 99 yards from scrimmage and was also the catalyst for me writing this article. The other 99 yard plays are:

Filchock to Farkas (’39)
Graham to Speedie (’47)
Izo to Mitchell (’63)
Sweetan to Studstill (’66)
Jurgensen to Allen (’68)
Tony Dorsett (’82)
Plunkett to Branch (’83)
Jaworski to Quick (’85)
Humphries to Martin (’94)
Favre to Brooks (’95)
Green to Boerigter (’02)
Garcia to Davis (’04)
Ferrote to Berrian (’08)

Since he was the only rusher to ever do it, here’s Tony Dorsett’s 99 yard TD run.

9. Due to many of the players being enlisted in WWII, the 1943 Pittsburgh Steelers had to combine with the Philadelphia Eagles to form the “Steagles“. The Steagles had a very forgettable record of 5-4-1 that year but the next year Pittsburgh combined which the Chicago Cardinals and went 0-10. They became known around the league as “CarPit” as they scored just 108 points offensively.

10. The 1976 and 1977 Bucs were downright PUTRID combining to win just 2 games in 28 tries. Their QBs combined to throw 12 TDs to 50 INTs!! However, facing an 0-12 campaign in 1977, these Bucs were set to face the equally rotten Saints. Then Saints QB Archie Manning (yes Peyton and Eli’s dad) made some remarks about how the game should be an easy one for New Orleans to win. In typical big game Manning fashion, Archie delivered a passing performance of 154 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INT as the Bucs rolled over the Saints 33-14 for their first ever franchise win.

11. In 1997, Brad Johnson threw a TD to himself. Now why can’t the guys on my fantasy team do things like this??? ugh.

12. In 2008, the Detroit Lions one upped the Bucs by going 0-16 and they did it with style too surrendering an astounding 517 points and nearly 6,500 yards with their ’00 Ravens-esque defense.

13. The following NFL teams have changed their names. Some of these are pretty funny.

Current Name Formerly Known As (Year Changed)
New York Jets New York Titans (’63)
Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Pirates (’40)
Tennessee Titans Houston Oilers (’96)
Kansas City Chiefs Dallas Texans (’63)
Washington Redskins Boston Braves (’33)
Chicago Bears Decatur Staleys (’21)
Detroit Lions Portsmouth Spartans (’34)

14. In 2002, Shaun Alexander scored 5 TDs against the Vikings in a record performance. Only Gayle Sayers, Dub Jones, and Ernie Nevers have scored 6 in a single game and currently hold the record. The difference? Alexander’s game came during a time when Fantasy Football was being played. How many games (and subsequent suicides) do you suppose were decided by Alexander’s 53 point performance?

15. In 1998, Gary Anderson became the first kicker in NFL history to make all his FGs and PATs in the regular season. He then went on to miss his only FG all year in the NFC Championship. The miss came when his Vikings were up 27-20 with just 2 minutes and change left to play and would’ve iced the game. Instead, the Vikings went on to lose in OT 30-27.

16. On opening day in 1950, Cardinals QB Jim Hardy threw 8 interceptions. A peformance so bad that even Jamarcus Russell puked. Too add insult to injury, Hardy held the record for the most consecutive passes without an INT at the time (114).

17. In 2002, the Houston Texans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-6. What makes the game stand out is that the Texans amassed just 47 yards of offense. Their 3 TDs came via interceptions and fumbles. No team has ever won a game with so few yards of offense.

18. Speaking of futility, in 1942, the Giants rushed the ball 26 times and gained 1 yard. Yes 1 yard, that’s not a typo. Additionally, they failed to record even 1 first down. Even more mind boggling though is that they won the game 14-7 against the Redskins. But if that’s not enough, that was the Skins only loss all season. Washington would go on to win the Championship.

19. In 1957, the NFL minimum wage was $5,000. More than 60% of the league worked in the offseason.

20. In 1985, Roger Craig, RB of the 49ers, had both rushing and receiving totals of 1,000 yards apiece. He was the first player to accomplish such a feat.

21. In 1983, John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly were all drafted in the first round. That’s a pretty decent draft class.

22. 101 players were drafted before Johnny Unitas, 195 players were drafted before Terrell Davis, 198 players were drafted before Tom Brady, and 199 players were drafted before Bart Starr.

23. Meanwhile, future hall of famers: Chris Miller, Andre Ware, Dan McGwire, David Klinger, Rick Mirer, Heath Shuler, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, David Carr, Joey Harrington, and Jamarcus Russell were all 1st round, top 20 picks.

24. If you thought the 2007 Patriots or 2004 Colts piled on the points, you missed the 1942 NFL Championship game in which the Bears beat the Redskins 73-0. Chances are, you missed this game because not only were you not alive but neither were your parents.

25. The following NFL teams play their home games in domes:
Atlanta Falcons = Georgia Dome
New Orleans Saints = Louisiana Superdome
Saint Louis Rams = Edward Jones Dome
Minnesota Vikings = Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Detroit Lions = Ford Field

Notice anything odd? Until 1999, there was apparently a curse surrounding Dome teams that kept them from winning the Super Bowl.




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