25 NFL Facts the Casual Football Fan May Not Know
There are many notable facts known amongst NFL fans.
For example, it is not hard to figure out which team won the Super Bowl last season (Green Bay).
How about which team is commonly associated with "Spygate" from a couple of years ago?
How about this.. which state currently has the most NFL teams? (California, Florida, New York)
Finally, most fans probably didn't have to fight too hard to figure out those questions, but who was the first black professional football player in NFL history?
Don't worry.. this article will show you this fact as well as 24 other NFL facts that the casual NFL fan may not know about the NFL.
"Winning Isn't Everything, It's the Only Thing!"
This quote is popularly coined as the statement said by Vince Lombardi. Although there is no denying that, this saying wasn't originated from Lombardi.
College Football Hall of Fame head coach Henry Russell "Red" Sanders coined the expression a few years prior to him in Sports Illustrated.
Although the media has labeled the first two AFL-NFL championship games as "Super Bowls," the term wasn't coined to the big game until the third Super Bowl when the AFL team, the New York Jets, finally beat the NFL team, Baltimore Colts, in the championship game between the two leagues.
This is also the game most commonly coined as "Namath's Guarantee" where Jets QB Joe Namath, before the game, guarantees that the Jets will beat the Colts.
**Photo Courtesy of profootballhof.com
First Black Professional Football Player
Jackie Robinson is well-known for being the black athlete to break the color barrier in 1945 when he played in the MLB. However, Charles Follis preceded him when he became the first black professional football player in 1904!!
Why in the world is the Pro Football Hall of Fame based in Canton, Ohio?
Between the years 1921-1923, there was a team named the Canton Bulldogs that went 25 straight games without a defeat (22 wins, 3 ties) and won two NFL championships (1922,1923).
In fact, NFL legend Jim Thorpe played for them during that time.
As of now, their unbeaten streak is the longest in NFL history!
Therefore, due to their early success, the NFL decided to place the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
**Photo Courtesy of profootballhof.com
Green Bay is known for their early championship success against the AFL in the championship games under Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.
In addition, the NY Giants were known for their great championship runs under Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor.
However, Green Bay and the NY Giants are the only teams in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in three different decades!
**Photo Courtesy of greenbaypackersfansite.com
Undefeated Regular Season
Contrary to popular belief, the 1972 Miami Dolphins ARE NOT the only team to go through the regular season undefeated.
In fact, there are three other teams that have done it: 1934 Chicago Bears, 1942 Chicago Bears and the 2007 New England Patriots.
However, the only difference is that the Dolphins are the only team to not only go through the regular season undefeated but the postseason as well.
Winless Regular Season
Since 1944, there have been six teams that went winless in a season, most recently the 2008 Detroit Lions.
In fact, the Lions are the only team in NFL history to lose 16 games in a single season.
However, the 1944 NFL season was the only season where two teams went winless in the same season.
They were the "Carpets," which was a merged team of the Chicago Cards and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Brooklyn Tigers.
**Random Fact: The Philadelphia Eagles also had a combined team with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1943 called the "Steagles".
The 1976-1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers holds the record for the longest losing streak in NFL history at 26 games.
However, the 2007-2010 Detroit Lions holds the record for the longest away losing streak at 26 games.
Unfortunately, the 1988-1990 Dallas Cowboys lost an unfathomable 14 straight home games.
So much for "home sweet home".
**Photo Courtesy of sportslogos.net
How Are Footballs Made?
It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.
They are commonly known as "America's Team" and, in 1972, they brought us "America's favorites" by becoming the first NFL team to hire a professional cheerleading squad.
Names on Back of Jerseys
Names weren't placed on the back of NFL jerseys until the 1960s.
Super Bowl Host
Miami has hosted the most Super Bowls so far at 10 with the most recent between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 Super Bowl.
Coincidentally, New Orleans is a close second with nine.
Northern Super Bowl City
Miami, Tampa, L.A. and New Orleans are four of the most popular southern destinations for the Super Bowl. However, there are many complaints that the northern cities rarely get an opportunity to do so.
Before Indianapolis hosts the 2012 Super Bowl, there have been three other instances.
In fact, the first Super Bowl in a northern city was in 1982 in Detroit.
**Photo Courtesy of ballparks.com
Back-to-Back Super Bowl Champions
There have been eight instances in NFL history where a team has pulled off back-to-back championships.
In fact, the most recent occurrence was the New England Patriots, who pulled it off by winning the 2004 and 2005 Super Bowls.
However, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the only NFL team to pull it off twice.
Most Super Bowl Losses
There have been many references to the Buffalo Bills troubles in the early 1990s where they went to the Super Bowl four straight years... and lost every time.
However, another team not also talked about as much is the Minnesota Vikings. They didn't lose four straight Super Bowls but they did lose four Super Bowls within an eight-year stretch.
In addition, like the Bills, they have never won the Super Bowl.
**Note: Denver has also lost 4 Super Bowls but they have also won two as well.
Perfection at Its Best
Pittsburgh holds the NFL record for most Super Bowl victories at six.
However, San Francisco has won the most Super Bowls without losing a single one (5-0).
For those that have played or watched high school football, two-way players are still commonplace and, for some teams, required. However, NFL players are rarely seen as two-way players in the modern-day NFL.
Before the 1961 season, NFL players were expected to be two-way players.
In fact, according to electro-mech.com, two of the best two-way players were Chuck Bednarik and Mel Hein. Here is an excerpt on these two players:
"Hein played every minute of every New York Giants game for 15 years. He played center on offense and linebacker on defense from 1931 to 1945. Center was a particularly challenging position on the Giants, who played a single wing offense. This offense required that the ball be snapped directly from the center to the tailback, much as the shotgun offense today requires a long snap to the quarterback. As a linebacker, Hein was noted for his pass coverage. He helped to pioneer the technique of jamming a receiver at the line of scrimmage.
Chuck Bednarik was the last NFL player to play on both sides of the ball for every play, achieving the feat in 1960. Bednarik played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 to 1962. Like Hein, he was a center on offense and a linebacker on defense. He capped his impressive 1960 season with a game-saving tackle against Green Bay in the championship game. But Bednarik’s most memorable play of that year was a devastating hit on New York Giants running back Frank Gifford; Gifford was sidelined for a full year because of the tackle."—From electro-mech.com
**Photo courtesy of allposters.com
The NFL did not decide to move the goal posts to the back of the end zone until 1974.
**Photo courtesy of webweaver.nu
Football Is Changed
The football was originally larger and rounder but the league wanted to promote the passing game.
Therefore, in 1934, the ball was changed to be longer and skinnier.
**Photo courtesy of a2zsportsdirect.com
The home team is required to provide 24 footballs for the game.
Home Sweet Home.. Kinda
Although the host team has never played in the Super Bowl, there have been four instances where a team from the same state played in the Super Bowl.
The four teams were: 1976-1977 Oakland Raiders, 1979-1980 Los Angeles Rams, 2002-2003 Oakland Raiders and the 1984-1985 San Francisco 49ers.
The only teams to win were: the San Francisco 49ers when they destroyed the Dolphins 38-16 and when the 1977 Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 32-14.
On September 30th, 1984 against the NY Giants, the St. Louis Rams made an NFL-record three safeties in one game.
Yes, in 1993, it was the only time that the NFL had an eight-round draft.
Longest Play from Scrimmage
There have been 12 instances of a play from scrimmage that went 99 yards.
However, only one of them was by a run, which was done by Tony Dorsett.
In fact, according to lifeslittlemysteries.com, what made it even more impressive is that the Dallas Cowboys ran the play with only 10 players on the field.
Amidst the 2011 NFL Lockout, there have been five other instances where a strike/lockout had occurred.
The most notable ones were the 1982 and 1987 strikes.
During the 1987 NFL strike, players decided to go on picket lines and, since it went during the season, NFL teams decided to hire "replacements" for them.
Unfortunately, this caused distrust amongst players in the player union and players slowly came back despite not getting their demands met.
However, the 1982 NFL strike lasted 57 days during the regular season from September 21st, 1982 until November 16th, 1982.
This resulted in the NFL developing a "super-tournament" at the end of the season where 16 teams were eligible for the playoffs.
The Washington Redskins would be the eventual champions from the ultimate tournament.
It is possible that it was the largest tournament in NFL history.
Bonus: Pro Bowl Location
Before this year's Pro Bowl, the Pro Bowl had been played in Honolulu, Hawaii for the past 30 years.
However, what isn't commonly known is that the Pro Bowl's most common location before that was the Los Angeles Coliseum.
From 1950-1978, the Pro Bowl was played at the Coliseum 23 out of the 29 times it was played during that span.