The Most Devastating Injury in the History of Every NFL Franchise

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor III

The Most Devastating Injury in the History of Every NFL Franchise

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    When the Indianapolis Colts were planning for the 2011 season back in February, March and April, they were counting on a healthy Peyton Manning to lead them to the Super Bowl, which is an event that they are hosting this year. Little did they know back then that Manning may not be available for the entire season.

    Over the course of every NFL franchise, some seasons appear to be mostly injury-free, while others are besieged with one major injury after another. Injuries are part of the game, but football teams know that since injuries are such a large part of the game, they have to be able to absorb a hit and keep on playing with the next man going in. 

    We want to take a look today at the most devastating injuries to each NFL franchise. Some will be easier to determine than others, but the bottom line with what we are seeking is to identify an injury that really crippled the franchise at the time of the injury. If you are looking for gruesome injuries, there are plenty of those articles floating around, but that is not what this is about. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    In the history of the Arizona Cardinals, the most devastating injury goes to quarterback Neil Lomax. 

    Lomax made a couple Pro Bowls with the Cardinals, but the wear and tear on his legs and body caught up with him, and his injuries became bad enough that he was replaced by Gary Hogeboom in 1989. Lomax prematurely had to retire from football in 1990 due to an arthritic hip. Lomax's hip was so bad that he wound up getting hip replacement surgery the following year.

    The problem with his retirement was that the Cardinals did not have a backup quarterback plan in place. The team struggled for many years to find someone that could come close to replicating what Lomax did.

    Consider what the Cardinals went through trying to replace Lomax. The following is the list of the Cardinals' leading passer for every year from 1989 to 1997: 

    Hogeboom (1989), Timm Rosenbach (1990), Tom Tupa (1991), Chris Chandler (1992), Steve Beuerlein (1993 and 1994), Dave Krieg (1995), Boomer Esiason (1996) and Jake Plummer (1997).

Atlanta Falcons

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    For my money, the most devastating injury for the Atlanta Falcons was the one to running back William Andrews. Andrews was the heart and soul of the Falcons offense back then. He had started out his career rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.

    However, Andrews suffered a severe knee injury in 1984 that kept him away from the game for two years. The knee was so bad that he couldn't really play running back any longer, so the Falcons moved him to tight end. That one season at tight end in 1986 proved to be his final year in the NFL.

    Andrews made the Pro Bowl team for the first four years of his career. It was a big blow to the Falcons organization to lose him. He was a talented running back and pass receiver coming out of the backfield.

    We would be remiss if we did not mention Michael Vick's injury in 2003. Vick led the Falcons to the playoffs in 2002 and 2004, but in between he suffered a fractured leg against the Baltimore Ravens in a preseason game and missed the majority of the regular season. No telling how the Falcons would have continued to progress as an organization if Vick didn't suffer this injury.

Baltimore Ravens

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    In doing research for this article, I came up with three candidates for consideration. They are all part of the amazing Baltimore Ravens defense, so let's figure out which one was more devastating.

    From a chronological view, we have Peter Boulware, the Ravens' all-time sack leader, who lost his 2004 season to a knee injury. He finally returned in 2006 at a lower salary, but the Ravens released him that year. He just wasn't the same player due to the injuries.

    Then in 2002, the Ravens lost Ray Lewis for 11 games due to a shoulder injury. In 2005, Lewis was hurt again, this time due to a thigh injury, and he missed 10 games that season.

    In 2005, safety Ed Reed missed six games due to an ankle injury, and then he also missed another six games due to injury in 2010 due to a hip injury.

    At the end of the day, which player is more important to the Ravens defense? Is it Boulware, Lewis or Reed? All three are decorated players and important to the defense. Lewis and Reed to me are in a class above Boulware, and some would say it is a 50/50 split between Lewis and Reed as to which guy is more important to the team.

    Since I am required to pick one, I will go with Ed Reed as the most devastating injury in Baltimore Ravens history.

Buffalo Bills

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    I have followed the Buffalo Bills forever, and to be honest, I am hard pressed to tell you that there is one devastating injury that stands out in my mind.

    Sure, Jim Kelly was injured in the regular season and couldn't play against the Houston Oilers in the "Greatest Comeback Game in NFL History," but Kelly did return to play that year in the Super Bowl, so that loses its effect as a devastating injury since the team won without him. In fact, Thurman Thomas and Cornelius Bennett didn't play in that Oilers game either.

    There is the injury to Kevin Everett, but his role was more of a special teams player, and although it was a tough injury for the team to psychologically heal from, the impact on the team was more emotional than physical.

    Over the years, the Bills have been wiped out with injuries where they lost up to 10 starters for the year due to injuries by Week 3, but those teams were not that good (maybe because of the injuries), so I am not sure that those qualify either.

    The current team is off to a 3-0 start, and depending on how far they go this year, it might be a situation where they could have advanced further if they had a weapon like Roscoe Parrish available for the entire season. Maybe Bills fans can come up with a better example, but right now I will go with Roscoe Parrish in 2011, as he went to injured reserve way too early in the season for what could be a very promising year.

Carolina Panthers

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    The Carolina Panthers had just played in the 1996 NFC Championship Game, so the team was still considered a viable threat in the NFC.

    Early in the following regular season, Kerry Collins was hit by a dirty tackle by Bill Romanowski, who tended to specialize in dirty play (was that during his steroid years?) and wound up fracturing Collins' jaw.

    Collins went on to have an absolutely miserable 1997 as a result. Collins threw only 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, and the Panthers fell out of contention.

    This year, the Panthers were hit hard by season-ending injuries to Thomas Davis and Jon Beason, but the Panthers had the worst record in the NFL in 2010. They were not coming off an NFC championship game, so the honor goes to Collins.

Chicago Bears

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    The Chicago Bears organization has been blessed with some very special players during its history. From Gale Sayers to Walter Payton, from Dick Butkus to Mike Ditka, the Bears have enjoyed a long tradition of great stars.

    The time period of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo might not have been the best football from a win/loss perspective, but the devastation of Sayers' knee injury, the devotion of Piccolo to build his knee back up to health and then the subsequent loss of Piccolo to cancer is as devastating as it gets.

    Sayers did bounce back to play again but eventually suffered a knee injury to the other knee, and that was pretty much the end of the road for Sayers. From the years 1968 to 1971 the Bears were dealing with the lost performance of their best player in Sayers, and with the loss of life of Brian Piccolo, who was willing to sacrifice his job to see Sayers rehab.

    Both are devastating losses for obviously different reasons. You can take your pick of which one is more devastating to the team. To me, they both belong here.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Many of you will recall that Super Bowl XXIII was decided in the fourth quarter when Joe Montana hit John Taylor with a touchdown pass to give the San Francisco 49ers a 20-16 win.

    However, one of the key plays occurred much earlier in the game, when the Cincinnati Bengals lost veteran defensive end Tim Krumrie to a broken leg (see video). The Bengals defense suffered a devastating loss at one of the worst possible times to lose a star player.

    Krumrie had major surgery, as the doctors inserted a 15" steel rod inside of his leg to aid in the rehab and to allow the leg to properly heal. Krumrie wound up playing six more years, all the time with the steel rod inside his leg. Nobody can question the toughness of Tim Krumrie, but to me his was the most devastating injury in the history of the Bengals.

    I also recall the Carson Palmer knee injury in a playoff game, but since Krumrie was in the Super Bowl, that takes the cake.

Cleveland Browns

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    The Cleveland Browns were riding high in the mid to late 1980s with consecutive appearances in the AFC championship game, losing both times to John Elway and the Denver Broncos.

    The Browns were led by quarterback Bernie Kosar. Kosar opened up the 1988 season against the Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, Kosar hurt his right elbow, and the elbow only got worse as the season wore on. The Browns had to turn to backups Don Strock and Gary Danielson. Ugh.

    The following season, Kosar led the Browns to the AFC championship game again. Guess who they faced? You got it—John Elway and the Denver Broncos, and yes, they lost to them again.

    But for Kosar and the Browns, the 1988 season was lost due to his injury. Who knows how that would have turned out if he was healthy?

Dallas Cowboys

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    The Dallas Cowboys lost Tony Romo for the rest of the 2010 season early in Week 7, when he broke his collarbone when taking a hit from the New York Giants. It is hard to know for sure how that season would have turned out since the Cowboys did not realize their second win until Week 10, with Jon Kitna running the offense.

    Going back in Cowboys history, they have had their fair share of injuries, but in terms of devastating injuries to key players, the one I keep coming back to is the last play of Michael Irvin's career. There were the multiple concussions that quarterback Troy Aikman suffered as well. 

    But getting back to Irvin, the injury occurred in a 1999 game in Philadelphia, when Irvin was tackled by Tim Hauck. Irvin awkwardly went down head first into the turf and didn't move after that. Irvin was diagnosed with a cervical spinal cord injury, and he decided it was time to retire from football.

    We don't know how much longer Irvin would have continued to play, but the fact that he didn't go out on his own terms is devastating enough.

Denver Broncos

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    The Denver Broncos had Terrell Davis for too short of a time span, as his career only lasted from 1995 to 2002. Davis started becoming an All-Pro selection on an annual basis in 1996 and won the honor again in 1997 and 1998.

    However, a major injury struck him in 1999 when Davis attempted to make a tackle and tore his ACL and MCL in the process. He was out for the rest of the year, and the Broncos offense was not the same after he left.

    Davis followed up 1999 with another injury in 2000, when he had a stress reaction in his leg. That injury kept him out for the majority of that season. The legs got worse, and finally he needed to have surgery completed on both his knees in 2001. He then retired in 2002.

    A great career, but over way too soon.

Detroit Lions

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    The Detroit Lions are becoming relevant again, which is great news for Detroit fans. Looking back over their history, it is hard to find injuries in the recent past that truly decimated a promising year, as the Lions have obviously been bad for a long time.

    If we go back in time, we note that the Lions in 1991 were a good team. They went 12-4 that year and won the NFC Central division. The two most devastating injuries of that year were to quarterback Rodney Peete and guard Mike Utley.

    Peete was injured in the ninth game of that year, but the Lions were able to back him up with Erik Kramer. Utley, on the other hand, was paralyzed as a result of his injury and never played again. Utley hurt two cervical vertebrae and was basically paralyzed from the chest down.

    The Lions were inspired by Utley and went on to sweep their final six games to win the division title.

    The injury to Mike Utley for me is the most devastating in Lions history.

Green Bay Packers

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    The Green Bay Packers were fresh off a Super Bowl victory and looking to defend their title as they entered play for the 2011 season. The Packers suffered a number of injuries in 2010, but the team was somehow able to find adequate replacements that were able to step in and do the job. 

    Then when the 2011 season began, Nick Collins, the Packers' talented free safety, suffered a bad neck injury during their Week 2 game. Collins had to be carted off the field via stretcher, and the Packers had to place him on season-ending I.R.

    It is not yet known how devastating this injury will be to the Packers' Super Bowl aspirations for 2011, but we can tell you that the Packers pass defense has absolutely been lit up ever since Collins left the lineup. Currently, the Packers rank No. 31 in pass defense in the NFL, so they are obviously missing what Collins did to clean up for everybody else.

Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans have only been around for a relatively short time period compared to the rest of the NFL. During their history, they have seemingly been on the verge of making the jump to being a playoff-caliber team, only to fall short.

    But in 2011, the Texans made a concerted effort to fix their secondary issues and shore up the overall defense so that they could make a playoff run. The Texans brought in some serious talent to accomplish their goals.

    The only problem is that one of their major weapons, running back Arian Foster, has pulled up hurt due to hamstring problems and is limited so far in the 2011 season.

    Foster led the NFL in rushing in 2010, so he is somebody the Texans want to come back to them in full health. When healthy, he is a threat to hurt opponents either by running the ball or catching it out of the backfield. While the Texans try to wait patiently for Foster to come around, they at least have an adequate replacement for him in Ben Tate, who has proven to be very good in his own right.

    We wait to see what kind of impact Foster will have on the Texans in 2011, but if he is only to do about one-third of what he did in 2011, that no doubt will hurt the chances for the Texans to go far in the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts

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    When Peyton Manning announced that he was not feeling that he was ready to compete in the 2011 preseason, shock waves were felt all over the Indianapolis Colts complex. Watching how poorly the Colts played in the first two games of the 2011 season without Manning, it is very clear just how valuable he is to that team.

    The Colts did bounce back to play a better game in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there is still a noticeable drop-off in production from Manning to either Kerry Collins or Curtis Painter.

    This will only add some fuel to the Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady MVP debates, because the Patriots were able to have a very successful season when Brady went down in Week 1 of the 2008 season. It is difficult to imagine that the Colts will be able to duplicate the same.

    This is easily the most devastating injury in the history of the Colts organization.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars have only been around for a short time period, so there are fewer years of evidence to research in coming up with the most devastating injury. When your franchise has not been around that long, you tend not to have that many players that are voted onto Players of the Decade lists.

    That is why when Tony Boselli went down with injuries in the 2001 season, the All-Pro lineman was a huge loss to the Jaguars offense. Boselli was voted as a member of the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team.

    When the Houston Texans came into the NFL as an expansion team, the Jaguars left Boselli exposed due to his injuries, but the Texans drafted him anyway. Boselli played with the Texans for only the 2002 season before he called it a career.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Kansas City Chiefs' most devastating accident is the loss of Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles in successive weeks to begin the 2011 NFL season.

    The Chiefs were just coming off a surprising 10-6 finish that saw them win the AFC West division. However, tight end Tony Moeaki got hurt in the final preseason game, and then Berry went down with a torn ACL in the first game of the season.

    Shortly after that, the Chiefs lost Charles, also to a torn ACL, and the team was left behind to pick up the pieces.

    The Chiefs have not had a strong playoff run for some time, and the prospect of improving on where they finished in 2010 had people fired up. But the key losses early in 2011 have let the wind out of the sails of Kansas City fans and the team. They just don't seem to be playing with the same passion, and looking at head coach Todd Haley on the sidelines, it looks like he is walking around in a fog.

Miami Dolphins

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    The Miami Dolphins were making inroads to representing the AFC annually in the playoffs, when quarterback Dan Marino tore his Achilles' tendon in a 1993 game against the Cleveland Browns, and was gone for the year. 

    Scott Mitchell and Steve DeBerg tried to pick up the pieces for Marino, but they ultimately proved not to be able to guide the Dolphins to the playoffs, as the team finished out of the playoff picture with a 9-7 record. 

    Marino did have a fine year in 1994, as he was able to rehab from the injury and took the Dolphins to the playoffs with a 10-6 mark. But for that lost 1993 season, we will never know what could have been. 

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Minnesota Vikings lost star linebacker E.J. Henderson in a game in December, 2009. The play involved Henderson and teammate Jamarca Sanford, who collided while trying to pursue Arizona running back Tim Hightower. The violent collision bent Henderson's leg back in an awful angle and was just as painful for viewers to watch as the famous Joe Theismann broken leg replay. 

    Henderson was taken by ambulance to the hospital with his brother, who was also on the team. Needless to say that was the end of the season for Henderson. He had surgery on his leg that evening and it was thought that his career would be over. 

    But at least this is a story with a happier ending. Henderson worked hard to rehabilitate his leg, and he returned to the Vikings in 2010. His inspirational play was noticed around the league, and he was voted to the Pro Bowl team for the 2010 season. If only every injury had that kind of a happy ending. Alas, most don't.

New England Patriots

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    When Tom Brady went down for the rest of the year in Week 1 of the 2008 season, head coach Bill Belichick must have thought the season was over before it even began. But that is part of the beauty of the Belichick system. You have guys that you can plug in, and that was clearly the case in 2008, when little used Matt Cassel was able to take the Patriots to a 11-5 regular season record. 

    The Patriots did not qualify for the playoffs with the 11-5 record due to tie-breaker considerations. But, there is no way of knowing how far that team could have gone if Brady was running the show. 

    Since we are talking about devastating injuries to a team's history, I also want to acknowledge the injury to Darryl Stingley. Stingley was hurt in a 1978 preseason game when he was trying to catch a pass when he got laid out by Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum. Stingley broke his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae on the play and his spinal cord compressed. 

    From that point on, Stingley was a quadriplegic until he died in 2007 due to heart disease and pneumonia. Stingley was in his prime at the time of the injury, and never realized his full potential or a full career. 

New Orleans Saints

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    The most devastating injury that I am aware of in New Orleans Saints history occurred in 1991 to Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert. The Saints for the majority of their early years were fondly referred to as the 'Aints. But Herbert was a quarterback that was capable of leading the team to a winning season, and they got off to a promising start that year. 

    The Saints were actually 6-0 that year behind Hebert, and since Hebert was a native of Louisiana, the Saints fans were really jazzed up over the team. But in that sixth game Hebert suffered a shoulder injury, and it was severe enough that he had to sit out the rest of the games until the middle of December. 

    The Saints turned to Steve Walsh, but he only led the team to a 3-4 mark.  By then Hebert was better, and he led the Saints to wins in their last two games to win the division title. Unfortunately, they lost in the wild card round to the Atlanta Falcons, and their season was done. If Hebert had stayed healthy for the season, no telling what their final record would have been. They probably would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs, not to mention a wild card bye. 

New York Giants

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    The New York Giants lost Terrell Thomas in the 2011 preseason when he tore his right ACL in a preseason game against the Chicago Bears. You can see the You Tube video replay of the injury, which occurs towards the end of the highlights. 

    This follows a pattern or trend for preseason injuries to Giants secondary members over the years. Also, in 2011 we had first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara breaking his foot before every playing a game for the Giants. 

    Going even further back, there was Jason Sehorn, who while still in the prime of his career, when he was part of the kickoff return team, facing the cross-town rival New York Jets in a preseason game. Sehorn was hit on the kickoff and tore both his ACL and MCL. That turned out to be the final play of his career. 

    Then we move over to Phil Simms, who was injured in the final weeks of the regular season and had to miss playing in Super Bowl XXV against the Buffalo Bills. The result wasn't that devastating for his team, as backup Jeff Hostetler was able to lead the Giants to victory in that memorable Super Bowl. 

    Since the Giants have been trying to get back to the playoffs and it is fresher in our minds, I am going with Terrell as the choice for the New York Giants that was the most devastating.

New York Jets

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    The New York Jets had just come off of an appearance in the 1998 AFC Championship game, and things were looking up for the 1999 season. Vinny Testeverde was the Jets quarterback, and he was turning the team into a winner. 

    The Jets were poised to have a monster 1999, but in the very first game, Testeverde tore his Achilles' tendon and was lost for the rest of the year. 

    The Jets failed to make the playoffs and their momentum ended. The Jets turned to Rick Mirer and Ray Lucas, but the best they could do was to guide the team to an 8-8 record. That was the most devastating injury for the New York Jets team history. 

Oakland Raiders

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    Everybody that watched Bo Jackson play football knew the commercial slogan, "Bo knows football". Bo knew how to run over, through, and past defenses better than anyone else in his brief NFL career. Jackson was having another banner year in 1990, when he was involved in a playoff game between the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

    Jackson was tackled on a play by Kevin Walker and the play resulted in a serious hip injury to Jackson. Jackson was writhing on the ground, according to his Wikipedia entry, and popped his hip back into place. Amazing. "Bo knows hips too".

    Unfortunately for Jackson, that was the end of his NFL career. There is no way of knowing how many Super Bowls the Raiders would have won with Jackson or how many rushing records he would have set. Like Walter Payton and Gale Sayers before him, Jackson was a shining light that burned out way too quickly. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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    I can think of two injuries to Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks that were both devastating to the team, but they happened roughly 17 years apart. The most recent of the two was the injury that Michael Vick suffered in the 2010 season. Vick wound up missing four games, and although Kevin Kolb went 2-2 over that span, the Eagles might have been able to wind up with a more favorable playoff scenario that hosting the Green Bay Packers in the first round. 

    The next quarterback injury to discuss happened to Randall Cunningham in 1993. Cunningham had the Eagles flying high as the team began the year 4-0 and he was named Offensive Player of the Month in September. But during the fourth game, Cunningham fractured his leg, and missed the rest of the season. The Eagles tried Bubby Brister and Ken O'Brien but neither one were able to do the job.

    The Eagles finished up the year with a 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. They were left to wonder what might have been. Of the two injuries, I would have to say that the Cunningham injury was the most devastating to his team. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking good in the 2001 season and headed for a favorable slot in the postseason. But an injury hit Steelers workhorse running back Jerome Bettis, and he was inactive for the final five weeks of the season. 

    The Steelers were 9-2 at the time of his injury, and they wound up finishing the regular season at 13-3. The had home field advantage, but something was missing.

    The Steelers opened up the playoffs with Bettis and managed to win without him. Then Bettis returned for the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, but the Steelers fell short 24-17. Bettis was rusty for the game, as he had missed close to two months of action. There is no telling how that Steelers team would have done if Bettis did not get injured. 

San Diego Chargers

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    Sorry about the black and white photo, but for the San Diego Chargers I decided to go old school. This picture is from the 1964 AFL Championship Game. The Chargers had a very good team that was led by running back Keith Lincoln and wide receiver Lance Alworth. Since the game was played the day after Christmas, the weather in Buffalo was not ideal. 

    This was a classic time for the AFL as John Hadl of the Chargers and Jack Kemp of the Bills were two of the best quarterbacks in the league. 

    The Chargers were winning 7-0 when quarterback John Hadl threw a swing pass out to Lincoln in the flat. Buffalo Bills linebacker Mike Stratton charged Lincoln and hit him with a devastating blow that knocked Lincoln out of the game. Without their star running back, the Chargers offense failed to score for the rest of the game. 

    The Bills went on to score the final 20 points unanswered, on their way to a 20-7 victory and the AFL Championship. This play is referred to as the "hit heard 'round the world". Interestingly enough, these two players were reunited this month for a benefit to honor Wounded Warriors. You can read about the event at this link. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    Dave Krieg was more or less an average NFL quarterback , not spectacular, but not terrible either. Krieg had led the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs in 1987 and they were poised to make another playoff run in 1988.

    To start out the 1988 season, Krieg led the Seahawks to a 2-0 record and things were looking good because they had defeated the AFC Champion Denver Broncos on the road. 

    Then Week 3 rolled along, and in the game Krieg separated his shoulder in a game against the San Diego Chargers, which the Seahawks lost. The Seahawks then turned to a combination of Jeff Kemp and Kelly Stouffer, but they had a losing record. 

    Finally Krieg was able to return to the lineup for the final six games and led the team to a 4-2 mark down the stretch. The Seahawks made the playoffs in 1988, but there is no way of knowing how much further they might have gone if Krieg was healthy for the entire year. 

    Just one more random thought to share. What were the odds of getting the father and son combination of Jack Kemp and Jeff Kemp to appear in consecutive slides on this presentation? 

San Francisco 49ers

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    To me the most devastating injury in San Francisco 49ers team history is the injury to Steve Young in the 1999 season. The 49ers were looking to return to the Super Bowl, and even though Young was getting up there in age, (38 that year), he was a tough quarterback that endured a number of concussions but kept playing through the pain. 

    The 49ers faced the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3 that year, and Young was laid out on a violent hit by Cardinals safety Aeneas Williams. That was the final game that Steve Young ever played in. Shortly after losing Young, the 49ers proceeded to go on a eight-game losing streak and their Super Bowl hopes vanished along with their quarterback. 

    For 49ers fans, I came across this interesting look back at some of the most famous devastating injuries in the history of the 49ers team. It is a Bleacher Report article by Feature Columnist Owen Clark you may like, the link is provided right here: It is the "49ers 6 most devastating injuries in team history." Enjoy. 

St. Louis Rams

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    The St. Louis Rams were on the verge of making a serious run at the playoffs in 1999 when Trent Green suffered a season-ending injury to his knee during the preseason. So, what were the Rams to do, having just lost their starting quarterback for the year? 

    Well they did the only smart thing they could. They checked out the best ex-grocery bagger that had a strong right arm, and turned the offense over to Kurt Warner. The rest is history, which led to the "Greatest Show on Turf". 

    If Green hadn't been hurt, there is no way of knowing for sure if Warner's career ever would have gotten off of the ground or not. For Rams fans, they are only to happy to say that it did. For Warner, the year was pure magical. He threw for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns during his first year as a starter with the Rams and led his team to a win in the Super Bowl. 

    I will always consider Warner to be the Wally Pipp of the NFL. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Tampa Bay Bucs fans have loved cheering for Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. But Williams career was greatly reduced by suffering very bad knee injuries in consecutive years (2007 and 2008) that truly limited what he could do on the football field. 

    The first injury came in a game against the Carolina Panthers. The knee injury looked like the variety that would end somebody's career, but Cadillac battled back, rehabbed the knee and wound up on the PUP list to start the 2008 season.

    Williams got back on the active roster and was making progress until the final game of the year, when he blew up his other knee playing against the Oakland Raiders. But he bounced back from that injury as well, and was ready to go the following year.  Williams remained the starter in Tampa Bay for the next two years, which is a testament to his hard work and ability to cope with pain. 

    These days Williams is running as the backup to Steven Jackson with the St. Louis Rams, but I would guarantee you that Williams still has many fond followers that reside in Tampa Bay. 

Tennessee Titans

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    The Tennessee Titans star wide receiver Kenny Britt tore his ACL this past Sunday and is now gone for the year. The Titans are off to a fine start with a 2-1 record and they are right there with the Houston Texans trying to take advantage of the Peyton Manning injury to capture the AFC South division. 

    The Titans defense has really come on very strong in 2011 and is the strength of the team. Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is doing a nice job since coming on board, but now without Kenny Britt to throw the ball to, they will have to rely on Chris Johnson to start picking up the pace. 

    Johnson hasn't even topped 100 yards in three combined games yet, so his game is not anywhere close to what he has produced in years prior. If the Titans do not make the playoffs this year, they can point to the injury to Kenny Britt as one of the major reasons why. 

Washington Redskins

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    Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins was the victim of a blitz by New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor on a flea-flicker play of all things. The You Tube video is not for the faint of heart, but probably everybody has seen this replay at least a couple times. 

    To my way of thinking, this is the worst injury in the NFL and the fact that it happened to a star quarterback who was still in his prime is why it also one of the most devastating injuries in the history of the game. 

    I have seen some lists come out recently that talk about the most devastating quarterback injuries in the NFL, and the Theismann injury isn't even on the top five of the list. Are you kidding me? In terms of devastating, this is the king of the crop. It still doesn't excuse Theismann from acting the way he does in the broadcast booth, but for his injury, he definitely gets my sympathy. 


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