A Brief History of … Houston and the Super Bowl

A Brief History of … Houston and the Super Bowl

“When you’re talking Houston, you’re talking Super Bowl” – a paraphrased quote from the “Houston Oilers #1,” fight song of the late-1970s, aptly describes this week as Super Bowl 51 descends upon the Bayou City. Super Bowls and Houston have rarely walked hand-in-hand. The Oilers won the first two American Football League championships before the AFL/NFL merger agreed upon in 1966 birthed the first Super Bowl. The Oilers lost the 1967 AFL Championship Game to the Oakland Raiders, missing out on a trip to Super Bowl 2. Houston’s football team couldn’t provide the city with a Super Bowl, but the NFL awarded Super Bowl 8 to Rice Stadium in Houston, the first Super Bowl ever played in Houston. The Miami Dolphins pounded the Minnesota Viking 24-7. In The Game before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL, Dolphin quarterback Bob Griese stated he thought the Dolphins team that won Super Bowl 8 was even better than the […]

A Brief History of…: The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers vs Houston Oilers Rivalry

  The privilege of working with the Luv Ya Blue era Oilers for We Were the Oilers led to a lot of research and subsequently much thinking. If memory serves me correctly, a lot of the talk around the Dan Pastorini for Ken Stabler trade between the Oilers and Raiders pointed out that “Stabler’s beaten the Steelers, Pastorini’s lost two years in a row.” Over time, a generally accepted theory has been that Pastorini and the Oilers simply couldn’t beat the Steelers. There’s hinting that perhaps if the Oilers had a better quarterback, maybe they would have won. Looking back as objectively as I can, here is my own new theory about this. First, the Steelers lost only 1 home game between 1978 and 79 – a Monday Night Football loss to – Dan Pastorini and the Houston Oilers. Second, the Steelers only lost 6 games total in 78 and 79. Who was the only team to beat them twice? […]

A Brief History of… Goal Posts

We see them every game, cast in their photogenic stance. Fans love to tear them down. But what is the story behind those fabled goal posts? The information’s pretty tough to find, but I’ll put as much of it together here as I can. EARLY YEARS In football’s earliest days – and we’re talking Pudge Heffelfinger, pre-1900 days – a field goal was actually more valuable than a touchdown. Under those rules, Stephen Gostkowski’s field goals would notch 5 points, Marshawn Lynch’s TDs only 4. Soon both plays were worth 5 points, and gradually moved to modern-day scoring by 1912. In the NFL’s earliest days — days before the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles existed — the league followed the NCAA rule book. Goal posts were on the goal line. When the NCAA moved them to the end zone’s backline in 1927, the NFL followed suit. In 1933, however, the NFL adopted its own rule book and placed the goal […]

A Brief History of — The NFL Draft

Enormous media coverage surrounds today’s NFL draft. It wasn’t always that way. Bob Griese told us he didn’t know the draft had taken place – even though he was the fourth-overall pick. Players from The Game before the Money era often learned their pro football destinations through newspapers, college coaches, and friends. It apparently wasn’t until the 1970s that teams called players during the draft. YEARS BEFORE THE DRAFT Chaos often surrounded acquiring talent before the draft existed. Don Hutson signed with both the Green Bay Packers and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers after his college career at Alabama ended. NFL President Joe Carr awarded Hutson to the Packers since the Packers mailed their contract just a few minutes before the Dodgers. Hutson helped lead the Packers to 3 NFL titles and still holds NFL receiving records 8 decades later. Photo of: Don Hutson. The Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers both highly desired Minnesota All-American Stan Kostka in 1935. […]

A Brief History Of — Controversial Calls in the NFL Playoffs

Disputes followed the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Detroit Lions in the 2014 NFC Wildcard. Fans from both teams point to missed penalties, Ndamukong Suh’s overturned suspension, and the dubious Picked-Up-Flag Gate (PUF Gate). We’ll examine PUF Gate first, then delve into other famous “no-calls” and “blown calls” in NFL playoff history. When officials nullified the pass interference penalty on Anthony Hitchens in the Cowboys/Lions affair, Matthew Stafford screamed, “How does that get overturned?!!?” The on-field mics that caught Stafford’s displeasure give us clues to the answer. As a fan, getting to hear the on-field audio is a tremendous treat. I love that they mic players during games. Cowboy defensive back Orlando Scandrick simply walked up to the official and said, “Hey, every single penalty tonight’s been on us.” And the ref picked up the flag. Now, it appears that the official might have been headed over to pick up the flag before Scandrick’s comment. We’ll guess that it took more convincing […]

A Brief History of: The Pro Football Hall of Fame

The NFL originally awarded the Pro Football Hall of Fame site to Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Like the birthdates of blues legends, dates vary from the late 1940s to early 50s depending on the source; I personally lean toward the late 40s. Nobody, however, differs on the fact that Latrobe’s civic leaders sat on the idea. In the early 50s, Latrobe sportswriter Vince Quatrini wrote that the Hall of Fame idea barely progressed past the talking stage before dying out. Perhaps they’d read Grantland Rice’s column proclaiming a football hall of fame being too complicated. SOMETIMES YA GOTTA GO FOR IT Canton, Ohio, however, literally bought into the idea after an article ran in the local paper entitled, “Pro Football Needs a Hall of Fame and Logical Site is Here.” The story, published in 1959, stirred the owner of the Timken Company to pledge $250,000. Over $100,000 more was raised within a two-year period. Canton’s organizational efforts thrust them ahead of Latrobe […]

A Brief History of Hash Marks

In the NFL’s early years, there were no formalized scheduling rules. Some teams played more games than others, and the team considered to have the best overall record was declared champion, sans playoff. Adding confusion was a crazy agreement to disregard ties when determining the NFL champion. The 1932 season brought this mishmash to a pinnacle. What the heck does all that have to do with hash marks? Well, the 1932 season ended with the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans tied with 6 wins and 1 loss.  Forget that the Bears played to 6 ties and the Spartans 4, including two against each other. Unable to determine a champion on paper, the NFL blazed a trail college football would follow a scant 80 years later, and held a playoff. REALLY NOW, WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH HASH MARKS? The championship game was scheduled to be played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, but brutal weather forced the game indoors, to […]

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