Throwback – Chicago Bears (né Staleys)

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Navy
Orange

George Halas, Papa Bear himself, was involved with the Bears (née Staleys) since the team as created in 1919.  Like many founders at the time George did everything.  Coach, president, offensive player (wide receiver) and defensive player (end).  He played football at a time when it was really just a derivative of rugby and brawling.  He literally witnessed the NFL rise from a bunch of corporate sponsored semi-professional clubs to the huge sports league it became.  Even before he did in 1983 (at 88) he made one last significant impact on his beloved Chicago team: He hired Mike Ditka as head coach.

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Throwback – Detroit Lions

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Blue
Silver
White

The Lions joke “Rebuilding since 1957” is played out but sadly is true.  Ever since the modern NFL established in 1967 the Lions have not seen a Superbowl victory.  The last victory was before the merger in 1957.  But the background, plays, stats, and eventual final score would be considered crazy video game (“Madden”) numbers today.  Detroit’s backup QB (Tobin Rote) had to fill in for the injured starting QB.  Four touchdowns, the opponent Cleveland Browns’ starting and backup QBs get injured, and this was Detroit head coach George Wilson’s rookie year.  The final score was 59-14 against the Browns.

Seriously I did not make that up.

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Throwback – Green Bay Packers

throwback-gbpac2Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Navy Blue
Yellow

The Packers were very close to dissolving in the late 1920s. This was  Prohibition era, at around the time the show Boardwalk Empire is supposed to take place.  Also during this time Earl “Curly” Lambeau was halfback, coach, and owner of the Green Bay Packers.   By 1928 the Packers’ primary financial backer and Lambeau’s former employer–the Acme Packers–deciding to stop funding his team.  Even during these early days it wasn’t easy to finance an NFL franchise.  Thankfully local businessmen with money to spare stepped into save their Packers.  After deus ex machina was performed on the Packers, suddenly they had a streak of NFL (not Superbowl) championships into the 1930s that grew into a legacy of winning records and championships in the modern era.  Truly a happy ending for all.  Except for Vikings fans, Bears fans, and all others on the losing end of those championships.
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Throwback – Minnesota Vikings

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Purple
Yellow
White

The Bears are not the only northern based NFL team known for defense.  Just look across the Great Lakes and there are the Minnesota Vikings.   Their defensive name, the Purple People Eaters, is a reference to the  Sheb Wooley pop song.  It also describes the defense accurately while keeping with the viking theme.  Ravage the offensive line, ‘meet at the quarterback’ and basically bull rush anything in the way.

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Throwback – Atlanta Falcons

throwback-atlfal2 Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Red
Black
Silver
White

After the Coca-Cola museum, but a few years before the 1996 Summer Olympics, Deion Sanders was the star attraction of Atlanta.  The Falcons finally got media attention on them thanks to Neon Deion.   Flamboyant would be the conservative way to describe the Neon Deion persona off the field.  On the field, flamboyant would be one way to describe his play style.  He would volunteer to defend against the legendary Jerry Rice.    The high stepping was to slow his incredible acceleration as he clearly made a run for yet another touchdown.  Yes, he slowed down for his burned defenders.

Sadly, when the 49ers picked up Deion the media spotlight went away for Atlanta until they drafted Michael Vick.  ESPN managed to run the entire Michael Vick Atlanta storyline to the ground, buried it, then reanimated its corpse only to kill it again. Continue reading

Throwback – Carolina Panthers

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Black
Blue
Silver

I will hold my San Francisco 49ers responsible for taking the wind off of the Carolina Panthers’ sails.  Head coach George Seifert was hired from the 49ers to Carolina in 1998 to try to improve the Panthers’ terrible record.  I’m afraid the 49ers sucked out all of the playoff energy from Seifert and other free agents that played with the 49ers before signing with the Panthers.  He helped drive a young, competitive team to a young, dysfunctional team.  Continue reading

Throwback – New Orleans Saints

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Black
Gold
Mustard Gold (pants)

The dark period of the ‘Aints had a few moments of light.  From 1971 to 1982 the Saints had Archie Manning at quarterback.  This generation might know him as the father of Cooper Manning (The Best That Never Was), Peyton Manning (Monsieur Fivehead) and Eli Manning (Is It Clutch Time).  Archie was an extremely talented quarterback stuck in an extremely terrible football team.  Archie was smart, athletic, and wasn’t afraid to go outside the pocket or scramble to make plays or score.  I believe that’s what you would call a Mobile Quarterback in modern sports writing lingo.   He was ahead of his time.  It makes you wonder what kind of stats Archie would put up if he was in today’s NFL (behind a competitive Saints offensive line).

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Throwback – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Red
Orange
White

Bo Jackson, one of the greatest athletes in the 20th Century, was a prime 1986 draft pick and the Buccaneers had the #1 draft position.  Hugh Culverhouse, owner of the Buccaneers at the time, took Bo on a private jet to visit the facilities and show Bo around.  The use of the private jet violated NCAA policies, which made Bo ineligible to play baseball for the rest of his senior year at Auburn.

Bo was devastated.  He loved both football and baseball.  He felt Hugh was forcing him to sign with the Bucs by ending all chances of playing baseball in college.  Bo swore to never sign with the Bucs.  He played professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals instead.

[There will be more on the greatness of Bo Jackson when I cover the Los Angeles Raiders eye shadow play.]

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Throwback – Dallas Cowboys

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Blue
White
Silver
Light Blue

I could argue that the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers were America’s Team, not the Dallas Cowboys.  More media exposure, more Superbowl wins, and more notorious antics.  However, the 1978 Dallas Cowboys had a few things going for it:  legendary coach Tom Landry, quarterback Roger Staubach, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  Nothing says ‘merica like trailblazers, badass dudes with gigantic guns athletic prowess, and beautiful ladies in barely anything hot pants.

Tom Landry created the 4-3 defense in the 1950s.  He literally changed how football was played from that time on.  Coach Pete Carroll had the Superbowl winning Seattle Seahawks use 4-3 defense.  Scouts rate potential players by how well coordinated a prospect is in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.  To this day I think Tom is the sharpest dressed coach in football.  Something about that hat and that suit calls back to a bygone era.

Roger Staubach was the original mobile quarterback.  Most quarterbacks during Staubach’s playing days just threw the ball, not run around and throw it.  He was also credited to making the “Hail Mary pass” go beyond its football context during a playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings in 1975.

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders pushed professional cheerleading to be less about acrobatics and more about dance.  The women (not girls) had to be physically gifted, know their football, know their Dallas Cowboys’ history, and look amazing while dancing in short shorts.  They became a big draw for live games, and developed a following that rivals the Cowboys.  Not bad for athletes that are relegated to the sidelines.

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Throwback – New York Giants

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Blue
White
Red

I was still in diapers when Lawrence Taylor, linebacker for the New York Giants, made Redskins’ quarterback Joe Theisman’s right leg break.  I’m not sure how the film crew for The Blind Side got footage of the play in such high definition.  Watching replays still make me protectively hold my right knee.

I’m not sure why the 1980s Giants are not hyped as much a the 1980s 49ers or the 1980s Chicago Bears.  The Giants became a powerful defense oriented team that gave other Superbowl contenders of the era a run for their money.  Or maybe because I live in California so I only hear of the power and glory of the 1980s 49ers.

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