Throwback – Baltimore Ravens

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Purple
Black
Gold
White

The Ravens have more helmet mascots/emblems than most teams in the NFL.  Their first helmet emblem was submitted by Frederick E. Bouchat. He was excited to have a football team back in Baltimore. In his excitement he faxed a design concept to the Maryland Stadium Authority. The team showed off their uniforms, with a shield emblem that greatly resembled his original design he faxed not too long ago. Fred sued the Ravens for copyright infringement. He won the case but got only $3 in damages. Later Ravens owner Art Modell changed the emblem to an angry raven with a B superimposed on its head. No doubt this was also done to stop any potential royalties to Fred.

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Throwback – Cincinnati Bengals

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Team Colors
Note: Names not official
Black
Orange
White

The Bengals deserve way more credit than they receive for their role in the modern gridiron football.  These things began in Cincinnati before they were cool:

  • (Game Long) No Huddle Offense – No Huddle Offense is normally used near the end of the first half or the end of a game. The offense would huddle quickly (if at all), then the play is called out in coded words or phrases (“audibles”), and finally the snap is done with a “silent count” (the quarterback makes a gesture such as a toe step or an arm wave as a timer for the offense, rather than shouting a countdown).  Ideally this would tire out the defense and give them no time to settle on the quarterback’s snap count. Sam Wyche, head coach of the Bengals in 1988, is credited for using NHO throughout the game.
  • West Coast Offense – Football was almost exclusively a running offense before the West Coast Offense became popular. WCO has the offense make short yard gains or first downs with quick passes to multiple receivers. Ideally this would spread out the defense and improve the odds of a deep throw connecting. Bill Walsh was the Bengals assistant coach in the early 1970s. Bengals game footage during his time there showed a proto West Coast Offense. Bill went on to refine WCO  while coaching at Stanford University, and it thrived during his head coaching days with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s.
  • Zone Blitz – A response to the West Coast Offense. The play assigns defense players to specific players (or zones).  This extra movement is meant to confuse the offense about the defense’s block assignments and their own play positioning. Zone Blitz was rarely used in professional football until it was made over by Dick LeBaeau, Bengals defensive coordinator in the 1980s.

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Throwback – Cleveland Browns

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Brown
Orange
White

When the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) merged with the NFL, one of the teams that lived on in the updated NFL was the Cleveland Browns.  For about 15 years (1950-1965), the Browns dominated football.  They had deep playoff runs and multiple NFL Championships in their name.   You can thank head coach and namesake Paul Brown for that.   He is credited as the first for using game film, as in actual celluloid film, to improve his players and scout opponents.  His reputation as a dictator was warranted.  No one brought it up because he crafted a winning team.  When things started going sour in the 1960s Brown’s stubborn pride became prominent. He seemed more concerned with his status as Greatest Coach Forever Amen than how his team was performing on the field. Wait, film your dudes and opponents? An insulated coaching process? Tons of head coaching success and national fame? Someone sweeps the bad stuff under the carpet? This pattern sounds familiar. Makes me wonder if current Patriots coach Bill Belichick looks to Paul Brown the way Napoleon idolized Alexander the Great.

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Throwback – Jacksonville Jaguars

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Black
Gold
White
Teal

The Jaguars filled a void for professional football in the southern United States.  During those early years (roughly 1996-2000) they were a force to be reckoned with.  Things like winning streaks, playoff appearances, and stomping out NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino on his last bid for the Superbowl.  Did you know current New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars at that time?  Well, even he couldn’t keep a good thing going.  Many of the starting lineup were cut due to salary cap, an coach Tom couldn’t plug his replacements back into the winning formula.  The Jaguars franchise is now old enough to start “finding” iteself.  I hope they find a way to be relevant in the playoff picture again.  The only real headlines they made lately were those godawful helmets they debuted last season.

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Throwback – Tennessee Titans (né Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers)

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Team Colors

Note: Names not official
Columbia Blue
Red
White

Texas football is ingrained since birth and you root for your local team only.  Normally Houston teams looked down on Dallas teams and vice versa.  This didn’t happen to the Houston Oilers.  Poor attendance, average records, no press support, and the popular Dallas Cowboys stealing the potential fan base forced owner Bud Adams to move the team east.  The new location didn’t do much for the Oilers.  Both seasons were they were the Tennessee Oilers they were 8-8.  The other new NFL expansion teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Caroline Panthers) could boast better records or more exciting football to watch.  The Oilers changed their name to the Titans.  The Titans found early success in a Superbowl bid in their inaugural season (1999).  Ever since that Superbowl loss the Titans are back to where they started with a mediocre record, a team with few standouts, and getting little media attention.
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