Football season is here, so here’s some bizarre trivia on the subject.
- The NFL and AFL merged decades ago, but when the AFL was a new, upstart league in 1960, the older NFL felt so threatened that they created new teams specifically to prevent AFL teams from taking root. Among those teams: the Oakland Raiders were supposed to be the Minnesota Raiders until the NFL’s Vikings took the territory. The Dallas Texans were overshadowed by the NFL’s new Dallas Cowboys so much that the team moved to Kansas City in 1963.
- What do running back Walter Payton and wide receiver David Patten have in common? They both rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, and threw a touchdown pass…all in the same game, in 1979 and 2001, respectively.
- World War II diminished the ranks of players in the NFL to such a degree that teams had to temporarily merge. In 1943, the Pittsburgh Steelers merged with the Philadelphia Eagles; in 1944, the Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals.
- In the last scoreless game in NFL history, the Detroit Lions and New York Giants ended in a 0-0 tie. That was in 1943.
- “Mr. Irrelevant” is the nickname given to the player picked dead last in each year’s NFL draft. Most players never go on to big NFL careers, and many never even step foot on the field, cut during the preseason. Mr. Irrelevant 1967 was college basketball star Jimmy Walker…who hadn’t played any football. (He went into the NBA instead.) A Mr. Irrelevant didn’t play in a Super Bowl until 1997: Marty Moore of the New England Patriots.
- Who had the worst game in NFL history? It might be Jim Hardy. During the first game of the 1950 season, the Chicago Cardinals quarterback threw eight interceptions—still an NFL record.
- Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 28 have made it to a Super Bowl. Four remain: the Houston Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns. Of those four, however, Houston, Jacksonville, and Detroit have all hosted a Super Bowl, leaving Cleveland the only NFL city to never experience Super Bowl glory.
Bonus: Check out our blog post: Tallest, Shortest, Biggest, Smallest, Youngest, Oldest: NFL Edition.
For more football trivia read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular.