Old School

Earl Morrall, The Ultimate Backup

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Earl Morrall, a twenty-one year NFL veteran quarterback, mostly as a backup, passed away Friday in Florida at the age of 79. His career began as the second overall selection out of Michigan State in the 1956 NFL draft by the 49ers and ended with the Miami Dolphins after the 1976 season. In between he also quarterbacked for the Lions, Steelers, Giants, and Colts. He threw his first touchdown pass on October 28, 1956 to Gordy Soltau for the 49ers in a 38-21 loss to the Bears. His final scoring...

They’ll Never Touch Nevers

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Despite All The Rule Changes, The One Record That Will Never Be Broken   Someone once said that records are made to be broken. One record that we in Baltimore thought would be the exception to that rule is John Unitas’ record of throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. Unitas set his record in an era when pass defense could do just about anything they wanted before the ball was thrown. Despite that, the NFL’s answer to MLB’s Joe DiMaggio consecutive game hit streak (56 games) was labeled...

Nick Foles Delivers a Legendary Performance

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If second year Eagles quarterback Nick Foles never plays another NFL game he has left his mark. His name will now be inscribed in the NFL Record and Fact Book forever. Last Sunday he tied the NFL record with 7 touchdown passes in a single game, the 7th quarterback to achieve this feat. While he tied the record, he actually bested it to a degree. Why? A review of his six predecessors helps to explain.   November 14, 1943 Sid Luckman, Bears vs. Giants Luckman playing in his 52nd NFL...

ART DONOVAN: A Great Man, A Great Player

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As Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti said, “ Baltimore has lost a friend”, and that is exactly the way Art Donovan made those in his presence feel – like a friend. He was the quintessential blue-collar sports hero that Baltimore so willingly embraces – down to earth and one of us. It seems just about everyone can quote a story or a line from a story Artie told about his playing days or his off the field antics, but because he was so approachable and charismatic, it is easy to forget...

Ravens go against odds in AFC Championship rematch

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By beating the Broncos 38-35 in Denver and winning the 4th longest game in NFL history, playing 16;42 into overtime, the Ravens  earned the right to play for the AFC Championship. This will be head Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joes Flacco’s third AFC title game together and they’ve lost both. Can the third game be the charm? The Ravens travel to Foxboro, MA to take on Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for the second consecutive year in the title game with revenge on their minds. The New England duo has...

John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco Match Hall of Fame Legends

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With the Ravens 24-9 victory over the Colts Sunday in Baltimore, Head John Harbaugh and his quarterback Joe Flacco have matched the successful starts that Hall Of Fame head coach Paul Brown and Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns had to begin their professional careers. Harbaugh was named head coach of the Ravens for 2008, and Joe Flacco was plucked from the University of Delaware in the first round of the 2008 draft to be the Ravens future franchise QB. As it turned out due to...

The “passing” of the torch

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Throughout the wide world of sports it has been said often, “records are meant to be broken”. And you know what? They’re right! Some sports are defined by numbers. For instance, in the NBA, the number is 100 – that was how many points Wilt Chamberlain scored for the Philadelphia Warriors in game against the New York Knicks in 1962. In baseball there is 56 – the number of consecutive games that Joe DiMaggio hit in safely in 1941. Then there is football and for me that number has always...

Fantasy Flashback: Celebrating 50 years of Fantasy Football – Jerry Rice

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To celebrate the 50th season of fantasy football we will take a look back at some notable and surprising fantasy performances of the past 50 fantasy seasons that involved NFL teams playing each other this week. Since the 49ers visit the Vikings Sunday, this week we venture back to 1995, to Monday Night Football. December 18, 1995 – the 8-6 Vikings met the defending champion and 10-4 49ers at Candle Stick Park in what would be one of Jerry Rice’s greatest games. By 1995 fantasy football was starting to gain...

The Post Season History: Giants v. 49ers

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The Giants and the 49ers are meeting this Sunday in the 80th NFL-NFC championship game. The Giants who joined the NFL in 1925 are making their 19th championship game appearance; the 49ers who joined the NFL in 1950 will be playing in their 13th title game. Between them they have won twelve league championships and 8 Super Bowls, along with that rich tradition each team brings to the table Sunday, they have met each other in 7 memorable post season games, in each of the Wild Card and Divisional rounds...

The Original Christmas Day Football Game

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Saturday December 25th 1971 Up to 1971 the NFL avoided playing on Christmas day. Case in point, in 1960 the championship game, which would have been played on Sunday December 25, 1960, was moved to Monday December 26 out of respect for the holiday. By the 1970’s television money ruled the NFL, and the networks felt that daytime Monday football would draw less ratings than a Christmas game, so the 1971 Divisional playoffs started on Saturday December 25th, with two more divisional playoff games to be played the next day....

Thanksgiving Revenge

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Green Bay at Detroit Aaron Rodgers and the defending champion Packers are 10-0 and appear to be favorites to win the NFC and defend their Super Bowl title. The surprising 49ers could get in their way as could the resurgent Detroit Lions whom the Packers meet today in Detroit. The tradition of the Lions taking the field on Thanksgiving Day dates back to 1934. Recently those games haven’t meant much but this year with the Packers being 10-0 and the Lions led by All-World WR Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford,...

FOR A FIRST, BALTIMORE HOSTS THANKSGIVING

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I suppose the NFL has decided that Baltimore is all grown up. No more kids’ table for Ravens Nation. And, for a change, we don’t have to pack our side dish in the car. We’re hosting Thanksgiving.  The NFL said so. Yes, the same National Football League whose commissioner, the esteemed Paul Tagliabue, Esq., a noted Washington Redskins’ season ticket holder, encouraged Baltimore to build another museum with the money that the State of Maryland had designated for a new stadium for an NFL franchise. Yes, the same NFL that...

Super Bowl XLV Snapshot

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AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NFC Champion Green Bay Packers Cowboys Stadium, Arlington Texas, seats 80,000 for football Line, Packers favored by 2.5 points, Over- Under 45 The NFL/NFC have won 23 of the 44  Super Bowls….the AFC has won 5 of the last 7….this is the third Super Bowl played in the state of Texas, the first in the Dallas area… Super Bowl VIII was played in Houston at Rice Stadium, a 24-7 Miami victory over the Vikings, Super Bowl XXXVIII was played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, a...

OLD SCHOOL: Baltimore v. Pittsburgh, a One-Sided Post Season Rivalry

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In this two-part article will revisit the post season matches between Pittsburgh’s and Baltimore’s sports teams. Part I, the 70’s, the Colts, Orioles, Steelers, and Pirates Part II, 1979-to January 2009, Orioles, Ravens, Pirates, and Steelers With the Ravens making NFL history by winning in the Wild Card round for the third consecutive year they now set the table for another post season trip to Pittsburgh. This will be the Ravens third trip there for a playoff game trying to win for the first time against the Steelers in the...

3rd Time Never a Charm for Wild Card Teams

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Our Ravens are Wild Card bound for the third straight year. As we all know this means taking to the road to make it back to a Super Bowl. By becoming a Wild Card for the third straight season, the Ravens join a very small club. They have become just the 4th team since the Wild Card became a football word in 1969, to make it into the playoffs as a Wild Card entry, and with a victory in Kansas City this Sunday, they would be the first team in...

OLD SCHOOL: A look back to Baltimore’s controversial first playoff game

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Baltimore’s First Post Season Football Game Even though the 2010 Bills have played just 5 games, historians are already making comparisons between this team and the worst in their franchise’s history. The 2010 Bills are 0-5, have the 30th ranked offense and the 29th ranked defense that has allowed at least 34 points in each of its last 4 games. Now they come to Baltimore to face a Ravens team that is almost a 2 touchdown favorite. They have been compared to the 1-12-1 1968 Bills, a team that finished...

OLD SCHOOL: Baltimore v. New England

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Former Commissioner Pete Rozelle the man who led the NFL to the prominent role it plays today in American society passed away in 1996. While he is not with us anymore he has to smiling down upon the state of affairs of the 2010 season. Rozelle’s dream was to create parity among his league’s teams, his catch phrase “on any given Sunday any NFL can beat another” has more truth in 2010 than it has had in any other season from my recent memory. Seventeen of the 32 teams are...

OLD SCHOOL: Baltimore’s best and worst days v. Denver

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Kyle Orton brings the 2-2 Denver Broncos into M&T Bank Stadium to face the 3-1 Ravens Sunday. Orton beat the Titans last week with a short pass for a score to Correll Buckhalter with 1:33 remaining to pull the victory out. Orton hopes to do better than he did last year in Baltimore. Then, the Broncos were unbeaten and facing the 3-3 Ravens. Both teams were rested coming off their bye weeks and the Ravens blew the Broncos out of M&T that day 30-7. The Broncos effort was listless to...

History suggests that the Ravens are in for a battle in Cincy

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The Ravens in Week 2 after an Opening Day Victory First the Good News After battling their way to a 10-9 win Monday night over the Jets, the Ravens are now 7-8 all time in their openers, and have won the last three in a row. They now prepare to meet the Bengals.  The good news is they are 4-2 in week 2 games after winning the opener. The better news is that during the John Harbaugh era the Ravens have gone on to win in both of their second...

NFL FACT OR FICTION? The answers may surprise you

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The NFL has been an entity since 1920. As with any long running business or entertainment venue, fables are bound to be created.  The NFL is no exception.   In this segment of Old School we will tell the story behind 4 popular NFL fables. The truth behind three of these so called fables goes against “conventional wisdom.” One is actually true.   The Fables are:   1. “Monday Night Football”: ABC was the first major network to televise a prime time NFL regular season game on a week night,...