Relive and recapture iconic moments. Discover that you or a loved one share a birthday with a football legend. Recall an anniversary of an event that forever changed the landscape of the NFL and had a profound impact on your life. It’s all here in This Week in NFL History.
This Week in NFL History is a weekly article that will look back at some of the most memorable events that have occurred during this week historically in professional football. Each nugget is a tidbit of information that is connected to the NFL through history.
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This Week in NFL History
1898: Earl Louis (Curly) Lambeau born in Green Bay, Wisconsin (d. 1965)
Career Highlights: Lambeau was a founder and first head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lambeau, who played collegiately for legendary Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne, also played halfback in the then-popular single wing formation and was the team’s primary runner and passer (1919-29). Lambeau was a three-time Second-team All-Pro (1922-24) and was named to the 1920s NFL All-Decade Team. After his playing career ended, he remained the Packers’ head coach until 1949. The Packers won six NFL Championships (1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939, 1944) under Lambeau. He also coached the Chicago Cardinals (1950-51) and Washington Redskins (1952-53). His official record as head coach is 229-134-22 (postseason 3-2). He is credited as the first professional football coach to pioneer daily practices, to use the forward pass and implement pass patterns as well as fly to away games. Lambeau, who is ranked sixth on the NFL’s all-time winningest coaches list, was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s inaugural 1963 class. The Packers’ home field was re-named after Lambeau two months after his June 1, 1965 death
1898: End/tackle Paul Robeson (Rutgers: 1915-19, Akron Pros: 1921, Milwaukee Badgers: 1922) born in Princeton, New Jersey (d. 1976)
Career Highlights: Robeson was the first African-American player to enroll at Rutgers and a two-time All-American. He played for Fritz Pollard, the first African-American coach in the NFL, in Akron and was one of the early stars of the NFL. Robeson’s professional football career was only two years, as he only played professional football to help pay for law school. He went on to become a world-famous singer and actor. Robeson was also an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement.
1949: Safety Clarence Scott (Kansas State: 1967-70, Browns: 1971-83) born in Atlanta, Georgia
Career Stats: 39 interceptions, two touchdowns. The Browns drafted Scott 14th overall, passing on Ohio State’s Jack Tatum. His 39 career interceptions are third in team history. The Browns made four postseason appearances with Scott in the secondary.
1979: Kicker Jeffrey (Jeff) Reed (North Carolina: 1998-2001, Steelers: 2002-10, 49ers: 2011) born in Kansas City, Missouri
Career Stats: 213 field goals made in 259 attempts (82.2 percent), 320 extra point attempts made in 323 attempts (99.1 per cent). Reed won Super Bowls XL and XLIII with Steelers.
1983: Offensive lineman Willie Colon (Hofstra: 2002-05, Steelers: 2006-12, Jets: 2013-15) born in The Bronx, New York
Career Stats: Colon started in all 100 of his NFL career games. He won Super Bowl XLIII with Steelers.
1997: NFL announced plans for World Classic Bowl between the champions of the Canadian Football League and the World League of American Football (later known as NFL Europe). The NFL was rumored to have put $3 million towards the World Classic Bowl. The game was to have been televised on Fox and called by Pat Summerall and John Madden but it never materialized.
2016: Defensive end William (Will) Smith III (Ohio State: 2000-03, Saints: 2004-13) shot and killed during an altercation following a traffic accident at age 34 in New Orleans, Louisiana (b. 1981)
Career Stats: 457 tackles, 67.5 sacks, 25 passes defended, two interceptions, 20 forced fumbles). Smith was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and won Super Bowl XLIV. Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in Smith’s death. He faces between 20 and 60 years in prison. Smith’s widow, Raquel, filed a civil suit against Hayes.
1909: Fullback/linebacker William (Clarke) Hinkle (Bucknell: 1929-31, Packers: 1932-41) born in Toronto, Ohio (d. 1988)
Career Stats: 3,860 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns. Hinkle was a four-time First-team All-Pro (1935-38) and a three-time Pro Bowler (1938-40). He won two NFL Championships (1936, 1939) and named to the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team. Hinkle retired as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
1936: Head coach John Madden (Raiders: 1969-78) born in Austin, Minnesota
Career Record: 112-39-7 (regular season: 103-32-7, postseason: 9-7). Madden never had a losing season as Raiders head coach. He had winning records against head coaches Tom Landry (Cowboys), Don Shula (Dolphins), Chuck Noll (Steelers), and Bud Grant (Vikings), considered the top coaches of his era and winners of eight of the 1970s’ 10 Super Bowls. His .759 winning percentage is second all-time among coaches with at least 100 victories. Madden’s Raiders made five consecutive appearances in the AFC Championship Game (1973-77), highlighted by a win in Super Bowl XI over Grant’s Vikings. At the conclusion of his coaching career, Madden began work as a color commentator/analyst. He paired with Pat Summerall to form one of sports broadcasting’s most celebrated partnerships. Madden worked as a color commentator on all four major networks: CBS (1979-93), Fox (1994-2001), ABC (2002-05), and NBC (2006-09). He won 14 Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. In 1988, he lent his name, voice, and personality to the Madden NFL video game series. When Madden was approached about the game, he insisted the game be 11-on-11 football. Despite his 2009 retirement as a broadcaster, he continues to provide creative input to the Madden NFL series.
1938: Quarterback Joseph Donald (Don) Meredith (SMU: 1957-59, Cowboys: 1960-68) born in Mount Vernon, Texas (d. 2010)
Career Stats: 1,170 completions in 2,308 attempts for 17,199 yards, 135 touchdowns, 111 interceptions. QB rating: 74.8; 242 carries for 1,216 yards and 15 touchdowns. Meredith was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (1966-68) and a Second-team All-Pro in 1966. He was most famous as one of the original color commentators on Monday Night Football (1970-73, 1977-84), serving as the comic relief between Frank Gifford’s straight man play-by-play announcer and the bombastic Howard Cosell. Meredith famously referred to former President Richard Nixon as “Tricky Dick” on air. He also had a career as an actor.
1948: Cornerback Melvin (Mel) Blount (Southern: 1966-69, Steelers: 1970-83) born in Vidalia, Georgia
Career Stats: 57 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns. Blount was the prototypical cornerback of his era. He was a five-time Pro Bowl Selection (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981), a four-time First-team All-Pro (1975-77, 1981), and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (1978, 1979). In 1975, Blount led the NFL in interceptions and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls (IX, X, XIII, XIV) in six years. Blount was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. Blount’s legacy includes a changing of the rules regarding pass coverage because he was so dominant.
1962: Wide receiver Steven (Steve) Tasker (Northwestern: 1983-84, Oilers: 1985-86, Bills: 1986-97) born in Smith Center, Kansas
Career Stats: 51 receptions for 779 yards and nine touchdowns; 20 carries for 130 yards. Tasker spent most of his career as a gunner on punts and kickoffs. Despite his size (5’9”, 183 lbs.), he developed a reputation as one of the NFL’s most feared hitters. Tasker is the only special teams player to be named MVP of the Pro Bowl (1993). Jim Kelly, Tasker’s Hall of Fame Bills quarterback, believes Tasker is the best special teams player of all-time and deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1966: Defensive end Neil Smith (Nebraska: 1984-87, Chiefs: 1988-96, Broncos: 1997-99, Chargers: 2000) born in New Orleans, Louisiana
Career Stats: 582 tackles, 104.5 sacks, four interceptions, one defensive touchdown, 30 forced fumbles. Smith was a six-time Pro Bowl selection (1991-95, 1997), named First-team All-Pro in 1993, and a three-time Second-team All-Pro (1992, 1995, 1997). He led the NFL in sacks in 1993, was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, and won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII with Broncos. In 1998, the NFL enacted the Neil Smith Rule, which prevents defensive linemen from flinching to induce a false start penalty.
1970: Defensive tackle Sean Gilbert (Pittsburgh: 1989-91, Rams: 1992-95, Redskins: 1996, Panthers: 1998-2002, Raiders: 2003) born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Career Stats: 394 tackles, 42.5 sacks, two interceptions, 11 forced fumbles
1993: Tight end Eric Ebron (North Carolina: 2011-13, Lions: 2014-present) born in Newark, New Jersey
Career Stats: 133 receptions for 1,496 yards and seven touchdowns
1966: Offensive lineman David (Dave) Richards (SMU: 1984-86, UCLA: 1987, Chargers: 1988-92, Lions: 1993, Falcons: 1994-96, Patriots: 1996) born in Staten Island, New York
Career Stats: Richards started in 80 of his 135 career NFL games
1967: Wide receiver Mark Seay (Long Beach State: 1988-91, Chargers: 1993-95, Eagles: 1996-97) born in Los Angeles, California
Career Stats: 135 receptions for 1,629 yards and 10 touchdowns. Seay scored the first two-point conversion in Super Bowl history (XXIX).
1973: Safety Reginald (Reggie) Tongue (Oregon State: 1993-95, Chiefs: 1996-99, Seahawks: 2000-03, Jets: 2004, Raiders: 2005) born in Baltimore, Maryland
Career Stats: 639 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 15 interceptions, 20 passes defended, 12 forced fumbles, 10 fumbles recovered
1975: Cornerback Terry Cousin (South Carolina: 1993-96, Bears: 1997-99, Falcons: 2000, Dolphins: 2001, Panthers: 2002-03, Giants: 2004, Jaguars: 2005-07, Browns: 2008) born in Miami, Florida
Career Stats: 498 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 13 interceptions, 48 passes defended, five forced fumbles
1982: Cornerback Willie (Dunta) Robinson (South Carolina: 2002-03, Texans: 2004-09, Falcons: 2010-12, Chiefs: 2013) born in Athens, Georgia
Career Stats: 590 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 92 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, one defensive touchdown
1987: Running back Donald Brown (Connecticut: 2005-08, Colts: 2009-13, Chargers: 2014-15) born in Atlantic Township, New Jersey
Career Stats: 695 carries for 2,829 yards and 18 touchdowns; 120 receptions for 1,066 yards and two touchdowns
1944: Running back Michael (Mike) Garrett (USC: 1963-65, Chiefs: 1966-70, Chargers: 1970-73) born in Los Angeles, California
Career Stats: 1,308 carries for 5,481 yards and 35 touchdowns; 238 receptions for 2,010 yards and 13 touchdowns. Garrett was a two-time AFL All-Star (1966, 1967), a two-time AFL Champion (1966, 1969) and won Super Bowl IV with Chiefs. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1965, the first of five USC halfbacks to win the award (O.J. Simpson: 1968, Charles White: 1979, Marcus Allen: 1981, Reggie Bush: 2005. Bush later vacated his Heisman).
1960: Defensive coordinator Raymond (Ray) Horton (Cardinals: 2011-12, Browns: 2013, Titans: 2014-15, Browns: 2016) born in Tacoma, Washington
Career Stats:Horton was also a former NFL cornerback/safety (Washington: 1980-82, Bengals: 1983-88, Cowboys: 1989-92). Career Stats: 19 interceptions, three sacks, four defensive touchdowns. Horton set a Bengals franchise record for interceptions by a rookie (5). He won three Super Bowls: Super Bowl XXVII as a player and Super Bowls XL and XLIII as a Pittsburgh Steelers secondary coach.
1961: Defensive end Charles Mann (Nevada-Reno: 1979-82, Redskins: 1983-93, 49ers: 1994) born in Sacramento, California
Career Stats: 795 tackles, 83 sacks, 17 forced fumbles.Mann was a four-time Pro Bowl selection (1987-89, 1991) and won three Super Bowls (XXII, XXVI, XXIX)
1969: Wide receiver Michael Jackson (Southern Mississippi: 1987-90, Browns: 1991-95, Ravens: 1996-98) born in Tangipahoa, Louisiana
Career Stats: 353 receptions for 5,393 yards and 46 touchdowns. Jackson led the NFL in touchdowns in 1996 (14)
1985: Wide receiver/return specialist Theodore (Ted) Ginn, Jr. (Ohio State: 2004-06, Dolphins: 2007-09, 49ers: 2010-12, Panthers: 2013, Cardinals: 2014, Panthers: 2015-16, Saints: 2017-present) born in Cleveland, Ohio
Career Stats: 309 receptions for 4,285 yards and 25 touchdowns; 52 carries for 403 yards and two touchdowns; 238 punt returns for 2,497 yards and four touchdowns; 300 kick returns for 6,842 yards and three touchdowns
1987-Safety Louis Delmas (Western Michigan: 2005-08, Lions: 2009-13, Dolphins: 2014-15, current free agent) born in Fort Pierce, Florida
Career Stats: 399 tackles, six sacks, seven interceptions, 28 passes defended, two forced fumbles, six fumbles recovered, two defensive touchdowns, one safety. Delmas was named to the 2009 NFL All-Rookie Team.
1945: Offensive lineman James Robert (Bob) Kalsu (Oklahoma: 1965-67, Bills: 1968) born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 1970)
Career Stats: Kalsu started in nine of 14 his career AFL games. After the 1968 AFL season, Kalsu entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant to satisfy his ROTC requirement. He arrived in Vietnam as part of the 101st Airborne Division. He was killed in action July 21, 1970 when his unit came under enemy mortar fire at FSB Ripcord near the A Shau Valley.
1962: Wide receiver Lionel Manuel (Pacific: 1982-83, Giants: 1984-90) born in Rancho Cucamonga, California
Career Stats: 232 receptions for 3,941 yards and 23 touchdowns; nine carries for 44 yards. Manuel helped Giants win Super Bowl XXI.
1965: Wide receiver Quinn Early (Iowa: 1984-87, Chargers: 1988-90, Saints: 1991-95, Bills: 1996-98, Jets: 1999) born in West Hempstead, New York
Career Stats: 460 receptions for 6,448 yards and 40 touchdowns; 23 carries for 172 yards
1968: Nose tackle Theodore (Ted) Washington Jr. (Louisville: 1987-90, 49ers: 1991-93, Broncos: 1994, Bills: 1995-2000, Bears: 2001-02, Patriots: 2003, Raiders: 2004-05, Browns: 2006-07) born in Tampa, Florida
Career Stats: 755 tackles, 34.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight passes defended, eight forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, one safety.Washington was a four-time Pro Bowl selection (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001), a First-team All-Pro in 2001, and a Second-team All-Pro in 1997. He won Super Bowl XXXVIII with Patriots. He was described as the prototypical nose tackle of his era. Washington’s 6’5”, 375 pound frame earned him nicknames like “Mt. Washington” and “Washington Monument”. He was known for his longevity, playing until the age of 39.
1978-Tight end Daniel (Dan) Campbell (Texas A&M: 1995-98, Giants: 1998-2002, Cowboys: 2003-05, Lions: 2006-08, Saints: 2009) born in Clifton, Texas
Career Stats: 91 receptions for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns. Campbell played in two Super Bowls: losing Super Bowl XXXV with Giants and winning Super Bowl XLIV with Saints. Campbell also served as Dolphins interim head coach in 2015 (record: 5-7). He is currently Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach.
1991: Wide receiver Joshua (Josh) Gordon (Baylor: 2009-11, Browns: 2012-present) born in Houston, Texas
Career Stats: 161 receptions for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns; five carries for 88 yards.Gordon was a First-team All Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013. He also led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 (1,646). Gordon missed the entire 2015 season for violation of the league substance abuse policy. After he was reinstated, Gordon entered an in-patient rehabilitation facility and did not play in 2016.
2008: Head coach Bruce Snyder died at age 69 in Phoenix, Arizona (b. 1940)
Career Highlights: Snyder was Rams offensive coordinator from 1983-86. He was head coach at Utah State (1976-82), California (1987-91), and Arizona State (1992-2000). Snyder’s record as head coach was 125-106-6 (Bowls: 3-3, Utah State: 38-37-2, California: 29-24-4, 2-0 in Bowls, Arizona State: 58-45, 1-3 in Bowls). More than 40 of Snyder’s Arizona State players were drafted by NFL teams including quarterback Jake Plummer, defensive back Darren Woodson, and the late Pat Tillman.
2009: Sportscaster Harold (Harry) Kalas died at age 73 in Washington, D.C. (b. 1936)
Kalas was known primarily as the lead play-by-play announcer for MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies. He also called NFL games on Westwood One. Kalas joined NFL Films in 1975 as a narrator and became its primary voice after the death of John Facenda in 1984. He also provided narration to the highlights of Inside the NFL from its inception in 1976 until 2008.
1965: Quarterback William Stanley (Stan) Humphries (Northeast Louisiana: 1986-87, Redskins: 1988-91, Chargers: 1992-97) born in Shreveport, Louisiana
Career Stats: 1,431 completions in 2,516 attempts for 17,191 yards, 89 touchdowns, and 81 interceptions. QB rating: 75.8; 150 carries for 356 yards and seven touchdowns. Humphries tied the longest play from scrimmage in NFL history when he and wide receiver Tony Martin connected on a 99-yard pass against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 18, 1994. He led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance (XXIX).
1989: Cornerback Joseph (Joe) Haden (Florida: 2007-09, Browns: 2010-present) born in Fort Washington, Maryland
Career Stats: 377 tackles, two sacks, 19 interceptions, four forced fumbles, one defensive touchdown. Haden is a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2013, 2014) and was a Second-team All-Pro in 2013
1956: Safety Michael (Mike) Davis (Colorado: 1976-77, Raiders: 1977-86, Chargers: 1987) born in Berkeley, California
Career Stats: 11 interceptions, 11 sacks, 12 fumbles recovered. Davis made one of the greatest plays in Raiders history in the 1981 Divisional Playoff game against the heavily favored Cleveland Browns in conditions that rivaled that of the Ice Bowl. He made the game-winning interception on a play known as Red Right 88 in the final minute. The Raiders would go on to win the AFC Championship Game against the rival San Diego Chargers and Super Bowl XV against the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the first Wild Card team to win it all.
1969: Cornerback Phillippi Sparks (Arizona State: 1990-91, Giants: 1992-99, Cowboys: 2000) born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Career Stats: 489 tackles, one sack, 27 interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery. Sparks played opposite Jason Sehorn (whom he shares a birthday with) for six years with the Giants. He is the father of American Idol season six winner and recording star Jordin Sparks.
1970: Linebacker Darrin Smith (Miami [FL}: 1989-92, Cowboys: 1993-96, Eagles: 1997, Seahawks: 1998-99, Saints: 2000-04) born in Miami, Florida
Career Stats: 784 tackles, 24 sacks, 11 interceptions, 12 passes defended, three forced fumbles, seven fumbles recovered, four defensive touchdowns. Smith was a member of the 1993 All-Rookie Team and won two Super Bowls with Cowboys (XXVIII, XXX).
1971: Owner Daniel Farrell (Dan) Reeves (Rams: 1941-71) died at age 58 in New York City (b. 1912)
Reeves bought the then-Cleveland Rams in 1941 for $135,000. He moved the franchise to Los Angeles after their win in the 1945 NFL Championship Game. The Rams were the first professional sports franchise on the West Coast, preceding the entry of the San Francisco 49ers by three years and moves of Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants by more than a decade. Reeves signed the first African-American players after World War II and was the first to employ a full-time scouting staff. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.
1971: Cornerback Jason Sehorn (USC: 1992-93, Giants: 1994-2002, Rams: 2003) born in Sacramento, California
Career Stats: 435 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 19 interceptions, 20 passes defended, 10 forced fumbles, seven fumbles recovered, four defensive touchdowns. Sehorn played opposite Phillippi Sparks (whom he shares a birthday with) for six years with the Giants. He played in Super Bowl XXXV, a Giants loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Sehorn is currently a college football analyst for ESPNU.
1984: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (Florida State: 2003-05, Colts: 2006-09, Jets: 2010-13, Cardinals: 2014, Jets: 2015, Colts: 2016, current free agent) born in Tallahassee, Florida
Career Stats: 417 tackles, 31 interceptions, 116 passes defended, two forced fumbles, three defensive touchdowns. Cromartie is a four-time Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2012-14). He was First-team All Pro in 2007, the same season he led the NFL in interceptions (10). On Nov. 4, 2007, Cromartie returned a blocked field goal 109 yards for a touchdown, the longest play in NFL history.
2000: Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown and linebacker Lavar Arrington are selected first and second overall respectively in the NFL Draft. Brown was picked by the Cleveland Browns and Arrington was selected by the Washington Redskins. Brown and Arrington are the only Penn State players to be selected first and second overall in an NFL Draft. The 2000 Draft was also significant because Michigan quarterback Tom Brady was selected with the 199th pick by the New England Patriots and Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski was the first pure placekicker to be selected in the first round (16th overall by the Oakland Raiders) since Princeton’s Charlie Gogolak was selected sixth overall by the Redskins in 1966.
2002: Halfback Byron (Whizzer) White (Colorado: 1935-37, Pittsburgh Pirates: 1938, Lions: 1940-41) died at age 84 in Denver, Colorado (b. 1917)
Career Stats: 387 carries for 1,341 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. White was the highest paid player in the NFL in 1938, making $15,000 a season. He was a two-time First-team All-Pro (1938, 1940) and a Second-team All-Pro selection in 1941. White led the NFL in rushing twice (1938, 1940) and was a member of the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. His NFL career was cut short by service in World War II. After the war, White practiced law. He was the Colorado state chairman of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. He would become the 4th Deputy Attorney General of the United States on Jan. 20, 1961. White stayed in this position until he was nominated to replace Associate Justice Charles Whittaker on the United States Supreme Court. White served on the Supreme Court from Apr. 16, 1962 until his retirement June 28, 1993, the fourth-longest tenure of the 20th century. White acquired the nickname “Whizzer” in college and it followed him throughout his professional football and legal careers, much to his chagrin.
2015: Defensive tackle Robert (Bob) Toneff (Notre Dame: 1949-51, 49ers: 1952-58, Redskins: 1959-64) died at age 84 in San Anselmo, California (b. 1930)
Career Highlights: Toneff was a four-time Pro Bowl selection (1955, 1959-61) and was First-team All-Pro in 1955.
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