Over the course of its 101-year history, a lot has happened in the NFL. Whether it’s David Tyree’s iconic helmet catch or the famous Music City Miracle, if you’re an NFL fan, you probably have your own repertoire of moments you like to return to when you’re telling stories about the league. We’ve gathered 9 of our own favourite facts about the NFL here, so whether you’re new to football or you’re an old veteran, we hope that you go away from this article having learned something you didn’t know before!
1. Tom Brady isn’t just the people’s hero, he’s the players’ hero too
Decorated NFL quarterback Tom Brady isn’t just adored by NFL fans. He’s also the pick of the players, many of whom idolised him to the point of making major career decisions based on what he does. In an interview with NFL odds site Betway, Patriots QB Doug Flutie described Brady as “one of the reasons I went to New England”. Flutie says he hoped Brady would take him to Super Bowl glory, and while that never happened, Flutie says that even back in 2005, Brady was “already a legend”. Truly, Tom Brady is a hero across the entire NFL.
2. NFL games have been played on every day of the week
The regular day for an NFL game is Sunday, as you’ll know if you’re a regular viewer. However, did you know that there have been NFL games on every single day of the week since the league’s inception? It’s true – a blizzard in Pennsylvania necessitated a game on a Tuesday, while a Thursday night season intro was moved so that it wouldn’t clash with then-hopeful John McCain’s Republican convention speech. There have also been games played on Fridays thanks to holidays.
3. Games continued after JFK’s assassination
In 1963, when JFK was assassinated, the US was in a state of mourning. Despite this fact, then-commissioner Pete Rozelle made the decision to continue scheduled games that had been planned for the following Sunday. Though Rozelle would go on to regret this decision, he said that the reason he decided to go ahead with the games was because football was “Mr. Kennedy’s game”, and JFK would have wanted the games to go on in the wake of the tragedy.
4. The Seattle Seahawks were named by the public
Back in the 1970s, a new Seattle franchise held a public competition to determine what its name would be. The name ended up as the Seattle Seahawks, as you’ll know if you’re a modern NFL viewer, but it wasn’t a guaranteed thing by any means. There were over 20,000 entries in the competition spread across almost 1,750 names, which leads us to wonder what some of the alternatives might have been. Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Perhaps an alternate timeline exists in which the Seattle McSeattlefaces are NFL legends.
5. The coldest and hottest Super Bowls are a year apart
The weather surrounding the Super Bowl can be somewhat mercurial (pun very much intended). Super Bowl VI was the coldest event in history, with the temperature dropping to a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s around 4 degrees Celsius). A year later, Super Bowl VII would see the hottest Super Bowl temperature at 84 degrees Fahrenheit, which works out at about 29 degrees Celsius. Let it never be said that the US doesn’t have interesting weather patterns!
6. Marty Schottenheimer appears in an Eminem song
If you’re a hip-hop fan, you might be familiar with Eminem’s 1999 song “Just Don’t Give A (ahem)”. If you are, you’ll recognise the line “cursing at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer”. That’s a pretty niche reference for Eminem to make, but Schottenheimer, who sadly died this year after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, has a pretty impressive record; his 200-126-1 21-season NFL streak is the eighth best in the history of the league.
7. NFL players didn’t have to wear helmets until 1943
There are some who might celebrate this fact, and others who might wince at imagining what it might have wrought back in the day. Until 1943, there was no requirement for NFL players to wear helmets when they played. Helmets also weren’t a mandatory requirement in college gridiron (now known as NCAA) football until 1939, so if a player ever sustained a major head injury while making a run, they have this rule (or lack of) to thank for that.
8. The Baltimore Ravens aren’t named for a bird
Well, sort of. Just like the Seattle Seahawks, the name for the Baltimore Ravens was decided via fan competition, with the winning entry receiving over 33,000 votes. Contrary to popular belief, the name is actually a reference to the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem “The Raven”, which was written in 1845. Poe was a sometime resident of Baltimore, and fans chose this name for its menacing, ominous tone, evoked in the imagery of the poem. “Quoth the raven”, indeed.
9. The Green Bay Packers have a crazy season ticket waitlist
It’s possible to put yourself on the Green Bay Packers’ season ticket waitlist and not manage to get hold of a ticket even if you live to be 100 years old. This is because of the sheer amount of people on the waitlist, which increases every year, and the fact that in some years, only 700 or so season tickets are actually doled out. It’s hard to see how this situation could improve; when someone dies, their ticket can be transferred, which means tickets often don’t come back into the pool after they’re surrendered.