This date in pro football history
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 12, 2007
(Editor's note: Each week, Coach T.J. Troup takes a look back at the greatest moments in pro football history. Troup is one of the nation's leading football researchers and, among his many contributions to the game, was a member of NFL Films' "America's Game" committee, a collection of football historians and experts chosen to rank all 40 Super Bowl champions as part of the "America's Game" series that NFL Films released last month.)
By Cold, Hard Football Facts researcher Coach T.J. Troup
Jan. 14, 1962
The greatest collection of football talent ever assembled for a game battled in the Pro Bowl.
The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference, 31-30, in a true all-star contest that featured 28 future Hall of Famers.
Johnny Unitas threw the winning TD to "Jaguar" Jon Arnett of the L.A. Rams with 12 seconds to play. There was no lack of playmakers surrounding Unitas or the other Western Conference QB, Bart Starr, that day: They played with 18 other future Hall of Famers for the West squad, including an entire offensive line's worth of talent.
Think about that for a moment: With 20 future Hall of Famers, you could have fielded an entire two-platoon team filled by all but two players who would end up in Canton. In addition to its offensive line, the Western Conference could also have filled its entire defensive line with Hall of Famers.
The East squad fielded eight future Hall of Famers.
Among the highlights of the day:
- Unitas also connected with Colts teammate Raymond Berry for a TD.
- Jim Brown raced 70 yards for a TD.
- Bart Starr tossed a TD to Minnesota's Hugh "The King" McElhenny, the former 49ers great who was playing in his last Pro Bowl.
- Detroit's Dick "Night Train" Lane returned an INT 42 yards for a TD.
Here's a look at the football immortals who took part in the legendary 1962 Pro Bowl.
WR – Tommy McDonald
OL – Mike McCormack
LB – Sam Huff
WR – Raymond Berry
TE – Mike Ditka
Jan. 14, 1968
Vince Lombardi is carried off the field in his last game as Green Bay's coach, following a dominating 33-14 victory over the 14-1 Raiders (one of the greatest teams never to win a title) in Super Bowl II.
Lombardi became the first coach to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It remains a small fraternity that includes, in addition to Lombardi, only Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan and Bill Belichick.
January 14, 1973
The Dolphins head into Super Bowl VII at the L.A. Coliseum as 3-point underdogs against Washington, despite winning every single game that season.
Miami fullback Larry Csonka had an MVP-type performance with a punishing 112 yards on 15 carries.
But the MVP honor would go instead to safety Jake Scott, a tribute to Miami's thorough domination of the Redskins' offense. Scott picked off two passes, including one in his own end zone that he returned 55 yards to end a potential game-changing rally in the fourth quarter. He remains one of just seven defensive players to win Super Bowl MVP honors.
The Redskins averaged just 3.5 yards per offensive play and scored their only points when Miami kicker Garo Yepremian comically (and legendarily) attempted to pass the football, only to have Washington cornerback Mike Bass return it for a score late in the fourth quarter.
Jan. 14, 1996
The Colts' closest sniff of a Super Bowl since moving to Indianapolis ends when Jim Harbaugh's Hail Mary against the Steelers falls incomplete in the end zone in the final seconds of the AFC title game.
Pittsburgh won, 20-16.
It was the end of a Cinderella run for the 9-7 Colts. They hammered 9-7 San Diego, 35-20, in the wild-card round and then shocked 13-3 Kansas City, 10-7, in the divisional playoffs, in a game that added to the "Marty Ball" legend of then-Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer. The Chiefs remain the only team in a 16-game season to have a four-game advantage over an opponent in the regular season and lose to them in the playoffs.
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