This Day in Football: old-school classics
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 09, 2009
Cold, Hard Football Facts researcher Coach T.J. Troup just released his first book, "This Day in Football: A Day-by-Day Record of the Events That Shaped the Game." The book is available at Amazon.com and other retail outlets. The foreword was written by Steve Sabol of NFL Films, who gives Troup access to his company's vast video library each year.
Throughout the 2009 season, mostly on game days, we'll provide some stories that we've adapted from his book about great games and events in pro football history.
The dates of October 10 and 11 were highlighted by great performances from some of the legendary figures in history.
October 10, 1934
Chicago rookie halfback Beattie Feathers rushes for more than 100 yards on just eight carries in a 28-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. His performance is highlighted by a spectacular 82-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
It's the third consecutive game of more than 100 yards for Feathers – played in just 11 days, all on the road. Feathers would go on to become the first 1,000-yard back, with 1,004 yards on just 119 carries. His average of 8.44 YPA stood as a record for 72 years, until broken by Michael Vick (8.45 YPA) in 2006.
The Bears ended the season 13-0 – and then lost to the Giants, 30-13, in the NFL championship game.
October 10, 1954
The 1-1 Giants are in their third game with new head coach Jim Lee Howell and new offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi, visiting the 0-2 Redskins.
The coaching change pays big dividends for the Giants on this day and on the season. New York rushes for 166 yards and piles up plenty of points in a 51-21 victory. The scoring was led by Bob Schnelker, who tied a team record with three TDs on his eight catches for 136 yards.
The New York defense is led by future Hall of Fame safety Emlen Tunnell and player/coach and future HOFer Tom Landry. Tunnell is second on the all-time INT list (79) and hauled in 15 picks against the Redskins in his career, a record against one team, including one INT on this day.
The Giants will improve dramatically with the new coaching staff: they ranked last (12th) in rushing in 1953, seventh in 1954; last in scoring in 1953; sixth in scoring 1954; they went 3-9 in 1953 and 7-5 in 1954.
October 11, 1942
The 2-0 Brooklyn Dodgers host the 1-2 Steelers at Ebbets Field in a game that features the two men who will top the league un rushing that year, Pittsburgh rookie and future Hall of Famer Bill Dudley (696 yards) and Brooklyn's Merlyn "the Magician" Condit (647).
Dudley scored on a seven-yard run in what ends up a 7-0 Pittsburgh victory and contributes with an interception on defense. The win was part of a 6-1 streak for the Steelers in which they surrendered just 33 points.
Pittsburgh ends the season 7-4 and remains the last team in history who failed to throw a touchdown pass in any of their victories.
October 11, 1981
The Raiders are the defending champs, but the 1981 season does not begin well.
On this day, the 2-3 Raiders visit the 3-2 Chiefs and suffer a 27-0 loss.
Kansas City is led by courageous running back Joe Delaney. The rookie rushes for 106 yards and catches passes for 104 yards and becomes only the third player in franchise history to top 100 yards in both categories. (Delaney, you might remember, died at age 24 trying to save three children from drowning.)
It was Kansas City's first shutout of Oakland in history (43 games) but even worse for the Raiders: the defending champs are the first team since the 1943 Brooklyn Dodgers to get blanked for three consecutive weeks.
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