Odds and Ends 2


  • From 1989-1991, there were 1-15 teams in every season: the Cowboys in 1989, the Patriots in 1990 and the Colts in 1991. Only four teams have gone 1-15 after that, and none of them have been in back-to-back seasons.
  • In a single game in 1992, quarterback Browning Nagle threw for nearly 15% of his career yards – a 366 yard performance on opening day against Atlanta (who finished with the worst defense in the NFL). Nagle also threw for 25% of his career touchdown passes in that game – he had two.
  • In 1936, the first ever NFL draft was held. The Pittsburgh Steelers, then named the Pittsburgh Pirates, had nine selections. They selected nine players, but their first, second and third round selections (including a man named William Shakespeare) either chose not to play professional football or never played for the Pirates. Coincidentally, the draft’s first ever choice, halfback Jay Berwanger, also opted not to play professional football.
  • In 1991, the Indianapolis Colts set a record for the fewest points scored in a 16-game season with 143 – just next season, the Seattle Seahawks broke their record by missing a single field goal, bringing their total to 140 and establishing a new record that still stands.
  • Despite finishing 2-14, the 1981 New England Patriots had a W-L projection of (approximately) 7-9.
  • Quarterback Brandon Weeden, the No.22 overall pick in the 2012 draft (who is now playing for Dallas), had the worst passing day of any quarterback since 1970 in his first start according to statistical analysis. Weeden completed 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions and was sacked twice for seven yards.
  • Quarterback Jared Lorenzen went undrafted in 2004, but was picked up by the New York Giants and put in several games for quarterback sneaks – the reasoning behind this was that he weighed 320 pounds, earning him the nickname “the Hefty Lefty”.
  • Super Bowl XXXV featured back-to-back kickoff return touchdowns – predictably the only time this has ever happened, and it also prevented the only shutout in Super Bowl history. The Ravens shut down the Giants 34-7 and didn’t allow a single offensive point.
  • The best single-season turnaround belongs to two teams – the 2008 Dolphins and 1999 Colts, two teams who won ten more games than the season before. The 2007 Dolphins went 1-15 while the 1998 Colts finished 3-13. The biggest single-season dropoff is also ten games, and is also shared by two teams: the 1994 Houston Oilers finished 2-14 after a 12-4 season in 1993, while the second rendition of the franchise, the Texans, finished 2-14 in 2013 despite a 12-4 finish to 2012.
  • Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon was undrafted in 1978 due to prejudice against black quarterbacks. Other quarterbacks selected in this draft include Doug Williams (who was also black), Matt Cavanaugh, and Guy Benjamin.
  • In that same 1978 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals made one of the most atrocious first-round draft picks of all time, selecting kicker Steve Little from Arkansas. Little established an NCAA record by kicking a 67-yard field goal, but went 13 of 27 on field goals and 41 of 51 on extra points during his NFL career and was out of the league after the 1980 season.
  • Wearing a bag on one’s head to celebrate dismal play was introduced in 1980 by New Orleans Saints fans. After an 0-11 start, the team played the Los Angeles Rams at home on Monday Night Football (a game they lost 27-7), and fans began to wear paper bags on their head, explaining “it’s so bad, you can’t even watch, but you poke eye holes just in case something happens.”
  • Quarterback Rusty Lisch, a man who finished his career with no touchdowns and 11 interceptions, was the third string quarterback for the Chicago Bears in 1984 and was thrusted into action against the Green Bay Packers late in the season. Lisch played so poorly (10 of 23, 99 yards, no touchdowns, 1 interception) that head coach Mike Ditka pulled him and made running back Walter Payton fill in at quarterback. Payton went 1 for 4 for 2 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
  • The St. Louis Rams were once the Los Angeles Rams, who were once the Cleveland Rams, a team that played in the AFL, a football league that existed for only two seasons. The Cleveland Rams played only one season, a 5-2-2 effort in 1936, a season that isn’t recognized by the NFL and thus does not impact the franchise’s total W-L record.
  • In 2014, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s rushing yardage total after the course of three mid-season games was more than Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino’s rushing yardage total for his entire 17-season long career.
  • In quarterback bust Ryan Leaf’s rookie season, his touchdown-to-interception mark stood at 2-15.
  • New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams once blamed drugs for a failed drug test: “I got high and forgot I wasn’t supposed to get high.”
  • The 1981 Baltimore Colts still hold the record for points given up in a season with 533. The closest team to approach the record, the 2008 Lions (who went 0-16), gave up 517 points. Only one other team ever gave up more than 500 points in a season, the 1966 New York Giants, who established a curious level of defensive futility: they allowed 501 points in only 14 games, an average of 35.8 per game, including an embarrassing 72-41 defeat to the Washington Redskins.
  • The record for the most offensive yards gained in a single game dates all the way back to 1950, in a game played between the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Yankees (a football team at the time). The Rams gained 636 yards while the Yankees gained 497, setting a record that still stands. The Rams won the game 43-35. The same Rams team in 1950 hung 70 points on the Colts, 65 on the Lions and scored 30 or more points in eight of their games that season – including the postseason.

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