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NFL Facts

  • The New England Patriots' first trip to the Super Bowl was at Super Bowl XX which took place on January 26, 1986 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. They faced the Chicago Bears but lost, 46-10. The NBC telecast of that game got a rating of 48.6, the third highest Nielsen rating of any Super Bowl to date.

  • If the New England Patriots successfully defend their title in Super Bowl XXXIX, they will become the first team to win three Super Bowls in four seasons since the Dallas Cowboys' 1992-95 run.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles' original name was the Frankford Yellowjackets. The team owners Bert Bell and Lud Wray moved the team to Philadelphia in 1933 and changed their name to the Eagles. The Eagles name was taken from the symbol of the National Recovery Administration, a program created by President Franklin Roosevelt as part of his New Deal for the country.

  • In 1941, a unique swap took place between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The clubs traded home cities.

  • The Philadelphia and Pittsburgh franchises combined for the 1943 season due to the manpower shortage created by World War II. The team was called Phil-Pitt Steagles. Greasy Neale of the Eagles and Walt Kiesling of the Steelers were co-coaches and the team finished 5-4-1.

  • Since the 2001 season, the Philadelphia Eagles' attempts at gaining entry to the Super Bowl has always been stopped. In 2001, they fell to the St. Louis Rams 29-24 in the NFC Championship Game. In 2002, they hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and were heavy favorites but eventually lost, 27-10. In 2004, the Eagles faced the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championships, but the Panthers prevailed with the score of 14-3.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles are well known for their famous fight song, 'Fly Eagles Fly'.

  • The New England Patriots, playing as the Boston Patriots in 1960, played in the first-ever game of the American Football League (AFL). They played against the Denver Broncos on September 9, 1960 but lost, 13-10.

  • There are 144 documented Fathers and Sons who have played in the NFL. The more prominent names are the Dorsetts -- Tony (1977-1988) and son Anthony (1996-2003); the Grieses -- Bob (1967-1980) and Brian (1998-present); and the Mannings, all certified QBs -- father Archie (1971-1984) and sons Peyton (1998-present) and Eli (2004-present).

  • Aside from the Manning siblings, there are 294 documented sets of brothers that have played in the NFL. The list includes Jack and Jim Thorpe; Darren and Doug Flutie; David and Mike Shula; and Eric and Randy Moss (half-brothers).

  • The oldest NFL team still in existence is the Cardinals. The Cardinals were founded in 1898 and first played in Chicago where they became known as the Racine Cardinals. They joined the American Professional Football League (precursor of the NFL) in 1920 and became the Chicago Cardinals. In 1960, the Cardinals moved to St. Louis and stayed until 1987. When Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill was unable to convince St. Louis to build a stadium, the Cardinals again packed their bags and moved to Arizona in 1988 and became the Phoenix Cardinals. In 1994, the team was rechristened the Arizona Cardinals.

  • World War II caused player shortages in the NFL; in 1944, the Chicago Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers merged for that year and the combined teams were known as the "Card-Pitts" or "Carpets".

  • The youngest coach to ever head an NFL team in the modern era is Harland Svare who, in 1962, became head coach of the Los Angeles Rams when he was just 31 years old. On the other hand, the oldest football player to ever play in the NFL was George Blanda, who in 1975, played for the Oakland Raiders when he was already 48 years of age.

  • The penalty flag was first used by NFL officials in 1948. Wireless microphones were first used by referees in 1975. The 30-second clock between plays was first used in 1976. Instant replays were first used on a regular basis in 1986.

  • The first NFL game that ended in overtime was played on August 28, 1955 in a preseason game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants. The Rams won 23-17. The first overtime NFL Championship game occurred on December 28, 1958 where the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants, 23-17.

  • Several NFL teams have yet to taste a Super Bowl victory since the first Super Bowl was held on January 15, 1967. The Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks, and the newer franchises Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans all have yet to win the Super Bowl crown.

  • The first organized football game (American football as we know it today) was held on November 6, 1869 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The game pitted Princeton against Rutgers. With twenty-five players on each side and no officials, the game was played on a 120 yard by 75 yard field, using a soccer-style round ball. Rutgers won that game 6-4. The two teams had dinner together afterwards.

  • The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl for the first time in 2002. They defeated the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams and finally brought home a championship title after 42 years of existence.

  • The beginnings of the New England Patriots can be traced back to November 16, 1959, when a group of Boston businessmen led by former public relations executive William H. "Billy" Sullivan, Jr. was awarded the eighth and final franchise in the new American Football League (AFL).

  • Northwestern University running back Ron Burton earned the distinction of being selected as the new franchise's first draft choice while Syracuse running back Gerhardt Schwedes was selected as the team's first territorial choice.

  • The franchise's original name was the Boston Patriots. It was chosen from among thousands of entries submitted to a public contest. Seventy-four entries suggested the winning name. In March 1971, the team was renamed the New England Patriots.

  • The roots of the Carolina Panthers can be traced back to July 16, 1987 when former NFL player Jerry Richardson met with a group of interested parties in Charlotte, N.C. to discuss the feasibility of entering the multi-city competition for two NFL expansion franchises. On December 15 of that year, Richardson officially announced an NFL franchise bid for the Carolinas. October 26, 1993 after much outpouring of support, including those lent by top US political leaders, NFL owners unanimously selected Carolina as the 29th NFL franchise. The Carolina Panthers became the first NFL expansion team since 1976.

  • The Panthers won their very first game when they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-14, in the 1995 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

  • In their inaugural season, the Carolina Panthers not only were highly competitive but even established an NFL mark for most wins by an expansion team. They posted an impressive 7-9 record, more than doubling the previous expansion-best mark of three victories.

  • The Carolina Panthers became the first expansion team in League history to defeat a defending Super Bowl champion. They upset the San Francisco 49ers, 13-7, in their November 5, 1995 encounter at 3Com Park.

  • The AFL team originally located in Boston, chose the name "Patriots" to honor the area's heritage as the cradle of the American Revolution.

  • New York's original AFL team was called the Titans. However, when Sonny Werblin took over the franchise in 1963, he changed the team name to "Jets" to reflect the team's modern approach to the game.

  • The name "49ers" was selected in recognition of the adventurous spirit of the 1849 gold rush in the Sierra Nevada mountains near San Francisco.

  • The name "Seahawks" was chosen from a contest that drew 20,365 entries which suggested 1,742 different names. "Seahawks" was suggested by 151 entrants and judged by the team owners as the best choice.

  • The name "Saints" was the popular choice of fans in a contest. However, the New Orleans team would most likely have been called the Saints anyway. The franchise was awarded on All Saints Day, November 1, 1966. New Orleans is also famous as the city of jazz and the famous marching song, "When the Saints Go Marching In."

  • "Broncos" was the winning entry in a fan contest held in 1960 by the original AFL team. "Broncos" was also the name of Denver's 1921 entry in the Midwest Baseball League.

  • Carolina's team name "Panthers" was selected by Mark Richardson, son of owner Jerry Richardson. Mark also suggested the team colors of black, blue and silver.

  • More than 1,300 entries were received for the contest to name the Atlanta team. Several entries suggested the name "Falcons" but a schoolteacher's entry was declared the winner because of her reason that the falcon is proud and dignified with great courage to fight.

  • The nickname for Baltimore's team was selected in honor of famous poet Edgar Allan Poe who penned his haunting poem, "The Raven", while living in Baltimore.