Football Friday

Football Friday at The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Football Friday is an ongoing series that brings you all sorts of cool things related to America’s sport. In each post you can see excellent things like classic NFL game footage, old game programs, football cards, and anything else pigskin-related. I also cover college football and the AFL as well.

All-Time NFL Franchise Rankings, 2014 Edition

All-Time NFL Franchise Rankings, 2014 Edition

Football Friday, Sports
With training camp upon us and the 2014 NFL season just around the corner, it's time to revisit my list ranking all 32 franchises from best to worst. For reference, here is last year's list. And don't forget to check out all my other fantastic sports lists as well! I didn't see the need to introduce any major changes to my calculation system, other than to penalize teams for losing seasons. Also, I did go back and correct some data entry errors I discovered. None of this had a noticeable impact on the rankings, as no team moved more than two places from the 2013 list. The Criteria The categories and point values are as follows: 25 points for a championship game/Super Bowl win, 15 points for a championship game/Super Bowl loss (starting in 1932). 5 points for a season with a play
Sports Graveyard: Hartford Knights

Sports Graveyard: Hartford Knights

Football Friday, Sports
Several months ago I shared the story of the Indianapolis Caps, a minor league football team that played in the old Continental Football League in the late 1960s. This post concerns the Caps' next home, the Atlantic Coast Football League, which operated from 1962 until 1973. The Caps moved to the ACFL for the 1970 season and folded operations after that year. Here we have a program from early in the year, between the Caps and the Hartford Knights. The Knights, who were by this time aligned with the AFL's Buffalo Bills, were one of the ACFL's stronger squads. They met the Caps for a Saturday night game at Dillon Stadium in Hartford on September 5, 1970. I've been unable to track down the result of this game, but I think it's enough to just enjoy this very neat program cover fro
Pennant Fever #3: 1966 Atlanta Falcons

Pennant Fever #3: 1966 Atlanta Falcons

Auction Finds, Football Friday, Sports
Since their founding in 1966, the Atlanta Falcons have maintained a fairly consistent brand identity. Sure, colors change and logos are modified, but the basic look has remained intact. So that's why I was surprised to see this pennant on eBay, purportedly from the team's inaugural season. Almost nothing from this pennant seems to have found its way into the team's branding, apart from the shade of red. That makes me wonder if this wasn't produced before the logo and wordmark for the team was ever made public. I don't know what the lead time was for pennant manufacturing but I'm guessing this is the case. Another possible explanation is that this was a prototype logo that lost out to the now-familiar one. Either way, it's another fascinating piece of 1960s NFL memorabilia. ...
Pennant Fever #2: 1973 Philadelphia Eagles

Pennant Fever #2: 1973 Philadelphia Eagles

Auction Finds, Football Friday, Sports
Now here's a curious one. At a glance this just looks like an ordinary vintage Philadelphia Eagles pennant, right? Attentive Eagles fans, however, might notice something different with this pennant. It features the short-lived white helmet with green wings design, which the team only used from 1969 through 1973. But it also has the Eagles wordmark that Philly didn't start using until the 1973 season (at least according to Chris Creamer's site). That makes this pennant not only a rather unique specimen, but easy to date as well. Unless some printer really goofed, this could only have been produced in 1973, possibly early '74 depending on when the white helmets were ditched. Personally I like the white helmets, but that's a topic for another post. Don’t forget to check ou
Football Friday: Thanksgiving’s Best NFL Teams

Football Friday: Thanksgiving’s Best NFL Teams

Football Friday, Sports
Thanksgiving turkey and the National Football League -- one of the finest traditions in all of American sports. And, as it turns out, one of the longest-lived as well. Since the NFL's inception in 1920, at least one game has been played every Thanksgiving, and since 2006 three are played. Most fans associate the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys with the now-dubbed Thanksgiving Classic series, and for good reason. The Lions and Cowboys have played the most Thanksgiving games ever, with 72 and 44 respectively through the 2012 season. Following behind are the Green Bay Packers (34), Chicago Bears (31), and Arizona Cardinals (23). Of these five teams, however, only the Cowboys and Bears sport a winning Thanksgiving record. Here are the ten NFL teams with the most wins and highest win...
Here’s Some Neat Late ’60s NFL and AFL Pins

Here’s Some Neat Late ’60s NFL and AFL Pins

Auction Finds, Football Friday, Sports
Based on a number of things I see in this photo of classic AFL/NFL pins, I'm guessing these were produced between 1968 and 1971. The reason I'm guessing '68 at the earliest is that we have a Cincinnati Bengals pin, and they didn't start play in the AFL until that year. Likewise, the Boston Patriots changed their name to New England Patriots in the spring of 1971, so it seems unlikely that these were produced after then. Elsewhere, we've got some sweet old logos for the 49ers, Rams, Oilers, Cardinals, and Packers.
Sports Graveyard: Indianapolis Capitols

Sports Graveyard: Indianapolis Capitols

Football Friday, Sports
I ran across this interesting pin while looking for old sports memorabilia, and was immediately intrigued. The only football team I ever thought called Indianapolis home is the Colts. So who were the Indianapolis Caps? Turns out the Caps -- actually the Indianapolis Capitols -- were a member of the short-lived Continental Football League. The CFL began play in 1965, five seasons after the American Football League, and folded after the 1969 season. The Caps joined the league in 1966 as the Montreal Beavers before moving to Indiana two years later. In their first year in Indianapolis, the Caps won the Central Division with an 8-4 record. They repeated that record in the league's final season, but managed to also win the last-ever CFL championship by beating the San Antonio Toros. ...
Jack Kirby’s 1973 NFL Artwork Is Fantastic, Trippy As Hell

Jack Kirby’s 1973 NFL Artwork Is Fantastic, Trippy As Hell

Football Friday, Sports
It's hard to believe now, but in the early '70s the National Football League wasn't nearly as stifled and humorless as it is now. As proof of that, I present these pieces of original, commissioned artwork drawn by the legendary Jack Kirby for the NFL in 1973. These fantastic illustrations were included as part of the October 21, 1973 issue of Pro!, the official magazine of the National Football League that was sold at every game, in a piece entitled "Out of Mind's Reach." They depict, among other things, futuristic versions of NFL players in action. I think my favorite one is for the Packers, who have somehow adopted an aquatic theme. Perhaps Wisconsin has warmed enough in the future to make that a practical move.
Behold These Vintage NFL Team Pennants from the Early 1950s

Behold These Vintage NFL Team Pennants from the Early 1950s

Auction Finds, Football Friday, Sports
I stumbled across this beautiful set of six NFL team pennants recently, and had to share. The listing states that these are from the 1940s and '50s, but I suspect they all probably date from either 1950 or 1951. I say this because of the pennant for the New York Yanks, a now-defunct franchise that played as the New York Yanks, New York Bulldogs, and Dallas Texans (not the same as the AFL Texans of the '60s). The Yanks only existed under that moniker for the 1950 and '51 seasons, so no way the pennant was made before then. Likewise, the San Francisco 49ers didn't join the NFL until 1950. And while it's possible the pennants for the Rams, Steelers, Packers, and Lions pre-date 1950 I don't think they do. Click on the image for the full-size version, and enjoy some vintage mid-centur...