This Week in NFL History: March 19 through March 25

Aug. 15, 1971; Foxborough, MA, USA; The first event at a newly constructed Schaefer Stadium was an NFL exhibition game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. Schaefer Stadium (later known as Sullivan Stadium and Foxboro Stadium) would be the Patriots' home field from 1971 to 2001. On Feb, 19, 1971, Patriots founder/owner Billy Sullivan announced a name change from Boston Patriots to Bay State Patriots. The name change wasn't approved by NFL owners because the team's name could have been abbreviated B.S. Patriots. On Mar. 22, 1971, the name was changed to the current New England Patriots. The name change reflected a desire to make the team appeal regionally as well as a disagreement between the team and the city of Boston regarding a new stadium that preceded the team's move to Foxborough. The Patriots beat the Giants in their first game at Schaefer 20-14. Photo Credit: The Boston Globe

This Week in NFL History is a weekly feature that will look back at some of the most memorable events that have occurred during the week in the history of professional football. Each nugget is a tidbit of information that is connected to the NFL by great moments of the past. Relive and recapture some of the NFL’s most iconic moments. It’s all here in This Week in NFL History.


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This Week in NFL History

March 19

1914:  Halfback John Jacob (Jay) Berwanger (Chicago: 1933-35) born in Dubuque, Iowa (d. 2002). Berwanger was the first recipient of the Heisman Trophy (1935) and the first player taken in the inaugural (1936) NFL Draft though he didn’t play professionally
1939:  Quarterback Joseph (Joe) Kapp (College: California, CFL Calgary Stampeders: 1959-60, CFL BC Lions: 1961-66, Vikings: 1967-69, Patriots: 1970) born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kapp is the only player in history to quarterback the Rose Bowl (1959), Grey Cup (1963, 1964), and Super Bowl (IV)
1958:  Head coach Andrew (Andy) Reid (Eagles: 1999-2012, Chiefs: 2013-present) born in Los Angeles, California. Reid is Eagles all-time winningest coach (130), leading them to four consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances (2001-04) and one Super Bowl (XXXIX), Career record: 184-125-1 (Eagles: 130-93-1, Chiefs: 43-21). Postseason record: 11-12 (Eagles: 10-9, Chiefs: 1-3)
1970:  Quarterback Richard (Rick) Mirer (Notre Dame: 1989-92, Seahawks: 1993-96, Bears: 1997, Jets: 1999, 49ers: 2000-01, Raiders: 2002-03) born in Goshen, Indiana. Career stats: 1,088 completions in 2,043 attempts for 11,969 yards, 50 touchdowns and 76 interceptions. Career QB rating: 63.5
1979:  Cornerback Sheldon Brown (South Carolina: 1998-2001, Eagles: 2002-09, Browns: 2010-12) born in Lancaster, South Carolina. Career stats: 602 tackles, eight sacks, 133 passes defended, nine forced fumbles, 26 interceptions, and four defensive touchdowns. Brown played in Super Bowl (XXXIX) with Eagles
1984:  Defensive tackle Barry Cofield (Northwestern: 2002-05, Giants: 2006-10, Redskins: 2011-14, Giants: 2015) born in Cleveland, Ohio. Career stats: 310 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 26 passes defended, three forced fumbles. Cofield won Super Bowl (XLII) with Giants
1986:  Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (Marshall: 2004-06, Giants: 2007-12, Colts: 2013-15) born in Bluefield, Virginia. Career stats: 1,083 carries for 4,928 yards and 36 touchdowns; 187 receptions for 1,493 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bradshaw won two Super Bowls (XLII, XLVI) with Giants
1990:  Quarterback Erik (EJ) Manuel (Florida State: 2008-12, Bills: 2013-16, Raiders: 2017-present) born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Career stats: 319 completions in 547 attempts for 3,502 yards, 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Career QB rating: 77.5
1991:  Tackle John Russell (Russ) Thomas (Ohio State: 1942-45, Lions: 1946-49) died at age 66 in Naples. Florida (b. 1924). Thomas was an assistant coach on two Lions NFL championship teams (1952, 1953) and Lions general manager (1967-89)
1991:  NFL owners voted to strip Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona of hosting Super Bowl XXVII because of controversy surrounding Arizona’s refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day. Super Bowl XXVII was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California

March 20

1948:  Running back Arthur (Art) Malone (Arizona State: 1967-69, Falcons: 1970-74, Eagles: 1975-76) born in Tyler, Texas (d. 2012). Career stats: 635 attempts for 2,457 yards and 19 touchdowns; 161 receptions for 1,465 yards and six touchdowns
1958:  Linebacker Rickey Jackson (Pittsburgh: 1977-80, Saints: 1981-93, 49ers: 1994-95) born in Pahokee, Florida. Career stats: 1,173 tackles, 128 sacks, eight interceptions. Jackson was six-time Pro Bowler (1983-86, 1992, 1993), four-time First-team All-Pro (1986, 1987, 1992, 1993), and two-time Second-team All-Pro (1984, 1985). Jackson won Super Bowl (XXIX) with 49ers and inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (2010)
1958:  Cornerback Mark Lee (Washington: 1977-79, Packers: 1980-90, 49ers: 1991, Saints: 1991) born in Hanford, California. Career stats: 31 interceptions
1962:  Defensive tackle Rick Bryan (Oklahoma: 1981-83, Falcons: 1984-93) born in Tulsa, Oklahoma (d. 2009). Career stats: 29 sacks
1985:  Punter Britton Colquitt (Tennessee: 2005-08, Broncos: 2009-15, Browns: 2016-present) born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Career stats: 555 punts for 25,088 yards, average 45.2 yards per punt, 171 punts inside 20, longest punt: 67 yards.

March 21

1937:  Quarterback Thomas (Tom) Flores (Pacific: 1955-57, Raiders: 1960-66, Bills: 1967-1969, Chiefs: 1969) born in Fresno, California. Career stats: 838 completions in 1,715 attempts for 11,959 yards, 93 touchdowns, and 92 interceptions. Flores was head coach of Raiders (1979-87) and Seahawks (1992-94). Career record: 97-87 (Raiders 83-53, Seahawks 14-34). Postseason record: 8-3. He was the first person in NFL history to win Super Bowl as player (IV), assistant coach (XI with Raiders), and head coach (XV, XVIII)
1946:  Los Angeles Rams signed running back Kenny Washington, the first African American player to sign with an NFL team in the modern era
1961:  Businessman Art Modell purchased the Cleveland Browns for a then-record $4,000,000
1969:  Defensive tackle James Jones (Northern Iowa: 1987-90, Browns: 1991-94, Broncos: 1995, Ravens: 1996-98, Lions: 1999-2001) born in Davenport, Iowa. Career stats: 373 tackles, 37 sacks
1976:  Offensive tackle Lonnie (L.J.) Shelton (Eastern Michigan: 1995-98, Cardinals: 1999-2004, Browns: 2005, Dolphins: 2006-07, Chargers: 2008) born in Corvallis, Oregon. Shelton started in 127 of 146 career games
1984:  NFL owners passed rule in which an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is assessed for any prolonged, excessive, or premeditated celebration by a player or group of players. This rule was nicknamed the “Mark Gastineau rule” after the New York Jets defensive end who performed a “Sack Dance” after he sacked a quarterback
1985:  Running back Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma: 2003-06, Vikings: 2007-16) born in Palestine, Texas. Career stats: 2,418 attempts for 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns; 241 receptions for 1,945 yards and five touchdowns
1987:  Running back Jonathan Stewart (Oregon: 2004-07, Panthers: 2008-present) born in Fort Lewis, Washington. Career stats: 1,501 attempts for 6,638 yards and 45 touchdowns; 154 receptions for 1,243 yards and six touchdowns
1989:  Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (Iowa: 2007-09, Packers: 2010-present) born in Barrington, Illinois. Bulaga started in 76 of 80 career games
2001:  Defensive lineman Billy Ray Smith Sr. (Arkansas: 1954-56, Rams: 1957, Steelers: 1958-60, Colts: 1961-70) died at age 66 in Little Rock, Arkansas (b. 1935). Smith played in two Super Bowls with Colts, losing Super Bowl III to Jets and winning Super Bowl V against Dallas Cowboys. Father of former NFL linebacker Billy Ray Smith Jr.
2012:  Head coach Ronald (Ron) Erhardt (Patriots: 1979-81) died at age 81 in Boca Raton, Florida (b. 1931). Career record: 21-28. Erhardt was offensive coordinator for Giants (1982-90), Steelers (1992-95), and Jets (1996-97). He won two Super Bowls (XXI, XXV) with Giants and reached another (XXX) with Steelers
2013:  Wide receiver Harlon Hill (North Alabama: 1950-53, Bears: 1954-61, Steelers: 1962, Lions: 1962) died at age 80 in Florence, Alabama (b. 1932). Career stats: 233 receptions for 4,717 yards and 40 touchdowns. Hill was 1955 NFL Most Valuable Player, two-time First-team All-Pro (1955, 1956) and three-time Pro Bowler (1954-56)
2015:  Linebacker and center Charles (Chuck) Bednarik (Pennsylvania: 1946-48, Eagles: 1949-62) died at age 89 in Richland, Pennsylvania (b. 1925). Bednarik was a 10-time First-team All-Pro (1950-57, 1960, 1961) and eight-time Pro Bowler (1950-56, 1960). He was a member of the NFL 1950’s All-Decade and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Teams. Bednarik won two NFL Championships (1949, 1960) and was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1967). He was most famous for knocking Giants halfback/wide receiver Frank Gifford out during a 1960 game, causing a severe head injury that caused Gifford to retire.

March 22

1952:  Sportscaster Bob Costas born in Queens, New York. Costas is the host of NBC’s Football Night in America (2006-present)
1960:  Offensive tackle James (Jimbo) Covert (Pittsburgh: 1978-82, Bears: 1983-91) born in Conway, Pennsylvania. Covert started 110 of 111 career games. He was two-time First-team All-Pro (1985, 1986), two-time Pro Bowler (1985, 1986), and member of NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Covert won Super Bowl (XX) with Bears
1969:  Defensive tackle Russell Maryland (Miami {FL}: 1987-90, Cowboys: 1991-95, Raiders: 1996-99, Packers: 2000) born in Chicago, Illinois. Career Stats: 375 tackles, 24.5 sacks, an interception, nine forced fumbles, and a return for touchdown. Maryland won three Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) with Cowboys and selected to the Pro Bowl (1993)
1971:  Boston Patriots renamed New England Patriots
1973:  Defensive tackle Luther Elliss (Utah: 1991-94, Lions: 1995-2003, Broncos: 2004) born in Mancos, Colorado. Career Stats: 211 tackles, 29 sacks, four forced fumbles. Elliss was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1999, 2000)
1977:  Linebacker Joseph (Joey) Porter (Colorado State: 1995-98, Steelers: 1999-2006, Dolphins: 2007-09, Cardinals: 2010-11) born in Kansas City, Missouri. Career Stats: 595 tackles, 98 sacks, 38 passes defended, 12 interceptions, 22 forced fumbles. Porter was four-time Pro Bowler (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008), two-time First-team All Pro (2002, 2008), two-time Second-team All Pro (2004-2005), and won Super Bowl (XL) with Steelers. Served as Steelers defensive assistant (2014) and Steelers outside linebackers coach (2015-present)
1985:  Cornerback Mike Jenkins (South Florida: 2004-07, Cowboys: 2008-12, Raiders: 2013, Buccaneers: 2014-15, Cardinals: 2016) born in Neuenburg am Rhein, West Germany. Career Stats: 244 tackles, 54 passes defended, 10 interceptions, two forced fumbles
1988:  Running back Christopher (Chris) Ivory (Washington State/Tiffin: 2006-09, Saints: 2010-12, Jets: 2013-15, Jaguars: 2016-present) born in Longview, Texas. Career Stats: 1,000 attempts for 4,470 yards and 27 touchdowns; 73 receptions for 568 touchdowns and two touchdowns
1989:  Defensive end Justin James (J.J.) Watt (Central Michigan/Wisconsin: 2008-10, Texans: 2011-present) born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Career Stats: 379 tackles, 76 sacks, 45 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles, an interception, a return for a touchdown, and a safety
1989:  Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced retirement after nearly 30 years. Under Rozelle, the NFL grew from 12 teams to 28 with sizable revenues from broadcast networks in spite of two players’ strikes and competition from two separate leagues. Rozelle was succeeded by Paul Tagliabue
2011:  Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor plead guilty to charges of sexual misconduct for allegedly paying a 16-year-old girl $300 to have sex with him. Taylor was sentenced to six years probation and required to register as a sex offender

March 23

1923:  Defensive tackle Arnold (Arnie) Weinmeister (Washington: 1941-42, Washington: 1946-47, AAFC New York Yankees: 1948-49, Giants: 1950-53) born in Rhein, Saskatchewan (d. 2000). Weinmeister was six-time All-Pro (1948-53), four-time Pro Bowl (1950-53), and one of the first defensive players to capture the fans’ attention the way offensive players do. He was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1984). Weinmeister’s six-year professional career is the shortest of any player enshrined
1951:  Quarterback Ronald (Ron) Jaworski (Youngstown State: 1969-72, Rams: 1973-76, Eagles: 1977-86, Dolphins: 1987-88, Chiefs: 1989) born in Lackawanna, New York. Career Stats: 2,187 completions in 4,117 attempts for 28,190 yards, 179 touchdowns, and 164 interceptions. Career QB rating: 72.8. Jaworski led Eagles to first Super Bowl appearance (XV). He retired as NFL’s all-time leader in most consecutive starts by a quarterback (116) and most touchdowns in Eagles franchise history (170). Jaworski began his career as sportscaster while he was still playing. He has been with ESPN since 1990, most notably as the color commentator for Monday Night Football (2007-12).
1970:  Wide receiver Carl Pickens (Tennessee: 1989-91, Bengals: 1992-99, Titans: 2000) born in Murphy, North Carolina. Career Stats: 540 receptions for 7,129 yards and 63 touchdowns. Pickens was Offensive Rookie of the Year (1992), two-time Second-team All-Pro (1995, 1996) and two-time Pro Bowler (1995, 1996)
1976:  Center Jeremy Newberry (California: 1994-97, 49ers: 1998-2006, Raiders: 2007, Chargers: 2008) born in Antioch, California. Newberry was a First-team All-Pro (2002), two-time Pro Bowl (2001, 2002) and started 107 of 120 career games
1977:  Center Bradley (Brad) Meester (Northern Iowa: 1996-99, Jaguars: 2000-13) born in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Meester started in all 209 of his career games
1984:  Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (Central Florida: 2002-05, Broncos: 2006-09, Dolphins: 2010-11, Bears: 2012-14, Jets: 2015-16, Giants: 2017-present) born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Career Stats: 941 receptions for 12,061 yards and 82 touchdowns; 20 carries for 118 yards
1985:  Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (UCLA: 2003-05, Jaguars: 2006-13, Raiders: 2014) born in Oakland, California. Career Stats: 1,847 carries for 8,167 yards and 68 touchdowns; 346 receptions for 2,944 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jones-Drew was three-time Pro Bowler (2009-11), two-time First-team All-Pro (2010, 2011) and second-team All-Pro (2009). Jones-Drew also led the NFL in rushing yards (2011)

March 24

1947:  Head coach Dennis Erickson (Seahawks: 1995-98, 49ers: 2003-04) born in Everett, Washington. Career record: 40-56 (Seahawks: 31-33, 49ers: 9-23)
1950:  Sports agent Gary Wichard born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2011). Wichard founded Pro Tect Management Corporation in 1979. His clients included Jamaal Anderson, Keith Bulluck, Calais Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Chris Cooley, Antonio Cromartie, Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney, Tommy Kelly, C.J. Spiller, Darren Sproles, Terrell Suggs, and Jason Taylor
1970:  Kicker Michael (Mike) Vanderjagt (West Virginia: 1988-91, CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders: 1993-94, CFL Toronto Argonauts: 1996-97, Colts: 1998-2005, Cowboys: 2006, CFL Toronto Argonauts: 2008) born in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Career NFL Stats: 230 field goals made in 266 attempts (86.5 percent). Career CFL Stats: 112 field goals made in 150 attempts (74.7 percent). Vanderjagt was All-Pro (2003) and made Pro Bowl (2003). He is third most-accurate kicker in NFL and CFL history with at least 100 field goal attempts.
1976:  Quarterback Peyton Manning (Tennessee: 1994-97, Colts: 1998-2011, Broncos: 2012-15) born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Career Stats: 6,125 completions in 9,380 attempts for 71,940 yards, 539 touchdowns, and 251 interceptions; 431 carries for 667 yards and 18 touchdowns. Manning is a seven-time First-team All-Pro (2003-2005, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), three-time Second-team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2006), five-team NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013), and 14-time Pro Bowler (1999, 2000, 2002-2010, 2012-14). Manning won two Super Bowls (XLI, 50), a Super Bowl MVP (XLI), and played in two other Super Bowls (XLIV, XLVIII). Manning holds NFL records in career passing yards, career passing touchdowns, season passing yards (5,477 in 2013) and season passing touchdowns (55 in 2013)
1981:  Safety Michael (Mike) Adams (Delaware: 2000-03, 49ers: 2004-06, Browns: 2007-11, Broncos: 2012-13, Colts: 2014-16, Panthers: 2017-present) born in Paterson, New Jersey. Career Stats: 783 tackles, six sacks, 25 interceptions, 67 passes defended, two returns for a touchdown, 11 forced fumbles
1988:  San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts announced his retirement. Fouts spent his entire 15-year NFL career with Chargers and retired as Chargers all-time leader in passing yards (43,040) and touchdowns (254)
1990:  Linebacker Daniel (Danny) Trevathan (Kentucky: 2008-11, Broncos: 2012-15, Bears: 2016-present) born in Youngstown, Ohio. Career Stats: 348 tackles, four sacks, 23 passes defended, five interceptions, and three forced fumbles
2016:  Defensive lineman Julius Adams (Texas Southern: 1967-70, Patriots: 1971-85, 1987) died at age 67 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Adams was selected to Pro Bowl (1980) and played in a Super Bowl (XX) He played in 206 games for Patriots, third-most in franchise history, with 158 starts and 19 sacks. Father of former NFL linebacker Keith A. Adams
2016:  Running back Paul (Kevin) Turner (Alabama: 1988-91, Patriots: 1992-94, Eagles: 1995-99) died at age 46 in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Career Stats: 160 carries for 635 yards and a touchdown; 236 receptions for 2,015 yards and 10 touchdowns

March 25

1918:  Sportscaster Howard Cosell born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (d. 1995). Cosell was color commentator on ABC’s Monday Night Football (1970-83)
1968:  Linebacker Dixon Edwards (Michigan State: 1987-90, Cowboys: 1991-95, Vikings: 1996-98) born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Career Stats: 573 tackles, 7.5 sacks, two interceptions, 19 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, and four fumbles recovered. Edwards won three Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) with Cowboys
1975:  Defensive tackle Joe Salave’a (Arizona: 1994-97, Oilers/Titans: 1998-2001, Ravens: 2003, Chargers: 2003, Redskins: 2004-06) born in Leone, American Samoa. Career Stats: 88 tackles, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four passes defended. Salave’a played in Super Bowl (XXXIV) for Titans
1977:  Defensive tackle Fred Robbins (Wake Forest: 1996-99, Vikings: 2000-03, Giants: 2004-09, Rams: 2010-11) born in Pensacola, Florida. Career Stats: 360 tackles, 35.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, 25 passes defended, and three interceptions. Robbins won Super Bowl (XLII) with Giants
1983:  Quarterback Robert (Bob) Waterfield (UCLA: 1942, 1944, Rams: 1945-52) died at age 62 in Burbank, California (b. 1920). Career Stats: 814 completions in 1,617 attempts for 11,849 yards, 97 touchdowns, and 128 interceptions. Waterfield won two NFL Championships (1945, 1951) and an NFL MVP (1945). He was a three-time First-team All-Pro (1945, 1946, 1949), two-time Pro Bowler (1950, 1951), led the NFL in passing touchdowns (1945, 1946), and a member of the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. Waterfield was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1965) and was Rams head coach (1960-62)
1981:  Linebacker Niko Koutouvides (Purdue: 2000-03, Seahawks: 2004-07, Broncos: 2008, Buccaneers: 2009-10, Patriots: 2011-12) born in New Britain, Connecticut. Career Stats: 164 tackles, one sack, one pass defended, one forced fumble, Koutouvides played in Super Bowl (XLVI) for Patriots
1989:  Defensive end Allen Bailey (Miami {FL}: 2007-10, Chiefs: 2011-present) born in Sapelo Island, Georgia. Career Stats: 131 tackles, 11.5 sacks, six passes defended, two forced fumbles
2014:  Owner Ralph Wilson (Bills: 1959-2014) died at age 95 in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan (b. 1918). Wilson was one of the founding owners of the American Football League, the last of the AFL’s original owners to own his team, and the third-longest tenured owner in NFL history. Under Wilson, the Bills won two AFL Championships (1964, 1965) and four AFC Championships (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993). He was a minority owner of Lions (1959) and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee (2009)

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for cover32 and covers the NFL and New York Giants, like and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @TheArmchrAnlyst.

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