Relive and recapture iconic moments. Recall an anniversary of an event that forever changed the landscape of the NFL. It’s all here in This Week in NFL History. This Week in NFL History will look back at some of the most memorable events that have occurred during this week historically in professional football.
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This Week in NFL History
1958-Defensive end Bruce Smith (Virginia Tech: 1981-84, selected first overall by Buffalo Bills in 1985 NFL Draft; Bills: 1985-99, Redskins: 2000-03) born in Norfolk, Virginia
Career Stats: 1,224 combined tackles (1,075 solo), 200 sacks, two interceptions, two passes defended, 43 forced fumbles, 15 fumbles recovered, one defensive touchdown. Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in career sacks. He was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection (1987-90, 1992-98), a nine-time First-team All-Pro (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992-97), and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (1989, 1998). Smith was the 1990 and 1996 NFL Defensive Player of the Yearn and a member of the NFL 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams. He helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowls (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII). Smith was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility.
1975-Center Jeffrey (Jeff) Saturday (North Carolina: 1994-97, signed with Baltimore Ravens as undrafted free agent in 1998; Colts: 1999-2011, Packers: 2012) born in Atlanta, Georgia
Career Stats: Saturday started 202 of his 211 career NFL games. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection (2005-07, 2009, 2010, 2012), a two-time First-team All-Pro (2005, 2007), and a Second-team All-Pro in 2006. Saturday played in two Super Bowls with Colts: winning Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears and losing Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints. He is currently an analyst with ESPN.
1980-Tight end Antonio Gates (Kent State: 2001-02, signed with San Diego Chargers as undrafted free agent in 2003; Chargers: 2003-present) born in Detroit, Michigan
Career Stats: 897 receptions for 11,192 yards and 111 touchdowns. Gates is an eight-time Pro Bowler (2004-11), a three-time First-team All-Pro (2004-06), and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (2009, 2010). He is the Chargers’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Gates was the ninth player in NFL history (and second tight end) to record 100 career receiving touchdowns and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
1989-Cornerback Christopher (Chris) Harris Jr. (Kansas: 2007-10, signed with Denver Broncos as undrafted free agent in 2011; Broncos: 2011-present) born in Bixby, Oklahoma
Career Stats: 382 combined tackles (331 solo), 3.5 sacks, 14 interceptions, 66 passes defended, four forced fumbles, four fumbles recovered, three defensive touchdowns. Harris was a First-team All-Pro in 2016 and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (2014, 2015). He has been named to three Pro Bowls (2014-16). The Broncos have played in two Super Bowls during Harris’ tenure with the team: a loss in Super Bowl XLVII (that Harris didn’t play in because of injury) and a win in Super Bowl 50.
1994-Wide receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama: 2012-14, selected fourth overall by Oakland Raiders in 2015 NFL Draft; Raiders: 2015-present) born in Miami, Florida
Career Stats: 155 receptions for 2,223 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cooper was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2016.
1924-Offensive/defensive tackle Leo Nomellini (Minnesota: 1947-49, selected 11th overall by San Francisco 49ers in 1950 NFL Draft; 49ers: 1950-63) born in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy (d. 2000)
Career Highlights: Nomellini was the 49ers’ first draft selection. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection (1950-53, 1956-61), a nine-time All-Pro (1951-54, 1957, 1959-62) and was named to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team and the NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Nomellini was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
1942-Tight end Willie Frazier (Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 1960-63, signed with Houston Oilers as undrafted free agent in 1964; Oilers: 1964-65, Chargers: 1966-70, Oilers: 1971, Chiefs: 1971-72, Oilers: 1975) born in El Dorado, Arkansas (d. 2013)
Career Stats: 209 receptions for 3,088 yards and 36 touchdowns. Frazier was a three-time AFL All-Star (1965, 1967, and 1969) and a First-team AFL All-Pro in 1965. He was one of the 4,000 plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuit against the NFL. The lawsuit was tentatively settled for $765 million a week before Frazier’s 2013 death at age 71.
1943–Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers were allowed to merge because of a shortage of players due to service in World War II. The merged team, known officially as Phil-Pitt Combine and called the “Steagles” by fans, divided home games between Philadelphia’s Shibe Park and Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. The combined team went 5-4-1 and dissolved at the conclusion of the 1943 season.
1976-Offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam (San Diego State: 1994-97, selected 199th overall by Atlanta Falcons in 1998 NFL Draft; Falcons: 1998-2001, Broncos: 2002-03, Jaguars: 2004-05, Texans: 2006-08, Lions: 2009, Texans: 2009-10) born in Chicago, Illinois
Career Stats: Salaam started 129 of his 163 career NFL games. He was on the Falcons team that reached Super Bowl XXXIII.
1976-Cornerback Patrick Surtain (Southern Mississippi: 1994-97, selected 44th overall by Miami Dolphins in 1998 NFL Draft; Dolphins: 1998-2004, Chiefs: 2005-2008) born in New Orleans, Louisiana
Career Stats: 533 combined tackles (422 solo), 7.5 sacks, 37 interceptions, 79 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, eight fumbles recovered, two defensive touchdowns. Surtain was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2002-04) and a two-time All-Pro (2002, 2003).
1979-Cornerback Quentin Jammer (Texas: 1997-2001, selected fifth overall by San Diego Chargers in 2002 NFL Draft; Chargers: 2002-12, Broncos: 2013) born in Angleton, Texas
Career Stats: 733 combined tackles (630 solo), 21 interceptions, 141 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, 10 fumbles recovered, two defensive touchdowns. Jammer’s final NFL game was the Broncos’ Super Bowl XLVIII loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
1935-Quarterback Leonard (Len) Dawson (Purdue: 1954-56, selected fifth overall by Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957 NFL Draft; Steelers: 1957-59, Browns: 1960-61, AFL Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs (1962-75) born in Alliance, Ohio
Career Stats: 2,136 completions in 3,741 attempts for 28,711 yards, 239 touchdowns and 183 interceptions. QB Rating: 82.6, Record as Starter: Regular season: 94-57-8 (Texans/Chiefs: 93-56-8, Steelers: 0-1, Browns: 1-0), Postseason: 5-3, Chiefs. Dawson was the 1962 AFL Most Valuable Player, a six-time AFL All-Star (1962, 1964, 1966-69), a Pro Bowl selection in 1970, a two-time First-team AFL All-Pro (1962, 1966), and a two-time Second-team AFL All-Pro (1964, 1968). He led the AFL in passing touchdowns four times (1962, 1963, 1966, 1967). Dawson led the Texans/Chiefs to three AFL Championships (1962, 1966, 1969) and a victory in Super Bowl IV, where was named the game’s MVP. Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
1983-Running back/return specialist Darren Sproles (Kansas State: 2001-04, selected 130th overall by San Diego Chargers in 2005 NFL Draft; Chargers: 2005-10, Saints: 2011-13, Eagles: 2014-present) born in Waterloo, Iowa
Career Stats: 671 carries for 3,305 yards and 22 touchdowns; 525 receptions for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns; 289 punt returns for 2,782 yards and seven touchdowns, 331 kick returns for 8,350 yards and two touchdowns. Sproles had an NFL record 2,696 all-purpose yards in the 2011 season. He has been named to three Pro Bowls (2014-16) and is a two-time First-team All-Pro (2014, 2015).
1989-Quarterback/wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. (Ohio State: 2008-10, selected by Oakland Raiders in the third round of 2011 Supplemental Draft; Raiders: 2011-13, Browns: 2015-16, Redskins: 2017-present) born in Jeanette, Pennsylvania
Career Stats: 175 completions in 311 attempts for 1,994 yards, nine touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. QB rating: 69.3, Record as starter: 3-7; 102 carries for 647 yards and four touchdowns, 79 receptions for 1,071 yards and four touchdowns.
1994–Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson arraigned on murder charges in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman
1930-Offensive tackle Michael (Mike) McCormack (Kansas: 1948-50, selected 34th overall by New York Yanks in 1951 NFL Draft; NFL New York Yanks: 1951, NFL Dallas Texans: 1952, Browns: 1954-62) born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2013)
Career Highlights: McCormack was a six-time Pro Bowl selection (1951, 1956, 1957, 1960-62), won two NFL Championships in 1954 and 1955, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. He entered the coaching ranks at the conclusion of his playing career including head coaching stops with the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-75), Baltimore Colts (1980-81) and Seattle Seahawks (1982). Career Record: 29-51-1 (Eagles: 16-25-1, Colts: 9-23, Seahawks: 4-3). McCormack was also president and general manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers (1993-97).
1986–Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick Bo Jackson signed with Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Jackson was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but refused to play for them because he was told a visit to their team facilities was NCAA-approved when it actually wasn’t, causing Jackson to miss the remainder of Auburn’s baseball season. The Buccaneers forfeited Jackson’s draft rights before the 1987 NFL Draft. Jackson was selected in the seventh round (183rd overall) by the Oakland Raiders.
1960-Tight end John Tice (Maryland: 1979-82, selected 65th overall by New Orleans Saints in 1983 NFL Draft; Saints: 1983-92) born in Bayshore, New York
Career Stats: 158 receptions for 1,603 yards and 15 touchdowns. Tice is the younger brother of former NFL tight end and former Minnesota Vikings head coach John Tice.
1971-Quarterback Kurtis (Kurt) Warner (Northern Iowa: 1989-92, signed with Green Bay Packers as undrafted free agent in 1994; Arena Football League Iowa Barnstormers: 1995-97, NFL Europe Amsterdam Admirals: 1998, Rams: 1998-2003, Giants: 2004, Cardinals: 2005-09) born in Burlington, Iowa
Career Stats: 2,666 completions in 4,070 attempts for 32,344 yards, 208 touchdowns, and 128 interceptions. QB Rating: 93.7, Record as Starter: 67-49 regular season (Rams: 35-15, Giants: 5-4, Cardinals: 27-30), 9-4 postseason (Rams: 5-2, Cardinals: 4-2). Warner is regarded as one of the greatest undrafted free agents in NFL history. He was a two-time NFL Most Valuable Player (1999, 2001), a four-time Pro Bowl selection (1999-2001, 2008), and a two-time First-team All-Pro (1999, 2001). Warner was the quarterback of the Greatest Show on Turf, leading in the NFL in passing touchdowns in 1999 (41) and 2001 (36). He played in two Super Bowls with Rams: winning Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans and losing Super Bowl XXXVI to the New England Patriots. Warner experienced a career renaissance with the Cardinals, leading them to an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII, the franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance. Warner will be a 2017 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is also an analyst for the NFL Network and for Westwood One’s presentation of Monday Night Football.
1978-Cornerback Roland (Champ) Bailey (Georgia: 1996-98, selected seventh overall by Washington Redskins in 1999 NFL Draft; Redskins: 1999-2003, Broncos: 2004-13) born in Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Career Stats: 908 combined tackles (812 solo), three sacks, 52 interceptions, 174 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, six fumbles recovered, four defensive touchdowns. Bailey is a 12-time Pro Bowl selection (2000-07, 2009-12), a six-time First-team All-Pro (2003-07, 2010), and a two-time Second-team All-Pro (2000, 2012). He led the NFL in interceptions in 2006 (10) and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Bailey’s 12 Pro Bowls are the most in NFL history for a cornerback. His final NFL game was the Broncos’ 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.
1925-Owner Arthur (Art) Modell (Browns: 1961-95, Ravens: 1996-2004) born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2012)
Career Highlights: Modell purchased the Browns for $4 million in 1961. Unlike the Browns’ previous ownership, Modell took an active role in the day-to-day operations of the team. In a controversial move, he fired legendary coach and team namesake Paul Brown in 1963. The following season, the Browns won the NFL Championship. It would be the Browns’ last league title, although the Browns did play in seven NFL/AFC Championship Games in the 30 years after the ’64 title. In another controversial move, Modell moved his team to Baltimore for the 1996 season. This was especially problematic because Modell had publicly criticized the Colts’ 1983 move from Baltimore to Indianapolis and testified in favor of the NFL when the league tried to stop Raiders owner Al Davis from moving his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. After a settlement, Modell agreed to leave the Browns’ name, colors, and history in Cleveland and team became the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV under Modell. He sold the team to Steve Biscotti in 2003.
1976-Wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Louisiana-Lafayette: 1994-97, selected 105th overall by Baltimore Ravens in 1999 NFL Draft; Ravens: 1999-2002, Colts: 2003-06, Broncos: 2007-09, Seahawks: 2010, Giants: 2011, Broncos: 2012, Ravens: 2013) born in Blacksburg, Virginia
Career Stats: 397 receptions for 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns. Stokley played on two Super Bowl champion teams: Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens and Super Bowl XLI with the Colts.
1977-Center Shaun O’Hara (Rutgers: 1996-99, signed with Cleveland Browns as undrafted free agent in 2000; Browns: 2000-03, Giants: 2004-10) born in Chicago, Illinois
Career Stats: O’Hara started 135 of his 151 career NFL games. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2008-10), a Second-team All-Pro in 2008. O’Hara won Super Bowl XLII with Giants.
1979-Running back LaDainian (L.T.) Tomlinson (TCU: 1997-2000, selected fifth overall by San Diego Chargers in 2001 NFL Draft; Chargers: 2001-09, Jets: 2010-11) born in Rosebud, Texas
Career Stats: 3,174 carries for 13,684 yards and 145 touchdowns, 624 receptions for 4,772 yards and 17 touchdowns. Tomlinson was the 2006 NFL Most Valuable Player. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (2002, 2004-07), a three-time First-team All-Pro (2004, 2006, 2007), and a three-time Second-team All-Pro. He led the NFL in rushing yards in 2006 (1,815) and 2007 (1,474) and led in the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2004 (17), 2006 (28), and 2007 (15). Tomlinson was selected to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and will be a 2017 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1922–American Professional Football Association (APFA) changed its name into the National Football League (NFL). The Chicago Staleys also changed their name to the Chicago Bears.
1977-Defensive end MeShaunda (Shaun) Ellis (Tennessee: 1996-99, selected 12th overall by New York Jets in 2000 NFL Draft; Jets: 2000-10, Patriots: 2011) born in Anderson, South Carolina
Career Stats: 566 combined tackles (388 solo), 73.5 sacks, one interceptions, 14 passes defended, 13 forced fumbles, five fumbles recovered, one defensive touchdown. Ellis was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2003, 2009). His final NFL game was a Patriots loss in Super Bowl XLVI.
1977-Cornerback Antoine Winfield (Ohio State: 1995-98, selected 23rd overall by Buffalo Bills in 1999 NFL Draft; Bills: 1999-2003, Vikings: 2004-12, Seahawks: 2013) born in Akron, Ohio
Career Stats: 1,057 combined tackles (901 solo), 7.5 sacks, 27 interceptions, 103 passes defended, 14 forced fumbles, 11 fumbles recovered, four defensive touchdowns. Winfield was a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2008-10) and a Second-team All-Pro in 2008.
1987-Linebacker Frederick (Lamarr) Houston (Texas: 2006-09, selected 44th overall by Oakland Raiders in 2010 NFL Draft; Raiders: 2010-13, Bears: 2014-present) born in San Francisco, California
Career Stats: 284 total tackles (217 solo), 25.5 sacks, one interception, six passes defended, four forced fumbles, eight fumbles recovered.