Pro football in New York reaches historic low

namath1974

Considering all the lousy years of football in New York, this may be the worst season yet.

On Sunday, the Giants (2-7) meet the Jets (1-7) for  bragging rights…if that’s what you want to call it. Not much to brag about for either team.

Since the Giants and Jets first met in 1970, their worst combined record occurred in 1976, when each team finished 3-11. Joe Namath led the Jets, and Craig Morton quarterbacked the Giants that year.

In 1973, the Giants were 2-11-1 and the Jets 4-10. In 1980, each club finished 4-12, two years after the NFL went to the current 16-game schedule.

The past two seasons have been a calamity for both teams. The Giants wound up 3-13 and the Jets 5-11 in 2017; last year, Big Blue went 5-11 and the Jets 4-12. Phew!!

The worst single season head-to-head matchup occurred in 1974, when the Jets won 26-20 in overtime (both teams were 2-7 following the game). Namath, pictured above, scored on a fourth quarter rollout to tie the game in the Yale Bowl before Emerson Boozer ran it in from five yards out in overtime.

In 1996, the teams entered winless at 0-3 and the Giants won 13-6. The Jets and Giants were bad then, and they’re worse now. Time to bring out the paper bags.


The most unlikely Super Bowl QBs

Baltimore’s Trent Dilfer may have been the least likely quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Yeah right, back in September you figured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick were going to be the starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. You and all the other experts.

The list of quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl is a long and glorious one. Many of the game’s greatest QBs  have flourished under the bright lights of football’s ultimate game.

Bart Starr, MVP in the first two Super Bowls, kicks off the list. He joins a Hall of Fame Super Bowl QB lineup that includes such legends as Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach. Bob Griese, Dan Marino, John Elway, Troy Aikman, and someday Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Joe Montana was a three-time Super Bowl MVP; Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning have all won two.

And don’t forget Fran Tarkenton, who was the losing quarterback in three Super Bowls and Jim Kelly who topped that with four SB losses. Both are Hall of Famers.

But that list also has some surprises, including this year’s matchup. At least four quarterbacks defied common logic to win Super Bowls. Others got to the Super Bowl, but lost. They are the unlikeliest starting QBs in Super Bowl history.

Winners

Jeff Hostetler — A back-up for much of his career, Hostetler stepped into the breech when Phil Simms broke his foot near the end of the season — and piloted  the Giants to a dramatic 20-19 win over Buffalo in SB25.

Mark Rypien — The MVP of SB26, Rypien, right,  passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins beat Buffalo 37-24. Two years later he was banished to the bench, then to Cleveland. (Hey, try winning with the Browns).

Trent Dilfer — Dilfer played for five teams in a 13-year career and never threw more than 21 TDs in a season. In his one-year with Baltimore he beat the Giants in SB35 despite a pedestrian 12 for 25, 153-yard effort

Brad Johnson — A ninth round draft pick out of Florida State, Johnson did throw for 166 TDs in an otherwise mediocre career. Helped by three pick sixes by the Tampa Bay defense, he led the Bucs to their only SB victory in 2003.

Losers

Vince Ferragamo — He threw 30 TD passes and led the Los Angeles Rams to SB14  in 1980, where they lost to Pittsburgh 31-19.  Ferragamo had a decent game in what turned out to be the high point of his career.

David Woodley — Woodstock as he was affectionately known in South Florida. was 4-for-14 for a mere 97 yards in Miami’s 27-17 loss to the Redskins in SB17. Two years later Dan Marino arrived. End of story.

Stan Humphries — Perhaps the most unlikely starter in Super Bowl history, Humphries’ Chargers were victimized by the 49ers, 49-26, in SB29. Three years later he was out of the league.

Chris Chandler — Chandler had a long NFL career, but never came close to equalling his 1998 season when he threw 25 TD passes and took the Falcons to their only Super Bowl.

Rex Grossman — Only once in his career (in 2006 when he threw 23 as the Bears advanced to SB41) did Grossman throw more than 16 TD passes in a season. Oh yes, Chicago lost to the Colts.

Two-time loser

Craig Morton — In SB5 with the Cowboys, Morton, left, was 12-for-26 with three interceptions. In SB12 with Denver against his former team he was worse, 4-for-15 with four INTs. He finished his career with more picks (187) than TDs (183).

Dishonorable Mention

Joe Kapp — A CFL refugee who played four years in the NFL, Kapp was the QB when the Vikings lost to the Chiefs, 23-7, in SB4. Although he threw just 40 career TD passes, he had a record-tying seven in one game in 1969.

Jim McMahon — His Bears won SB20 over the Patriots, but the storyline was Chicago’s relentless defense. McMahon never threw more TDs than the 15 he tossed in 1985.

Tony Eason — He started SB20 for the Patriots against the Bears, but after failing to connect on any of his five passes he was relieved by Steve Grogan.

Jake Dolhomme — Delhomme passed for 323 yards and three TDs in SB38 as his Panthers lost to the Patriots. It was all uphill from there for Jake.

Neil O’Donnell — He threw three picks helping the Cowboys beat the Steelers in SB30. Then he made the mistake of leaving for the Jets and….oh well


SB XLIII: Roman Numeral Numbness

Some random wild and crazy thoughts while wondering what’s the line that the Boss will play Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) at the Super Bowl.

Kurt Warner, whose Cardinals face the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, joins Craig Morton as the only quarterbacks to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl.

Morton was terrible in both his starts, with seven interceptions and less than 200 passing yards total in two games. He lost to the Colts, 16-13, while quarterbacking the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Seven years later , Morton threw four interceptions before being replaced by Norris Weese as his former club, Dallas, slashed the Broncos, 27-10, in Super Bowl XII.

Warner fared much better. He threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns and was named MVP in helping the Rams beat the Titans, 23-16, in SB XXXIV.

Two years later the Rams lost to the Patriots, but Warner still passed for 365 yards and scored on a two-yard touchdown run.

Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger resembled Morton more than Warner in his only Super Bowl appearance. Despite a miserable 9-21, two interception performance, Roethlisberger did rush for a touchdown as the Steelers beat the Seahawks, 21-10.

Here are the Super Bowl passing stats for Morton, Warner, and Big Ben:

SB V                      Att.   Comp.    Yds.   TD   Int.
Morton                   26      12          127     1      3

SB XII
Morton                  15        4            39      0       4

SB XXXIV
Warner                  45      24         414     2      0

SB XXXVI
Warner                  44      28         365     1       2

SB XL
Roethlisberger     21        9         123     0       2

Roman Numeral Numbness

Is it me, or are we advancing beyond comprehension through the annual use of Roman Numerals to designate Super Bowls? Do the math. Hey listen, I took four years of Latin in high school, but I got lost around about XXXIX.

Some Super Bowl Factoids That May Interest Only Me:

Only 13 of the previous 42 Super Bowls have been decided by seven points or less.

But lately, there have been some close games. Six of the last 11 games have been decided by a touchdown or less

And in the last seven years, all four Patriots’ Super Bowls, including the 17-14 loss to the Giants last year, were decided by field goals. The Pats won the other three.

The NFC holds a slight lead over the AFC, 22-20, in Super Bowl titles.

The NFC won 13 straight between SB XIX and SBr XXXI; the AFC has won eight of eleven championships since then.

And finally…..

My multi-petaflop supercomputer crunched the numbers and spit out the result: Cardinals 27, Steelers 24… in overtime.