Impress your friends with AFC, NFC title facts

1, We’re back: The Steelers have 49ers share the record for most appearances in a conference championship game with 15. Pittsburgh, the Patriots and the Cowboys have won eight championship games apiece. The Raiders (1973-1977) and Patriots (2011-present) share the record with five consecutive title game appearances.

2. The very first time: The first AFC and NFC championship games were held following the 1970 season. That year the Cowboys beat the 49ers 17-10 for the NFC crown and the Colts stopped the Raiders 27-17 to win the AFC championship. Prior to 1970, the NFL and AFL held separate title games.

3. Giant killers: The Giants hold the record for most appearances in the NFC championship game without a loss – 5. The Seahawks are 3-0 in NFC championship games, and the Bengals top all AFL teams with a 2-0 mark.

4. Longest droughts: The Bengals last appeared in the AFC championship game in 1988, 27 years ago. The Redskins defeated the Lions 41-0 in the 1991 NFC championship game. Neither team has been back since. That’s 24 years if you’re counting.

5. Long, long time: The Texans, an expansion team that entered the AFC in 2002, are the only NFL team never to reach the conference finals.The Browns, Jaguars, Jets, and Chiefs, along with the Texans, have never won at AFC title. However, both the Jets and Chiefs previously won AFL titles and both won the Super Bowl. The Lions are the only NFC team never to make it to the title game.

5.


Steelers Could Tie Giants With 7 Titles

If the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowl XLV, they will tie the New York Giants for third place on the list of all-time NFL champions with seven apiece.

The Steelers are shooting for their seventh Super Bowl. The Giants have won three Super Bowls, three other NFL championship games, and one title in 1927 before the league began playoff series.

The Green Bay Packers lead the all-time list with 12, including the first two Super Bowls. The Chicago Bears are next in line with nine championships.

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have each won five Super Bowls.


Growing Up on The Super Bowl

The Los Angeles Coliseum was the site of the first Super Bowl, Packers vs, Chiefs.

I grew up on the Super Bowl. That’s right, true confessions The SportsLifer is also a Super Bowl lifer.

My mind wanders back to those high school daze and Super Bowl I — back when it was called the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game. I remember watching the game with my father and brother, knowing Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers were the best football team in the world.

While Joe Namath guaranteed victory for the Jets in Super Bowl III, I wagered $5 with my Dad, who took the Colts and gave me 18 points. Jets 16, Colts 7 in the coming-out party for the American Football League.

Several years later, a college student now, I saw Super Bowl VII in a dirty old bar in Worcester, Mass. That was the year of the unbeaten Miami Dolphins. Perfect.

As a sportswriter, I wrote about the Super Bowl in Scene and Heard, my column with the Fitchburg Sentinel and Leominster Enterprise, and later in my TV-Radio sports  column at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Those columns may exist in hard copy somewhere, but they never made it on to the information highway.

Super Giants
Later in life, I watched with joy as the Giants won three Super Bowls, twice on the home television, including the unlikeliest of all wins against the unbeaten Patriots. A

And I’ll forever recall kneeling at the bedside of a dying man willing Scott Norwood to miss the kick. Wide right, thank you.

Once I even went to go to a Super Bowl, when the Giants faced the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Had a fun time, meeting Joe Namath, Dan Rather, Adam Sandler and other celebs. No fun watching the G-Men fall big, 34-7.

During the years I’ve been to countless Super Bowl parties, hosted by both family and friends. I’ve run pools, I’ve won pools, I’ve lost pools. I’ve seen dynasties dominate decades, like the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s and, most recently, the Patriots.

Last year I was at Mickey Mantle’s on Central Park South as IBM hosted a party for industry analysts on the eve of the company’s POWER7 announcement. The Saints made history that day, winning the first Super Bowl for New Orleans.

Who knows what Super Bowl XLV will bring?


The High Five: Don’t Believe All You Read

Don’t believe everything you read…

One of those “Did You Know..Trivia…Fun Facts” circulating on the Internet gives a former Alabama running back, known only as “Five-Yard” Fogerty, and his Crimson Tide teammates credit for inventing the high five.

As the story goes, Fogerty carried the ball 25 times and gained exactly five yards on each carry as ‘Bama beat Washington State, 24-0, to win the 1931 Rose Bowl, finish 10-0 and share the national championship with Notre Dame. The title was the third for Alabama coach and College Football Hall of Famer Wallace Wade in six seasons.

Fogerty and his teammates supposedly celebrated his Rose Bowl exploits by slapping palms — or exchanging high fives. According to the report, “Five-Yard” Fogerty later played professional football before injuring his leg in a skiing accident.

As it turns it, there’s no record of a Fogerty ever playing in the NFL, according to the Pro Football Reference. Nor is there any record of Fogerty playing for Alabama in the 1930 or 1931 seasons.

In fact, the only prominent Fogerty found in a Google search is John Fogerty, of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

So it turns out there’s no record of “Five-Yard” Fogerty. And the mystery of the birth of the high-five continues.

Now, A True Story
Contrastingly, some things that sound unbelievable are actually real.

Take the story of Joe Lamas, the late football and baseball coach and athletic director at Iona Prep, my high school in New Rochelle, NY. Mr. Lamas, as we knew him, claimed to have played in the NFL in the 40s.

There was no online football reference in those days….heck there was no online anything in the 60s….so we had our doubts about Mr. Lamas’ claim. Sometimes we  joked that he played for the 1940 Washington Redskins team that lost the NFL championship game, 73-0, to the Chicago Bears. That didn’t go over very well with Mr. Lamas, especially in gym class.

It turns out Joe Lamas born in Havana, Cuba, graduate of Mount St. Mary’s College, was a 5’10”, 210-pound guard who played eight games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1942.

And Lamas even scored a touchdown on Nov. 8, 1942, when he returned a fumble 29 yards for the final score in the Steelers 35-7 victory over the winless Detroit Lions.

Lamas entered military service following the 1942 season where he fought for his country during World War II.

Eventually, he joined the staff at Iona in 1952, where he taught Latin, history and health in addition to his duties in the athletic department.

Joe Lamas retired from Iona in 1979, and passed away in 1996.

And unlike “Five-Yard” Fogerty myth, the tale of Joe Lamas is a true story.


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.


Free Football: Hoping Super Bowl Works OT

Who are you rooting for Sunday, Cardinals or Steelers?

I’m rooting for overtime.

Actually, I’m rooting for a good Super Bowl game with historic ramifications. Overtime would practically guarantee both.

I have little rooting interest in either the Cardinals or the Steelers. Oh sure, the  Cardinals would be a Cinderella story. It’s like having the St. Louis Browns… or Tampa Bay Rays…win the World Series.

But I don’t know a single person who is an Arizona Cardinals fan.

On the other hand, I know plenty of Steelers fans, some of whom will be on Tampa this Sunday. The Steelers have a tremendous national following. That’s what five Super Bowl rings do for a team.

I’m rooting for a good game, a close game, an exciting game. I’m rooting for overtime.

It’s been 50 seasons since the first, last and only NFL championship game to end in overtime. That game, between the Colts and Giants in 1958, has been called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

We’re long overdue for another.

And remember, if Super Bowl XLIII goes into overtime, you heard it here first.


Impress Your Friends with Football Factoids

Impress your friends, win bets, make money with these 10 NFL tidbits:

The Giants, coming off the best Super Bowl ever, are the only team in the NFL to have beaten the Steelers, Ravens, Eagles and Cardinals this year.

The Cardinals are one of six teams never to have played in a Super Bowl. The Lions, Saints, Jaguars, Texans and Browns are the others.

Now that the Cardinals are playing for the NFC title, only the Texans have never made at least a conference championship game since the Super Bowl began..

The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl. Philadelphia lost Super Bowl XV to the Raiders, 27-10, and Super Bowl XXXIX to the Patriots, 24-21.

Super Bowl XXLIII certainty: The NFC will have an entrant that has never won a Super Bowl. Never ever.

The Ravens won the only Super Bowl they played, beating the Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Steelers are tied with the Cowboys and 49ers for most Super Bowl championships — five.

A Philadelphia-Pittsburgh all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl would mark only the third occasion where two teams from the same state faced off for the NFL’s ultimate prize. Giants-Bills in Super Bowl XXV and 49ers-Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX were the others.

A Philadelphia win in the Super Bowl would give the NFC East 12 championships, twice as many as any other division.

No team has ever played a Super Bowl at home. Next year’s game is scheduled for Dolphin Stadium in Miami.