Wednesday, 13 April 2016

15 Crazy Facts You Didn't Know About the NFL


So you think you know everything about the NFL? Think again because there are some crazy facts out there that will make you think again. This is not just a sport but a collection of weird rules and strange incidents. That is not even covering the personalities and stars.  From quirky rules to kind stars to funny accidents…the NFL is just full of fun, hitherto hidden gems of information. There are one-legged kicks, generous benefactors, sun rules, immigrant workers, cow snippets, long breaks, tax loopholes, a G-Spot and huddles. Sit back and enjoy our countdown of the 15 Craziest facts about the NFL.

Slide 15: Edgar Allan Poe and the “The Raven”

It is all in a name. The Baltimore Ravens were named after none other than “The Raven”, a historical poem by Edgar Allan Poe. In 1996 a poll was commissioned by the Baltimore Sun to find a new name for the team. To the surprise of many “The Ravens” came out tops. To be fair, the poet has close associations with Baltimore having wrote his masterpiece whilst living there in 1830s.. It was to be the “Baltimore Ravens” and that it what it remained. Things get even crazier when you realize that the team mascots are called… (Wait for it) Edgar, Allan and Pole.

Slide 14: Steve Smith and the Homeless

The NFL wide receiver Steve Smith is as kind as can be. He always leaves his cheats on the field after every single game. Apparently Smith does this to raise awareness about homeless people who do not have shoes. Many have noticed this unique tribute including the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. They honored Smith (together with Senator Patty Murray, Aleah Green and Sidley Austin) at the 16th Annual McKinney-Vento Awards in Washington (DC) which were held on the 30th of September 2014. Smith and his wife Angie established the Steve Smith Family Foundation which helps to champion people who have suffered domestic violence and social exclusion.

Slide 13: One Foot with a Very Long Kick

Would you believe it? The longest field goal in NFL history was kicked by a man who had no more than one foot. Who said missing appendages were a barrier to sport? Tom Dempsey was the 22 year old striker with the New Orleans Saints. His kick travelled all 63 yards way back in 1970 on the 8th of November. That is now widely considered to be the greatest scoring feat in the sport. The actual event was made all the more special because the much-fancied Lions were beating the Saints 17-16 at the Tulane Stadium when Dempsey achieved the impossible in the last two seconds of the game, winning the match with it. 

Slide 12: Match of the Samoans

Talk about doing the jobs that Americans will not do. Quite simply the Samoans dominate NFL. The experts tell us that American men of Samoan ethnicity are 56 times more likely to be NFL players when compared to other Americans. Is it in the blood or is there something special in the water? American Samoa has been dubbed the “Football Island” and with very good reason. It is by no means the richest place on earth but they certainly do know how to grow them. With a population of about 65,000 people; American Samoa has managed to produce no fewer than 30 players in the NFL.

Slide 11: A Paying Guest and Generous Dinner

Next time you see Kurt Warner in a restaurant, try to sit close to him. Apparently the former NFL quarterback anonymously pays the bill for the other table when he is out dining with his family. It is not often that you see true family values and certainly NFL is all the better for it. Warner, his wife Brenda and their seven children are truly welcome guests when they dine out. He always quietly adds the other table’s tab to his own, setting what must be the best example to his children. Warner got the idea to commemorate his food-stumping days.

Slide 10: The Cows Have It

Do you know how many cows it takes to meet the annual football leather requirement for the NFL? All of 3000 cows. That is a lot of bovine activity going out there. Crazier still…all the footballs are made in one factory which is tantalizingly called “Ada”. It is true; there is such a place in Ohio. This is truly out of an udder world. It all makes a mockery of “pigskins” since no pigs were harmed in the process of making these NFL footballs. In the old days they actually used anything they could get their hands on including a pig’s bladder.

Slide 9: An Elusive G-Spot

What is the first thing you think about when you see the “G” on the Green Bay Packer’s Helmet? If you said “Green Bay” then you are wrong. Tiki Barber once came up with a wild urban legend that the “G” actually stood for “Greatness”. Nice try; but we are not buying. That famous “G” did not come into force until the 5th of August 1961 at the Old City Stadium. In fact that “G” is something of a shape shifter. It started off as a football and has ended up looking like an egg. To make matters worse Aaron Popkey in his capacity as spokesperson for the Packers confirmed that it actually stood for “Green Bay”.

Slide 8: Short and Sweet

The fans may be surprised to note that the NFL games were never meant to last long. In fact they are only supposed to go for 11 minutes. That is a bit mean given the ticket prices today? Amazingly 56% of the broadcaster’s time is spend on trivia and going back on events that were screened long time ago. Then you have the huge commercial breaks that take up 75 minutes. Finally the another 75 minutes is helpfully spent on showing players doing mundane things like huddling, walking around in between play and standing at the end of the scrimmage.

Slide 7: A Cheerless Game

The Super Bowl XLV was the first game of its kind not to have any cheerleaders.  To make matters worse it all happened at the Cowboys Stadium…Sacre Bleu!!! The sexy ladies doing their thing were nowhere to be seen. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers made history as the first teams to play in a cheerleader-less NFL game since Super Bowls II. Apparently the usual suspects were on a hiatus and the fans had to do without.  However not having cheerleaders is not alien to NFL. Six franchises do not use cheerleaders including the New York Giants Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears.

Slide 6: Death and Taxes

It is totally unreal that the NFL is considered to be a not-for-profit organization. Where does all the money go? Basically NFP status means NFL is not paying anything to the IRS. Well that was then. In 2015 the NFL decided that it was time to voluntarily give up its tax-exempt status. No wonder people worry about being victimized by Big Sam. Some were clearly not convinced and said that the move was nothing more than a PR stunt designed to raise positive stories about the NFL.  This is not the only perk for the sport. It has an antitrust exemption which gives NFL billions in broadcast bucks.

Slide 5: Building Regulations

It turns out the NFL is quite picky when it comes to how their fields are made. The rule is that they are supposed to be facing north or south or in the shade. The reasoning behind this is: it helps prevent the sun from interfering with play. There is method to the madness. Fans could be distracted by the sun and stop paying attention to the players so it seems that in this case the NFL is absolutely doing the right thing. The moral of the story: the sun is neither good for your eyes nor beneficial to exciting NFL games. The workmen will sort it out.

Slide 4: The Cheater that Runs amongst Us

You may not believe it but Darrell Green is one of the speediest runners in the entire history of the NFL. Together with Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders; Green takes the honors for the fastest 40 yard dash. The really crazy thing is that it is very difficult to tell who is truly the fastest because there are many ways of measuring and each method brings different results. Depending on the player position the dash can be as short as 10 yards or as long as 50 yards. These crazy NFL rules would never make it in the Olympics, or would they?

Slide 3: Bob the Scarce

We all know Bob is a fairly common name, right? WRONG!!! The NFL is clearly not alone in giving the Bob a wide berth. It is incredible to think that in six major US sports, there is only one Bob. That is Bob Sanders of the NFL. That means that the NHL, NBA, NCAAFB, MLB and NCAABB do not have a single Bob in their midst. Maybe it is time to put out an advert looking for Bobs that are willing to play glamorous sports and earn billions. Surely there will be takers in all fields. For the moment Sanders can enjoy his uniqueness.

Slide 2: We are in It Together

Now those pesky Green Bay Packers make another appearance on the crazy NFL facts. This franchise is a truly community project that is owned by the fans and is considered to be a non-profit organization. Fancy having 112,000 fans making decisions. Somehow they have made it work and the Packers remain one of the most successful teams. In fact they are the only sporting team in this position in the entire US sports fraternity. By 2014, the stockbrokers had increased to 360,584. Nobody is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares which is just about 4% of the total stock available in the franchise.

Slide 1: Sights and Sounds

The NFL owes a lot to its deaf footballers. They helped it create the famous huddle formation. A deaf footballer at the Gallaudet University invented the move way back in 1894. Paul Hubbard was a Quarterback who soon realized that his sign language communication to his teammates was being read by their opponents. Therefore he decided to pull his teammates into a huddle so that he could signal to them without being watched. Today the Quarterback in NFL will typically use the move to assign the offense role to a given player. We can thank those early deaf pioneers for yet another crazy NFL fact.


What would the NFL be without all these crazy facts? Appearances can be deceiving. What looks like an ordinary American sport definitely has the power to dazzle and fascinate. There are so many characters who enrich the NFL. They make history and break records all the time.  The next time you attend an NFL game; think back to these great facts and trivia. This is a sport that is full of wonderful moments and countless surprises. A few more crazy facts are coming your way soon.

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