Monday Nuggets: Kickoff Weekend

Monday Nuggets: Kickoff Weekend

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mission is to: Honor the Heroes of the Game Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE. We found many samples from Kickoff Weekend that align with our Mission, Vision, and Values!

The Game is GREAT!

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has six core values that fuel our Mission and Vision: Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Perseverance, Integrity and Respect.

A recent column by Hall of Fame selector Rick Gosselin touched on the very topic of how football can shape a person’s character.

Arizona bound

Most fans can still remain optimistic regardless if their team won or lost during Kickoff Weekend 2014. Our research staff compiled this nugget on eventual Super Bowl champions.

Those teams who’ve hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy have a collective 39-8-1 record on Kickoff Weekend. And, if you’re looking ahead to Week 2, note that three teams in NFL history started 0-2 before winning that season’s Super Bowl. Do you want to know who? Well, read on and find the answer at the end of today’s column.

Matty Ice

Matt Ryan led the Atlanta Falcons to a thrilling 37-34 overtime win over division rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday. He did so in records-setting (yes, records as in plural). Ryan threw for a career-high 448 yards and his 3 TD throws brought his career total to 156 as he surpassed the franchise mark held by Steve Bartkowski.

Team-by-team single-game passing yards records>>>
TRIVIA: How many Hall of Fame quarterbacks hold their team record for career TD passes? Answer at end of column.


The Buffalo Bills needed overtime to secure their first-ever win in Chicago. Buffalo lost in the “Windy City” in 1970, 1988, 1994, 1997, and 2006. Our archivist was nice enough to pull out this game program from the first year of the merger which resulted in the Bills and Bears first meeting on Nov. 22, 1970 at Wrigley Field. The Bears won that game 31-13 thanks to QB Bobby Douglass’s 4 TD passes.

Gold tint to Kickoff Weekend

The term “Gold Jackets” is how we refer to the 164 living members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. These men represent the most elite club in the sport. Class of 2014 enshrinee Claude Humphrey was the center of attention at halftime of the Falcons opener on Sunday afternoon. The Hall of Fame defensive end received his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence from our President David Baker at the Georgia Dome.

Humphrey wasn’t the only Gold Jacket taking part in game day festivities around the NFL on Sunday.


Of course, there are many Gold Jackets on the air during NFL Sundays including legendary tight end Mike Ditka who happened to be sporting a nice Pro Football Hall of Fame tie on the set of ESPN’s NFL Countdown.

ICYMI. Walter Jones received his Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence at halftime of the Kickoff game between the Seahawks and Packers. He was joined on the field by two other Gold Jackets Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy. Another Gold Jacket, Warren Moon, watched from the radio booth at CenturyLink Field where he began his 11th season as an analyst for the Seahawks radio broadcasts. Thanks to our friends at the Seahawks, you can watch the ring ceremony in its entirety.

Bombs away

For the first time since Kickoff Weekend 1971, a game featured touchdown passes of 75 or more yards by BOTH teams.  The Bengals A.J. Green had a 77-yarder in the fourth quarter that proved to be Cincy’s winning margin. Earlier, Steve Smith, Sr. scored on an 80-yard TD in his debut for the Baltimore Ravens.

The last time a Kickoff Weekend game had such explosives TD pass plays was the Cowboys and Bills on Sept. 19, 1971 at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. Dallas won the shootout 49-37 that included Bob Hayes’ 76-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Craig Morton early in the second quarter and Marlin Briscoe’s 75-yarder from Dennis Shaw eight minutes later.

Arizona Bound teaser.
Super Bowl champions who started season 0-2: 1993 Cowboys, 2001 Patriots, 2007 Giants.

Trivia answer. Twelve of the 32 NFL clubs’ records for career TD passes are currently owned by Gold Jacket QBs.

Buffalo Jim Kelly 237
Chicago Sid Luckman 137
Denver John Elway 300
Detroit Bobby Layne 118
Kansas City Len Dawson 237
Miami Dan Marino 420
Minnesota Fran Tarkenton 239
New York Jets Joe Namath 170
San Diego Dan Fouts 254
San Francisco Joe Montana 244
Tennessee Warren Moon 196
Washington Sammy Baugh 187
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