Fun Football Facts to Pass the Time

The offseason marches on.  Player negotiations, players’ legal scrapes, the OTA’s, minicamps, and the upcoming training camps – rites of passage for hundreds (thousands?) of NFL players across the landscape. Which means lots of watercooler chat, fantasy football league drafts, and Excedrins by the bulk.  But something is amiss in all of this – yes, the football factoid.  True NFL fans love discussing numbers and other things with their comrades, and I’m going to feed that need.  Without further adieu, here are some fun football facts about your favorite (or not) NFL players.  Did you know that:

1- Marvin Harrison has averaged 1,402 yards over the last eight seasons, second-best in NFL history behind Jerry Rice, who averaged 1,443 yards from 1988-95.

2- Between them, Chargers running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner cranked out 2,317 yards, 30 TDs and a 5.41 yards per carry average in 2006.

3- Since winning it all after the 2000 season, the Ravens have earned 27 Pro Bowl berths … and one playoff win.

4- The Saints haven’t put together back-to-back winning seasons since 1991 (11-5) and 1992 (12-4).

5- With 721 receptions, Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez is already No. 1 all-time among tight ends; with 106 more catches, the 31-year-old will pass fullback Larry Centers (826 catches) for the top spot among non-wide receivers.  Centers is 12th all-time in receptions.  With an average of 72 receptions per season during his career, Gonzalez should surpass Centers in the middle of the 2008 season (my guess is vs. Green Bay).

6- For the first time since 1996, the Seahawks failed to post a 1,000-yard runner (Shaun Alexander had 896 yards) or receiver (Darrell Jackson had 956 yards).

7- Every single one of Bill Cowher’s 15 Steelers teams finished in the top half of the league in scoring defense and total defense. His best offensive rank was fifth.

8- From 2003-06, the Patriots won 59 games, including playoffs — tied for most all-time over a four-year span with the 1992-1995 Cowboys.

9- The Giants allowed 241 points in their eight games against quality opponents in 2006 (30.1 PPG); in the eight games against teams .500 or worse they allowed just 120 points (15.0 PPG). 

10- Fearless (and felonious) Pacman Jones had as many punt returns for touchdowns (3) as he did fair catches (And legal scrapes).

11- Green Bay WR Donald Driver is the leading (and I’m guessing only) pass catcher of all-time (421 grabs) among players who used to live in a U-Haul (Just thought you’d want to know).

12- In 15 years with the Packers, Brett Favre has only endured one losing season.

13- The Panthers were last in both kickoff return average (19.4) and punt return average (4.6) in 2006.

14- The 49ers surrendered more than 400 points for the third straight season in 2006. From 1981 to 1997, the period during which they won five Super Bowls and were perennial championship contenders, they never surrendered more than 300 points in a season (and Mike Singletary wants to be a head coach someday).

15- Miami defensive end Jason Taylor has 89.5 sacks since 2000, most in the NFL.

16- The Houston Texans have never scored more than 31 points in a game in their five-year history.  That 31-point outburst came back in the middle of the 2004 season (Casserly, Schmasserly)

17– Arizona WR Anquan Boldin has had a league-high 323 passes thrown his way the last two seasons.

18- Former offensive genius Jon Gruden has yet to have a scoring offense ranked better than 18th in his five years in Tampa (31st last year) (What?  Were you expecting me to say “current offensive genius?).

19- The Lions haven’t had a three-game winning streak since 2000, under interim coach Gary Moeller.

20- Proof positive that this columnist is feeling rather ancient at this moment: Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was born two weeks after the end of the Vietnam War.  In addition to being younger than several of his players, he is younger than Enrique Iglesias, Tara Reid and the girl who played Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years.”

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