Monday, December 4, 2017

Hooray for Christmas! (1971)

It's kind of hard for me to understand right off the bat what this post has to do with Christmas, but maybe I'll figure it out in the comments.


  1. I like the phrase "pro grid standings"

  2. With three regular-season Pro Grid weekends to go, the playoff contenders in the AFC are the Dolphins, Colts, Browns, Steelers, Bengals, Raiders and Chiefs and in the NFC are the Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Bears, 49ers, Rams, Falcons and Saints.

  3. AFC Eastwise, everybody’s over the moon for Miami (9-1-1). SPORT and The Sporting News (as pictured!) put Bob Griese on their current covers, and that was even before the Dolphins whipped the Bears, 34-3, on ABC’s NFL Monday Night Football television program in Week 11. Miami has now won eight straight games.

    In Baltimore, everybody loves "Easy Rider" Don McCafferty, and it appears the Colts (8-3) might be coasting right back into the playoffs. The defending champs close the regular season with three home games at Memorial Stadium--against Buffalo, Miami and New England. So the division championship remains within reach; plus, Baltimore is the leading candidate for the AFC's "wild-card" postseason berth. Johnny Unitas is back to starting at quarterback from the defending champs.

  4. The AFC Central was Pittsburgh's to own, but the young Steelers (5-6) have been too inconsistent to seize the opportunity.

    Cleveland (6-5) is still leading the division despite losing four straight over the end of October and start of November; Coach Nick Skorich has moved to some younger faces in the old lineup, and now the Browns have won two straight. Cincinnati (4-7) lost seven straight, but even the Bengals are now in the mix with quarterback Virgil Carter back from injury and sending rookie Ken Anderson back to the bench.

    The Steelers (5-6) are getting there in Year 3 of Chuck Noll. After one win in 1969 and five in 1970, Joe Greene has now been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and Noll appears to have settled on Terry Bradshaw as his quarterback. (Terry Hanratty has said during the season that he expects to be traded because the Steelers will want a veteran quarterback to back up Bradshaw.) But there have been some maddening moments--Dave Smith's Week 5 celebration fumble, most infamous among them--and now Pittsburgh has a tough row to hoe to make the playoffs.

    Here are the contenders' remaining games:

    -- Cleveland is at home against Cincinnati, at New Orleans and at Washington.
    -- Pittsburgh is at Houston, at Cincinnati and at home against Los Angeles.
    -- Cincinnati is at Cleveland, at home against Pittsburgh and at the Jets.

  5. The AFC West likely comes down to Dec. 12: Raiders at Chiefs. In Week 13, the Raiders (7-2-2) are at Atlanta and Chiefs (7-3-1) are at San Francisco. Then comes the rematch of the division powers in Kansas City; the teams tied back in Week 7. Oakland then closes at home against the Broncos, and Kansas City stays home to finish against the Bills.

    There was a wire item the other day that the Raiders cut their 1968 first-round draft choice, Eldridge Dickey (a former Tennessee State quarterback Oakland picked one round ahead of Alabama’s Ken Stabler but then shifted to wide receiver), because of “disciplinary reasons.” Dickey’s Wikipedia page notes only that he was "cut from the team 7 games into the season after dropping a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs that could have been a touchdown.

    There are some crazy personnel problems for the Raiders at wide receiver this season. Warren Wells, an NFL70 Pro Bowler, is not with the team either. Again, Wikipedia:

    Before the 1971 season started, Wells' career was cut short following legal difficulties relating to his divorce and subsequent criminal charges. Following the Pro Bowl game in Los Angeles on January 24, 1971, Wells was met by police in the locker room and arrested on a warrant for a probation violation originating from his conviction in 1969 for aggravated assault (Eugene Register Guard, Jan 25, 1971 "Warren Wells Nabbed After Tilt"). Further, according to an article in the Dallas Morning Star, dated July 7, 2016, (Flashback: DFW produces a ton of football talent, but another part of Texas is 'the pro football capital of the world') "in 1969, he was charged with rape, a charge later reduced to aggravated assault. His probation was revoked in 1970 because he was drinking in a bar, a violation further complicated when a woman stabbed him in the chest. He missed the 1971 season while serving 10 months in a California prison.

    I love Wikipedia.

    1. Oh, by the way, Baltimore clobbered the Raiders, 37-14, in Week 11, and the game was in Oakland.

  6. The NFC East has boiled down to the Cowboys (8-3) and Redskins (7-3-1), and here has started what is going to be a hot-and-heavy rivalry of 20 years at least.

    Washington was the hottest thing in NFL71 through the season's first half. The Redskins opened 5-0 (including a 20-16 win at Dallas), but the offense really bogged down once Charley Taylor got hurt back in Week 6 against the Chiefs. In Week 10, the Cowboys came to Washington and pillaged, 13-0. That capped a 0-2-1 run for the Redskins, and now Washington needs a Dallas hiccup to claim the division. The NFC wild card is a dicey proposition, as well--Detroit also is 7-3-1.

    Sonny Jurgensen is back and starting at quarterback for the Redskins, whose final three games are against the Giants in Washington, at Los Angeles (big George Allen clash) and at home against the Browns.

    Since Duane Thomas has re-established himself as Dallas's top runner and Tom Landry has settled on Roger Staubach as his quarterback, the Cowboys have gotten something going. Dallas is on a four-game win streak with the Jets coming to town in Week 12. There's a trip to New York to play the Giants and a home date with the Cardinals to close out the regular season.