Ready to test your NFL fandom? I won’t make it easy.
Every uber-fan knows their own team pretty well, generally absorbing a pretty good amount of team history over the years. I’m pretty sure I could pick my favorite team out of a blind lineup in a heartbeat. But how well do you know some of the other teams out there? For all of you football fanatics, here’s your time to shine. . . In a random internet quiz.
So it goes like this: I’ll list 5 NFL teams, withholding many details, dropping a few breadcrumbs here and there, and you’ve got to figure out who they are. The answer will be on the next page over for each team. Simple enough, right? Feel free to brag or cry about how many you got right or wrong in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Or you can rage at me, or tell me how great of an article this was, whatever you like. It’s a free country. (At least I hope you live in one). Also, don’t Google it before you turn the page. That defeats the whole point. Darn kids get off my lawn grumble, grumble.
NFL Team #1
Let’s start out with the big history: This team has gone to 5 Super Bowls since its inception in 1960. They’ve won 3 of those Super Bowls. Two of those three championships they won with another team’s #1 overall draft pick. This team’s uniforms and logo has been largely the same, only minor details changed, for its entire NFL career. For those of you who know deep into the history books, this team was once coached by John Madden, the now famous name of the beloved video game franchise. Still don’t know? This team’s last winning season was in 2002, which was also its last Super Bowl appearance. It has also relocated cities twice, and has traded for a quarterback in the last decade. It’s also in the top third of all-time winning percentage for an NFL team.
The Oakland Raiders. This one was either really hard or really easy depending on how well you knew your distant NFL history. Why? The Oakland Raiders were the only team John Madden ever coached. The 2 Super Bowls they won with another team’s #1 overall pick were with Jim Plunkett, first overall pick of the New England Patriots in 1971. And the uniforms and menacing pirate logo have been basically the same for their entire history– silver and black, with only a few changes. As far as relocation goes, that was a bit of a trick, because they started in Oakland, moved to L.A., then moved back to Oakland. So despite relocating twice they’ve only represented two cities. The quarterback they traded for (at steep cost) was Carson Palmer. The Raiders are 10th all time in win percentage.
NFL Team #2
This team’s last winning season was in 2010, where they went 10-6. The quarterback who led them to that record is now gone. So is the starting running back and the head coach, for that matter. This team is also known for having what was regarded as the worst uniforms in NFL history during the 70s, both in color and logo. In 1989 they wore road uniforms at home because of their quarterback with the initials V.T.’s color blindness. They won their only Super Bowl spearheaded by a dominant defensive player drafted 12th overall in 1995. The Super Bowl they won, they won on the strength of their defense, where they generated 5 turnovers, all of them interceptions. In fact, they were so dominant, the defensive scheme used was named after the team, and is widely used to this day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you knew your defensive schemes this one was pretty easy. The ‘Tampa 2’ defense was named after the scheme created by DC Monte Kiffin and HC Tony Dungy, a modified version of the ‘cover 2’ defense, and was so powerful that it became the cornerstone of almost every defense in football. No one has replicated the ‘Tampa 2’ success like the 2002 Super Bowl champ Buccaneers team, where they beat the Raiders with five interceptions, three of them returned for touchdowns. Fun fact: the coach of the Buccaneers at that time was Jon Gruden, who had coached the Raiders whom they played against in the 2002 Super Bowl the year before. Some kind of unholy revenge there, for sure. The dominant player they drafted in 1995 was Warren Sapp, hall of fame DT. The ugly uniforms of the seventies were the creamsicle orange uni’s with the logo of a winking pirate with a dagger in his mouth that seemed positively. . . flamboyant. The 10-6 2010 Bucs QB, HC and RB that are no longer with the team were Josh Freeman, Raheem Morris, and Lagarrette Blount. And finally, the colorblind quarterback they wore white Jerseys at home for was Vinny Testaverde.
NFL Team #3
This team has five retired jersey numbers: 12, 13, 28, 73, 90. Three of those players are in the NFL Hall of Fame. This team has had two different types of jerseys and logos in its history, both of which are entirely different from the other. This team also once employed a very athletic kicker who has a career rushing touchdown. Like our #2 mystery team, this team has won only one Super Bowl. This team also had one of the worst head coaching stints, with a coach in 1995/96 who had a record of 4-28 over those two years before being given the boot. This team also has had a very famous head coach who also coached or supervised its three biggest rivals. And finally, a strange fact: this team has two heated rivalries against teams with the same team colors.
The New York Jets. The two biggest giveaways was the retired number 12 and the two rivals with the same colors. The retired numbers are as follows: Joe Namath, 12; Don Maynard, 13; Curtis Martin, 28; Joe Klecko, 73; Dennis Byrd, 90. The different jersey types was a bit of a trick, as the Jets were originally the New York Titans from 1960-62, with the gorgeous dark blue and muted gold look. They wear them as throwback alternates now. The battering ram of a kicker with a rushing TD is Jay Feely, who ran in a score for the Cardinals after he left the Jets in ’09. Obviously, Joe Namath and the guarantee was their only Super Bowl appearance and win. The awful coaching stint from 95/96 was the dreaded Rich Kotite era (Kotite was pretty successful with the Eagles which got him the job). The famous coach they had was Bill Parcells, who also coached their rival Giants, Patriots, and was an executive for the rival Dolphins. The two rivals they had with the same colors are the Patriots and the Giants, both red white and blue.
NFL Team #4
Perhaps one of the more notable facts about our #4 team is that it has a player with a retired jersey number who has also held the head coaching position for the team. That player-coach is one of these six retired team jersey numbers: 1, 34, 43, 63, 65, 74. This team has won AFL championships upon its original inception, but has only been to one Super Bowl and lost. That Super Bowl, XXXIV, was a nail biter, and both teams in it ended the regular season with the exact same record, 13-3. The coach of this team when they were in said Super Bowl, coached the team for the incredible tenure of 1995-2010. One of the more famous team players’ namesake is a key to what makes life on earth possible. And finally, if you don’t know it yet, the name of team #4 is somewhere in answer #3.
Tennessee Titans. The head coach who is also a player with a retired jersey is Mike Munchak, #63. The one Super Bowl they played in and lost was in 1999 vs. Kurt Warner‘s St. Louis Rams. The Rams were shutting out the Titans until the 3rd quarter where they stormed back, but fell short in a 23-16 loss. Both the Rams and the Titans ended that regular season 13-3, and the coach who tenured from 1995-2010 was Jeff Fisher. The famous player was Warren Moon (the moon is pivotal for life on earth) who also is in the Hall of Fame, and his retired Titans jersey is 1. The name was on the previous page, though it the phrase it was connected to was ‘New York Titans’, which was bit of a trick; good job if you got this one.
NFL Team #5
The fifth and final mystery team is a storied franchise with 12 retired jersey numbers. During its early years, it had a coach that coached for an incredible 40 years on and off. This team was founded nearly a century ago, and moved cities once, within the same state. It has also changed logos once, though it kept the same name. Along with our previous mystery team, this team also has had a player with a retired number who was also a famous coach after his playing days were over. The team’s current starting quarterback has had a tumultuous image, and is both loved and hated publicly, but produces on the field without a doubt. Their last playoff appearance was in 2010, and the one before that was a Super Bowl loss. Finally, this franchise is most revered for its defense over the years. It’s the winningest franchise in NFL history with a .577 win percentage over its long history.
Daaaaa Bears. If you guessed Pittsburgh Steelers, there certainly were many similarities. They’ve also had incredible long-tenured coaches, recently were in the playoffs and lost the Super Bowl the year before (2011, 2010). They are a venerable franchise like the Bears, and their QB Roethlisberger, like Cutler, has had a less than stellar public image. They are also both extremely successful franchises known for their defense.
But, Bears icon Mike Ditka had his #89 jersey retired, and was a successful head coach, leading them to their only Super Bowl win. The Steelers somehow only have retired one jersey ever; #70 Ernie Stautner. Also, the Bears started in Decatur, Illinois before moving to Chicago in 1922. The Steelers had changed names (Pirates) but never cities. The coach who coached the Bears for 40 years was the late great George Halas. As far as recent playoff history, the Bears lost in the 2010 conference playoffs, and the last appearance was a Super Bowl loss in 2006. The Bears logo was originally an actual bear before changing to the wishbone C we know so well. And yes, the Bears are the winningest franchise in the NFL, but have only won 1 Super Bowl. Figure that one out.
I hope you enjoyed this quiz-tastic sojourn, feel free to let me know if it was too easy or too hard in the comments. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this stuff helps satiate my addiction as I wait impatiently for the 2014 season. Come on, Doc, where are you with that Delorian?