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American Football Trivia

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ABC-TV's Monday Night Football premiered in September 1970. Its three original commentators were Keith Jackson, Don Meredith, and Howard Cosell.

According to the rules of Gaelic football, players may punch the ball, but the punching motion must be clearly visible to the referee. Players may not pick up the ball off the ground unless they first get their toe under the ball.

At greatest risk of injury to a professional football player's anatomy is the knee, which is involved in 58 percent of all major football injuries.

Because of a football's resemblance to an olive, albeit a very large one, the Chinese often call the American game of football "olive ball."

Because of fears that the Japanese, who had attacked Pearl Harbor less than a month earlier, might attach California, the Rose Bowl game of 1942 between Oregon State and Duke University was moved east to Duke's hometown in Durham, North Carolina. It didn't, however, help the home team. Oregon won, 20-16.

During the football season of 1905, at least 19 players died in college and high school contests.

For the 2000 Super Bowl, about a third of the TV commercial spots were purchased by dot-com companies. The following year, the numbers dropped to just 10 percent bought by 'Net companies.

For the first time, the play-by-play of Super Bowl XXX in 1996 was broadcast in the Navajo language and NBC-TV offered a secondary, foreign-language audio feed to its affiliates.

Former passing quarterback-great Johnny Unitas made this observation about professional football: "The other guy is out there to beat you. He's getting paid to win and he gets chewed out for mistakes just like you do. He's not stupid. ...There is no room for the guy who doesn't use his head."

Hugo Bezdek managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1917 to 1919 and was the head coach for the Cleveland Rams in 1937-1938. To date, he was the only major manager to coach in the National Football League.

In 1910, a football team was penalized 15 yards for an incomplete forward pass.

In 1943, Percy Clark of UCLA made the mistake during the Rose Bowl game of being tackled behind the goal line while attempting to return a punt against Georgia. UCLA lost the game, 2-0. One newspaper carried the headline "CLARK 2, UCLA 0." Clark was openly shunned by classmates and, in despair, he quit college a week later. He moved to the woods in Oregon, where he spent many years as a recluse.

In February 1912, new U.S. football rules were put into motion. The playing field was shortened from 110 yards to 100 yards, a touchdown would count for six points instead of five, four downs were allowed instead of three, and the kick-off was moved from midfield to the 40-yard line.

In the 1931 Rose Bowl game, "Five-Yard" Fogerty carried 25 times and gained exactly 5 yards on each carry. It was in that game that teammates celebrated the oddity of Fogerty's achievement by slapping palms this practice is now known as exchanging "high fives." The results of that game were Alabama, 24, Washington State, 0. Fogerty played one year of professional football before breaking his leg in a skiing accident. He became a bank president in Wichita, Kansas. Sadly, he died five days before his retirement.

In the National Football League, the home team is required to provide 24 footballs for each game, although only 8-12 are normally used.

Jim Thorpe, Ernie Nevers, Ace Parker, and George Halas were the only NFL Hall of Famers who also played major league baseball.

Joe Namath signed a $400,000 contract with the New York Jets in January 1965, becoming the richest rookie in pro football at the time.

Kickers score more points than anyone else in professional football. George Blanda, who began his 26-year career in 1949 and ended it as a kicker in 1975, scored 2,002 points more points than any other player.

On September 5, 1906, St. Louis University's Jack Schneider received the first legal forward pass thrown in a football game. St. Louis was playing against Carroll College.

Soldier Field in Chicago is the oldest stadium still in use in the NFL.

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