Before OJ Simpson became a household name because of that other thing that happened in 1994; he was a Heisman Trophy winner at USC (1968 season). Simpson was chosen by the Buffalo Bills as the first draft pick in 1969, but his first three seasons in the NFL were somewhat disappointing.
A New Coach and The Juice is Loose!
In 1972 Lou Saban became the coach of the Bills, and he tailored the offense around OJ. That year Simpson led the NFL in rushing with 1,251 yards. In 1971, his previous best season, he only rushed for 742 yards.
On September 16, 1973, in the season opener against New England, OJ rushed for 250 yards, tying the NFL single game record.
Buffalo won the game 31-13 and went on to finish the season 9-5, second in the AFC East, a big improvement over their 4-9-1 finish in 1972.
Playing a 14 game schedule in 1973, Simpson rushed for what was then an NFL season total record of 2,003 yards.
In 1984 Eric Dickerson broke Simpson’s record, rushing 2,105 yards, but he did not reach the 2,000 yard plateau until the 15th game of the season. Five other players have also rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season, but all of them did it in 16 games.
Adrian Peterson now holds the NFL single game rushing record. He ran the ball for 296 yards on November 4, 2007.
The Green Bay Packers played their home opener on September 15, 2013 – against the Washington Redskins. Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers put on a show for the fans at Lambeau Field. He completed 34 of 42 passes for 480 yards. Four of his throws went for touchdowns, and not a single pass was intercepted.
The rest of the Packers team also had a respectable game, especially running back James Starks who rushed for 132 yards.
This was the only time in history of the NFL when a team had a 450 yard passer and a 125 yard rusher.
Despite his spectacular numbers, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Rodgers. At 9:54 of the first period Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan sacked him. On the very next play Kerrigan sacked him again. Then Brian Orakpo got him at 6:06. Maybe the Redskins should have let sleeping dogs lie. At that point Rodgers was having an okay quarter. He had thrown seven passes and completed all but one of them for 76 yards, but he had not yet found anybody in the end zone.
After the third sack Rodgers completed two more passes, but the Packers were short of the first down and punted (with a 3-0 lead). The Redskins followed with their own “three-and-out” and Green took possession again at 3:08. Four plays later Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on a 35 touchdown pass.
For the first quarter Rodgers was 10-13 with a 138 passing yards, and he was just getting started.
In the second quarter Rodgers put on one of the most spectacular passing shows in the history of pro football. He threw the ball 18 times and completed 16 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
The Packers led 24-0 at the half and cruised the rest of the way to a 38-20 win over Washington.
Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. hit back to back home runs for the Seattle Mariners on September 14,1990. It was the first and only time in Major League history that a father and son have hit back to back homers.
The Mariners were playing the Angels that night at Anaheim Stadium. (The Angels wound up winning the game, 7-5, in case that matters to you.) Griffey Sr., at the age of 40, started the game for the Mariners in left field, batting second. Junior was in center field, batting third. (Yeah, maybe it was a little bit of a setup.) In the first inning, after Kirk McCaskill walked Harold Reynolds, Griffey Sr. homered to left center. Junior met him at the plate and then made history, hitting another ball out of the park, almost to same spot.
44-year-old Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s record for the most career hits on September 11, 1985. It was hit number 4,192 for Rose.
Cobb’s record stood for a little more than 67 years. Rose broke it as player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds. He was facing San Diego’s Eric Show. He got his first hit, a triple off of Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend, on April 13 1963. On August 14, 1986 Rose got his 4,256th and last hit off of San Francisco’s Greg Minton.
Look at the video. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa seem to be so happy. Do they not know – or not care that their accomplishments are tainted because they took performance enhancing drugs?
Mark McGwire broke the single season home run record that Roger Maris had previously set. Maris’s 61st home run came on October 1, 1961 during the 162nd and last day of the season. McGwire notched his 62nd blast on Septemeber 8, 1998, during the 145th game of the season. Both Maris’s and McGwire’s accomplishments were shrouded in controversy.
Ford Frick, who was Baseball Commissioner in 1961, decided that Maris’s record needed an asterisk because it took him 162 games to break Babe Ruth’s 1927 single season record of 60 home runs. Ruth got his 60th home run during the old 154 game schedule. Maris, unlike McGwire, was completely innocent of any wrong-doing.
On the day the McGwire broke Maris’s record, the Cardinals, despite McGwire’s home run, lost to the Sammy Sosa led Cubs, 6-3. At that point in the season, Sosa had 58 home runs. Sosa would get his 62nd home run of the 1998 season on September 14. By then McGwire had “gone quiet” for six days and the two were actually tied for the lead. When the season finally ended, McGwire had collected 70 home runs to Sosa’s 66.
While it was happening, and before we all knew what really happened (or maybe before we all emerged from denial), it was fun to watch.
16 years and 64,964 passing yards ago, Peyton Manning was making his NFL debut, on September 6, 1998. (If you’re reading this after the start of the 2014 NFL season, add more yards, and whenever you read this you can also add at least 6,589 yards for post season play.)
Manning played in his first game a little less than three years before 9/11. It was also before you had a cell phone or a Facebook account, and you probably didn’t know what Wifi was.
Expectations for Manning were high. His father was NFL Hall-of-Famer, Archie Manning. Peyton had won the Heisman Trophy playing for the University of Tennessee, and he was the number one draft pick. By some measures his debut was not a disappointment. He completed 21 of 37 passes for an impressive 302 yards. One of his throws was a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Harrison.
Then again, Manning was intercepted three times, including one that Terrell Buckley ran back 21 yards for a touchdown. And more importantly, Manning and his Colts lost to Miami 24-15. Indianapolis went 3-13 for the season
After the game Harrison told the Philadelphia Tribune (Harrison graduated from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia.) “Peyton Manning is going to be a good quarterback. Right now he is still learning the game. He should have a big impact on our team. I know a lot of people will have a chance to see him play.”