Aaron Brooks (American football)
Aaron Lafette Brooks is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League. He played college football at Virginia and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Brooks spent most of his career with the New Orleans Saints, his final season with the Oakland Raiders. Brooks retired in 2007 as the Saints' franchise leader in both season and career touchdown passes, though both records have since been broken by Drew Brees. Brooks lived in a public housing project in the East End area of Newport News. Mentored by Coach Tommy Reamon, Brooks played high school football and graduated from Homer L. Ferguson High School in Newport News, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1999. Brooks enrolled at the University of Virginia in the fall of 1994 and was a redshirt as a true freshman, he was a back-up to Mike Groh in 1995. He competed with fifth year senior Tim Sherman, whose father Tom was the wide receivers coach, for the starting quarterback job in 1996.
The Cavaliers were returning defensive players such as Jamie Sharper, James Farrior, Ronde Barber. The offense was led by running back Tiki Barber; the coaching staff made Sherman, who had played well against Michigan and Virginia Tech in 1995 after starter Mike Groh went down to injury, the primary quarterback instead of the inexperienced Brooks. Nonetheless, Brooks received playing time in nearly all games and was the primary quarterback in a few. Inconsistent quarterback play by both Brooks and Sherman led to an underachieving season, Virginia fans to this day still debate the quarterback play of the 1996 season. Brooks was the starter in 1997. Both Brooks and the team struggled in the early part of the season but surged late to finish the season with a 7-4 record. In 1998, the team got off to a strong start and was in the top ten; the highlight of the year, Brooks' career, was the season finale at Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers were down 29-7 at halftime, but Brooks led the biggest comeback in school history in the 36-32 victory.
The Cavaliers finished the regular season with a 9-2 record, which earned them an invitation to the Peach Bowl where they suffered a 35-33 defeat at the hands of Georgia. In 1999, Brooks began his career as a third-string backup to Brett Favre behind second-string quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, taking no snaps during the regular season; the Packers traded Brooks and tight end Lamont Hall to the Saints for linebacker K. D. Williams and the Saints' third round pick in the 2001 draft ahead of the 2000 season. In his first season with the Saints, Brooks took over as starting quarterback after Jeff Blake was sidelined with a broken foot in the team's 11th game of the season. In his first NFL start, Brooks led the Saints to a 31–24 victory over the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first QB in NFL history to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions on the road in his first career start. Brooks led the team to a 3–2 record in his five starts for an overall 10–6 record, winning the NFC West. In the playoffs, the Saints defeated the Rams, 31–28.
The Saints were without their starting running back, Ricky Williams, lost their best receiver, Joe Horn, early in the game. Brooks threw four touchdown passes to lead the Saints to their first playoff win in franchise history, becoming the first QB in NFL history to eliminate the defending Super Bowl champions in his first career postseason start; the Saints lost their Divisional Playoff game to the Minnesota Vikings, 34–16. In 2001, the Saints went 7–9, ending on a four-game losing streak. In those last four games of the season, the Saints would be outscored by more than 100 points, 160–52. Brooks threw a franchise record-tying 26 touchdowns and a career best 3,832 passing yards in his first full season as a starting quarterback. In 2002, Brooks lead the Saints to a 6–2 record and guided an offense that averaged 32 points a game through the first half of the season before the team imploded in the second half; the Saints went 3–5 to finish the season, losing their last three games to teams eliminated from playoff contention.
2003 was Brooks' most efficient year, compiling an 88.8 quarterback rating, a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio, a 59.1% completion rate, all career bests. However, the Saints did not make the playoffs. In 2004, the Saints finished the season with a four-game winning streak; the Saints made the playoffs but lost out on tiebreakers. Brooks threw twice as many interceptions as previous year, with 16, this was the final year Brooks threw for more than 3,000 in a season. In late 2005, after losing to the Falcons, the Saints benched Brooks and announced Todd Bouman as the team's starter for the last three games of the season, it was a poor year for Brooks, who threw 13 touchdowns. After being released by the Saints, Brooks was signed by the Oakland Raiders in March 2006, he was the starter going into training camp. In his first regular season game as a Raider, he was sacked 9 times by the San Diego Chargers in a 27–0 loss. Brooks dislocated his shoulder in his second game against the Baltimore Ravens and missed the next several weeks.
Second-year quarterback Andrew Walter started the next seven games for Oakland. After a 2–5 record over that span, a healthy Brooks was placed back into the starter's role. Despite improved play, Brooks was unable to lead the defensive Raiders to much success finishing with a league worst 2–14 record. Brooks went on to have a career low 61.7 quarterback rating, again threw more interceptions, than touchdowns, three. Brooks was released by the Raiders when they did not pick up his option after th
John Carney (American football)
John Michael Carney is a retired American football placekicker. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 1987, he played college football at Notre Dame. Carney was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, he was a Pro Bowl selection with the Chargers in 1994 and with the Giants in 2008. When he was released from the Saints' active roster in December 2009, Carney was third on the NFL career scoring list with a career total of 2,044 points, he was the last remaining player from the 1980s still active in professional football. He has worked as a kicking consultant for the Saints. Carney attended Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach and lettered in football. In football, he won All-State honors as a punter. Carney attended Notre Dame and played football there from 1984 to 1986, he was named to the Notre Dame's all time team by Sports Illustrated. After going undrafted in the 1987 NFL Draft, Carney was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent.
He spent the year out of football. Carney played five games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 1988 and 1989, he converted two of all six extra point attempts. Carney attended training camp with the San Diego Chargers in 1990, but did not make the final roster. Carney played one game for the Los Angeles Rams in 1990, but did not attempt a field goal or extra point, he was the last remaining active Los Angeles Ram, until the team moved back to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016. Carney was re-signed by the Chargers during the 1990 season, appearing in 12 games for the team and converting 19 of 21 field goal attempts, he played 11 seasons with the Chargers through the 2000 season, earning his first Pro Bowl selection in 1994 after going 34-for-38 on field goal attempts as the Chargers made it to the Super Bowl. To this day, he remains the Chargers' all-time leading scorer. Carney signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent prior to the 2001 season. On December 21, 2003, the Saints were trailing the Jaguars 20-13 with 7 seconds left in regulation.
Quarterback Aaron Brooks threw the ball in a hurry to Donte Stallworth. As time expired, the Saints continued to lateral the ball around until wide receiver Jerome Pathon scored a touchdown in what became known as the River City Relay. Carney was sent out to kick the extra point to force overtime. Instead, Carney pushed the ball wide right and the Saints lost 19-20. Carney kicked a game-winning field goal against the Carolina Panthers following Hurricane Katrina, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with quarterback Aaron Brooks on September 19, 2005 as the city celebrated this victory. On April 5, 2007, Carney asked and was given permission to leave the Saints after their acquisition of kicker Olindo Mare. Following Week 1 of the 2007 NFL Season, Carney signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars replacing injured placekicker Josh Scobee. Carney appeared in eight games for the Jaguars in Scobee's absence, converting nine of 11 field goal attempts and 20 of 21 extra point attempts, he was released on November 19 upon Scobee's return.
On November 26, 2007, the Kansas City Star reported that the Kansas City Chiefs would sign Carney after holding tryouts to replace Dave Rayner – making Carney the fourth placekicker to play for the Chiefs within a one-year period, following Lawrence Tynes, Justin Medlock and Rayner. Carney appeared in five games for the Chiefs, going 3-for-3 on field goal attempts and 7-for-7 on extra point attempts. On August 30, 2008, Carney signed with the New York Giants to fill in while Tynes recovered from a knee injury sustained in training camp. Although Tynes would recover from his injury Carney continued to hold on to the starting position and Tynes was relegated to kickoff duties. At age 44, Carney was the oldest active NFL player during the 2008 season. After a near perfect season, Carney was chosen as the starting kicker for the NFC for the 2009 Pro Bowl. Carney was not re-signed after his contract expired, leaving him a free agent entering the 2009 season. Following the announcement that New Orleans Saints placekicker Garrett Hartley would be suspended the first four games of the 2009 season, Carney returned to New Orleans on August 15 on a one-year contract.
With his start on November 30, he became the sixth player in NFL history to reach 300 career games. Carney was waived on December 22. On December 24, 2009, the Saints announced that Carney had been hired as a "kicking consultant", with responsibility for the snap and hold as well as working on kicking with his successor, Hartley; the appointment meant that Carney was ineligible to kick for any team for the rest of the 2009 season. Carney remained with the Saints in this capacity through the playoffs, received credit for his role in preparing the comparatively inexperienced Hartley to make a number of critical kicks that helped the Saints win their first Super Bowl. Carney started the 2010 season without a team. However, after Hartley missed 3 out of 7 field goal attempts during the Saints' first 3 games, including a short kick in overtime that would have won a game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints re-signed Carney on September 28, 2010; the signing made him the oldest active player in the NFL at the age of 46.
On October 3, 2010, he kicked three field goals in a Saints win against the Carolina Panthers, became the third oldest player to play in an NFL game. On October 12, the
Curt Menefee is an American sportscaster, the host of the Fox network's NFL show Fox NFL Sunday. His co-hosts are Jimmy Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan. Menefee attended Coe College in Iowa. At Coe, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and inducted into the Sigma Nu Hall of Fame in 2016, he gave the commencement speech at Coe College in 2010 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Journalism. Menefee resides in California. Menefee called the NFL preseason for the Jaguars TV network from 2005-2007, he does NFL preseason television play-by-play for the Seattle Seahawks. Prior to joining Fox Sports full-time, he was a sports reporter for MSG Network's SportsDesk show. Prior to that, he was the sports anchor for New York City's Fox flagship station, he appeared on-air on WTLV in Jacksonville, Florida. He began calling NFL games on Fox in the late 1990s, he hosted a radio show on the popular Dallas, Texas sports radio station KTCK. He was the sports anchor for Dallas-Fort Worth's then-independent station and now CBS affiliate KTVT where he refused to wear socks during the newscast.
Menefee has provided play-by-play for Fox's NFL Europe and Fox NFL coverage in the spring and summer months. On May 24, 2008, Menefee made an appearance on MLB on Fox, he held play-by-play duties alongside José Mota during a game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox. On May 22, 2010, Menefee hosted Fox's coverage of the 2010 UEFA Champions League Final between FC Internazionale Milano and FC Bayern Munich in the first broadcast of that tournament's final on over-the-air broadcast television in the United States. On November 12, 2011, Menefee became the host of the UFC on Fox with Jon Jones. Menefee provided ringside commentary for Top Rank's coverage of the Pacquiao-Hatton fight, he was the play-by-play announcer for ShoBox: The New Generation. On January 7, 2012, Menefee announced. Menefee was named host of UFC on Fox in 2011, he continued to serve that capacity until Fox lost the rights to ESPN in 2018 Terry Bradshaw Howie Long Michael Strahan Jimmy Johnson Jay Glazer Tony Gonzalez Tim Ryan Tim Green Brian Baldinger Jon Jones Randy Couture Chael Sonnen Brian Stann Brock Huard
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, the most populous city in the southeastern United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; as of 2017 Jacksonville's population was estimated to be 892,062. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest in Florida. Jacksonville is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of northeast Florida, about 25 miles south of the Georgia state line and 328 miles north of Miami; the Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was inhabited by the Timucua people, in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British.
A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain. Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port, its riverine location facilitates Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the U. S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Jacksonville's military bases and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay form the third largest military presence in the United States. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance and logistics; as with much of Florida, tourism is important to the Jacksonville area tourism related to golf. People from Jacksonville may be called "Jacksonvillians" or "Jaxsons"; the area of the modern city of Jacksonville has been inhabited for thousands of years. On Black Hammock Island in the national Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a University of North Florida team discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BC.
In the 16th century, the beginning of the historical era, the region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people. At the time of contact with Europeans, all Mocama villages in present-day Jacksonville were part of the powerful chiefdom known as the Saturiwa, centered around the mouth of the St. Johns River. One early map shows. French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River in 1562, calling it the River of May because, the month of his discovery. Ribault erected a stone column at his landing site near the river's mouth, claiming the newly discovered land for France. In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement, Fort Caroline, on the St. Johns near the main village of the Saturiwa. Philip II of Spain ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to protect the interest of Spain by attacking the French presence at Fort Caroline. On September 20, 1565, a Spanish force from the nearby Spanish settlement of St. Augustine attacked Fort Caroline, killed nearly all the French soldiers defending it.
The Spanish renamed the fort San Mateo, following the ejection of the French, St. Augustine's position as the most important settlement in Florida was solidified; the location of Fort Caroline is subject to debate but a reconstruction of the fort was established on the St. Johns River in 1964. Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763 after the French and Indian War, the British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia; the road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British called the Cow Ford; the British introduced the cultivation of sugar cane and fruits, as well the export of lumber. As a result, the northeastern Florida area prospered economically more than it had under the Spanish. Britain ceded control of the territory to Spain in 1783, after being defeated in the American Revolutionary War, the settlement at the Cow Ford continued to grow. After Spain ceded the Florida Territory to the United States in 1821, American settlers on the north side of the Cow Ford decided to plan a town, laying out the streets and plats.
They named the town Jacksonville, after President Andrew Jackson. Led by Isaiah D. Hart, residents wrote a charter for a town government, approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832. During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle being shipped from Florida to feed the Confederate forces; the city was blockaded by Union forces. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville proper, the city changed hands several times between Union and Confederate forces. In the Skirmish of the Brick Church in 1862, Confederates won their first victory in the state. However, Union forces captured a Confederate position at the Battle of St. Johns Bluff, occupied Jacksonville in 1862. Slaves escaped to freedom in Union lines. In February 1864 Union forces left Jacksonville and confronted a Confederate Army at the Battle of Olustee, going down to defeat. Union forces held the city for the remainder of the war. In Ma
Big Game (American football)
The Big Game is the name given to the Cal–Stanford football rivalry. It is an American college football rivalry game played by the California Golden Bears football team of the University of California and the Stanford Cardinal football team of Stanford University. First played in 1892, it is one of the oldest college rivalries in the United States. Stanford leads the series 64–46–11; the game is played in late November or early December, its location alternates between the two universities every year. In even-numbered years, the game is played at Berkeley, while in odd-numbered years it is played at Stanford. Big Game is the oldest college football rivalry in the West. While an undergraduate at Stanford, future U. S. President Herbert Hoover was the student manager of football teams, he helped organize the inaugural Big Game, along with his friend Cal manager Herbert Lang. Only 10,000 tickets were printed for the game but 20,000 people showed up. Hoover and Lang scrambled to find pots and any other available receptacles to collect the admission fees.
In 1898, Berkeley alumnus and San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan purchased a casting of Douglas Tilden's The Football Players bronze sculpture and offered it as a prize to the school that could win the football game two years in a row. Berkeley responded by shutting Stanford out in 1898 and 1899, the sculpture was installed on the Berkeley campus atop a stone pedestal engraved with the names of the players and the donor during a dedication ceremony held May 12, 1900; the term "Big Game" was first used in 1900. During that game, a large group of men and boys, who were observing from the roof of the nearby S. F. and Pacific Glass Works, fell into the fiery interior of the building when the roof collapsed, resulting in 13 dead and 78 injured. Fred Lilly, the last victim of the disaster, died on December 4, 1900, bringing the death toll to 22. To this day, the "Thanksgiving Day Disaster" remains the deadliest accident to kill spectators at a U. S. sporting event. In 1906, citing concerns about the violence in football, both schools dropped football in favor of rugby, played for the Big Games of 1906–14.
The first incidence of card stunts was performed by Cal fans at the halftime of the 1910 Big Game. California resumed playing football in 1915, but Stanford's rugby teams continued until 1917. From 1915 to 1917, California's "Big Game" was their game against Washington, while Stanford played Santa Clara as their rugby "Big Game"; the 1918 game, in which Cal prevailed 67–0, is not considered an official game because Stanford's team was composed of volunteers from the Student Army Training Corps stationed at Stanford, some of whom were not Stanford students. The game resumed as football in 1919, has been played as such every year since, except from 1943 to 1945, when Stanford shut down its football program due to World War II. A handful of Stanford starters—including guards Jim Cox, Bill Hachten and Fred Boensch, running back George Quist and halfback Billy Agnew—shifted to Cal in order to continue playing. Quist returned to Stanford. Scenes for the Harold Lloyd silent classic The Freshman were filmed at California Memorial Stadium during halftime of the 1924 Big Game.
Since 1933, the victor of the game has been awarded possession of the Stanford Axe. If a game ended in a tie, the Axe stayed on the side that possessed it; the Axe is a key part of the rivalry's history, having been stolen on several occasions by both sides, starting in 1899, when the Axe was introduced when Stanford yell leader Billy Erb used it at a baseball game between the two schools. In March 2007, the National Football League announced that it intended to trademark the phrase "The Big Game" in reference to the Super Bowl, but soon dropped the plan after being faced with opposition from Cal and Stanford. In 2013, the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara was proposed as the site of the 2014 Big Game, which according to the traditional rotation should be played at Cal's Memorial Stadium; the 2015 game would be held in Berkeley, reversing the current rotation of odd-numbered years at Stanford and even-numbered years at Cal. However, several days Cal declined the offer. In the week before the game, both schools celebrate the occasion with rallies and luncheons.
Cal students hold a traditional pep rally and bonfire at the Hearst Greek Theatre on the eve of the game, while Stanford students stage the Gaieties, a theatrical production that both celebrates and pokes fun at the rivalry. The week includes various other athletic events including "The Big Splash", "The Big Spike", "The Big Sweep", "The Big Freeze", "The Big Sail", the Ink Bowl, a touch football game between the members of the two schools' newspapers. In addition, the two schools compete in a blood drive called "Rivals for Life." The Big Game Bonfire Rally is a pep and bonfire rally that takes place at University of California, Berkeley in Hearst Greek Theatre on the eve of Big Game. More than 10,000 students gather to hear the history about The Stanford Big Game; the University of California Rally Committee is in charge of the planning and setting up the bonfire, as well as refueling it during the rally. Freshman members of the UC Rally Committee, as well as freshman band members are sent out with pallets to the chanting of "freshmen, more wood."
Several alumni show up to perform traditional rituals. A tradition unique to Cal is the performance of a traditional Maori war dance/chant. Traditionally performed by an alumni Yell Leader, the Haka performed was written in
2003–04 NFL playoffs
The National Football League playoffs for the 2003 season began on January 3, 2004. The postseason tournament concluded with the New England Patriots defeating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32–29, on February 1, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Beginning with the 2003–04 season, the NFL changed the selection procedures regarding officials for playoff games; the league suspended the prior practice of assembling "all-star" officiating crews of rated individual officials. Instead, the league began using the entire crews that were highest rated during the regular season, preserving familiarity and cohesiveness in the officiating; the "all-star" crews were resumed, beginning with the 2005–06 Conference Championships. Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams qualified for the playoffs; the four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round.
In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round, while the number 2 seed will play the other team; the two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference. * Indicates overtime victory ** Indicates double overtime victory In the United States, ABC broadcast the first two Wild Card playoff games. Fox televised the rest of the NFC games. CBS broadcast the rest of the AFC playoff games and Super Bowl XXXVIII. In a defensive struggle, Gary Anderson kicked the winning 46-yard field goal for the Titans with 29 seconds left.
The winning kick was set up after a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Ravens offensive lineman Orlando Brown Sr. forced Baltimore to punt and enabled Tennessee to start its final drive from its own 37-yard line. Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw three interceptions. Meanwhile, the Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, the league's regular season rushing leader, was limited to 35 yards on 14 carries. On the Titans opening drive of the game, McNair completed passes to Drew Bennett and Frank Wycheck for gains of 17 and 14 yards, while Eddie George rushed five times for 25 yards on a 10-play, 67-yard drive. Running back Chris Brown finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run to give Tennessee a 7–0 lead; the Ravens were forced to punt on their ensuing drive, but three plays safety Ed Reed tipped a pass from McNair into the arms of cornerback Will Demps, who returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. Early in the second quarter, a 15-yard punt return from Titans receiver Derrick Mason gave his team the ball at the Ravens 35-yard line.
McNair led them to the 17-yard line, but Reed intercepted a pass from him and returned it 23 yards to the 29. After an exchange of punts, Ravens quarterback Anthony Wright completed four passes for 56 yards and rushed for 11, setting up a 43-yard field goal by Matt Stover giving Baltimore a 10–7 halftime lead. Midway through the third quarter, McNair's 49-yard touchdown pass to Justin McCareins gave the Titans a 14–10 lead. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee defense back Samari Rolle intercepted a pass from Wright at the Ravens 30-yard line, setting up a 45-yard field goal from Anderson, but Wright led Baltimore back. Tight end Todd Heap caught three of Wright's passes for 55 yards, finished the drive with a leaping 35-yard catch in the back of the end zone to tie the game. After an exchange of punts, the Titans took the ball on their own 37-yard line and drove 35 yards to Ravens 28-yard line where Anderson's 46-yard field goal with 33 seconds left gave them the win; this would be the Titans last playoff win until 2017.
The Cowboys' turnaround season under coach Bill Parcells came to a crashing halt. The Panthers outgained the Cowboys in total yards 380–204 and held the ball for 34:23. Dallas quarterback Quincy Carter threw for only 154 yards and an interception, while being sacked three times. Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme threw for 273 yards and a touchdown to Steve Smith, who had five receptions for 135 yards and added 22 return yards on special teams. Stephen Davis ran for 104 yards and another touchdown, while Muhsin Muhammad caught four passes for 103 yards. John Kasay kicked five field goals for Carolina. On the Panthers third play of the game, Delhomme completed a 70-yard pass to Smith on the Cowboys 1-yard line, setting up Kasay's first field goal. In the first quarter, Toby Gowin's 31-yard punt gave the Panthers the ball at the Cowboys 41-yard line, they scored another field goal to take a 6–0 lead. On the Cowboys ensuing drive, Carter completed a 28-yard pass to Joey Galloway and Troy Hambrick ran for 16 yards, giving Dallas a first down at the Panthers 20-yard line.
But two plays fullback Richie Anderson fumbled the ball and Carolina safety Mike Minter recovered it. In the second quarter, Gowin once again gave the Panthers great field position with a 17-yard punt to the Carolina 49-yard line, this time they managed to get the ball into the end zone with a 23-yard touchdown run by
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's National Football Conference South division; the Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League. In their 53 years of existence, the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6, winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2016; the Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, the second was eighteen years a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Professional football first came to Atlanta in 1962, when the American Football League staged two preseason contests, with one featuring the Denver Broncos vs. the Houston Oilers and the second pitting the Dallas Texans against the Oakland Raiders.
Two years the AFL held another exhibition, this time with the New York Jets taking on the San Diego Chargers. In 1965, after the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was built, the city of Atlanta felt the time was right to start pursuing professional football. One independent group, active in NFL exhibition promotions in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the AFL and NFL, acting on its own with no guarantee of stadium rights. Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL. With everyone running in different directions, some local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 8, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, moving in Atlanta matters, was spurred by the AFL interest and headed on the next plane down to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city of Atlanta, he forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues. The AFL's original expansion plans in June 1965 were for two new teams in 1966, in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
It evolved into the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. The NFL had planned to add two teams in 1967; the odd number of teams resulted in one idle team each week, with each team playing fourteen games over fifteen weeks. The second expansion team, the New Orleans Saints, joined the NFL as planned in 1967 as its sixteenth franchise; the Atlanta Falcons franchise began on June 30, 1965, when Rozelle granted ownership to forty-year-old Rankin Smith Sr. an Executive Vice President of Life Insurance Company of Georgia. He paid the highest price in NFL history at the time for a franchise. Rozelle and Smith made the deal in about five minutes and the Atlanta Falcons brought the largest and most popular sport to the city of Atlanta; the Atlanta expansion team became the fifteenth NFL franchise, they were awarded the first overall pick in the 1966 NFL Draft as well as the final pick in each of the first five rounds. They selected consensus All-American linebacker Tommy Nobis from the University of Texas, making him the first-ever Falcon.
The league held the expansion draft six weeks in which Atlanta selected unprotected players from the fourteen existing franchises. Although the Falcons selected many good players in those drafts, they still were not able to win right away; the Atlanta team received its nickname on August 29, 1965. Miss Julia Elliott, a school teacher from Griffin, was singled out from many people who suggested "Falcons" as the nickname for the new franchise, she wrote: "the Falcon is dignified, with great courage and fight. It never drops its prey, it is deadly and has a great sporting tradition." The Falcons' inaugural season was in 1966, their first preseason game was on August 1, a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Under head coach Norb Hecker, Atlanta lost their first nine regular season games in 1966. Two weeks Atlanta won at Minnesota, beat St. Louis in Atlanta the next week for their first home win; the team finished the 1960s with twelve wins in four seasons. The Falcons had their first Monday Night Football game in Atlanta during the 1970 season, a 20–7 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The only two winning seasons in their first twelve years were 1971 and 1973. In the 1978 season, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time and won the Wild Card game against the Eagles 14–13; the following week, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27–20 in the Divisional Playoffs. In the 1980 season, after a nine-game winning streak, the Falcons posted a franchise then-best record of 12–4 and captured their first NFC West division title; the next week, their dream season ended at home with a loss to the Cowboys 30–27 in the divisional playoffs. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, the Falcons made the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30–24. Falcons coach Leeman Bennett was fired after the loss; the team had losing seasons for the next eight years. In the 1989 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected cornerback Deion Sanders in the first round