Ultimate NFL – Tales of Redemption
Which NFL team is the best of all-time?
That is a question that has been debated in stadiums, bars and living rooms across the country since the beginning of time. OK, maybe that is overstating it a bit, but I think you know what I mean.
Some people say that the best team would be the ’85 Bears or the ’72 Dolphins. Maybe it is one of the great 49ers teams of the 80’s or the Packers of the 60’s. What about the America’s Team, the Purple People Eaters, the Steel Curtain or the “Greatest Show on Turf”? Could the greatest team of all-time be one that did not hoist the Lombardi Trophy or win an NFL Championship? (2007 Patriots anyone?)
This dynasty will attempt to answer this most basic question by running the Ultimate64 Tourney, a March Madness style tournament pitting the greatest NFL teams against each other until just one remains…The Ultimate NFL Champion.
Now the question is; how to decide which teams will participate in the Ultimate64.
I decided to dump all NFL, AAFL & AFL teams since 1941* into a tournament. Chronicling all 6,888 games in this tourney would be mind-numbingly boring at best, so I have already run all of the early rounds and the Ultimate League of 576 teams is set. The league is broken into 64 divisions of 9 teams. Each division winner will move on to the Ultimate64 Tourney.
* I am using WhatIfSports to play the games and they do not simulate any teams before 1941.
For this dynasty, I will be following one particular team in detail. That team ----- The 1998 Minnesota Vikings.
Why the Vikes?
Well, I grew up in Minnesota in the 70’s. Fran “The Man” Tarkenton & the Purple People Eaters always had a good team that just couldn’t seem to win the big game. Fast forward to the 90’s and I had since moved to Packer country, watched Green Bay go from basement dwellers to Super Bowl champs with Brett Favre at the helm. Although I had become a Packers fan, my first love was still the purple and gold.
1998 was a great football year for me. The Vikings couldn’t seem to lose and destroyed other teams with the offensive exploits of Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith and some rookie named Randy Moss. The Vikings finished 15-1 and was well on their way to going to the Super Bowl. I had to work the day of the NFC Championship but it was no big deal. I had already planned ahead to be off the day of the big game. My VCR was set and I would watch the game as soon as I got home.
I got home and flipped on the TV, ready to rewind my tape. Wait a second. It looks like Atlanta is lining up to kick a field goal. Huh? The game should have been over, what the heck. The kick went…and it was good. Atlanta wins the game in overtime. I took out the tape, stomped on it and immediately put it in the trash. The rest is history. Atlanta went on to get destroyed in Super Bowl XXXIII by the Broncos and all the Vikings had was what might have been. Sixteen years later; I am still PO’d about that game.
The Ultimate League
So, I hope to follow this team through the Ultimate League and deep into the Ultimate64 tourney. I figure that they probably won’t win, but of course I want them to redeem themselves and do well and maybe finish in the top 10.
The ’98 Vikings are members of Division 1967. The teams in D1967 are:
1967 Green Bay Packers (9-4-1) – 1st NFL Central - beat Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II
1971 Miami Dolphins (10-3-1) – 1st AFC East - lost to Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1) – 1st NFC Central - lost to Atlanta Falcons in NFC Championship Game
2000 Oakland Raiders (12-4) – 1st AFC West – lost to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Championship Game
2013 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – 2nd AFC West – lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Wildcard Game
1990 Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – 2nd NFC East – lost to Washington Redskins in NFC Wildcard Game
1992 Miami Dolphins (11-5) – 1st AFC East – lost to Buffalo Bills in AFC Championship Game
2013 San Diego Chargers (9-7) – 3rd AFC West – lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Game
1989 Kansas City Chiefs (8-7-1) – 2nd AFC West – did not make the playoffs
Looking at these teams, I think the Vikes have a very good shot of winning the division and making it to the Ultimate64. However, unlike real life, they have to go through an entire season playing playoff caliber teams. Finishing 15-1 will be very tough and probably unlikely. Still, they were an offensive juggernaut and will be very tough to stop. I wish them luck.
In addition to chronicling the ’98 Vikings in detail, I will be following the obvious favorites (’85 Bears, ’72 Dolphins etc.) If you readers, hopefully there will be readers, have any teams you love, let me know and I will give you weekly updates.
Week One recap
1989 Kansas City Chiefs (8-7-1) at 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1)
Week one brings a “sort-of” rematch of Super Bowl IV which of course resulted in the Vikings first of many Super Bowl losses.
The game was very even statistically. Rushing yards: 205 to 194. Passing yards: 170 to 194. First Downs: 20 to 19. Christian “The Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye* – 133 yards and 1 touchdown. Robert “I have a very boring name” Smith – 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. However in the end, it was Randall Cunningham’s two fourth quarter td passes that gave the Vikes the 34-23 win. Good start to the season. Minnesota 1-0.
* One of the best NFL nicknames of all time. Anyone remember how hard this guy was to tackle in the NES game Tecmo Super Bowl.
Around the League
’72 Miami Dolphins (14-0) vs. ’90 Los Angeles Raiders (12-4)
Larry Csonka ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns and was Player of the Gane in the Dolphins 23-13 win
’85 Chicago Bears (15-1) vs. ’86 Cleveland Browns (12-4)
Bernie Kosar was ineffective for the Browns (11-19, 147 yards) and their leading rusher was Kevin Mack with 68 yards. Despite the close final score (Chicago 19, Cleveland 14), da Bears defense was tough giving up a garbage td with 3 minutes left in the game.
Surprise of the Week
’07 New England Patriots (16-0) vs. ’74 Washington Redskins (10-4)
Billy Kilmer & Moses Denson outplay Tom Brady and Randy Moss. Don’t worry, I had never heard of these guys either. The game was tied at 13 at 11:01 in the fourth quarter before the Redskins came alive and scored two quick touchdowns to seal the deal. Interesting start for one of the Ultimate64 favorites.
The Division of Doom
Most sports have a group or division with an unusually high number of quality teams in it. In the World Cup it is called the “Group of Death”. In the Ultimate League, I call it “The Division of Doom”.
How would you like to have the following teams in your division?
- The 1997 Denver Broncos (12-4) winners of Super Bowl XXXII
- The 1984 Miami Dolphins (14-2), a team led by Hall of Famer Dan Marino playing one of best seasons. He only threw 48 touchdowns and had a QB Rating of 108.9.
- The 1948 Cleveland Browns (14-0), a team that had a perfect season and won the Championship. Granted, they were champion of the All America Football Conference (AAFC), but still.
- The 2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1), led by Aaron Rodgers who arguably had an even better season than Marino ’84. – 45 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, QB Rating of 122.5.
- The rest of the teams: 1996 Denver Broncos, 1989 Cleveland Browns, 2001 Oakland Raiders, 1993 Kansas City Chiefs & 1959 Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s almost too bad that just one of these teams will go on to the final tournament. I will be watching this division closely.
Best Game of the Week One
2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1) at 1984 Miami Dolphins (14-2)
Aaron Rodgers has a brilliant game throwing 12 for 18, 139 yards, and four touchdowns. Dan Marino is even sharper going 26 for 30, 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the end, Miami dominated time of possession (38:34 to 20:26) and also had a running game (2 rushing td’s). The Dolphins win a close one 30-28.
The ’97 Broncos lose 31-19 to the ’01 Raiders, and the ’48 Browns beat up on the ’59 Steelers, 19-13.
Week Two recap
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 1-0) at 2000 Oakland Raiders (12-4, 0-1)
Week two has the Vikes facing an Oakland team that came out flat in a 33-21 loss to the ’71 Dolphins the previous week. It is more of the same for the Raiders and the Rich Gannon led team goes down big 40-7. Randall Cunningham didn’t really have a very good game (14 for 25, 177 yards, 1 td & 1int), but
Player of the Game Robert Smith made up for it by running for 139 yards and 2 td’s. Gary Anderson also chipped in with four field goals. Minnesota is now 2-0 on the season. Go Vikes!
Around the League
The ’85 Bears and the ’72 Dolphins have a bye week.
2007 New England Patriots (16-0, 0-1) at 1977 Baltimore Colts (10-4, 0-1)
The Patriots bounce back from last week’s loss by completely destroying the Colts 53-0. Tom Brady went 15 for 19, 174 yards and 3 touchdowns, Stephen Gostkowski hits six field goals and New England tacks on two rushing td’s in the huge win.
1961 Houston Oilers (10-3-1, 1-0) at 1974 Oakland Raiders (12-2, 1-0)
In a crazy back and forth game featuring George Blanda on both teams, the Raiders beat the Oilers 46-43. ’61 Blanda and Ken Stabler both had 2 td’s a 1 int. The Oilers had four rushing td’s to the Raiders’ three. ’74 Blanda hit all three field goal tries. ’61 Blanda missed a 40-yarder. That was the difference in the game.
The Division of Doom
1997 Denver Broncos (13-3, 0-1) – bye week
1984 Miami Dolphins (14-2, 1-0) at 1989 Cleveland Browns (9-6-1, 1-0)
Bernie Kosar out Marino’s Dan Marino throwing for 4 td’s in a 31-23 Browns win.
1948 Cleveland Browns (14-0, 1-0) at Green Bay Packers (15-1, 0-1)
Otto Graham and the Browns dominated the Packers in a game that was not as close as the 21-15 score would indicate. Lou Groza’s missed three field goals kept the Pack in the game.
Surprise of the Week
No big surprises this week.
When I started this project, I went to a few random websites to see what other people picked for the best NFL teams of all-time. All six sites I visited picked the ’85 Bears for the number 1 spot. The ’72 Dolphins finished at #2 on 5 websites and #3 on the 6th. This was not much of a surprise. Interestingly enough, no other team was on all six sites top ten lists.
Besides the Big Two, the following teams showed up on at least three of the lists:
1989 San Francisco 49ers
1991 Washington Redskins
1984 San Francisco 49ers
1999 St. Louis Rams
2007 New England Patriots
1962 Green Bay Packers
1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
1994 San Francisco 49ers
1971 Dallas Cowboys
Of these, I would probably pick the ’84 49ers as the best of this bunch. They went 15-1 and went on to beat a very good Dolphins team rather easily in Super Bowl XIX. Out of curiosity, what do you guys think? Are the websites all wet? Are there other teams that you think should be in a top ten list?
FYI. Here are the websites that I looked at:
ESPN Page 2
I think the 1986 New York Giants are one of the most overlooked great teams. I'm biased though.
The '86 Giants were #10 on the NY Post top ten website. They might be a bit biased as well. Hehe. I will add these guys to the list of teams that will get regular updates.
Week Three recap
2013 San Diego Chargers (9-7, 0-2) at 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 2-0)
In RL, the 2013 Chargers barely got into the playoffs, upset a heavily favored Bengals team in the wildcard game, and promptly lost to the Broncos in the Division game. I did not suspect they would do much in this tourney and sitting at 0-2, they were proving me right.
The Chargers opened up the game with a quick td pass from Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen. Robert Smith answered back on the next drive to tie it up. 7-7 after one. The Vikings took the lead early in the second with a Leroy Hoard 17-yd run, but then the offense just disappeared. The Chargers got a rushing td followed by another Rivers to Allen pass, this time from 52 yards out. Chargers up 21-14 at the half.
The only score in the third was a Gary Anderson field goal for Minnesota. Four and a half minutes to go in the game, Cunningham hit Leroy Hoard from 1 yard out to take a 24-21 lead. Philip Rivers goes nuts hitting every pass in the next drive (helped by two very stupid encroachment penalties by MIN) and finally connects with Danny Woodhead to go up 28-24 with just 53 seconds on the clock.
The Vikings start out on their own 21. Cunningham to Hatchette for 10 yards. Cunningham scrambles for 5 before going out of bounds. 38 seconds left. Incomplete pass. Cunningham to Smith for 21 and he gets out of bounds. Ball at the 43 with 24 seconds left. Incomplete pass. Incomplete pass. Just 18 ticks remain. Cunningham to Cris Carter for 16 and he just scoots out of bounds. Two seconds left on the clock. Cunningham throws a jump ball to the endzone and Randy Moss comes down with it as time expires. Vikings get a big scare from the Chargers but win a thriller 30-28. Whew. Go Vikes.
Philip Rivers was the Player of the Game with 307 yards and 3 td’s
Around the League
1985 Chicago Bears (15-1, 1-0) at 1984 St. Louis Cardinals (9-7, 1-1)
The mighty ’85 Bears looked bad against a weak Cardinals squad and go down 26-9. McMahon was just 13-23 for 173 with 1 td and 1 int. Walter Payton was held to 57 yards and kicker Kevin Butler missed both field goal attempts. DE Curtis Greer of St. Louis was Player of the game with three sacks.
1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0, 1-0) at 1977 New England Patriots (9-5, 1-1)
The Dolphins remain perfect and win a defensive battle by a score of 10-7. Neither team had 100 passing yards.
The Division of Doom
1997 Denver Broncos (12-4, 0-1) at 1959 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1, 1-1)
The Steelers are all over the Super Bowl Champs and win 19-9.
1989 Cleveland Browns (9-6-1, 2-0) at 2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1, 0-2)
The Pack and the Browns play a back and forth see-saw kind of a game, but in the end, Aaron Rodgers and company go down 30-27.
1993 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 0-2) at 1948 Cleveland Browns (14-0, 2-0)
The surprising ’48 Browns keep their unbeaten streak alive and win easily over the Chiefs 23-13. I guess the only reason it is surprising is the fact that 1940s teams rarely fare well in the WhatIfSports NFL simulations. I notice a strong bias for modern-era clubs.
Of the teams that I thought would be vying for the division, only the ’48 Browns have a winning record. The Division of Doom has turned out to be a Division of Duds.
Surprise of the Week
The ’85 Bears loss is easily the most surprising thing in week three. I expected them to lose a few games during the season; after all, they are playing a playoff caliber team each and every week. I was just amazed that they lost to this particular team. I rated the ’84 Cardinals dead last in Division 1985.
I think at least one of Jimmy Johnson's 90's Cowboys' squads belongs in the discussion for best ever. Also the 1977 Cowboys were pretty good too.
Reader Picks – updated to week Three
1986 New York Giants (14-2*) – (Marmel)
Looks like the Giants have a relatively easy division. The toughest opponents for them should be the 1977 Denver Broncos (12-2**) and the 1992 San Francisco 49ers (14-2).
2008 Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at 1986 New York Giants (14-2*)
The Giants led through most of the game but let a 10 point lead slip through their fingers as Atlanta tied it up at 20 with 27 seconds on the clock. However, they march down the field getting 52 yards on three quick plays. Raul Allegre kicks a 30 yarder as time expired for the win. Giants 23, Atlanta 20
1986 New York Giants (14-2*, 1-0) at 1998 Arizona Cardinals (9-7, 1-1)
The Giants defense came up huge in this game holding Jake Plummer’s Cardinals to just 26 rushing yards. They also had four sacks and 2 interceptions. RB Joe Morris led the way with 132 yards and 2 td’s to earn Player of the Game. They are now the only undefeated team in their division.
1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*) – (SFL Cat)
The Cowgirls…okay Cowboys…my anti-Dallas bias is showing a bit…may have a tough time of it. The 1980 Eagles** are in their division and were a very good Super Bowl runner-up. Other top teams include the 1949 Browns* and the 1998 Jets.
2002 Green Bay Packers (12-4) at 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*)
The Packer defense cannot stop the Cowboys running game as Dallas unloads for 339 yards behind Robert Newhouse (141 yards, 3 td, POG) and Tony Dorsett (116 yards). Brett Favre was ineffective with just 150 yards and 1 int. Big D wins big 27-6.
1997 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*, 1-0) at 1986 Seattle Seahawks (10-6^, 1-1)
Newhouse was POG for the second game in a row with a 70 yard, 1 td performance. Dorsett added 83 yards, but he is still without a td. Dallas wins easily 16-6. They have yet to give up a touchdown. They are tied with the ’80 Eagles** at the top of their division.
1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*) – (SplitP1)
San Francisco seems to have drawn a fairly weak field. The ’99 Titans and the ’65 Chargers may give them the most trouble, but they should win their division handily.
1984 Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) at 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*)
Joe Montana went 18 for 22, 215 yards and 3 td’s and was not named Player of the Game. That honor went to RB Wendell Tyler who rushed for 162 and 2 td’s. The Steelers were never in this one and went down hard 35-14.
1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*, 1-0) at 2008 New Orleans Saints (8-8^, 1-1)
In RL, the ’08 Saints outscored every team in the NFL, had a +70 Point Differential, but finished last in the NFC South. In this game they were seemingly no match for the 49ers down 20-7 after three quarters. The Saints offense woke up in the fourth getting two field goals and a Pierre Thomas td run with 51 seconds to go to tie it up. Montana and crew had a beautiful 10 minute 68 yard drive down the field that led to Ray Wersching field goal in overtime. Frisco 23, Saints 20.
A surprising 2012 Vikings teams leads the division at 3-0.
* championship team
^ did not make playoffs
Week Four recap
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 3-0) – Bye Week
1992 Miami Dolphins (11-5, 2-0) at 1990 Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, 2-1)
The Game was pretty even through the first half. Then Randall Cunningham and the Eagles caught fire and scored 24 unanswered points to crush the Dolphins 30-10.
1989 Kansas City Chiefs (8-7-1^, 1-2) at 1971 Miami Dolphins (10-3-1**, 2-0)
This was oddly similar to the other Dolphins game. Even through the half (10-10), then the Chiefs made adjustments and dominated the second half. Kansas City wins 23-10. Larry Csonka rushed for 101 yards and a td for the losing Dolphins.
With both Miami teams losing, the ’98 Vikings are the only undefeated team in their division.
Other division games
’00 Raiders (12-4, 0-3) at ’13 Chargers (9-7, 0-3) 20-17
’13 Chiefs (11-5, 1-1) at ’67 Packers (9-4-1*, 0-2) 16-6
Around the League
1980 Los Angeles Rams (11-5, 1-1) at 1985 Chicago Bears (15-1*, 1-1)
A late 4th quarter Walter Payton td made this game seem closer than it really was. LA’s Elvis Peacock rushed for 155 in the Rams 20-13 victory. The mighty ’85 Bears have now dropped two in a row.
1978 Miami Dolphins (11-5, 1-1) at 1972 Miami Dolphins (15-1*, 2-0)
Kicker Garo Yepremian was the only scorer for the ’78 version of the Dolphins. QB Earl Morrall and company easily cruise past their 1978 counterparts and win big 28-9.
1964 Kansas City Chiefs (7-7^, 2-1) at 1982 Miami Dolphins (7-2**, 2-0)
The Chiefs qualified for the Ultimate League by getting through a tough preliminary group round. They showed the rest of the league that they deserve to be here as they dominated a Dolphin squad that played in Super Bowl XVII. Kansas City wins 41-0.
(Marmel) 1966 Buffalo Bills (9-4-1, 1-1) at 1986 New York Giants (14-2*, 2-0)
The Giants’ Joe Morris is Player of the Game with 158 yards rushing. However, it is not enough as the Giants go down in overtime 16-10.
(SFL Cat) 2009 San Diego Chargers (13-3, 1-1) at 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*, 2-0)
This was a defensive game for the first three quarters and the Cowboys led 10-6. Then Roger Staubach and Philip Rivers woke up and both threw for td’s in the final quarter. In the end, it was a POG Staubach with a 2 yard run with 3 seconds to go which was the difference in the game. Cowboys win a close one 25-22.
(SplitP1) 1971 Washington Redskins (9-4-1, 1-1) at 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*, 2-0)
Joe Montana threw for 2 touchdowns, but POG Larry Brown rushed for 192 yards and 1 td in a big upset win for Washington. Final score: 24-13.
Surprise of the Week
The ’85 Bears dropping two in a row and sitting at 1-2. They better be careful. I would hate to see them fail to make the Ultimate64 tourney. However, this is a tough team that could run the table and finish 14-2.
Roger Staubach, IMHO the greatest comeback QB in NFL history! The standard against which all others are measured. :)
SFL Cat – Roger Staubach as greatest NFL comeback QB of all-time? Payton Manning might have something to say about that. (Don’t worry; I like to throw out outrageous claims for my favorite players and teams also) :)
Top Ten NFL Career Fourth Quarter Comeback Leaders
1 - Peyton Manning* – 40
2 - Dan Marino – 36
3 - John Elway – 35
4t - Tom Brady* – 31
4t - Joe Montana – 31
6t - Fran Tarkenton – 30
6t - Brett Favre – 30
8 - Vinny Testaverde – 29 – really? Vinny?
9 - Johnny Unitas – 27
10 - Warren Moon – 26
58t – Roger Staubach – 15
There are 256 games that have to be run every week in the Ultimate League. It takes up to between two five days for me to run each week; depending on work and life. Since I want to post regularly, I will try to fill in the off days with stats, team or player spotlights, or anything else that interests me. If there is some stat or info you readers want to see, just let me know.
Spotlight on the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers. Eight Super Bowl appearances with a league leading six wins. Chuck Noll, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris are just a few of the Steelers Hall of Famers. In RL, they are truly one of the great NFL franchises.
In the Ultimate League, they field 29 teams, tied with the Rams and second only to the Cowboys. So far through four weeks of play, the Steelers have 9 teams that are undefeated and are 65-38 (.631) overall; the best in the Ultimate League. The 1979 team is particularly good. They are 3-0, have scored 101 points and have given up just 6. Very impressive.
QB Win-Loss Records through Week Four
Bobby Layne (2-2)
Terry Bradshaw (23-11)
Joe Gilliam (2-1)
Cliff Stoudt (4-0)
Mark Malone (1-3)
Neil O’Donnell (10-5)
Mike Tomczak (2-2)
Kordell Stewart (5-3)
Tommy Maddox (1-3)
Ben Roethlisberger (15-8)
Coaching Win-Loss Records through Week Four
Buddy Parker (2-2)
Chuck Noll (30-15)
Bill Cowher (25-17)
Mike Tomlin (8-4)
Week Five recap
1992 Miami Dolphins (11-5, 2-1) at 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 3-0)
Pete Stoyanovich kicked 4 field goals and the Dolphins had a 12-7 lead at the half. Jake Reed caught a Cunningham pass in the third to finally get a Minnesota lead 14-12. Stoyanovich kicked a fifth field goal early in the fourth quarter to give Miami a 15-14 lead. The lead changed hand once again when Cunningham hit Moss with 4:21 left. Unfortunately, Dan Marino got his only td a few minutes later and the Dolphins went on to win 23-20. Crap. The Vikings did not have much of a running game. Robert Smith was held to 36 yards and they had only 51 yards total rushing.
Other division games
1967 Green Bay Packers (9-4-1*, 0-3 ) at 2013 San Diego Chargers (9-7, 0-4) – SD 27, GB 17
1971 Miami Dolphins (10-3-1**, 2-1) at 2013 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 2-1) - MIA 30, KC 16
1989 Kansas City Chiefs (8-7-1^, 2-2) at 2000 Oakland Raiders (12-4, 1-3) – KC 31, OAK 23
Around the League
1985 Chicago Bears (15-1*, 1-2) at 2006 New York Jets (10-6, 1-3)
The Bears scored the first 31 points of the game. “Sweetness” rushed for 132 with 3 td’s and Matt Suhey added 2 more 2td’s in the Bears rout of the Jets 40-14. Bears at 2-2, 1 ½ games in back of the ’99 Cowboys.
1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0*, 3-0) at 2002 Cleveland Browns (9-7, 0-4)
Despite QB Earl Morrall’s 2 interceptions, the Dolphins continue their winning ways and move to 4-0.
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4**,3-0) at 2008 Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1, 3-0)
In a battle of undefeated teams, the ’08 Eagles take control of Division 1945 by winning 28-13. POG Donovan McNabb had an outstanding game going 22-29, 288 yards and 4 touchdowns.
1957 Detroit Lions (8-4*, 0-3) at 1975 Cincinnati Bengals (11-3, 0-3)
These two winless teams trade tds and finish the half at 21-21. Both offenses stall and the game ends in a tie. Both teams remain without a win. The ’57 Lions do not have the look of NFL Champions.
1969 Minnesota Vikings (12-2**, 3-0) at 1990 Miami Dolphins (12-4, 3-0)
Joe Kapp and the Vikings are making up for their loss in Super Bowl III. The dismantle the Dolphins in a 20-0 rout. Kapp was POG with 135 yards and 2 td’s. Dan Marino was off his game going 11-27, 123 yards a 1 interception.
2007 New England Patriots (16-0, 1-2) at 2003 Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 1-2)
POG Jamal Lewis of the Ravens rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough as the Patriots get back on track and win rather easily over Baltimore.
(Marmel) 1986 New York Giants (14-2, 2-1) at 1996 Dallas Cowboys (10-6, 3-1)
POG Emmitt Smith rushed for 110 with 2 touchdowns and the Cowboys roll over the Giants 24-17. Phil Simms was ineffective throwing just 110 yards and 2 interceptions. The Giants are now 2-2, a game and a half in back of the Cowboys.
(SFL Cat) 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2, 3-0) at 2002 Tennessee Titans (11-5, 3-1)
The ’77 Cowboys just keep rolling along, crushing a pretty good Titans team 30-3. Roger Staubach threw for 3 td’s in the game. Dallas had a well balanced attack as they also rushed for 3 td’s.
(SplitP1) 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1, 2-1) at 2012 Minnesota Vikings (10-6, 4-0)
The ’12 Vikings are perfect no more as Joe Montana and the 49ers pick them apart in a 28-10 win. Frisco is tied with the ’71 Redskins one game in back of the Vikings.
Surprise of the Week
It has to be the ’86 Giants two game losing streak. They are now tied for fifth in their division, one and a half games back of the ’96 Cowboys (4-1).
Stats and Observations
Through Week 5, there are still 56 undefeated teams in the Ultimate League. About half are from five franchises. The Cowboys lead with 7, the 49ers and the Eagles have 6. And the Broncos and Vikings have 4 each. Predictably, teams like the ’72 Dolphins, the ’89 49ers, the ’77 Cowboys, ’96 Packers & ’78 Steelers are among the ranks of the undefeated. However, there are a few teams here are a bit of a surprise.
1948 Philadelphia Eagles (9-2-1*, 4-0)
Although the Eagles were NFL Champions, WhatIf Sports tends to heavily favor modern era teams. The team is holding their own, winning by an average of 14.5 points. I hope they continue to do well, as I would like as least a few older teams win and move on to the big tourney. So far, Philadelphia’s only competition seems to be the 2004 Steelers (15-1, 4-1). They play each other in Week 7.
1999 Baltimore Ravens (8-8^, 5-0)
In RL, the ’99 Ravens were a very average team, finishing 6 games behind the Jaguars in the AFC Central. They had a mediocre offense (24th in the NFL), but a very good defense (2nd in the NFL).
They barely qualified for the Ultimate League by winning in the group stage on tiebreakers. Baltimore is winning by an average of 8 points and they seem to be in a very weak division. The Ravens have already beat the second place ’09 Saints by a score of 31-13 back in Week 2.
At the other end of the spectrum, the ’85 Bears and the ’07 Patriots are sitting at 2-2. Other disappointments include the 1987 Broncos and the 1967 Packers. Both Super Bowl champs are 0-4.
Week Six recap
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 3-1) at 1967 Green Bay Packers (9-4-1*, 0-4)
The Super Bowl II champs have not been playing well this season and the Vikings take advantage of that fact winning 24-10. POG Cunningham had 213 yards and a td. Robert Smith ran for 96 and Gary Anderson added three more field goals. He is still perfect on the season (10 for 10).
The ’92 Dolphins lost to their ’71 counterparts 39-23 to fall out of first place. The Vikings are now in a messy three-way tie for tops in the division.
Around the League
1996 New England Patriots (11-5, 3-1) at 1985 Chicago Bears (15-1*, 2—2)
POG Jim McMahon has a near flawless game (12-15, 161 yards and 1 td) in a great defensive battle with Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots. Final score: Chicago 10, New England 3.
1975 Dallas Cowboys (10-4**, 3-1) at 1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0*, 4-0)
POG Mercury Morris had 2 rushing td’s, but it was not enough as the Super Bowl X runner-ups end the Dolphins second try at a perfect season. Roger Staubach threw for 273 and the Dolphins could not get many third down stops. Final score: Cowboys 22, Miami 14.
Week Six had several very high scoring games.
2008 Arizona Cardinals (9-7, 2-2) at 1943 Chicago Bears (8-1-1*, 0-4)
Kurt Warner and the Cardinals crushed the Bears 57-14.
2003 Philadelphia Eagles (12-4, 3-1) at 2005 San Diego Chargers (9-7^, 2-3)
This was a crazy see-saw game. Both Donovan McNabb and Drew Brees threw 3 td’s and 1 int. LaDainian Tomlinson had a monstrous 206 yard game including td with 1:51 remaining in the game. However, Philly won the game on the foot of David Akers with 19 seconds left. Final score: PHI 41, SD 39
2009 Philadelphia Eagles (11-5, 4-1) at 2008 New England Patriots (11-5^, 2-3)
Another Philly team, another crazy game. This one featured four tie scores, two 100 yard rushers, 3 field goals for both teams and the game ended up in overtime. Final score: PHI 42, NE 36.
1970 Dallas Cowboys (10-4**, 2-2) at 1949 Philadelphia Eagles (11-1*, 2-2)
Here is a third high scoring Philly game. However this time it was a 55-6 blowout in favor of the Eagles. QB Tommy Thompson threw for 182 yards and 4 td’s. RB Steven Van Buren rushed for 303 yards and 3 td’s. Wow.
2006 New Orleans Saints (10-6, 2-2) at 1949 Chicago Bears (9-3^, 3-2)
Bears QB Johnny Lujack threw for 243 yards and 4 td’s. Oh yeah, he also kicked a 35 yard field goal. Gotta love the old time players.
2013 San Francisco 49ers (12-4, 3-2) at 2003 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3, 1-3)
Colin Kaepernick went 11 for 15, 198 yards and 4 td’s in San Francisco’s blowout of the Chiefs. 49ers win big 45-13.
(SFL Cat) 1949 Cleveland Browns (9-1-2, 1-3) at 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*, 4-0)
Tony Dorsett scored 2 td’s in Dallas’ win over Cleveland. DAL24, CLV 14. They move to 5-0 on the season. The ’90 Eagles keep pace by winning big 31-0 over the ’02 Packers. Both teams could be 7-0 in a big Week 9 showdown.
(SplitP1) 1999 Tennessee Titans (13-3**, 1-3) at 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*, 3-1)
Ray Wersching hit 5 of 6 field goals for San Francisco including the game winner with no time left on the clock. 49ers win a close one 22-20.
(Marmel) 1992 San Francisco 49ers (14-2, 3-1) at 1986 New York Giants (14-2*, 2-2)
Steve Young and Steve Bono both throw 2 pics in the Giants 33-3 blowout win over the 49ers. Defensive player Terry Kinard was POG capturing three interceptions.
Spotlight on the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cowboys. America’s Team. The team had a winning record for 20 straight seasons between 1966 and 1985 missing the playoffs just twice in that span. Another of the great NFL franchises.
In the Ultimate League, they field the highest number of teams at 32. This is impressive considering the fact that they were an expansion team in 1960. For a bit of perspective, the Cardinals have been around since 1920, have made the playoffs just 8 times and have 10 representatives in the Ultimate League.
Through six weeks of play, the Cowboys have 5 teams that are undefeated and are 107-60 (.641) overall; the best in the Ultimate League. (The Steelers have dropped to fourth at .583).
QB Win-Loss Records through Week Six
Don Meredith (11-10)
Craig Morton (7-9)
Roger Staubach (26-11)
Danny White (17-15)
Troy Aikman (34-6)
Quincy Carter (2-3)
Tony Romo (10-6)
Coaching Win-Loss Records through Week Six
Tom Landry (61-45)
Jimmy Johnson (14-1)
Barry Switzer (11-4)
Chan Gailey (9-1)
Bill Parcels (5-6)
Wade Phillips (7-3)
Week Seven recap
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1*, 4-1) at 1971 Miami Dolphins (10-3-1**, 4-1)
Despite having absolutely no answer to POG Larry Csonka (233 yards, 1 td), the Vikings stayed in the game with a balanced attack. Cunningham (268 yards, 2td), Robert Smith & Leroy Hoard (110 yards, 1 td). However, it was RB Jim Kick’s 3 yard run with 1:59 leftin the fourth that put the nail in the coffin. Minnesota loses a heartbreaker 30-27.
2013 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 2-3) at 1990 Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, 4-1) – PHI 31, KC 10
Around the League
1985 Chicago Bears (15-1*, 3-2) at 1984 Seattle Seahawks (12-4, 2-4)
Both Jim McMahon and Dave Krieg had subpar games throwing 2 pics apiece. The Bears were down 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, but Walter Payton and Jim McMahon had rushing touchdowns in the closing minutes of the game. The Bears hang on in a close one and win 24-17.
1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0*, 4-1) at 1985 New York Jets (11-5, 4-2)
The Dolphins are completely outplayed by the Jets. Ken O’Brien threw for 244 yards, New York dominated time of possession (34 to 26) and doubled up on first downs (24-12). However, fumbles, a key Ken O’Brien interception and several penalties kept Miami in the game. Dolphins win 16-6.
Around the League continued
2011 Houston Texans (10-6, 5-0) at 1994 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 5-0)
This was a great battle of unbeaten teams. Pittsburgh’s Barry Foster scored the decisive td with a 3 yard run in overtime. PIT 16 – HOU 10
1965 Cleveland Browns (11-3, 2-3) at 2013 Denver Broncos (13-3**, 5-0)
Peyton Manning threw 15 for 18, 273 yards and 5 td’s in a shootout against the Browns. He needed all of it as Jim Brown rushed for 145 and 3 touchdowns. When the dust settled, it was the Broncos on top 45-38; moving to 6-0 on the season.
2001 Green Bay Packers (12-4, 1-4) at 2004 New York Jets (10-6, 4-1)
The ’01 Pack laid another egg as the Jets demolished Green Bay 51-14. New York had 5 rushing td’s on 328 yards and Favre threw 3 interceptions.
(Marmel) 1986 New York Giants (14-2*, 3-2) at 2011 New Orleans Saints (13-3, 4-2)
The G-Men are fading fast as they lose another poorly played game, this time to the ’11 Saints. Drew Brees and crew dominated all aspects on the game in the 29-6 win. Phil Simms was flat throwing for just 162 yards and an interception. Joe Morris was their best player; rushing for 94 in the loss.
(SFL Cat) 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*, 5-0) at 1998 New York Jets (12-4, 2-4)
How ‘bout them Cowboys. They keep chugging along beating the Jets 33-10. Tony Dorsett ran for 103, Robert Newhouse ran for 97 and a td, and POG Roger Staaubach had 284 yards and 2 td’s in the win. They are now 6-0. Unfortunately, the 1980 Eagles keep pace by winning 19-14 over the 1949 Browns.
(SplitP1) 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*, 4-1) at 1965 San Diego Chargers (9-2-3, 3-3)
Joe Montana had a quiet game but it didn’t matter. POG Wendell Tyler more than made up for it with a great performance (173 yards and 3 touchdowns). The 49ers win convincingly 30-16 and take over sole possession of first place in their division.
Week Eight recap
2013 Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 2-4) at 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 4-2)
Minnesota dominated in the stat department. First Downs (28 vs 12). Third Down Eff (11/19 vs 3/10), Passing (86 vs 276 yards), Time of Possession (41:39 vs 18:21). Despite that, it was a very tight game with the Vikings winning with a Gary Anderson field goal with time expiring. Vikings win a strange one 31-30. Gary Anderson kicked 6 field goals in the game and is now 18 for 18 on the season.
Around the League
1997 New England Patriots (10-6, 4-2) at 1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0*, 5-1)
Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots take advantage of penalties and turnovers and beat the ’72 Dolphins 19-10. RB Curtis Martin was POG with 97 yards and 1 td. The Perfect Season Dolphins are now tied for third place with these Patriots behind the ’75 Cowboys (10-5**, 6-1) and the ’77 Patriots (9-5^, 6-2).
1999 Dallas Cowboys (8-8, 5-1) at 1985 Chicago Bears (15-1, 4-2)
Two teams battling for first place. Walter Payton vs. Emmitt Smith. Troy Aikman vs. Jim McMahon. This game had the look of a classic. However, Da Bears rolled past the Cowboys rather easily in a 30-17 win. Sweetness was POG with 181 yards and 1 td. Smith had a good game as well (114 yards, 1 td). The difference in the game was the play of the quarterbacks. Aikman (10-14 – 90 yards – 1 int). McMahon (15-24 – 194 yards – 2 td – 1 int).
2013 Indianapolis Colts ( , 2-4) at 1960 Philadelphia Eagles (, 1-5)
Indy puts on an amazing display of offense hitting the endzone 11 times in a huge 77-14 drubbing of the Eagles. Trent Richardson had 129 yards and 4 td’s. Donald Brown had 118 yards and 2 td’s. Andrew Luck threw for 201 and 3td’s. Wow.
1999 Minnesota Vikings (10-6, 2-4) at 1999 Baltimore Ravens (8-8^, 7-0)
The ’99 Ravens did not make the playoffs in real life, but are having a great run in the Ultimate League. They complete a perfect half-season by beating the Vikings 19-13. No one Ravens player had a particularly great game. In fact, the POG was Cris Carter of the Vikings (88 yards, 1 td).
(Marmel) 1992 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, 3-3) at 1986 New York Giants (14-2*, 3-3)
The Giants finally win another game. POG Joe Morris ran for 154 yards and 1 td). The Giants defense chipped in with four sacks. Final score: NYG 27 – PIT 13.
(SFL Cat) 1969 Los Angeles Rams (11-3, 3-3) at 1977 Dallas Cowboys (12-2*, 6-0)
The Cowboys remain perfect on the season with a 29-13 win over the Rams. POG Tony Dorsett ran for 88 yards and 2 td’s. Unfortunately, the ’80 Eagles** keep pace beating the ’02 Titans 13-10 in overtime.
(SplitP1) 1995 Green Bay Packers (11-5 ,2-4) at 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1*, 5-1)
Frisco scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to get the win over the Packers. Montana was POG with 222 yards and 2 td’s including the game winner with 26 seconds left in the game.
Week Nine recap
1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1, 5-2) at 1990 Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, 6-1)
It’s Randall Cunningham vs. Randall Cunningham in this battle for the top of the division. Neither QB is terribly effective although the Viking version did throw a td. It was the running game that made the difference in this one. Minnesota’s Robert “I am not the frontman for the Cure” Smith ran on 99 yards and a td. He was bested by POG Philly’s Heath “I honestly do not remember this guy” Sherman who had just 68 yards but 2 td’s In the end, it was the younger Cunningham that prevailed in a close one. PHI 20 – MIN 17.
Halfway through the season and the Vikings find themselves down 2 games. This may prove to be too tough of a hole to climb out of.
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Cricket World Cup 2019 Schedule PDF
Anyone watching Copa America 2019?
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