Behind the Mapping of NFL Passing Touchdowns

Behind the Mapping of NFL Passing Touchdowns

Everyone wants more football, and thankfully, the NFL is back. Fanatics, in partnership with the NFL, has decided to give fans a deeper look at the data behind passing touchdowns. Instead of only relying on official stats, though, our interactive plots the locations from which each quarterback threw the ball and where the receiver caught it.

For the 2017-18 regular season, we will record every touchdown pass thrown for all 32 teams for every game and compile them into a searchable interactive.

Users can also search the data by the regular season week, game, team name, the position of the receiver or passer, and player name. The interactive will reveal where the pass or passes were thrown, where they were received, the yards traveled, player rankings, and more. For additional information, check out our behind-the-scenes look at the interactive below.

How We Made the Passing Touchdown Interactive

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The interactive is nothing less than a labor of love. To compile information, Fanatics.com researchers will review every 2017 touchdown pass via footage from NFL Game Pass. Using a searchable and to-scale NFL field image – in which a 12-by-12 pixel cell corresponds to a 4-by-4-foot square of the actual gridiron – the researchers will plot the start position of a given pass as well as the position of the completing receiver.

The JavaScript library, D3, enabled developers to map the coordinates of a pass from start to reception. Along with the stats above, they recorded distance from the reception point to the goal line. They further sorted the information by game, team, passer, and receiver, along with the passers’ and receivers’ rankings. This process will be repeated for every 2017 touchdown pass on file with NFL Game Pass.

Take Analysis to the Next Level

The result is a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to see either individual or group pass touchdowns based on easy-to-enter criteria.

With this tool, it’s easy to relive the best passing drives of this season and visually interpret the passing philosophies and successes of each NFL team. Using Fanatics’ interactive, everyone can be a color commentator, offering insightful analysis of the league’s aerial game. Try it for yourself here.

Comeback Kings – the Comeback Player of the Year Award

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Coming back from an injury or rough day at the office can be challenging for your average Joe. With that in mind, one can imagine how difficult it is for premier athletes to return to elite condition after a disappointing or injured season.

With all the odds stacked against them, many players across sports have overcome adversity and returned to elite performance. The NFL and MLB recognize these feel-good returns with an award unlike any other: the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The NBA stopped giving out this award in the mid-1980s, and the award has now been replaced with the Most Improved Player Award.

Let’s take a look back and appreciate the past winners of this award across the NFL, MLB, and NBA.

The Unstoppable Comeback Kid

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The inaugural NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award was given to Earl Morrall, best remembered for leading the Baltimore Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 1971. Morrall continued this knack of spectacular backup work the following year with the Miami Dolphins. Morrall’s age of 38 made him a tough sell, and he ended up being claimed off waivers by the Dolphins. Despite bouncing from team to team, Morrall persevered and led the Dolphins to a perfect regular season after starting quarterback Bob Griese sustained injuries.

A name from this timeline that doesn’t need much introduction is Joe Montana. Whether you’re familiar with football, you’ve likely heard of one of the greatest football players to ever grace the gridiron. However, “The Comeback Kid” may have never earned his nickname if he had taken doctors’ advice. Physicians told Montana that he should consider retirement after suffering a gruesome back injury in 1986. Montana returned to the NFL only two months later, and football fans around the world rejoiced. After suffering what was once thought to be a career-ending injury, Joe Cool carried the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 1989 and 1990. Montana is the epitome of perseverance and dedication.

Due to the competitive and physical nature of the sport, the NFL has seen a number of its players overcome adversity. More recent examples include Peyton Manning’s 4,600-yard season following neck surgery and Eric Berry’s return from cancer.

Never Count Chris Out

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The MLB’s spring training, a 162-game regular season and postseason forces players to stay in season-form nearly the entire year. Considering the longevity of many players’ careers, it’s entirely expected for players to have multiple injuries over time. Naturally, the MLB recognizes those who have overcome a poor performance or injury for a full season with their own award.

Chris Carpenter, a former St. Louis Cardinals flamethrower, faced every pitcher’s worst nightmare: arm injuries. The only thing scarier than an injury? Recurring arm injuries.

The MLB only began officially presenting the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2005, but it’s not far-fetched to believe that Chris Carpenter could have been the first two-time winner if they began just a year sooner. Carpenter overcame a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the 2003 season and finished with the 13th best ERA in the NL in 2004. Additionally, Carpenter missed nearly two seasons due to elbow and shoulder injuries later in his career but made another heroic return in 2009 – finishing with an NL best 2.24 ERA.

Buster Posey’s return from an ACL tear to win an MVP award and World Series championship and Mariano Rivera’s return from injury in his retirement season with a 2.11 ERA highlights some of the most electric returns in recent history.

The Career of a King

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Although the NBA hasn’t distributed nearly as many Comeback Player of the Year awards as the NFL or MLB, its five-year lifespan provides many inspiring stories.  

King of New York Via @trmndsupside #bernardking #newyorkknicks #knicks #nba #ballislife

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Bernard King appeared in only 19 games of the 1979-80 season due to treatment for substance misuse. After this disappointing season from the budding star, King was shipped off to the Golden State. He didn’t let lowered expectations or a new environment bring down his performance, though. Instead, King averaged a respectable 21.9 points per game while maintaining a .588 field goal percentage.

King was dealt again after his 1980-81 season, this time to the New York Knicks. Ironically, the Knicks gave the Warriors a young Micheal Ray Richardson, who would later go on to claim one of the five Comeback Player of the Year awards given after King’s historic 1980-81 season. The year King secured this prestigious accolade award wasn’t the only time his tenacity inched him closer to his Hall-of-Fame career. King missed the entire 1985-86 season with an ACL tear, but once again returned the following season. His post ACL-tear ascent was complete once he reached the all-star team in 1991.  

Rise Up to the Challenge

While your favorite players face challenges on the field, you can cheer them on by picking up their official gear at Fanatics.com.

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South Carolina Gamecocks in the NFL

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The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 as the South Carolina College to unite the locals in the aftermath of the American Revolution. Their football program got its start nearly 100 years later in 1892, and although it was a very slow start (they only played a handful of games for the first several years and went without a coach for their first three seasons), they picked up steam at the turn of the century.

The Gamecocks football program brought home the 1969 ACC Championship and the 2010 SEC East Championship, and won an impressive handful of bowl games, including three Outback Bowls (2001, 2002, and 2013), the 2006 Liberty bowl, two Capital One Bowls (2012 and 2014) and the Duck Commander Independence Bowl (also in 2014). They recently enjoyed back-to-back-to-back 11-win seasons under coach Steve Spurrier (2011 to 2013) and are looking for a good season in 2017.

There have been many former Gamecocks who have appeared in the NFL, including the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 1981 by the New Orleans Saints. Rogers went on to win the Big Game with the Washington Redskins in 1988 and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice.

Let’s take a look to see what former Gamecocks are currently playing in the NFL.

Carolina Made

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The Houston Texans currently have the most former South Carolina players on their roster, including Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington, and Johnathan Joseph. The Carolina Panthers have two: Captain Munnerlyn and Damiere Byrd. And the Bills do as well: Patrick DiMarco is on the active roster, while Marquavius Lewis is on the practice squad.

Several other teams feature former Gamecocks. Melvin Ingram, for example, is on the Los Angeles Chargers, and Pharoh Cooper is on the Rams. A.J. Cann plays for the Jags, and Stephon Gilmore takes the field for the Patriots.

Former Gamecocks in the NFL range in age as well, with the youngest born in 1995 and the oldest making their world debut in 1984.

Let’s focus on a few standout South Carolina players. Jadeveon Clowney entered the NFL when he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 draft by the Houston Texans, where he still plays for their defense today. Clowney had a stellar high school career and his large size and speed certainly fared him well at South Carolina. He received quite a few accolades in college, including the 2012 Consensus All-America and the Ted Hendricks Award, and there was plenty of pre-draft hype, with experts agreeing that he was something special.

😳😳😳

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Since entering the NFL, Clowney has been selected to go to one Pro Bowl (so far) in 2016, and while he’s been plagued with a bit of an injury bug, he’s still an important part of the Texans defense (and he even rumbled a Tom Brady interception back for a score earlier in the 2017 season).

Another former Gamecock, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was drafted in 2012 10th overall by the Buffalo Bills, where he played for five seasons before heading to the New England Patriots. Gilmore was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and has nabbed 15 interceptions over his career so far.

Whatever it takes #Patsnation #Craft #Work

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Wideout Pharoh Cooper, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, is another former Gamecock the school should be proud of, especially when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in mid-October 2017.

Either way it goes…. I'm blessed .!!

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Go Cocks Go!

So you’re a South Carolina fan, or you really enjoy watching former Gamecocks make huge plays for your favorite NFL teams? Well, you’re in luck. Not only does Fanatics carry a huge assortment of Gamecocks gear, but they also have plenty of authentic NFL swag so that you can take in the games in style.

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Youngest Players in the NFL

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Every NFL team is made up of football players of many ages, from aspiring rookies to veterans in the midst of a legendary career. Each spring, the NFL draft adds over 250 hopeful players spread among 32 teams, many of which find themselves with a contract and a promising career. Of course, most rookies are youngsters. Among the NFL, who are the youngest players right now? Let’s find out.

Who is the youngest player in the NFL

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First, we’ll head up to the AFC North and the Pittsburgh Steelers to find the youngest player in the league – Juju Smith-Schuster, drafted in the second round (No. 62 overall) in 2017. He’s followed by Marcus Williams, drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2017 (No. 42 overall). Smith-Schuster has seen a little more game time than Williams and is already chasing history as a millennial football superstar.

As an Indianapolis Colts cornerback, Quincy Wilson is the third youngest NFL player. He was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft (No. 46 overall). Fourth is Carolina Panthers wide receiver, Curtis Samuel who was drafted No. 40 overall in 2017. Cincinnati drafted the fifth youngest NFL player, running back Joe Mixon, 48th overall in 2017, and the Browns drafted the sixth youngest player, David Njoku, 29th overall.

The seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th youngest players came in differing rounds in the 2017 draft, but they are all relative newbies in the NFL as they work their way up the depth charts.

Young Pro Bowlers

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In 2016, the youngest player on each respective conference’s Pro Bowl team was quite young indeed. For the NFC, the youngest player was insta-star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who barreled his way through opposing teams’ defensive lines all the way to the rushing title in 2016 during his phenomenal rookie year.

On the AFC side, the youngest player in the 2016 Pro Bowl was Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams. In his second season that year, Williams racked up seven sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 68 tackles, and 11 tackles for a loss. Oh, and he also earned the Jets MVP award.

Fresh-Faced Rookies, Team by Team

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Let’s step back and look at the youngest players team by team.

There are a couple of rookies on this list waiting for their debut, including Patrick Mahomes II, the youngest player on the Kansas City Chiefs roster, and although he has yet to play a snap in the regular season, he was also a high draft select (No. 10 overall) and is waiting in the wings for his future to unfold.   

The most electric rookie in the NFL right now isn’t on this list, but Kareem Hunt, also on the KC roster, is worth a mention. He leads the NFL in rushing yards (halfway to 1,000 in just four games) and has far outpaced any pre-draft expectations. Another rookie phenom running back worth mentioning is Leonard Fournette, who’s also getting big accolades out of Jacksonville.

Not all of the youngest players on each team are rookies, though – for example, defensive end Joey Bosa, age 22, is the youngest player on the Los Angeles Chargers roster, but he’s in his second season of blowing up blocks and collapsing the pocket. Bosa was a high draft pick in 2016 (3nd overall) and had 10 and a half sacks his debut season (he was also named Defensive Rookie of the Year).

A Promising Future

All of the NFL’s youngest players are enjoying the possibility of an amazing future. Whether they have outstanding rookie seasons or are saving their career seasons for a few years down the road, they have a lot to look forward to.

No matter which NFL team you’re rooting for (or which draft pick you’ve been following since his college playing days), you can find all the gear you need for this glorious fall season of football at Fanatics.com.

Top 10 Youngest Player in the NFL

  1. Juju Smith-Schuster (20) – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Marcus Williams (21) – New Orleans Saints
  3. Quincy Wilson (21) – Indianapolis Colts
  4. Curtis Samuel (21) – Carolina Panthers
  5. Joe Mixon (21) – Cincinnai Bengals
  6. David Njoku (21) – Cleveland Browns
  7. Marlon Humphrey (21) – Baltimore Ravens
  8. Derek Barnett (21) – Philadelphia Eagles
  9. Malik McDowell (21) – Seattle Seahawks
  10. D’onta Foreman (21) Houston Texans

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Coaching Tree: Ben McAdoo

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Ben McAdoo – the current head coach for the New York Giants – hails from Pennsylvania, where he attended college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from Michigan State University.

McAdoo’s first football coaching job was at the high school level. He continued to coach at Michigan State University, where he worked as a special teams coach and offensive assistant in 2001. He then worked his way into a position as the offensive line and tight ends coach at Fairfield University, eventually making the leap to the NFL in 2004 after a yearlong stint at the University of Pittsburgh as an offensive assistant.

Ben McAdoo Coaching Influences

Ben McAdoo Head Coaching Influences

Ben McAdoo has an impressive list of coaching credentials on his resume, but his current acumen may be due in part to the vast experience and expertise of the head coaches he coached under before his current position.

His first coaching experience was with the Saints under Jim Haslett, who worked his coaching magic and got the team to the playoffs his first year manning the helm.  

McAdoo also coached under Mike Nolan in 2005 when he was the head coach for the 49ers, but his longest stint with a single head coach was with Green Bay, where he worked under Mike McCarthy for eight seasons. McAdoo’s mentor, Mike McCarthy, finished up his 11th regular season as head honcho of the Packers and led the team to a Super Bowl championship in the 2010 season.

The last coach McAdoo worked under was the venerable Tom Coughlin, who was a longtime coach in the NFL and earned three Super Bowl rings during his tenure with the Giants (one as the wide receivers coach in 1990 and two as the head coach in 2007 and 2011).

Ben McAdoo Coaching Career

Ben McAdoo NFL Coaching Positions

In 2004, McAdoo entered the NFL as an offensive assistant and quality control coach for the Saints. But after only one season, he left to work for San Francisco as an assistant offensive line and quality control coach.

McAdoo then left the West Coast after one season and headed to Lambeau Field, where he spent eight seasons with the Packers: six as the tight ends coach and two as the quarterbacks coach.

He joined the Giants staff in 2014 and called the plays as the team’s offensive coordinator. When the legendary Tom Coughlin stepped down as the head coach after 12 seasons and two Super Bowl titles, McAdoo was named the man in charge prior to the 2016 season.

Ben McAdoo Coaching Connections

Ben McAdoo NFL Coaching Connections

There are numerous coaching positions on any given NFL team. In addition to the head coach, the main coordinators (offensive and defensive), and the special teams coach, each respective team unit also tends to have a coach (such as quarterbacks, tight ends, receivers, running backs, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, and secondary). There are also strength and conditioning coaches, and teams may have coaching positions uniquely suited to their needs.

It’s no wonder then that many coaches cross paths professionally as they weave their way through 32 teams. This is certainly the case with McAdoo, who worked closely with his mentor Mike McCarthy as he made his way to his first head coaching job in the 2016 season.

McAdoo first met up with McCarthy during his NFL gig with the Saints. McAdoo was hired as an offensive quality control coach and worked with McCarthy, who was the offensive coordinator. He eventually followed McCarthy to the 49ers – McCarthy reprised his role as offensive coordinator and McAdoo worked as the assistant offensive line and quality control coach.

When McCarthy grabbed the head coaching job for Green Bay, he called on McAdoo yet again, installing him as the tight ends coach. McAdoo remained on staff with the Packers for eight seasons. His work was not overlooked when he left the organization for the New York Giants.

Ben McAdoo's Coaching Tree

It’s not unusual for coaches to cross paths. It’s also not unusual for them to coach against one another, as the 2016 Wild Card Weekend sees McAdoo leading his New York Giants against his mentor, Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers.

If you’re a Giants fan, make sure to get all your gear from Fanatics.com, as they have exactly what you need to suit up for the playoffs and beyond.

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Sports Traditions: Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel

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Timeless Traditions: Terrible Towel

Pittsburgh Steelers fans have a rather unique love affair with towels, and one in particular: the Terrible Towel. How did this yellow cotton bathroom fixture end up elevated from drying duties to team lore? Today we demystify the origins of the Terrible Towel for everyone who is not a member of #SteelersNation.

Sacred Yellow Cotton

Myron Cope, a former Steelers radio announcer, concocted the idea for a way to rally home fans during the team’s playoff run in 1975. The team eventually won Super Bowl X versus the Dallas Cowboys, and since then the towel has served as a secondary banner for the team.

Rooting for you @steelers, with the #TerribleTowel and all! #HereWeGo #herewego

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Since 2010, esteemed guests visiting Heinz Field have had the chance to participate in the “Terrible Towel Twirl,” where they are allowed to lead the crowd in this pre-kickoff tradition. Even one of the first men on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, has had the chance to lead tens of thousands of fans in this timeless tradition.

All Around The World

Given the importance of the Terrible Towel as a symbol for Steelers fans, and its extreme portability, they’ve been spotted all over the world thanks to many members of #SteelersNation.

Look, it made it to the Colosseum!

Where has your #TerribleTowel been? 🤔🌍 #FanFriday

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It’s also been on a cruise (and hopefully made its way to a buffet or two).

#steelernationbahamas #HappilyEverEllex @steelers #bacheloretteparty 🖤💛

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The warm, Indonesian island of Bali looks like the perfect place for a Terrible Towel.

Steelers Nation invades Bali! #steelersnation #travelingtowels #bali #indonesia #pittsburghsteelers #terribletowel #besakih

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And some have even looked to see if it’ll pick up the luck of the Irish. But does your team really need luck when they have Antonio Brown?

Wave Those Towels!

Are you a member of #SteelersNation? Do you wave your Terrible Towel in the air like you just don’t care? Don’t forget to complete the look with the best officially licensed NFL merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.com. Fans of the other 31 NFL teams are welcome too!

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This Day in Sports History: Labor Day Edition

This Day in Sports History: Labor Day Edition

Labor Day was established in the late 1800s to honor the American labor movement, and is dedicated to the economic and social achievements of workers in the U.S. Labor Day falls on the first Monday of September – in 2017, it’ll be on Sept. 4 – which is the day we’ll be using as a reference for this post. This year, you can enjoy the holiday while reflecting back on these three noteworthy sporting events.

The Cleveland Browns Score the First Two-Point Conversion Ever

This Day In Sports History: Cleveland Browns First Successful Two-Point Conversion in NFL History

NFL rules are always under scrutiny, and every season brings changes to them. The two-point conversion attempt that we know today wasn’t instituted until 1994 when owners agreed to allow teams to “go for two” instead of kicking an extra point.

The first team to do so? The Cleveland Browns. That same year, their season opener pitted them against their division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, at Riverfront Stadium. While the Browns may suffer from lack of success in recent years, that specific game drew a large crowd of over 50,000 attendees – who got to see NFL history in the making as punter and holder Tom Tupa took the snap and crashed into the end zone. The Browns left the Bengals stadium that day with a win of 28-20.

The Cardinals Land in Arizona

On this day in sports history: Phoenix Cardinals First Game

The Arizona Cardinals didn’t always bear that name, and in fact, they were originally founded halfway across the country – in Illinois. Dating back to 1898, the Cardinals are the longest continuously running professional football franchise in the U.S. They started out in the Chicago area, then operated in St. Louis for 28 years, and finally relocated to the Sun Devil Stadium on the Arizona State University campus in 1988.

The Phoenix Cardinals (their former name) took to the field for their first game on Sept. 4, 1988. Interestingly, they also faced the Cincinnati Bengals at the Bengals’ home field. This first Cardinals game after their relocation to the southwest didn’t go well, as they ultimately lost to the Bengals with a score of 14-21.

#AZvsLA

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Two-Day Home Run Record

This Day in Sports History: Gary Carter Hits 5 Homeruns in Consecutive Days

Gary Carter played catcher for the New York Mets for five seasons and helped them toward their 1986 World Series win. On Sept. 4, 1985, he tied the record for the most home runs in two consecutive games, slamming five homers against the Padres in San Diego.

Happily, for Mets fans, they won both contests: 8-2 on Sept. 3, 1985 and 9-2 on Sept. 4, 1985.

Over his 19-year Hall-of-Fame career, Carter launched 324 homers and batted in 1,225 runs.   

Now that Sept. 4 is here, what sports history will be made this year? Will our favorite teams labor on Labor Day?

Whether you’re a Browns fan, a Cardinals fan, or a Mets fan, Fanatics.com has got you covered for any season of sports. So what are you waiting for? Visit us online, and show some love for your favorite teams.

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Oldest Players in the NFL

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The NFL is the top-level pro football league in the U.S., and as a full-contact sport, it has the tendency to be a short-lived career – at least when compared to a “regular” job where you can work well into your older years. However, there are plenty of older guys suiting up for an NFL team, and some are still leading their teams to Super Bowl wins.

Let’s take a look at the oldest active NFL players for the 2017 season. While many aren’t in positions that see a ton of contact, some are – but no matter what place they take on the field, staying in the game is an impressive feat nonetheless.

The Father Times of the NFL

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The oldest active player in the NFL right now is none other than Adam Vinatieri, placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts. The 44-year-old has won four Super Bowls since he entered the league in 1996 as an undrafted free agent. He has also been selected to three Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams, and while he’s getting ready to kick for the Colts for a 12th season (he was with the Pats for a decade), he’s not letting his age slow him down.

The second oldest NFL player is another kicker – Phil Dawson. Now 42 years old, Dawson was also an undrafted free agent who made the Cleveland Browns squad in 1999 at 24. Currently signed with the Arizona Cardinals, Dawson’s longest stint with a team was with Cleveland, where he kicked for 14 strong seasons. He was selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl and holds the Browns record for consecutive field goals made (29) and most in a game (6). After four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, he was signed by the Cards this past offseason.

Matt Bryant is a 42-year-old placekicker who comes in third on our list. Bryant entered the league at 27 with the New York Giants and has kicked for a few teams since, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his current team, the Atlanta Falcons. This one-time Pro Bowler will kick again for the defending NFC champs this fall.

Our fourth oldest NFL player is a longtime punter – Shane Lechler, age 41. Lechler was drafted in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, where he worked for 13 strong seasons and was selected to seven Pro Bowl rosters. Today, he’s playing in his fifth season for the Houston Texans.

No. 5 on this list is not a kicker nor a punter – it’s New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, winner of the last Super Bowl and considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all time. Brady turned 40 in August led the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history in early 2017. In addition to five Super Bowl rings, Brady has a number of accolades to his name, including 12 Pro Bowl selections, two MVP awards, and two All-Pro selections. This will be his 18th NFL season, and he’s played them all for New England.

No. 6 is Sebastian Janikowski, the long-time kicker for the Oakland Raiders. Born in Poland, “Seabass” (age 39) was drafted 17th overall by the Raiders in 2000. James Harrison, linebacker for the Steelers, is also 39, and Drew Brees, a veteran quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, is 38.

John Denney, age 38, is No. 8, and he’s also not a kicker nor a punter, although he does work on special teams – Denney is a long snapper for the Miami Dolphins, where he’s spent his entire professional career.

Terence Newman, age 38, appears on our list at No. 9. Newman is the only defensive player to appear on this list, as he’s a current cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Older Pro Bowlers

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The Pro Bowl is an annual event where the best and brightest NFL players are selected to play in a scrimmage, usually taking place either before or after the Super Bowl. Players are selected by NFL coaches, the players themselves, and fans, and aside from a few recent years when the teams were unconferenced, it’s an AFC vs. NFC format. In 2017, the oldest two ballers to play on their respective Pro Bowl teams were Drew Brees (age 38) and Philip Rivers (age 35).

Drew Brees has been selected to the Pro Bowl 10 times over his stellar career. In addition to making the Pro Bowl team, “Breesus” was also the king of passing yards – gaining 5,208 yards during the 2016 season. As Brees shows zero signs of slowing down, it’s not too big of a stretch to imagine a few more Pro Bowl selections in his future.

Philip Rivers has a similar story – the stalwart quarterback has had a solid career that has led to six Pro Bowl selections. If he finds his rhythm with the Los Angeles Chargers again in the 2017 season, who’s to say he won’t be selected to a Pro Bowl again?

Sweatin’ With the Goldies

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We looked at all 32 NFL teams and highlighted the oldest player on each team, and while some of these guys are well into their 40s, others are only 32 years old. James Harrison, as mentioned above, is still going strong as a linebacker at age 39. Who else is still going strong past age 35?

One of the younger “old” guys is Niners kicker Robbie Gould (age 35), who has also kicked for the Bears (11 seasons) and Giants (one season). Punter Dustin Colquitt, of the Kansas City Chiefs, is a two-time Pro Bowler and is also 35 years old.

Jets journeyman Josh McCown is also up there in years (for a football player, at least). At 38, the quarterback has previously played for seven NFL teams, which makes the Jets his eighth team. He’s had a few starter stints but has mostly played in a backup role. Despite the long years, he’s not ready to hang up his cleats just yet.

Eli Manning is another standout player who is getting up there in years. He’s 36 years old but doesn’t seem to be edging toward retirement anytime soon. It helps that he has racked up over 48,000 career yards, has four Pro Bowl selections, and two Super Bowl championships under his belt.

And 37-year-old Antonio Gates of the Los Angeles Chargers is still going strong. While his yards per season have been trending downward, he’s still a valuable member of the team.

Get Your Gear On

No matter which NFL team you root for, or which player you’re hoping makes it another few years, Fanatics.com has loads of officially licensed fan gear from every team.

Top 10 oldest active players in the NFL

  1. Adam Vinatieri (44) – Indianapolis Colts
  2. Phil Dawson (42) – Arizona Cardinals
  3. Matt Bryant (42) – Atlanta Falcons
  4. shane Lechler (41) – Houston Texans
  5. Tom Brady (40) – New England Patriots
  6. Sebastian Janikowski (39) – Oakland Raiders
  7. James Harrison (39) – Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. John Denney (38) – Miami Dolphins
  9. Terence Newman (38) – Minnesota Vikins
  10. Drew Brees (38) – New Orleans Saints

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Coaching Arcs: Jason Garrett

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Nabbing a football coaching job is the goal of many sports-minded folks, but becoming one of the 32 NFL head coaches is a whole other story. Those who attain one of the highest football coaching positions in the world have to work very hard to climb the ladder and often start out as football players.

Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, knows this tale all too well. He played his way through college up to the pros before his coaching career took off. Let’s trace the path to his head coaching job in the NFL.

Early Days

Jason Garrett was born in Pennsylvania, and entered high school with football in his blood. His father, Jim, was a seasoned NFL coach and scout. Jason played college ball at Princeton and majored in history. He was then named Ivy League’s Player of the Year his senior year. After college, Garrett joined the developmental squad for the Saints as an undrafted rookie.

Garrett eventually found his way to the Dallas Cowboys, where he played for seven seasons, primarily in a backup role behind Hall of Famer Troy Aikman. His final year in the pros took place in New York, where he backed up Kerry Collins during the Giants’ Super Bowl run in the  2000 season.

Beginning of Coaching Career

Timeline of Jason Garrett's coaching career.

 

Garrett’s coaching career got its start in 2005 when he joined the Miami Dolphins as the quarterbacks coach. He spent two years in this role before the Dallas Cowboys hired him as their offensive coordinator in 2007 and remained in that role (in addition to being the assistant head coach) until midway through the 2010 season. That’s when head coach Wade Phillips was fired, and Garrett was named interim in his stead.

Cowboys

The Cowboys got off to a miserable start in 2010, clocking only one win over eight games, but Garrett showed massive promise when his first half-season of effort netted a respectable 5-3 record. Before the 2011 season, Garrett retained his job as the Cowboys head coach. While the next three seasons ended with a tie record (8-8), Garrett led the team to the postseason in 2014.

Jason Garrett is manning the helm of a resurgent Dallas Cowboys team that has dominated opponents nearly all season long and has clinched a playoff berth behind rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. What will the postseason bring? It will be a wild ride as we find out.

While you’re following the rest of the Cowboys’ journey into the postseason and beyond, make sure you’re decked out in awesome swag from Fanatics.com.

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Philadelphia Eagles Jersey Evolution

The Philadelphia Eagles sprang into action in 1933 when original team owner Bert Bell and first head coach Lud Wray purchased the former Frankford Yellow Jackets – an American football team part of the NFL. The Bell-Wray group paid an entry fee of $2,500 to acquire the assets of the failed Yellow Jackets franchise.

Eagles Origins

After establishing their new expansion team in Philadelphia, Bert Bell and Lud Wray decided on Eagles as the new moniker – a more fitting name for the City of Brotherly Love. Bell detailed that the name was a nod to the National Recovery Act emblem, which just so happened to be an eagle. The symbol was created to recognize the accomplishment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal National Recovery Act.

Over time, the Birds have remained loyal to a color palette consisting of various green, white, black, and gray hues for their jersey designs. During the late ’90s, the uniform changed from traditional green to a midnight green tone to differentiate the Birds from their AFC East opponents, the New York Jets. Present-day Eagles currently take the field in fashion by rockin’ a midnight green, black, charcoal, and silver color scheme.

In 1948, the Philadelphia-based squad debuted their primary logo of a flying eagle holding a football, shaded in green. Different variations of this logo would reign as the team’s main emblem until the introduction of their iconic eagle head logo in 1996. The current logo is a bald eagle head with a silver beak, outlined by black and green trim.

Fly, Eagles Fly

If you take a walk down toward South Philadelphia, you’ll find yourself passing Lincoln Financial Field as you stuff your face with a classic Philly cheesesteak. It has served as the home nest for the Eagles since opening its doors in 2003. Currently, the venue holds a seating capacity of just over 69,000 fans – providing the Birds a flock of excitement during gridiron showdowns.

The Philadelphia Eagles are currently members of the NFC East division in the NFL along with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins. Although the Eagles have yet to birth a Super Bowl victory, they have made an appearance two times – once during the 1980-81 season against the Oakland Raiders and again in 2004-05, when they fell to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Eagles have also had their fair share of exceptional players over the years. Legendary players to take the field decked in green and white consist of franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb and speedster LeSean McCoy. Both athletes have made a name for themselves within the organization as the all-time passing and rushing leaders, respectively.

Fly like an eagle with us as we soar through the evolution of the Philadelphia Eagles jersey throughout their seasoned career in the NFL.

Notable Jersey Changes

1941: During the 1941 season, a unique series of events unfolds for the Eagles as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh trade home cities. The jersey makes use of a black and gray color scheme – and features a contrast between the side and sleeve panels.  

1943: There is a shortage of players during the 1943 season because of World War II. This gives birth to the “Steagles” – a merger between the state-sharing cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Phil-Pitt squad takes a different approach to their jersey by changing the colors to green and white. Player numbers experience an increase in font size, and stripes remain and run down the shoulders and sleeves.

1944: The team now utilizes white as the primary jersey color with green horizontal stripes strapped across both sleeves.

1958: Green reverts to the primary jersey color with white player numbers. The helmet features silver eagle wings, which were originally added in 1955.

1975: The Birds showcase more stripes to their jersey, which were added in 1974, with each sleeve bearing a combination of white, gray, and green stripes. Player numbers now adorn the top of the shoulder pads, and a white outline borders the helmet’s wings.

1986: The Eagles ditch the stripes and decide to rock the short-sleeved look. A black outline is added to the player numbers, which still reside on the shoulder pads. Upon careful inspection, a new Eagle’s logo can be found on the arm of the jersey.

1998: A major change occurs during the 1998 season, with an emphasis placed on the team’s iconic green color. Jeffrey Lurie, the team owner, explains their fans wanted them “to look less like the Jets.” In addition to the green color change, the helmets include the more detailed wings which were adopted in previous years.

2005: This 2005 jersey showcases minor adjustments which were made over the course of previous seasons, including the primary color switching back to green with white player numbers outlined in black trim.

2009: Another color swap takes places between the team’s green and white colorway. The winged helmet remains green, and a stripe runs down the sides of players’ pants. This color swap originally occurred in 2007.

2014: A slight change is made to the shade of green, which is now featured as the jersey’s primary color. The stripes remain on the pants, and white socks are worn matching player pants and numbers.

Making your way over to Lincoln Financial Field? Before satisfying your hunger with a legendary Philly cheesesteak, fill your wardrobe with the latest green and white essentials! Take a pit stop at www.Fanatics.com – the one-stop shop for all of your Eagles wants and needs.

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