Iowa Hawkeyes in the NFL

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The University of Iowa was established in 1847 as the State University of Iowa, and the athletics department has been part of the Big Ten Conference since 1899. While the university is well-known for its wrestling prowess (they’ve brought home 23 national championships), it has an impressive football program as well, winning 11 Big Ten championships and seeing plenty of play in bowl games, including a 2010 Orange Bowl victory.

Iowa produced Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick in 1939. Although his time on Earth was short (he died during a WWII training mission just a few years later in 1943), Kinnick lives on in many ways. The stadium the team plays in is named after him, his face appears on the coin used in every Big Ten coin toss, and there is a statue of him outside Kinnick Stadium.

Former Hawkeyes that have made it to the NFL include Dallas Clark (long-time tight end for the Championship Indianapolis Colts) and second overall pick in the 2004 draft, Robert Gallery. Iowa has also produced Pro Football Hall of Famers, including Emlen Tunnell, Paul Krause, and Andre Tippett.

There are 25 current Hawkeyes in the NFL. Let’s check them out.

Go Hawkeyes

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There are 25 NFL players who played college ball at Iowa. C.J. Beathard, for example, has taken over the reins in San Francisco as he prepares to make his first NFL start. Beathard is the grandson of former general manager Bobby Beathard. Bobby had a lot of success working with two NFL Teams – the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins – earning four Big Game appearances (including two wins). While C.J. is just seeing his career launch, we’ll have to watch to see where this former Hawkeye’s path goes in the NFL.

Rookie mini camp in the books! So blessed to be apart of such a great organization! #niners

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Let’s not forget Bryan Bulaga, the formidable offensive lineman who blocks for the Green Bay Packers. Bulaga has been a member of the Packers since he was drafted No. 23 overall in 2010 and was part of the squad that won it all his rookie season.

Micah Hyde is another standout player. This former Hawkeye was also drafted by the Packers, albeit in 2013, and continues to cover receivers for the Buffalo Bills after the team signed him as a free agent in 2017. Now in his fifth season, Hyde has 12 interceptions (so far) and four sacks.

Victory Friday 👏🏽🧀

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Another former Hawkeye drafted by the Packers is Mike Daniels, who joined the team in 2012.  Now in his sixth season, Daniels has racked up 23.5 career sacks and 125 tackles.

Workload Thursday let's get it !!!! #GoPackGo #Packers #NFL #Football

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Moving to the Big Time

The 2017 season brought a much longed-for change: The university’s beloved Tiger Hawk emblem finally adorns the field at Kinnick Stadium. If you’re heading to the stadium to watch your Hawkeyes take on their rivals, or you’ve been following former players through the NFL, Fanatics has all your gear needs covered, from jerseys to hoodies to hats.

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Nebraska Huskers in the NFL

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The University of Nebraska was founded in 1869, less than two years after Nebraska was granted statehood. While their football program also got its start in the 19th century (the first game was held in late November of 1890), the university didn’t have a football coach until three years later. It took a while for the school to settle on a team name, but fortunately the sports editor of the “Nebraska State Journal,” Charles “Cy” Sherman, called them the Cornhuskers in 1900, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since those early days, Nebraska’s football teams and their players have brought home a number of impressive awards, including five national titles, three Heisman Trophies (Johnny Rodgers, 1972; Mike Rozier, 1983; and Eric Crouch, 2001), and a slew of other awards throughout their impressive history. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is one such player – he  received the Outland, Lombardi, Bronko Nagurski, and Chuck Bednarik awards, and was also named the AP College Player of the Year in 2009.

Unsurprisingly, there have been many former Huskers drafted into the NFL (or signed as an undrafted free agent), including Link Lyman, Guy Chamberlin, Boomer Brown, Will Shields, and Mick Tingelhoff – all Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. Let’s take a look to see which former Nebraska football players are currently playing in the NFL.

Cornhuskers in the Game

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There are 26 former Huskers in the NFL today. As we glance over the current players list, one of the biggest names that stands out is Ndamukong Suh, the former Nebraska superstar who continued a high level of play in the pros. Suh has been elected to five Pro Bowls over his career, which got its start in 2010 when he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions (he currently plays for the Miami Dolphins). He’s also been selected to the First-Team All-Pro three times and has been a sack machine over his seven-plus years of professional play (he has 49 sacks and counting).  

Woke up feeling like

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Another player to mention is Prince Amukamara, who earned the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 while at Nebraska and is a one-time All-American. He was drafted in 2011, 19th overall, by the New York Giants, and was part of a championship winning team his rookie year. Amukamara currently plays for the Chicago Bears.

@strap_ent @strap_ent 🔥🔥🔥

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Richie Incognito is another former Husker currently playing in the NFL. Incognito entered the NFL in the third round of the 2005 draft for the St. Louis Rams after a great Nebraska college career, and has been selected to three Pro Bowls during his time in the NFL. Incognito currently plays for the Buffalo Bills.

I know when I give my guy @shadymccoy a little space he’s about to do something special #TheRealSlimShady

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Go Big Red

If you’ve been following the Huskers for decades, or you’re a newer fan of this brand of college ball, make sure you’re properly suited up for a visit to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, by visiting Fanatics. You’ll find loads of authentic Nebraska gear, including shirts, hoodies, and hats.

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The Evolution of the Buffalo Bills Logo

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The Buffalo Bills were the seventh team to be admitted to the American Football League. Franchise owner Ralph C. Wilson obtained the team in 1959, but the Bills didn’t start their first season until 1960 in Buffalo, New York. They began to gain success during their fourth season in 1963 after tying for the AFL Eastern Division crown. However, that was just the start. They lost to the Boston Patriots in a playoff game that year. The 1964 and 1965 seasons would prove better for the Bills when they won not only their division but also the AFL Championship against the San Diego Chargers.

After their initial success, the Bills would go through a major drought up until the 1988 season, in which they proceeded to make the playoffs six years in a row. During that time, the team became the only franchise ever to play in four consecutive Super Bowls.

The Buffalo Bills, originally named the Bisons, changed their namesake after running a contest with a $500 prize. The winning name – the Buffalo Bills – came from James F. Dyson’s submission, which compared the team to a band of Buffalo Bills. Buffalo Bill was a Pony Express rider and American scout who fought for the Union in the Civil War and served the U.S. Army in the American Indian Wars.  

Historic Players

The all-time passing leader for the Bills is none other than quarterback Jim Kelly. Kelly completed 2,874 passes for 35,467 yards and 237 touchdowns in 11 seasons with the Bills. Kelly was selected to the Pro Bowl five times and became First Team All-Pro in 1991.

Thurman Thomas is the Bill’s all-time leading rusher with 2,849 rushes for 11,938 yards and 65 touchdowns. Thomas was selected to the Pro Bowl five times. He was also a two-time First Team All-Pro and was selected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Andre Reed is the all-time leading receiver for the Bills. Reed completed his career with 941 catches for 13,095 yards and 86 touchdowns. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2014.

Logo Evolution

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The current logo for the Buffalo Bills is a blue leaping buffalo with a red beam running through the middle. This has been the team logo since 1974. The logo came to life when Stevens Wright submitted several different styles to the Bills in the summer of 1973. Shortly after, a letter from then Vice President and General Manager Robert Lustig to David Boss (the director of NFL Properties’ creative services division) asked for a slight alteration. In the letter, Lustig stated he wanted the logo to portray a buffalo accelerating in a forward motion. The modification of a red stripe was put in place to convey that.

1960–1961: The Bills’ original logo depicts two football players in Bills uniforms running alongside several buffalo. This is all contained in a blue football-shaped background with “Buffalo Bills” arching over the running buffalo and players.

1962–1969: The logo depicts a brown football encompassing a Bills player running beside a buffalo.

1970–1973: The Bills adopt an all-red silhouette of a standing buffalo facing right.

1974–2016: This logo depicts a blue buffalo with a red stripe across it.

Now that you know the history behind the Bills’ logo, it’s time to wear it! Head over to Fanatics.com for all the Bills gear you need to cheer on the boys in blue.

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The Evolution of the Buffalo Bills Jersey

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Based out of New York, the Buffalo Bills are an NFL team that joined the league as a product of the AFL-NFL merger.

The team spent the ’60s in the American Football League (AFL) before joining the National Football League (NFL) in 1970.  

The Bills have not been the luckiest team in the league. The Northern New York franchise famously lost four straight Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993 and are the only team to do so. Another shocking fact about the team is they are the only NFL team to not have made the playoffs in the 21st century; the last time the team did so was in 1999. On the bright side, Rex Ryan – former New York Jets head coach – was acquired at the start of the 2015 season. And he’s been restructuring the team since.

Buffalo’s uniforms are based on a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme, and have remained that way for the majority of the franchise’s existence.

We decided to see how the team’s patriotic roots came to be and examined the evolution of their Uncle Sam–approved jersey since their inception into the league.

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Buffalo Bills WinCraft Deluxe 3′ x 5′ Logo Flag

Logo History

1960–1961: For Buffalo’s first year in the NFL, the team utilizes a cartoon illustration as its logo. A blue background in the shape of a football displays a ball carrier, a pack of wild buffalo, and the city and team name in white.

1962–1969: Just one year later, the Bills transform the design to feature a more detailed illustration of a ball carrier in the team’s uniform followed by a realistic-looking brown buffalo complete with shading.

1970–1973: The Bills opt for a simple logo of a buffalo in red outline.

1974–Present: The modern-day logo is a more bold buffalo illustration in a stampede stance. The logo uses a red and blue two-tone colorway to add some freshness.

Notable Uniform Changes

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1960 – Buffalo’s first uniform as a member of the AFL is a simple design that consists of royal blue, white, and some silver. The silver helmets display each player’s number instead of a team logo. At the time, Buffalo’s owner held a share with the Detroit Lions, and many believe these jerseys drew inspiration from Detroit.

1962 – To differentiate from the Detroit Lions, the Bills change the color scheme to a patriotic red, white, and blue. Royal blue jerseys are worn at home and white is worn on the road. The addition of red and white trim helps make the uniform pop. The team also introduces the red buffalo illustration at this time to replace the helmet numbers.

1965 – A blue trim is added along the center of the helmet, and the shoulder stripes are replaced by a distinct combination of four white stripes along the sleeves.

1973 – The Bills introduce blue pants to the white jersey.

1975 – Buffalo unveils the modern-day logo of a charging buffalo with a red and blue colorway. The helmets also feature gray facemasks.

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Buffalo Bills Riddell Mini Speed Helmet – White

1984 – White helmets change to red, and the facemask changes from blue to white.It’s said that the color change is meant to help the Bills distinguish their own players from other teams with white helmets. At this point, the team also uses red socks instead of white.

1986 – The Bills begin wearing an all-white road uniform instead of traditional blue pants. The team also honors the Super Bowl with a patch.

2002 – The Bills introduce a dramatic redesign of the team’s home and road uniforms. The red, white, and blue color scheme remain, but the team begins using a darker shade of blue, which is accented with hints of gray. The white uniform features a blocky dark-blue splash on the shoulder area and red accents along the perimeter.

2005 – The Bills revive the standing red bison on the helmet as a throwback uniform. A red and white trim is added to the sleeves in reference to the design of Buffalo’s early 1960s flair.

2011 – The Bills unveil another major redesign, dropping the red helmet for white. This uniform is an updated rendition of Buffalo’s look from the ’70s and ’80s. The deep navy blue is swapped out for a return to royal blue, and the road uniform takes on a more minimalistic design.

2012 – As part of the league’s new uniform contract with Nike, the Bills receive minor alterations.  

2015 – Nike unveils special all-red uniforms for its “Color Rush” promotional games. The Bills don the all-red combination against the New York Jets, who wear all green. The teams face off in November of 2015 during the league’s first “Color Rush” game.

Looking Back to Look Forward

Throughout their long history, the Bills have had many legendary players leave their blood, sweat, and tears on the field while reppin’ the red, white, and blue. Players such as Bruce Smith and Jim Kelly keep the tradition alive throughout the organization with their many contributions even after stepping off the turf – keeping their roots intact. Although there have been many greats to play for this team, only two numbers have been retired:

No.12 – Jim Kelly

No. 78 – Bruce Smith

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Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills Nike Retired Player Game Jersey – Royal Blue

Heading out to the big game? Arrive at Ralph Wilson Stadium with all the latest Bills gear – that true red, white, and blue. Look no further than Fanatics.com for all things Buffalo Bills!

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