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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Digging Into The NFL Draft

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10 Years of First-Round Picks

After 32 picks, the first round of the 2017 NFL draft was over. Teams had the chance to select the next big thing – from a new face for the franchise to a highly talented player in a position of need – from the most recently declared class college athletes. These picks may have represented the dreams of not just a team, but a city of fans, and the hope that success is on the horizon.

Just what has the history of first-round picks looked like over the past decade? What positions have been most coveted? Have any vindicated their draft position, or did the franchise that selected them ask for a redo? We profiled the last decade of NFL drafts to highlight the highs and lows across the 32 teams in the NFL.

Positions in Demand

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In nearly 350 picks made in the past ten years in the first round of the NFL draft, almost 100 were used on either a defensive end or defensive back. The Cleveland Browns and five other teams helped this cause by using their first-round picks this year on defensive ends. Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, Derek Barnett, Jonathan Allen, Takkarist McKinley, and Taco Charlton all joined the NFL in this year’s draft class as their team’s latest addition in this position.

The future is now.

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Only 6 players from the three safety positions – free safety, safety, and strong safety – have been drafted in a decade of first rounds. And over 30 percent came from the 2017 NFL draft, with Jamal Adams from Louisiana State University to the New York Jets, Malik Hooker from Ohio State to the Indianapolis Colts, and Jabrill Peppers from Michigan to the Cleveland Browns.

NFL’s Farm System

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While Alabama head coach Nick Saban couldn’t unlock a winning formula as the Miami Dolphins head coach, posting a 15-17 record over 32 games, he has proven to be a master of player development. The Crimson Tide accounted for 22 first-round draft picks in the last decade.

History made. #BuiltByBama #rolltide #nfldraft

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Four Alabama players were drafted in the first round this year: Marlon Humphrey by the Baltimore Ravens, Jonathan Allen by the Washington Redskins, O.J. Howard by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Reuben Foster by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Southeastern Conference is well-represented in regard to total first-round picks over the last 10 years, with two other schools in the top five: the University of Florida and Louisiana State University. One of the biggest picks from these prestigious programs was the 2010 NFL draft’s 25th pick, Tim Tebow. He’d post an 8-6 record as a starter for the Denver Broncos before he’d begin a new line of work, but not before uncorking a beautiful Hail Mary against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 AFC wild-card.

Adverse to First

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While some teams have had more picks in the first round, others have been less concerned about the glitz and glamour of those first 32. In fact, the New England Patriots have only had eight first-round picks in the last 10 years, but have had the league’s best record in the same period. With a 10-season record of 126-34, and 20 wins more than the second-place Green Bay Packers, the lack of first-round talent hasn’t hurt the five-time Super Bowl champions.

Only the Seattle Seahawks have had less draft picks in the first rounds – seven – and have made two trips to the Super Bowl, winning one. However, it wasn’t a first-round draft pick that came back to haunt them in their Super Bowl XLIX loss, but New England’s undrafted free agent cornerback, Malcolm Butler.

Who Goes Where?

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In seven of the last ten NFL drafts, a quarterback was selected as the number one overall pick, and four had a QB going in the second overall spot. In three drafts – 2012, 2015, 2016 – there were back-to-back quarterback selections in the top two positions.

If you’re looking for defenders to get drafted in the top 10, try and pay attention during the third and ninth picks. Defensive ends and linebackers have been picked most commonly over the past decade in these spots.

Stacking the Deck

While there’s plenty of roster moves that happen through free agency, many teams built their teams through their picks in the NFL draft. Just as there have been over-hyped players who never lived up to their potential, there were also stars who soared higher than anyone’s initial grades. Get all the best gear to represent your favorite NFL draft picks and team at Fanatics.com!

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The Evolution of the Cleveland Browns Jersey

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Established in 1946 as a member of the All-American Football Conference, the Cleveland Browns are one of the NFL’s most unique franchises. Out of the entire league, they are the only team named after a former coach – legend Paul Brown. The Browns are also the only team in the NFL without a logo on their helmet.

The team has played in the league for sixty-eight seasons and has a total of eight championships – all pre-Super Bowl era. With these victories coming before the big game was even created – the Browns have yet to appear in a Super Bowl.

The Browns were a source of attention in 1995, when owner Art Modell looked to move the team to Baltimore. Cleveland retained rights to the team and its namesake, but Modell’s move transformed the franchise into the Baltimore Ravens. The Browns were re-introduced as an expansion team in 1999 and have struggled to find success in the years since.

Built in 1998 as the new Cleveland Browns’ stadium FirstEnergyStadium serves as their home field. The stadium is situated on the same grounds where the Cleveland Municipal Stadium once stood – the gridiron where the Browns won all eight of their championships. With a current capacity of 73,200 – FirstEnergyStadium serves as the ideal location for the Browns to call home.

Read on to see how the Browns have transformed their jersey since their inception, and how their iconic helmets compare in fashion & popularity to the rest of the league.

Notable Jersey Changes

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1948: Cleveland’s first uniform combination consists of plain white helmets with white and brown jerseys. A brown-orange trim aligns the pants and sleeves of the jersey, and the numbers feature a light shadow.

1950: The team introduces the classic orange helmet for the first time—a feature that is still used today.

1953: An orange jersey with minimal brown and white coloring is used. The orange jerseys would come and go throughout the years before making an updated return in 2015.

1957: For the only time in franchise history, the Browns add an image to the helmet in the form of player numbers.

1960: The familiar brown striping is added to the team’s helmet and brown player numbers also make an appearance on the sleeves.

1969: A special patch is added to the uniform’s left shoulder in celebration of the NFL’s 50th anniversary. Thin, white stripes were also added to the sleeves.

1970: The Browns add player names to the back of the jerseys.

1975: The Browns opt for orange pants – a first in team history. Facemasks are also changed to white.

1984: Jerseys are redesigned with bold orange trim, and orange pants are replaced by white pants that feature a center orange stripe outlined in brown. Also, brown jerseys are worn with orange numbers, before being removed due to difficulty of identifying players on the field.

1985 (1986 depicted): After just one season, the team ditches the intricate design and return to the old-fashioned Browns look.

1999: The franchise moves to Baltimore, but a new ownership group would reinstate the Browns franchise with a “return” to Cleveland. The team wore a “1999” patch to celebrate the return.

2002: Orange jerseys are featured as an alternative uniform kit. The jerseys feature white numbers with a brown drop shadow.

2003: Orange pants return, only to disappear a few seasons later.

2008: The Browns introduce solid brown pants for the first time.

2013: Following the NFL’s change to Nike as the uniform provider, the Browns change their look sporting an all brown uniform appearance.

2015: The Browns underwent drastic changes to a design that has seen little significant alteration for the majority of the franchise’s existence. All three jerseys were redesigned with new striping, updated colors and a bold font. The pants now feature partial striping with the team name on the side, and the jersey adds the city name over the number in large, block font. Cleveland also adds a brown face mask for the first time.

Looking Back to Look Forward

Although the Browns have yet to see a Super Bowl victory, or appearance for that matter – the team has witnessed legendary players take the field, decked in their trademark brown and orange jerseys. The team has a total of eight championships with sixteen players inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame – the sixth highest total league-wide. The organization has been noted to lean on the stingy side when it comes to retiring jerseys – with the current number standing at five.

Since their inception into the National Football League, the Browns have retired five jersey numbers:

No. 14 – Otto Graham

No. 32 – Jim Brown

No. 45 – Ernie Davis

No. 46  – Don Fleming

No. 76 – Lou Groza

Heading over to FirstEnergyStadium to support the #ClevelandBrowns? Be sure to stop by Fanatics – the one stop shop for all your Browns essentials!

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