40 Facts About the NFL That Will Blow Your Mind


America's favorite sport kicks off this week at stadiums around the country. What follows are 40 little-known facts about the NFL that are certain to wow your friends and spice things up around the water-cooler. Please use responsibly.

1. If all 256 regular-season games finished in a 7-7 tie, the playoffs would be determined by coin toss.

The tiebreaking procedures in the NFL Record & Fact Book have everything covered.

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2. The Arizona Cardinals are older than the state of Arizona.

The Cardinals were founded in 1898, while Arizona was granted statehood in 1912.

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3. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have gone a combined 46-8 since their states became the first — and only to date — to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

How shrewd of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to buy 21 local Papa John's stores two weeks before it was voted through.

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4. Joe Namath was on Nixon’s Enemies’ List.

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5. Since 1997, the Dallas Cowboys are 136-136 overall, including 8-8 in 2011, 8-8 in 2012 and 8-8 in 2013.

America's Team has become the statistical embodiment of mediocrity.

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6. It's estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than any other kid in America.

A 2010 segment on 60 Minutes examined the phenomenon.

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7. Brett Favre's first completed pass was to Brett Favre.

The longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback completed his first pass to himself for a loss of seven yards. (Favre's first attempted pass was a touchdown ... for the other team.)

8. Of the past 17 quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy, only one has won an NFL playoff game: Tim Tebow.

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9. The Philadelphia Eagles are the only NFL team with a logo that faces left.

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10. Steve Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants, is the only person to have ever won both an Oscar and a Super Bowl ring.

11. The Pittsburgh Steelers' first-ever draft pick was William Shakespeare.

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12. Donovan McNabb played four games in the state of Florida during his NFL career. He vomited on the field in three of them.

But each of those drives ended with the longtime Eagles quarterback throwing a touchdown pass. Just saying.

13. NFL cheerleaders are generally paid between $70 and $90 per game.

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14. The Montreal Expos selected Tom Brady as a catcher in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft.

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15. It's possible to score a one-point safety.

The rarest scoring play in football hasn't occurred in an NFL game since 1940, though it's happened twice in college games over the past decade.

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16. The Tonawanda Kardex — a team named after an office furniture company — played one game in 1921, lost 45-0 and folded with an all-time NFL record of 0-1.

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17. Cowboys.com became a male dating website after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones balked at paying $275,000 for the domain in 2007.

18. Whitney Houston's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" from Super Bowl XXV is the only version of the national anthem to reach the Top 20 on the U.S. charts.

It peaked at No. 20 in 1991, and went as high as No. 6 when it was re-released after the September 11 attacks.

19. Dave Winfield was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, even though he never played college football.

Incredibly, the Hall of Fame baseball player was selected in the MLB, NBA, ABA and NFL drafts in 1973.

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20. The Los Angeles Buccaneers never played a game in Los Angeles.

The defunct franchise, which played just one NFL season in 1926, operated out of Chicago.

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21. Only two players over the age of 40 have caught a pass in an NFL game: Jerry Rice (161 times) and Brett Favre (once).

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22. Out of 48 Super Bowl coin tosses, the results have been 24 heads and 24 tails.

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23. Jake Plummer holds the record for most career tackles by a quarterback with 20.

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24. A 1994 study of 7,000 former players found that average life expectancy for NFL players is 55 — or 52 for linemen — compared to 77.6 for the general U.S. population.

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25. The Giants have won four Super Bowls and Bill Belichick has been on the sidelines for each of them.

He was the Giants' defensive coordinator when they won Super Bowls XXI and XXV, and the Patriots' head coach when they lost to New York in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

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26. Only 8.01% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise is actually going towards cancer research.

A 2013 story on Business Insider showed where the money really winds up.

27. "The Super Bowl Shuffle" was nominated for a Grammy in 1987.

But it (correctly) lost to Prince.

28. The only player in history to score a touchdown against all 32 NFL teams is Terrell Owens.

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29. Denver Broncos linebacker Paris Lenon is last active NFL player to have played in the XFL.

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30. Dan Marino and John Elway were selected by the Kansas City Royals in the same MLB draft.

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31. The only player in history to win a Super Bowl, a Grey Cup and an XFL Championship is Bobby Singh.

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32. Tom Brady has caught one pass — and only one pass — in his career.

33. Detroit Lions' second-year kicker Havard Rugland, a native of Norway, credits Wu-Tang Clan for his mastery of the English language.

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34. The NFL's last seven tie games happened on Nov. 24, Nov. 11, Nov. 16, Nov. 10, Nov. 23, Nov. 16 and Nov. 19.

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35. The longest non-scoring pass in NFL history was Jim Hart's 98-yard completion to Ahmad Rashad from the 1-yard-line to the 1-yard-line.

Rashad (then Bobby Moore) went on to become a well-known studio anchor and the host of NBA Inside Stuff.

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36. Since returning to NFL in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have used a league-high 20 starting quarterbacks. Only one has a winning record: Brian Hoyer. 

37. The Jets have never beaten the Eagles.

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38. Every year when Kurt Warner started all 16 games, his team went to the Super Bowl.

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39. Percy Howard caught just one pass in his entire NFL career: a 34-yard touchdown for the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.

40. It’s only cheating if you get caught.