≡ Menu

PFR Blog

For five years, Doug Drinen, Jason Lisk, Neil Paine and I wrote hundreds of articles on the Pro-Football-Reference blog. You can read them here.

  • Doug Walby

    Last night the Chargers-Broncos game made me think. Other than very low scoring games, has there ever been a game in which one team scored all their points in the first half (while shutting out their opponent), and the other team scored all their points in the second half (while shutting out their opponent)? Chargers were 24-0 in first half, 0-35 in second half, this seems like a very rare scoring pattern.

    Do you have a database that could be searched to see how many times this has happened in past games? I’d be inclined to bet that this has never happened before with anywhere near this large a point spread.

  • Steven

    Is there an article in that you list yards, receptions, TDs or any of your indices for receivers depending on the coverage (man2man, zone)?

  • Dear Sirs and Ladies,
    As a fan and long time supporter of the AFL/AFC/NFL, I watched my first AFL game in 1966, at the age ofeight
    It never ceases to amaze me how low John Elway is rated overall compared to the other top quarterbas ofhis era, and I include that era back to the mid-60s, so Terry Bradshaw, although admittedly handicapped with the
    responsibility of calling his own plays as well as a coach and front office who cut him three or four seasons too soon and did nto
    give a future H.O.Famer, and a quarterback that guided the Steelers to three SuperBowl Championships. I do not really know why he has always had it in for John, but, at least for the last 10 years of John’s career, it was clear. Perhaps it was because John’s coach after Reeves was fired, fully supported him.

    On to the topic. Normally, when a discussion of this type comes up, I always hear, Joe Montana this, Joe Montana that, or the same thing with Steve Young, and Warren Moon. Granted Mr. Moon’s records are now what they would have been had he spent his full caret in the NFL. That said, one Monday night game, in the early or mid-Reeves days, did a comparison of the two lines, the Bronco front five and the Vikings front line. All five of the Vikings was either a Viking first round pick, or a trade from another team that had made that lineman thier first round pick. Dan Reeves, provided John Elway with the folowing: one free agent, two late fourth rounders and two late fifth rounders. Further, John Madden, himself a former head coach in the NFL, 10 years, that included leading the Raiders to the Super bowl Championship. Mr. Madden said, that one of the best quarterbacks he had ever seen play, was handicapped by his line and two middling, at best, running backs. Further, during the Reeves era with John as the quarterback, everyone in the stadium knew the game plan: Usually high percentage of trick passing plays one first down, and then 2nd and 3rd, 2 yards and a cloud of dust as their back tried to grind out a first down. The, some time from the middle of the third quarter to four minutes into the fourth quarter, Coach Reeves would pull his, ok John, we’ll play it your way. Two to five touchdown back and he is finally given the go ahead to use his skills. That is why he had so many come from behind, fourth quarter victories.
    In addition, no only was he a strong armed quarterback, but until he suffered a serious knee injury several years into his career, he regularly timed out as the second or third fastest man on the team.

    After the Reagan enforced recession and his trickle down economics (75 percent reinvested overseas, mostly China), I enlisted in the Navy 15 November 1982. Luckily, one of my three brothers would send me a Beta or VHS of the games, all of them. Denver has been sold out since 1970 or 1971, so they hold the record. Washington used to, but lost it a few years ago after that massive new stadium went up. Further, every chance I could, I would come back in the fall and catch a couple games in the stadium. The only games I ever really had problems getting tickets with, were the San Diego charger games when Dan Fouts, was in his prime.

    My point, however draw out it is, is this: All the other quarterbacks that were sacked a lot, had two things: One, a poor offensive line and slow receivers, and Two, were drop back quarterbacks. Up until two years ago, John Elway held the record for most sacked quarterback, and his numbers for the first ten years of his career would have stayed a record, until just recently. This is unheard of for a scrambling quarterback.

    During the first twelve years of his, John’s, playing, a Bronco offensive lineman was chosen to the PRO-BOWL twice. Both times it was the same guy, Keith Bishop, who came over from New England after a contract dispute and then returned. Mostly know for opening holes for running backs, one Monday night Madden had the network rerun Bishop at Right Guard, I believe, first pancake the Nose Tackle and then flatten the Linebacker coming across. I think that is probably the first time in my life I saw a five and a half foot hole open up within a second of the snap.

    So, I saw John play in the stadium about five or six times, when I was home on leave. And, I was able to watch all but two of his games via video tape. The most difficult statement I have ever heard made by and adult was when Coach Reeves remarked on his firing, “I did not know John wanted to pass more,” If that was the case, the quarterback coach, (who he had fired the preceding year), should have told me. During the Reeves-Bronco coaching year, I read dozens of columnists and many more printed letters from fans says that John wanted to throw more. If Dan Reeves did not know John Elway wanted to pass more, he was the only one in the stadium, in Denver, in Colorado, and in the region where the Broncos ae considered the home team.

    That is why I shake my head when I hear that Joe Montana is the best quarterback ever. Joe was five foot ten inches tall, maybe, and 175 pounds. With the line Reeves handicapped John Elway with, Joe Montana (and I believe Joe to be a truly great quarterback), may have lasted eight seasons and during much of this time, he would have been out, due to injuries. Young was a fine quaterback also, an a runner, but, he still had an A list front line and three hall of fame receiver to throw to. Elway’s last season, he played 12 of 16 regular season games; it should have been eight. four of the games he started, he was too hurt to be efficient and it showed. Luckily, John had two weeks to heal up before the Super Bowl, and he was facing a coach that had handicapped his talent with a poor line and overly conservative play calling, minus the one or two trick plays a game, until he had to let John play his game and try and rescue “FREE AGENT, PLATOON BACK, SUBCONSCIOUS RESENTFUL, COACH REVES), and against the same man who had fired the coach he now had, Shanahan, that had put together a top notch front line, with back-ups, that were all in the 90+ percentile for NFL starters. If I have not been married, I would have bet everything I had on the Broncos that year.
    Hall of Fame, Defensive End, and earned it, said this in SI, as long as John Elway is on the list, he will be in my top five. He is the best quarterback I ever faced and everyone on every team that played the BRONCOS, knew that, to beat the Broncos, you had to stop him.” I can’t even say that about the greatest receiver of all time, and possibly, the best or tied for best of all time, Jerry Rice. The only other player that stopping that player meant winning the game that I know of was Jim Brown. Mr. Brown, played with many of the same handicaps that John did: Everyone knew that the Browns had four plays: Jim Brown to the left, Jim Brown to the right, Jim Brown up the middle, and screen or over the middle short pass to Jim Brown.

    Besides giving Bradshaw a chance to heal up and end his final three or four years with dignity, and an offensive coordinator that would call the plays, so Terry might have seen his number two receiver running around wide open on the field and wide open in emotional frustration for a guy that can’t see anyone past his first target; besides that, i would have liked to have seen a West Coast offense, aka Don Coryell, with a real line for Elway’s first twelve years, and I would have liked to have seen that same kind and quality of offense that could have meant another five or with Jim Brown, ten years of ALL-PRO playing.

    One final thing, when John Elway sold his 10 dealerships, for 90 percent of them, he kept ten percent to make sure his policies were kept. I asked my brother, why his dealerships were so popular. He said, that is easy, John give people a good deal, and they know it. And if there is a problem is a vehicle, he will take the loss rather than loss a customer.

    My best memory of an Elway-Reeves situation was early in John’s career; the Jets were in town with arguably then, the best defense in football and clearly the best defensive line in football with Joe Kleco s the nose tackle and the other Marcus Gastineauguy crushing Denver’s offensive line throughout the game. Gastineauguy was a speester and Kleco was so much stronger than anyone the put against him, it was worth the ticket just to watch them work. Four minutes into the third quarter, Reeves gives up and lets John up and try and save the game. I think it was too late, but it was a classic example of making a triple crown winner a pony for the ids to ride around the circle the horse, now pony was roped to. The only thing I can compare those two was the second generation Japanese, Neisei soldiers being forced to fight under the worst general in the Army. They were so good, the would win despite his horrible leadership, but he got 10 times the number killed anyone else would have and, to my knowledge, no field grade officer would shake his hand after the war. They would salute, but not shake his hand. I am waiting in line somewhere in Maryland and a brother pipes up at the front of the line that he thinks Atlanta is going to win. I told him abut the history and when his comeback was that Elway’s skills had declined, I also mentioned that he planned in several games this year he was too hurt to play in. I told him how I had seen all but two or three of Elway’s games. How Reeves’ jealousy got Shanahan fired in the most disrespectful way possible. And how, Atlanta’s players got that team to the Super Bowl, but par normal, Dan would concentrate on the running back, Davis, because he underestimated John once again, he did. I told him about the how John’s ten year sacked record with a 4.55 time as a quarterback, still stood, and how even in Atlanta, Reeves picks up as many of the late training camp cuts from Dallas as possible. And, I offered to bet him a grand, with the owner of that store holding it, since everyone knew him. He declined. Reeves could never out coach Shanahan and at least for a decade, since the Raiders still owed Shanahan $200,000, the always put a full on effort into beating that team. I do not think Davis ever paid him, but I do think, Shanahan got the moneysince legally Davis’s will could not be distributed until he did.

  • Please forgive the run-on and overly long input. I was diagnosed with medical issues by social security and Vet Affairs rated me
    100% percent percent disable from active duty injuries. I used to write well and my memory prior to 1994 is fine, just lost that ability.