To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s CINCINNATI BENGALS-CLEVELAND BROWNS matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where CANTON BULLDOGS owner RALPH HAY organized the first meeting of fellow owners.
Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer PAUL BROWN discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer BILL WALSH.
BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK:
As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback TOM BRADY and New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by PEYTON MANNING (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.
The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:
|PLAYER, TEAM(S)||YEARS||TD PASSES|
|Peyton Manning, Indianapolis-Denver||1998-2015||539|
|Tom Brady, New England||2000-||535|
|Drew Brees, S.D. Chargers-New Orleans||2001-||532|
|Brett FavreHOF, Atlanta-Green Bay-N.Y. Jets-Minnesota||1991-2010||508|
|Dan MarinoHOF, Miami||1983-99||420|
|Philip Rivers, S.D./L.A. Chargers||2004-||391|
|Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh||2004-||363|
|Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants||2004-||362|
|Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay||2005-||360|
|Fran TarkentonHOF, Minnesota-N.Y. Giants||1961-78||342|
Brady, whose Patriots host the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss.
EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY:
When the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS travel to meet the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX) in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ JIMMY GAROPPOLO, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach SEAN PAYTON. Also, the father of 49ers head coach KYLE SHANAHAN, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach MIKE SHANAHAN, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO.
- If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.