50 Years Ago – The NFL in 1967

The 1960’s were a time of huge changes in America.  1967 was a turning point, culturally, politically, and regarding the Vietnam War.  The NFL was not immune to these changes.  The second year into the merger between the NFL and the AFL, you can see change start to bubble to the surface of professional football.  The days of a bunch of crew-cut, part-time professionals was changing rapidly, just like the country.  Sports Illustrated has released several stories discussing key stories/issues about the NFL in 1967 – looking back 50 years.


These are very interesting articles covering some things I already knew and some things brand new to me.   I think it is great that SI has done this.  All of the articles are highly entertaining and informative.  Take a few minutes to read about:

What Ever Happened to Washington’s Ray McDonald?


The Playoff Bowl: The Worst Kind of Garbage Time


The History of NFL Goal Posts: Excitement and Danger


The Greatest Player Who Never Was


Brawl, Booze, and True Believers: The Saints’ First Wild Season


Of course, most of this and more are covered in my book, The Evolution of Professional Football available at www.SterlingMillerBooks.com.


That’s all for now football fans.

Sterling Miller

PS 2017 camps start in a few weeks!


When Will Jerry Kramer Get His Due?

A few weeks ago on the day before one of the best Super Bowls ever, the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced. For many of those elected, I thought “yep, they got that right.” For others I thought, “you’re #$^%^ kidding me!” I won’t name names on the latter because that does no one any good at this point.

But, if we’re looking at HOF injustice, Exhibit A has to be Green Bay Packer’s great, Jerry Kramer – the best lineman on what be the best offensive line of all-time (the mid-1960’s Packers).  Not only did Jerry Kramer make the All-50 Year NFL Team (i.e., the best guard of the first 50 years of the NFL), he threw the lead block on the famous game winning quarterback sneak by Bart Starr that ended the 1967 “Ice Bowl” NFL Championship game against the Cowboys.  He also kicked three FGs in the 1962 NFL title game win against the New York Giants (50 mph wind/13 degrees). And, he’s the author of one of the best football books ever, Instant Replay.


So, why isn’t the best guard on the 5-time World Champion Packers in the Hall of Fame?  Who knows.  The is a very good article describing the process and asking the same questions (click here to read).

It’s time to rectify this terrible oversight before it’s too late.  Too many marginal players are getting in and true greats are left out.  Much like Ken Stabler finally received his due from the NFL, Jerry Kramer deserves to be recognized in the HOF.  And unlike Stabler, it needs to be done before he passes on.  At 81 years old, time is running out.  Hopefully, 2018 will be the year for Jerry Kramer on of the greatest NFL players of all time.


That’s all for now football fans,

Sterling Miller

PS Get the full history of great NFL games in my book!



Chargers Are Moving Back to Los Angeles – 55 Years Later!

As you know from my book, “The Evolution of Professional Football,” the American Football League begin in 1960 as a direct competitor of the NFL.  Among the original eight teams were the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Chargers moved to San Diego in 1961, after playing their first season in LA.  Yesterday, the Chargers announced they are moving back “home” — 55 years later!  Click here to read more on this.


The Chargers have consistently worn the coolest uniforms in the NFL – the Bolts and Powder Blue!


One of the first NFL games I remember watching was the Green Bay Packers vs. the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.  Who was I rooting for?  The team with the coolest helmet of course!  That being San Diego in case it wasn’t clear.

This move obviously sucks for the many dedicated fans living in San Diego.  But it represents a bonanza for Los Angeles which got the Rams back from St. Louis last year and now have the Chargers on the way.  Both teams will ultimately play in the new billion dollar stadium being built by the Rams.  In the interim, the Rams are playing in the ancient Coliseum and the Chargers will play in the local soccer team’s stadium, which holds about 30,000 people – making it the smallest stadium to host an NFL team by about 30,000 seats (the Oakland Coliseum seats around 60,000).  The only problem for the Rams and the Chargers, regardless of where they play, is no one in LA gives a crap about either team.  Which is why both teams ultimately left in the first place. But the new stadium will instantly double the value of both franchises because it is a license to print money from seat licenses, parking, concessions, suites, etc.  The Chargers did try to stay in San Diego – but wanted the City to contribute toward a new stadium.  The voters said “No thank you” and now here you are.  You can debate the value of having an NFL team in terms of dollars and cents, but you cannot place a value on the damage to the City’s psyche of being another also-ran in the NFL team department (just ask two-time loser St. Louis and Baltimore before the Ravens came).


While I am sorry to see San Diego lose the team (and watch out for the Raiders moving to Las Vegas next), the bottom line is that cities that want teams are going to need to pay up or shut up.  The owners have a rare product and it’s a seller market.  While the sun will come up tomorrow in San Diego, lightning storms will never be the same.

While I have your attention, here are my picks in the four divisional playoff games:

Chiefs over Steelers

Cowboys over Packers

Patriots over Texans

Seattle over Atlanta

That’s all for now football fans,

Sterling Miller

PS Get the full history of NFL teams leaving and moving in my book!


The “Silver and Black” Wasn’t Always That: The History of the Oakland Raiders Uniform

The Oakland Raiders are back in the playoffs! The Raiders have long been a favorite of mine. In my book I write about seeing an Oakland Raider helmet on a shelf at the local JC Penny and desperately wanting it. Why? Because the silver and black with the “pirate” football player logo was pretty awesome – especially when you’re ten!

I cam across this article setting out the history of the Raiders’ uniforms.  While we think of the team as always wearing the “Silver and Black” with the awesome helmet logo, that was not always the case.  In fact, the first uniforms were black and gold!  Click here to read the article.  From the article by Paul Lukas @uniwatch:


Moreover, Lukas notes that the numbers were not always black, they were white, as was the original background color of the helmet logo:


Another neat thing about the Raiders uniforms is in the beginning, the Raiders showed the players’ full name on the back of the jersey!


If you’re like me, this type of history and trivia is what makes the NFL so interesting.  You can read more about the history of the league, uniforms, helmets, etc. in my book: “The Evolution of Professional Football” available at sterlingmillerbooks.com

The playoffs are starting – now it gets good!  Keep watching.

That’s it for now football fans.

Sterling Miller