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NFL History On Opening Night

by Tom King

Pro football in 1969 was not the spectacle it is today. No NFL Network. No 24-7 internet and blogosphere dissecting every minute detail of every game. Players had off-season jobs. They smoked and drank and partied hard...well some things never change. You didnt have to be a chiseled physical specimen to play the game. And the conventional wisdom was a good running game and stout defense wins championships. Yeah there was Namath & Unitas and the "Mad Bomber" Darlye Lamonica...but it was the "Packer Sweep" and guys like Csonka carrying on the tradition of Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and all of the great rushers that came before them. That's why it might have surprised people last night after Peyton Manning threw his 7th TD pass when they let us know the last QB to do it....Joe Kapp!!??...in 1969???!!!.

Kapp was a hard-nosed player out of Cal who never was the prettiest passer around. Sometimes his passes were end-over-end...alot of times he would run out of the pocket...but on September 28, 1969...Joe Kapp threw  for seven touchdown passes and 538 yardsagainst the Baltimore Colts...the defending NFL champs. Kapp led the Vikings to their first Super Bowl that season where they lost to KC.

But it's hard to believe that with all the great QBS that have come along since...nobody had matched that level of performance. Not Fouts or Marino...not Montana or Young or Bradshaw or Staubach. Not Elway or Simms or Favre...the line of NFL history now stretches from Sid Luckman to Adrian Burk to George Blanda to YA Tittle to Joe Kapp...to Peyton Manning. Good stuff.

You will love this look at Kapp's day...we miss you Pat Summerall!