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Fun Facts About Pro Football

* Football players have had some colorful names. Among its Hall of Fame players are Elroy (Crazylegs) Hirsch, Frank (Bruiser) Kinard, Dick (Night Train) Lane, Clyde (Bulldog) Turner, and Alphonse (Tuffy) Leemans. At various times, groups of defensive linemen have been known as Purple People Eaters, the Fearsome Foursome, and the Steel Curtain.

* Though not the case today, pro football and major league baseball have occasionally had identically named teams, among them the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Cleveland Indians, and, until recently, the St. Louis Cardinals.

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* The oldest NFL record belongs to Ernie Nevers, whose 40 points in a 1928 game have never been surpassed.

* The Duluth Eskimos - the "Ironmen of the North" - played 28 of 29 games on the road in 1926.

* Helmets did not become mandatory equipment until 1943. By 1956, technological developments led to a rule banning the use of radio receivers to communicate with players on the field.

* The Los Angeles Rams, in 1948, became the first team to adopt a modern helmet emblem when they went to their now-traditional ram horns. Today, only the Cleveland Browns refuse to adorn the sides of their helmets.

* Johnny Unitas, a ninth-round draft choice cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955, was signed by the Baltimore Colts as a free agent. He became one of the all-time great quarterbacks.

* For better visibility, the NFL once used white balls with black stripes for night games. In 1956, however, the league outlawed them in favor of white stripes on natural leather footballs. When Joe Namath turned professional in 1965, he popularized white shoes, a color preference that many teams still maintain.

* Why, O, why, Ohio? Some may have asked themselves with the 1963 opening of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Simple. The American Professional Football Conference, a forerunner of the NFL, was begun in Canton.

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* NBC caught a lot of flak in 1968 when it cut off the last minute of the Oakland Raiders-New York Jets game to begin a scheduled children's program (the movie "Heidi") on time. What made matters worse is that the Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last 42 seconds and won, 43-32.

* In 1982, for the first and only time so far, the Super Bowl was played in a northern climate. Not outdoors, but in the Pontiac Silverdome in suburban Detroit.

* An NFL game was first televised in 1939. Roughly a thousand TV sets in New York received the broadcast.

`Kidspace' is a place on the Home Forum pages where kids can find stories that will spark imaginations, entertain with a tall tale, explain how things work, or describe a real-life event. These articles appear twice a month, always on a Tuesday.

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