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April 5 to April 11; Troy Polamalu retires after 12 seasons


Welcome to This Week in NFL History! Every week, the NFL Research team will spotlight the anniversaries of notable events and birthdays.

— The NFL adopted a jersey numbering system based on position in 1973

  • 1-19 for QB & specialists, 20-49 for RBs & DBs, 50-59 for centers & LBs, 60-79 for DL & interior OL other than centers & 80-89 for WRs & TEs
  • Players who had been in the NFL in 1972 could continue to use old numbers

— RB Leonard Fournette, S Jamal Adams & CB Tre’Davious White participated at LSU’s Pro Day in 2017

  • Fournette weighed in at 228 pounds, 12 pounds lighter than the NFL Scouting Combine & showcased his versatility by running routes and catching passes
  • Adams improved his 4.56 40-yard dash time at the Combine to 4.45 per NFL Media’s Gil Brandt
  • Fournette (4th overall to JAX), Adams (6th overall to NYJ) & White (27th overall to BUF) all selected in the 1st Round of the 2017 NFL Draft

— The color of officials’ penalty flags was changed from white to bright gold in 1965

— Notable Birthday: QB Marc Bulger (44)

— Notable Birthdays: WR Sterling Sharpe (56) & NE CB Jalen Mills (27)

— The NFL adopted new substitution rules, made wearing helmets mandatory & approved a 10-game schedule for all teams in 1943

  • Free substitution (Being able to bring the same player in & out of the game as much as the coach wants) was allowed
  • Substitution in football was previously like baseball or soccer in that once a player was subbed out, their day was done

— Notable Birthdays: HOF Tony Dorsett (67), RB Ricky Watters (52), DB Ronde Barber (46), RB Tiki Barber (46), & LAC TE Jared Cook (34)

— Sarah Thomas became the first female to be assigned full-time to an NFL officiating crew in 2015

  • Became the 1st woman to officiate a Super Bowl in Super Bowl LV when she served as a down judge

— Steve Bisciotti took over as the controlling owner of the Ravens, succeeding Art Modell who operated the franchise for 43 years in 2004

  • 162-110 W-L (.596 win pct, 6th-best in NFL) since 2004
  • 10 playoff appearances & Super Bowl XLVII Championship under Bisciotti

— WR Allen Robinson improved his measurables at Penn State’s Pro Day in 2014

  • Surpassed his 4.60 40-yd dash and 39″ vertical jump NFL Scouting Combine numbers with a 4.47 40-yd dash and 42″ vertical jump at Pro Day
  • Picked 61st overall (2nd Round) by Jaguars in 2014 NFL Draft
  • Signed franchise tag with Bears after a career-high 102 receptions in 2020 (6th-most in NFL)

— Notable Birthdays: HOF George Musso , CHI LB Roquan Smith (24) & DAL WR CeeDee Lamb (22)

— WRs Odell Beckham & Jarvis Landry had opposite performances at LSU’s Pro Day in 2014

  • Beckham Jr. stood on his great Combine numbers, which included a 4.43 40-yard dash
  • Landry improved on his Combine 40-yard dash time (4.77, slowest among all WRs in 2014), running a 4.58; However, like the Combine, he again tested poorly in the broad jump (9′ 3″) and vertical jump (31″)
  • Landry also dropped three to four passes during positional drills
  • Beckham was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Giants & Landry was 63rd overall (2nd-last pick of 2nd Round) by the Dolphins
  • Landry has the 3rd-most receptions (636) in the NFL since 2014 & Beckham won 2014 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading the NFL with 108.8 rec YPG

— HOF Troy Polamalu retired from football after 12 seasons with the Steelers in 2015

  • 2-time Super Bowl Champion, 8-time Pro Bowl selection & 4-time 1st-Team All-Pro
  • 2010 AP Defensive Player of the Year & member of 2000’s All-Decade Team
  • 2020 Hall of Fame Inductee

— Notable Birthdays: HOF Curly Lambeau

— The Patriots re-signed WR Julian Edelman after his rookie deal expired in 2013

  • 3-time Super Bowl Champion (Super Bowl LIII MVP)
  • Career: 620 receptions (2nd-most in NE history behind only Wes Welker ‘s 672), 6,822 receiving yards (4th-most in NE history behind Stanley Morgan, Rob Gronkowski & Welker)
  • Postseason career: 118 receptions & 1,442 receiving yards (both are 2nd-most in NFL history behind only HOF Jerry Rice ‘s 151 rec and 2,245 rec yds)

— Notable Birthdays: HOF Clarke Hinkle, HOF John Madden (85), HOF Mel Blount (73) & PIT TE Eric Ebron (28)

— The Patriots re-signed RB Corey Dillon to a 2-year extension in 2005

  • Set the Patriots’ single-season rush yards record (1,635) en route to a 24-21 Super Bowl XXXIX win vs the Eagles to conclude the 2004 season (Last team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions)

— Notable Birthdays: HOF Danny Fortmann

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