Considering that we live in one of the most passionate NFL towns in the country, it's surprising that no one has ever accused me of sports trivia bias. For the past eight years, I've faithfully written one baseball trivia column a year. But I've never done the same thing for football.
It's not fair, is it? Why this slavish devotion to baseball trivia? Granted, baseball more readily lends itself to obscure bits of statistical information, but football isn't exactly devoid of fascinating facts. You could do a solid trivia quiz on the Buffalo Bills alone.
So, rather than wait for football fanatics to wake up and chastise me, I've put together my first National Football League trivia quiz. If enough people call to complain about it being too difficult, I might be persuaded to make it an annual event.
Keep in mind, the NFL now includes all the statistics from the old American Football League in its record book, so AFL numbers and achievements count. The quiz answers can be found on Page B10.
1. Buffalo's O.J. Simpson led the AFC in rushing in 1972, '73, '75 and '76. Who led the conference in 1974?
2. Who coached the Rams to their only Super Bowl appearance in the 1979 season? Who was their quarterback in the game?
3. Thirty years ago, this Penn State graduate retired with more than 5,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving. He's still the only 5,000-6,000 player in history.
4. Name the five Bills who rushed for 200 yards in a game. One of them did it six times, an NFL record.
5. The Giants picked Lawrence Taylor with the second selection of the 1981 draft. Who went No. 1?
6. Who was the first player to rush for two touchdowns in a Super Bowl game? Who was the first to catch two touchdown passes in a game? A hint: They did it in the same game for the same team.
7. He rushed for 1,121 yards as a Kansas City rookie under head coach Marv Levy in 1981. He drowned trying to save a young child two years later.
8. Who was the Bills' first pick in the 1983 draft?
9. Who is the only player to score in four consecutive Super Bowls?
10. Which team holds the record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season?
11. He set the Dolphins' single-season rushing record of 1,258 yards in 1978. At the time, he also held the 49ers' single-season mark, which has since been broken.
12. Name the five Syracuse University graduates who rushed for more than 5,000 yards in the pros.
13. Two men share the single-season (4) and career (8) records for punts returned for touchdowns.
14. Who was the first man to play in five Super Bowls? This isn't one of those trick questions about an organist, either.
15. In 1952, he became the first -- and only -- man to intercept 14 passes in a season. He's worth mentioning for his nickname alone.
16. On Nov. 8, 1970, the New Orleans Saints beat the visiting Detroit Lions, 19-17, on the final play of the game. How did they do it?
17. Who was the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season?
18. In 1982, this Cincinnati Bengal tight end became the first player to catch 10 passes in a Super Bowl game.
19. Four brothers from the same Warren, Ohio, family played in the NFL between 1979 and 1992. Two went to USC and the other two to Notre Dame. I'll settle for their last name.
20. For a little symmetry, we'll end with an O.J. question. In 1973, the year Simpson set the rushing record with 2,003 yards, he ran for exactly 1,000 yards more than the AFC runner-up. Name him.
SULLIVAN QUIZ ANSWERS
1. Denver's Otis Armstrong.
2. Ray Malavasi. Vince Ferragamo was the QB.
3. Lenny Moore.
4. O.J. did it six times. The others were Cookie Gilchrist, Terry Miller, Greg Bell and Thurman Thomas. Bell did it twice more with the Rams after leaving Buffalo.
5. George Rogers, by the Saints.
6. Current Bills assistant head coach Elijah Pitts ran for two TDs in Super Bowl I. Max McGee caught two TD passes that day.
7. Joe Delaney.
8. Tony Hunter, who went 12th overall. They took Jim Kelly two picks later at No. 14.
9. Thurman Thomas.
10. The Bears allowed just 187 points in 1986 -- the year after they won the Super Bowl.
11. Delvin Williams, of course.
12. Jim Brown (12,312), Larry Csonka (8,081), Floyd Little (6,323), Joe Morris (5,585) and Jim Nance (5,401).
13. Jack Christiansen and Rick Upchurch.
14. Marv Fleming played in the Bowl for the Packers in 1967 and '68 and the Dolphins from 1972-74.
15. Dick "Night Train" Lane.
16. Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yard field goal, which is still the NFL record.
17. Joe Namath threw for 4,007 in 1967.
18. Dan Ross.
19. Jim, Joey, Keith and Ross Browner.
20. Larry Csonka.