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From the Tampa Two to Johnny U, happy 100th to the NFL

Martin Fennelly: What to give a league that has everything? A list of 100 people places and things that made the National Football League.
Coach Bill Belichick holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after last season's Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. Fans of a different avian mascot — the Eagles — think their team lost a Super Bowl because the Pats cheated. [Associated Press]
Published Sep. 5
Updated Sep. 5

TAMPA — If aliens came from another galaxy, how could we explain 100 years of NFL history? You know, after they asked what happened to the Lightning and before they ate us.

It’s not a playbook, it’s a cook book!

Anyhow, the NFL season kicks off tonight. We celebrate National Football League, people, places and things that keep us coming back. The list is by no means definitive. That’s why you’re here.

1. Vince Lombardi

2. Perfect ’72 Dolphins

3. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders

4. Tampa Two

5. Fearsome Foursome

6. The Aint’s

7. CTE

8. The Hail Mary

9. The Turk

10. Jimmy the Greek

Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi in 1968. [ASSOCIATED PRESS]

11. Whitney Houston’s anthem at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa

12. Scott Norwood

13. Darryl Stingley

14. O.J. Simpson, 2,000 yards

15; Jackie Smith drop.

16. Paul Brown

17. Jim Brown

18. The Catch

19. Fridge

20. West Coast Offense.

In this Jan. 27, 1991 file photo, Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem before the New York Giants-Buffalo Bills Super Bowl at Tampa Stadium. The Giants won 20-19. [GEORGE ROSE | Getty Images]

21. No-Name Defense

22. Barry Sanders

23. The Ice Bowl

24. The Fog Game

25. Dolphins-Chiefs on Christmas

26. The Immaculate Reception

27. Johnny U

28. L.T.

29 Namath’s Guarantee

30. Colts-Giants overtime game

Balitmore Colts quarterback John Unitas, from Louisville, is shown on July 18, 1960 at the team's summer training camp at Western Maryland College. [ANONYMOUS | AP]

31. Brett Favre

32. Tuck Rule

33. Bert Emanuel Rule

34. The Merger

35. USFL Trial

36. Sweetness

37. Terrible Towels

38. Steel Curtain

39. Purple People Eaters

40. 65 toss power trap.

In this Jan. 23, 2000 file photo, Bucs wide receiver Bert Emanuel pulls in a pass late the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game in St. Louis. Officials ruled the catch no good as the Rams held on to win 11-6 and advance to the Super Bowl. [CLIFF MCBRIDE | Tampa Bay Times]

41. Papa Bear

42. The Heidi Game

43. This One’s For John

44. The Dawg Pound

45. Deion

46. 0-26 Bucs

47. David Tyree helmet catch

48. Doug Williams, Super Bowl MVP

49. Butkus

50. The Holy Roller

In this Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007 file photo, fans in the Dawg Pound at Cleveland Browns Stadium whoop it up during the Browns' 51-45 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game in Cleveland. [AMY SANCETTA | AP]

51. Howard Cosell

52. Earl Campbell on Monday Night Football

53. Lions, Cowboys, Thanksgiving

54. Pete Rozelle

55. Monsters of the Midway

56. Kellen Winslow exhausted at Orange Bowl

57. Lyle Alzado, steroids

58. Bo running over Boz

59. The 12th Man

60. Helmet Cam

This Jan. 1972 photo shows, from left, Don Meredith, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, the broadcasting team for Monday Night Football. [AP Photo/ABC]

61. Yellow TV line for first downs

62. Joe Greene Coke commercial

63. Belichick’s Hoodie

64. Modell stiffs Cleveland

65. Mayflower vans in Baltimore

66. Replacement players

67. Tom Dempsey

68. 199th pick, compensatory, 2000 Draft: Tom Brady

69. Bills 0-4 in the Super Bowls

Thanks a lot, Joe Greene; what kid doesn't want a sweaty Steelers jersey that can be sold on eBay?

70. Summerall and Madden

71. Concrete Charlie

72. Tony Dungy

73. Lambeau Leap

74. The Galloping Ghost

75. Spiking the Ball

76. Fantasy football

77. The point spread

78. Lamar Hunt

79. Billy “White Shoes” Johnson

80. Music City Miracle

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson celebrates a touchdown with a Lambeau Leap during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. [MATT LUDTKE | AP]

81. Colin Kaepernick takes knee

82. Mel Kiper Jr.

83. “Too Tall” Jones

84. Brian’s Song

85. Bronko Nagurski

86. NFL Films

87. John Facenda

88. “The previous play is under review.”

89. The combine

90. Shula’s jaw

Former coach Don Shula is seen in the audience during the inaugural NFL Honors show Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in Indianapolis.The New York Giants will face the New England Patriots in the NFL football's Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on Feb. 5. [CHARLIE RIEDEL | AP]

91. In the grasp

92. Jim Thorpe

93. Sack

94. Crazy Legs Hirsch

95. Otto Graham

96. The Red Zone

97. The Telestrator

98. He … could … go … all the way

99. Montana to Rice

100. Just win, baby.

Contact Martin Fennelly at or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly


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