NFC West: Paul Hornung

Top 5 NFL scandals

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
1:10
PM ET
Vick DogfightingAP Photo/Bebeto MatthewsMichael Vick's arrest and imprisonment shocked the NFL and sent the Falcons reeling.
The most significant scandals in NFL history affected individuals and organizations alike. The nature of the allegations, the prominence of the individuals involved, the punishment meted out and the overall impact led us to single out the following five, realizing there were others worth strong consideration.

1. Michael Vick to prison. Involvement in a dogfighting ring brought down one of the NFL's highest-profile, most dynamic quarterbacks in his prime. Vick was released and sent to prison, sending the Atlanta Falcons into turmoil. Vick owed nearly $20 million when he filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and the Falcons had to rebuild their franchise.

2. Saints bounties. Offering cash payments for injuries inflicted on opponents brought down the wrath from commissioner Roger Goodell: Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for one year, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight regular-season games, and the team was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks (one each in 2012 and '13) for their participation in a bounty program.

[+] EnlargeMangini & Belichick
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesThe New England Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since cheating allegations cost them $750,000 and a draft pick.
3. Spygate allegations. Cheating claims levied against the New England Patriots threatened to tarnish the legacy of a flagship franchise at the peak of its powers. Goodell determined the Patriots acted against league rules by videotaping opponents' hand signals. The NFL levied $750,000 in fines and revoked the Patriots' first-round choice in 2008.

4. Hornung/Karras gambling. The NFL suspended Paul Hornung and Alex Karras for the 1963 season after both admitted to betting on NFL games. Hornung and Karras were both Pro Bowl players and Hornung was one of the league's biggest stars playing for the NFL's most iconic team: the Green Bay Packers. Commissioner Pete Rozelle reinstated both players in 1964, and Hornung wound up in the Hall of Fame.

Art Schlichter's one-year ban two decades later also deserves mention among player gambling scandals, but his standing in the league wasn't as strong at the time.

5. Eddie DeBartolo Jr. suspended. The San Francisco 49ers' former owner remains a beloved figure in team lore. He was a finalist for the Hall of Fame this year. But his 1998 felony conviction for failing to report extortion relating to a Louisiana casino project produced a $1 million fine and a one-year NFL suspension. DeBartolo wound up selling the 49ers, precipitating a decade of futility for the organization.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides one more piece of evidence affirming Alex Smith's intentions to re-sign with the San Francisco 49ers. Barrows: "Smith, who is an unrestricted free agent, spoke publicly for the first time since the 2010 season ended. He said he didn't want to be quoted but said the thrust of his comments could be relayed. The main thrust -- that there's a good likelihood that he will return to the 49ers for a seventh season." The 49ers have already met with him, given him a playbook and declared Smith part of the team. It's become a foregone conclusion Smith will return for 2011. As coach Jim Harbaugh told NFL Network in his latest comments on the matter: "We're well-documented on the record that we very much want Alex to be a 49er next year. And he really is a 49er. In my mind, and hopefully in his mind, he is a 49er and we look forward to him competing for that starting quarterback position next year."

Also from Barrows: Is Kendall Hunter the next Brian Westbrook?

Mindi Bach of CSNBayArea.com has this to say about Smith's likely return: "When he met with new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in January, the two men hit it off immediately, Smith said. He said he liked the idea of playing for an offensive-minded head coach who played quarterback in the NFL. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary, 49ers head coaches since 2005, both came from defensive backgrounds."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com explains why defensive backs Colin Jones and Curtis Holcomb appealed to the 49ers in the draft. General manager Trent Baalke on Jones: "When you look at the measurable, he's 6-foot, 210 pounds, runs low 4.4s and you can see it on film. He loves special teams. You look at the TCU film, covering kicks, covering punts, he's the first one down and he's not afraid of contact."

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis looks at potential free-agent defensive tackles for the Rams to consider this offseason. The Giants' Barry Cofield and the Seahawks' Brandon Mebane made the list. Softli on Cofield: "Cofield has developed into one of the league's best interior defensive linemen. He has explosive use of his hands with quickness out of stance and plays behind pads. Good run stopper with football instincts and a nose for the ball. Solid lateral movement over and around trash, a dominant interior lineman with some nasty in his play. Pass rush is adequate, but reacts well to screens and hustles to second level."

Mike Baldwin of the Oklahoman says former Rams and Steelers defensive back Clendon Thomas will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. Thomas picked off three passes for the Rams in 1961, then had 15 interceptions for the Steelers over a two-year period. Baldwin: "A second-round selection, Thomas played 11 years in the NFL with the Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing primarily defensive back, because of his size and speed, Thomas was considered one of the top athletes in the league. Selected to the 1963 Pro Bowl and a three-time second team All-Pro selection, Thomas played in 137 professional games. He compiled 27 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. Thomas, 75, is a member of the Steelers Legends team. He also intercepted a Paul Hornung pass and returned it for a touchdown."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Bobby Engram was "humbled" to earn a spot as the third receiver on the Seahawks' 35th anniversary team, determined by online fan balloting. Farnsworth: "Finishing second to Steve Largent (5,004 votes) was Brian Blades (3,487), and coming in third -- as the slot receiver -- was Bobby Engram (2,254). Darrell Jackson finished fourth (1,388), followed by Joey Galloway (941), Daryl Turner (211) and Koren Robinson (95)."

Also from Farnsworth: Engram's former teammates reflect on the receiver's contributions. Lofa Tatupu: "His understanding of what the route needs or what the coaches expect out of it, the way he could read coverages, his understanding of route concepts and what the defense was doing -- it was all second to none. You put a nickel or a corner on him on the inside, he’d eat him up all day. Bobby was a professional in every sense of the word. He was an amazing guy – a guy you love to have in the locker room, a leader."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle asks whether Seattle could be in line to host a Super Bowl. ESPN.com's John Clayton put the chances at "virtually none" thanks to a combination of factors including hotel rooms, weather and stadium size.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com shows off a sensational "Grand Cannon" poster featuring then-Cardinals quarterback Neil Lomax standing before a Grand Canyon backdrop.

Pat Kirwan of NFL.com thinks Arizona would be a good fit for Carson Palmer if the Bengals decided to trade the disgruntled quarterback. Kirwan: "There’s no denying his talent and experience. If you’re looking to duplicate some of the things you did with Kurt Warner, he’s your best choice." Palmer would instantly make the Cardinals a leading candidate to win the NFC West, in my view. His addition would energize the team and revive the offense, particularly with three capable running backs to lessen the load.
Jay Feely's 22 consecutive points for the Arizona Cardinals against the Denver Broncos in Week 14 placed the veteran kicker in elite company.

Hall of Fame company.

Feely became the first player since Green Bay legend Paul Hornung to score at least 22 uninterrupted points in a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Broncos kicker Steven Hauschka gave Denver a 3-0 lead with a 32-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game. Feely accounted for the next 22 points scored by either team until Hauschka made a 30-yard field-goal attempt more than three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Feely made field-goal tries from 36 and 48 yards before scoring on a 5-yard run off a fake field goal. Feely made the extra point, then hit field goals from 55 and 23 yards.

Hornung scored 24 uninterrupted points during the Packers' 45-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Oct. 8, 1961. Hornung, a running back and kicker, made a 38-yard field goal, then scored three touchdowns and three extra points.

Kickers often don't get much attention until they make or miss game-winning or game-tying attempts. The manner in which Feely scored his points -- complete with the 5-yard run -- make this a fun story.

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