Black History Month Podcast – Willie Thrower Interview Part 1

In a special Taking It to the House Black History Month piece , we take a look back at the career Willie Thrower.  In a rare interview before his death, Thrower who was the first African American QB in the modern NFL, talks about his journey from New Kensington, PA to Michigan State to the NFL.


Sabol leads a stellar 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

You can expect a film crew like a Hollywood movie set this summer in Canton, Ohio  when pro football documenting  legend Ed Sabol of NFL Films and 6 other members of the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class are inducted

Come this summer, the ranks of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will increase to 260 members.  The PHOF’s 44-member Selection Committee –- probably after some contenious moments — decided that that the greatest fraternity in sports should grow by seven new members.

In a new format that really added to the drama of the selection process, the new “Gold Jacket” brigade were announced live in primetime on NFL Network. I thought the selection committee did a great job in putting together an A-list enshrinee class that will surely fill Canton, Ohio come this summer.  Of course this non-voting scribe was pleasantly surprised that I got 5 of 7 picks right in my predictions — still have questions about Willie Roaf missing out though.

Unfortunately for another year some great names were left on the sidelines, like receivers Cris Carter, Andre Reed, and Tim Brown.  Also it had to pain first timers Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin to not get in this time around as their phone never rang either – checkout my Top 10 list of players deserving to be in the Hall of Fame from a few years ago….Thankfully 3 people on the list are now in.  However I believe many of these NFL legends will soon get their day in the sun at Fawcett Stadium, but it just won’t be this year. 

I was probably most personally happy for Ed Sabol (94) of NFL Films.  As someone that has worked with his venerable organization on more than a few projects, I have to emphatically say that his ground-breaking work deserved the recognition.  If you ever want to know where the “flame” of the NFL lives, take a pilgrimage to Mount Larel, NJ . The patriarch and his son, Steve, through infinite miles of tape – ever since bidding $3,000 dollars to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game — have documented the journey of the National Football League from it’s crewcut rustbelt roots to the multiemedia giant that you see today.  Almost everything you see in filming sports started with the Sabol’s.  Ed will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a “contributor”, which is a title that really doesn’t give him and NFL Films the credit that they deserve.

Alright that is enough debating, lamenting, and singling out as now it is time to celebrate the entire enshrinement 2011 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-1998 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
  • *Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
  • *Les Richter – Kicker, Middle Guard, Middle Linebacker —  1954-1962 LA Rams
  • Ed Sabol – Contributor (NFL Films), who has been associated with the league since 1966
  • Deion Sanders – Cornerback, Return man, Wide Receiver –  1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-1999 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-2005 Baltimore Ravens
  • Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens



Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Super Bowl XLV From a Beer Perspective

Well… it is almost “Super Bowl Sunday” with an expected record television audience of 106 million viewers tuning-in to watch the Steelers and Packers play for the NFL’s biggest prize. 

But before we head to breaking down the game, we have to take a detour around America’s Unofficial Holiday’s other favorite topic, beer.  Good Friend of the site, Bryan Kolesar of, weighs in with some tasty beer selections for this coming Super Bowl Sunday.

This year’s contenders play in States rich in both brewing history and the current craft brewing renaissance.

The Packers play only 120 miles north of sudsy Milwaukee, just a few more miles northeast from Madison’s craft brewing mecca, and in a stadium that pours beer from the highly sought after New Glarus Brewing Company.

In downtown Green Bay, the appropriately named Titletown Brewing Company serves up hearty Wisconsin fare of cheese curds, pan-fried walleye, and half-pound burgers alongside solid brews like Railyard Altbier, Johnny Blood Red Ale, Hopasaurus Rex IPA, and Kurty’s Hop Monster to keep the fans from becoming part of the Frozen Tundra.

While the Packers play geographically in the Midwest, Pittsburgh fans are much more East Coast in their attitude and passionate pursuit of their Steelers. Beer-wise, though, these city-regions are much more similar. Pittsburgh also enjoys a rich history of brewing and has experienced its own revival of good locally-made craft beer over the past twenty years. In and around Pittsburgh, great beer can be found in a former church, at a pub by a creek, in a vacant industrial building on the “other side of the tracks, in the hippest neighborhoods, and in a 150-year old historic former brewery.

With that bit of brief background aside, it’s on to the game and the beer you could be drinking. Following is a guide to help navigate your thirst through the minimum four-hour affair that most Super Bowl games and the parties that you might attend will span. The beer in your glass will largely depend upon your location and your taste for beer.

I’m a beer guy, a craft beer guy at that. So when it comes to non-craft/macro beer I’ll throw some suggestions out there, but I can’t make any promises! My recommendation is to look for the more interesting craft beers and save yourself the mind-numbing regret the next day.

Any of the beers listed in this piece will go well with football snacks like, Kelley’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, but LV or as you know him “NFL Writer Lloyd Vance” will have more on Super Bowl Recipes soon.

Pre-game: There’s no point in embarrassing yourself before the game begins. Therefore, pre-game beers should be relatively lower in alcohol to keep you out of trouble and arguments. Plus, if you are filling out last-minute pools, you’ll need a clear head.

in Green Bay: Pick up a fresh growler of Titletown Brewing’s Canadeo Gold (German-style Kölsch, 4.5% ABV), a low alcohol, mildly fruity beer named after Packer great, Tony Canadeo.

in Pittsburgh: Head to church, Church Brew Works that is, and grab a six-pack of crisp and refreshing Celestial Gold (German-style Pilsner, 4.1% ABV). Say a prayer for your Steelers while you’re there.

in Dallas for the game: Stop near the stadium in Arlington, Texas at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse for a great tasting Brewhouse Blonde (German-style Kölsch, 4.7% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): This one from Sierra Nevada weighs in a bit heftier than the other pre-game selections here, but with the smooth maltiness of the Glissade (Helles Bock, 6.4% ABV) and the hop flavor undercurrent, it makes for a nice pre-game beer for those looking for just a little something extra to get the party started.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Toast the brewing history of Wisconsin with a Miller Lite (American Light Lager, 4.2% ABV). It’s true that it’s less-filling and low in alcohol, but it lacks much in the way of flavor as well—which for many people, is just fine for the entire game.

First Half: The first half is when we all stand the best chance of paying some level of attention to the television, if not for the game, then for the commercials. At this point, you’ll want a beer that tastes great, but not one that is too distracting with complex flavors. Plus, you’ll likely have a menagerie of flavors on your plate of food, so grab a beer with a little alcohol and some solid hop flavor to kick off the game and your team spirit.

in Green Bay: Stop in at Hinterland, a Green Bay brewpub since 1995 and now on the guest list at the White House for the Super Bowl, and grab a pint of the solid malt-driven Pale Ale (American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV) that delivers a noticeable hit of bitter hops.

in Pittsburgh: Head to the UK-themed Piper’s Pub in the Southside neighborhood for a glass of the wonderfully malty and hoppy Victory HopDevil (American IPA, 6.7% ABV). Victory’s from Eagles country on the other side of the state, but in the world of beer, Steelers fans happily drink it too.

in Dallas for the game: At most better beer bars around the region, you should be able to find a beer from one of Austin’s newer breweries, Live Oak. Try an IPA (American IPA, 6.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Brooklyn Brewery has been making the East India Pale Ale (6.9% ABV) for over 15 years and this pleasantly hoppy beer makes it a versatile winner alone or with food.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Michelob makes a Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) and a Rye Pale Ale (5.9% ABV) worth seeking out for their pleasant hop bitterness.

Half Time Show: These mid-game displays are barely enjoyable for most people to watch. So, why not take this opportunity to grab a large 750ml bottle of special beer and share it amongst your group? This may be the last time before the game is over that you’ll have a chance to really focus on tasting your beer. If the desserts have been put out by this point, you may want to try a beer that accentuates the possibilities of fruit with beer.

in Green Bay: In Wisconsin, there may be no beer more celebrated for working with fruit than the wonderfully alternating sweet and tart cherry Wisconsin Belgian Red (4.0% ABV). There is over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle.

in Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has several hot dog and beer-themed shops, one of the best known being D’s Six Pax and Dogz and its large beer cave from which to buy take-home beer. Find a bottle of Love Child (Belgian-style Tripel, 10.0% ABV) from northwestern Pennsylvania’s Voodoo Brewery and experience beer aged on tart cherries, raspberries, and passion fruit.

in Dallas for the game: Stop by Central Market, just north of Dallas, and pick up a Belgian beer, heavy on the cherries, like Kasteel Rouge (8.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Try finding either Black and Blue (10.00% ABV and fermented with blackberries and blueberries) or Fort (18.0% ABV and brewed with raspberries) from Dogfish Head for a nearly unmatched fruit beer experience.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): No macro brewer is doing anything with fruit beers nearly as interesting as any of these other brewers just mentioned. However, if you can’t stray from the familiar brewer names, you might try Anheuser-Busch’s Wild Blue Blueberry Lager (8.0%). I can’t vouch for it, but I’ve heard a few people claim that it’s “okay”.

Second Half: At this point, the game is going one of two ways. It’s either competitive and enjoyable to watch or it’s becoming a lopsided blowout. You’re either really into the game or the party is really kicking into high gear and you’re looking to empty the cooler. The average point spread over the last ten Super Bowls has been ten points, with six of them being decided by a touchdown or less. So, you’re likely to be grabbing for another less complex and relatively lower alcohol beer to get you through to the end of the game.

in Green Bay: Sprecher beer is available in 23 states, but you’ll find it no where fresher than in Wisconsin. Try the delightfully rich and roasty Black Bavarian (Black Lager, 5.9% ABV).

in Pittsburgh: Penn Brewery is brewing in high gear again after some ownership shakeups over the past couple of years. Try their slightly sweet, slightly hoppy Penn Dark (Munich Dunkel Lager, 5.0% ABV) which tastes as good as ever.

in Dallas for the game: Shiner Bock, from Spoetzl Brewery in southern Texas, is available and widely recognized both in and out of Texas. Instead, while there, take the opportunity to try a less well-known Shiner 97 (Black Lager, 4.9% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Sam Adams also makes a Black Lager-style beer, conveniently called Black Lager (4.9% ABV). It’s not as rich as the others listed here and is available across most of the U.S.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Yuengling may not necessarily like to be  called a macro brewery, but the fact that they make a whole lot of beer available across nearly half the country makes them more macro than micro. But that doesn’t mean that their beers can’t be “craft-like”. Skip their Lager, and try their easy-drinking, but tasty and slightly chocolaty, Porter (4.7% ABV) and see if you agree.

Post-Game: After the game, you’re either getting ready for bed, heading out to drive home from the party, celebrating your team’s big win or soothing the pains from a tough loss. There are many different ways you could go here. Let’s assume that there’s no driving in your future and your team just won. You’re up for one last celebratory beer. You’ve likely drank many beers throughout the course of the night and your palate has taken quite a beating. Here are a few memorable beers to finish off the night.

 in Green Bay: If you head up to Green Bay from the south, be sure to stop around Madison or Milwaukee for four-packs of Ale Asylum’s Mercy (Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.5% ABV). This beer is packed with tremendous dark fruit flavors and a warming alcohol presence for those cold Green Bay nights.

in Pittsburgh: When in Pittsburgh and celebrating your team’s win, there may be no better place to be than in the Southside neighborhood favorite, Fat Heads, with a bottle of East End Gratitude (American-style Barleywine, 11.5% ABV).

in Dallas for the game: Stop by the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas’ Design District for a regional favorite, Real Ale Sisyphus (American-style Barleywine, 11.0% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Stone Brewing recently blended its Arrogant Bastard, Oak-Aged Bastard, and Double Bastard to create an anniversary beer called Lukcy Basartd [sic] (American Strong Ale, 8.5% ABV). If you can’t find a bottle of this one-time release beer that brings about a mouthful of malt, hops, whiskey, and oak, just reach for any of the three component beers for an equally pleasing experience by themselves.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): I can’t bring myself to recommend a St. Ides or a Schlitz to you here just for the sake of a one-last end-of-night alcohol punch. Plus, there’s nothing that you could drink in this strong beer category that would go anywhere nearly as well with the possible food pairings that Mary is going to recommend as what I just listed.

 The Brew Lounge’s prediction: I’ve seen games at both Heinz Field and Lambeau Stadium, drank beer in both of their cities, and interacted with both fan bases. While the Pittsburgh fans deserve every one of the well-earned Super Bowl Championships, there may not be a nicer fan base in the world of American professional sports than that of the Green Bay Packers.

 Therefore, while Super Bowl XLV should be an entertaining and competitive game, I’m pulling for the Packers to finally get the Brett Favre monkey off their back.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate, The Brew Lounge wishes you a fun Sunday with friends and family watching the Big Game and enjoying great food and beverage.


Bryan Kolesar is the editor of The Brew Lounge, a website dedicated to bringing tidbits from around the World of Craft Beer

2010 NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Round Remix

After his record setting performance in the Green Packers 21-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, RB James Starks is the 2010 NFL Wildcard Round’s Game Ball Winner

2010-11 NFL Wildcard Games

Seahawks (8-9) over Saints (11-6), 41-36… Records don’t matter in the playoffs “Win or Go Home”…The unthinkable happened as the NFL’s only losing playoff qualifier dominated the defending Super Bowl Champs (Fredo takes Mike out to the boat and shoots him)…Veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck (22-35, 272 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT) comes back from a hip injury to throw 4 TDs (could have been last home game as Seahawk)…Seahawks O-line gave Hasselbeck a clean pocket…RB Marshawn Lynch (131 rushing yards and 1 TD) spun, broke several tackles (8), and darted his way through the Saints defense on a spectacular game-closing 67-yard TD gallop that could be the best run of the 2010-11 NFL Season…The Saints didn’t have enough horses as injuries hurt them…TE John Carlson had a 2 TD game for Seattle…New Orleans was too pass-happy (20 rushes to 60 passes) in a game that screamed for some clock-churning drives…Brees kept chucking it and ended up with FF numbers, but no “W”  (39-60, 404 yds, 2 TDs) …Seattle’s defense, led by rookie FS Earl Thomas (9 TKLS) and veteran DL Raheem Brock (4 TKLs, 1 sack, 1 FF) showed some teeth when it mattered most…Seahawks could go into Chicago next week and surprise the beatable Bears as they are now playing with “House Money”

NY Jets (12-5) over Colts (10-7), 17-16..Rex Ryan’s Brash Team tell the Colts to “Get the Folk Out of the playoffs”…This was a heavyweight slugfest that came down to the final seconds…Colts QB Peyton Manning was solid but now his team will watch and the future HOF has a losing record in the playoffs (9-10)…Colts head coach Mike Caldwell calls an ill-advised and unneeded timeout that later helps the J-E-T-S…NY Jets 2nd year quarterback Mark Sanchez comes of age before the Nation’s eyes as he passes his team down the field for kicker Nick Folk’s Game-Winning FG…Colts receiver Pierre Garcon had a big game (5 Rec, 112 yds, 1 TD)…Colts kicker Adam Vinateri shows the league that he still has ice in his veins as he drilled a 50-yarder to give the Colts a late two-point lead…LT (16 Rush, 82 yds, 2 TDs) and Shonne Greene (70 yards rushing) gave New York the running game they had been missing…Saw a lot of jack-of-all-trades Brad Smith at QB for Jets…NY Jets CB/KR Antonio Cromartie had a huge KR return to setup Sanchez’s drive that helped Folk…Both teams from Super Bowl XLIV are elminated on Saturday…The NY Jets next take on the Patriots and we will see if they have closed their 42-point gap from their earlier loss.

Ravens (13-4) over Chiefs (10-7), 30-7…The Wildcard rounds most boring game…On a cold day, the Ravens showed the young Chiefs what it takes to win in the playoffs…Baltimore QB Joe Flacco (25-34, 265 yds, 2 TDs) became the first QB to win his first three playoff openers…Ravens did a nice job bottling up Bowe, Cassel, and Charles (9 rushes for 82 rushing yards and 1 TD)…Turnovers were a big part of the Ravens win…Baltimore safety Ed Reed plays through a heavy heart (brother missing) to get an INT and the game ball…TE Todd Heap had a big game as Flacco’s No.1 option (108 yards)…A good battle was waged the entire game between Ravens OT Michael Oher and Chiefs speedy pass rusher Tamba Hali…When the Ravens needed it most, they took the air out of the football and relied on their 3-headed backfield monster of LeRon McClain, Willis McGahee, and Ray Rice…Next up the Ravens and Steelers will have a “Rubber Match” game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh

Packers (11-6) over Eagles (10-7), 21-16…(Attended in Linc Pressbox) The Magical Ride of Michael Vick and the Miracles comes to an end…Eagles fall behind 14-0 early and never can recover…Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (18-27,180 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) gets his first playoff win as Green Bay out-physicals Philadelphia…Packers Defense especially LB Clay Matthews (3 TKLs, 1 sack, 1 TFL) were all over Vick all-day (3 sacks and numerous hits)…Eagles had plenty of opportunities to tie or win the game that they squandered (Mikell missed Fumble Recovery, Unable to get Packers off the field on 3rd downs (8 for 13; 62%), Jason Avant drops of a crucial 3rd down pass, Vick overthrowing D-Jax on a long bomb, Penalties (7 for 50 yards), missed FGs, non converting 3rd downs (5-13; 38%), punting or FG attempts on 4th and shorts, only 2 sacks with both on blitzes, etc)…Pro Bowl Eagles kicker David Akers had a rough game as he was 0 for 2 on makeable FG attempts (42, 34)…Andy Reid finishes his 12th year and still no ring (fans frustrated more than ever with “Ground Hog Day” routine)…Officials almost mess-up by not giving Philly a 2nd chance at a 2-pt conversion after a penalty (Celek stepped out of bounds) negated their first attempt…Eagles need to get better on offensive and defensive lines…Packers win their 3rd straight game while the Eagles lose their 3rd straight game…Eagles redzone woes continue (Packers were 3 for 3 with 3 TDs) and DC Sean McDermott is under fire…Packers find a weakness in the Eagles smallish defense and run the ball for 32 rushes for 138 yards and a healthy 4.3 yards per carry…Packers rookie James Starks, who had been on the PUP list for most of the year, sets a Packers postseason rushing record by running for 123 yards on 23 carries (5.3 ypc)…Vick (20-36, 292 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT with 1 rushing TD) has to fight through a hurt ankle to finish the game..After a tough game where he struggled with Packers speed rushers, Eagles RT Winston Justice was benched in the early in the 4th qtr…Vick leads the Birds to a TD after halftime to cut the score to 14-10, only to have the Packers answer with a 6-minute plus drive for a TD…Neary a sighting of WR DeSean Jackson (2 catches for 47 yards with first catch in 4th qtr) or DE Trent Cole …Eagles running back LeSean McCoy only gets 13 carries as opposed to over 40 pass attempts called…Eagles give their fans “false” hope at the end, only to fall short…After Vick hit D-Jax for a big play from the Packers’ 27-yard line after a frantic hurry-up offense situation, Eagles season basically ends when Vick throws a “bad” INT to CB Tramon Williams in the endzone (trying to reach rookie WR Riley Cooper)  with :33 seconds on the clock…Vick later says he wants to come back as an Eagles, but he understands the business aspects of football…Vick said he got too greedy in trying to hit Cooper for the big play rather than spiking the ball and re-grouping…Reid liked the fight of his team and focused on a “young” team getitng an opportunity rather than the Eagles finishing their 50th season without a championship…Eagles will take their time evaluating their roster (February) and have some tough decisions to make (A lot of F\A’s including Vick, MLB Stewart Bradley, K Akers, and others)…In the offseason (F\A or Draft) the Eagles must get another CB, a bigger DT, pass rusher to help Trent Cole,O-line help especially at center, and a playmaking LB..Eagles back-up QB Kevin Kolb wants to be a starter and all signs are pointing to the Eagles re-signing Vick to an extension or “franchising” him…Kolb to Cleveland???…Packers move-on to face the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional RD

Wildcard Round Leaders

1. D. Brees NO  404 yds
2. M. Vick PHI  292 yds
3. M. Hasselbeck SEA  272 yds
4. J. Flacco BAL  265 yds
5. P. Manning IND

1. M. Lynch SEA  131 yds
2. J. Starks GB  123 yds 
3. J. Charles KC  82 yds 
3. L. Tomlinson NYJ  82 yds
5. S. Greene NYJ  70 yds
1. P. Garcon IND  112 yds
2. T. Heap BAL  108 yds 
3. J. Avant PHI  93 ydsl 
4. D. Henderson NO  77 yds
1. M. Hasselbeck SEA  4 TDs
2. A. Rodgers GB  3 TDs
3. J. Jones NO  2 TDs
3. J. Carlson SEA  2 TDs

A Look at the Records of the teams left playing
1 team — (14-2) Patriots
1 team — (13-3) Falcons
1 team — (13-4) Ravens
1 team — (12-4) Steelers
1 team — (12-5) NY Jets
1 team — (11-5) Bears
1 team — (11-6) Packers
1 team — (8-9) Seahawks

A Look at the Records of the teams on the sidelines
1 team — (11-6) Saints
6 teams — (10-6) Bucs, NY Giants
6 teams — (10-7) Eagles, Chiefs, Colts
1 team — (9-7) Chargers
2 teams — (8-8) Jags, Raiders
3 teams — (7-9) Dolphins, Rams
7 teams — (6-10) Redskins, Titans, Vikings, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Niners
2 teams — (5-11) Cardinals, Browns
3 teams — (4-12) Bengals, Broncos, Bills
1 team —  (2-14) Panthers

Only 14 teams had a winning records in 2010

Current Streaks

Winning: Patriots (8); Ravens (5); Packers (3), Steelers (2), Seahawks (2), NY Jets (2)
Losing: Eagles (3), Titans (2), Bills (2)

2010-11 Playoff Seeds….
NFC — 1. ATL, 2. CHI, 3. PHI (out), 4. SEA, 5. NO (out), 6. GB
AFC — 1. NE, 2. PIT, 3. IND (out), 4. KC (out), 5. BAL, 6. NYJ

How 2009 Playoff teams are faring  — Saints (11-6; Out), Eagles (10-7; Out), Packers (11-6),  Vikings (6-10; No Playoffs), Cowboys (6-10; No Playoffs), Cardinals (5-11; No playoffs), Patriots (14-2), Ravens (13-4), NY Jets (12-5), Colts (10-7; Out), Chargers (9-7; No Playoffs), Bengals (5-11; No Playoffs)

2011 NFL Draft Selection Order (updated)

1. Carolina Panthers (2-14)
2. Denver Broncos (4-12)
3. Buffalo Bills (4-12)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12)
5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
8. Tennessee Titans (6-10)
9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
10. Washington Redskins (6-10)
11. Houston Texans (6-10)
12. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
13. Detroit Lions (6-10)
14. St. Louis Rams (7-9)
15. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
17. Oakland Raiders (8-8)
18. San Diego Chargers (9-7)
19. New York Giants (10-6)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6)
21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-7)
22. Indianapolis Colts (10-7)
23. Philadelphia Eagles (10-7)
24. New Orleans Saints (11-6)
25. Seattle Seahawks (8-9)*
26. Green Bay Packers (10-6)*
27. New York Jets (11-5)*
28. Chicago Bears (11-5)*
29. Baltimore Ravens (12-4)*
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)*
31. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)*
32. New England Patriots (14-2)*

January 15th deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft
Even if there is an NFL lockout, the 2011 NFL Draft will be held from April 28-30 in New York City

Looking Forward to the Divisional Round and Beyond

Saturday, Jan. 15
4:30 p.m. ET — Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS — Gumbel and Dierdorf)
8 p.m. ET — Green BayPackers at Atlanta Falcons (FOX –Buck/Aikman/Oliver)

Sunday, Jan. 16
1 p.m. ET– Seahawks at Chicago Bears (FOX — Johnston, Albert, and Siragusa)

4:30 p.m. ET — NY Jets at New England Patriots (CBS — Nance/Simms)

Sunday, Jan. 23
3:00 p.m. ET — NFC championship
6:30 p.m. ET — AFC championship

Sunday, Feb. 6
6:30 p.m. ET — Super Bowl XLV 
Upcoming Key Dates
• January 15 — Deadline for Underclassen to Declare for 2011 NFL Draft
• January 15 -16 — Divisional Playoffs (CBS and FOX)
• January 23 — AFC and NFC Championship Games (CBS and FOX)
• January 29 – College Football’s Top Senior football players culminate a week of training by playing in the 2011 Senior Bowl at 3PM on NFL Network (Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL)
• January 30  — NFL Pro Bowl — AFC All-Stars vs. NFC All-Stars in Honolulu, Hawaii (FOX)
• February 6  — Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas (FOX)


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2011 Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Announced

All-World cornerback Deion “Prime Time” Sanders was recently named one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2011 Class.  And I am sure the talkative former cover corner will not need any football writers to plead his case for him

The 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2011 class were announced this week including first-timers CB Deion “Prime Time” Sanders, RB Marshall Faulk, RB Jerome Bettis, RB Curtis Martin and dominating former Saints Pro Bowl offensive tackle Willie Roaf. 

Besides the first timers, the majority of the 15-person finalist list is filled with players returning for another shot at being enshrined in Canton, Ohio.  Among the returning players that are hoping that “This will finally be their year” are pass catchers Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed and Shannon Sharpe.

The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees that were announced in August 2010 (former NFL linebackers Chris Hanburger and Les Richter) will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the PHOF’s 44-member Selection Committee – made mostly of PFWA members — meet in Dallas on Feb. 5, the day before Super Bowl XLV.

Remember, there is a maximum of seven people that can be inducted each year including five of the 15 modern-era finalists on the ballot, so some hard decisions are sure to follow.  To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent (35 votes). And I fully expect the selection committee to use at least six spots from the 17 candidates including at least one of the two senior committee choices.  In my opinion, you might as well send gold jackets for sizing to Sanders, Faulk and Roaf.

The 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 finalists (15 Modern-Era and two Senior Nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years include:           

  • Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-1995 LA/STL Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
  • Dermonti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Chris Doleman Defensive End – 1985-1993 & 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-1995 Atlanta Falcons, 1997-1998 San Francisco 49ers,
  • Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-1998 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
  • Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
  • *Chris Hanburger Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
  • Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
  • Curtis Martin Running Back – 1995-1997 New England Patriots, 1998 – 2005 New York Jets
  • Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
  • *Les Richter Kicker, Middle Guard, Middle Linebacker —  1954-1962 LA Rams
  • Willie Roaf – Offensive Tackle – 1993–2005 New Orleans Saints
  • Ed Sabol He would go in as a “contributor”.  The patriarch of venerable organization, NFL Films, has been associated with the league since filming Super Bowl I back in 1966
  • Deion Sanders – Cornerback, Return man, Wide Receiver –  1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-1999 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-2005 Baltimore Ravens
  • Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

During the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV, I will post my best guess as to who will be selected for enshrinement in July.  Though I am pretty sure of a couple of names, I will reserve the right to wait until early February for my final predictions. 

Fans are also invited to voice their choice for the PHOF in Van Heusen’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan’s Choice at  But remember… fan votes only will matter to the contest’s sponsors as the 44-member committee have the only say.

Also checkout my Top 10 list of players deserving to be in the Hall of Fame.



Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 010511

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance breaks-down the upcoming 2010 NFL Playoffs, including the Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles Wildcard Match-up,  in his weekly interview on the “Matt Lombardo Show” (1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA)

The 2010 NFL Regular Season is now over and it is time for the games that matter. NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes his weekly appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA including breaking down the Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles Wildcard Match-up

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 112910

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance breaks down Week 12 of the National Football League, including a breakout game for Bears WR Earl Bennett,  in his weekly stop interview on the “Matt Lombardo Show” (1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 112910

After a very entertaining 2010 NFL Week 12, including the Philadelphia Eagles coming up short in a frustrating road loss to the Chicago Bears, NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes his weekly appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA