Prior to Sunday’s game at Arizona, most Denver Broncos fans would have been hard pressed to tell you anything about Cardinals placekicker Jay Feely.
His 25-point effort against the Broncos of course was talked and written up with some amusement, outscoring the Broncos on a notably bad day in Arizona.
But for any Broncos fans who are interested in the history of the game, they would be interested in the fact that Feely on Sunday passed Hall-of-Famers Eric Dickerson and Lance Alworth, as well as notables such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Curt Warner, Chuck Muncie, Bert Coan, and Frank Jackson.
Each of those players at one time or another scored four rushing or receiving touchdowns in a single game against the Broncos, with all of them tied for the most points ever scored against Denver in a single game, 24 each on the four TDs.
Feely passed them all in tallying 25 points against Denver on five field goals, three extra points and a rushing touchdown as well. He became one of the few placekickers ever to score a rushing TD in pro football history.
While that may seem ignominious for the Broncos, I do not think that it is. We played and lost — how the points were scored, and who scored them is incidental. Our goal was to win, and we did not. While very disappointing to the team and our fans, the statistical facts of the game still stand as what happened.
And in the 51-year history of the Broncos, no opposing player ever had scored 25 points in a single game.
Feely entered the history book with his feet, scoring one TD on the ground and kicking for the other points.
His record, by the way, is not the most points ever produced by an opposing player against Denver.
Back on October 2, 1966 future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer George Blanda accounted for all 38 points that the Houston Oilers scored against Denver — in a game which the Broncos won, by the way, 40-38 — Blanda threw five touchdown passes, kicked five extra points and added a field goal to amass 38 points in that one game, an amazing performance. (Touchdown passes are not credited as points scored in NFL official statistics.)
There are interesting ties and twists to everything. Six degrees of separation, over and over again.
Even though the 25 points put up by Feely are very hard to top, it is in fact a Cardinals player — a Chicago Cardinal by the way — who holds the all-time record for points scored in a single game.
On November 28, 1929 Ernie Nevers ran for six touchdowns and kicked four points-after-touchdown to put up 40 points against the Chicago Bears, and that is a record that still stands today.
Now, I do realize many readers have never heard of Ernie Nevers. I understand that. It saddens me, because everyone considers themselves experts on pro football.
So, just to take a moment more, Ernie Nevers was a former Stanford sensation who played for the Duluth Eskimos and Chicago Cardinals.
When they opened the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ernie Nevers was a Charter Inductee. He was not just “first ballot,” he was in the first class.
The Bronco record for points in a game, by the way, is held by Clinton Portis, who rushed for five touchdowns and finished with 30 points in Denver against Kansas City in 2003.
So you never know what you will see in a game. What does this have to do with the Broncos? It does not change the score or the outcome, but it shows once more you never know what you might see in a live sports event.
This is a real bad year, we all realize that. But the team will line up and keep playing. And you never know what you will see next week. If one loves the game, it is one of the reason we keep watching.