Touchdown

A touchdown is a scoring play in both American and Canadian football. Whether running, passing, returning a kickoff or punt, or recovering a turnover, a team scores a touchdown by advancing the ball into the opponent's end zone.

Touchdown -- Texas High School vs Highland Park High School first-round playoffs
A player from Texas High School crosses the goal-line with the ball during a game against Highland Park High School to score a rushing touchdown worth six points.
Vince Young scores a touchdown in the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game
Vince Young of the Texas Longhorns (ball carrier in top center) rushing for a touchdown. A portion of the end zone is seen as the dark strip at the bottom. The vertical yellow bar is part of the goal post.

Description

To score a touchdown, one team must take the football into the opposite end zone. In all gridiron codes, the touchdown is scored the instant the ball touches or "breaks" the plane of the goal line (that is, if any part of the ball is in the space on, above, or across the goal line) while in possession of a player whose team is trying to score in that end zone. This particular requirement of the touchdown is the exact opposite of the prerequisite to score most sports in which points are scored by moving a ball or equivalent object into a goal where the whole of the relevant object must cross the whole of the goal line for a score to be awarded. The play is dead and the touchdown scores the moment the ball touches plane in possession of a player, or the moment the ball comes into possession of an offensive player in the end zone (having established possession by controlling the ball and having one or both feet depending on the rules of the league or another part of the body, excluding the hands, touch the ground). The slightest part of the ball touching or being directly over the goal line is sufficient for a touchdown to score. However, only the ball counts, not a player's helmet, foot, or any other part of the body. Touching one of the pylons at either end of the goal line with the ball constitutes "breaking the plane" as well.

Touchdowns are usually scored by the offense by running or passing the ball. However, the defense can also score a touchdown if they have recovered a fumble or made an interception and return it to the opposing end zone. Special teams can score a touchdown on a kickoff or punt return, or on a return after a missed or blocked field goal attempt or blocked punt. In short, any play in which a player legally carries the ball across the goal line scores a touchdown, and the manner in which he gained possession is inconsequential. In the NFL, a touchdown may be awarded by the referee as a penalty for a "palpably unfair act," such as a player coming off the bench during a play and tackling the runner, who would otherwise have scored.[1]

D'Andre Goodwin scores TD at Washington at Cal 2010-11-27
A touchdown celebration

A touchdown is worth six points. The scoring team is also awarded the opportunity for an extra point or a two-point conversion.[2] Afterwards, the team that scored the touchdown kicks off to the opposing team, if there is any time left.

Unlike a try scored in rugby, and contrary to the event's name, the ball does not need to touch the ground when the player and the ball are inside the end zone. The term touchdown is a holdover from gridiron's early days when the ball was required to be touched to the ground as in rugby, as rugby and gridiron were still extremely similar sports at this point. This rule was changed to the modern-day iteration in 1889.

History

When the first uniform rules for American football were enacted by the newly formed Intercollegiate Football Association following the 1876 Rugby season, a touchdown counted for ​14 of a kicked goal (except in the case of a tie) and allowed the offense the chance to kick for goal by placekick or dropkick from a spot along a line perpendicular to the goal line and passing through the point where the ball was touched down, or through a process known as a "punt-out", where the attacking team would kick the ball from the point where it was touched down to a teammate. If the teammate could fair catch the ball, he could follow with a try for goal from the spot of the catch, or resume play as normal (in an attempt to touch down the ball in a spot more advantageous for kicking). The governing rule at the time read: "A match shall be decided by a majority of touchdowns. A goal shall be equal to four touchdowns; but in case of a tie a goal kicked from a touchdown shall take precedence over four touchdowns."[3]

  • In 1881, the rules were modified so that a goal kicked from a touchdown took precedence over a goal kicked from the field in breaking ties.[3]
  • In 1882, four touchdowns were determined to take precedence over a goal kicked from the field. Two safeties were equivalent to a touchdown.[3]
  • In 1883, points were introduced to football, and a touchdown counted as four points. A goal after a touchdown also counted as four points.[3]
  • In 1889, the provision requiring the ball to actually be touched to the ground was removed. A touchdown was now scored by possessing the ball beyond the goal line.[3]
  • In 1897, the touchdown scored five points, and the goal after touchdown added another point.[3]
  • In 1900, the definition of touchdown was changed to include situations where the ball becomes dead on or above the goal line.[3]
  • In 1912, the value of a touchdown was increased to six points. The end zone was also added. Before the addition of the end zone, forward passes caught beyond the goal line resulted in a loss of possession and a touchback.[3] The increase from five points to six did not come until much later in Canada, and the touchdown remained only five points there until 1956. In addition, the score continued to commonly be called a try in Canada until the second half of the twentieth century.

The ability to score a touchdown on the point-after attempt (two-point conversion) was added to NCAA football in 1958, high school football in 1969, the CFL in 1975 and the NFL in 1994.[3][4] The short-lived World Football League, a professional American football league that operated in 1974 and 1975, gave touchdowns a 7-point value.

See also

References

  1. ^ "NFL Rules Digest: Summary of Penalties". Nfl.com. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  2. ^ "2006 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletics Association. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nelson, David M. (1994). The Anatomy of A Game. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-455-2.
  4. ^ "NFL History 1991-2000". NFL.com.
Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Charles Rodgers (born December 2, 1983) is an American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). Rodgers played college football for the California Golden Bears, where he set several career passing records, including lowest single-season and career interception rates. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Packers.After backing up Brett Favre for the first three years of his NFL career, Rodgers became the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008. In 2010 he led them to a victory in Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning the Super Bowl MVP. He was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 2011, and was voted league MVP by the Associated Press for the 2011 and 2014 NFL seasons.

Rodgers has led the NFL three times in touchdown-to-interception ratio (2011, 2012, 2014); twice in passer rating (2011, 2012), touchdown passing percentage (2011, 2012), and lowest passing interception percentage (2009, 2014); and once in touchdown passes (2016) and yards per attempt (2011).

Rodgers is the NFL's all-time regular season career passer rating leader and is one of two quarterbacks to have a regular season career passer rating of over 100, the other being Russell Wilson. Rodgers is fifth all-time in postseason career passer rating, has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history at 4.23, holds the league's lowest career interception percentage at 1.5 percent and the highest single-season passer rating record of 122.5. Due to the fact that Rodgers is the NFL's all-time regular season career passer rating leader, and his overall high level of play, Rodgers is considered by some sportscasters and players to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Antonio Brown

Antonio Tavaris Brown Sr. (born July 10, 1988) is an American football wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). Raised in Liberty City, Miami, Brown attended Miami Norland High School where he played both football and track. He played college football at Central Michigan University, where he earned All-American honors in 2008 and 2009 as a punt returner. A sixth round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, no player has amassed more receptions and receiving yards than Brown since he entered the league.During his first season with the Steelers, the team advanced to Super Bowl XLV, but lost to the Green Bay Packers. He finished his rookie season with 16 receptions for 167 yards in ten games. During his second season, Brown became the first player in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards receiving and returning in the same year. For his efforts, Brown was selected as a punt returner for the 2012 Pro Bowl. In 2013, Brown became the only receiver in NFL history to record five receptions and at least 50 yards in every single game of an NFL season. Although his on-the-field productivity continued over the next several seasons, including leading the league in receiving yards in 2014 and 2017, Brown's relationship with the Steelers, especially with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, soured and in 2019 he requested a trade from the franchise. He was eventually dealt to Oakland, who then made him the highest-paid receiver in the league.

Ben Roethlisberger

Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger Sr. (; born March 2, 1982), nicknamed Big Ben, is an American football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Miami University, and was drafted by the Steelers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.

Roethlisberger earned the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2004 and his first Pro Bowl selection in 2007. He became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history, leading the Steelers, in only his second professional season, to a 21–10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl title in four seasons as they defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 27–23, after completing a game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left in the game. He appeared in his third Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLV, but the team would fall by a score of 31–25 to the Green Bay Packers.

Roethlisberger has been one of the most efficient passers in NFL history. He currently ranks 9th all-time in NFL passer rating (94.0), tied for 6th in yards per attempt (7.93), and tied for 10th in completion percentage (63.85%) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,500 career attempts. He has the fourth highest career winning percentage (.710) as a starter in the regular season among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 starts. He is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history to have beaten at least 31 of the current NFL teams.

Known for playing outside the pocket in what he calls "backyard football", Roethlisberger grew up idolizing John Elway, and has often been compared to him. Roethlisberger wears number 7 in Elway's honor.

Cam Newton

Cameron Jerrell Newton (born May 11, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn and was drafted as the first overall pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton is the only player in the modern era to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span. He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and was named the NFL MVP in 2015.

In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning's first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham's 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut. Newton went on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan's 35-year-old record.In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season (35 passing, 10 rushing). He also became the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. Newton capped off the 2015 season by capturing MVP honors and leading the Panthers to a 15–1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50.

Conversion (gridiron football)

The conversion, try (American football, also known as a point(s) after touchdown, PAT, or extra point), or convert (Canadian football) occurs immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by bringing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.

Attempts at a try or convert are scrimmage plays, with the ball initially placed at any point between the hash marks, at the option of the team making the attempt. The yard line that attempts are made from depends on the league and the type of try or convert being attempted.

If the try or convert is scored by kicking the ball through the uprights, the team gets an additional one point for their touchdown, bringing their total for that score from six points to seven. If two points are needed or desired, a two-point conversion may be attempted by running or passing from scrimmage. A successful touchdown conversion from scrimmage brings the score's total to eight.

Whether a team goes for one or two points, most rules regarding scrimmage downs, including scoring touchdowns and field goals, apply as if it were a normal American fourth-down or Canadian third-down play. Exceptions, including cases where the defense forces a turnover during a conversion attempt, vary between leagues and levels of play. One thing that sets the try apart from other plays in the NFL is that, apart from the actual points, ordinary statistics are not recorded on the try as they would be on a regular scrimmage play. For example, on December 4, 2016, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs made an interception on a try and physically returned it 99 yards for a defensive two-point conversion. However, because it occurred on a try, Berry did not get statistical credit for the 99 yards of return yardage; nor would a player ever be credited with passing, rushing, or receiving yardage on a try.

Dan Marino

Daniel Constantine Marino Jr. (born September 15, 1961) is a former American football quarterback who played seventeen seasons for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). After a successful college career at Pittsburgh and being named First-team All-American in 1981, Marino was the last quarterback taken in the first round of the quarterback class of 1983. Marino held or currently holds dozens of NFL records associated with the quarterback position, and despite never being on a Super Bowl-winning team, he is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks, and generally considered to be among the best pure passers in American football history.Best remembered for his quick release and powerful arm, Marino helped the Dolphins become consistent postseason contenders, leading them to the playoffs ten times and one Super Bowl appearance in XIX, although a title victory ultimately eluded him during his career. Marino is considered by many to be one of the greatest players to never win a Super Bowl and has the most career victories of quarterbacks to not win a title at 155 (147–93 in regular season and 8–10 in playoffs).

A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, eight-time first or second team All-Pro, and All-AFC six times, Marino was voted NFL Rookie of the Year by several media outlets. The following season in 1984, Marino was the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP), when he set single season records of 5,084 passing yards, 48 touchdown passes, nine 300-yard passing games, and four 400-yard passing games. He was voted the 1994 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and the 1998 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. At the time of his retirement, Marino held more than 40 NFL single season and career passing records (many of which have since been surpassed), including career passing attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), passing yards (61,361), and touchdown passes (420). Marino was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in his first year of eligibility, and is currently one of only three former Miami Dolphins to have his jersey number (no. 13) retired.

Drew Brees

Drew Christopher Brees (; born January 15, 1979), is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). After a successful college football career at Purdue University, he was chosen by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He left college as one of the most decorated players in Purdue and Big Ten Conference history, establishing two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records. As of 2018, he remains the Big Ten record-holder in several passing categories, including completions (1,026), attempts (1,678), and yards (11,792). For his many career accomplishments and records, Brees has been hailed as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.Brees earned the starting job with the Chargers in 2002 and made the Pro Bowl in 2004. Nine months after suffering a dislocation in his right shoulder joint and a tear of the labrum and rotator cuff, Brees signed with the Saints as a free agent in 2006. He had immediate success in New Orleans, eventually leading the Saints to their first Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLIV, resulting in a 31–17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Since joining the Saints, he has led all NFL quarterbacks in touchdowns, passing yards, and 300-yard games. Brees holds the NFL records for career pass completions, career completion percentage, career passing yards, is second in career touchdown passes, third in regular season career passer rating, and fourth in postseason career passer rating. In 2012, he broke Johnny Unitas' long-standing record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He has passed for over 5,000 yards in a season five times—no other NFL quarterback has done so more than once. He has led the NFL in passing yards a record seven times and in passing touchdowns a record-tying four times. He was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2004, the Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2011, and the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV. Sports Illustrated named Brees its 2010 Sportsman of the Year.

Hines Ward

Hines Edward Ward Jr. (born March 8, 1976) is a former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Georgia. The Steelers selected him in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft and he became the team's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown receptions. Ward was voted MVP of Super Bowl XL and upon retirement was one of eight NFL players to have at least 1,000 career receptions.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, to a Korean mother and African-American father, Ward grew up in the Atlanta area. He has become an advocate for the social acceptance of foreigners in Korea, especially blended or mixed race youth.Aside from his career in the NFL, Ward has appeared in various forms of film and television media, including the reality TV series Dancing With The Stars and brief cameos in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises and in the television series The Walking Dead. He was a studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America from 2012 to 2015. Ward joined CNN and HLN in May 2016. He is the Player Relations Executive of the Alliance of American Football.

Interception

In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the opposing team, who thereby usually gains possession of the ball for their team. It is commonly seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal.

In basketball, a pick is called a steal.

Jay Cutler

Jay Christopher Cutler (born April 29, 1983) is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for 12 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Bears. He played college football at Vanderbilt and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, for whom he played for three seasons. In 2009, he was traded to the Bears, where he played for eight seasons. After being released by Chicago in 2017, Cutler initially retired to become a sportscaster for NFL on Fox's television broadcasts, but returned for one more season with the Miami Dolphins when quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending injury. He retired a second time following the 2017 season.

Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Pittsburgh, where he earned unanimous All-America honors. He was drafted by the Cardinals third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Fitzgerald has been selected for the Pro Bowl eleven times, and was named First-team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-team All-Pro twice in 2009 and 2011. As of November 2018, he is second in NFL career receiving yards, third in career receptions, and seventh in receiving touchdowns.

Nick Foles

Nicholas Edward Foles (born January 20, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Arizona and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has also played for the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.

Foles played his first game with the Eagles in Week 10 of the 2012 season after Michael Vick left with an injury. Foles then made his first start the following week. In Week 9 of the 2013 season, he became the second quarterback to post a perfect passer rating (158.3) while passing for more than 400 yards, and also the first quarterback in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating and throw seven touchdowns in a single game. It was the 60th time in NFL history that a perfect passer rating was achieved overall.

After stints with the Rams and the Chiefs, Foles returned to the Eagles in 2017. After Carson Wentz was injured late in the regular season, Foles led the Eagles to the franchise's third Super Bowl appearance. The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII for their first Super Bowl title, and Foles was named the game's MVP.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr. (born November 5, 1992) is an American football wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Beckham played college football at nearby Louisiana State University (LSU), and was drafted by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 12th overall pick. Since entering the NFL, Beckham has been one of the most productive and popular players, but he has drawn media scrutiny for his conduct on and off the playing field.

Beckham started the 2012 BCS National Championship Game in his first year playing for the LSU Tigers, and won the Paul Hornung Award following his junior season in 2013. In his first season with the New York Giants, Beckham broke numerous NFL rookie receiving records, despite missing the first four games of the season due to injury. Beckham became the first player to record more than 75 receptions, 1,100 yards, and ten touchdowns in a rookie season, and broke the rookie record for the most average receiving yards per game. During Week 12 of his first season, Beckham came to national attention when he made a one-handed touchdown catch whilst falling backwards in a Sunday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys, which numerous pundits and athletes called the greatest catch ever made. Beckham went on to win the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Beckham continued his remarkable form beyond his rookie season. In 2016, he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach both 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards. In 2016, he recorded his first 100-reception season and reached the NFL playoffs for the first time in his career, after helping the Giants to an 11–5 season record. Beckham was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, and has been named a second-team All-Pro twice.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976) is a former American football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time due to his numerous career achievements, he spent 14 seasons with the Colts and was a member of the Denver Broncos in his last four seasons. Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee, leading the Tennessee Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship in his senior season. He is the second son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning was selected by the Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. From 1998 to 2010, he improved the fortunes of the struggling Colts franchise and helped transform them into consistent playoff contenders. During his tenure as starting quarterback, Manning led the team to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl title, the franchise's first in over three decades, as well as their first since relocating to Indianapolis.

After undergoing neck surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season, Manning was released by the Colts and signed with the Broncos. Serving as the team's starting quarterback from 2012 to 2015, he contributed to the Broncos reaching the top of their division each year and his playing career concluded with a victory in Super Bowl 50.

Manning holds many NFL records, including touchdown passes (539), AP MVP awards (5), Pro Bowl appearances (14), 4,000-yard passing seasons (14), single-season passing yards (5,477 in 2013), single-season passing touchdowns (55 in 2013), tied for most First-Team All Pros for a quarterback with 7, and is second in career passing yards (71,940). A two-time Super Bowl winner and the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, Manning is also the only quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two franchises more than once each, with different coaches at each Super Bowl start (Dungy, Caldwell, Fox, Kubiak), and the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two franchises. At 39 years of age, Manning was the oldest quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl until Tom Brady surpassed him by winning a Super Bowl at 41.During a 2009 Monday Night Football game, Manning received the nickname "The Sheriff" from color commentator Jon Gruden due to his tendency to audible prior to the snap, and he was one of the most recognizable and parodied players in the NFL. Teams led by Manning typically utilized the hurry-up offense in place of the standard huddle.

Randy Moss

Randy Gene Moss (born February 13, 1977) is a television sports analyst and former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He holds the NFL single-season touchdown reception record (23 in 2007), the NFL single-season touchdown reception record for a rookie (17 in 1998), and is second on the NFL all-time regular season touchdown reception list with 156. He currently works for ESPN as a studio analyst for their Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown programs.

Moss played college football for Marshall University, and twice earned All-America honors. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, where he played for seven years before a trade in 2005 brought him to the Oakland Raiders. On April 29, 2007, Moss was traded to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round draft pick, where he set the single-season record for touchdown receptions. On October 6, 2010, Moss returned to the Vikings in a trade from the Patriots, but his second stint in Minnesota was short-lived, and was waived by the team less than a month later, being claimed by the Tennessee Titans. After sitting out the 2011 season, Moss signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers for the 2012 season then opted to retire prior to the 2013 season. He played in two Super Bowl games, XLII with the Patriots and XLVII with the 49ers, both losses.

On February 3, 2018, he was selected to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rob Gronkowski

Robert James Gronkowski (born May 14, 1989), nicknamed "Gronk", is an American football tight end for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL).

Gronkowski played college football for the University of Arizona, winning several awards, including being named a Sporting News and Rivals.com Freshman All-American. The Patriots drafted Gronkowski in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 42nd pick, after missing his junior year due to back surgery.

Notable for being a skilled receiver and talented blocker, Gronkowski has set several NFL records. He has the most seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards by a tight end with four. Gronkowski also has the most career postseason receiving yards by a tight end (1,163) and is the only tight end in NFL history to reach 1,000 or more yards. He has the most career postseason receiving touchdowns for his position with 12, as well as the most receptions (23) by a tight end in Super Bowl history.

One of the most recognisable football players of the 2010s with a larger-than-life personality on and off the field, Gronkowski is a three-time Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII). He is also a five-time Pro Bowl and four-time First Team All-Pro selection, and has been the highest ranked tight end in the NFL Top 100 for six consecutive years since 2013. With his numerous accomplishments and accolades, Gronkowski is regarded by many sports analysts, writers and peers as the most dominant tight end to ever play the game.

Super Bowl XXIX

Super Bowl XXIX was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion San Diego Chargers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1994 season. This is the only Super Bowl in history to be played between two teams from the same state. The 49ers defeated the Chargers by the score of 49–26, becoming the first team to win five Super Bowl championships. The game was played on January 29, 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida (now part of the suburb of Miami Gardens, which became a separate city in 2003).

This game is regarded as 49ers quarterback Steve Young's final leap out of the shadow of his predecessor, Joe Montana, who had won four Super Bowls with the 49ers (in 1982, 1985, 1989, and 1990), two with Young as the backup quarterback. With Young at the helm, and a defense consisting of several veteran free agents who joined the team during the previous offseason, San Francisco finished the regular season with a league-best 13–3 record, and led the league in total points scored (505). The Chargers, on the other hand, were regarded as a "Cinderella" team, and advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting an 11–5 regular-season record and overcoming halftime deficits in both of their playoff wins.

This was the first Super Bowl in which both teams scored in all four quarters. The combined aggregate score of 75 points and the ten total touchdowns both remain Super Bowl records. Still, the 49ers controlled most of the game, with Young completing touchdown passes in each of the 49ers' first two drives. The Chargers were able to cut the deficit late in the first quarter, 14–7, on a 13-play, 78-yard drive, but could not slow down San Francisco afterwards. Young was named the Super Bowl MVP, throwing a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes, and completing 24 out of 36 passes for 325 yards.

Despite the predicted blowout (18½ points is the largest margin a team has been favored by in a Super Bowl), the fact that San Diego did not have as much national appeal nor a relatively large core fan base, and two teams from California playing, which could have significantly diminished interest along the East Coast, the telecast of the game on ABC still had a Nielsen rating of 41.3.

Terrell Owens

Terrell Eldorado Owens (; born December 7, 1973), popularly known by his initials, T.O., is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, Owens holds or shares several NFL records. He ranks third in career receiving yards at 15,934 and third in receiving touchdowns at 153.

After playing college football and basketball at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Owens was selected in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Owens was a member of the team for seven seasons until he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 following conflict with the 49ers front office. Two years later, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys before being released following three seasons with the team. Owens' NFL career subsequently concluded after one season each with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. He last played professionally for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League in 2012.

While regarded as one of the best players of his era, Owens created a significant amount of controversy during his professional career and also attracted attention for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Tom Brady

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. (born August 3, 1977) is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He has won six Super Bowls, the most of any football player ever, and due to his numerous accomplishments, records, and accolades, he is considered by many sports analysts to be the greatest quarterback of all time.After playing college football for the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Due to his late selection, Brady is considered the biggest "steal" in the history of the NFL Draft. In Brady's seventeen seasons as a starter, he has played in a record nine Super Bowls with the Patriots, and is one of only two quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl in their first season as a starter (the other being Kurt Warner). Brady holds most of the postseason quarterback records, leading all players in postseason touchdowns, passing yards, and completions, while owning the corresponding Super Bowl records as well.

Brady has won four Super Bowl MVP awards (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, and LI), the most ever by a player, as well as three league MVP awards (2007, 2010, 2017); he is the oldest player to have received either award. Brady has also been selected to 14 Pro Bowls, and has led his team to more division titles (16) than any other quarterback in NFL history. He is fourth all-time in career passing yards for regular season play, third in career touchdown passes, fourth in career passer rating, and fourteenth in postseason career passer rating. For regular season and postseason combined, Brady is first all-time in career passing yards and touchdown passes.

The only quarterback to reach 200 regular-season wins, Brady is the winningest quarterback in NFL history. With a postseason record of 30–10, he is first all-time in playoff wins and appearances for an NFL player. Brady has led the Patriots to an NFL-record eight consecutive AFC championship games since 2011 (thirteen overall), and has never had a losing season as a starting quarterback. He is tied for the record for the longest touchdown pass at 99 yards to Wes Welker.For his alleged involvement in the highly publicized Deflategate football-tampering scandal, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. Brady and the Patriots won two of the next three Super Bowls, making him the record holder for most Super Bowl wins by a player, and the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, at 41.

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