This Week in NFL History: July 6 - July 12; Steelers were founded

Welcome to This Week in NFL History! Every week, the Research team will spotlight the anniversaries of notable events and birthdays.

July 8

Season champions were determined based on regular season standings until 1933, when George Preston Marshall and George Halas pushed through a proposal that divided the NFL into two divisions, with winners meeting in an annual championship game. The prior system failed in 1932, when the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears finished their regularly scheduled games tied for first place and had to compete in a one-game playoff to determine the league champion (Bears shutout the Spartans 9-0).

The Pittsburgh Steelers, then the Pittsburgh Pirates, were founded by Arthur J. Rooney on July 8, 1933. The team changed its name to the Steelers in 1940.

Notable birthday: HOF Jack Lambert (68, led "Steel Curtain" defense)

July 9

George Preston Marshall, Vincent Bendix, Jay O'Brien and M. Dorland Doyle were awarded a franchise for Boston in 1932.

  • The Boston Braves, now the Washington Redskins, changed their name to the Redskins in 1933
  • In 1937, the team relocated to Washington, D.C. and won the 1937 NFL Championship
  • On July 3, 2020, the Washington Redskins announced they will undergo a thorough review of the team's name, which is a racial slur used against Indigenous people

In 1933, Bert Bell and Lud Wray purchased the former Frankford Yellow Jackets franchise for $2,500 and, in doing so, the NFL rights to Philadelphia (franchise granted July 8). The Philadelphia Eagles played their first NFL season in 1933.

Happy 73rd birthday to Hall of Fame RB O.J. Simpson

  • 6-time Pro Bowl selection, 5-time first-team All-Pro
  • 1973 NFL MVP
  • First player to rush for 2,000+ yards in a season (1973)
  • Played for the Bills (1969-1977) and 49ers (1978-1979)

July 10

Happy 60th birthday to RB Roger Craig

  • 4-time Pro Bowl selection, 1988 first-team All-Pro
  • 3-time Super Bowl champion (Super Bowl XIX, Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXIV)
  • In 1985, Craig became the first player in NFL history with 1,000+ rush yards and 1,000+ receiving yards in a single season (Others: HOF Marshall Faulk in 1999 and CAR Christian McCaffrey in 2019)
  • Craig's 410 scrimmage yards in Super Bowl games rank 3rd in NFL history behind Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Franco Harris
  • Played for the 49ers (1983-1990), Raiders (1991) and Vikings (1992-1993)

July 11

Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin announced his retirement in 2000

  • 5-time Pro Bowl selection, 1991 first-team All-Pro
  • 3-time Super Bowl champion (Super Bowl XXVII, Super Bowl XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX)
  • 11 games with 100+ receiving yards in 1995 (T-most such games in a single season in NFL history)
  • Career: 750 receptions, 11,904 receiving yards, 65 receiving TD

In 2011, LB Mike Vrabel announced his retirement from playing and that he would begin his coaching career at Ohio State as an assistant coach

  • 1-time Pro Bowl selection and 1-time first-team All-Pro (2007 season)
  • 3-time Super Bowl champion (Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX)
  • Played for the Steelers (1997-2000), Patriots (2001-2008) and Chiefs (2009-2010)
  • Before becoming head coach of the Titans in 2018, Vrabel was the LB coach (2014-2016) and later DC (2017) of the Texans

July 12

Notable Birthday: Cowboys OC Kellen Moore (31)