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Strongside Blitz

By Joe Platania, PressBox Staff

Want further proof that running the ball wins games instead of passing it?

League statistics over the last five years show that teams with a 100-yard rusher in a game have won an average of 75 percent of the time. Teams with a 100-yard receiver have only won 54 percent of the time and teams with a 300-yard passer are just below the break-even mark.

A series of stats released by the league show how close the AFC/NFC rivalry is, even 36 years after the merger.

The AFC has scored more points in AFC/NFC games, but only by a margin of 955 out of 74,000 points scored. Yet, it's the NFC that has more Super Bowl wins, 22-18.

There have been more NFC players winning individual passing titles (19-17), but AFC standouts have more rushing titles (20-16).

The AFC does have a lopsided edge in winning season series in interconference play, 21-8 with seven ties. The AFC hasn't lost that stat since 1995 and it's partially due to the fact that it has won 952 interconference games to the NFC's 866.

To the victors go the spoils, at least when it comes to merchandise.
The NFL and its official equipment supplier, Reebok, report that the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers have moved the most merchandise in the 12 months ending on March 31, 2006.

The rest of the top 10, in order: Philadelphia, Oakland, Dallas, New England, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Chicago, New York Giants and Denver. The rest of the list was not released.

As far as which individual jerseys are doing well, three Steelers are in the top 10, Ben Roethlisberger, third; Troy Polamalu, fourth; Hines Ward, 10th. No Raven's jersey is in the top 25.

The top five best-selling individual jerseys between April 1 and July 15 are Reggie Bush, New Orleans; LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego; Rothlisberger, Polamalu and Randy Moss, Oakland.

Each year, the league asks its new head coaches to fill out a questionnaire detailing their personalities and what they like and don't like about football.

With 10 new head coaches this year, that was a lot of information to be sorted. Some of the more interesting answers provided:

Herman Edwards, Kansas City: "Who is the best pure athlete you've ever coached?" Answer: Dale Carter (former Ravens cornerback).

Sean Payton, New Orleans: "Greatest team you've ever competed against?" Answer: 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Payton was the Giants' offensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXV.

Gary Kubiak, Houston: "Most embarassing football moment?" Answer: Lining up under the guard to take a snap.

Scott Linehan, St. Louis: "Hardest job in football?" Answer: Coaches' wives.

Dick Jauron, Buffalo: "Person you'd most like to meet?" Answer: Abe Lincoln.

Rod Marinelli, Detroit: "Most knowledgeable football writer you've ever met?" Answer: None. Hmmm...

Selected in this year's draft were three players from perennial high school powerhouse De La Salle of Concord, Calif., the team that once went 10 years without losing a game.
Its most notable NFL alumnus is New York Giants wideout Amani Toomer, but one of this year's draftees was Ravens' fourth-round receiver Demetrius Williams.

Also in California, Tustin High had two players drafted, one of them in the second round, Ravens' offensive lineman Chris Chester.

Which two teams have the most total wins -- regular and postseason -- in league history?

Those would be the two teams that have been around the longest, the Chicago Bears (671) and Green Bay Packers (640). But a few teams are approaching some milestones in 2006.

If the New York Giants win 12 games, they will become the third team ever to register 600 regular-season wins. Chicago has 657 and Green Bay has 616.

Pittsburgh needs 10 victories to get 500 regular-season wins. However, due to their rather pitiful history between 1933 and 1972, the Steelers' all-time record is a middling 490-470-20.

The Rams need 10 wins to get 500 regular-season victories and several teams are close to 400. Oakland needs six to get there, Dallas needs eight and the Indianapolis Colts need 10.

Issue 1.19: August 31, 2006