March 7th 1983 – ESPN televised the first live professional football game on cable (subscription TV broadcasts). The game was between the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions and the Michigan Panthers. The Panthers won the game 09-07 at Legion Field in front of an attendance of 30,305.
The United States Football League (USFL) was an American Football League that played for three seasons – 1983 through to 1985 with eighteen teams. The league played a spring/summer schedule in each of its active seasons. The 1986 season was scheduled to be played in the autumn/winter, directly competing against the long-established NFL. However, the USFL ceased operations before that season could begin. For the record, the 1985 Baltimore Stars were the last Champions from the now-defunct league.
March 7th 2016 – Quarterback Peyton Manning announces his retirement from the Denver Broncos and the NFL. The Broncos QB bid an emotional farewell to the NFL after an 18-year career that established him as one of the game’s greatest QBs. He was quoted as saying, “Hall of Fame QB Johnny Unitas told me ‘Peyton stay at it, I’m pulling for you.’. Well, I stayed at it, for 18 years,”
Manning, who capped his brilliant career by helping the Broncos win a Super Bowl, told a news conference in Denver. “Today I retire from the game of Pro Football”. For the record Super Bowl L was Manning’s last game as a player. He led the Broncos to a 24*10 win against the Panthers at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California in front of an attendance of 71,088.
March 8th 1967 – Fans started lining up at midnight to purchase the first New Orleans Saints’ season tickets – they went on sale at 8 am! The NFL awarded the sixteenth franchise to New Orleans on November 1st 1966. Appropriately, it was All Saints Day. In mid-December, 28-year-old John Mecom Jr., a successful Texas and Louisiana businessman became the majority stockholder. Less than a month later on Jan 9th 1967, no one was surprised when the team were named ‘the Saints’! On March 8th 1967, the Saints launched their first season-ticket drive that produced 20,000 sales on opening day and 33,400 before the 1967 NFL season began.
Mark is a San Francisco 49'ers fan - you can follow him on Twitter @GridironGuru2