This Day in Football History: Feb. 24 to March 1, 2020

From the 87th anniversary of the forward pass to Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez’s 44th birthday, check out some of this week’s historic NFL moments. Think you know your football trivia? NFL Research looks back at some of the great games, stunning accomplishments and historic events to make sure you’re in the loop on this day in history.

Feb. 24

Happy birthday to Jeff Garcia! Garcia, who was selected to the Pro Bowl four times in his career, turns 50 on Feb. 24. He played 11 seasons at quarterback for the 49ers (1999-2003), the Browns (2004), the Lions (2005), the Eagles (2006 and 2009) and the Buccaneers (2007-2008).

Feb. 25

On this day in 1989, Jerry Jones became the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and promptly fired two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Tom Landry. Landry coached the Cowboys for 29 seasons with a 270-178-6 record, including playoffs. Under Jones’ leadership, the Cowboys have won Super Bowl XXVII, Super Bowl XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX, with a 285-238 record, including playoffs.

In 1933, the forward pass was legalized from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. New York Giants quarterback Newman led the NFL in pass attempts (136), completions (53), pass yards (973), pass touchdowns (11), and interceptions (17) in 1933. Since the rule change, there have been 12 instances of a player reaching 5,000 pass yards in a single season and 186 instances of a player reaching 4,000 pass yards in a single season.

Feb. 27

Happy birthday to Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez! Gonzalez, who turns 44 on Feb. 27, was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019 after a storied career that included 14 Pro Bowl selections and six All-Pro selections. He played 17 seasons at tight end for the Chiefs (1997-2008) and Falcons (2009-2013) and ranks third all-time in receptions (1,325). In 2004, Gonzalez led the NFL in receptions (102). Among tight ends, he is the all-time leader in career receptions (1,325) and receiving yards (15,127).

On this day in 1990, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over 17 weeks in 1990-1992 and 16 games over 18 weeks in 1993. The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season and there is talk about potentially adding a 17th game to the regular season in the new CBA.

Feb. 28

In 1959, Rams general manager and future NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle traded eight players and a second-round draft pick for future Hall of Famer Ollie Matson. Matson was a five-time All-Pro selection (1952-1957) and six-time Pro Bowl selection (1953, 1955-1959), but he did not earn either accolade during his four seasons with the Rams (1959-1962). Rozelle resigned as the Rams general manager on January 26, 1960.

March 1

Elmer Layden, one of Notre Dame’s famed "Four Horsemen" was named the NFL’s first commissioner on this day in 1941. Layden played fullback in the "Four Horsemen" backfield at Notre Dame before serving as Notre Dame’s head coach and athletic director for seven seasons (1934-1940). He served as the NFL commissioner for six seasons (1941-1946).

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