Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald certainly is putting together a Hall of Fame-caliber resume.
Fitzgerald had six catches last week, bringing his career total to 1,092. He’s caught a pass in 189 successive games.
With a reception Sunday at Atlanta, Fitzgerald would tie Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison for the third-longest streak in NFL history. The only ones ahead of him would be tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had 211 in a row, and Hall of Fame wideout Jerry Rice, whose 274 likely is uncatchable.
Fitzgerald is three catches from passing Hall of Famer Tim Brown for the fifth-most career receptions. He currently has 1,092.
Rice also tops that list with an almost unthinkable 1,549. He’s followed by Gonzalez (1,325), Harrison (1,102) and yet another Hall of Famer, Cris Carter (1,101).
LENGTHY STREAK: Donald Penn has come a long way since entering the league back in 2007 as a low-priority undrafted free agent with just a $5,000 signing bonus.
Penn overcame the odds to make the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and became a starter at left tackle in just his fifth game of his rookie season. Penn hasn’t been sent to the bench since.
Now a mainstay on Oakland’s stellar line, Penn is set to make his 150th consecutive start at left tackle, the second longest streak among active linemen to Cleveland’s Joe Thomas at 155 and counting.
“I’m blessed man,” Penn said. “I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I hope people look at it as an example.”
SETTING THE TONE: The Minnesota Vikings had four sacks and two interceptions while holding the Arizona Cardinals to 290 total yards in Week 11. The biggest hit of the game, though, might’ve been during pregame introductions when the team ran out of the replica Vikings ship onto the field.
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, the biggest player on the team, and defensive end Brian Robison, who’s no small human himself, were leading the charge when an audio operator for Fox’s broadcast crew didn’t get out of the way fast enough and was knocked onto the turf. The sound man, Bernie Beaudry, had his eyeglasses broken and his nose scratched but was otherwise unscathed. He was able to complete his assignment during the game.
Robison and Joseph were planning to put together a care package with an autographed picture of the collision.
“Bernie, man, he’s got to check both ways before he crosses the road,” Robison said afterward. “I heard he finished the game out, so hats off to him. That’s probably the hit of the year. I don’t think that’s going to be topped.”
GLOBAL FOOTBALL, POP WARNER STYLE: Teams from Canada, Finland, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates will travel to Orlando in December to compete at the 60th annual Pop Warner Super Bowl.
The youngsters will be among the more than 16,000 American football and dance and cheer enthusiasts who will converge on the central Florida city from Dec. 3-10.
Six international teams will compete in the Varsity age bracket: Finland Blue Lions, EAFL Falcons (UAE), Team Canada, Mexico Football, Queretaro (Mexico) and Puebla (Mexico), each playing three group games.
The Junior Varsity bracket will feature Finland Blue Lions, Mexico Football, EAFL Falcons (UAE) and Puebla (Mexico) playing each other once apiece to produce an overall winner.
Finland’s Blue Lions will make history as the first European nation represented at the Pop Warner International Super Bowl.
Roope Noronen, president of the American Football Association of Finland (SAJL), says: “It is a new opportunity for Finnish American football to participate in this event and we expect it to provide a unique experience to our players and coaches to test their talent against international opponents. I know our players and coaches are enthusiastic for their trip and looking forward to enjoy football, friendship and the Florida sun.”
When the tournament began in 2010, the goal was to have teams representing every continent.
“We started small with North American teams, but quickly we expanded to include a Central American representative in Panama, while expanding our numbers across Mexico,” says Patrick Steenberge, Global Football’s founder. “Then in 2014 the United Emirates sent a team, further broadening the scope of the event.
“Now, I am proud … that our first European nation, Finland, will bring two teams this December.”
Since 1996, Global Football has provided 15,000 amateur football players, coaches, families and fans from 350 schools the opportunity to travel and compete internationally.
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Dave Campbell, and Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed.