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Prime Numbers looks at the best to wear No. 75

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Thursday’s Prime Number series heads back to the 70s, with a number made very famous by several all-time greats.

PFT Planet, it’s time to cast a ballot (or two) for the best to ever wear 75.  The choices appear below.

The results will appear tonight on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET.  Along with a lot of other stuff we have to get to because the show is only 30 minutes long.

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Thursday’s Prime Numbers will look at the best to wear No. 84

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We’ve covered plenty of Prime Numbers over the last few weeks, but we’ve got plenty more to do.  A doozy comes on Thursday — No. 84.

Pick the best three of the eight guys listed below.  And then tune in on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET for NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk to find out who made the list.

You’ll find our plenty of other stuff, but only 30 minutes of it.  The show is shorter than usual on Thursday.

But you can watch whatever is on after our show ends.  OK, you should watch whatever is on after our show ends.

(Does that mean I get my check now?  Or will it be cash?)

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Cast you vote for the best to wear No. 82

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It’s Prime Numbers time on Wednesday, where the lottery ticket of jersey numbers includes a fan lottery (or more accurately a vote) on the best players to wear No. 82.

So get your No. 2 pencils ready (or more accurately your mice) to pick the best two to ever wear that specific number.

And then get your dial-changing hand ready (or more accurately your remote control finger) to turn the TV to NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET for the latest edition of Pro Football Talk.

 

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Prime Numbers takes up No. 55 on Wednesday

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Prime Numbers shifts from No. 99 on Tuesday to another double-number number on Wednesday when NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk can drive 55.

PFT Planet can vote on the best to wear No. 55, picking the top two to ever don a pair of fives on the front and back and (for many teams) shoulders of their jerseys.

Do it now, and then dial us up on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET.  We’ll also take up No. 25, 37, 50, and 82.  A poll for another one of those numbers is coming later tonight.

If I remember to post it.

Please remember to vote on the best players to wear No. 55.  If you do it now, you won’t have to remember.

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Prime Numbers looks at No. 99 on Tuesday

Sapp AP

When Pro Football Talk on NBCSN returns to the air on Tuesday, the Prime Numbers series will take a look at the highest number that can be worn by any player in any sport.

Unless and until a sport expands to three digits.

Vote for the best of the best to wear No. 99 from the names listed below (pick one — or two or three if you want), and then tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday to see the results.  We’ll also be joined by one of the best players to wear No. 99 — defensive end Jason Taylor.

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Prime Numbers looks at the best to wear No. 24

Woodson AP

We’ve still got plenty of prime Prime Numbers to address on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk.

Tuesday’s edition of the show takes up one of the most prime:  No. 24.  We need your help to pick the best of the best players to wear that specific number.

Vote below, and then tune in on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET for the results.  Before then, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday for today’s version of the show, with Tom Curran of CSN New England and Bob Glauber of Newsday joining Erik Kuselias in the studio.

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Monday’s Prime Numbers looks at No. 34

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The Prime Numbers series on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk continues Monday, with a number that has been worn by multiple Hall of Famers and one guy who would have made it if his hip hadn’t been irreversibly damaged in January 1991.

No. 34 takes center stage, and we’ll look at the results of your votes for the best to ever don the digits.

Go ahead and vote for two, since we assume Walter Payton would get 100 percent of the vote if we allowed only one.

Then, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET Monday for the one-hour edition of the program.  Unless you live in Portugal.  If so, you’re not invited.

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Vick isn’t the first rushing quarterback, but he is the best (for now)

Eagles' Vick takes off on a long run against the Redskins' defense during their NFL football game in Landover Reuters

Michael Vick showed a lack of both humility and history when he declared himself the NFL’s original running quarterback.

I was the guy who started it all,” Vick told ESPN.com. “I revolutionized the game. I changed the way it was played in the NFL.”

The reality is, running quarterbacks have been a part of the game of football since long before Vick was born, and when Vick declares himself the first of the rushing quarterbacks, he’s forgetting a fraternity of great dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL stretching back decades. Here are some of the most significant running quarterbacks in NFL history, listed chronologically:

Frank Sinkwich won the Heisman Trophy at Georgia in 1942, and the Lions took him with the first overall pick in the 1943 NFL draft. As a rookie Sinkwich led the Lions in both rushing and passing, and in his second season he was named league MVP, after a season in which he was third in the NFL in both passing yards and rushing yards, and second in the NFL in both passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. Sinkwich spent a year out of football in 1945 while he served in the military, and he was never the same player after suffering a knee injury during his service.

Tobin Rote, who played for the Packers and Lions in the 1950s, finished his career with 3,128 rushing yards and had one of the most impressive seasons in NFL history in 1956, when he led the league in pass completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns, while also rushing for 398 yards and finishing second in the league with 11 rushing touchdowns. Rote did all that in a 12-game season, and his combined 29 touchdowns passing and rushing were the most for any player in any 12-game season in NFL history. Rote spent the early 1960s playing in the Canadian Football League, then returned to play for the Chargers in 1963, and although he was no longer the running threat he once had been, he had one of his best passing seasons and was named MVP of the American Football League.

Fran Tarkenton, who was drafted by the Vikings in 1961, is still viewed by many as the greatest mobile quarterback in NFL history. Few quarterbacks ran in the 1960s, and Tarkenton was saddled with a head coach in Norm Van Brocklin who had been a pocket passer and didn’t want his quarterbacks running the ball. But Tarkenton still managed to top 300 yards running in seven of his first eight NFL seasons, to run for 3,674 yards in his career, and to put together some of the most sensational highlight reel runs of any quarterback ever to play the game.

Greg Landry in 1971 became the first NFL player to pass for 2,000 yards and run for 500 yards in the same season, and then in 1972 he topped 2,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards again. (No one else would do it until Randall Cunningham in 1987.) In 1971, Sports Illustrated proclaimed that Landry’s ability to run and pass gave the Lions “the pro offense of the future.”

Bobby Douglass was such a terrible passer (career completion rate: 43.0 percent) that he didn’t last long as a starting quarterback. But in his only full season as a starter, in 1972 in Chicago, he did things that no quarterback had done before. That year Douglass carried 141 times for 968 yards and eight touchdowns, stunning totals for a quarterback. Although Douglass only started 53 games in his career, he totaled 2,654 rushing yards.

Randall Cunningham was a jaw-droppingly good athlete who played the quarterback position far differently from anyone else of his time. No NFL quarterback in the 1980s ran for 500 yards in any season, except for Cunningham — who did it every season from the time he became the Eagles’ starter in 1986 until 1991, when he got hurt and played only one game.

Steve Young was the first quarterback to show he could be a consistently great passer while also consistently using his feet to make plays. In 1991 Young led the league in passer rating and led all quarterbacks with 415 rushing yards. He finished his career with 4,239 rushing yards.

Steve McNair was the subject of intense debate during his college career at Alcorn State about whether there was a place in the NFL for a quarterback who ran as much as he did, and if McNair hadn’t paid off as the third overall pick of the 1995 NFL draft, Vick probably wouldn’t have been the first overall pick of the 2001 NFL draft. McNair ran for 674 yards in his first season as the Titans’ starter, and although he relied much less on his feet and much more on his arm later in his career, he retired with 3,590 yards and 37 touchdowns on the ground.

All those quarterbacks came along before Vick, and when Vick says, “I was the guy who started it all,” he’s not giving enough credit to the rushing quarterbacks who came before him.

What Vick can say, however, is that he’s the best running quarterback in NFL history. There have been other great running quarterbacks, but no one who put together Vick’s blend of pure speed and field vision. Vick is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards for a quarterback (5,857) and yards per carry (7.1).

What Vick can also say is that he changed the way rushing quarterbacks are perceived. Vick’s success in the NFL paved the way for NFL teams to embrace the running skills of younger quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. In fact, Vick’s lasting legacy may turn out to be that he doesn’t remain the greatest rushing quarterback ever for long. Some young quarterback may soon surpass Vick’s accomplishments as a runner — and that quarterback will get that chance because Vick showed just how successful a running quarterback can be.

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Prime Numbers ponders No. 22 on Friday

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Since Friday is the 20th day of June, the Prime Numbers series on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk will look at the best to ever wear No. 20.

And since Sunday is the 22nd and we won’t be on that day, we’ll do 22 on Friday, too.

It’s also our 400th show.  We considered also taking up jersey No. 400 on Friday, but decided that would be way too hokey.

As to No. 22, vote for the best to ever wear the position from a group that includes a couple of Cowboys and the guy who put a curse on the Lions.

Then, dial up NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday for the one-hour broadcast.

It’s only two weeks until our three-week summer hiatus.  You probably won’t miss us while we’re gone, but in order to be sure you should watch us every day we’re on until then, so that you’ll be sure that you don’t.

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Prime Numbers looks at No. 20 on Friday

Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders is carrie AP

As the Prime Numbers series hits the 20th day of the month, why not consider No. 20?

And that’s the closest thing to a formula that we’ve devised for this thing.

At 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, we’ll present your vote as to the best of the best who have worn No. 20.

We’ll count down the top three from the following six.  Vote for up to two.

Then tune in on Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Prime Numbers goes Prime Time on Thursday, sort of

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NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk continues to be a late-afternoon program.  On Thursday, however, the Prime Numbers series will go Prime Time.

Kind of.

It’s time to take up No. 21, where arguably the best player of all time to wear the number went by one of the better nicknames in NFL history.

But other great players wore No. 21.  We’ll let you sort it all out with your votes, and we’ll share the results on tomorrow’s show.

Tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Thursday and every day.

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Wednesday’s Prime Numbers looks at the best to wear No. 28

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The Prime Numbers series continues on Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN with a look at a number worn by a surprisingly high number of all-time greats.

We’ve narrowed the list to seven.  Vote for the best three.

One of them, Curtis Martin, will join the program to talk about how he ended up wearing No. 28 after donning No. 29 at Pitt.

And then tune in Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET for a 60-minute edition of the show, featuring Hines Ward and Ross Tucker as the analysts for the day.

Ward wore No. 86 when he played.  Tucker wore, well, a number.  Between 1 and 99.  Beyond that, throw a dart or something.

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Tuesday’s Prime Numbers looks at No. 32

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Not many great players in NFL history wore No. 32.  But those who did were really, really great.

Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN considers the best of the four incredibly great all-time stars who donned the number.

Vote for the best two below from this Hall of Fame quartet:  Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Franco Harris, and Marcus Allen.

Not many great players have worn the number in recent decades, a surprising reality given the number of young players who surely wanted to emulate Brown, Simpson, Harris, and/or Allen.

So tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET to see the results of a Prime Numbers extravaganza that also will look at No. 17, No. 86, No. 66, and No. 42.

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Monday’s Prime Numbers considers No. 94, too

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The June (and into early July) Prime Numbers series on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk has a randomness to it that flows from:  (1) the availability of guests who wore certain numbers; and (2) see number one.

And so Monday’s show considers No. 56 (you can vote here for the best of the best to wear the number) and No. 94.

Vote below for the best players currently wearing No. 94, especially since the Hall of Fame includes no players who wore 94.  (Eventually, that will change if/when Charles Haley ever makes it.

Then dial up NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday to see the show.  Or you can be like the cool kids and pretend to suddenly care about soccer for the next few weeks, only to forget about it completely until the next time the cool kids pretend to suddenly care about soccer.

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Prime Numbers series turns to No. 56

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On Monday, NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk returns to its normal one-hour length, featuring ongoing exploration of the Prime Numbers series.

One of the numbers to take center stage will be 56.

Sure, Lawrence Taylor is the first guy that comes to mind for most NFL fans when considering No. 56.  So vote for L.T. and two others in all, from the list that appears below.

And be sure to tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday for a full one-hour edition of the show, where the results will be officially unveiled.

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