Facts and numbers I find interesting—and you might, too

I was eating pizza with my wife the other day, and as we sat in the restaurant, an interesting stat scrolled across the bottom of the TV: According to ESPN, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been “hit or sacked 922 times since … 2011. Second during that span is Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson at 615.”

Two things stand out to me: One, that’s a lot of hits for a guy to take, and two, someone is actually keeping track of that sort of thing.

I love random facts and statistics, and life is full of them. Here’s a few I found:

Whenever we used to go somewhere when I was a kid, especially to another state, I would wonder if there were other cities in other states named Dayton. I was certain that no other Dayton was as good as my hometown in Ohio, and Mom used to comment that there was a Dayton in Kentucky and in Tennessee, too. Turns out she was right! There’s 22 states, including Ohio, that have a Dayton in them—and there’s even one here in Texas, according to the United States Postal Service’s website.

Speaking of Ohio, the Buckeye State is the only state to have a flag that isn’t rectangular, and Ohio is one of the only entities in the world with a non-rectangular flag. According to the Ohio secretary of state’s website, the flag is technically known as a swallow-tailed burgee.

As for my current city of residence, Austin, there are 12 states, most of them in the western U.S., including Texas that have an Austin in them, so says the USPS. I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath from all this excitement.

As of Aug. 15, for the first time since 2009, hip-hop artist Drake was not on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Billboard, Drake, or Drizzy Drake, as he refers to himself in a radio promo for a local station here in Austin (“It’s your boy, Drizzy Drake!”), was on the charts for 431 weeks. He entered the Hot 100 on July 25, 2009, around the time my wife and I had our first date eight years ago. What else has happened since then? How about:

  • In the time that Drake was on the Top 100, of the eight Super Bowls played, the New England Patriots were in three, winning two of them.
  • On July 25, 2009, then-President Barack Obama was about six months into his first term in office.
  • The Black Eyed Peas topped the Billboard charts on July 25, 2009, with “I Gotta Feeling.” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was the top movie that week.
  • Elizabeth Taylor, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Andy Rooney, Neil Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, John Glenn, Mary Tyler Moore and Chuck Berry are among the many notable celebrity deaths during Drake’s time on the Top 100. Michael Jackson died exactly a month before Drake’s Top 100 debut, on June 25, 2009.
  • On the day Drake debuted on the Top 100, my beloved dog and BFF, Katniss, was still about 4 1/2 years away from being born. According to the American Kennel Club, the average dog is able to reproduce by about 12 months of age (I felt creepy looking that up), meaning that as many as four generations of Katniss’ family could have been produced by the time of her birth—and could easily still be alive today.

 There’s apparently still 10 Blockbuster Video stores open. Six are in Alaska, three are in Oregon and one is in my former city of residence, Edinburg, Texas.

◊ One of my favorite scenes in “The Simpsons” TV series is when Homer is asleep and dreaming that he is hanging out with God.

Homer: “God, I have to ask you something: What’s the meaning of life?”
God: “Homer, I can’t tell you that.”
Homer: “C’mon.”
God: “You’ll find out when you die.”
Homer: “I can’t wait that long!”
God: “You can’t wait six months?”

Interestingly enough, this episode is also the source of one fan’s theory that all of “The Simpsons” episodes since April 1993 have taken place in Homer’s comatose mind after he was hospitalized, a fascinating idea that one of the show’s executive producers denied was true. I wish it were true.

Speaking of Homer, if you look at the way he is drawn, you’ll notice his hair forms an “M” and his ear looks like a “G”—the initials of “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.

 One more football factoid: Beyond high school there are potentially two sizes of footballs that can be used, one for college and one for the NFL: The footballs with stripes, for college teams, can be slightly less rotund in terms of their minimum circumference compared to the NFL’s stripeless balls at 20 3/4 inches to 21 1/4 inches in diameter, according to the NCAA rulebook. The NFL can use a slightly larger version in terms of its minimum diameter with a diameter of 21 to 21 1/4 inches, according to the NFL rulebook.


UPDATE: This post has been updated to indicate that the NFL, and not college, footballs can be inflated to a slightly larger size in terms of minimum diameter. Previous mention of high school football size was removed.

Alex Smith image used from http://www.sportrac.com; D’onta Foreman photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images; Homer Simpson photo from Fox Broadcasting Co.

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