College football games usually are played on Saturday and professional NFL games are played on Sunday. The football cliché is that “on any given Saturday,” any college football team can beat any other college team; “on any given Sunday,” any NFL team can beat any other NFL team.
“On any given Saturday” has been cited in print since at least 1940 (“On any given Saturday, almost anything may happen in any game”) and very possibly dates to the 1920s.
“On any given Sunday” has been cited in print since at least 1950 (“The pros have a toughie every week and even the lesser lights have enough talent to take the big boys if they let down on any given Sunday”).
15 October 1927, New York (NY) Times “Many Close Games on Gridiron Today” by Charles R. Crowley (Head Columbia Football Coach), Pg. 9:
No coach can tell with any amount of certainty whether he is going to run into an Autumn breeze or a howling hurricane on any given Saturday afternoon.
16 October 1928, New York (NY) Times, “Sports of the Times” by John Kieran, pg. 39:
The trouble with football these days is that there are too many “big games” on any given Saturday from mid-October until Thanksgiving Day.
10 October 1930, New York (NY) Times, “Sports of the Times” by John Kiernan, pg. 28:
He aims to be ready if there’s an opening for a good drop-kicker in any given Saturday.
9 September 1940, Oshkosh (WI) Northwestern, pg. 15, col. 1:
BADGERS HAVE A
IN GRID GAMES
Stuhldreher of Opinion All
Eight Opponents on the
Fall Schedule Will Be
(By Harr Stuhldreher, Wisconsin Football Coach, Written for the Associated Press)
Madison—All signs point to the probability that the football season of 1940 will be marked by close games and brilliant play. No team is likely to monopolize the headline. On any given Saturday, almost anything may happen in any game.
3 November 1942, Washington (DC) Post, “This Morning WIth Shirley Povich,” pg. 9:
Until Saturday, full credit was being withheld from the Redskins on account of Baugh. It was Baugh who took the team wherever it went. His passes were appraised by the gamblers as worth 14 points to the Redskins on any given Sunday, before they took the field.
11 October 1950, The Sporting News, pg. 42, col. 1:
“Green Bay is a real title threat in the National Football League and is liable, if not likely, to beat any team in the league on any given Sunday.”
This was Clark Shaughnessy’s reaction here following Green Bay’s sudden upswing in power that was featured by a somewhat astounding 31 to 21 victory over the Chicago Bears on October 1.
25 October 1950, New York (NY) Times, pg. 48:
The pros have a toughie every week and even the lesser lights have enough talent to take the big boys if they let down on any given Sunday.
26 September 1951, The Sporting News, pg. 46, col. 4:
The Steelers are a rock-and-sock-‘em group which on any given Sunday can whip the best.
27 October 1952, Coshocton (OH) Tribune, pg. 8, col. 4:
Old Adage Is Still Timely
Ohio Football Teams Learn
By HARRY WATERS
COLUMBUS (UP)—“On any given Saturday afternoon, any football team can beat any other football team…” quoted from the “Old Coaches’ Book.”
That was the old tale with a fresh new meaning for young grid warriors of several Ohio Colleges and a university today.
3 January 1954, Manfield (OH) News-Journal, pg. 20, col. 1:
That’s what Dick Logan, the two-year offensive guard of the Green Bay Packers, contends…However, Logan, who is scheduled for army induction tomorrow, went on to say that on any given Sunday any pro team has the potential to defeat any other club…“All the pro opposition is of the finest,” he says. “You don’t hit occasional easier spots like you do in the college brand of competition. And there’s plenty of spirit, too. The pros want to win just as much as the boys in high school and college.”
2 October 1955, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), pg. 15, col. 5:
“Our first team can lick anybody on any given Sunday, but (Col. 6—ed.) we don’t have the reserves and bench strength,” Kuharich said.
(Joe Kuharich, coach of the Washington Redskins—ed.)
14 February 1957, Lima (OH) News, pg. D-4, col. 6:
“That’s easy,” he (NFL commissioner Bert Bell—ed.) says “The equalization of the teams has been the savior of the game. Nothing brings out people more than competition. There used to be a day when two or three teams won all the games. Today, any team can beat another on any given Sunday, whether it be first or last.”
19 June 1957, Holland (MI) Evening Sentinel, pg. 13, col. 2:
“This season coming up should be the most interesting in the National Football League history. All teams are evenly matched and any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday.”
(Ronnie Gibbs, NFL official—ed.)
2 November 1957, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 8, col. 1:
The most obvious explanation for NFL upset each Sunday could be contained in Bert Bell’s annual pre-season speech, in which he intoned: “In this league any team is capable of beating any other team on any given afternoon.”
2 June 1958, Newport (RI) Daily News, pg. 11, col. 1:
JONES (David R. Jones, president of the Cleveland Browns—ed.) WAS ASKED to explain why in recession-hit towns, like Detroit and Cleveland, fans had enough money to buy football tickets so far in afvance but were not buying baseball tickets.
“I think it is because there is no Yankee runaway in football. There is league balance. On any given Sunday a cellar club can knock off a contender.”
15 February 1966, New York (NY) Times, pg. 48:
This logical premise was followed by Graham’s carefully stated opinion that “on any given Sunday a game matching the San Diego Chargers or the Buffalo Bills, the best of the A.F.L. and any N.F.L. team would be a tossup.”
Wikipedia: Any Given Sunday
Any Given Sunday is a 1999 American drama film directed by Oliver Stone depicting a fictional professional American football team. The film features an ensemble cast, consisting of Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, John C. McGinley, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, Lauren Holly, Bill Bellamy, Lela Rochon, Aaron Eckhart, Elizabeth Berkley, Marty Wright, and legendary NFL players Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor.