Curley Culp 6'2" 265 Defensive Tackle Kansas City Chiefs 1968 - 1981 14 Seasons 179 Games Played 13 Fumbles Recovered 1 Touchdown 6 Pro Bowls
Curley Culp was drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos in 1968. He was the 31st player picked overall. Culp attended college at Arizona State University, where he was at first an offensive lineman before moving over to the defensive side of the line.
By his senior year, Culp was named First-Team All-American by both Time Magazine and the Sporting News in football. Culp was also the NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion in 1967. Culp was also named to the 1968 U.S. Olympic wrestling team.
Culp is a Charter Inductee of the ASU Sports Hall of Fame, which was created in 1975, and was named the Greatest Athlete in the History of Arizona during the state's centennial celebration in 2006.
He was was traded to Kansas City after the 1968 draft for a fourth round pick in 1969 draft. That pick turned out to be offensive guard Mike Schnitker from Colorado who played with the Broncos from 1969-1974.
Culp found his way into nine games during his rookie year but broke out in his second year in the AFL. He was named to his first Pro Bowl team and helped the Chiefs get to Super Bowl IV.
It was in that game the 3-4 defense was born. Hall of Fame Head Coach Hank Stram decided to put Culp right over Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff. Culp's immense strength and quickness overwhelmed Tingelhoff to the point where Culp began to command double, sometimes triple teams.
This freed Hall of Famers like Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, and Pro Bowl strong safety Johnny Robinson to make plays as the Chiefs shut down the Vikings and won 23-7.
Culp would go on to play the 1971 Pro Bowl. He was twice honored as the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Week during his tenure in Kansas City and led the 1973 Chiefs in sacks with nine.
He would play in Kansas City until the beginning of 1974. Culp had signed on to play in the World Football League for 1975, so he was traded four games into the season to the Houston Oilers in one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.
The Oilers acquired Kansas City's 1975 first-round selection, which turned out to be linebacker Robert Brazile, along with Culp for defensive end John Matuszak. Culp was the ingredient Houston needed to excel in the Oilers 3-4 defense.
He was named to the 1975 Pro Bowl and was chosen NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Culp also received the George S. Halas Trophy after accumulating 11.5 sacks, an unheard of statistic for a nose tackle.
Teamed with Hall of Fame defensive end Elvin Bethea and great linebackers like Brazile, Ted Washington Sr., and Gregg Bingham, Culp helped lead some excellent Oilers teams that went to a AFC Championship game.
In 1975, Culp recovered a career high three fumbles and took one 38 yards for the only touchdown of his NFL career. In 1977, he snared the only interception of his career and rumbled 25 yards.
Culp was named to Pro Bowls from 1975 to 1978 while in Houston. In 1979, Culp was named Second-Team All-Conference by both the UPI and Associated Press. By 1980, he was battling injuries and started just five of 10 games in Houston.
The Oilers released him and he was claimed by the Deroit Lions. He finished that year in Detroit, starting in two threes. Culp tried to play in 1981, but ended up playing just twomes before retiring.
Culp was named by the Sporting News to the All-Century teams of both the Kansas City and Houston/Tennessee franchises. He was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly's All-Time 3-4 defensive team.
He wasted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. The Tennessee Titans are said to be working on creating their own team Hall of Fame and Culp will certainly be inducted into it one day as well.
Trying to summarize Culp's career may be best said by his comrades. Chiefs Hall of Fame Center Jack Rudnay said, "Every center in the league should have to go against Curley in order to know what it’s like to go against the very best.”
Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto claimed, "Curley Culp was perhaps the strongest man I ever lined up against."
Culp was once reported to have broken the helmets of three teammates during a scrimmage at Arizona State University. He had tremendous leverage to go with his massive strength and superior quickness.
There was a time some thought he benefited from lining next to Buchanan, but he showed in Houston that he was an unstoppable force still. Often facing multiple blockers each snap of the ball, Culp used his wrestling knowledge to sift through the opponents on his way to the ball.
I find it amazing Culp hasn't been inducted. He was the key person who popularized the 3-4 with his intelligence and abilities.
Oilers Head Coach Bum Phillips said, "Curley made the 3-4 defense work. He made me look smart."
Well, the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters certainly look anything but smart. You see politics involved too much in the Canton voting process. I've been told by certain voters that they are disgusted with this process themselves.
It is as if some voters don't want too many players from one team. Look how long it took for Chief Emmitt Thomas to get inducted, and how Chiefs legend Johnny Robinson somehow hasn't been yet.
Culp did excel with two teams, so whatever the hold up is by the voters is unacceptable. Curley Culp should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by now!
Notable Players Drafted In 1968 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
1. Ron Yary, OT, Minnesota * 2. Bob Johnson, C, Cincinnati 3. Claude Humphrey, DE, Atlanta 4. Russ Washington, DT/ OT, San Diego 8. Larry Csonka, FB, Miami * 9. Haven Moses, WR, Buffalo 11. Greg Landry, QB, Detroit 13. MacArthur Lane, RB, St. Louis Cardinals 14. Tim Rossovich, LB, Philadelphia 15. Forrest Blue, C, San Francisco 23. John Williams, OT, Baltimore Colts 26. Bill Lueck, G, Green Bay 33. Charlie West, DB, Minnesota 42. Bob Atkins, DB, St. Louis 43. Bill Lenkaitus, C, SanDiego 47. John Garlington, LB, Cleveland 48. Mike Livingston, QB, Kansas City 52. Ken Stabler, QB, Oakland 69. Skip Vanderbundt, LB, San Francisco 73. Dick Anderson, DB, Miami 74. Charlie Sanders, TE, Detroit * 77. Elvin Bethea, DE, Houston Oilers * 80. Art Shell, OT, Oakland * 81. Dick Himes, OT, Green Bay 82. Paul Robinson, RB, Cincinnati 84. Jess Phillips, RB, Cincinnati 98. Johnny Fuller, DB, San Francisco 105. Jim Beirne, WR, Houston 110. Charlie H. Smith, RB, Oakland 117. Mike Bragg, P, Washington 118. Jim Kiick, RB, Miami 124. Mark Nordquist, G, Philadelphia 127. Cecil Turner, WR, Chicago 130. Blaine Nye, G, Dallas 156. Essex Johnson, RB, Cincinnati 159. D.D. Lewis, LB, Dallas 167. Oscar Reed, RB, Minnesota 176. Bob Brunet, RB, Washington 181. Willie Holman, DE, Chicago 190. George Atkinson, DB, Oakland 222. Paul Smith, DT, Denver 249. John Outlaw, DB, Boston Patriots 261. Tommy Hart, DE, San Francisco 275. Greg Brezina, LB, Atlanta 277. Marv Hubbard, RB, Oakland 288. Henry Davis, LB, NY Giants 289. Rich Coady, C, Chicago 291. Dennis Partee, K, San Diego 297. John Pergine, LB, LA Rams 301. Bob Trumpy, TE, Cincinnati 305. Jim Cheyunski, LB, Boston 317. Jeff Queen, RB, San Diego 323. Harold Jackson, WR, Los Angeles Rams 330. Charlie Greer, DB, Denver 351. Dean Halverson, LB, LA Rams 357. Marlin Briscoe, WR, Denver 375. Robert Holmes, RB, Kansas City 417. Rocky Bleier, RB, Pittsburgh 428. Larry Cole, DE, Dallas 441. Bob Lee, QB, Minnesota
Walt Sweeney 6'4" 256 Guard San Diego Chargers 1963 - 1975 13 Seasons 181 Games Played 9 Pro Bowls
Walter Francis Sweeney was a first round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 1963 American Football League draft. He was the second player picked overall. The Cleveland Browns also drafted him in the 8th round, the 107th player picked overall, in the NFL. Walt attended Syracuse University. Playing mostly Offensive Guard, Walt was a key member of the Orangeman's offensive line. He blocked for 1961 Heisman Trophy Winner Ernie Davis for two years. He also helped Syracuse win the 1961 Liberty Bowl Game. He was recognized as one of the top players in the country when he played in the North-South Game, Coaches All-Star Game, Senior Bowl, and Coaches All-America Game. Walt is a member of the Syracuse All Century Team.
Walt did see action in his rookie year, mostly as a reserve. He got his hands on one kickoff and returned it 18 yards. The Chargers would end up winning the 1963 AFL Championship. Sweeney was fully entrenched as the starting Right Guard in 1964, and finish that season being named to his first AFL All Star Team. Sweeney would earn this distinction every year until the AFL merged with the NFL after the 1969 season. Walt would then earn a Pro Bowl berth the next two seasons up to the conclusion of the 1971 season. His blocking opened up holes for such Chargers Legends like Keith Lincoln, Jacque MacKinnon, Paul Lowe, Dickie Post, Mike Garrett, and Don Woods. He also protected great Quarterbacks like John Hadl, and Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Dan Fouts. He mostly played Guard, but versatile and smart enough to play anywhere along the offensive line when injuries would knock out the other starters. After the 1973 season, Walt was traded to the Washington Redskins. He started the next two seasons for the Redskins before retiring after the 1975 season. Walt Sweeney is a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
Walt Sweeney is definitely on of the greatest offensive linemen to ever have played pro football. He is a member of the AFL's All Time Team. He has been an immense success from college to the pros. He was part of an exciting Chargers offense that was one of the best units to ever have played the game. He was a sound technician who was very athletic. He was equally adept at pass blocking or pulling in front of some of the best rushers to have ever suited up in pads. His exclusion from Canton can only be attributed to his AFL ties. He went to the name number of Pro Bowls as his team mate, Hall of Fame Left Tackle Ron Mix, but still waits to be called. Hall of Fame Center Jim Ringo is the only Syracuse alumni to have played in more Pro Bowls than Sweeney. He is tied with Hall of Fame Running Back Jim Brown as having the second most. I find it amazing to see that this man has not had his long overdue induction into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame yet. This is obviously another case of being snubbed because of the NFL's hatred and envy of the AFL. As time marches on, many of the newer voters will be those with little knowledge of the AFL. Walt's case may get more faint as these events transpire. I suggest all real football fans to wake up the Canton voters in their represented areas. Walt Sweeney most certainly deserves induction.
Notable NFL Players Drafted In 1963 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
2. Jerry Stovall, DB, St. Louis Cardinals 5. Bob Vogel, OT, Baltimore Colts 6. Lee Roy Jordan, LB, Dallas 7. Pat Richter, WR/ P, Washington 13. Don Brumm, DE, St. Louis 14. Dave Robinson, LB, Green Bay 17. Bob Reynolds, OT, St. Louis 18. Ray Mansfeild, OT, Philadelphia 19. John Mackey, TE, Baltimore * 21. Walter Rock, OT, San Francisco 23. Jim Kanicki, DT, Cleveland 28. Tom Brown, DB, Green Bay 35. Ron Snidow, DE, Washington 44. Paul Flatley, WR, Minnesota 47. Jerry Logan, DB, Baltimore 55. Chuck Walton, G, Detroit 88. Lee Roy Caffey, LB, Philadelphia 89. Willie Richardson, WR, Baltimore 102. Tom Woodeshick, RB, Philadelphia 114. Willis Crenshaw, RB, St. Louis 129. Jackie Smith, TE, St. Louis * 136. Bill Nelsen, QB, Pittsburgh 144. Ralph Heck, LB, Philadelphia 145. Winston Hill, OT, Baltimore 146. Ray Schoenke, G, Dallas 152. Karl Kassulke, DB, Detroit 154. Marv Fleming, TE, Green Bay 157. Chuck Walker, G, Saint Louis 186. Nate Ramsey, DB, Philadelphia 220. Andy Russell, LB, Pittsburgh 241. Larry Stallings, LB, Saint Louis 259. Jim Turner, K, Washington 265. Buck Buchanan, DT, NY Giants * 278. Homer Jones, WR, NY Giants
1963 AFL Draft (Players Who Played In The AFL)
1. Buck Buchanan, DT, Dallas Texans * 5. Kermit Alexander, DB, Denver 9. Jim Dunaway, DT, Buffalo 21. Tom Janik, DB, Denver 48. George Saimes, DB, Texans 49. Dave Costa, DT, Oakland 56. Bobby Bell, LB, Texans * 60. Hewritt Dixon, RB, Denver 85. Billy Joe, RB, Denver 88. Jerrel Wilson, RB, Texans 188. Daryle Lamonica, QB, Buffalo 192. Dave Hill, OT, Texans 211. Dave Herman, OL, NY Jets 219. Mike Taliaferro, QB, NY Jets
Ed Budde 6'5" 265 Guard Kansas City Chiefs 1963 - 1976 14 Seasons 177 Games Played 7 Pro Bowls
Edward Leon Budde was the first round draft pick of the American Football League's Dallas Texans in 1963. He was the 9th player picked overall. Budde was also a first round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. He was the 4th player picked overall. Budde went to college at Michigan State, where he was a member of the Spartans' famed "B" boys. 5 Spartan offensive linemen were drafted by the NFL in 1963. Dave Herman played 10 years with the NY Jets. Herman was a 2 time AFL All Star and member of their Super Bowl team. Dave Behrman was the 11th pick overall in the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, but elected to go to the Buffalo Bills. He was a member of their 1965 AFL Championship team, and was named an AFL All Star that year. He played just 3 seasons over a 5 years span.
The Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1963 season began. Buddes impact was immediate. He was named to the AFL All Star team in his rookie year. Budde went on to have the second longest tenure in Chiefs franchise history, behind Chiefs Hall of Fame punter Jerrel Wilson. Budde was fast and explosive. He would pancake most of his opponents with regular proficiency. He had the quickness to get to the next level to clear even a wider path for his team mates. He was also technically sound and rarely let his opponent sack the Chiefs quarterback. Budde went to 7 Pro Bowls in his first 9 seasons. He was hurt in 1975 and only played one game. After returning the next year to play 11 games, Budde retired after the 1976 season. He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
He played in six AFL All-Star games. He was named to the Sporting News AFL All-League team in 1969. Budde was the first offensive lineman to be selected by the Associated Press as an Offensive Player of the Week. Ed Budde is considered to be one of the greatest Guards to have ever have played in the AFL by many. He helped lead the Chiefs to two American Football League Championships wins and a victory in Super Bowl IV. Ed Budde was named to the AFL’s All Time team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His son, Brad Budde, also played Guard with the Chiefs for 6 seasons.
Ed Budde may be the greatest offensive lineman to have ever played for the Chiefs. That is quite a statement when you recall the long list of NFL greats who have been Chiefs. He was very athletic and strong. He did not miss a game his first 9 seasons, and missed just 3 games in his first 12 years. He was the anchor of a great Chiefs offensive line that featured such greats as perenial All Pro Center Jack Rudnay, perennial All Pro OT Jim Tyrer, OT Dave Hill, G George Daney and perenial All Pro TE Fred Arbanas. All, except Daney, are members of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. Tyrer and Arbanas are also members of the AFL All Time Team team. Perhaps, due to all of the great Chiefs players during Buddes era, Canton has overlooked Ed Budde's place in history? If you look at all of his accomplishments on the gridiron, it should be a fairly easy decision to induct Ed Budde into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Notable NFL Players Drafted In 1963 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
2. Jerry Stovall, DB, St. Louis Cardinals 5. Bob Vogel, OT, Baltimore Colts 6. Lee Roy Jordan, LB, Dallas 7. Pat Richter, WR/ P, Washington 13. Don Brumm, DE, St. Louis 14. Dave Robinson, LB, Green Bay 16. Bobby Bell, T, Minnesota * 17. Bob Reynolds, OT, St. Louis 18. Ray Mansfeild, OT, Philadelphia 19. John Mackey, TE, Baltimore * 21. Walter Rock, OT, San Francisco 23. Jim Kanicki, DT, Cleveland 28. Tom Brown, DB, Green Bay 35. Ron Snidow, DE, Washington 44. Paul Flatley, WR, Minnesota 47. Jerry Logan, DB, Baltimore 55. Chuck Walton, G, Detroit 88. Lee Roy Caffey, LB, Philadelphia 89. Willie Richardson, WR, Baltimore 102. Tom Woodeshick, RB, Philadelphia 114. Willis Crenshaw, RB, St. Louis 129. Jackie Smith, TE, St. Louis * 136. Bill Nelsen, QB, Pittsburgh 144. Ralph Heck, LB, Philadelphia 145. Winston Hill, OT, Baltimore 146. Ray Schoenke, G, Dallas 152. Karl Kassulke, DB, Detroit 154. Marv Fleming, TE, Green Bay 157. Chuck Walker, G, Saint Louis 186. Nate Ramsey, DB, Philadelphia 220. Andy Russell, LB, Pittsburgh 241. Larry Stallings, LB, Saint Louis 259. Jim Turner, K, Washington 265. Buck Buchanan, DT, NY Giants * 278. Homer Jones, WR, NY Giants
1963 AFL Draft (Players Who Played In The AFL)
1. Buck Buchanan, DT, Dallas Texans * 2. Walt Sweeney, G, San Diego 5. Kermit Alexander, DB, Denver 9. Jim Dunaway, DT, Buffalo 21. Tom Janik, DB, Denver 48. George Saimes, DB, Texans 49. Dave Costa, DT, Oakland 56. Bobby Bell, LB, Texans * 60. Hewritt Dixon, RB, Denver 85. Billy Joe, RB, Denver 88. Jerrel Wilson, RB, Texans 188. Daryle Lamonica, QB, Buffalo 192. Dave Hill, OT, Texans 211. Dave Herman, OL, NY Jets 219. Mike Taliaferro, QB, NY Jets
Billy Johnson 5'9" 170 Wide Receiver Houston Oilers 1974 - 1988 14 Seasons 143 Games Played 337 Receptions 4,211 Yards Receiving 10,785 Total Yards 33 Touchdowns Total 3 Pro Bowls 1975 Pro Bowl MVP 1983 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
William Arthur Johnson was a 15th round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1974. He was the 365th player picked overall despite the initial objections of GM/Head Coach Sid Gillman who didn't want a "midget" on his team.
He had played at Widener College in Pennsylvania, where he was a stand out. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
He and his college team mate, Joe Fields (a long time NY Jets offensive lineman), both retired in 1988 and are the last players from Widener to have played in the NFL. Johnson was so good that he ended up averaging over 250 all-purpose yards per game at Widener.
He made the team as a return man and stood out immediately. He was given the moniker "White Shoes" in high school when he wore the white cleats, as opposed to most wearing black cleats.
In his first four seasons, he returned five punts for touchdowns, as well as two kickoffs for scores. In 1975 he tied an NFL record with four kick returns for touchdowns in a season.
He would celebrate his touchdowns with the "Funky Chicken" dance. This dance, coupled by his shoes, made him a fan favorite across the league. He was used as a third-down slot receiver in multiple receiver sets mostly.
He caught 116 balls with seven touchdowns his first three years. He was mostly used as a possession type due to the teams offensive scheme, but he also ran the ball for a touchdown.
Johnson caught 20 balls his fourth year for three touchdowns at a 20-yards per catch average. He also took a reverse 61 yards for a touchdown, the last rushing touchdown of his career.
In 1978, he blew out his knee during the fifth game. He only managed two games the following season due to its lingering effects. In 1980, he returned to be used only as a third wide receiver. He caught 31 balls for two touchdowns.
Disenchanted with his role, "White Shoes" bolted for the Canadian Football League to play for the Montreal Allouetttes. That year in Montreal, Billy caught 65 passes for 1,060 yards and five touchdowns.
Johnson returned to the NFL in 1982 by signing with the Atlanta Falcons. He played nine games that year and only caught two passes. He was able to return 24 punts at an impressive clip of 11.4 YPR.
"White Shoes" was used as the Falcons full time punt returner in 1983. He also started at wide receiver. He caught a team and career high 64 passes while scoring five touchdowns total. One touchdown was via a punt return.
He won the Pro Bowl MVP that year when he took a punt 90-yards for a touchdown, as well as accumulating 159 total return yards. Both are still Pro Bowl records.
He got off to a good start in 1984 by catching 24 balls for three touchdowns, as well as a touchdown on a punt return. He was injured the sixth game of the year and did not return until 1985.
Johnson was used very sparingly as a punt returner in 1985, instead focusing on his wide receiver duties. He caught 62 passes for a career high 830 yards to go with five touchdowns.
He was hurt the following year and caught only six passes and took eight punt returns in four games. He came back to play 12 games the following year and returned 21 punts and caught eight passes.
Johnson left the Falcons, but tried to play for the Washington Redskins in 1988. He played only one game and fielded four punts, returning three of them for 26 yards. He then retired.
Billy "White Shoes" Johnson was named to both the NFL's 1980's All-Decade Team, and to the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
He set seven team records in Houston and four in Atlanta and held the NFL record for punt return yardage when he retired. He is still ranked third all-time in NFL history for punt return yardage and still holds the Oilers / Titans franchise record for punt return yardage.
Johnson may be known to many fans as an innovators of the touchdown dance. He is credited as being one of the first, but certainly his can stake claim to having been the best ever.
Celebrations with more choreography may have been employed since then, but it is much like the students trying to emulate the master. He was not just a crowd pleaser with his dance.
He was a premier return specialist who took eight kicks to the end zone in his career. He also worked hard to become a threat at wide receiver. Others, like Terence Mathis, Troy Brown, and Derrick Mason, have followed similar steps in their careers.
Johnson was a very special player who battled through injuries and came back to produce. One must remember that knee injuries in those days ended, or slowed down, most careers. The surgical procedures used then are a far cry from today's advances in medicine.
It took even more determination to return, and a lot longer of a rehab session. "White Shoes" may not make every ones list of guys who should be inducted into Canton, but he is on the All-Time NFL Team as the only return specialist.
This fact, coupled with his stats and the fun he brought to the game, make it a no-brainer that he should be inducted into Canton.
Other notable players drafted in 1974. (* denotes Hall of Fame Inductee)
1. Ed "Too Tall" Jones, DE, Dallas 5. John Dutton, DT, Baltimore 14. Randy Gradishar, LB, Denver 21. Lynn Swann, WR, Pittsburgh * 24. Roger Carr, WR, Baltimore 34. Steve Nelson, LB, NE Patriots 45. Dave Casper, TE, Oakland * 46. Jack Lambert, LB, Pittsburgh * 49. Delvin Williams, RB, San Francisco 51. Matt Blair, LB, Minnesota 53. Danny White, QB, Dallas 65. Dexter Bussey, RB, Detroit 75. Mark Van Eeghen, RB, Oakland 78. Nat Moore, WR, Miami 82. John Stallworth, WR, Pittsburgh * 89. Frank LeMaster, LB, Philadelphia 125. Mike Webster, C, Pittsburgh * 134. Don Woods, RB, Green Bay 161. Noah Jackson, G, Baltimore 169. Efren Herrera, K, Detroit 236. Ray Rhodes, WR, NY Giants 376. Dave Wannstedt, T, Green Bay
Jack Tatum 5'10" 200 Safety Oakland Raiders 1971 - 1980 10 Seasons 136 Games Played 37 Interceptions 10 Fumble Recoveries 900 Return Yards 1 Touchdown 5 Pro Bowls
John David Tatum was a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1971. He was the 19th player picked overall. Tatum did not start playing organized football until his tenth grade year. By his senior year in high school, Tatum was a high school All American. Tatum was recently named one of New Jersey's top ten high school defensive players of the century. Tatum went to college at Ohio State University. Two legends there would help change his path. Woody Hayes was planning to use Tatum as a running back, when his assistant coach, Lou Holtz, persuaded Hayes to move Tatum into the Safety position. Jack was used in several various ways in the Buckeyes defensive schemes. He would cover the other teams best receiver, and also play Linebacker. In his first game, as a Buckeye, Tatum knocked the opposing teams starting tight end and running out from the game. Jack was All Big Ten from his sophomore year until his senior year, and was a two time All American. He helped Ohio State get to two National Championship games in his collegiate career, winning once. Ohio State lost just two games in Tatum's three seasons playing. In his senior year, Tatum was named the National Defensive Player of the Year, and was a top finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Jack Tatum is a member of the the Ohio State Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. Current Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel has instituted a "Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award," given to the player who had the most impressive defensive hit of the game.
Tatum made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the NFL. One game, he knocked out two Baltimore Colts from the game. Hall of Fame Tight End John Mackey was one of the players. He intercepted 4 passes that year, and returned them for 136 yards. Tatum intercepted 4 passes the next year as well, gaining 91 yards on returns. He also set an then NFL record by returning a fumble 104 yards for the only touchdown of his NFL career. By 1973, Tatum was one of the most feared and respected Free Safeties in the NFL. He missed the first game of his career that year, but was named to his first Pro Bowl squad. Tatum would go on to be named to the Pro Bowl team until 1977. In 1977, Tatum snared 6 interceptions, and returned them for a career high 146 yard. He was a key ingredient to the Raiders team that would go on to win Super Bowl XI. Tatum would go on to intercept 5 passes over the course of the next two seasons. Tatum would then be traded to the Houston Oilers prior to the 1980 season. Jack responded by intercepting a career high 7 interception for 100 yards, despite not starting one game. He helped the Oilers win the AFC Central Division Championship. Houston, coincidentally, would then lose to the Wild Card Oakland Raiders in the first round. Tatum retired after that game. His 164 yards returned via fumbles ranks 16th All Time in NFL history, and his 736 yards returned by interception ranks 38th All Time in NFL history. Tatum's 636 yards rank first in Raiders history. It is 12 yards more than Dave Grayson, the player Jack replaced at Free Safety. No matter how one looks at Tatum, he in part of some of some of the most memorable moments in the NFL's history. The famous "Immaculate Reception", at the end of a playoff game in 1972, started when Tatum laid out Pittsburgh's John Fuqua. Most fans recall Hall of Fame Running Back Franco Harris gathering the caromed ball and taking it for a game winning touchdown.
In Super Bowl XI, Vikings Wide Receiver Sammy White was leveled by Tatum on a crossing pattern, but the Vikings Great held onto the ball.
During a 1978 pre-season game, Tatum hit New England Wide Receiver Darryl Stingley in a play that would paralyze Stingley for life.
Tatum happened to play on a team that was called the "Bad Boys" of the 1970's NFL. It was a unique roster full of characters. Tatum was nicknamed the "Assassin" due to his hard hitting ability. The hit on Stingley, coupled with the Raiders already established reputation, gave Jack an unfair label of being a dirty player. He was vilified by casual observers, and anti-Raider media types after this play. Tatum once said, “I always wanted to hit someone hard, and if they got hurt, that was just part of the game. But you always wanted them to be ok.” Tatum admitted his hitting prowess "borderlines on felonious assault." The game was much rougher back then. Yet the media continues to try to spin this fabricated tale that Jack was a cheap short artist. "They said on ESPN that I hit Stingley in the back and that's just a lie," Tatum said. "It's amazing to me that they lie like that when they can just look at the hit. They have it on tape." As you can see in the picture, the hit was clean. Even then-Patriots Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks said the hit was far from dirty. Propaganda machines like ESPN are probably a big factor as to why Tatum has yet to be inducted into Canton. Many media types try to say Jack is remorseless about this play. Tatum has expressed sorrow on televised interviews, only to have that part edited out. "I feel sorry for what happened to him," said Tatum, "I tried to apologize to him a number of times, but people around him wouldn't let that happen." Idiots like Sports Illustrateds Paul Zimmerman, a voter, are other big reasons why Tatum has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is sick, and unfair, that Tatum is being labeled for one play. A play no one wants to remember in its reality, rather to fabricate this villainous imagery. This play is the main reason the NFL went from the 10 yard chuck rule to the current 5 yard rule. Tatum is still part of the NFL today as part of the Uniform Code Enforcement Team, commonly known as the “fashion police". There needs to be one major enforcement. This on the media who lie. Jack Tatum may have hit guys hard, but that is the way the game was played then. He played within the rules. He was not flagged nor fined for his hit on Stingley. That is the reality. Tatum is a player many look up to. Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott is on record for idolizing Tatum. That is a reality. It is time for the voters to do away with spun fabrications and deal with reality. Just look at his statistics if you want to have disdain for his impact. Jack Tatum deserves his place in Canton.
Notable Players Drafted In 1971 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
1. Jim Plunkett, QB, New England 2. Archie Manning, QB, New Orleans 3. Dan Pastorini, QB, Houston Oilers 4. J.D. Hill, WR, Buffalo 6. John Riggins, RB, NY Jets * 8. Frank Lewis, WR, Pittsburgh 9. John Brockington, RB, Green Bay 10. Isiah Robertson, LB, LA Rams 14. Clarence R. Scott, DB, Cleveland 15. Vern Holland, OT, Cincinnati 17. Norm Thompson, DB, Saint Louis Cardinals 20. Jack Youngblood, DE, LA Rams * 21. Bob Bell, DT, Detroit 22. Don McCauley, RB, Baltimore Colts 27. Julius Adams, DE, New England 34. Jack Ham, LB, Pittsburgh * 35. Dwight Harrison, DB, Denver 39. Wilbur Young, DE, Kansas City 43. Dan Dierdorf, OT, St. Louis Cardinals * 45. Phil Viilapiano, LB, Oakland 48. Charlie Weaver, LB, Detroit 56. Lynn Dickey, QB, Houston Oilers 57. Jim Braxton, FB, Buffalo 63. Dave Elmendorf, DB, LA Rams 64. Tony McGee, DE, Chicago 67. Ken Anderson, QB, Cincinnati 68. Charlie Hall, LB, Cleveland 71. Bob Newton, G, Chicago 75. Willie Parker, C, San Francisco 77. Bill Gregory, DE, Dallas 79. Lyle Alzado, DE, Denver 86. Gerry Mullins, G, Pittsburgh 98. Don Morrison, OT, New Orleans 99. Joe Theismann, QB, Miami 104. Dwight White, DE, Pittsburgh 106. Larry Brown, OT, Pittsburgh 107. Donnie Green, OT, Buffalo 111. Ray Jarvis, WR, Atlanta 115. Bryant Salter, DB, San Diego 120. Mike Adamle, RB, Kansas City 123. Bob Moore, TE, Oakland 134. Willie Alexander, DB, Houston 136. Phil Wise, DB, NY Jets 142. Doug Dieken, OT, Cleveland 147. Mel Gray, WR, St. Louis 148. Ray Brown, DB, Atlanta 160. Bob Chandler, WR, Buffalo 161. Harold Carmichael, WR, Philadelphia 179. John Watson, G, San Francisco 191. Mike Sensibaugh, DB, Kansas City 199. Ron Yankowski, DE, St. Louis 203. Ernie Holmes, DT, Pittsburgh 206. Ron Jessie, WR, Dallas 212. Floyd Rice, LB, Houston 230. Vern Den Herder, DE, Miami 262. Bob Pollard, DE, New Orleans 268. Mike Wagner, FS, Pittsburgh 272. George Starke, OT, Washington 276. Nate Allen, DB, Kansas City 292. Rich Sowells, DB, NY Jets 297. Jeff Severson, DB, Washington 304. Tom Blanchard, P, NY Giants 305. Horace Jones, DE, Oakland 322. Dan Ryczek, C, Washington 330. Dave Roller, DT, NY Giants 352. Rick Kingrea, LB, Cleveland 361. Bill Dunstan, DT, San Francisco 388. Jeff Wright, S, Minnesota 418. Randy Vataha, WR, LA Rams 441. Don Nottingham, FB, Baltimore
Charles Richard LeBeau was a 5th round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 1959 draft. He was the 58th player picked overall. He went to college at Ohio State University. There, he played under Woody Hayes as both a Running Back and Cornerback. He was a key member of the Buckeyes 1957 National Championship team. During that season, he had one of the best games of collegiate career against arch rival Michigan University. He scored two touchdowns in the Buckeyes 31-14 win.
LeBeau did not make the Browns team, and was cut in training camp. He would then be picked up by the Detroit Lions. He played 6 games in his rookie year, mostly on special teams. He did recover the first fumble of his career that season. In 1960, LeBeau earned the starting job at Cornerback opposite newly acquired Hall of Famer Dick "Night Train" Lane. The Lions defense also had Hall of Fame MLB Joe Schmidt, Hall of Fame Defensive Tackle Alex Karras, Hall of Fame Safety Yale Lary and Pro Bowl Safety Terry Barr. LeBeau picked off 4 passes. The next 3 seasons, LeBeau and Lane formed the best Cornerback tandem in the NFL. LeBeau picked off 3 passes in 1961, then 4 in 1962. He scored the first two touchdowns of his career that year, by interception and fumble recovery. In 1963, LeBeau picked off 5 passes and returned them for 158 yards. He also returned one interception 70 yards for a touchdown. LeBeau would then make his first of 3 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 1964. That season also marked Larys last in the NFL, and Lane played only 7 games. LeBeau still managed 5 interceptions that year. 1965 was the last year for both Lane and Schmidt. LeBeau picked off 7 passes and returned one for the last touchdown of his career. 1966 would be LeBeaus last Pro Bowl season, when he intercepted 4 passes. LeBeau stayed steady the next several years. He picked off 4 passes in 1967, opposite of Hall of Fame Cornerback Lem Barney under new coach, and former team mate, Joe Schmidt. LeBeau and Barney would then team up for the next 3 years as one of the best CB tandems in the league. LeBeau then had 5 picks in 1968. In 1969, he snatched 6 interceptions. 1970 saw Dick LeBeau have a career high 9 interceptions. At 34 years old in 1971, LeBeau would intercept 6 passes. 1972 would be the last year as a Detroit Lion for LeBeau and Schmidt. LeBeau was moved to Free Safety that year, and would not intercept a pass for the first time since his rookie season. He did recover the last fumble of his career that year.
Dick LeBeau only retired from the NFL as a player after 1972. He went into coaching in 1973 for the Philadelphia Eagles as a Secondary Coach. He stayed with the team until 1975. He then held the same duties with the Green Bay Packers from 1976 to 1979. In 1980, he moved to the Cincinnati Bengals. He served as a Secondary Coach, and as Defensive Coordinator with the Bengals until 1991. LeBeau then served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992 to 1996. This is when LeBeau would gain notoriety for inventing the now commonly used "Zone Blitz" defense. The Steelers defense featured such greats as Hall of Fame Cornerback Rod Woodson, All Pro Linebackers Greg Lloyd, Hardy Nickerson, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown, Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon and Strong Safety Carnell Lake. They would go to the Super Bowl after the 1995 season. In 1997, LeBeau returned to the Bengals as a Defensive Coordinator. He would then be named Head Coach of the Bengals in 2000, and held that job until 2002. LeBeau then worked for the Buffalo Bills in 2003. He returned to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004, and is still the Defensive Coordinator of the Steelers today. In 2005, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. Dick LeBeau is one of the most respected coaches in NFL history, obviously, and is called "Coach Dad" by his players. Dick LeBeaus playing career alone should have him inducted into Canton by now. If inducted, he would be the first player from the 1959 NFL Draft to make it. He is a member of the Detroit Lions Legends. His 62 interceptions are the most in the history of the Detroit Lions.
If you just look at his coaching career alone, he is worthy of induction. If you put both factors together, it is a no brainer. I cannot fathom what the voters hold up is. There in NO QUESTION about it, Dick LeBeau belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame right now!
Notable Players Drafted In 1959 (None are a Canton Inductee Yet)
Robert Lorenzo Brazile, Jr. was a first round pick by the Houston Oilers in 1975. He was the sixth player picked overall. Picked just before him was his college teammate Walter Payton.
Brazile was rated as the premier collegiate linebacker in 1974 while playing at Jackson State. He started his collegiate football career as a tight end, but switched to linebacker during his sophomore year. Brazile was called "Mr. Versatile", a moniker he earned because of his ability to excel at either the inside or outside linebacker slot.
He helped lead Jackson State to two Southwestern Athletic Conference championships in 1972 and 1973. Brazile is a member of the Jackson State Sports Hall of Fame, the SWAC Hall of Fame, and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Brazile was part a deal former Oilers coach Sid Gillman had made at the end of 1973. The Oilers acquired Kansas City's 1975 first round selection, along with nose tackle Curley Culp, for defensive end John Matuszak.
New head coach/general manager Bum Phillips switched Houstons base defense from the from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Brazile is credited by many to be most important in making the 3-4 popular by his ability to rush the quarterback from his outside linebacking position.
Brazile was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1975. He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons. Brazile was a key member of Oilers teams that went to back-to-back AFC Championship games in 1978 and 1979.
In 1984, Braziles wife died in a car wreck. He retired immediately from the NFL. Brazile was chosen on the 1970's NFL All-Decade Team. He is the only linebacker from that team not in Canton.
Many may remember his moniker in the NFL. Brazile was nicknamed "Dr. Doom" by his team mates after being tossed out of a game in his rookie year for hitting Washington Redskin Quarterback Billy Kilmer in the head. Some may recall the time he bulldogged Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Running Back Tony Dorsett by the facemask.
Brazile was a viscious hitter. He was equally excellent is pass coverage and run support as he was rushing the passer. He didn't always play on good teams, so he wasn't given the nation wide notice, during that era, he deserved.
Since the NFL did not record sacks as a statistic until 1982, his impact on the game may not be fully realized by newer fans. Those who saw Brazile play knew he was always one of the better defensive players in the NFL in his era year in and year out. Robert Brazile deserves to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Ask his peers.
Notable Players Drafted In 1975 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
Edward Alvin White White was drafted in the second round of the 1969 AFL/NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was the 39th player picked overall. Ed Whites high school stadium is named Ed White Stadium. In college, White played for the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears. He was a Noseguard for the famous "Bear Minimum" defense that allowed opponents an average of only 3.6 yards per play. White was selected a consensus All-American player in 1968 for defense. White was also used as a receiver and quarterback on occasion. Ed White was inducted into the University of California, Berkeley Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993. White is also a member of the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame, Breitbard Hall of Fame, and College Football Hall of Fame.
White was then switched to Left Offensive Guard, against his wishes, after being drafted. He earned the starting job mid-way into his second year. He also ended up playing Defensive Tackle towards the end of the 1970 season, after injuries ravaged the defensive line. White would go on to team with Hall of Fame Left Tackle Ron Yary, and Center Mick Tingelhoff, to give the Vikings one of the best offensive lines in the NFL during the 1970's. The Vikings would appear in four Super Bowls during Whites tenure in Minnesota. Three appearances were between 1973 to 1976. The Vikings won the last NFL Championship in 1969, before the NFL-AFL merger. In 1974, he was named the the UPI 2nd team all-conference, and was named by the Newspaper Ent. Association's 1st team All-NFL. Before 1975, White was switched to Right Guard and was named to his first Pro Bowl that year. He would be named to the Pro Bowl the following two seasons as well. In 1977, White was injured and was only able to start 8 games. Before the 1978 season, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers for running back Rickey Young. He would earn his last Pro Bowl nod in 1979, and was one of the first players to be named to the Pro Bowl from both the AFC and the NFC in his career. White played with the Chargers until 1985. When injuries hit the Chargers offensive line in 1984, White ended up starting at Right Tackle for 13 games. White would then be moved to Left Guard for his final NFL season, and started every game. He was named the Chargers Offensive Lineman of the Year from 1983 to 1985. Ed White was inducted into the San Diego Charger Hall of Fame in 2004.
Ed White was more than a versatile athlete. He was extremely athletic, and incredibly strong. White was the the NFL arm–wrestling champion as well. White has said he hasn't lost an arm-wrestling match since he was in high school to a man 200 lbs heavier than him. White was also noted for his exceptional intelligence on the field. He came from an educated family, and his brother is a world renown expert and physician in anesthesiology. Ed White is an artist who also holds a degree in landscape architecture. White has often said he disliked playing on the offensive side of the line, and thought he would have been a much better player on defense. Still, he was one of the best in his era. Many of his contemporaries have long said Ed White belongs in Canton. White also made his team mates better just by practicing against him daily. Hall of Fame DT Alan Page, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, Louie Kelcher, and Hall of Fame DE Fred Dean all have praised White for making them better players. He is universally considered as one of the finest offensive line coaches on any level of the game. White has both college and pro coaching experience as he spent seven seasons in the NFL, working with the San Diego Chargers from 1986-87 and 1989-91, the Los Angeles Rams in 1988 and 1998 with the St. Louis Rams. He also spent four seasons as the offensive line coach of San Diego State under Ted Tollner from 1994 to '97. While with the Aztecs, he developed several lightly recruited players into accomplished collegians, including NFL first round draft choice Kyle Turley with the New Orleans Saints and Ephraim Salaam with the Atlanta Falcons. Both were rookie starters in the NFL. White returned to Cal to coach the offensive line from 1999-2001. White was called by Turley, "the best coach I ever had at any level." White has recently coached at San Diego State in 2005. Ed White was one of the most complete Offensive Guards in the NFL throughout his career. Stats for guys who play his position are ignored by most. The most a fan notices a Guard is when he makes a mistake. A big mistake has been made for years, and still continues on to this day. The culprits are those who vote for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Ed White may not be remembered by many of them, but he is certainly respected by those who played against him, or watched him play. It is time to correct the mistake of not having inducted Ed White into Canton.
Notable Players Drafted In 1969 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
Louis Donnel Wright was drafted in the first round of the 1975 draft by the Denver Broncos. He was the 17th player picked overall. Wright first went to college at Arizona State University, but then transferred to San Jose State University. Wright was also a noted track star at SJSU. The long jump was his best event. Wright's San Jose State best of 25-feet-7 ranks in the top-five in school history. He also won two letters in track and once ran the 100 in 9.6 seconds. Wright started at Cornerback in his two years at SJSU, and intercepted 3 passes in his career there. After he finished his San Jose State career, he played in the 1974 East-West Shrine Game and 1974 Senior Bowl. Louis Wright is a member of the San Jose State University Hall of Fame.
Wright started all 11 games that he played in his rookie year. He intercepted 2 passes and recovered one fumble. In 1977, he had 3 interceptions for 128 yards. He also scored the first touchdown of his career. Wright was a key member of the "Orange Crush" defense that went to Super Bowl XII. Wright would garner his first Pro Bowl nod that year as well. Wright would make the Pro Bowl in each of the next 2 seasons as well. In 1979, Wright took a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown. In 1980, Wright was named to the UPI All-Conference Second Team. He ended up missing half on 1981 due to an injury, but still was named to the UPI All-Conference Second Team. Wright came back at full health for 1982 with 2 interceptions. Wright snared a career high 6 interceptions in 1983, and was named to the Pro Bowl team. In 1984, Wright would return a fumble for a touchdown and was named to The Sporting News All-NFL First Team, Pro Football Weekly All-NFL First Team, Pro Football Weekly All-Conference First Team, UPI All-Conference Second Team, and Newspaper Ent. Association All-Conference Second Team. 1985 saw him intercept 5 passes, and score the last touchdown of his career. Wright also made his last Pro Bowl team that year as well. Wright played his last season in 1986. He picked off 3 balls, and helped lead the Broncos to Super Bowl XXI. Louis Wright is a member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
Louis Wright was a shutdown Cornerback the day he walked onto an NFL field. Teams would hardly throw the ball to his side of the field. Wright was also a hard hitter, and was one of best run supporting Cornerbacks of his era. He was vital to the "Orange Crush" defense. Hall of Famer Stan Jones coached a line that featured Lyle Alzado and Rubin Carter. Tom Jackson and Randy Gradishar were top notch Linebackers. Strong Safety Billy Thompson was also great. The Broncos were #1 in the NFL against the run in 1977. Louis Wright was consistently excellent. His 163 starts rank seventh on All-Time in Broncos history. Opponents feared him. He is the greatest defensive back in the history of the Denver Broncos. Many of his contemporaries feel he was the best Cornerback in the AFC, if not the entire NFL, during his career. He was big, and fast. He wasn't one to blow his own horn, and has flown under the radar of the Hall of Fame voters since he has retired. Recreational football fans may look at his stats and not be impressed, but tackles were not a recorded statistic throughout much of Wrights career. He was always amongst the teams leaders in tackles, which is impressive when you consider how much teams tried to avoid him. If you were blessed enough to have seen Louis Wright play, then you would agree he deserves induction into Canton.
Notable Players Drafted In 1975 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
William Ray Guy was a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1973 draft. He was the 23rd player picked overall. Ray attended college at the University of Southern Mississippi. There, he set school records in placekicking, punting and as a defensive back. He finished with a career punting average of 44.7 yards a kick, which is the highest average in NCAA history for punters with 200-249 attempts in their careers. Guy was the NCAA punting champion in 1972 with a 46.2 average. He averaged 45.3 and 42.9 in his other seasons. Guys 8 interception in one season is still a Golden Eagles record. Guy is 2nd All Time in school history with 18 career interceptions. His 268 interception return yardage is currently the 3rd most in school history. Guy also set a then NCAA record when he kicked a 61 yard field goal, and still ranks fourth in school history in the most field goals made in a career. In 1972, he was a member of The Sporting News, Football Writers Association, Walter Camp, Gridiron, Football News, Playboy and Associated Press All-America teams as a Safety and Punter. Guy was named Most Valuable Player of the 1972 College All-Star game, in which college all-stars played the current Super Bowl champion. Ray was also outstanding in baseball. He struck out 266 players in 220.2 innings, and threw 14 complete games in 31 total games in his career. He was drafted by Major League Baseball for 3 straight years. Ray Guy is the first Golden Eagle to ever play in the NFL. He is also the first player to have his jersey retired in school history. Guy is not only a member of Southern Mississippi's All Century Team, but he is also a member of the schools Hall of Fame, the Mississippi and Georgia Sports Halls of Fame, and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Guy is also the first punter to ever be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Ray Guy is considered the greatest Punter to have ever played college football, and has a trophy named after him. The Ray Guy Award is given annually to the best collegiate punter in the nation.
Ray Guy is the first punter to ever be drafted in the first round by the NFL. His impact was immediate. He was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, when he averaged 45.3 yards per punt. Guy would be named the Pro Bowl Punter every year up until 1978. At the 1976 Pro Bowl, Ray Guy became the first punter to hit the Louisiana Superdome video screen. In 1979, he was named to the UPI All Conference Second Team, and the Newspaper Ent. Association All-NFL Second Team. He was named to his final Pro Bowl in 1980 after averaging 43.6 yards per punt. He also booted a career long punt of 77 yards that year. For some unknown reason, he was not named to the 1981 Pro Bowl, despite punting a career high 96 times and having a 43.7 average. He was named to the UPI All Conference Second Team. Guy booted the ball over 70 yards in 4 of his seasons, and kicked 5 over 60 yards in one season alone. His shortest season long was 57, in the strike shortened 1982 season. That season also was the only season of his career when he did not average over 40 yards per punt, finishing with a 39.1 average. Guy ended the last 3 years of his career averaging 90 punts per season, when he retired after the 1986 season. Ray Guy did more than just punt for the Raiders. He threw 3 career passes, completing 2 for 54 yards. His first career pass was intercepted. Guy also rushed for 43 yards on 11 attempts. In 1976, Guy was asked to kick an extra point, but missed. Ray only had 3 punts blocked in his entire career, and never had a punt returned for a touchdown. He led the NFL in punting three times also. He also kicked off for aging kicker George Blanda, a Hall of Famer.
Ray Guy was an integral part of the Raiders. He also was on 3 Super Bowl winning teams in Oakland during his career. The highlight of his Super Bowls was in 1983. His punt in Super Bowl XVIII pinned Washington inside their 12 yard line, which led to a Raiders touchdown via a turnover the next play. Ray was also named the punter on the National Football League's 75th Anniversary Team, the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team and as a member of the NFL 1970's All Century team. He was recently inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
If you saw Ray Guy, you must be scratching your head right now as to why he isn't yet in Canton. His punts were legendary. Other teams would test the balls that he punted for helium, due to the heights his punts attained. I had thought, after seeing Kicker Jan Stenerud inducted in 1991, that the voters were FINALLY recognizing the importance of special teams. In 1994, Guy was the first punter to be nominated, but he still has not been elected. I find myself often questioning the football knowledge of the voters. Some claim to be "purists", saying that specialist do not belong because they only get on the field for a few plays each game. Still, isn't Cantons reason for existence based upon what players do once on the field? There is NO DOUBT that Ray Guy helped the Raiders win many games. Even if you disregard his statistics, you cannot look past his impact on football at all levels. Wake up the voter in the media that represents your area. Ray Guy deserves his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame right now!
Notable Players Drafted In 1973 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
1. John Matuszak, DE, Houston Oilers
2. Bert Jones, QB, Baltimore Colts
3. Jerry Sisemore, OT, Philadelphia
4. John Hannah, G, New England *
5. Dave Butz, DT, Saint Louis Cardinals
6. Charle Young, TE, Philadelphia
8. Wally Chambers, DT, Chicago
9. Otis Armstrong, RB, Denver
10. Joe Ehrmann, DT, Baltimore
11. Sam Cunningham, FB, New England
12. Chuck Foreman, RB, Minnesota
13. Burgess Owens, DB, NY Jets
15. Isaac Curtis, WR, Cincinnati
19. Darryl Stingley, WR, New England
20. Billy Joe Dupree, TE, Dallas
24. J.T. Thomas, DB, Pittsburgh
26. Joe DeLamielleure. G, Buffalo *
28. Guy Morriss, C, Philadelphia
29. Derland Moore, DT, New Orleans
30. Greg Pruitt, RB, Cleveland
31. Cullen Bryant, RB, LA Rams
35. Mike Barnes, DT, Baltimore
36. Barney Chavous, DE, Denver
37. Ron Jaworski, QB, LA Rams
40. Brad Van Pelt, LB, NY Giants
41. Willie Harper, LB, San Francisco
42. Jim Youngblood, LB, LA Rams
49. Monte Johnson, LB, Oakland
53. Harvey Martin, DE, Dallas
54. Paul Howard, G, Denver
55. Randy Logan, DB, Philadelphia
56. Brad Dusek, LB, New England
63. Terry Metcalf, RB, Saint Louis
64. Dan Fouts, QB, San Diego *
71. Jim Laslavic, LB, Detroit
78. Leon Gray, OT, Miami
79. Gregg Bingham, LB, Houston
88. Tom Jackson, LB, Denver
91. Dick Jauron, DB, Detroit
92. Perry Smith, DB, Oakland
93. Andy Dorris, DE, Cleveland
103. Jeff Yeates, DE, Buffalo
106. Dave Reavis, OT, Pittsburgh
107. Allan Ellis, DB, Chicago
109. Tom Brahaney, C, Saint Louis
110. Wallace Francis, WR, Buffalo
111. Don Strock, QB, Miami
115. Cody Jones, DT, LA Rams
118. Brent McClanahan, RB, Minnesota
156. Ed Newman, G, Miami
157. Shelby Jordan, T, Houston
166. John Grant, DT, Denver
189. Ray Oldham, DB, Baltimore
192. Loren Toews, LB, Pittsburgh
217. Lyle Blackwood, DB, Denver
245. Ken Stone, DB, Washington
248. Nick Mike-Mayer, K, Atlanta
249. Lenvil Elliott, RB, Cincinnati
270. Dan Neal, C, Baltimore
281. Carl Barisich, DT, Cleveland
288. Joe Lavender, CB, Philadelphia
289. Paul Orndorff, RB, New Orleans (WWE Hall of Fame)
300. Garry Puetz, G, NY Jets
302. Boobie Clark, RB, Cincinnati
308. Larry McCarren, C, Green Bay
342. Ray Hamilton, DT, New England
353. Brian Kelley, LB, NY Giants
429. Dave Winfield, TE, Minnesota (MLB Hall of Fame)
Claude B. Humphrey was selected in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft with the 3rd overall choice by the Falcons. He went to college at Tennessee State University. There Humphrey was initially a Offensive Tackle, but was switched to Defensive End in his freshman year, where he became a 3-time All-American. His collegiate stats are unavailable because the school states they are, " in the process of cataloging and annotating records from past seasons now." Claude Humphrey is in the Tennessee State University Hall of Fame, the Georgia Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Hall of Fame, and his high schools Hall of Fame. Humphreys college and high school both retired his jersey.
Humphrey started right away for Atlanta and was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie Of The Year in 1968. In 1976, Humphrey unofficially recorded a career high 15 quarterback sacks because sacks were not recognized by the NFL at that time.. In addition Humphrey was named to the Pro Bowl 6 times between 1970-'74 and in 1977. Humphrey was long recognized as one of the best Defensive Ends in his era, but had played on some mediocre Falcons squads. The 1971 season was their first with a winning record. He retired from the Falcons with 12 games left on the 1978 schedule, saying he felt unappreciated. He once lamented, "In 1969, the Vikings came to town and I scored the winning touchdown (on a fumble return), sacked the quarterback twice, and didn't even get a game ball. They gave the punter a game ball". Humphrey is still the Falcons All Time Sacks Leader with 94.5. He would then be traded to the Philadephia Eagles for two 4th round draft picks. He chose the Eagles because Marion Campbell, who had been his head coach in Atlanta from 1974 to 1976, was the defensive coordinator of Philadelphia. Humphrey said, "I just wanted to reunite with Marion and see if he couldn't help boost my career at that time." It worked, because Humphrey finished second in sacks and led the team with 31 quarterback hurries in 1979. In 1980 Humphrey enjoyed a stellar season as a designated pass rusher, recording a team high 14-1/2 sacks, helping the Eagles become NFC Champions and earn a ticket their first Super Bowl in the franchises history. Humphrey was a member of an excellent defense that had such NFL greats as Bill Bergey, Carl "Big Daddy" Hairston, Herm Edwards, and more. Humphrey finished out his career with the Eagles from 1979-'81.
Claude Humphey was a consistent, and constant force. He had to deal with at least a double team on every snap of the ball. The opponents gameplan, during his Atlanta years, was to try to contain him specifically. Hunphrey still managed to average 10 QB sacks a year, despite only have played 4 games in 1978. Many fans, during that era, missed out on his exploits due to the Falcons overall woes. The lack of publicity had him respected by his peers only, for the most part. This fact is certainly prevelant in the Atlanta Falcons own front offices. For some reason, Humphrey has not yet been inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor. Atlanta showed me how much they care about their own team history recently. I had called to get some information on a few Falcons greats from the 60's and 70's. Atlanta has LOST most of their files and records after they moved offices. Shameful! Claude Humphrey has been a finalist for induction into Canton thrice, but there is no excuse for the hold up. Claude Humphrey should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame many years ago.
Notable Players Drafted In 1968 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
Johnny Nolan Robinson was a 1st round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1960. He was the 3rd player picked overall. He opted to go to the fledgling American Football League, where he was a territorial pick of the Dallas Texans. He went to college at LSU, where he was a Running Back. He earned first-team All-SEC honors in 1958 and second-team All-SEC honors in 1959. He was a member of the 1958 team that won the national championship.. In his 3 years of playing, Robinson rushed for 893 yards at a 4.65 YPC average. He also caught 36 passes in his collegiate career, and scored 14 touchdowns. He is a member of the LSU Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Under Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, Robinson started his pro football career as a Halfback. He rushed for 458 yards in his rookie year at an average of 4.7 YPC. He also caught 41 passes for 611 yards, accruing an impressive 14.9 YPC average. Robinson also returned 14 punts for 207 yards at an outstanding 14.8 YPR average. Robinson also returned 3 kickoffs for 54 yards. He scored 4 touchdowns rushing, 4 touchdowns receiving, and returned 1 punt for a score. He threw the only pass of his pro career that year too, but it was intercepted. In 1961, Robinson rushed the ball less. He had 52 carries for 200 yards and scored twice via the run. He did catch 35 passes for 601 yards, which is an exceptional YPC average of 17.2. He caught 5 touchdowns that year as well. He only returned 2 punts that year, and would only be asked to return 4 more his entire career.
In 1962, Robinson was moved to Strong Safety on defense by Stram. It turned out to be a great move for the Texans. Though he did catch the last pass of his career on offense for 16 yards, he also picked off 4 passes. The Texans moved to Kansas City after that season and were renamed the Chiefs. Robinson had 3 interceptions in 1963, then 2 interceptions the following year, in 1964. In 1965, Robinson picked off 5 passes and returned them for 99 yards. 1966 was one of Robinson's best years. He set a career high in interceptions with 10, and returned them for 136 yards, while scoring the only defensive touchdown of his career via an interception. He helped lead the Chiefs to the first Super Bowl ever against the Green Bay Packers. Robinson followed that with 5 interceptions in 1967. In 1968, he picked off 6 passes. In 1969, Robinson set a career high with 158 yards off of 8 interceptions. The Chiefs would go on to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Robinson would intercept a pass and recover a fumble that game while playing with broken ribs, which helped keep the Vikings from scoring more than 7 points. Robinson then had a great year in 1970, when the AFL merged with the NFL. He tied his career high with 10 interceptions. He also had 155 interception return yards. He took a fumble 46 yards for the last touchdown of his professional career. In 1971, Robinson had 4 interceptions. His last game came on Christmas Day, when the Chiefs and Miami Dolphins played the the longest game in NFL history. It was also the Chiefs' last game in Municipal Stadium. Robinson retired during the off season.
Johnny Robinson hold the Chiefs franchise record for a Safety with 57 interceptions for his career. He ranks second overall in interceptions behind Hall of Fame Cornerback Emmitt Thomas in Chiefs history. He is still ranked 10th All Time in NFL history in career interceptions, tied with 4 other players. His 43 interceptions in the AFL ranks 3rd All Time in the leagues history. He led his team in interceptions 5 times in his career. He is a member of the All-time All-AFL Team and one of only twenty players who were in the AFL for its entire ten-year existence. Robinson was a six-time All-American Football League selection and is credited by many to have redefined the role of the strong safety in professional football. His career was more than spectacular. He was the consummate team player who did whatever it took to help his team win, whether it was on offense, defense, or special teams. His stats do not lie, and his impact on the game is immeasurable. Maybe the voters have yet to induct him due to the inductions of Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, and Bobby Bell? It certainly took the voters way too long to induct Thomas. Much as they are taking much too long in Robinsons case. Many fans today don't know much about the AFL. Some may think I am referring to Arena football? It is up to the NFL Seniors Committee to call this to mind while they still can, and while the players are still alive. The Seniors Committee must be woken up and nudged.
Notable 1960 Draftees (* Denotes Hall of Fame Inductee)
1. Billy Cannon, RB, LA Rams
8. Jim Houston, LB, Cleveland 10. Ron Mix, OT, Baltimore Colts *