Sunday, December 27, 2009
1965 - 1978
187 Games Played
9 Pro Bowls
1972 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
Christian G. Hanburger was an 18th Round draft choice of the Redskins in 1965, played right away and was in the Pro Bowl by his second year in the league.
He would then begin a string of Pro Bowl appearances until 1969. He then resumed that string in 1972 until 1976. Sacks and tackles were not recorded in those days, but Hanburger was a play maker. He is considered one of the best of his era. He was known for his blitzing ability and pass coverage.
Ever the complete player, he returned three fumbles for touchdowns, third most in NFL history, in his career to go with two more on interceptions.
In 1972, Hanburger captained the Over The Hill gangs defense to a Super Bowl appearance, and was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Hanburger was known not only for good speed, but his exceptional quickness. He had the innate ability to diagnose a play before the ball was hiked. He often would cover the other teams tight end and peel off to knock passes down meant for wide receivers. Coach George Allen liked to have a safety first defense, leaving the rest to Hanburger and his fellow linebackers.
Chris Hanburger's nine Pro Bowl appearances are still the most by any player in the entire history of the Washington Redskins. His four First Team All-Pro honors is tied with Hall Of Famer Sammy Baugh as the most ever by any Redskin.
He is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame and 70 Greatest Redskins Team.
The game was played different for the most part in his era. The running game was most teams primary weapon. Tackling with sound fundamentals was a must then. Few players lead with their heads for "kill shots" because they would be injured much faster than today with innovations of modern technology on equipment nowadays.
It also should be remembered that players then did not command the same level of salaries that they do today. Most players would work a second job in the off season, compared to the luxury players have today to train whenever they choose to.
As a kid, I once heard a long time local media type say that he figured Hanburger had over 50 quarterback sacks in his career. This, coupled by the facts that are allowed in the record book truly says that there is NO DOUBT that Chris Hanburger SHOULD BE in the NFL Hall of Fame.
You can help Chris get his respect by signing this petition : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/chrishanburgerhof/
1961 - 1977
3 Pro Bowls
Patrick Fischer was a 17Th round draft choice of the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1961. He returned a few punts and kick offs in his Cardinal career, as well as catching one pass for 22 yards in his rookie year. He made two Pro Bowls in 1964 and '65 for Saint Louis.
He signed with Washington as a free agent in 1968, and made the 1969 Pro Bowl team. He was the teams shut down cornerback on the 1972 Super Bowl team. NFL Films listed Fischer as the Redskins All-Time Neutralizer in the 1980's.
Fischer is still all over the Cardinals record books. He is fifth most interceptions with 29, fifth in interception return yardage with 529, third in interceptions returned for touchdowns with three, third in consecutive games with an interception by accumulating five, ninth longest for the longest interception return for a touchdown when he took it 69 yards in 1967.
In 1964 he returned two interceptions for touchdowns, which ranks second in Cardinals history. Fischer also ranks third for most interceptions in a season for the Cardinals, when he snared 10 in 1964.
He also ranks seventh in Redskin history with 27 interceptions, and fourth ain interception return yardage with 412. When he retired, Fischer had played in a then-NFL record for games played by a cornerback with 213.
Fischer may appear small to those who never saw him play, but those who did know better. His battles with Philadelphia Eagles 6'8" wide receiver Harold Carmichael were legendary. Fisher often was also matched up against Dallas Cowboys wide receiver "Bullet" Bob Hayes, the fastest man in the world at one time.
He was a rough "bump and run" style defender full of tricks. One common move he would use was, if an opponent had to catch a pass over his head, Fischer would punch him in the gut or jaw. He made many plays versus the pass, but also excelled in run support.
Teams would often work away from Fischer and Ken Houston, when passing, due to their propensity of returning interceptions for touchdowns for the Redskins. Pat Fischer played in an era where defenders had to work harder. The 10 yard chuck rule was not changed to 5 yards until the 1979. Wide receivers also had to work harder to get open in that era.
The rushing attack was the primary weapon, and run support from defensive backs was a must in that era. Players like Deion Sanders may have been relegated to only punt return duty back then, possibly nickel back. Fischer also excelled on special teams, which was a must for head coach George Allen and special teams coach Marv Levy, who are both in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
He is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame and 70 Greatest Redskins Team.
Fischer had an excellent career. Is it worthy of Canton? After seeing how long it took a superstar like Emmitt Thomas to get in, and how a long list of former great cornerbacks like Louis Wright, Ken Riley, Lester Hayes, and others are not in yet, it may be a long shot.
Still, after looking at how his numbers compare with those cornerbacks that are inducted, there is no doubt in my mind that Pat Fischer should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
168 Games Played
5,496 Yards Receiving
2 Pro Bowls
Jerry was drafted in the ninth round of the 1965 draft by Washington and wasn't used much by the head coach, Otto Graham, in his rookie year. He caught 19 passes for two touchdowns that year. Charley Taylor, then a halfback, was the primary weapon. Jerry was a back up wide receiver initially, but with two Hall of Famers, Taylor and Bobby Mitchell, as the primary targets of the newly acquired Hall of Fame QB Sonny Jurgensen, Graham decided to move Smith to tight end.
Jerry was used much like you now have seen Sterling Sharpe or Antonio Gates used. This was a trend setting move that allowed Smith to explode onto the NFL scene. In his second season, Smith caught 54 balls for 686 yards and six TD's. Smith had his best season as a pro in his third year. He caught 67 passes for 849 yards and 12 TD's.
He then caught 45, 54, and 43 passes the next three years to go with 24 TD's. Smith was hurt early in 1971 and only managed 16 catches with one score. He was never quite the same again.
In the Redskins Super Bowl year of '72, Smith did catch seven touchdowns on only 21 receptions. The following year he did not get into the end zone on 19 catches.
Finally showing signs of health in 1974, Smith caught 44 passes for 554 yards with three touchdowns from Billy Kilmer, who never threw to the TE much. The next year Smith caught 31 balls for 391 yards and three touchdowns.
Injuries besieged Smith in his final two years, and with newly acquired Jean Fugett now starting, Smith managed eight catches for 2 scores.
Smith retired with a then-NFL record 60 touchdown catches for tight ends. He finished second All-Time behind Mike Ditka for receptions and yards receiving by a tight end.
To this day, he ranks first in Washington Redskin history for tight ends in catches, yards receiving and touchdowns. He is also tied with three others with 12 TD's caught in a season. He is tied with ten other Redskins with three touchdowns in one game, something he did twice.
His team record 67 catches, in 14 games, for a tight end in a single season was surpassed by Chris Cooley, in 16 games, in 2005. Smith still ranks third in Redskin history in touchdown catches, and fourth in receptions overall in Redskins history.
While Smiths statistics may pale in today's modern game, one must remember that the NFL "chuck" rule was 10 yards in his playing days. It was a much rougher game as well back then. Clotheslines were frequent, as were players diving at each others knees. If Smith had the luxury of only a 5 yard chuck rule, his statistics surely would have increased.
Smith may never be inducted into Canton. He died at the age of 43 in 1986 of AIDS. He never had told anyone that he was a homosexual, but was outed by former team mate and lover, running back David Kopay (the first NFL player to announce his being gay) shortly after Smiths death. Kopay has asserted the NFL's homophobia in those days was so prevalent, that once he had announced he was gay, several coaching offers were rescinded.
Not that much has changed nowadays, as Jeremy Shockey's comments on the Howard Stern show revealed, but there is a hope that the NFL Senior Committee can look past the mans lifestyle and the politics involved.
Smith retired with superior stats comparatively to Hall of Fame tight ends such as John Mackey. He retired only 6 catches short of Ditka's then-NFL tight end reception record as well.
He is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame and 70 Greatest Redskins Team.
Jerry Smith may be a controversial subject to some. Even after everything that can be said for, or against him, his statistics tell a steadfast story. Smith was lauded by Sports Illustrated as a top pass catching tight end during his era. His legend on the gridiron still shines bright today, 31 years after his retirement. Maybe some will say he is on the fringe for induction, or that I'm being biased due to the Redskins being my favorite team as well.
Maybe these things are true.
Still, in my eyes, Jerry Smith belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
140 Games Played
4 Pro Bowls
Russell Scott Grimm was a third round draft pick by the Redskins in the 1981 draft. He played 14 games that year, and started in 11 of them. This was during a time where a young group of blockers would bond under the leadership of coach Joe Bugel and veteran offensive tackle George Starke to form one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history. This was when "The Hogs" were born.
This nickname was given to them as they prepared for the 1982 season by Bugel. The season was shortened to nine games because of a players strike, and the WildCard Redskins blew right through the playoffs riding the backs of the Hogs. Washington then won their first Super Bowl, thanks to the blocking of the unit and the running of Hall Of Famer John Riggins.
Grimm made his first Pro Bowl in 1983, and the Redskins returned to the Super Bowl before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders. It was the first of his four consecutive Pro Bowl nods, and the first of three straight First Team All-NFL honors.
He also was a versatile athlete who was listed as the teams emergency quarterback. The 1987 season showed off his athleticism, when he had to start five games at center for the injured Jeff Bostic, then was injured himself. The Redskins went on to win their second Super Bowl.
He battled through injuries the next three years, and started in 24 of the 32 games he was able to play. After starting in just one games in 1991, he retired after the Redskins won their third Super Bowl in ten years that season.
Since his retirement, he has gone on to become one of the top offensive line coaches in the league. His name has come up often when teams are considering who to hire as a head coach. He has also been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame four times so far, and hopefully will soon find his way in Canton.
Russ Grimm is usually the first person thought of when "The Hogs" are discussed. He was a gritty blue collar player who was a key component of the Redskins famed counter trey play. His ability to pull was the primary reason the play was unstoppable, even though opponents knew it was coming.
He is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame, and is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins.
1951 - 1960
97 Games Played
5 Pro Bowls
Genaro Herman Brito was drafted in the 17th round of the 1951 draft by the Redskins. He was a 26 year old rookie, having spent time in the Armed Forces defending the United States in World War II.
The Redskins used him on offense a lot in his first two years, and Brito grabbed 47 passes and two touchdowns over that time. Disenchanted with his role, he then went to play for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League with Redskins quarterback Eddie LeBaron. He was named to the All-Conference Team in his lone season with them.
Both players returned to the Redskins in 1955, and Washington put Brito exclusively at defensive end for the rest of his career. He was named NFL Player of the Year by the Washington D.C. Touchdown Club that year, and would go to the Pro Bowl in each of the five seasons he played in Washington.
He was named MVP of the 1958 Pro Bowl, the first Redskin to ever accrue that honor.
Brito was considered on of the best defensive lineman of the 1950's. Hall Of Famer Paul Brown once wanted to put a Cleveland jersey on him because "Brito was more in my backfield than his own". He also received the Presidential “Seal of Approval” from both Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy for his high level of play at the end position. Both presidents referred to him as their favorite player.
He was so popular that he hosted a television show called "The Gene Brito Show", which was shown just before the actual games were played. He is considered one of the first players in NFL history to do this.
He joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1959, but was only able to play two games because of injuries. He returned in 1960 to play 11 games and was named Second Team All-NFL. He then retired.
Gene Brito is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame and 70 Greatest Redskins Team, and his three First Team All-NFL accolades are the second most in franchise history. No other defensive end in team history has appeared in as many Pro Bowls as he did in his career. He is one of the most popular Redskins ever, and their best defensive end ever. He is certainly worthy of induction into Canton.
1970 - 1982
166 Games Played
13 Fumble Recoveries
8 Pro Bowls
Lemar was drafted in the seventh round of the 1970 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was incredible in his rookie season, getting five interceptions, and scoring a touchdown on both a punt return and kickoff return. He averaged 30.1 yards per kick return and also scored on a blocked field goal return. He would go to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons.
He followed that up next season with seven interceptions. He took one interception 65 yards for a touchdown, and one fumble for a touchdown. In 1972, Parrish picked off five passes and took two in for touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown. In 1973, he has two interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
The 1974 season saw Parrish returned to the Pro Bowl by setting a still standing Bengals record with an NFL leading 18.8 yards per punt return average. He also scored two touchdowns on punt returns. One went for 90 yards and is presently the second longest in Bengals history. He also recovered a fumble and took it 47 yards for a touchdown.
He would go to the Pro Bowl every year up until the 1977 season. In 1977, Parrish had three interceptions and took one in for the last touchdown of his career.
After the 1977 season, Parrish was traded to the Redskins, after a contract dispute, with defensive end Coy Bacon by the Bengals to Washington for the Redskins’ first-round pick in the 1979 draft. That first-round pick ended up being the 12th overall selection, which Cincinnati used to pick running back Charles Alexander out of Louisiana State.
Parrish was not asked to return kicks on the Redskins, yet still made a immediate impact on the Redskins defense his first year with four interceptions. The next year, he had nine interceptions and was named First Team All-NFL and to the Pro Bowl.. He followed that up with seven interceptions in 1980, and was named to his last Pro Bowl. Parrish left the Redskins after 1981, and joined the Buffalo Bills in 1982. He retired after that year.
Lemar Parrish is the Bengals All-Time leader in touchdowns scored by "return or recovery" with 13. This is still tied third All-Time in NFL history with two others. His two interceptions returned for TDs is still tied for the most in a game, with many others in NFL history. He was also the only player in Cincinnati history ever to score two "return or recovery" touchdowns in a single game, which he did separate 3 times.
When he retired, his three fumble returns for touchdowns tied an NFL record. He still fourth All-Time in Bengals history for interceptions in a career, and second in touchdowns scored by interception.
His four punt returns for touchdowns ranks first in Cincinnati Bengals history. He also is first in career average for kickoff returns with 24.7, touchdowns in a season on kick off returns, interceptions made in one game, and touchdowns returned via interceptions in a season and a single game.
He ranks second in Bengals history with 130 punt returns, and punt return yardage in a season and career. He is third in franchise history in interception return yardage in a career. His 95 yard kick off return currently is the sixth longest in Bengals history.
Parrish did not win the 1970 Rookie of the Year Award probably because the Bengals had two players win the award the two previous seasons, even though he had a superior season to the winner, 49ers CB Bruce Taylor.
Lemar Parrish is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals 40th Anniversary Team.
Parrish epitomized the definition of "play maker" in his career. He was a shut down cornerback who teams tried to avoid. He would make the opponents cringe when he was asked to return kicks or punts. Parrish teamed with Ken Riley to form, perhaps, the best cornerback duo in the NFL in the 1970's.
He was also noted for his ability to stop the run, which is something he had to supply often due to the Bengals porous front seven. Safety Tommy Casanova was a beneficiary of this cornerback tandem, and made 3 Pro Bowls from 1972 to 1977. Casanova retired after Parrish left the Bengals.
Teams could not beat the Bengals by passing the ball, but they would win by running the ball up the middle. The Bengals often challenged the great Steelers teams of the 1970's, but would come up short. The pass defense was never the reason.
While with the Redskins, Parrish also made fellow cornerback Joe Lavender a better player. Lavender made the Pro Bowl twice in his career, the same years that Lemar did. Parrish was a complete player. He could do it all. His penchant for taking the ball to the end zone was prodigious. He made his teams better, his teammates better, and now is teaching his students to be better.
Every year of his career saw him intercept at least one ball, except for his 1974 Pro Bowl season. To be named to the Pro Bowl by your peers, despite having no interceptions, truly shows his greatness and is an example of how opposing teams feared him. The following two Pro Bowl years of 1975 and '76 are further examples to make this fact concrete, because he had three interceptions total over this time.
I find it amazing to see Lemar Parrish yet to be inducted into Canton. Recent inductee Roger Wehrli went in with finally, so hopefully the voters are going to right long standing wrongs. It would be fitting to see Parrish and Riley inducted together.
196 Games Played
5 Pro Bowls
Leonard Moore Hauss was drafted in the ninth round of the 1964 draft by the Redskins. He soon earned a starting job by the fourth game of his rookie year, and would hold onto it the rest of his career. Hauss never missed a game in his entire career. His 14 years with the team is tied as the third most in franchise history.
He made his first Pro Bowl in 1966, then would make it three straight seasons between 1968 to 1970. The 1972 season was his last as a Pro Bowler, but he remained an upper echelon player for years in a decade where great NFC centers like Mick Tinglehoff, Jeff Van Note, Forrest Blue, and others were perennial Pro Bowl players as well.
When he retired after the 1977 season, he was the only center in Redskins history to attain five Pro Bowl honors. Jim Schrader is second with three Pro Bowls.
There is no doubt that Len Hauss is the greatest center in team history. He is a member of the Redskins Ring Of Fame, and is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins.
1968 - 1981
180 Games Played
3 Pro Bowls
Leander McCoy Bacon was an undrafted rookie signed by the Los Angeles Rams right before the 1968 season. Bacon had just come from playing in the Continental Football League. Coy had signed with the Charleston Rockets in 1966, after leaving Jackson State University upon completion of his sophomore year. While playing with the Rockets, Coy was named an CFL All-Star in 1966. Other NFL luminaries like Bill Walsh, Ken Stabler, and Garo Yepremian also were in the Continental Football League. .
Coy joined a Rams team that had one of the best defensive lines in football, featuring Hall Of Famers Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen. They were called "The Fearsome Foursome", and Bacon played just seven games as a reserve in his rookie year.
He cracked the starting lineup the next year, and started 13 games at defensive tackle. He was moved to defensive end in 1970, recorded 20 sacks,and took a fumble 14 yards for a touchdown. Bacon then had 21 sacks and intercepted a pass the next year. He made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1972, and then was traded to the San Diego Chargers after that season as part of a blockbuster deal.
He picked off a pass that year for San Diego, and took it 80 yards for a touchdown. Bacon also led the Chargers in sacks in two of his three seasons with them.
Right after the 1975 season, the Chargers traded Bacon to the Cincinnati Bengals for Hall Of Fame Wide Receiver Charlie Joiner. Coy responded with 21.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries for 48 yards and a safety. He was named to the Pro Bowl Team. He then made his last Pro Bowl Team the next year for the Bengals, despite missing two games.
The Bengals then traded Bacon to the Washington Redskins right before 1978. Coy was the pass rusher the Redskins desperately needed, and he recorded double digits in sacks in each of his first three seasons with them.
He was 39 years old in 1981, and started the three games he played before being injured for the rest of the season. The Redskins released him in the off season, but Coy was not done playing. He joined the Washington Federals of the USFL in 1983, and had a few good games. He then retired for good after that year.
Bacon played in an era where sacks were not a recorded statistic. Some researchers have credited him with over 130 sacks in his career. If you discount the three games he played in 1981, you can easily see he averaged 10 sacks every year of his career. That includes his first two seasons as a defensive tackle.
He was one of the best pass rushers I have seen play the game. He was noted as a character who would not like to practice during the week of a game, reserving his energies for Sunday. He wasn't always stout against the run in the latter part of his career, but he made several spectacular plays when his team needed it most.
Coy recently passed away, and may be a fringe player for many as far as induction into Canton. Yet I look at a guy like Fred Dean get in and wonder why Coy is not. He was just as good a pass rusher, played on lesser defensive lines, meaning the primary focus was on him, and was better versus the run than Dean.
Coy Bacon is a victim of times passing, as the newer voters don't probably know who he is. He never played on any teams that won anything, so he never got the press he probably deserved. But even if you look at the statistics, you can see he is worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
There are other current and former Redskins who will possibly be inducted into Canton one day, and others who appear on their way.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The Pro Football Hall Of Fame voters once again that they are a suspect allotment of people who either have no clue about the game of professional football, or that they are in the pocket of the National Football League.
On November 28th, 2009, the Pro Football Hall Of Fame announced their list of the 25 finalists for induction into their halls located in Canton, Ohio.
Look at the list below, and there is the common theme that none of these men are associated with the American Football League that ran their operations from 1960 to 1970 before the NFL begrudgingly begged them to merge leagues.
Cliff Branch, WR - 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Tim Brown, WR/KR - 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cris Carter, WR - 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach - 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB - 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB - 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Richard Dent, DE - 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Doleman, DE/LB - 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE - 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Russ Grimm, G - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy, P - 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Charles Haley, DE/LB - 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Lester Hayes, CB - 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Rickey Jackson, LB - 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers
Cortez Kennedy, DT - 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Art Modell, Owner - 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
John Randle, DT - 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks
Andre Reed, WR - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Jerry Rice, WR - 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks
Shannon Sharpe, TE - 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
Emmitt Smith, RB - 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner - 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, Special Teams/WR - 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S - 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
The AFL was referred to as a "mickey mouse league" for their years of existence. The players of the NFL were told by the league that AFL players were not on the same level in ability and skill. Many bought into this propaganda for years, even as the upstart league began to gain popularity and draw more fans as each year progressed.
The realization that the AFL was not inferior came upon the spotlight of national television on January 12th, 1969. The AFL champion New York Jets defeated the heavily favored NFL champion Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III. What made the story of the upset even more noteworthy was that Jets quarterback Joe Namath had famously predicted the win in the days that led up to the game.
This is the game that made the NFL panic and realize they had to merge with the AFL to keep their product on top. The AFL had already been a league that produced more excitement on offense than the NFL, and the critics who called the Jets win a fluke were dealt more reality when the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs dominated the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV the following year by the score of 23-7.
What has transpired since this merger has been a sort of payback by the NFL. Though the league is supposedly celebrating the AFL's 50th anniversary this season, the halls in Canton pays little tribute to the AFL to this day.
There are just 11 members of the American Football League's All-Time Team that are currently inducted, and it appears not many more will be given their respect as time passes on into the land of forgotten thought. This is what the NFL has striven for, and has seemingly accomplished.
Floyd Little, a member of the AFL Denver Broncos, is a running back who was with the team before, during, and after the merger. He retired in 1975 as the seventh leading rusher in pro football history. He had been a two-time AFL All-Star who led the league in all-purpose yards twice, and rushing yards per game once. He was also a three-time NFL Pro Bowl player who led the NFL in rushing attempts, yardage, rushing yards per game, and yards from scrimmage in the 1971 season.
Little is now an entry in the Seniors Committee alongside of current Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. LeBeau retired as a player in 1972 with 62 interceptions, which was second most in NFL history at the time. It still ranks seventh best. The former cornerback, who is called "Coach Dad" by the players he coaches, is worthy of entry as a coach, but should have been inducted as a player years ago.
The Canton classes are generally small, with typically no more than six people inducted each year since 1990. The lone exceptions are in 1990 and 2001, where seven men joined the ranks. One of the major criticisms has been these small induction classes that are chosen by voters who have little idea of how the game is played or what positions the players happened to actually compete at.
This will make Little's chances of induction even more slight. Though worthy for decades, the fact that he has had to wait this long shows the ulterior motives of the NFL and their hired voters. Little biggest chance of getting his overdue respect might be because of the AFL anniversary that is going on now. If he does get in, hopefully he will call on the voters to open the doors of Canton wider for his AFL brethren, because they were professional football players. The sign on the building in Canton clearly says Pro Football Hall Of Fame, as it does on the stationary and gift bags inside, not the NFL Hall Of Fame.
The idea of players already enshrined being part of the voting process has been bandied about for years. This is an idea that would work, because they are the people who know best who truly belongs in Canton. This is a brotherhood that will not be swayed by cash or politics like the voters are. They also know what position the players actually played, unlike the voters.
Most of the players that are in the classification of senior played in an era where telecommunications were just starting out. Many players waiting to get in are subject to voters who most likely saw them play just a handful of times throughout their entire careers. It basically comes down to a voter selecting his favorite player over a better player who is more deserving of induction. How else could one explain the 2008 induction of Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett and his four Pro Bowl honors, while fellow linebackers Maxie Baughn and Chris Hanburger are still not inducted, or even nominated, despite going to the Pro Bowl nine times in their careers.
Time passes on, and the NFL wants their fans to be quiet myrmidons who fail to see that the Pro Football Hall Of Fame has become the NFL Hall Of Fame.
For those of you who are wondering who I would like to see inducted this year, my voters ballot that does not count follows. Thinking that eight is a lucky number, and that Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith are going in, I select these fine men. Please note that the last time eight men were inducted the same year was at the 1967 ceremonies.
Don Coryell : Every offense you see run in the NFL today is a wrinkle of his genius.
Ray Guy : He changed the game completely as a punter. There should be no questions to his worth.
John Randle : 7 Pro Bowls, 6 First Team All-Pro Teams, 137.5 sacks as a defensive tackle. Easy choice.
Tim Brown : 1,094 receptions, 9 Pro Bowls, great punt returner, led NFL in the one year he returned kickoffs.
Dick LeBeau : 62 interceptions and his contributions to the game make this a certain selection.
Floyd Little : A small player, but a giant on the gridiron. He's the reason the Broncos are still in Denver.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
1981 - 1987
5 Pro Bowls
1981 AFC Defensive Rookie Of The Year
1984 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year
Kenneth Mason Easley Jr. was the first round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 1981, and was the fourth player chosen overall. He went to college at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he is a legend. His jersey number is one of just eight to have been retired by the school. He owns the school record for career interceptions with 19, and his 374 tackles still ranks fourth overall. He also ranks eighth on punt returns. While also having returned kickoffs in his collegiate career, UCLA even asked him to punt several times.. Blessed with great speed and a 32-inch vertical jump, the Chicago Bulls drafted him in the tenth round of the 1981 NBA Draft as well.
Easley is the only player ever to be named First Team All-PAC 10 in all four years at college. He was also named to All-American three years, and was the second Bruin to accomplish this. Easley is a member of the Bruins All-Century Football Team, the UCLA Athletic Hall Of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame, and the College Football Hall Of Fame.
Seattle started him immediately, and the move paid off handsomely. He started all 14 games he played, intercepting three passes for a career high 155 yards. One was returned for a career long 82 yard touchdown. He also recovered a career high four fumbles. United Press International named him AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The 1982 season in the NFL is most remembered for being shortened due to a players strike. It is also the first season Easley was named to the Pro Bowl after he had four interceptions and the first two sacks of his career. He would be named to the Pro Bowl for the next three seasons as well.
Not only was he awarded Pro Bowl honors over these three years, he was also named First Team All-Pro in each year. No other Seahawk defensive back has done this, and it ranks as the second most in franchise history still today. His four consecutive Pro Bowls was also a team record at the time.
The 1983 season saw Seattle hire Chuck Knox as their head coach. Knox believed in winning games in the trenches, and his offensive philosophy has been dubbed "Ground Chuck" for his propensity to run the ball often. Easley intercepted the ball seven times and had a career best three sacks that season as the Seahawks made the playoffs for the first time ever.
The Seahawks won their first ever playoff game by walloping the Denver Broncos 31-7. Easley contributed a sack and helped stifle the Broncos all game. Seattle rode that momentum into the next week, and came from behind to beat the Miami Dolphins 27-20. Their season ended the next week by losing in the AFC Championship to the Los Angeles Raiders, who eventually won the Super Bowl that year.
Easly had the best season of his career in 1984. He has a career high ten interceptions and two touchdowns, both of which led the NFL. Seattle also asked him to return punts that year, and he had a career high 18 returns for 194 yards. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts.
The Seahawks won 12 games that year. It was the highest win total for them until their 2006 team won 13 and reached the Super Bowl. They got revenge on the Raiders in the first round of the playoffs by winning 13-7. Easley provided a key interception that was returned 26 yards to help the team. Seattle would lose the next week to the Dolphins.
He missed three games the next year, yet had two interceptions and two sacks. Though he missed six games in 1986 because of an ankle injury, he still managed two interceptions and a sack. However, the ankle injury would come back to haunt him later on in his career.
He returned to the Pro Bowl in 1987 after getting four interceptions. The ankle was still bothering him, and he missed four games. He was also held out of the starting lineup for a game for the first time since his first game in college. Seattle made the playoffs,but lost. It was the last game he ever played again.
Seattle then traded him to the Phoenix Cardinals for the rights to quarterback Kelly Stouffer. Stouffer had been the sixth player overall drafted the season before, but sat out the entire season because he and the Cardinals were unable to agree to terms of a contact.
When Easley arrived for his physical in Phoenix, the Cardinals doctors found that he had a kidney disease. It was later determined his disease stemmed from taking too many Advils when he was attempting to play on his injured ankle, which was what the Seahawks medical staff had been advising him to do over that time.
Easley was forced to retire as a player. He later settled with the team out of court over the Advil fiasco that robbed him of his kidney and playing career. He would undergo a successful kidney transplant in 1990. He was jogging within four months of the surgery, then won a golf tournament within six months.
His 32 interceptions are the fourth most in team history, and his 538 yards returned off interceptions is the third most. The three touchdowns he scored off of interceptions is the second most, and his 11 fumble recoveries is the fifth most by any Seahawks defender. No other defensive back in Seahawks history has gone to the Pro Bowl more than him, and only three other players in team history have more appearances.
Kenny Easley is a member of the Seahawks Ring Of Honor, and is a member of the NFL 1980's All-Decade First Team. He is the only member of the unit to yet be inducted into Canton.
Critics of his induction point to the seven years as not being long enough to be considered worthy. These are critics who truly do not understand the history of the game of football. The Pro Football Hall Of Fame is filled with players who played less seasons. One prime example for the modern day warriors who are oblivious to history is Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears. Sayers lasted seven years as well, yet his final two seasons saw him play just four games total.
Easley, on the other hand, finished his career at Pro Bowl level. He was the not only the best strong safety of the 1980's, but he was the best safety period. The other safety on the 1980's All-Decade First Team is Hall Of Famer Ronnie Lott, who played cornerback from 1981 to 1985 before moving to free safety. Hall Of Fame coach Bill Walsh thought the fact Easley's career was cut short has kept him from his deserved induction and said, "He'd be a Hall of Fame player (had he played longer). Maybe he still is. He was that good."
Well it is easy to see that Kenny Easley easily belongs in Canton. He really was that good.
Notable Players Drafted In 1981 ( * Denotes Hall Of Fame Inductee )
1. George Rogers, RB, New Orleans Saints
2. Lawrence Taylor, OLB, New York Giants *
3. Freeman McNeil, RB, New York Jets
5. E.J. Junior, OLB, Saint Louis Cardinals
7. Hugh Green, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Ronnie Lott, DB, San Francisco 49ers *
11. Keith Van Horne, OT, Chicago Bears
15. Dennis Smith, SS, Denver Broncos
18. Donnell Thompson, DE, Baltimore Colts
19. Brian Holloway, OT, New England Patriots
20. Mark May, OG, Washington Redskins
22. Hanford Dixon, CB, Cleveland Browns
24. James Brooks, RB, San Diego Chargers
25. Bobby Butler, CB, Atlanta Falcons
33. Neil Lomax, QB, Cardinals
34. James Wilder, RB, Buccaneers
37. Chris Collinsworth, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
38. Mike Singletary, MLB, Chicago Bears *
40. Eric Wright, CB, 49ers
41. Joe Delaney, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
47. Tony Collins, RB, Patriots
48. Howie Long, DE, Oakland Raiders *
51. Ricky Jackson, OLB, Saints
56. Andra Franklin, FB, Miami Dolphins
57. Frank Warren, DE, Saints
63. Greg Meisner, NT, Los Angeles Rams
65. Carlton Williamson, SS, 49ers
69. Russ Grimm, OG, Redskins
71. Hoby Brenner, TE, Saints
74. Tim Irwin, OT, Minnesota Vikings
78. Lloyd Burruss, SS, Chiefs
95. Todd Bell, SS, Bears
107. Eric Sievers, TE, Chargers
114. Edwin Bailey, OG, Seattle Seahawks
119. Dexter Manley, DE, Redskins
125. Ken Lanier, OT, Broncos
129. Larry Lee, OG, Detroit Lions
131. Keith Ferguson, DE, Chargers
154. Fulton Walker, DB, Dolphins
156. Bryan Hinkle, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
173. Ron Fellows, DB, Dallas Cowboys
177. Jeff Fisher, DB, Bears ( Notable NFL Coach )
183. David Little, MLB, Steelers
187. Eddie Johnson, MLB, Browns
189. Pete Holohan, TE, Chargers
201. Charlie Brown, WR, Redskins
208. William Judson, CB, Dolphins
210. Wade Wilson, QB, Vikings
212. Lin Dawson, TE, Patriots
221. Billy Ard, OG, Giants
226. Stump Mitchell, RB, Cardinals
231. Darryl Grant, DT, Redskins
241. Robb Riddick, RB, Buffalo Bills
265. Mike Mayock, DB, Steelers ( Notable Football Announcer )
291. Jim C. Jensen, WR, Dolphins
305. Jim Wilks, DE, Saints
314. Clint Didier, TE, Redskins
331. Ray Ellis, SS, Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Los Angeles Rams
1959 - 1970
163 Games Played
18 Fumble Recoveries
10 Kicks Blocked
6 Pro Bowls
Eddie Doyle Meador was drafted in the seventh round of the 1959 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was the 80th player chosen overall.
Meador went to college at Arkansas Tech University, mainly because one of his high school football coaches had went there for a job and championed Meador's cause. He had previously been told been told by Bear Bryant of Texas A&M that he was too small to play college football.
He ended up being co-captain and played running back, defensive back, and returned kicks for the Wonder Boys. He scored 272 career points and rushing for 3,358 yards, which is still second-best in school history. He was on the Associated Press Little All-American team in 1958, and was named the Outstanding Back in the All-Star College Football Game. He was named Arkansas Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1958. Meador is a member of the Arkansas Tech Hall Of Fame, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, Helms Athletic Foundation Sports Hall of Fame, and NAIA Collegiate Hall of Fame.
Earning a starting job right away as a cornerback, the rookie picked off three passes for a Rams team that struggled to just two wins under Hall Of Fame coach Sid Gillman. The Associated Press placed him on their All-NFL Second Team for his efforts. The Rams then replaced Gillman at coach with Hall Of Famer Bob Waterfield. Meador made his first Pro Bowl squad after getting four interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown.
He has one interception the next season, and was named First Team All-NFL by The Sporting News. After a solo interception the following season, he had six in 1963. It was his last season as a cornerback, and he was named Second Team All-NFL by the New York Daily News and the National Enterprises Association. The Rams then moved him to the free safety position.
Though he had already established himself as one of the top defensive backs in the league, Meador quickly became a superior safety. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1964, after swiping three balls, and returning six kickoffs for 148 yards. He returned to the Pro Bowl the next year after getting two interceptions. He also ran the ball twice for 35 yards, including scampering 24 yards for a touchdown.
The Rams then hired George Allen in 1966, making it the third Hall Of Famer that coached Meador in his career. Allen soon named him co-captain of the Rams defense. Meador responded with his third straight Pro Bowl season after he had five interceptions.
In the third game of the 1967 season versus the Dallas Cowboys, he intercepted two passes attempts from Don Meredith. He took one ball 30 yards for a score and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Week. He finished the season with a career best eight interceptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Meador also completed the only passing attempt of his career for an 18 yard touchdown, and returned a career high 21 punts. He was named to the Pro Bowl for a fourth straight season.
He went to his last Pro Bowl in 1968 after getting six interceptions, and he was named First Team All-Pro. He also returned 17 punts for a career high 136 yards, and returned a kickoff 20 yards. The 1969 season was another year that he was named First Team All-Pro. He scored two touchdowns off of five interceptions that season. He also was named the NFL Players Association President that year. He was honored with the NFLPA Byron 'Whizzer' White Award and was named NFL Father of the Year. After getting two interceptions in 1970, he retired.
Ed Meador is a member of the 1960's All-Decade Team, and the Rams All-Time Team. He was known by several of his teammates as the "Rams Little Assassin" because of his fierce play on the field. He was also a multi-dimensional athlete who was the holder of place kicks for the Rams. Often he would run or pass on fake field goal attempts.
He still owns five records with the Rams. He has the most interceptions with 46, fumble recoveries with 18, and kicks blocked with ten. He blocked four kicks in one year, and recovered five fumbles in one season. To say he had a nose for the football would be a huge understatement.
It is astonishing that Meador has yet to be inducted into Canton. He has gone to the same amount of Pro Bowls as 15 other defensive backs that are already inducted. He was named the Rams Defensive Back of the Year seven times in his career, which is just another example of his impact. Tackles were not a recorded statistic in his era, but he exceeded 100 tackles in several seasons. He once had 126 tackles in a 14 game season, which is an impressive rate for a free safety. He was fast, quick, tough, and smart.
For all he did on the field, he did even more off the field. He was very active in charities, especially with the Special Olympics. His leadership abilities were seen from his days in college up until the day he retired from the NFL. He had the respect of everyone who encountered him both on and off the field during his playing days. He overcame huge obstacles of being told he couldn't play, then coming from a small college, to start in every game he played in his career. He was a iron man who missed just one game in 12 seasons.
It is time to get Eddie Meador his well deserved respect. You can do your part by visiting his website at : http://www.edmeador21.com/how%20to%20nominate.html
Notable Players Drafted In 1959 (None are a Canton Inductee Yet)
2. Dick Bass, FB, Los Angelos Rams
3. Bill Stacy, DB, Chicago Cardinals
5. Dave Baker, DB, San Francisco
6. Nick Pietrosante, FB, Detroit
15. J.D. Smith, OT, Philadelphia
17. Bob L. Harrison, LB, San Francisco
19. Mike Rabold, G, Detroit
21. Rich Petitbon, DB, Chicago Bears
22. Buddy Dial, WR, NY Giants
23. Dick Shafrath, OT, Cleveland
25. Bowd Dowler, WR, Green Bay
26. Wray Carlton, RB, Philadelphia
28. Emil Karas, LB, Washington
29. Eddie Dove, DB, San Francisco
34. Joe Morrison, RB, NY Giants
35. Fran O'Brien, OT, Cleveland
41. Monte Clark, DT, San Francisco
44. John Tracey, LB, LA Rams
47. Dave Lloyd, LB, Cleveland
49. Bob Wetoska, OT, Washington
53. John Wooten, G, Cleveland
58. Dick LeBeau, DB, Cleveland Browns
102. Bobby Joe Green, P, San Francisco
119. Bob Zeman, DB, Cleveland
123. Art Powell, WR, Philadelphia
125. Harry Jacobs, LB, Detroit
141. Mike Connelly, C, LA Rams
164. Joe Robb, DE, Chicago Bears
167. Elbert Dubenion, WR, Cleveland
173. Bruce Maher, DB, Detroit
177. Roger LeClerc, LB, Chicago Bears
209. Joe Kapp, QB, Washington
219. Alan Miller, FB, Philadelphia
223. Dave Kocourek, TE, Pittsburgh
242. Dale Memmelaar, G, Chicago Cardinals
249. Donnie Stone, RB, Chicago Bears
250. Jim Fraser, LB, Cleveland
266. Fred Glick, DB, Chicago Cardinals
313. Timmy Brown, RB, Green Bay
319. Charley Tolar, FB, Pittsburgh
331. Ron Hall, DB, Pittsburgh
353. Jim Colclough, WR, Washington
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
1960 - 1968
6 Pro Bowls
Robert Guy Talamini was drafted in the 24th round by the expansion Houston Oilers in the fledgling American Football League before the 1960 season. He was a territorial draft selection, and was the third from last player chosen overall.
He had attended college at Kentucky University, where he had been a starter under coach Blanton Collier for three years. Talamini played 60 minutes as both an offensive guard and middle linebacker, and was named Honorable All-American his senior year. He also was named to the All-SEC Third Team at the conclusion of the year, yet was not invited to any of the post season games to put his skills on display.
Talamini had no thoughts of playing professional football, and had already started planning on life after college. Things changed one day after Adrian Burk called him in a conversation that lasted less than two minutes. Burk, who holds the NFL record for throwing seven touchdown passes in a single game, was working in the Oilers front office for owner Bud Adams. Burk asked him if he would have any interest trying out for the team in a league Talamini had heard nothing about. After a moment of thought, he remained non-committal.
A contract soon arrived in the mail to Talamini, who then had his law professor look over it. It stated that he would make $7,000 only if he made the team, and nothing if he did not. Talamini then called Burk back and asked for a bonus. The Oilers sent him $500, so he decided then to try out for the team.
Houston had just made a big splash in the news by signing Billy Cannon to their roster. Cannon was an All-American running back who had just won the 1959 Heisman Trophy Award. He was the first draft choice of both the NFL and AFL Draft, which had both leagues go to court over the right to sign him.
When he arrived in Houston, the Oilers had already been in training camp for over a week. Over 300 players were at the camp, yet the league rules stipulated that only 35 players could make each roster. After standing out immediately, Talamini was soon told by head coach Lou Rymkus that he would start.
The Oilers started 17 rookies in their inaugural season, nine alone just on offense. They were led by quarterback George Blanda, a wash out in the NFL who would revitalize his career in Houston and end up in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. The only only other veteran on offense was seventh year tight end John Carson. Carson had been a Pro Bowl player in 1957 with the Washington Redskins, and would retire from the game after his lone season in the AFL.
Houston was a well balanced team that was equally adept in all facets of the game. They went 10-4 in their first season, then beat the Los Angeles Chargers to capture the first ever AFL Championship. They repeated as champions the next year by defeating the Chargers again in the championship game. Talamini was named to the All-AFL Second Team by both the UPI and the league in 1961.
Houston went to a third consecutive championship game after the 1962 season, but lost in double overtime to the Dallas Texans 20-17. Lasting just six seconds short of 78 minutes, it is still the longest championship game ever played. The Texans would relocate to Kansas City after the game, and rename themselves the Chiefs.
Talamini was named to the All-AFL First Team after that season, and would garner this award every year that followed up until 1967.
Though the Oilers failed to achieve their previous successes, they were a high scoring team over the next several seasons. One of the teams strengths was their rushing attack, which was led by Talamini's blocking prowess. He was excellent versus the pass rush, and was special when it came to pulling out and leading on sweeps.
After the 1967 concluded, he approached Adams for a pay raise. Despite coming off of six consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, at the young age of 28, he was denied his request. Talamini then asked for his immediate release from his contract.
Joe Spencer was an assistant coach on the New York Jets in 1968. He had worked with the Oilers a few years earlier, and was familiar with Talamini. Spencer called him and asked if he would be interested in joining the Jets. Talamini agreed to after being promised a pay raise, so the Jets gave Houston cash for his contract.
The 1968 season was a magical season for the New York Jets. This was a franchise who had struggled to stay in existence just a few years earlier due to poor attendance and play on the field. Things changed when they drafted Joe Namath in 1965. Namath, a future Hall Of Fame quarterback, brought the team a lot of publicity and credit as the Jets slowly built a winning team.
The Jets won their last four games of the year, and finished 11-3. They then faced the Oakland Raiders, a team that handed them their last loss, in the AFL Championship Game. New York won 27-23 on a late fourth quarter touchdown pass from Namath to Hall Of Fame wide receiver Don Maynard. The victory propelled the Jets into Super Bowl III, where they faced the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
New York won the game 16-7, and became the first AFL team to be declared world champions. They won by creating five turnovers on defense, and controlling the ball on offense. The offensive line was led by Talamini and Winston Hill. They paved the way for running back Matt Snell to gain 121 yards on 30 rushing attempts, as well as helping Snell score the teams only touchdown off of a four yard run.
Though he was just 30 years old, and had been on three championship teams in his nine years, Talamini decided to retire from the game. He was slightly worn out from a difficult season. Making $17,000 that season, he had to spend over $2,000 to commute from New York City to his family throughout the entire year. He decided to get on with his life after football, and to be with his family.
Bob Talamini is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team, and is on the second unit.
He is a player who deserves his induction into Canton when you try and measure his career in several ways. Many men are in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame now based on the fact they played on winning teams. Talamini obviously played on winners, beginning and ending his career collecting championship rings.
Many other players are inducted because they were Pro Bowl players several times throughout their careers. Being honored with a Pro Bowl invitation indicates that player is amongst the very best at his position that season. Talamini was given this accolade in six of his nine years playing. There are several inducted players who appeared in an equal or lesser amount of Pro Bowls than Talamini. There are also several inductees who played in fewer seasons over the duration of their careers.
It is quite clear that he was one of the best to ever play his position in the history of professional football. The fact that the AFL still continues to be disrespected today can be the only fathomable reason for his exclusion.
Jim Otto, Ron Mix, and Billy Shaw are the only three offensive linemen from the AFL that are in Canton today. Shaw is the only one who spent his entire career just in the AFL. Of the 48 players listed on the American Football League All-Time Team, only 12 are in Canton. This is obviously still a resonant of sour grapes that the NFL had for the upstart AFL, and the prejudice still continues.
The AFL was the league that showed scoring could bring in fans, as opposed to the grinding style the NFL was using in those days. Much of those AFL philosophies are still in play today, after the NFL saw the possibilities and expanded on it by castrating defenses.
The Professional Football Hall Of Fame is NOT the NFL Hall Of Fame! If it were, then many legends from other leagues would not be inducted and it would be even more of a empty facility than it currently is. It is very clear that the only reason Bob Talamini is not in Canton is because of more than just time forgetting him or his impact. It is because the NFL still does not respect the AFL.
Notable 1960 NFL Draftees * Denotes Hall of Fame Inductee
1. Billy Cannon, RB, Los Angeles Rams
2. Richard Bass, RB, LA Rams
3. Johnny Robinson, DB, Detroit
8. Jim Houston, LB, Cleveland
10. Ron Mix, OT, Baltimore Colts *
20. Maxie Baughan, LB, Philadelphia
32. Don Meredith, QB, Chicago
42. Roger Brown, DT, Detroit
44. Jim Marshall, DE, Cleveland
55. Abner Haynes, RB, Pittsburgh
74. Larry Wilson, S, St. Louis Cardinals *
109. Charley Johnson, QB, St. Louis
110. Curtis McClinton, RB, LA Rams
119. Bobby Boyd, DB, Baltimore
Notable Players Drafted By The AFL In 1960 :
Jim Otto, C, Oakland Raiders *
Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin, DB, Dallas Texans
Larry Grantham, LB, New York Titans
Pat Dye, OT, Boston Patriots (Noted College Coach)
Jim Norton, DB, Dallas
Mel Branch, DE, Denver Broncos
Pail Maguire, P, Los Angeles Chargers (Noted Broadcaster)
Ed "Wahoo" McDaniels, LB, LA Chargers (Noted Wrestler)
Wayne Hawkins, G, Oakland
Tom Day, DE, Buffalo Bills
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Saint Louis Cardinals
San Diego Chargers
1973 - 1986
First Coach With 100 Wins In Pro And College Football
Only Coach To Lead NFL In Passing 6 Straight Years
5 Division Titles
Donald David Coryell played college football at the University of Washington from 1949 to 1951 as a defensive back. He then went into coaching, and became a head coach at Whittier College in 1957, succeeding George Allen, who became a NFL Hall Of Fame coach.
He spent three years as the head coach of the Poets. While there, he led the team to win the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in each of his three seasons. He had a record of 21 - 5 - 1 and is a member of the school's Hall Of Fame.
Coryell left Whittier after the 1959 season and was not a head coach in 1960. He then became the head coach of San Diego State in 1961, where his teams would make a significant impact on the college football universe.
Coryell stayed with San Diego State for 12 seasons until 1972. In his 125 games there, the Aztecs won 104 of them. Attendance jumped from 8,000 spectators per game to over 41,000 per game during his tenure.
Three of his teams finished their seasons undefeated, and seven of them won both the California Collegiate Athletic Conference and later the Pacific Coast Athletic Association title.
His offensive genius also garnered nationwide attention while at San Diego State. His 1969 team led the NCAA in total offense (532.2 yards per game), passing (374.2 yards per game), and scoring (46.4 points per game) in their undefeated season.
He also showed his innate ability to develop players, especially on offense. He had 54 players go to the NFL from his teams, including five players drafted in the first round. Nine of his players were First Team All-Americans. In 1967, he had eight players drafted, and five went in the first two rounds.
The list of players he coached with the Aztecs included Haven Moses, Dennis Shaw, Brian Sipe, Willie Buchanon, Isaac Curtis, Don Horn, Fred Dryer, Joe Lavender, Don Shy, Claudie Minor, Tom Reynolds, Gary Garrison, Ralph Wenzel, Henry Allison, and noted actor Carl Weathers known best as Apollo Creed in the movie "Rocky". Dryer also became an actor after his NFL career, starring in the television series "Hunter".
Shaw led the NCAA in total offense in 1969, and would go on to become the first quarterback to win the NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year Award in 1970. Only three other quarterbacks have won that award since.
Buchanon won the 1972 NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Award and is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame and their All-Time Team.
Sipe led the NCAA in passing in 1971, while Reynolds led the NCAA in receiving. Sipe's successor was Jesse Freitas, who was also recruited by Coryell. Freitas would lead the NCAA in passing in 1973. Sipe would later be named the MVP of the NFL in 1980.
The Coryell coaching tree from his Aztec era is very impressive as well.
Joe Gibbs was a player on Coryell's team at first and won the team's Most Inspirational Player Award in 1963. Gibbs later became a graduate assistant, then assistant coach at San Diego State.
He also was an assistant under Coryell with both the Cardinals and Chargers before becoming head coach of the Washington Redskins. Gibbs is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Another Pro Football Hall Of Fame coach who coached under Coryell at San Diego State was John Madden. Madden would join the Oakland Raiders in 1967, and then become the youngest head coach of the league the next season at 32 years old.
After a very successful stint with the Raiders, Madden became a popular NFL analyst on television and video game mogul.
Joe Gibbs' coaching career was almost cut short by Madden.
Gibbs was working under Madden, who was the defensive coordinator for Coryell. There was an annual spring football game approaching, and Coryell had Gibbs coach the team that would face Madden's team in the game.
Madden approached Gibbs and asked him what plays would be run, so Madden could prepare his team. Gibbs refused to disclose the plays, so Madden asked Coryell to mediate the situation.
Coryell told both Gibbs and Madden to treat it as real game, without the disclosure of plays to either side.
Gibbs team won that game. As the final gun sounded, both young coaches met at mid-field to shake hands. Madden fired Gibbs right there on the spot instead. Seeing a distraught Gibbs, Coryell then brought him over to the offensive side of the coaching staff.
The rest truly is history.
Jim Hanifan, Ernie Zampese, and Rod Dowhower also coached under Coryell at San Diego State.
Zampese was a noted offensive genius who was the offensive coordinator on the 1995 World Champion Dallas Cowboys team, and is a mentor to current San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner and former head coach and offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
Dowhower went on to succeed Pro Football Hall Of Fame coach Bill Walsh as head coach at Stanford University in 1979. He later became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 1985 to 1986.
He was successful as an offensive coordinator with several teams in the NFL, including two consecutive NFC Championship appearances with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000 and 2001.
Hanifan was a head coach with both the Saint Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. He was also a top assistant coach for many years, and won the NFL's Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 1977.
He was one of the best offensive line coaches to ever roam a sideline, and helped develop countless All-Pro's. He helped coach the Washington Redskins to a World Championship in 1992, and later the Saint Louis Rams to a win in Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999.
Coryell's teams went to three bowl games in his tenure with San Diego State. His 104 victories and .840 winning percentage are the best in school history, and he is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame, the San Diego Hall of Champions, the University of Washington Husky Hall Of Fame, and San Diego State Aztec's Hall Of Fame.
The Saint Louis Cardinals were coming off a horrid year in 1972 that saw them score just 22 touchdowns, have 68 rushing first downs, and 2,038 passing yards. They were the third worst scoring team in the NFL.
A change was needed, so they hired Coryell to be their head coach for the 1973 season.
Coryell matched the previous seasons record of 4-9-1 that year, but improved the team's scoring to eleventh overall in the league. It became evident that the Cardinals were improved under Coryell's leadership, and that was highlighted even more the following year.
The Cardinals finished the 1974 season with a record of 10-4, which was good enough to capture the NFC East crown. It was the team's first divisional title since 1948.
Though the Cardinals lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Minnesota Vikings, they sent five players to the Pro Bowl. Four of those players came from the offense.
The Cardinal improved on that the next year and went 11-3. They won the NFC East again, and are the one of only two Cardinals teams to win two consecutive division titles.
The 1947 and 1948 Chicago Cardinals team is the other, and the 1947 team is the franchise's lone squad that earned a NFL Championship win.
The 1925 team was handed the championship by the league, due to a controversy with the Pottsville Maroons, but did not publicly claim to be that seasons champion until 1933.
Nine Cardinals went to the Pro Bowl in that 1975 season, the most in franchise history. Seven of them were offensive players. The team lost in the first round of the playoffs again, this time to the Los Angeles Rams.
Coryell's 1976 team sent seven players, five on offense, to the Pro Bowl. The team finished 10-4, which was good enough for second place in the NFC East, but not enough to reach the playoffs.
The Cardinals stumbled to 7-7, yet still sent seven players to the Pro Bowl. Six of the players played on the offense. It was not deemed good enough by the Cardinals ownership, so they fired Coryell.
Don Coryell's 42 wins are the most by any coach in the Cardinals franchise's history, and his five years as head coach with the team is the second most ever.
The San Diego Chargers started their 1978 season with one win in four games under head coach Tommy Protho. Not happy with these results, the Chargers then fired Protho and replaced him with Coryell.
The team went 8-4 under him the rest of the way, including winning seven of their last eight games.
This was when "Air Coryell" was born as a common term, though Coryell's years in Saint Louis also featured high-powered offenses running under much of the same schemes used in San Diego.
The team improved to lead the NFL with a 12-4 record the next year, the most wins in Coryell's career, as seven Chargers went to the Pro Bowl. Five of them were offensive players.
They would would win the AFC West, their first divisional title since 1965, but ultimately lose in the first round to the Houston Oilers.
The Chargers would win the AFC West four straight years, the only time in franchise history that has been accomplished.
The 1980 Chargers went 11-5, but lost in the AFC Championship Game to the eventual champion Oakland Raiders by seven points. This team sent eight players to the Pro Bowl, including five on offense. It was also the first team in NFL history to have three receivers gain over 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
The Chargers went 10-6 the next year, and also led the league in scoring. Five players went to the Pro Bowl, four of which played offense.
They then played perhaps the greatest playoff game in NFL history against the Miami Dolphins in the first round.
The game ended up being a 41-38 overtime victory for San Diego, but it was much more than just that. It was named "The Epic In Miami", which was played in very humid weather reaching 29.4° Celsius.
Both teams smashed into each other all game, trading scores. Both teams combined to gain 1,036 yards that day, including 856 passing yards and 804 net passing yards. All are NFL records for a playoff game, as are the 79 total points.
There were seven turnovers, a special teams touchdown, and five different receivers gained over 100 yards on receptions that day.
Hall Of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow was the hero for the Chargers on that day.
Despite being stricken with dehydration, cramps, a pinched nerve in his shoulder, and needing stitches for a cut to his bottom lip, Winslow blocked a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation. He also caught a NFL Playoffs record 13 balls that day.
The Chargers then stumbled into Cincinnati to play the Bengals. On a day where freezing weather easily was below -57° Celsius, thanks to winds of 27 miles per hour, it was dubbed the "Freezer Bowl". The Bengals, led by 1981 NFL MVP Ken Anderson, won handily 27-7.
The 1982 season is known as the strike shortened year of the NFL. San Diego finished second in their division with a 6-3 record. Six players, including five on offense, went to the Pro Bowl. The Dolphins got revenge on the Chargers by beating them in the second round of the playoffs.
That year saw Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts and wide receiver Wes Chandler set NFL records that still stand today.
Fouts averaged 320 yards passing per game, and Chandler averaged 129 receiving yards per game.
The Chargers also paid back the Bengals for their loss the year before by gaining a team record 661 yards in their 50-34 victory over Cincinnati in week seven.
The next three years saw an aging Chargers team win 21 games. Though the team was still extremely explosive on offense, the defense would let them down.
A big part of that factor was an ownership that refused to pay their players well, which led to the departure of many key players. Hall Of Fame defensive end Fred Dean noted that his brother, a truck driver, was making much more cash than he was.
After the Chargers began the 1986 season at 1-7, Coryell was fired and replaced by protege Al Saunders. Saunders would be replaced in 1991 by Coryell disciple Dan Henning.
Coryell's 69 wins are the second most in Chargers history behind Hall Of Fame coach Sid Gillman, and his nine seasons with the team are also the second most behind Gillman.
Don Coryell then retired from coaching, at the age of 62 years old, with 111 wins in 195 games overall. He is the first Coach With 100 Wins In pro And college football.
To try and sum up this man's career or impact on football is nearly impossible. Virtually every offense today on all levels is a variation of his system.
Bill Walsh and Coryell also have several ties in football. Walsh used to rely on Isaac Curtis, a player Coryell coached in college, while Walsh was an assistant coach with the Bengals.
He also coached under Protho for one year with the Chargers, the man Coryell would replace as head coach.
While Walsh is credited with the "West Coast Offense", he started out as a student of Hall Of Fame coaches Sid Gillman, Al Davis, and Paul Brown's downfield passing philosophies.
It was Coryell who really started this offense, and refined it as each year passed during his coaching career.
Coryell turned around every team he coached from college to the pros immediately. Though most remember his days in San Diego, his time in Saint Louis also must be hailed.
He took a perennial loser, and made them a serious contender in an NFC East that was mostly dominated by the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins throughout the 1970's. He made quarterback Jim Hart a much better player and surrounded Hart with many weapons.
Wide receivers Mel Gray and Pat Tilley were wide receivers who excelled along with Hall Of Fame tight end Jackie Smith in Coryell's system. Gray holds a franchise record for having at least one catch in 121 consecutive games, and is tenth in franchise history with 351 receptions.
He is fourth in Cardinals history with 45 touchdown receptions, fifth in receiving yards, and averaged an outstanding 18.9 yards per reception.
Smith is still second in career receiving yards with the team, fifth in receptions and touchdowns, and averaged an excellent 16.5 yards per catch. Tilley was a fourth-round find by Coryell in 1976, and ended up sixth in career receptions with the Cardinals, and third in receiving yards.
One other thing Coryell brought to the NFL was the use of the multi-purpose running back. Terry Metcalf was his first of many backs who did everything well.
Metcalf led the NFL in total yards with 2,462 yards, which is still the best in team history. Metcalf is currently ranked fourth in total yards in Cardinals history.
Coryell also resurrected the career of fullback Jim Otis. Otis joined the Cardinals in Coryell's first season after spending his first three years as a back up with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.
Coryell turned Otis into a Pro Bowl player in 1975, after gaining a career best 1,076 rushing yards.
Factor in such other weapons like Ike Harris, J.V. Cain, Wayne Morris, Steve Jones, Donny Anderson, Ahmad Rashad, and Earl Thomas, and one can see all the fantastic players Coryell used to make Saint Louis a winner.
He also worked with Hanifan in making the Cardinals perhaps the best offensive line in the league during Coryell's tenure. The line consisted of Hall Of Fame tackle Dan Dierdorf and Pro Bowl players like Tom Banks, Conrad Dobler, Ernie McMillan, and Bob Young most of the time.
They gave up just 55 sacks from 1974 to 1977, including only eight in 1975. This was the fewest allowed in NFL history, until it was surpassed by the Miami Dolphins in 1988 by one.
Though the Cardinals were an explosive offense, their defense let them down. This would be a theme throughout most of Coryell's coaching career in the NFL.
In his 14 seasons as a coach, his offenses led the NFL in net yards gained per passing attempt five times. They finished in the top five of the NFL six more times.
His teams led the NFL in passing yards seven times, and none of his teams finished lower than seventh. They led the NFL in passing touchdowns three times, and finished in the top ten nine other times.
His teams led the league in passing attempts two times, finished second five times, and was in the top ten another five times.
But Coryell also ran a balanced attack where the run was important. Twice his teams led the NFL in rushing touchdowns, and they finished in the top ten eight more times.
His teams finished in the top five in yards per carry three times, twice in the top ten in rushing attempts and yards.
His teams led the NFL in total offense yards five times, and in the top ten another six times. Twice his teams led the NFL in yardage differential, which is the number of yards they outgained their opponents that year.
His teams finished in the top ten an additional five times. Coryell's teams led the league in points differential once, and finished in the top ten another six times.
Yet his defenses often finished in the middle-to-lower end in all categories each year. His 1979 was the best defense he ever had statistically. That defense led the NFL in defensive touchdowns and allowing the fewest rushing attempts.
They also finished in the top ten in interceptions, net yards gained per pass attempt, passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and touchdowns allowed. In 1980, the Chargers led the NFL with 60 sacks.
Many Hall Of Fame players and Pro Bowlers were coached by Coryell in the NFL. The list of players inducted into Canton includes Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith, Fred Dean, and Roger Wehrli.
When Coryell hit San Diego, the spotlight on his genius was shining. He took wide receiver John Jefferson in the first round in 1978 and had him become the first player in NFL history to gain over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons.
He transformed Dan Fouts into a spectacular quarterback, and saw Fouts become the second player in pro football history, and the first in NFL history, to have over 4,000 yards passing in a season. Fouts then would go on to pass for even more yards the next two seasons.
Besides his Chargers teams becoming the first to have three 1,000 yard receivers, their 1981 team had a 1,000 yard rusher in Chuck Muncie and two 1,000 yard receivers in Winslow and Joiner. Wes Chandler finished 43 yards short from joining them in the thousand yards club that year,which would have given them three receivers and a running back with 1,000 yards in one season. This is an accomplishment never duplicated in league history.
After his success with Metcalf, Coryell found other versatile backs to use in San Diego. Men like Muncie, James Brooks, Earnest Jackson, Gary Anderson, Mike Thomas, Lydell Mitchell, Don Woods, Clarence Williams, and the diminutive Lionel James all excelled in his offense.
Brooks led the NFL in all purpose yards in his first two years with San Diego, and James did it once.
James also had 1,027 yards receiving, which set an NFL record for yards receiving by a running back then, on 81 receptions in 1985. His 2,535 all purpose yards that year was an NFL record for fifteen seasons.
While Coryell's critics wrongly point to his lack of championship wins, the stinginess of the owners he was employed by was a huge reason why his teams never went past a conference championship game.
In San Diego, they lost Jefferson and Dean because on contract disputes. Dean left the Chargers mid-season to go to the San Francisco 49ers because of this reason. Dean was a key reason the 49ers won Super Bowl XVI that year, and was named UPI Defensive Player Of The Year.
With Dean gone, it hurt the Chargers defense immensely. The Chargers had the best defensive line in the NFL up until then, featuring Dean and Pro Bowl defensive tackles Louie Kelcher and Gary "Big Hands" Johnson.
All three were drafted together in 1975, and had a strong bond that had the fans nickname them "The Bruise Brothers".
Don Coryell changed the way football was played. It is still being played the way Coryell invented to this very day.
The now all to common sight on multiple receiver sets was first started by Coryell, as are many versions of offenses being run these days.
They are all spawns of his genius.
The Redskins three Super Bowls winning teams and Saint Louis Rams two Super Bowl winning teams ran offenses that were invented by Coryell. His impact on the game will reverberate for generations to come.
Winslow stated it best when he said, "For Don Coryell to not be in the Hall of Fame is a lack of knowledge of the voters. That's the nicest way that I can put that. A lack of understanding of the legacy of the game."
This is a despicable crime still perpetrated by the voters to this very day. It also shows that Canton MUST change their induction system.
Rumors of getting retired players involved, especially those already in Canton, has been circulated for years. These are the people who truly know who belong.
I have long told you about voters not even knowing what positions legends played in this series.
It, as Winslow stated, truly shows a lack of knowledge. It also shows the corrupt political process involved in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
A process that has wrongly kept Don Coryell from taking his rightful place.
Friday, September 25, 2009
FINALLY! RESPECT IS BORN!
Give The Philadelphia Eagles credit today!
They recognize their tradition now.
Al Wistert is being inducted into the Eagles Ring Of Honor on 9/ 27/ 09.
It will occur during a halftime ceremony when the Eagles host the Kansas City Chiefs.
BUT, the job is not done for Al.
He SHOULD be in Canton!
Here is his story again.
Consider getting on board.
1943 - 1951
95 Games Played
8 Time All Pro
Albert Alexander Wistert was drafted in the fifth round by the Philadelphia / Pittsburgh Steagles in 1943, the 32nd player chosen overall. The Steagles were a team that was comprised of Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers into one team because of World War II.
Al had played college football at the University of Michigan . He was a legendary two way player there. He had two brothers, Alvin and Francis, also play for the Wolverines. They all played the same position, Tackle on both sides of the ball, and wore the same number 11 jersey.
Francis was the first, Albert was the second, then Alvin was last. Their number 11 jersey has been retired by Michigan University , and is one of only seven to have achieved that honor. Albert played on Wolverine teams that lost only five games in his three years there. He was an All American and was named the MVP of the team in 1942.
One famous moment in Michigan University football history came against Notre Dame in South Bend , Indiana . Going in the locker room trailing at halftime, the Notre Dame fans told Michigan to go home because it was over. Wistert would have none of that and inspired his team mates with a pep talk that had the Wolverines fired up. Michigan rattled off 21 straight unanswered points in the third quarter and dominated Notre Dame to a 32 - 20 victory.
After playing in the 1943 East-West Shrine Game, Al was team captain of the College All Stars who played against the NFL World Champion Washington Redskins. Al's team stomped the Redskins, led by Hall Of Fame Quarterback Sammy Baugh, 27 - 7.
Al Wistert is a member of the Michigan University Hall Of Honor, and a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame, as are both of his brothers.
Al went to his first Steagles practice knowing no one. He saw Hall Of Fame Defensive End Bill Hewitt sitting on some rocks smoking a cigarette. Al approached Hewitt to introduce himself to the fellow Wolverine Alumni who had played alongside his brother Francis in college. Hewitt had just come out of a three year retirement to play for $4,000. It was the most Hewitt had ever made in the NFL. Al had just signed with the Steagles for $4,500. Al extended his hand and introduced himself, but Hewitt did not say a word or offer his hand. Al then decided to run laps around the field by himself. Pretty soon, the entire Steagles team was following Al and running around the field.
The Steagles disbanded the following season, and the Steelers and Eagles went back to being separate teams. Wistert stayed in Philadelphia . Al would make his first All-Pro Team that year in 1944, and would garner this achievement for every year of the rest of his NFL career. In 1946, he was named team captain. An honor he served until 1950.
The Eagles went to their first championship game in 1947, but lost to the Chicago Cardinals 28 - 21. The 1948 season saw the Eagles win their very first championship during a blizzard in a rematch against the Chicago Cardinals 7 - 0. The Eagles then went back to the NFL Championship the next year and beat the Los Angeles Rams 14 - 0 in heavy rain.
The Eagles are the only team in NFL history to win back to back championships and not allow their opponents to score. Al announced he would retire after the 1951 season. The Eagles held an AL WISTERT DAY in the fourth from last home game that year. The team gave Al a brand new car, and many other gifts. One gift was a hand crafted dining room table that Al still uses this day to eat his meals off of.
The Eagles then retired his #70 jersey in 1952, the first Eagle to ever have had this done. Al Wistert is a member of the NFL 1940's All Decade Team.
I find it utterly amazing that Al Wistert has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame! This man truly embodies what Canton is supposed to represent. Not only was he an eight time All-Pro in his nine year career, but he was a very important member of an Eagles team that dominated the NFL in the late 1940's.
He introduced the NFL to the stand up style of blocking you all see today, instead of the rolling type of blocks that were employed then, which allowed Wistert to use his speed and agility to keep on blocking more defenders downfield and making him better than all the rest.
Al was a true leader on and off the field. He captained a powerhouse squad full of Hall Of Fame players like Steve Van Buren, Pete Pihos, Alex Wojciechowicz, and Chuck Bednarik. His coach was Hall Of Famer Earle "Greasy" Neale. Al also gave back to the community by coaching a high school team in New Jersey over 50 miles away, even though he did not own a car. Neale liked and respected Wistert so much that he would lend his personal car daily to Wistert so Al could go teach kids how to play football. This says alot, because Neale was a noted task master.
One game, Al came to the sideline to tell the coach he thought he had just broken his leg. Neale replied, " Well, get back in there until you are sure that it is." Al never missed a game in his career. He started every game of his career except the first five of his rookie season. He would soon supplant veteran Ted Doyle after the fifth game. The only other time he missed a start was in 1950 season opener against the Cleveland Browns. Wistert had a severely sprained ankle and could hardly walk, but he ended up playing most of the game anyways.
A 60 minute man, he never left the field at any time. Whether it was opening up holes for runners on offense or closing them on defense, Wistert was an amazing athlete durable, strong, and cerebral. Al was the smallest Tackle in the NFL, weighing 214 pounds, but he was a master technician who would out think, outwit, out gut, and dominate his opponents on both sides of the ball for every minute of every game.
Al said, "I never gave then the same thing twice. I always confounded them with a new plan of attack." His team mates dubbed him "Ox", because he was incredibly strong and dependable.
The game was much different then. A rougher and more violent game with less rules and padding for self preservation. They played games in all sorts of poor weather, unlike the climate controlled stadiums so many players enjoy today. They would spend days travelling to cities by train, instead of a few hours on an airplane like today.
Just to get a taste of these times, the Eagles took a train from Philadelphia to Los Angeles after beating the Giants. Despite only having a few days in L.A. , they shut out the Rams in monsoon like conditions to win an NFL Championship. To say these men were tough is an understatement. They did this for the love of the game, not the love for the money.
Many great football players eschewed the NFL in those days because they could earn more money outside of sports, and in other sports. Francis Wistert was given $100 by Cardinals owner Charles Bidwell just to sign a contract, even though he had no intention of ever playing in the NFL. Francis chose to pitch for the Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball instead of playing football.
Albert Wistert decided to play professional football and was great at it. He was a 60 minute man who stayed on the field at all times. After he retired, he became successful in the life insurance business and made million dollar deals. But he chose to play football first, and he is one of the path pavers who made the NFL the multi-billion dollar empire what it is today.
The fact the Eagles retired his number first, and only one year after his retirement, shows how special a football player he was. Al Wistert is also a member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall Of Fame.
As the years go on, the more we tend to forget great gridiron stars like Al Wistert. The veterans committee for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame MUST be blamed for not doing the jobs they were given to do. It is plainly evident to see, with all of the accolades, that a grave injustice has been perpetrated in regards to Al. It was not lost on his fellow players. After he retired, over 23 players and NFL'ers have written to the Hall Of Fame asking that Wistert be put in. Greats ranging from Chuck Bednarik to even former Eagles owner Norm Braman. Why the voters have chosen to ignore such a rich, diverse cast of NFL Alumni requests is bewildering. There is NO QUESTION that Albert Wistert belongs in Canton .
YOU can help by signing this petition: