Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Ken Riley
5'11" 181
Cincinnati Bengals
1969 - 1983
15 Seasons
207 Games Played
65 Interceptions
596 Yards
5 Touchdowns
4 All Pro Teams

Kenneth Jerome Riley was a 6th round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1969. He was the 135th player picked overall. Riley was a 4 year starter at quarterback for Florida A&M University. Riley also earned a Rhodes Scholar Candidacy in college. He was his Senior Class President in both high school and college. Riley was recently named one of the 33 greatest high school football players in the history of the state of Florida, and is on the Florida High School Association All-Century Team. After retiring from the NFL, Riley returned to A&M to resurrect their athletics program. Riley was the head coach of the football team for 8 years from 1986 - 1993, then the athletic director of the school from 1993 - 2002. He was a two-time MEAC Coach of the Year and was named Black College Coach of the Year in 1988. Ken Riley is a member of the Florida A&M Hall of Fame, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the Tallahassee Sports Hall of Fame and the Polk County (Fla.) Sports Hall of Fame.

Cincinnati head coach Paul Brown converted Riley to the cornerback in training camp. Riley responded with 4 interceptions his rookie year. He returned 14 kickoffs at an average of 23.9 YPR. Riley also caught the only 2 passes of his career that year. Riley recorded 65 interceptions in his career, which was the fourth most in Pro Football history at the time of his retirement. The first three are all in Canton. At present time, Riley is 5th All Time. Riley languished on some mediocre teams in his era and was never given his due, despite his solid and spectacular efforts. In his 15 seasons, Riley recorded 3 or more interceptions in all but 3 years. In 1976, Riley snared 9 picks, a team record that stood for 30 years, for 141 yards. Riley returned 1 for a touchdown. He also set a team record by intercepting 3 passes in one game that season. Riley matched that feat again in 1982. In 1981 he recorded 5 interceptions as the Bengals went to Super Bowl XVI. In 1983, Riley recorded 8 interceptions for 2 touchdowns. He retired after that season. His 65 interceptions for 596 yards, and 5 touchdowns are all still Bengals records. He also recovered 18 fumbles in his career. Riley is also third all-time in NFL history with 141 INT return yards in a season. He was also as the Bengals’ defensive captain for eight seasons from 1976-83.

The Bengals had moderate success in the 1970's, but happened to be in a division that was dominated by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still the Bengals had, perhaps, the best CB duo in the 70's with Riley and Lemar Parrish until 1977. It was usually the Bengals run defense or running game that caused them to come up short in that decade. Riley was a quiet, scholarly man who was made of substance and preferred to let his play be the flash to his persona. He rarely missed a game in his career, and was the constant defensive force for the Bengals throughout his entire career. While Ken Anderson, Parrish, and others got the press, Riley got the results needed for the Bengals to be able to compete weekly. His is a career many may have forgotten due to his workman-like approach, but have no illusions. Ken Riley is most definitely deserving of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. It is long, long overdue.

Notable Players Drafted In 1969 * Denotes Canton Inductee

1. O.J. Simpson, RB, Buffalo *
4. Joe Greene, DT, Pittsburgh *
7. Ted Kwalick, TE, San Francisco
11. Bill Stanfill, DE, Miami
13. Fred Dryer, DE, NY Giants
16. Gene Washington, WR, San Francisco
19. Roger Wehrli, CB, St. Louis Cardinals *
20. Ron Johnson, RB, Cleveland
24. Calvin Hill, RB, Dallas
31. Bill Bergey, LB, Cincinnati
33. Ted Hendricks, LB, Baltimore Colts *
39. Ed White, OG, Minnesota
41. Bobby Douglass, QB, Chicago
48. Ed Podolak, RB, Kansas City
56. Jon Kolb, C, Pittsburgh
63. Eugene "Mercury" Morris, RB, Miami
69. Bill Bradley, S, Philadelphia
80. Bob Kuechenberg, OG, Philadelphia
93. Charlie Joiner, WR, Houston Oilers *
96. Roy Gerela, P, Houston
99. John Zook, DE, LA Rams
101. Jack Rudnay, C, Kansas City
139. Harold McLinton, LB, Washington
238. L.C. Greenwood, DE, Pittsburgh
262. Jeff Van Note, LB, Atlanta
273. John Fuqua, RB, NY Giants
337. Carl Mauck, LB, Baltimore
338. Steve O'Neal, P, NY Jets

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Mac Speedie
6'3" 203
Wide Receiver
Cleveland Browns
1946 - 1952
7 Seasons
86 Games Played
349 Catches
5,602 Yards
33 Touchdowns
5 Pro Bowls

Mac Curtis Speedie was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 15th round of the 1942 draft. He was the 154th player picked overall. Mac went to high school in Utah, and tied a National High School record in the 120-meter high hurdles of 14.7 seconds. Speedie then went to the University of Utah, where he was an Honorable Mention All American in football. He also was a record setting hurdler in college, and led Utah to the NCAA Track and Field Championship game in 1942. Mac Speedie is a member of the Utah football Centennial Team, the Crimson Club Hall of Fame, and Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

Mac had to serve in the Army because of World War 2. While playing football on base, he was recruited by Hall of Fame Coach Paul Brown to play for his expansion Cleveland Browns in the fledgling All American Football Conference. Speedie joined the Browns in 1946 at 26 years old after the Browns offered him twice as much money as Detroit. The plan was to play him at Defensive End, but the Browns quickly Mac to Split End. His impact was immediate. Though he only started 10 of 14 games in his rookie year, Speedie scored a career high seven touchdowns on 24 receptions. Mac also averaged a career high 23.5 yards per catch. Mac started 9 of 14 games in 1947, but managed to snare a career high 67 balls. He scored 6 times, and gained a career high 1,146 yards. He scored one touchdown on a 99 yard jaunt. He was named to his first All Pro team that year, and would continue to be given that accolade every year of his career, except one. Mac snagged 58 passes for 816 yards in 1948, and followed that up the next year with 62 receptions for 1,028 yards. He also matched his career high of 7 touchdowns. It would be the last season that Mac would start a game again in his career. Cleveland won the AAFC Championship every year that Speedie was with the Browns and lost only 4 games total. The AAFC folded after 1949, and the Browns joined the NFL. They won the 1950 NFL Championship, as Speedie caught 42 passes. Mac managed to catch 34 balls the next year before suffering a knee injury in week 10, causing him to miss the rest of the season. The Browns got back to the NFL Championship game, but lost. In 1952, Speedie returned to catch 62 passes for 911 yards and 5 touchdowns. He suffered a knee injury in the season finale, which would be his last season in the NFL. Cleveland would go on to lose in the championship game. Mac was named to his final All Pro team that year. He also was named the teams MVP.

Speedie's next move took Browns fans by surprise, when he bolted for the Canadian Football League. There are several theories surrounding this move. One is his personality clash with Hall Of Fame Coach Paul Brown. Brown was known as a strict disciplinarian, while Speedie was known as a free spirit. Before the 1952 season had begun, Mac showed up at the Browns training camp with a skunk he had named "Paul". Another theory was that when Speedie asked for a raise, he was rebuffed, so he took the more lucrative CFL offer. Also, there was a story that Speedie, now 33 years old, thought that he would be phased further out of the offense. Speedie joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and was All CFL in 1953 and 1954. In 1955, Mac broke his leg and retired at the end of the year.

He didn't stay away from the game long. He was lured by an ex-Browns teammate, Lou Rymkus, to join him in coaching the expansion Houston Oilers in the newly formed American Football Conference in 1960. Houston would go on to win the first AFL Championship. Rymkus was fired shortly into the 1961 season, so Speedie resigned as well. The Denver Broncos then hired Speedie as their Receivers Coach in 1963. He held that position until the 1964 season, when he was promoted to Head Coach four weeks into the season. Mac held the position until he resigned 2 games into the 1966 season, accepting a position with the team as a scout until 1981. His coaching record was 6-19-1.

It is evident on the influence Paul Brown has used to hold many hostage, including the respect due for Mac. It took the Browns until 1999 to put him on their Honor Roll. This move was made by then Browns owner Al Lerner. Problem was, Mac had died in 1993. Still, kudos to the late Mr. Lerner for doing something Art Modell had not done. Some say Modell had promised Paul Brown to not honor Speedie. The lasting disdain Brown had for Mac was on display in 1977. Browns and Mac met for the first time in 25 years at a college all star game. When Speedie tried to approach Brown, he was given the cold shoulder and was referred to as, "the one who went to Canada."

Whatever Paul Brown's problem was, it should not have effected the voters from seeing the reality. Mac Speedie helped the Browns reach the championship game in each season he played, as the Browns won five. He was an All Pro every season that he played in the AAFC, NFL, and CFL except 3 seasons in 10 years. He averaged over 16 yards a reception for his career, which is very impressive in any era. Remember, this is the PRO FOOTBALL Hall Of Fame I am talking about. The AAFC and CFL both fall under this category. Speedie has made it into the final selection process several times, but has fallen short so far. He spent the last years of his life lamenting how Paul Brown had been preventing his induction. I wouldn't be surprised if Paul's son, Mike, is carrying on this spite filled campaign. If the voters would just let this vindictive hatred lay with Paul Brown in his grave, where it belongs, they would then allow the facts of Speedie's gridiron career take its rightful forefront in this debate. One also must remember that Speedie lost 4 years of his career due to WW2. It is sad that Mac has passed on, and cannot be part of this long overdue induction. There is NO question that Mac Speedie belongs in Canton.

Notable Players Drafted In 1942 (* Denote Hall Of Famer)

1. Bill Dudley, RB, Pittsburgh *
5. Bob Westfall, FB, Detroit
6. Spec Sanders, RB, Washington
10. Frankie Albert, QB, Chicago Bears
13. Vic Lindskog, C, Philadephia
21. Rufus Deal, DB, Washington
26. Mal Kutner, End, Pittsburgh
34. Bob Reinhard, T, Chicago Cardinals
36. Joe Zeno, G, Washington
38. Al Blozis, T, NY Giants
70. Frank Maznicki, RB, Chicago Bears
80. John Petty, FB, Chicago Bears
156. George Watts, T, Washington

Friday, September 26, 2008


Jim Marshall
6'4" 248
Defensive End
Minnesota Vikings
1960 - 1979
20 Seasons
282 Games Played
127 Sacks
29 Fumbles Recovered
1 Safety
2 Pro Bowls

Jim Marshall was a 4th round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 1960. He was the 44th player picked overall. He had played the year before in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders after leaving Ohio State University upon the completion of his junior year. Marshall teams won two National Championships and one Rose Bowl. In 1958 against Purdue, Jim scored on a 25 yard interception return, and another touchdown on a 22 yard blocked punt return. He also kicked both extra points, as the Buckeyes tied the Boilermakers 14-14. Jim earned All American honors at OSU and is a member of the OSU Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. A two-sport star, he also set the school discus and shot put records as a member of the track and field team in 1958.

His CFL exploits are sketchy at best, due to the lack of records available from that era. He was listed as a Defensive Tackle. The following year he submitted his name into the NFL Draft. When Marshall came to the Browns, he started right away at right Defensive End. He started the first three games, but had a falling out with legendary head coach Paul Brown. He soon lost his starting job, but continued to play the rest of the season. In the off season, Brown had plans to move Marshall to offensive tackle, but Marshall contracted encephalitis, and lost a great deal of weight. This fact, coupled with the problems Marshall and Paul Brown were having, did not bode well for Marshall's future in Cleveland. Both teams have different versions on how Marshall became a member of the expansion Vikings. The Vikings state that Marshall was traded with DT's Jim Prestel (8 NFL seasons), Paul Dickson (13 seasons), RB Jamie Caleb (3 seasons), LB Dick Grecni (1 season), and CB Billy Gault (1 season) while Cleveland received a 2nd-round choice and an 11th-round choice. These picks turned out to be DT Chuck Hinton, who played 9 NFL seasons for other teams, and End Ronnie Meyers, who never played in the NFL. The Browns state that "Jim Marshall was released by the Browns on Sep. 11, 1961. His rights were picked up by the Minnesota Vikings soon after, and the Browns, in a “gentleman’s agreement”, which is how Paul Brown carried out many deals, received cash and “future considerations”.

Regardless, Marshall was then a Viking until 1979. Marshall was with the team through the good and bad times. He led the team in sacks their first 6 years in the NFL. He may best be remembered for his 66 yard "wrong way" run, the longest safety and shortest play in NFL history. Billy Kilmer, then a running back with the San Francisco 49ers, had fumbled the ball. Marshall scooped it up and bolted for the wrong end zone. The Vikings won the game, as Marshall came up with a key sack in the 4th quarter. The "wrong way run" is truly a NFL classic moment to this day. But Marshall also achieved many more great feats on the field. Many fans know he played in a then league-record 282 consecutive games for the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings. 302 counting his playoff appearances. Punter Jeff Feagles just passed this number, but the NFL still recognizes Marshalls consecutive starts streak. Marshall also owns the NFL record of 282 consecutive games played by a Defensive End. Marshall also recovered 29 fumbles, an NFL record. He is listed as the Vikings franchises second leading All Time leading sack totals leader, behind Hall of Famer Carl Eller, with 127. Marshall was the Vikings team captain for 17 seasons. In all, discounting CFL games, Marshall played in 409 games (pre-season, season, post season and pro-bowls), had over 1050 tackles, and over 133 sacks. His teams won 11 Divisional Championships. He played in 4 Super Bowls. Twice he kept his streak intact by walking out of hospitals where he was recuperating from pneumonia and ulcers. On another occasion, he played after accidentally shooting himself in the side while cleaning his shotgun. In the final home game of his illustrious career, Marshall sacked Buffalo's Joe Ferguson twice. Marshall even played offensive tackle during the Vikings final series. Minnesota won 10-3, and Marshall was carried off the field by his teammates. Marshall was awarded the game ball, the first one ever given to a Viking player by Head Coach Bud Grant.

Many fans may best remember Marshall in his days of the Purple People Eaters. Teamed with Alan Page and Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, then Doug Sutherland, Marshall helped lead one of the greatest front fours in NFL history. Paige and Eller are in the NFL Hall of Fame. The Vikings may not have won the Super Bowl, but their teams were annually amongst the most feared and respected during the era.

Jim Marshall was one of a kind. We have seen Darrell Green and Jackie Slater play as long since, but neither matched Marshalls consecutive games streak. Marshall played in 270 games in 19 seasons with the Vikings and never missed a game. These are probably records that will stand for a very, very long time. Marshall was versatile enough to play on either side of the ball, and anywhere along the defensive line. His toughness is legendary. Many in the Twin Cities remember how Marshall and 16 others on snowmobiles got caught in a blizzard in Wyoming. Many of the party broke up in small groups as the snowmobiles conked out one by one. A bank president from Minnesota died. Marshall was with 5 other people (Dickson was one of the five) as they tried to walk through snow that was 10-15 feet deep. They made a snowcave to rest for the night by burning everything they had. Marshalls money, checkbook, and other papers. They made it another 24 hours as they froze in their camp before help arrived. Marshall called the experience " “the toughest thing I’ve ever encountered in my life.” When you look at Jim Marshalls stats, he is Canton worthy. When you factor in his legendary streak, it should be concrete proof that he is undeniably a Hall of Fame player. Maybe the voters won't let him him because of Eller and Paige? This same thought comes to mind for Steeler great L.C. Greenwood. That should not be a deterrent. Paige and Eller finished their careers elsewhere, but certainly are worthy. Marshall? He was as consistent as they come. He should have been in the NFL Hall of Fame years ago.

Notable 1960 Draftees * Denotes Hall of Fame Inductee

1. Billy Cannon, RB, LA Rams
3. Johnny Robinson, DB, Detroit
8. Jim Houston, LB, Cleveland
10. Ron Mix, OT, Baltimore *
20. Maxie Baughan, LB, Philadelphia
32. Don Meredith, QB, Chicago
42. Roger Brown, DT, Detroit
55. Abner Haynes, RB, Pittsburgh
74. Larry Wilson, S, St. Louis Cardinals *
109. Charley Johnson, QB, St. Louis Cardinals
110. Curtis McClinton, RB, LA Rams
119. Bobby Boyd, DB, Baltimore

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Jerry Smith
6'3" 208
Tight End
Washington Redskins
1965- 1977
13 Seasons
168 Games Played
421 Receptions
5,496 Yards Receiving
60 Touchdowns
2 Pro Bowls

Gerald "Jerry" Smith was a 9th round draft choice of the Redskins in 1965. He was the 118th player picked overall. The AFL's Kansas City Chiefs also drafted him in the 18th round, 141st overall in the AFL draft that year. Jerry went to Arizona State for college. He didn't play varsity football until his junior year. That year he caught 9 passes for 2 touchdowns. He came into his own in his senior year, when he snagged 42 catches for 618 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is a member of the ASU All Time roster, as is Redskin Hall of Fame WR Charley Taylor.

Jerry wasn't used much in his rookie year. He caught 19 passes for 2 touchdowns that year. Charley Taylor, then a half back, was the primary weapon (Taylor was an All Pro from '64 - '67 who was in the NFL Top 10 in rushing TD's and receptions until an injury forced him to WR. Taylor is among the league’s all time top 50 in receptions, receiving yards, yards from scrimmage, and rushing and receiving touchdowns). Jerry was a back up WR initially, but with 2 Hall of Famers (Taylor and Bobby Mitchell) as the primary targets of the newly acquired Hall of Fame QB Sonny Jurgensen, head coach and Hall of Famer Otto 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 2nd season, Smith caught 54 balls for 686 yards and 6 TD's. In his 3rd season, Smith had his best season as a pro. He caught 67 passes for 849 yards and 12 TD's. Smith then caught 45, 54, and 43 passes the next 3 years to go with 24 TD's. Smith was hurt early in 1971 and only managed 16 catches with 1 TD. He was never quite the same again. In the Redskins Super Bowl year of '72, Smith did catch 7 TD's 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 3 TD's from Billy Kilmer (who never threw to the TE much). The next year Smith caught 31 balls for 391 yards and 3 TD's. Injuries besieged Smiths final 2 years, and with newly acquired Jean Fugett now starting, Smith managed 8 catches for 2 TD's. Smith retired with a then NFL record 60 touch down catches for tight ends. He finished 2nd All Time behind Mike Ditka for receptions and yards receiving. To this day, he ranks tops in Washington Redskin history for tight ends in catches, yards receiving and touchdowns. He is also tied with 3 others with 12 TD's caught in a season, and tied with 10 others with 3 TD's 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 3rd in Redskin history in TD catches, and 4th in receptions.

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, the 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 Shockeys comments on the Howard Stern show reveal, 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 NFL record as well.

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 NFL Hall of Fame.

Notable players drafted in 1965 ( * denotes Hall of Famer):

2. Ken Willard, RB, 49ERS
3. Dick Butkus, LB, Chicago *
4. Gale Sayers, RB, Chicago *
5. Craig Morton, QB, Dallas
12. Joe Namath, QB, St. Louis *
14. Mike Curtis, LB, Baltimore
45. Jim Nance, RB, Chicago
54. Johnny Roland, RB, St. Louis
89. Brig Owens, QB, Dallas
145. Jethro Pugh, DT, Dallas
203. Otis Taylor, WR, Philadelphia
245. Chris Hanburger, LB, Washington

Monday, September 22, 2008


5'9" 170
1961 - 1977
17 Seasons
213 Games
56 Interceptions
941 Yards
4 Touchdowns
3 Pro Bowls

Patrick Fischer was a 17Th! round draft choice of the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1961. He was the 232nd! player picked overall. Fischer, a Omaha native, went to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln for college. Fischer was a three-time Letterman for Nebraska in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Fischer was a halfback and cornerback, but he also spent time as a quarterback during his senior season. His 17 seasons of NFL service rank him among the longest-serving NFL veterans in Nebraska history, joining his Husker teammates Ron McDole (18 NFL seasons) and Mick Tinglehoff (17 NFL seasons), and Irving Fryar (17 NFL seasons). In 1958, Fischer tied for NU's team lead in touchdowns scored. He also led the Huskers in receiving that year. As a sophomore in 1958, Fischer led NU with 537 all-purpose yards. He averaged 33.7 yards per kickoff return with seven returns for 236 yards, including a touchdown. He added nine punt returns for 139 yards. He also had one punt for 65 yards. He also had his first of two career interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. As a senior, he led the Huskers in total offense. Fischer also led the Huskers in scoring. Fischer was one of the most prolific return specialists in Nebraska history, leading NU in punt return yards, kickoff return yards and all-purpose yards in each of his three years on the field for the Huskers. In 1959, he led Nebraska with 737 all-purpose yards. In 1960, Fischer ranked second nationally by averaging 21.2 yards per punt return. That same season he added 13 kickoff returns for 296 yards (22.8 ypr). He finished 1960 with a team-leading 953 all-purpose yards, he also had one interception as a senior. Fischer led the Huskers in total offense and in scoring in 1960. He was the fourth Fischer brother to play for NU, joining Cletus, Ken and Rex.
Fischer 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 2 Pro Bowls in 1964 and '65 for Saint Louis. He signed with Washington as a free agent in 1968. He then 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. 5th most interceptions with 29, 5th in interception return yardage with 529, 3rd in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 3, 3rd in consecutive games with an interception by accumulating 5, 9th longest for the longest interception return for a touchdown when he took it 69 yards in 1967. In 1964 he returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns, which ranks 2nd in Cardinal history. Fischer also ranks 3rd for most interceptions in a season for the Cardinals, when he snared 10 in 1964. Fischer also ranks 7th all time in Redskin history with 27 interceptions, and 4th all time in 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. Fischer 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. 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 1980's. 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.
Pat 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 former great cornerbacks like Louis Wright, Ken Riley, and Lester Hayes 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 NFL Hall of Fame.

Other notable players drafted in 1961 (*denotes Hall of Fame)

5. Mike Ditka, TE, Chicago *
6. Jimmy Johnson, DB, SF 49ers *
7. Tom Matte, RB, Baltimore Colts
9. Bernie Casey, DB, SF 49ers (notable actor)
11. Billy Kilmer, RB, SF 49ers
12. Herb Adderley, DB, Green Bay *
13. Bob Lilly, DT, Dallas *
29. Fran Tarkenton, QB, Minnesota *
46. Ben Davidson, DL, NY Giants
48. Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd, DT, Chicago
50. Ron McDole, DE, Saint Louis
90. Dick Hoak, B, Pittsburgh
98. Irv Cross, DB, Philadelphia
110. Fred Cox, RB, Cleveland (later a longtime PK for the Vikings)
126. Wayne Fontes, RB, Philadelphia (Head coach of the Lions)
180. Elijah Pitts, DB, Green Bay
186. David "Deacon" Jones, DE, LA Rams *

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chris Hanburger

Chris Hanburger
Washington Redskins
6'2" 220
1965 - 1978 (14 Seasons)
187 Games Played
19 Interceptions
5 Touchdowns
9 Pro Bowls

Christian G. Hanburger was an 18th! Round draft choice of the Redskins in 1965. He was the 245TH! player chosen that year. He was a 25 year old rookie, due to his service in the Army before going to the University of North Carolina.

At UNC, he was a 2 way player who was named All ACC at Center his junior and senior years. In 1963, his team won the ACC Championship.

Hanburger 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 3 fumbles for touchdowns in his career to go with 2 on interceptions.

In 1972, Hanburger captained the Over The Hill gangs defense to a Super Bowl appearance and was named 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.

Hanburgers nine Pro Bowl appearances are still the most by any player in the entire history of the Washington Redskins. 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.

IF you agree with me, then help me wake up the Senior Committee members by e-mailing them along with me and DEMANDING that CHRIS HANBURGER be put into the Hall of Fame. If we all do it, maybe they will stop ignoring the facts!

Also have a petition : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ChrisHanburgerHOF

Other notable players drafted in 1965 by draft number( * denotes Hall of Famer):

2. Ken Willard, RB, 49ERS
3. Richard Butkis, LB, Chicago *
4. Gale Sayers, RB, Chicago *
5. Craig Morton, QB, Dallas
12. Joe Namath, QB, St. Louis *
14. Mike Curtis, LB, Baltimore
45. Jim Nance, RB, Chicago
54. Johnny Roland, RB, St. Louis
89. Brig Owens, QB, Dallas
118. Jerry Smith, WR, Washington
145. Jethro Pugh, DT, Dallas
203. Otis Taylor, WR, Philadelphia