Sunday, April 5, 2009
1960 - 1970, 1974
147 Games Played
9 Pro Bowls
Maxie Calloway Baughan was a second round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960, the 20th player chosen overall. Maxie went to college at Georgia Tech, where he is a legend. He started, and played, both ways at Linebacker and Center for the Rambling Wreck. Baughan set a record that still stands today, when he had 124 tackles during his senior year. He was named the Southeastern Conference Player Of The Year that season, as well as All American. He was then named the MVP of the Gator Bowl, when he led his team to victory. Maxie Baughan is in the Georgia Tech, Georgia Sports, Alabama, Gator Bowl Hall Of Fame's, as well as the College Football Hall Of Fame.
After playing in both the Hula Bowl and College All Star game, Baughan joined the Eagles and was inserted into Outside Linebacker on the right side of the defense. He played alongside future Canton inductees like Chuck Bednarik, Norm Van Brocklin, Sonny Jurgensen, and Tommy McDonald, as well as Eagles Legends like Pete Retzlaff, Bobby Walston, Tom Brookshier, Timmy Brown, Don Burroughs, and future Eagles head coaches Marion Campbell and Ed Khayat that year. The Eagles would go on to win the NFL Championship, the last the franchise has seen since.
Maxie would be named to the Pro Bowl that year, after picking off 3 passes and returning them for 50 yards. He went back to the Pro Bowl the next year after intercepting a ball and returning it 22 yards. The Eagles had a strong season, going 10 - 4, but were unable to repeat as champions. The team started to get rid of their players, in hopes of rebuilding. Philadelphia won five games over the next two years, and Maxie went back to the Pro Bowl in 1963.
The teams roster turnover continued, as did the coaching staff, in 1964. Maxie went back to the Pro Bowl in each of the next two seasons, including helping make another memorable Philadelphia moment in 1965. In the second from last game that year, the Eagles trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers 47 - 13. What is most notable about that game is that the Eagles intercepted the ball an NFL record 9 times that day. Maxie got his hands on one of those balls, and rumbled 33 yards for the only touchdown of his career.
Baughan was 27 years old, and had been to the Pro Bowl in 5 of his 6 years, but Maxie felt that the Eagles wanted to keep cleaning house, and he was part of the guys they wanted out. He asked to be traded close to home, or to New York. Little did he realize that Hall Of Famer George Allen was beginning his first year as a head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Allen had just left the Chicago Bears position as defensive coordinator, which caught the ire of NFL founding father, and Bears owner, George Halas. Halas sued Allen for breach of contract and won, but let Allen leave anyways.
Allen had his eye on Maxie, and traded 3 players to the Eagles for his services. The Eagles would also trade All Pro Cornerback Irv Cross to the Rams in a separate deal. Baughan and Allen formed an immediate bond. The two would spend hours dissecting opponents game plans and films. Baughan is on record to have said he learned more about football from Allen than anyone he had ever met in his life.
The trade paid off handsomely for the Rams, as Baughan would go to the Pro Bowl in each of his first 4 years with the team. He set a career high of 4 interceptions in 1967, and matched that total the next season. In 1970, Baughan was injured. He was only able to play in 10 games, and did not start in two of the games. They were the first two games that Maxie did not start in his entire career. Maxie then retired from the NFL.
About this same time, Allen had taken over as head coach of the Washington Redskins. He wanted certain players on his team, and many were still employed by the Rams. Allen then engineered a trade that sent All Pro Linebacker Marlin McKeever (a one time teammate of Baughan's in Los Angeles), a first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and two third round draft picks to the Rams in exchange for Baughan, LB Jack Pardee, LB Myron Pottios, RB Jeff Jordan, G John Wilbur, DT Diron Talbert, and a fifth-round choice. This was the beginnings of the famous "Over The Hill Gang" in Washington.
His time with Allen had inspired him to go into coaching, so Maxie returned to Georgia Tech to be an assistant coach and defensive coordinator instead of playing. Allen, however, persuaded Maxie to return to the NFL in 1974. He made Baughan a player-coach, and Maxie got in on two games that year. He then retired permanently as a player, but his coaching career was just beginning to blossom.
He served as a defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions between 1975 to 1982. He then took over as head coach at Cornell University, a storied program that has seen such legends like Pop Warner and George Siefert coach the team. Baughan led the Big Red to an Ivy League Championship, their first in 17 seasons. After Cornell, he coached with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Baltimore Ravens before retiring from the game for good.
Maxie was as solid and consistent a player as they come. He only missed five games in his first ten years in the league, and started every game he was able to play in during that time. He was equally adept at playing the strong side linebacker as he was on the weak side. He played on the right side his whole career, and was a tackling machine. Statistics for tackles were not kept in those days, so his true impact escapes the younger fans, and voters, of these days.
It is simply disrespectful that the voters in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame have not put Maxie into Canton yet. He went to 9 Pro Bowls in his first ten years in the league, which is utterly amazing. You MUST realize that players EARNED their Pro Bowl bids back then, much more than they do today. It wasn't a popularity contest then, where fans would vote you in based on shenanigans perpetrated on and off the field, like it is these days. Players and coaches did the voting, and they would only vote in the best of the best. Maxie's amazing run of Pro Bowls certainly shows he was one of the best ever in any era of NFL history.
I have long stated, if you have followed this series, that the selection process in Canton is flawed. It is also too political. The induction classes are way too small, and there are too many superior players not yet in. Seeing inferior players like Andre Tippett and Derrick Thomas inducted makes a real football fan even more sickened by this process. Tippett and Thomas are deserving, but they were pass rushers only. Tippett was a Pro Bowler only FIVE times in his 12 seasons, and Thomas intercepted just one pass in his entire career. Seeing better, and more complete, linebackers like Baughan, Chris Hanburger, Tommy Nobis, Robert Brazile, and others not inducted shows the Pro Football Hall Of Fame is a fraudulent sham. The best are NOT in that building in Canton.
The fact that Maxie Baughan is not in only proves my point. Maxie, and many of his peers, are not the type to politic or kiss any of the butts of these phony know nothing voters. Baughan himself is content with all the other Halls he has been inducted into, but he has no idea as to why he isn't in Canton. He isn't alone in that thought. It is quite clear that Maxie Baughan should have been inducted into the Professional Football Hall Of Fame decades 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 *
32. Don Meredith, QB, Chicago
42. Roger Brown, DT, Detroit
44. Jim Marshall, DT, Cleveland
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