July 6, 2011

MVP Profile: Charlie Conerly, 1959

Quarterback, New York Giants



Age: 38 (Sept. 18)
12th season in pro football & with Giants
College: Mississippi
Height: 6’1” Weight: 185

Prelude:
Originally drafted by Washington in the 13th round in 1945 to be a single-wing tailback, Conerly was serving in the military at the time. After returning and using up his college eligibility, he joined the Giants in ’48, who had traded for his rights. In his first season, he threw for 2175 yards and set a record for TD passes by a rookie (22) that lasted for 50 years. While Conerly was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1950, he had difficulty as a quarterback operating in Head Coach Steve Owen’s conservative offense. With the change to Jim Lee Howell as head coach in 1954, and more significantly, the arrival of Vince Lombardi as an assistant coach to run the offense, Conerly’s career was reinvigorated. The attack remained ground-oriented, but he passed effectively and the team had greater success, winning the NFL title in 1956 (another Pro Bowl year for Conerly). By the end of the ’58 season, the Giants had won the Eastern Conference twice in three years and the quiet quarterback with solid leadership skills and accurate passing ability gained in stature.

1959 Season Summary
Appeared in 10 of 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 194 [8]
Completions – 113 [7]
Yards – 1706 [7]
Completion percentage – 58.2 [3]
Yards per attempt – 8.8 [1]
TD passes – 14 [4, tied with Milt Plum]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. Washington 11/29, vs. Cleveland 12/6
Interceptions – 4 [18, tied with Frank Ryan & John Roach]
Passer rating – 102.7 [1]

Rushing
Attempts – 15
Yards – 38
Yards per attempt – 2.5
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship at Baltimore)
Pass attempts – 37
Pass completions – 17
Passing yardage – 226
TD passes – 1
Interceptions – 2

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: NEA
1st team All-NFL: Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: AP, UPI, NY Daily News

Giants went 10-2 to win the Eastern Conference. Lost NFL Championship to Baltimore Colts (31-16).

Aftermath:
Conerly suffered injuries in 1960 that had him sharing time with QB George Shaw, and a preseason trade that brought QB Y.A. Tittle from the 49ers put him on the bench in ’61, his final season, although he performed well in a relief role. For his career, he passed for 19,488 yards and 173 TDs. The Giants retired his #42.

--

MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]