September 3, 2011

MVP Profile: Tobin Rote, 1963

Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

Age: 35
14th season in pro football, 1st in AFL & with Chargers
College: Rice
Height: 6’3” Weight: 222

Rote was chosen in the second round of the 1950 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers and took over as the starting quarterback as a rookie. Playing for a poor team, he led the league by tossing 24 interceptions. Over the course of seven seasons with the Packers, he established himself as the league’s best running quarterback, gaining a high of 523 yards in ’51 that was the NFL record for a QB until 1971; Rote also scored 11 TDs in 1956. As a passer, he was inconsistent but led the league in both attempts and completions twice, in passing yards once (2203 in 1956), and TD passes twice (17 in 1955, 18 in ’56). He was selected for the Pro Bowl in ‘56. Traded to Detroit prior to the 1957 season, Rote split time with veteran Bobby Layne, and when Layne went down with a broken leg, guided the Lions the rest of the way to an NFL Championship. Layne was traded away in ’58 and Rote started for the next two years, but after a poor season in 1959 and a contract dispute with the Lions, he jumped to Toronto of the CFL. He led the league with 38 TD passes as the Argonauts won a division title in 1960 and played two more seasons for them before signing with the AFL Chargers for 1963, a team searching for a veteran QB to lead the high-powered attack.

1963 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 286 [6]
Most attempts, game – 29 vs. Buffalo 9/8, at NY Jets 11/2, at Boston 11/10
Completions – 170 [4]
Most completions, game – 21 at NY Jets 11/2
Yards – 2510 [3]
Most yards, game – 369 at NY Jets 11/2
Completion percentage – 59.4 [1]
Yards per attempt – 8.8 [1]
TD passes – 20 [3, tied with Tom Flores]
Most TD passes, game – 3 vs. Kansas City 9/29, at Denver 10/6, at NY Jets 11/2, at Oakland 12/8
Interceptions – 17 [6]
Most interceptions, game – 4 vs. Oakland 10/27
Passer rating – 86.7 [1]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 6

Attempts – 24
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 7 yds.) at Oakland 12/8
Yards – 62
Most yards, game – 12 yards (on 2 carries) at Buffalo 11/17
Yards per attempt – 2.6
TDs – 2

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 1 G (AFL Championship vs. Boston)
Pass attempts – 15
Pass completions – 10
Passing yards – 173
TD passes – 2
Interceptions – 0

Rushing attempts – 4
Rushing yards – 15
Average gain rushing – 3.8
Rushing TDs – 1

Awards & Honors:
AFL Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-AFL: League, AP, UPI, NEA, NY Daily News
AFL All-Star Game

Chargers went 11-3 to win AFL Western Division while leading league in points scored (399), touchdowns (50), and total yardage (5145). Defeated Boston Patriots (51-10) for AFL Championship.

Rote had a lesser season with the Chargers in 1964 and split time with young QB John Hadl. San Diego again won the Western Division, but lost to Buffalo in the title game with Rote at quarterback most of the way. He played briefly for Denver in 1966, his last season. Overall, in the NFL and AFL he passed for 18,850 yards, throwing for 148 TDs while being intercepted 191 times. He also ran for 3128 yards and scored 37 touchdowns, although his mobility was much diminished by the time he joined the Chargers. Rote’s CFL passing totals were 9872 yards with 66 touchdowns and 58 interceptions, and he ran for 238 yards.


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 4/12/12]
[Updated 2/14/14]