December 25, 2011

MVP Profile: Jim Nance, 1966

Fullback, Boston Patriots

Age: 24 (Dec. 30)
2nd season in pro football & with Patriots
College: Syracuse
Height: 6’1” Weight: 245

More successful as a heavyweight wrestler than a football player in college, Nance was chosen in the 19th round of the 1965 AFL draft by the Patriots (he was a fourth-round choice of the Bears in the NFL as well). His weight was up to 258 pounds (from 235 in college) when he joined Boston as a rookie (prompting Head Coach Mike Holovak to threaten to convert him into a guard) and he had a disappointing first year, rushing for 321 yards while averaging just 2.9 yards per carry in ‘65. However, he lost weight and gained the starting fullback job for 1966, and behind an improved offensive line.

1966 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 299 [1]
Most attempts, game - 38 (for 208 yds.) vs. Oakland 10/30
Yards – 1458 [1]
Most yards, game – 208 yards (on 38 carries) vs. Oakland 10/30
Average gain – 4.9 [3]
TDs – 11 [1]
200-yard rushing games – 1
100-yard rushing games – 8

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 8
Most receptions, game – 4 (for 67 yds.) at San Diego 9/10
Yards – 103
Most yards, game – 67 (on 4 catches) at San Diego 9/10
Average gain – 12.9
TDs – 0

All-Purpose Yards – 1561 [1]

TDs – 11 [3, tied with Art Powell]
Points – 66 [10, tied with Art Powell]

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

Patriots went 8-4-2 and finished a close second in the AFL Eastern Division while placing second in the league in rushing (1963 yards).

Nance again led the AFL with 1216 yards rushing in 1967 and was a consensus first-team All-AFL selection as well as selectee to the AFL All-Star game, but the team’s record dropped to 3-10-1. Slowed by an injury, his production was less in ’68, but he rebounded somewhat with a league-leading 193 carries in 1969, for 750 yards. He lasted two more steadily-declining years with the Patriots in 1970 and ’71, sat out 1972, and was a reserve with the Jets in ’73. Nance moved on to the WFL, playing for the Houston Gamblers/Shreveport Steamer franchise in 1974 and ’75, and ranked third in the league in rushing with 1240 yards in ’74. Overall, he gained 5401 yards rushing in the AFL/NFL and 2007 in the WFL.


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 2/11/14]