June 7, 2012

Rookie of the Year: Greg Cook, 1969


Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals



Age:  23 (Nov. 20)
College: Cincinnati
Height: 6’3”    Weight: 212

Prelude:
Personally scouted by Cincinnati Head Coach Paul Brown, Cook, a record-setting local collegiate talent, was chosen by the Bengals in the first round of the 1969 AFL/NFL draft (fifth overall). With ideal size and mobility combined with a strong arm, quick release, and great poise, he earned a spot in the starting lineup during the preseason and the results remained impressive at the start of the regular season. However, a shoulder injury suffered in Week 3 against the Chiefs would prove to be the beginning of the end for Cook’s career.

1969 Season Summary
Appeared and started in 11 of 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 197 [9]
Most attempts, game – 30 at Denver 12/14
Completions – 106 [9]
Most completions, game – 19 at Denver 12/14
Yards – 1854 [8]
Most yards, game – 327 vs. San Diego 9/21
Completion percentage – 53.8 [2]
Yards per attempt – 9.4 [1]
TD passes – 15 [4]
Most TD passes, game – 4 at Houston 11/9
Interceptions – 11 [9, tied with Pete Liske, John Hadl & Rick Norton]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. Boston 11/16
Passer rating – 88.3 [1]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 4

Rushing
Attempts – 25
Most attempts, game - 4 (for 33 yds.) vs. Boston 11/16, (for 21 yds.) at Buffalo 11/30
Yards – 148
Most yards, game – 33 yards (on 3 carries) vs. San Diego 9/21, (on 4 carries) vs. Boston 11/16
Yards per attempt – 5.9
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Awards & Honors:
AFL Rookie of the Year: UPI, PFWA

Bengals went 4-9-1 (with all four wins coming in games started by Cook) to finish fifth in the AFL Western Division.  

Aftermath:
Playing through a torn rotator cuff and detached bicep, Cook fatally damaged his career and became one of the great “what if” stories in pro football history. Multiple surgeries cost him the next three seasons and he returned to throw just three passes in 1973 before quitting for good. His 9.4 yards per attempt in ’69 remain a record for a rookie passer.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

[Updated 2/8/14]

1 comment:

  1. Another "what-if"- if Greg Cook ended up having the career his potential indicated, would Ken Anderson have had the career and success he had?

    ReplyDelete