April 4, 2012

MVP Profile: Mel Hein, 1938


Center/Linebacker, New York Giants



Age:  29
8th season in pro football & with Giants
College: Washington State
Height: 6’2”    Weight: 225

Prelude:
An All-American in college who excelled at tackle and guard as well as center, Hein was highly sought by pro teams and, after almost signing with the Providence Steamroller, joined the Giants for the 1931 season. Backing up veteran C George Murtaugh, he saw little action in the preseason and started off the regular season as a reserve, but when Murtaugh went down with an injury he made the most of the opportunity. Playing in a single-wing offense that made dependable long-snapping a key skill, Hein was considered to be the best in the league, and he also was outstanding as a run and pass blocker with his speed and mobility – pioneering traits for a center at the time. Hein became the team captain and was a consensus first-team All-Pro in 1934 and ’35.

1938 Season Summary
Appeared in all 11 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions
Interceptions – N/A
Return yards – N/A
TDs – 1 [1, tied with eight others]

Scoring
TDs – 1         
Points – 6

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship vs. Green Bay)
Interceptions – N/A
Int. return yards – N/A
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: Joe F. Carr Trophy
1st team All-NFL: League, INS, UPI, NY Daily News
2nd team All-NFL: PFWA
Pro All-Star Game

Giants went 8-2-1 to finish first in the Eastern Division while leading the division in rushing yards (1550), scoring (194 points), and touchdowns (26). Defeated Green Bay Packers for NFL Championship (23-17).

Aftermath:
Hein was a consensus first-team All-Pro in both 1939 and ’40 and, in addition to those seasons, was selected to the NFL All-Star Game in 1941 as well. He retired following the ’42 season to become head coach at Union College, but due to the World War II manpower shortage continued to play for the Giants on weekends. He retired for good after the 1945 season, having appeared in 170 games, and played every down as a single-platoon player – an impressive display of durability. The Giants retired his #7 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Charter Member in 1963.

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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 2/9/14]