June 14, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Calvin Hill, 1969

Halfback, Dallas Cowboys



Age: 22
College: Yale
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 230

Prelude:
Originally recruited by Yale to play quarterback, Hill was briefly shifted to linebacker and then halfback. He received first-team All-Ivy League honors as a junior and senior as Yale won conference titles in each season. Hill was chosen by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1969 NFL draft (24th overall).

1969 Season Summary
Appeared in 13 of 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 204 [3]
Most attempts, game - 27 (for 150 yds.) at Washington 11/16
Yards – 942 [2]
Most yards, game – 150 yards (on 27 carries) at Washington 11/16
Average gain – 4.6 [5, tied with Walt Garrison & Dave Hampton]
TDs – 8 [3, tied with Gale Sayers]
100-yard rushing games – 3

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 20      
Most receptions, game – 3 (for 71 yds.) at Philadelphia 10/5, (for 21 yds.) at Atlanta 10/12
Yards – 232
Most yards, game - 71 (on 3 catches) at Philadelphia 10/5
Average gain – 11.6
TDs – 0

Passing
Attempts – 3
Completions – 3
Yards – 137
TDs – 2

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 4
Yards – 125
Average per return – 31.3
TDs – 0
Longest return – 46 yards

All-Purpose Yards – 1299 [6]

Scoring
TDs – 8 [15, tied with five others]
Points – 48

Postseason: 1 G (Eastern Conference Championship vs. Cleveland)
Rushing attempts – 8
Rushing yards – 17
Average gain rushing – 2.1
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 1
Pass receiving yards - 7
Average yards per reception – 7.0
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Kickoff Returns – 4
Yards – 90
Average per return – 22.5
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: UPI, NEA, Sporting News
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
1st-team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Hall of Fame, NEA, NY Daily News, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
2nd-team All-NFL: UPI

Cowboys went 11-2-1 to finish first in the Capitol Division of the NFL Eastern Conference while leading the league in total yards (5122) and rushing yards (2276). Lost Eastern Conference Championship to Cleveland Browns (38-14).

Aftermath:
Injuries limited Hill to 577 and 468 yards, respectively, in 1970 and ’71 and Duane Thomas emerged as an alternative, but in 1972 he became the first Dallas running back to gain a thousand yards rushing in a season (1036) while also catching 43 passes for 364 more yards and, in ’73, he gained a career-high 1142 yards on the ground. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons, including 1974, when he ran for 844 yards, but left the Cowboys for The Hawaiians of the WFL in ’75. Hill played in three WFL games before being sidelined by a knee injury, and with the demise of the league returned to the NFL with the Washington Redskins for 1976. As a backup for two years in Washington, he ran for 558 yards and caught 25 passes before moving on to the Cleveland Browns in 1978. Used primarily for his pass receiving skills out of the backfield in his four years with Cleveland, Hill ran the ball for just 516 yards but had 107 receptions for 1248 yards and 16 TDs. For his career in the NFL, he rushed for 6083 yards on 1452 carries (4.2 avg.) and 42 touchdowns, caught 271 passes for 2861 yards (10.6 avg.) and another 23 TDs, and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. His brief hiatus in the WFL added another 218 rushing yards and four catches.

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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).


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