December 8, 2017

Highlighted Year: Joe Cribbs, 1984

Running Back, Birmingham Stallions


 Age: 26
5th season in pro football, 1st in USFL & with Stallions
College: Auburn
Height: 5’11” Weight: 191

Prelude:
Buffalo’s running game had been subpar in 1979 with Terry Miller as the feature back, and the Bills took Cribbs in the second round of the ’80 NFL draft. Small but versatile – and having gained 4561 all-purpose yards and scored 34 touchdowns in college - it was anticipated that he would at least initially return kicks, but he quickly moved into the starting lineup, putting together a Pro Bowl season in which he rushed for 1185 yards and received Rookie of the Year recognition from UPI and Pro Football Weekly. Cribbs followed up his outstanding rookie season by gaining 1700 yards from scrimmage in 1981 (1097 rushing, 603 receiving) and was again selected to the Pro Bowl. Due to a contract holdout, he missed the first two games of the strike-shortened ’82 season but was effective upon the resumption of play with 633 rushing yards in seven games, although his productivity as a receiver out of the backfield dropped considerably. Cribbs rebounded in 1983 with 1131 rushing yards and 524 more yards on 57 pass receptions, garnering a third Pro Bowl selection. He jumped to the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in 1984.

1984 Season Summary
Appeared in 16 of 18 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 297 [1, tied with Kelvin Bryant]
Most attempts, game – 33 (for 191 yds.) at Pittsburgh 3/11
Yards – 1467 [1]
Most yards, game – 191 yards (on 33 carries) at Pittsburgh 3/11
Average gain – 4.9 [10]
TDs – 8 [13, tied with Buford Jordan, Greg Boone & John Williams
100-yard rushing games – 6

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 39      
Most receptions, game – 5 (for 36 yds.) vs. New Jersey 2/26, (for 32 yds.) vs. New Orleans 4/2
Yards – 500
Most yards, game – 94 (on 3 catches) at Denver 4/29
Average gain – 12.8
TDs – 5 [20, tied with nine others]

Scoring
TDs – 13 [9, tied with four others]
Points – 78

Postseason: 2 G
Rushing attempts – 39
Most rushing attempts, game – 21 at Philadelphia, USFL Eastern Conference Championship
Rushing yards – 184
Most rushing yards, game – 112 vs. Tampa Bay, USFL First Round playoff
Average gain rushing – 4.7
Rushing TDs – 1

Pass receptions – 9
Most pass receptions, game – 6 at Philadelphia, USFL Eastern Conference Championship
Pass receiving yards – 118
Most pass receiving yards, game – 63 at Philadelphia, USFL Eastern Conference Championship
Average yards per reception – 13.1
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st-team All-USFL: League, Sporting News, College & Pro Football Newsweekly, Pro Football Weekly

Stallions went 14-4 to finish first in the USFL Southern Division while leading the league in rushing yards (3313). Won USFL First Round playoff over Tampa Bay Bandits (36-17) and lost Eastern Conference Championship to Philadelphia Stars (20-10).

Aftermath:
Cribbs followed up with 1047 rushing yards in 1985 and then returned to the Bills during the Autumn ‘85 season before moving on to San Francisco for two years in a part-time role. His career came to an end in a 1988 season split between the Colts and Dolphins. In the NFL, Cribbs rushed for 5356 yards and 27 TDs on 1309 carries (4.1 avg.) and caught 224 passes for 2199 yards and 15 touchdowns. With the USFL, he rushed for 2514 yards on 564 attempts (4.5 avg.) and 15 TDs and had 80 catches for 787 yards and six TDs.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970

December 1, 2017

Highlighted Year: Alfred Jenkins, 1974

Wide Receiver, Birmingham Americans

Age: 22
1st season in pro football
College: Morris Brown
Height: 5’10” Weight: 161

Prelude:
A star with a small college, Jenkins was ignored in the NFL draft. After failing in a tryout with the Houston Oilers he signed with the Americans of the new WFL for 1974.

1974 Season Summary
Appeared in all 20 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 60 [5, tied with Ed Marshall]         
Yards – 1326 [1]
Most yards, game – 200 (on 5 catches) vs. Memphis 7/24
Average gain – 22.1 [1]  
TDs – 12 [2]

Rushing
Attempts – 3
Yards – 8
Yards per attempt – 2.7
TDs – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 30 [8]
Yards – 262 [6]
Average per return – 8.7 [7]
TDs – 0
Longest return – 42 yards

Scoring
TDs – 12 [8, tied with John Land]
Action points – 5 
Points – 89 [10]

Postseason: 2 G
Pass receptions – 3
Most pass receptions, game – 2 vs. Hawaiians, WFL Second Round playoff
Pass receiving yards – 64
Most pass receiving yards, game – 46 vs. Hawaiians, WFL Second Round playoff
Yards per reception – 21.3
Pass Receiving TDs – 1

Punt returns – 2
Punt return yds. – 31
Punt return avg. – 15.5
Punt return TDs – 0
Longest return – 27 yards vs. Hawaiians, WFL Second Round

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-WFL: League, Sporting News

Americans went 15-5 to finish second in the WFL Central Division and qualified for the postseason. Won Second Round playoff over The Hawaiians (22-19) & WFL Championship, aka World Bowl, over Florida Blazers (22-21).

Aftermath:
Jenkins jumped to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL in 1975 and continued to be productive. He caught 38 passes for 767 yards (20.2 avg.) and 6 TDs in ’75. It was the first of nine NFL seasons, all with the Falcons, until 1983, when he left the team to enter drug treatment. He excelled in Atlanta’s fine passing game with his speed and leaping ability, garnering Pro Bowl honors in 1980 and ’81 and consensus first-team All-NFL recognition in 1981. With the Falcons, Jenkins had 360 pass receptions for 6267 yards (17.4 avg.) and 40 touchdowns.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970

October 22, 2017

Highlighted Year: Bob Reinhard, 1947

Tackle/Fullback/Punter, Los Angeles Dons


 Age: 27 (Oct. 17)
2nd season in pro football & with Dons
College: California
Height: 6’4”    Weight: 230

Prelude:
A stellar tackle and punter in college, Reinhard was chosen by the Chicago Cardinals in the fifth round of the 1942 NFL draft. He went into the military for the duration of World War II and in 1946 joined the Dons of the new AAFC. Reinhard started all 14 games and received consensus second-team All-AAFC honors.

1947 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Punting
Punts – 28 [9]
Yards – 1279 [9]
Average – 45.7 [1]
Punts blocked – 1 [7, tied with four others]

Rushing
Attempts – 41
Yards – 150
Yards per attempt – 3.7
TDs – 0

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 3
Yards – 34
Yards per catch – 11.3
TDs – 1

Passing
Attempts – 4
Completions – 2
Yards – 21
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0

Interceptions
Interceptions – 1
Return yards – 0
TDs – 0

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 3
Yards – 42
Average per return – 14.0
TDs – 0

Scoring
TDs – 1         
Points – 6

Dons went 7-7 to finish third in the AAFC Western Division.

Aftermath:
Reinhard remained with the Dons for the next two seasons and continued to excel as a tackle, if no longer handling punting duties, receiving consensus first-team All-AAFC recognition in 1948 and second-team honors in ’49. With the demise of the AAFC he moved on to the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL in 1950, his last season, in which he received second-team All-NFL recognition. For his three years as a punter with the Dons, Reinhard averaged 44.6 yards on 78 punts. Reinhard’s brother Bill also played for the Dons.


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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970

September 22, 2017

Highlighted Year: Hank Gillo, 1922

Fullback/Tailback, Racine Legion


 Age: 28 (Oct. 5)
3rd season in pro football, 1st with Legion
College: Colgate
Height: 5’10” Weight: 195

Prelude:
Gillo’s fine college career was interrupted by military service in World War I. He spent 1920 and ’21 with the Hammond Pros and also coached the club in ‘20. The power-running fullback called “Line-Plunging” Gillo signed with the Legion for 1922.
  
1922 Season Summary
Appeared in all 11 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Scoring
Rushing TDs – 5 [4]
Receiving TDs – 0
Other TDs – 0
Total TDs – 5 [5, tied with four others]
Field Goals – 6 [2, tied with Dutch Sternaman]
Extra Points – 4 [8, tied with Paddy Driscoll & Pete Henry]
Points – 52 [1]

Legion went 6-4-1 to finish sixth in the NFL.

Aftermath:
Gillo followed up with 44 points in 1923 and received first-team All-NFL honors from Collyers Eye. In 1924, Gillo had a successful 50-yard drop-kick for a field goal against the Milwaukee Badgers, the first of that length in pro football history, on his way to 48 points in his last year with Racine. Over the course of three seasons with the Legion, Gillo produced 10 TDs, 18 PATs, and 22 field goals (21 of which were drop-kicked) for a total of 144 points.  He played for the Milwaukee Badgers in 1925 and the Racine Tornadoes in 1926, which was his last season. He accounted for no more scoring after 1924.


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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970

September 16, 2017

Highlighted Year: Gary Clark, 1986

Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins


Age: 24
4th season in pro football, 2nd in NFL & with Redskins
College: James Madison
Height: 5’9”    Weight: 173

Prelude:
Clark caught 155 passes for 2863 yards and 16 touchdowns in college and was chosen by the Jacksonville Bulls in the first round of the 1984 USFL draft. He had 56 catches for 760 yards and two TDs as a rookie and also returned kicks. He had a lesser season in ’85 and caught only 10 passes. Following the demise of the USFL, he joined the Redskins in the Fall, who had taken him in the second round of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He had a big first year with Washington in ’85 with 72 receptions for 926 yards and 5 TDs. He proved to be an explosive receiver with great toughness.

1986 Season Summary
Appeared in 15 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 74 [10]           
Most receptions, game – 11 (for 241 yds.) at NY Giants 10/27
Yards – 1265 [4]
Most yards, game – 241 (on 11 catches) at NY Giants 10/27
Average gain – 17.1
TDs – 7 [15, tied with four others]
200-yard receiving games – 1
100-yard receiving games – 5

Punt Returns
Returns – 1
Yards – 14
TDs – 0

Scoring
TDs – 7
Points – 42

Postseason: 3 G
Pass receptions – 6
Most pass receptions, game – 5 at Chicago, NFC Divisional playoff
Pass receiving yards – 45
Most pass receiving yards, game – 37 at Chicago, NFC Divisional playoff
Average yards per reception – 7.5
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL: AP
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Redskins went 12-4 to finish second in the NFC East to qualify as a wild card playoff entry. Won NFC Wild Card playoff over Los Angeles Rams (19-7) & NFC Divisional playoff over Chicago Bears (27-13). Lost NFC Championship to New York Giants (17-0).

Aftermath:
Clark followed up with another All-Pro season in 1987, catching 56 passes for 1066 yards and 7 TDs in Washington’s Super Bowl-winning campaign, that was strike-interrupted. An off year in 1988 with a 79-catch year in ’89 for 1229 yards and 9 touchdowns. Clark garnered Pro Bowl recognition in 1990 and ’91 (75 receptions for 112 yards and 8 TDs followed by 70 catches for 1340 yards and 10 TDs). Following a 64-catch, 912-yard season in 1992, Clark moved on to the Phoenix Cardinals as a free agent in ’93. He spent two years with the Cards and finished his stellar career with Miami in 1995. Overall in the NFL he caught 699 passes for 10,856 yards and 65 touchdowns. Of those totals, 549 receptions for 8742 yards and 58 TDs came with the Redskins. Clark received at least some first-team All-NFL honors twice and was selected to four Pro Bowls.


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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970

September 7, 2017

Highlighted Year: Cody Carlson, 1992

Quarterback, Houston Oilers

Age: 29 (Nov. 5)
6th season in pro football (5th active) & with Oilers
College: Baylor
Height: 6’3”    Weight: 202

Prelude:
Following a fine career at Baylor, Carlson was chosen by the Oilers in the third round of the 1987 NFL draft. He saw no action as a rookie backup to Warren Moon during the strike-interrupted ’87 season. Valued for his size and arm strength, he proved to be a capable backup to Moon, starting five games when Moon suffered a shoulder injury in 1988, when he passed for 775 yards and four touchdowns. Carlson appeared in six games in ’89 and one in 1990 to close out the regular season, which garnered him AFC Offensive Player of the Week recognition. Stepping in for Moon in the postseason, the result was a loss to Cincinnati. A broken arm sidelined Moon during the 1992 season, again necessitating Carlson’s stepping into the starting role.

1992 Season Summary
Appeared in 11 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 227
Most attempts, game – 36 vs. Green Bay 12/13
Completions – 149
Most completions, game – 25 vs. Green Bay 12/13
Yards – 1710
Most yards, game – 338 at Detroit 11/26
Completion percentage – 65.6 [3, 1st in AFC]
Yards per attempt – 7.5 [6]
TD passes – 9
Most TD passes, game – 2 vs. Cleveland 11/8, at Cleveland 12/20
Interceptions – 11 [19, tied with Randall Cunningham, Jay Schroeder & Stan Gelbaugh]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Miami 11/22, at Detroit 11/26, vs. Green Bay 12/13, at Cleveland 12/20
Passer rating – 81.2 [12]
300-yard passing games – 2
200-yard passing games – 4

Rushing
Attempts – 27
Most attempts, game – 6 (for 26 yds.) at Cleveland 12/20
Yards – 77
Most yards, game – 26 yards (on 6 carries) at Cleveland 12/20
Average gain – 2.9
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Did not appear in postseason game

Oilers went 10-6 to finish second in the AFC Central, while leading the NFL in passing yards (4029) and qualifying for the postseason as a wild card entry. Lost AFC Wild Card playoff to Buffalo Bills (41-38).

Aftermath:
Moon was briefly benched for poor play in 1993 and Carlson was also sidelined with a groin injury. With Moon’s departure in 1994, Carlson was handed the starting job with unsuccessful results. With questions arising as to his fragility, Carlson retired in 1995 after failing his team physical. Over the course of seven active seasons, mostly in a backup role, he passed for 4469 yards and 21 TDs with 28 interceptions. The Oilers went 11-8 in games that he started.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970


August 28, 2017

Highlighted Year: Brian Kelly, 2002

Cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Age: 26
5th season in pro football & with Buccaneers
College: Southern California
Height: 5’11” Weight: 193

Prelude:
Kelly was chosen by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 1998 NFL draft. He intercepted one pass as a rookie and became part of a cornerback rotation with Ronde Barber in 1999. The rotation continued in 2000, with Kelly primarily known for his physicality at the position. Kelly moved into the starting job across from Barber in 2001.


2002 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 8 [1, tied with Rod Woodson]
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Green Bay 11/24, at Chicago 12/29
Int. return yards – 68
Most int. return yards, game – 31 (on 1 int.) vs. St. Louis 9/23, (on 2 int.) vs. Green Bay 11/24
Int. TDs – 0
Sacks – 1
Fumble recoveries – 0
Forced fumbles – 1
Tackles – 57
Assists – 8

Postseason: 3 G
Interceptions – 0
TDs – 0

Buccaneers went 7-9 to finish third in the NFC South.

Aftermath:
Kelly suffered a chest injury in 2003 and was limited to five games. He came back strong in 2004 and intercepted four passas and continued to distinguish himself with his aggressive play. Following a 2005 season in which he was sidelined for most of the schedule due to turf toe, Kelly came back for one more year with the Bucs before departing to Detroit as a free agent. He appeared in 11 games in what was his last pro season before being released. He intercepted 22 passes, all with Tampa Bay,over the course of a solid career.


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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)


**NFC/AFC since 1970