October 14, 2011

MVP Profile: Pete Retzlaff, 1965

Tight End, Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 34
10th season in pro football & with Eagles
College: South Dakota State
Height: 6’1” Weight: 214

A star small-college running back, Retzlaff was taken by the Detroit Lions in the 22nd round of the 1953 draft. He never saw regular season action with the Lions, as he served in the military for the next two years and then was cut during the 1956 preseason and signed by the Eagles. Buried on the depth chart at halfback for the next two seasons, he was converted into a receiver at the suggestion of QB Norm Van Brocklin and quickly blossomed, co-leading the NFL (along with Baltimore’s Raymond Berry) with 56 catches in 1958 and being selected to the Pro Bowl. “Pistol Pete” was named to the Pro Bowl following the Eagles’ championship season in 1960 as well. After missing much of 1962 with a broken arm, he was converted to tight end and made the Pro Bowl at that position in 1963 and ’64, catching 57 passes for 895 yards and 51 for 855 yards, respectively, with a total of 12 touchdowns.

1965 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 66 [3]
Most receptions, game – 9 (for 148 yds.) at St. Louis 11/28
Yards – 1190 [2]
Most yards, game - 204 (on 7 catches) vs. Washington 11/14
Average gain – 18.0 [8]
TDs – 10 [3, tied with Jimmy Orr & Gary Collins]
200-yard receiving games - 1
100-yard receiving games - 5

TDs – 10 [6, tied with Jimmy Orr & Gary Collins]
Points – 60 [16, tied with Jimmy Orr & Gary Collins]

Awards & Honors:
NFL Player of the Year: Bert Bell Award
1st team All-NFL: AP, NEA, UPI, NY Daily News
1st team All-Eastern Conference: Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Eagles went 5-9 to tie for fifth place with Washington in the NFL Eastern Conference, although they scored more points (363) than they surrendered (359) and ranked second in the league in total yards (5012) and passing offense (3188 yards).

Retzlaff played one more season, catching 40 passes for 653 yards and six TDs in 1966, before retiring. Overall, he had 452 catches for 7412 yards (16.4 avg.) and 47 touchdowns. His #44 was retired by the Eagles, and he later became the team’s General Manager.


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 2/13/14]