April 30, 2012

1921: Akron Pros Awarded APFA Title

In the early days of the NFL, there were no divisions, no playoffs, and no hugely-watched Super Bowl to determine a champion. At the very beginning, it was not even the NFL – when the league first started in 1920, it was the American Professional Football Association (APFA). Teams did not have set schedules and, at the end of that first season of play, there was no champion. At a league meeting on April 30, 1921 the Akron Pros were officially handed the crown.

As was the case with many of the new football league’s franchises, the Pros had already been in existence for several years. The team had first formed in 1908 (although there were earlier semipro clubs in Akron dating to 1904) and had been known primarily over the years as the Indians. It had been a member of the Ohio League, a direct predecessor of the NFL, and won four championships, most recently in 1914. However, the team had suffered both on the field and at the gate since then and was coming off of a 5-5 record in 1919.

Under new owners, Art Ranney and Frank Neid, Akron joined the new APFA and the franchise was renamed the Pros. Star HB Fritz Pollard, an African-American who had played collegiately at Brown and was an outstanding breakaway threat, returned from the 1919 team. Other prominent players on the roster included end Al Nesser, one of several brothers who played pro football during that period, wingback Frank McCormick, and FB Rip King, an able passer as well as runner. The Pros were coached by Elgie Tobin, who also played quarterback.

Going into the 1920 season, Akron was not considered to be on a par with several other teams that included the Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers, and Decatur Staleys (future Chicago Bears). They blew out the Wheeling Stogies (a non-league opponent) and Columbus Panhandles by a combined score of 80-0 and, after shutting the Cincinnati Celts out by a 13-0 score, faced their first big test against Cleveland at home. Taking advantage of a great defensive play by end/tackle Bob “Nasty” Nash, Akron came away with a 7-0 win (Nash was later sold to Buffalo in what was the first recorded player transaction in league history).

The Pros followed up the big win over the Tigers with a trip to Canton that produced a 10-0 win over the legendary Jim Thorpe and the highly-touted Bulldogs. Following a scheduled game against Detroit that was rained out, Akron had a rematch against the Tigers in Cleveland. While the Pros gave up their first points of the season, they managed a 7-7 tie to remain undefeated, if not unscored-upon.

Next up were the Dayton Triangles, also undefeated coming into the contest. It was a tense battle for three quarters before Akron scored twice in the final period, on a King-to-McCormick TD pass and Pollard run, to win 13-0. On Thanksgiving day, the revenge-minded Bulldogs came to town for a rematch but again lost, this time by a 7-0 decision. Three days later it was off to Dayton and a second game against the Triangles, which was a 14-0 win thanks to two Pollard touchdowns to assure that the Pros were clearly the best Ohio-based team.

While there was no postseason mechanism in place, a tournament among the APFA clubs with the best records was quickly put together with the games all to count in the standings. The Buffalo All-Americans beat the Bulldogs, thus ending any last title hopes for Canton, and the Staleys of player/coach George Halas beat the Chicago Cardinals. The Pros then took on Buffalo and played to a scoreless tie. Following that, they finished up in Chicago against the Staleys and played to another scoreless draw, although the Pros came closest to putting points on the board in a hard-fought game before 12,000 fans (the biggest crowd to attend any of their contests in 1920; Halas had moved the game to Chicago in hopes of spurring attendance).

While Buffalo and Decatur made noises about having won the championship because Akron didn’t beat them, the fact was that in the end, only the Pros went unbeaten during the season and ended up with an 8-0-3 record (and gave up just seven points in compiling it). That was enough for the team managers gathered at the league meeting, and an award, the Brunswick-Balke Collender Cup, was presented to owners Ranney and Neid signifying that Akron was the 1920 league champion. Oddly enough, the cup disappeared shortly thereafter and its whereabouts remain unknown.

One newspaper, the Rock Island Argus, selected an All-Pro team for 1920 (recognized as the first in APFA/NFL history) and it included Fritz Pollard and Rip King on the first team. Second-team choices from the Pros included Bob Nash and G Alf Cobb and G Brad Tomlin made the third team.

Akron remained in the league until 1926 but did not win another championship. The Pros placed third in ’21 with an 8-3-1 record with Pollard (pictured below) serving as co-coach with Tobin, thus becoming the first black head coach in NFL history. They posted losing records in four of their last five seasons, however, before fading into history.

April 29, 2012

Past Venue: Providence Cycledrome

Providence, RI

Year opened: 1925
Capacity: 10,000

Providence Cycledrome, 1925-37

Pro football tenants:
Providence Steam Roller (NFL), 1925-31

Postseason games hosted:

Other tenants of note:

Notes: Constructed near the boundary between Providence and Pawtucket as a bicycle-racing venue (velodrome). The field was surrounded by a steeply-banked wooden track that cut into the end zones, reducing one to five yards in depth. Seating was permitted on the straightaway portions of the track, parallel to the field, and fans were so close to the action that plays going out of bounds could have players landing among the spectators. Lights were installed in 1930. Locker rooms, as such, provided very limited space and were only used by the home team – visitors had to dress for the game at their hotel. Largest crowd was 13,000 for Steam Roller vs. New York Giants.

Fate: Demolished in 1937 and replaced by a drive-in movie theater, which has since given way to a shopping plaza.

April 27, 2012

MVP Profile: Paul Hornung, 1961

Halfback, Green Bay Packers

Age: 26 (Dec. 23)
5th season in pro football & with Packers
College: Notre Dame
Height: 6’2”    Weight: 215

Despite Notre Dame posting a miserable 2-8 record in his senior year, the “Golden Boy” was an All-American quarterback for the second time and capped his college career by winning the Heisman Trophy. He was chosen by the Packers in the first round of the 1957 draft but lacked the passing accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL. Hornung was tried at fullback and floundered for his first two years on a losing team before the arrival of Vince Lombardi as head coach in 1959. Lombardi installed him as an option halfback and, together with his role as the team’s placekicker, Hornung became a scoring machine as well as part of an excellent rushing tandem along with FB Jim Taylor. In 1959, he led the NFL with 94 points and earned a Pro Bowl selection while rushing for 681 yards and in ’60, as the Packers won the Western Conference, he set a league scoring record that lasted until 2006 with 176 points, including a league-leading 13 rushing touchdowns. He received consensus first-team All-Pro recognition and again was chosen to the Pro Bowl.

1961 Season Summary
Appeared and started 12 of 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 127 [15]
Most attempts, game - 22 (for 94 yds.) at Chicago 11/12
Yards – 597 [13]
Most yards, game – 111 yards (on 11 carries) vs. Baltimore 10/8
Average gain – 4.7 [9]
TDs – 8 [3, tied with J.D. Smith, Jim Brown & Rick Casares]
100-yard rushing games - 1

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 15       
Most receptions, game – 3 (for 17 yds.) vs. Detroit 9/17, (for 28 yds.) vs. Baltimore 10/8
Yards – 145
Most yards, game - 34 (on 1 catch) at Chicago 11/12
Average gain – 9.7
TDs – 2

Attempts – 5
Completions – 3
Yards – 42
TD passes – 1
Interceptions – 0

Field goals – 15 [3, tied with Jim Martin & Lou Michaels]
Most field goals, game - 4 at Minnesota 10/22
Field goal attempts – 22 [10, tied with Tommy Davis]
Most field goal attempts, game – 4 vs. San Francisco 9/24, at Minnesota 10/22
Field goal percentage – 68.2 [2]
PATs – 41 [4]
PAT attempts – 41 [4, tied with Roger LeClerc]
Longest field goal – 51 yards at Chicago 11/12

TDs – 10
Field Goals – 15
PATs – 41
Points – 146 [1]

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship vs. NY Giants)
Rushing attempts – 20
Rushing yards – 89
Average gain rushing – 4.5
Rushing TDs – 1

Pass receptions – 3
Pass receiving yards - 47
Average yards per reception – 15.7
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Pass attempts – 2
Pass completions – 0
Passing yards – 0
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0

Field goals – 3
Field goal attempts – 3
PATs – 4
PAT attempts – 4
Longest field goal – 22 yards

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, UPI, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, UPI, NY Daily News, Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: NEA

Packers went 11-3 to finish first in the Western Conference while leading NFL in rushing yards (2350), scoring (391 points), and touchdowns (49). Defeated New York Giants for NFL Championship (37-0).

Missing time due to military service and injury, Hornung had a lesser year in 1962 as the Packers repeated as champions. A suspension for gambling cost him all of 1963, and when he returned in ’64 his performance suffered, in particular his placekicking. He lasted another two injury-plagued years, with a clutch five-TD performance against the Colts in ’65, as well as a solid rushing game in that season’s NFL Championship game, among the last major highlights of his career. Hornung was taken by the New Orleans Saints in the 1967 expansion draft but, due to a chronic pinched nerve in his neck, retired during training camp. He finished with 3711 rushing yards on 893 carries, 1480 yards on 130 pass receptions, five TD passes, 62 touchdowns, 66 field goals, 190 extra points, and 760 total points, which put him among the Top 10 career scoring leaders in NFL history at the time. An all-around talent who was at his best in scoring territory, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1986.


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]

April 26, 2012

1967: Bears Trade Mike Ditka to Eagles for Jack Concannon

In the offseason following the 1966 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles lost star TE Pete Retzlaff to retirement while the Chicago Bears were seeking a quarterback due to the retirement talk surrounding 35-year-old QB Rudy Bukich (he stayed on for one more season as a backup). On April 26, 1967 the Eagles traded QB Jack Concannon and an unspecified 1968 draft pick to the Bears for TE Mike Ditka.

Ditka (pictured above) had quickly established himself as one of the premier tight ends in pro football after coming to the Bears as a first draft choice in 1961. He received Rookie of the Year recognition as he caught 56 passes for 1076 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first year and was selected to the Pro Bowl following each of the first five. A hard-nosed player who combined the strong blocking skills expected in the position with excellent pass receiving ability, he was one of the stars of the 1963 NFL Championship-winning team and topped out statistically with 75 catches for 897 yards in ‘64.

However, the 27-year-old Ditka was on the verge of becoming a free agent. He had refused to sign a contract for 1966 and played out his option. He also infuriated owner/Head Coach George Halas by accepting a $50,000 bonus to sign a three-year contract and jump leagues to play for the AFL’s Houston Oilers – a deal that was tossed out once the AFL/NFL merger was agreed to (although he got to keep the bonus).

Having obtained his rights, the Eagles were successful in signing Ditka to a contract. Ditka had often been a critic of the front office while with the Bears, but was diplomatic upon leaving. “I bear no animosity to the Bear team,” he stated. “It’s been a great six years in Chicago and I hope the next six years will be as great.”

The 24-year-old Concannon was Philadelphia’s second-round draft choice out of Boston College in 1964. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, he was known for his flashy running ability as a quarterback in college and showed off the same form in the NFL – at least, on the rare occasions when he played. Backing up veteran QB Norm Snead (along with King Hill) as a rookie, he was given a late-season start against Dallas and passed for two touchdowns while also rushing for 99 yards in just 8 carries. It was enough to make him a fan favorite, but did not guarantee him more playing time.

After mostly sitting on the bench for the next two years, sometimes relieving at quarterback and occasionally returning punts, Concannon got two late-season starts in 1966 (as part of Head Coach Joe Kuharich’s odd three-man starting quarterback rotation), and they were wins. Against the Steelers, he set a club single-game rushing record for a quarterback with 129 yards that lasted until 2010. However, he showed his erratic tendencies in the Playoff Bowl, tossing a costly interception in defeat. For all the excitement he generated, he appeared in just 18 games, completed only 43.7 % of his passes with four touchdowns and eight interceptions, but also rushed for 433 yards on 50 carries for an 8.7-yard average gain. He had a knack for making big plays, but was very much a work in progress.

Philadelphia reportedly gave the Bears their choice of any of the three veteran quarterbacks on the roster, including Snead and Hill. It was considered something of a surprise that Halas went with Concannon (Concannon himself expressed surprise that the Bears didn’t choose one of the others when reacting to the trade).

Ditka played for two seasons in Philadelphia, but they were not the best of his Hall of Fame career. In 1967, foot and hamstring injuries limited him to nine games, and he caught 26 passes for 274 yards and two TDs. The output was even less in ’68 (13 receptions for 111 yards and two scores) due not only to a knee injury but his being suspended by Kuharich for making critical comments regarding his management of the team. In a dreadful 2-12 season in which there was much dissension, Ditka’s voice was just one of those expressing dissatisfaction. Kuharich was relieved as GM and head coach following the year, and Ditka was traded to the Cowboys. He played effectively for four seasons and was part of another championship team in 1971. Ultimately, he reconciled with Halas and the Bears and became a successful head coach of the team, leading it to a Super Bowl victory following the 1985 season.

Jack Concannon (pictured above) ran into injury problems in Chicago, although the club went 5-1-1 in the second half of 1967 with him behind center to finish at 7-6-1. However, it was the same story as in Philadelphia – while he could make big plays and ran for 279 yards, he was still erratic throwing the ball, completing 49.5 % of his passes for 1260 yards and tossing far more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (6). The presence of star HB Gale Sayers made the greater impact on the offense’s output.

A fractured shoulder limited Concannon to seven games in 1968 and backup QB Virgil Carter yielded better results in relief. But from a 7-7 record, the Bears collapsed to 1-13 in ’69 and Concannon found himself competing with rookie Bobby Douglass as well as Carter. It seemed as though Douglass – another quarterback who was better at running than passing – would supplant the veteran, but when the young lefthander went down early in the 1970 season with a broken wrist, Concannon put together his best pro season, throwing for 2130 yards with 16 TDs against 18 interceptions. Chicago bounced back to 6-8. But he was lost to injury in ’71, the team committed to Douglass, and Concannon exited for Dallas, where he was never activated over the course of two years, finishing up with brief appearances with Green Bay and Detroit before retiring.

In all with the Bears, Concannon completed 51.1 % of his passes for 5222 yards with 31 TDs and 52 interceptions, rushed for 586 yards, and provided his share of excitement. However, he lacked the passing ability and consistency to be truly successful as a quarterback in the NFL. 

April 24, 2012

Past Venue: Civic Stadium

Portland, OR 
aka Multnomah Stadium, Jeld-Wen Field

Year opened: 1926
Capacity: 22,000, down from 32,500 when it was used for pro football

Multnomah Stadium, 1926-65
Civic Stadium, 1966-2000
PGE Park, 2001-10
Jeld-Wen Field, 2011 to date

Pro football tenants:
Portland Rockets (AFL), 1944
Portland Loggers (ContFL), 1969
Portland Storm/Thunder (WFL), 1974-75
Portland Breakers (USFL), 1985

Postseason games hosted:

Other tenants of note:
Portland Beavers (minor league baseball), 1956-93, 2001-10
Portland Mavericks (minor league baseball), 1973-77
Portland Timbers (NASL), 1975-82
Portland Rockies (minor league baseball), 1995-2000
Portland State Univ. (college football)
Portland Timbers (MLS), 2001 to date

Notes: Constructed by Multnomah Athletic Club on site of earlier athletic fields, dating back to 1893. Sold to the City of Portland in 1966 and renamed Civic Stadium. Underwent major renovation in 2001, at which point the naming rights were bought by Portland General Electric. Grass surface replaced with AstroTurf in 1969, Nexturf in 2001, and FieldTurf in 2011. Hosted occasional home games of Univ. of Oregon and Oregon State Univ. Hosted matches of Women’s World Cup, 1999 and 2003. Also used for greyhound racing, after Oregon legalized para-mutuel betting, 1933-55. First football game was Univ. of Washington vs. Univ. of Oregon, Oct. 9, 1926. Hosted NFL preseason game in 1955 between New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams in which sudden-death overtime was first used on an experimental basis.

Fate: Still in use.

[Updated 2/3/14]
[Updated 2/16/15]

April 23, 2012

1984: Bandits Stifle Punchless Panthers

The Michigan Panthers, champions of the United States Football League’s first season in 1983, had gotten off to a 6-0 start in ’84. Head Coach Jim Stanley’s team, featuring the passing combination of QB Bobby Hebert to WR Anthony Carter, looked as though it was on its way to another title until Carter suffered a season-ending broken arm in the sixth game. The Panthers lost the two that followed and were not the same without the second-year wide receiver, who was also an outstanding punt returner.

On April 23, 1984 Michigan hosted the Tampa Bay Bandits at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Bandits, coached by Steve Spurrier, were 5-3 and had won their previous two contests after losing three straight. 34-year-old veteran QB John Reaves directed the attack and had outstanding targets in WR Eric Truvillion and TE Marvin Harvey. RB Gary Anderson, in his first full year with the club, was proving to be a productive all-purpose back.

There were 31,443 fans in attendance for the Monday night contest. The visitors started out impressively, putting together an eight-play, 80-yard drive in their first possession. Reaves completed two key third down passes to Harvey along the way and finished the possession off by connecting with the tight end once more for a 12-yard touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Panthers were having difficulties moving the ball. But after two uninspiring possessions, Hebert woke up the crowd with a bomb to WR Walter Broughton, running a deep post pattern, that covered 80 yards. The score was tied at 7-7 after a quarter of play.

The Bandits got a break in the second quarter when Michigan RB John Williams fumbled the ball in his own territory and it was recovered by Tampa Bay LB James Harrell, who returned it 18 yards. Reaves quickly tossed another TD pass, this time of 17 yards to Truvillion in the left corner of the end zone, and Tampa Bay was back in front with 4:40 left in the half.

There was very little offense on display in the second half, but with the defense keeping the Panthers in check, the Bandits could afford to play for ball control. Zenon Andrusyshyn added field goals of 38 and 20 yards (he also missed twice, from 42 and 44 yards) and Tampa Bay coasted to an easy 20-7 win.

Michigan’s offense was stagnant throughout the game, with the long touchdown play the only highlight. The Panthers had just 44 rushing yards, 10 first downs, and turned the ball over five times. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay outgained Michigan by 342 yards to 295 and rolled up 20 first downs while dominating possession at 37:11 to 22:49.

John Reaves (pictured above) completed 22 of 37 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception (Tampa Bay’s only turnover). Marvin Harvey caught 7 passes for 103 yards and a TD and Eric Truvillion contributed 6 receptions for 79 yards and the other touchdown. Gary Anderson and FB Greg Boone each carried the ball 16 times, with Boone gaining 67 yards to Anderson’s 43.

For the Panthers, Bobby Hebert went to the air 35 times and completed 18 for 262 yards with the one TD but was intercepted four times (twice by CB Warren Hanna). TE Mike Cobb had 7 receptions for 68 yards while, thanks to the long scoring play, Warren Broughton led the team in receiving yards with 96 on his two catches. RB Ken Lacy rushed for 34 yards on 9 carries and added 6 pass receptions for 52 yards.

“We felt that since they had lost two games in a row they would want to set up their running game,” said DE Mike Butler of the Bandits, a former Green Bay Packer. “So what we wanted to do was take that away from them from the beginning and that's what we accomplished.”

“It’s difficult to do the job when we get outplayed,” said a disappointed Coach Jim Stanley. “We didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback. It appeared that we didn’t have enough heart and soul.”

The third straight defeat for Michigan put them in a three-way tie atop the Central Division with Houston and Oklahoma. They lost again the following week before ending the slide and ultimately made it into the postseason as a Wild Card entry with a 10-8 record, losing an epic overtime game to the Los Angeles Express.

The third straight win for Tampa Bay kept the club just behind the Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers in the Southern Division. The Bandits also ended up in the playoffs as a Wild Card at 14-4, losing to the Stallions in the first round.

John Reaves had an outstanding season, throwing for 4092 yards and 28 touchdowns. Eric Truvillion and Marvin Harvey each caught 70 passes and scored 9 TDs, with 1044 and 938 yards, respectively.

Bobby Hebert, dealing with the effects of a knee injury that hindered his mobility as well as the loss of his primary receiver, ended up with 3758 passing yards and 24 TD passes, but also gave up 22 interceptions, tying him for second in the USFL in that dubious category.

April 21, 2012

1995: Jaguars Obtain Mark Brunell from Packers

On April 21, 1995 the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars swung the first trade in franchise history. With the NFL draft looming, they dealt their third and fifth round selections to the Green Bay Packers for QB Mark Brunell.

The 24-year-old Brunell had played collegiately at the University of Washington, where he was successful until suffering a knee injury as a junior. Losing his starting job to Billy Joe Hobert, he regained it when Hobert received an NCAA suspension, but the injury damaged his draft status – he lasted until the fifth round in 1993. Behind the durable Brett Favre, Brunell saw no action as a rookie and appeared in two games in ’94. While there were concerns regarding his size (6'1”, 217) and passing accuracy, the mobile lefthander was considered a good prospect and was compared to San Francisco’s star QB Steve Young.

A restricted free agent, the Packers had been in negotiations with the Philadelphia Eagles during the week prior to the draft. The Eagles offered a four-year, $3.8 million deal but the quarterback’s agent rejected it and Green Bay then swung the trade with the Jaguars, pending Brunell’s acceptance of a three-year, $3.1 million pact that offered incentives, which came about quickly.

Brunell joined Steve Beuerlein and Andre Ware on the roster as quarterbacks for Jacksonville, and USC’s Rob Johnson was drafted in the fourth round to add to the mix. Ware ended up being the odd man out, but it was the 30-year-old veteran Beuerlein behind center as the inaugural season got under way. The Jaguars had invested heavily in free agents (as had that year’s other expansion club, the Carolina Panthers) and expectations were higher than usual for a team in its first season. Following a disappointing 1-4 start, Brunell was inserted into the lineup.

The Jaguars, under tough Head Coach Tom Coughlin, were in flux during their first season. The receiving corps was uninspiring, but Brunell’s performance was impressive. He completed 58.1 % of his passes for 2168 yards with 15 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. His passer rating was a solid 82.6 and he ranked fourth in the AFC with a 2.0 interception percentage. In addition, Brunell’s mobility paid off as he rushed for 480 yards and four TDs, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.

Things improved dramatically for both the young quarterback and the team in 1996. It didn’t start out that way – the Jaguars won only four of their first 11 games and Brunell had difficulties, throwing bad passes and giving up too many interceptions. But things came together in a 5-0 surge to finish off the regular season and qualify for the playoffs as a 9-7 wild card entry. RB Natrone Means played a big part in the winning streak, rushing for 364 yards and taking some of the pressure off of the quarterback. In addition, disappointing veteran WR Andre Rison was let go and replaced by Jimmy Smith, who paired with WR Keenan McCardell to provide a formidable pass receiving tandem. Brunell passed for a league-leading 4367 yards and 7.8 yards per attempt. He also led NFL quarterbacks with 396 rushing yards even though he also was sacked a league-leading 50 times. While he threw fewer touchdown passes (19) than interceptions (20), most of the pickoffs came when the club was struggling in the first half of the season. He was chosen for the Pro Bowl and also received a contract extension.

Jacksonville continued its streak into the postseason, stunning Buffalo in the Wild Card round and Denver in the Divisional playoff before finally succumbing to New England in the AFC Championship game.

The Jaguars followed up with a better record in 1997 (11-5) but didn’t get as far in the postseason, losing to Denver in the Wild Card playoff. Brunell suffered a knee injury in the preseason, missed two games, and had difficulty when he returned due to the diminished mobility. Still, he led the AFC in passing (91.2 rating), threw for 3281 yards with 18 TDs to just 7 interceptions, and again gained selection to the Pro Bowl.

The ’98 Jaguars benefited from the arrival of rookie RB Fred Taylor (1223 rushing yards) and put together another 11-5 record, advancing to the Divisional round of the playoffs. However, Brunell again missed time with injuries and his numbers slipped, although not badly – he ranked fourth in the conference with an 89.9 rating and had 20 touchdown passes to 9 interceptions.

The 1999 season marked a major high point for the club, as it put together an AFC-best 14-2 tally and reached the AFC title game. Brunell missed one game, threw for 3060 yards and was selected to his third Pro Bowl. But with expectations high for reaching the top in 2000, the team slipped badly to 7-9. While Brunell had another fine season statistically (3640 yards, 20 TDs), he was also sacked 54 times as the line sprang leaks due to injuries.

Things did not get better in 2001 and ’02 as salary cap problems and attrition overtook the club, with key offensive performers such as McCardell and OT Tony Boselli departing. Brunell’s numbers remained strong but his mobility was significantly diminished and he continued to take many sacks. Jacksonville posted back-to-back 6-10 records and Coach Coughlin was let go. Brunell lasted one more season (and went into it having been told by the front office that he would not receive a contract extension), giving way to rookie QB Byron Leftwich, the team’s first round draft pick, and moved on to Washington where he briefly enjoyed a resurgence before retreating to journeyman backup status.

In nine seasons with the Jaguars, he completed 60.4 % of his passes for 25,698 yards with 144 touchdowns and 86 interceptions. He also rushed for 2219 yards in 429 attempts (5.2 avg.) and exhibited outstanding leadership and toughness. The team’s record in his starts was 63-54, with the bulk of the wins coming from 1996 to ’99, although with somewhat disappointing results in the postseason.

As a footnote, Green Bay used the third and fifth round draft choices they received for 1995 to draft, respectively, North Carolina FB William Henderson and RB Travis Jervey out of The Citadel. Henderson played 12 years for the Packers, caught 320 passes out of the backfield, and was an All-Pro in 2004. Jervey made his mark on special teams in four years with Green Bay before moving on to the 49ers - he went to the Pro Bowl following the ’97 season as a Special Teams player.

April 20, 2012

MVP Profile: Sid Luckman, 1943

Quarterback/Defensive Back, Chicago Bears

Age:  27 (Nov. 21)
5th season in pro football & with Bears
College: Columbia
Height: 6’0”    Weight: 195

The Bears traded up to the second spot in the 1939 NFL draft to take Luckman, who had been a star single-wing tailback in college. Following a difficult rookie season of transitioning to T-formation quarterback (he played at halfback for part of the year), he led the Bears to championships in 1940 and ’41 and was an All-Pro selection in 1941 and ’42. Luckman was intelligent and an excellent tactician on the field as well as an outstanding passer from any range.

1943 Season Summary
Appeared in all 10 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 202 [2]
Completions – 110 [2]
Yards – 2194 [1]
Completion percentage – 54.5 [2]
Yards per attempt – 10.9 [1]
TD passes – 28 [1]
Most TD passes, game – 7 at NY Giants 11/14
Interceptions – 12 [5, tied with Tony Canadeo]
Passer rating – 107.5 [1](Ranked 2nd by system used at time)

Attempts – 22
Yards – -40
Yards per attempt – -1.8
TDs – 1

Punts – 34 [5]
Yards – 1220
Average – 35.9 [9]
Punts blocked – 1
Longest punt – 78 yards

Interceptions – 4 [10, tied with four others]
Return yards – 85 [7]
TDs – 0

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 1   
Yards – 7
Average per return – 7.0
TDs – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 4   
Yards – 46
Average per return – 11.5
TDs – 0
Longest return – 14 yards

TDs – 1         
Points – 6

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship vs. Washington)
Pass attempts – 26
Pass completions – 15
Passing yardage – 286
TD passes – 5
Interceptions – 0

Rushing attempts – 8
Rushing yards – 64
Average gain rushing – 8.0
Rushing TDs – 0

Interceptions – 2
Return yards – 39
TDs – 0

Punts – 5
Yards – 74
Average – 24.7

Punt returns – 2
Yards – 32
Average per return – 16.0
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: Joe F. Carr Trophy
1st team All-NFL: AP, UPI, INS, Chicago Herald-American, Pro Football Illustrated, NY Daily News

Bears went 8-1-1 to win Western Division while leading the league in total yards (3961), passing yards (2310), scoring (315 points), and touchdowns (45). Defeated Washington Redskins (41-21) for NFL Championship.

Having joined the Merchant Marine, Luckman missed part of the 1944 season but was still selected as a consensus first-team All-Pro for the fourth straight year. He came back to lead the NFL in passing yards (1727) and TD passes (14) in ’45 and did so again in 1946 with 1826 yards and 17 touchdowns along with a league-leading 8.0 yards per attempt. The Bears won the NFL Championship, their fourth with Luckman at quarterback. He was a first-team All-Pro for one last time in 1947 as he threw for a career-high 2712 yards and again led the league in yards per attempt (8.4) although he also led in interceptions (31, by far his career high). He played three more seasons, largely as a backup to Johnny Lujack, and retired in 1950. Overall, his passing totals of 14,686 yards and 137 TD passes seem modest by modern standards, but his 8.4 yards per attempt still rank second all-time and his record of 28 TD passes in ’43 remained the NFL standard until 1959. The Bears retired Luckman’s #42 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1965.


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]

April 18, 2012

Past Venue: Frankford Stadium

Philadelphia, PA
aka Yellow Jacket Field

Year opened: 1923
Capacity: 10,000 (approx.)

Frankford Stadium, 1923-33
Yellow Jacket Field (unofficial)

Pro football tenants:
Frankford Yellow Jackets (Ind./NFL), 1923-30

Postseason games hosted:

Other tenants of note:

Notes: Located at intersection of Frankford Avenue and Devereaux Street in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. The venue suffered damage due to, first, a fire and then a windstorm in 1929. Crowds for Yellow Jackets games were noted for their enthusiasm, helped by the participation of the Yellow Jackets Band and the Frankford Legion Post 211 Drum & Bugle Corps. Venue also used for midget and women’s football.

Fate: Severely damaged by a fire in 1931 (forcing the Yellow Jackets to play in other venues), the structure was demolished following purchase by the Frankford Legion Athletic Association in 1933 and rebuilt as Franklin Legion Athletic Field (later renamed Yellow Trojan Field). A car dealership and row homes have since been constructed on the site.  

[Updated 2/16/15]

April 17, 2012

1983: Breakers Pull Away in Second Half to Beat Wranglers

The United States Football League Week 7 contest at Tempe, Arizona on April 17, 1983 featured the Boston Breakers, a 4-2 team that was in contention in the Atlantic Division, against the Arizona Wranglers, 3-3 along with the other three clubs in the Pacific Division.

The Breakers, coached by Dick Coury, had a potent offense directed by 35-year-old QB John Walton, who came out of retirement following previous stints in the Continental, World, and National football leagues. WR Charlie Smith, formerly of the NFL Eagles, combined with rookie wide receivers Nolan Franz and Frank Lockett to provide good targets and the running game was paced by HB Richard “Fast” Crump (pictured above). A solid linebacker corps, led by rookie Marcus Marek, anchored the defense. Boston was a game behind the division-leading Philadelphia Stars coming into the contest in Arizona.

Head Coach Doug Shively’s Wranglers had less talent across the board. The roster was undistinguished, but the team was holding its own in a mediocre division and had put together two exciting come-from-behind wins in doing so. Rookie QB Alan Risher played well and had a big-play wide receiver available in Jackie Flowers. Another ex-Eagle, Calvin Murray, was the top running back.

There were 20,911 in attendance at Sun Devil Stadium, and they had little to cheer about. Boston got the first big break early in the first quarter as Arizona punter Jim Asmus fumbled a snap and was tackled at his own two yard line. Walton promptly fired a pass to Crump for a touchdown.

The Wranglers immediately turned the ball over again thanks to a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Breakers came away with a 38-yard Tim Mazzetti field goal and the score was 10-0 with 7:21 left in the opening period.

Arizona finally got on the board halfway through the second quarter when Risher tossed a four-yard scoring pass to Flowers. With 31 seconds remaining before halftime, Mazzetti booted a 20-yard field goal and the score was 13-7 at the intermission.

In the third quarter, Boston put together a seven-play, 58-yard drive that resulted in FB Tony Davis running for a six-yard TD. The score was 20-7 with just under nine minutes remaining in the period. It got worse for the home team three minutes later when Breakers safety Joe Restic intercepted a Risher pass which resulted in Mazzetti adding to the margin with a 50-yard field goal.

Before the period was over, Arizona scored again, this time on a one-yard touchdown run by Murray that was followed by a successful two-point conversion on a throw from Risher to WR Neil Balholm. It was 23-15 after three quarters of play and Arizona was still within striking range.

However, there would be no late-game heroics for the mistake-prone Wranglers in this contest. The Breakers put it away with three fourth quarter touchdowns, the first two on four-yard runs by Crump and the last a fumble recovery by Lockett in the end zone. Arizona scored once more on a two-yard pass from backup QB Todd Krueger to Balholm, and the two connected again on a successful two-point conversion, but by then the outcome had long been decided. Boston came away with a convincing 44-23 win.

The Breakers outgained Arizona, 325 yards to 253, while the Wranglers had the edge with 19 first downs to Boston’s 18. Time of possession was nearly equal – the Breakers held the ball for 30:26 to Arizona’s 29:34. However, turnovers put the Wranglers in an early hole and sealed their fate – they gave up the ball five times to Boston’s one.

John Walton had an efficient day, completing 20 of 26 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown and none intercepted. Richard Crump rushed for an even 100 yards on 21 carries that included two TDs and caught 5 passes for 17 yards and one score. Nolan Franz had 6 receptions for 63 yards and Charlie Smith gained 66 yards on his 4 catches. Tim Mazzetti’s three field goals gave him 12 straight and, together with five extra points, he took over as the USFL’s scoring leader with 56 points.

For the Wranglers, Alan Risher was successful on 13 of 26 throws for 123 yards with a TD but two intercepted; Todd Krueger tossed 11 passes in relief and completed 6 for 55 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Calvin Murray was the leading rusher with 77 yards on 19 attempts and a TD. Neil Balholm pulled in 7 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown while Jackie Flowers caught 5 for 35 yards.

The Breakers remained in contention throughout the season, finishing second in the division with an 11-7 record and barely missing a wild card spot in the postseason. Arizona, however, completely collapsed, winning one more game the rest of the way and ending up tying Washington for the USFL’s worst record at 4-14.

John Walton missed time due to injury but still managed to throw more passes (589) than any other USFL quarterback and completed 56 percent of them for 3772 yards with 20 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Richard Crump was the league’s seventh-ranked rusher with 990 yards on 190 carries, giving him a 5.2-yard average. He also scored a total of 12 TDs. The ex-Falcon Tim Mazzetti (pictured below) ended up second in scoring (119 points) and field goals (27). 

April 15, 2012

MVP Profile: Harlon Hill, 1955

Offensive End, Chicago Bears

Age:  23
2nd season in pro football & with Bears
College: Florence State
Height: 6’3”    Weight: 200

An obscure player from a small college, Hill was chosen by the Bears in the 15th round of the 1954 NFL draft. He quickly became a star, catching 45 passes for 1124 yards (a league-leading 25.0 avg. gain) and 12 TDs. He received first-team All-Pro recognition from the UPI, New York Daily News, and Sporting News and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

1955 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 42 [7, tied with Ray Mathews]     
Most receptions, game - 8 (for 151 yds.) at LA Rams 10/30 
Yards – 789 [3]
Most yards, game - 151 (on 8 catches at LA Rams 10/30
Average gain – 18.8 [4]
TDs – 9 [1]

TDs – 9 [1, tied with Alan Ameche]
Points – 54 [10, tied with Alan Ameche]

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, NEA, UPI, NY Daily News, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Bears went 8-4 to finish second in the Western Conference, a half game behind the 8-3-1 Lions, and led the NFL in total yards (4316) and rushing yards (2388) while placing second in scoring (294 points) and touchdowns (37).

Hill had another big year in 1956 as the Bears won the Western Conference, catching 47 passes for 1128 yards (24.0 avg.) and 11 touchdowns, and was again a consensus first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection. With his speed combined with outstanding faking ability, he regularly drew double and triple coverage. However, major injuries limited his performance in 1957 and ’58 as he pulled in a combined 48 receptions for 848 yards (17.7 avg.) and 5 TDs. Hill bounced back with a 36-catch, 578-yard performance in 1959, but caught just 15 more passes over the last three years of his career that ended with stops in Detroit and Pittsburgh in 1962. Overall, he had 233 pass receptions for 4717 yards (20.2 avg.) and 40 TDs, but the bulk of his accomplishments came in his first three seasons.


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]
[Updated 2/21/17]

April 14, 2012

Past Venue: Red Bird Stadium

Columbus, OH
aka Jets Stadium, Cooper Stadium       

Year opened: 1932
Capacity: 15,000. Listed at 11,887 when UFL Colts played there.

Red Bird Stadium, 1932-54
Jets Stadium, 1955-70
Franklin County Stadium, 1977-84
Cooper Stadium, 1984 to date

Pro football tenants:
Columbus Bullies (APFA/AFL), 1939-41
Columbus Colts (UFL), 1961-62

Postseason games hosted:

Other tenants of note:
Columbus Red Birds (minor league baseball), 1932-54
Columbus Bluebirds (baseball Negro leagues), 1933
Columbus Elite Giants (baseball Negro leagues), 1935
Columbus Jets (minor league baseball), 1955-70
Columbus Clippers (minor league baseball), 1978-2008

Notes: Owned and operated by Franklin County, Ohio. Located in Franklinton section of Columbus. Originally constructed by MLB St. Louis Cardinals as venue for its Columbus-based AAA farm club. Grass surface replaced with AstroTurf, 1984, and returned to grass in 2000. Significantly renovated in 1977, with luxury boxes added. Stadium renamed in 1984 for Harold Cooper, a Franklin County commissioner who played a significant role in keeping professional baseball in Columbus during the 1950s. Pro football Bullies were members of minor American Professional Football Assoc. in 1939 and transferred to third major incarnation of American Football League for 1940-41.

Fate: Currently closed but may be renovated into multi-purpose venue, including auto racing.

[Updated 2/3/14]

April 13, 2012

1965: Packers Obtain Carroll Dale from Rams

On April 13, 1965 the Green Bay Packers, looking to improve an aging corps of receivers, traded LB Dan Currie to the Los Angeles Rams for WR Carroll Dale.

Green Bay, under Head Coach/GM Vince Lombardi, won back-to-back NFL Championships in 1961 and ’62 but failed to win the Western Conference in 1963 and ’64. The club was still fundamentally strong but was in need of some retooling, and the receiving corps was one of the areas of concern.

The duo of flanker Boyd Dowler and split end Max McGee was a good one and had been together since 1959 when Dowler broke in with a Rookie of the Year season. While Dowler was still in his prime at age 27 and had led the team with 45 catches for 623 yards in ’64, the nine-year pro McGee, at 32, was effective but showing signs of wear. His reception totals had steadily dropped since a career-high 51 in 1961 and he ended up pulling in 31 passes for 592 yards, although for a healthy 19.1-yard average and team-leading six touchdowns. In addition, TE Ron Kramer, an outstanding blocker as well as receiver, had played out his option and was demanding a trade – he was accommodated by being shipped off to the rival Detroit Lions.

The Packers had first sought to address the issue by picking Baylor end Larry Elkins in the first round of the ’64 draft, but he signed with the AFL’s Houston Oilers instead (he lasted two injury-plagued seasons and caught a total of 24 passes).

 “We lost our first draft choice and, as a result, we needed a receiver with speed,” explained Lombardi.

The 6’1”, 197-pound Carroll Dale was just short of his 27th birthday at the time of the trade and had been with the Rams for five years, who had drafted him in the eighth round out of Virginia Tech in 1960. He moved into the starting lineup at tight end as a rookie but was shifted to flanker in 1963 and, overall, caught 149 passes for 2663 yards (17.9 avg.) and 17 touchdowns.

As for the Rams, Head Coach Harland Svare was looking to upgrade the linebacker corps (Svare was himself a former NFL linebacker). While the defensive line was outstanding and contained ends Deacon Jones and Lamar Lundy and tackles Merlin Olsen and Rosey Grier, the rest of the platoon was spotty. The team had not posted a winning record since 1958 and was coming off of a 5-7-2 campaign in ’64.

Swinging the deal with Green Bay meant sacrificing the only veteran outside receiver left on the roster since LA had also recently traded split end Jim “Red” Phillips to Minnesota, along with DT Gary Larsen (the Rams received Minnesota’s top draft choice, WR Jack Snow, in return. Veteran flanker Tommy McDonald was obtained from the Cowboys later in the offseason).

Dan Currie, just short of 30 at the time of the deal, was taken by the Packers in the first round in 1958 after an outstanding college career at Michigan State. 6’3” and 240 pounds, he had starred in Green Bay for seven years and received All-Pro honors in 1962. However, he had been made expendable by the presence of younger linebackers Lee Roy Caffey and Dave Robinson, plus second-year backup Tommy Crutcher and rookie Bill Curry from Georgia Tech (who would be shifted to center).

“Of course, I have mixed emotions about leaving Green Bay,” said Currie. “It’s tough leaving a great group of guys. But these things happen in pro football. Going to the Rams means a new challenge to me.”

Things started slowly for Dale in Green Bay, as he gradually took on McGee’s role and caught 20 passes for 382 yards (19.2 avg.) and two touchdowns. Dowler was still the top receiver (44 catches, 610 yards) while young TE Marv Fleming struggled and was supplanted by veteran Bill Anderson. The Packers were back on top at the end, however, beating Cleveland for the NFL title. In the postseason, Dale caught three passes for 63 yards in the overtime Western Conference playoff win over the Colts and started off the scoring in the NFL Championship game with a 47-yard touchdown reception.

Dale had a better year in 1966, forcing McGee to the bench and making big plays as the team’s top deep receiver. He ended up with 37 receptions for 876 yards (23.7 avg.) and seven TDs. He again had a touchdown in the league title game and in the first Super Bowl, against the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs, he pulled in 4 passes for 59 yards (McGee came off the bench when Dowler went down with an injury early in the contest and had an outstanding performance).

In all, Dale played eight seasons in Green Bay, experiencing one more championship before Lombardi left and the club faded from contention. He remained an important part of the offense and was selected to the Pro Bowl three straight times, from 1968 to ’70. Dale had his most receiving yards (879) in 1969 and a career high in catches (49) in 1970 and ended up with 275 receptions for 5422 yards (19.7 avg.) and 35 touchdowns as a Packer. He finished up with the Vikings in 1973 and appeared in one last Super Bowl.

As for Dan Currie in Los Angeles, he started at right outside linebacker in 1965 but appeared to be in decline. Following another losing season (4-10), Svare was replaced as head coach by George Allen, who revamped the linebacker corps by obtaining more veteran talent. Currie lost his starting job to Pro Bowl OLB Maxie Baughan, obtained from the Eagles. It was his final season.

As a footnote, the rookie Jack Snow and veteran Tommy McDonald performed admirably for the Rams in ‘65. Snow caught 38 passes for 559 yards on his way to a productive 11-year career in LA. McDonald made the Pro Bowl with a career-high 67 catches for 1036 yards and nine TDs. 

April 11, 2012

MVP Profile: Peyton Manning, 2003

Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Age:  27
6th season in pro football & with Colts
College: Tennessee
Height: 6’5”    Weight: 230

Son of NFL quarterback Archie Manning and a star in college, Manning was chosen by the Colts with the first overall draft pick in 1998. It didn’t take long for him to justify the selection as he set NFL rookie records with 3739 passing yards and 26 TD passes. He led the league with 575 pass attempts, also a record for a rookie at the time, but also with 28 interceptions on a 3-13 club. The record turned around to 13-3 in ’99, the Colts qualified for the postseason, and Manning was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time as he passed for 4135 yards and, while he again threw 26 TD passes, his interceptions dropped to 15. A classic drop-back passer, he lacked his father’s mobility but made up for it with a quick release – not to mention an excellent work ethic. Manning led the NFL with 357 completions, 4413 yards, and 33 TD passes in 2000 and again was chosen for the Pro Bowl. Following a lesser year in ’01 as the Colts dropped to 6-10, he bounced back with a third Pro Bowl season in 2002, passing for 4200 yards (his fourth straight year over 4000) and 27 touchdowns. The team was back in the playoffs, but for the third straight time Manning and the Colts came up short in their initial postseason game.

2003 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 566 [2]
Most attempts, game – 48 vs. New England 11/30
Completions – 379 [1]
Most completions, game – 34 at Tampa Bay 10/6
Yards – 4267 [1]
Most passing yards, game – 401 vs. NY Jets 11/16
Completion percentage – 67.0 [1]
Yards per attempt – 7.5 [4]
TD passes – 29 [2, 1st in AFC]
Most TD passes, game – 6 at New Orleans 9/28
Interceptions – 10
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Cleveland 9/7, at Jacksonville 11/9
Passer rating – 99.0 [2]
400-yard passing games – 1
300-yard passing games – 4
200-yard passing games – 14

Attempts – 28
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 17 yds.) at Tennessee 12/7
Yards – 26
Most yards, game – 17 yards (on 5 carries) at Tennessee 12/7
Yards per attempt – 0.9
TDs – 0

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 1
Yards – -2
Yards per catch – -2.0
TDs - 0

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 103
Most attempts, game - 47 at New England, AFC Championship
Pass completions – 67
Most completions, game - 23 at New England, AFC Championship
Passing yardage – 918
Most yards, game - 377 vs. Denver, AFC Wild Card playoff
TD passes – 9
Most TD passes, game - 5 vs. Denver, AFC Wild Card playoff
Interceptions – 4
Most interceptions, game - 4 at New England, AFC Championship

Rushing attempts – 4
Most rushing attempts, game - 2 at New England, AFC Championship
Rushing yards – 3
Most rushing yards, game - 4 at New England, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 0.8
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, NEA, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Colts went 12-4 to win the AFC South and gain the third playoff seed in the conference while leading the NFL in passing yards (4179) and placing second in scoring (447 points, tied with the Rams). Won Wild Card playoff over Denver Broncos (41-10) and Divisional playoff over Kansas City Chiefs (38-31). Lost AFC Championship to New England Patriots (24-14).

Manning again received MVP consideration and was a consensus first-team All-Pro in 2004 as he set a record with 49 TD passes while leading the league in passing (121.1 rating) for the first of three straight years and also topped the NFL in TD percentage (9.9) and yards per attempt (9.2). He was consensus first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year in 2005 and, in ’06, finally overcame years of frustration in the playoffs as the Colts won the Super Bowl. Manning led the NFL in TD passes with 31 that year, against just 9 interceptions. Overall, he started 208 straight regular season games at quarterback until sidelined for all of 2011 with a neck injury. He also received MVP honors on four occasions, was a consensus first-team All-Pro five times, and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls. He has passed for 54,828 yards, with 11 seasons over 4000 (including the last five straight through 2010), and 399 TD passes. Released by the Colts and signed by the Denver Broncos for 2012, his place among the great quarterbacks of all-time is secure.


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]
[Updated 11/28/14]