April 13, 2014

Rookie of the Year: Louis Lipps, 1984

Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 22
College: Southern Mississippi
Height: 5’10” Weight: 190

Lipps excelled as a pass receiver and punt returner in college, catching 91 passes for 1477 yards and averaging 10.6 yards on 78 punt returns. He was chosen by the Steelers in the first round (23rd overall) of the 1984 NFL draft. With his great speed and a solid work ethic, he proved to be a good fit on a young and overachieving team.

1984 Season Summary
Appeared in 14 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 45      
Most receptions, game – 7 (for 118 yds.) vs. San Diego 11/25
Yards – 860
Most yards, game – 183 (on 6 catches) vs. Kansas City 9/2
Average gain – 19.1 [5]
TDs – 9 [7, tied with Paul Coffman & Mike Quick]
100-yard receiving games – 2

Attempts – 3
Yards – 71
Average gain – 23.7
TDs – 1

Punt Returns
Returns – 53 [3, tied with Greg Pruitt]
Yards – 656 [1]
Most yards, game – 128 (on 4 ret.) at New Orleans 11/19
Average per return – 12.4 [3]
TDs – 1
Longest return – 76 yards

All-Purpose yards – 1587 [10]

TDs – 11 [10, tied with four others]
Points – 66

Postseason: 2 G
Pass receptions – 8
Most pass receptions, game - 5 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
Pass receiving yards – 131
Most pass receiving yards, game – 86 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
Average yards per reception – 16.4
Pass Receiving TDs – 1

Rushing attempts – 1
Rushing yards – 0
Rushing TDs – 0

Kickoff Returns – 3
Yards – 73
Average per return – 24.3
TDs – 0

Punt Returns – 4
Yards – 16
Average per return – 4.0
TDs – 0

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

Steelers went 9-7 to finish first in the AFC Central while leading the NFL in punt return yards (696). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Denver Broncos (24-17). Lost AFC Championship to Miami Dolphins (45-28).

Lipps followed up with another Pro Bowl year in 1985, catching 59 passes for 1134 yards (19.2 avg.) and 12 touchdowns while averaging 12.1 yards on 36 punt returns that included two more TDs. Injuries hindered his performance the next two years, and he had just 49 receptions for 754 yards in a total of 17 games over that span. Lipps came back to catch an even 50 passes in each of the next three seasons, from 1988 to ’90, although his high for yards (973) came in ’88. While his speed began to diminish, making him more of a possession receiver than the deep threat he had been originally, he was still reliable and a good runner after the catch, regularly drawing double coverage. In 1991 he had 55 catches, but for just 671 yards (12.2 avg.). He departed for the New Orleans Saints, but appeared in only two games due to injury in what was his last year. Overall, Lipps caught 359 passes for 6019 yards (all but one catch and one yard coming with Pittsburgh) and returned 112 punts for an 11.0 average, scoring a total of 46 touchdowns.


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). 

1 comment:

  1. Early in his career Louis Lipps looked like the second coming of Lynn Swann with his flair for the dramatic catches, but he never had a quarterback that approached the caliber of Terry Bradshaw to throw to him. He was complemented on the other side by the aging John Stallworth who was still effective as a possession receiver that could move the first down markers, provided that Stoudt, Malone, or Woodley didn't wildly overthrow them.