May 21, 2014

Rookie of the Year: Dennis Shaw, 1970

Quarterback, Buffalo Bills



Age:  23
College: San Diego State
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 210

Prelude:
A product of Head Coach Don Coryell’s program at San Diego State, Shaw threw 39 TD passes in 1969, including 9 in a single game, and the team was undefeated during his starts. He was chosen by the Bills in the second round of the 1970 NFL draft and took over the starting job from Dan Darragh three weeks into the season.

1970 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 321 [10, tied with Johnny Unitas]
Most attempts, game – 43 vs. Baltimore 12/13
Completions – 178 [8]
Most completions, game – 24 vs. Miami 10/18
Yards – 2507 [6]
Most yards, game – 348 vs. Miami 10/18
Completion percentage – 55.5 [7]
Yards per attempt – 7.8 [3]
TD passes – 10 [16, tied with Bill Munson]
Most TD passes, game – 2 vs. NY Jets 10/4, vs. Miami 10/18, at Baltimore 11/15
Interceptions – 20 [2, tied with Norm Snead]
Most interceptions, game – 2 on eight occasions
Passer rating – 65.3 [16]
300-yard passing games – 2
200-yard passing games – 5

Rushing
Attempts – 39
Most attempts, game - 6 (for 23 yds.) vs. NY Jets 10/4
Yards – 210
Most yards, game – 48 yards (on 5 carries) at Chicago 11/22
Yards per attempt – 5.4
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
AFC Rookie of the Year: UPI, Sporting News

Bills went 3-10-1 to finish fourth in the AFC East.

Aftermath:
While possessing a strong arm, toughness, and plenty of confidence, Shaw also had difficulty reading defenses, lacked consistency, and failed to build upon his promising rookie season. He led the NFL in interceptions (26) in 1971 while his overall production dropped, and after a slightly better year in ’72, a knee injury caused him to lose the starting job to rookie Joe Ferguson in 1973. Shaw was traded to the Cardinals for 1974, reuniting him with Coach Coryell, but he saw little action as a backup over two seasons and was waived. It was the end of his regular season NFL career, although he did have tryouts with other teams. He was a player/coach with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL in 1984 but saw no regular season action. Overall, in six NFL seasons Shaw completed 52.9 percent of his passes for 6347 yards and 35 touchdowns while tossing 68 interceptions, with all but 61 passing yards and one interception occurring as a member of the Bills.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL (including NFC/AFC), 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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