June 14, 2014

Rookie of the Year: George Webster, 1967

Linebacker, Houston Oilers

Age: 22 (Nov. 25)
College: Michigan State
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 223

Webster was a “rover back” in college, playing a combination of linebacker and defensive back due to his speed and strength. He excelled, achieving All-America recognition in 1965 and ’66. Chosen by the Oilers in the first round of the combined AFL/NFL draft (fifth overall), Webster moved directly into the starting lineup at left outside linebacker, where he had an immediate impact for a dramatically improved defensive unit.

1967 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – N/A
Interceptions – 1
Int. return yards – 23
Int. return TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 1
Tackles – 140 (estimated)

Postseason: 1 G (AFL Championship at Oakland)
Sacks – 1 (unofficial)
Interceptions – 0
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
AFL Rookie of the Year: UPI
1st team All-AFL: AP, UPI, NEA, NY Daily News
1st team All-Western Division: Sporting News
AFL All-Star Game

Oilers went 9-4-1 to finish first in the AFL Eastern Division while leading the league in fewest points (199) and touchdowns (17) allowed. Lost AFL Championship to Oakland Raiders (40-7).

Webster was a consensus first-team All-AFL selection and AFL All-Star again in 1968 and ’69. A knee injury caused him to miss half the season in 1970 and limited his effectiveness in ’71. Webster was traded to Pittsburgh during the 1972 season, where he provided depth to a talented linebacking corps, and moved on to the Patriots in ’74, where he returned to the starting lineup and showed flashes of his early form. However, another knee injury in 1975 derailed the comeback and his career ended following the ’76 season. Overall, he played for ten years, and was at his best during his first three years when he was considered to be a premier outside linebacker before injuries took their toll. He was named to the All-Time AFL team that was selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970.


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).