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THE COFFIN CORNER - VOLUME 22 - 2000

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Number 1:

The NFL in 1939 by John Hogrogian. Despite the nation's continuing economic woes, the NFL continued to break attendance records. Green Bay won its fifth league championship by defeating New York in Milwaukee.

Roger Brown by Jim Sargent. A member of two "Fearsome Foursomes," first on the Detroit Lions and then on the Los Angeles Rams, Brown was a top performer from 1960 through 1969.

History of Women's Pro Football by Stuart Kantor. An overview of women's professional football teams and leagues dating back to the briefly to the 1920's through the modern era leagues of the 1960's and 1970's, and through the establishment of the Women's Professional Football League (WPFL) in 1999.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Top 20. The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Top Twenty list of all-time leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, and scoring through the 1999 season. The list, which is updated weekly during the football season, includes statistics from the AAFC.

A Football Man: Coach Bob Snyder by Peter Vischansky. Bob Snyder, who shared quarterbacking duties with Sid Luckman when George Halas was installing the T-formation with the Chicago Bears, worked with Frank Leahy to install the T-formation at Notre Dame in 1942. The result was six unbeaten teams and four national championships for Notre Dame from 1942 to 1953.

Let's Tweak the Hall of Fame Voting by Bob Carroll. While praising the voting procedures of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the fairest of the all sports hall of fames, the article suggests that the composition of the 38 person selection committee change each year.

Number 2:

The College All-Star Football Classic by Joe Grogan. The College All-Star game was played every year from 1934 through 1976. Conceived by Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward and George Halas, the game showcased the best rookies as they squared off against the professional football champions. Despite its early popularity, by the time the game was canceled, there was little fan interest and greater reluctance among pro teams to have prized rookies miss part of training camp and risk injury.

1999 Player Deaths.

All-Pros from the Detroit News, 1958-72, Part 1 by Bob Gill. The Detroit News selected its own All-Pro teams from 1957-72. Its selections reflected home town biases, with a fair number of Lions always making the teams. The selections, as noted here in the installment covering 1957-65, were also typically idiosyncratic with several consensus national choices each year being ignored in favor of players who were either second team selections only or did not even make any of the major teams.

Get the Point? by Robert Sproule. In Canadian football, what is referred to as a touchback in the United States, is a one-point score.

1933 NFL Statistics Prepared by Chris Bynum.

Number 3:

The Marine Captain Stood Tall by John Gunn. Bobby Dunlap, who won a Medal of Honor on Iwo Jima, was offered a contract by the Philadelphia Eagles despite his small size.

The '76 Steelers: A (Steel) Curtain Call by Ed Gruver. Led by an tenacious defense and an overpowering ground game, this may have been the greatest Pittsburgh team of the 1970's. But for key injuries to Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, the Steelers may have likely defeated the Raiders in the AFC Championship game and gone on to a third straight Super Bowl victory.

Cliff Battles by John Seaburn. Battles had a Hall of Fame career, at running back for the Boston Braves-Redskins, Washington Redskins. Following Washington's 1937 championship season, Battles had a salary dispute with owner Geroge Preston Marshall, and retired.

All-Pros from the Detroit News, 1958-72, Part 2 by Bob Gill. The continued review of the Detroit News All-Pro selections from 1966 to 1972. It is noted that while the Detroit News certainly appeared to have a home town bias, it was also noteworthy in picking players who later became regular selections in the major polls.

Bill Nelsen: The Quarterback as Commander by Ed Gruver. Playing on knees as bad, or worse than, Joe Namath's, Bill Nelsen led the Cleveland Browns to 3 playoff appearances and 2 conference championships from 1968 to 1971.

10 Interesting Things about the 1939 NFL Season by John Hogrogian. Additional information about the 1939 season includes research and compilation of individual interception statistics, mention of non-league games played during the regular season, the relatively large number of exhibition games between NFL teams and college all-star teams, and more.

The Life and Times of Fred Gehrke by Peter Vischansky. Fred Gehrke was a key player for the Cleveland and Los Angeles Rams from 1945-48. He started for the 1945 championship team and led the NFL in rushing in 1946. Gehrke is best known, however, for designing and painting the first helmet logo in 1948, the horns for the Rams helmet.

Waiver Misbehavior: How Chargers Lost Jack Kemp by Bob Gill. When the Chargers lost Jack Kemp to Buffalo in 1962, Sid Gillman claimed that he had taken a calculated risk in placing him on injured waivers. Gillman, in fact, was putting the best face on his misunderstanding of a rule that did not allow teams to withdraw players who had been placed on waivers on a Sunday or Saturday, as was the case with Kemp.

Number 4:

The First Game of the Toronto Argonauts: A Discussion by Ian Speers. A November 20, 1873 Toronto Globe newspaper reported a two game rugby series game between the University of Toronto and Hamilton Football Club. Closer investigation shows that these games were not rugby or soccer games but rather the earliest recorded football games played by the Toronto Argonauts.

Howie Long by Joe Horrigan. A third-round draft choice of the Raiders in 1981, Long's strength, quickness, and desire led to his being a dominant defensive player and eventual election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ronnie Lott by Joe Horrigan. A rookie on the San Francisco 49ers first Super Bowl team, Lott tied Lem Barney's record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown in one season by returning three. With 63 career interceptions, Lott ranks fifth on the all-time list. Yet throughout his career, Lott was known more for his toughness and hard-hitting.

Joe Montana by Joe Horrigan. Joe Montana was a master of late-game comebacks and led San Francisco to four Super Bowl victories. Considered one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks, >Montana closed his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dan Rooney by Joe Horrigan. Son of Hall of Famer Art Rooney, Dan began to work for his father, managing player personnel for the Steelers during the 1950's. Rooney was instrumental in the hiring of Chuck Noll as Pittsburgh coach in 1969 and built the dominant Steelers teams of the 1970's. In 1975, Rooney became president of the Steelers.

Dave Wilcox by Joe Horrigan. One of the most under-rated players of his era, Dave Wilcox established himself as one of the best linebackers in the NFL from 1964 to 1974. Wilcox's low profile was due, in part, to the San Francisco 49ers' losing records in the 1960's. When the 49ers won divisional championships in the early 1970's, Wilcox had his greatest years.

Pat Studstill by Jim Sargent. Over a 12 year career from 1961 to 1972, Pat Studstill starred as a pass receiver, punter, and kick returner. Among the highlights of his career were his 99 yard pass reception in 1966, 100 yard kickoff return in 1961, and his All-pro selection in 1966. his All-pro selection in 1966.

Number 5:

O.A. Bum Phillips by Thomas Danyluk. Phillips discusses Sid Gillman's influence as a coach, Earl Cambell's greatness, his hiring and firing by Bud Adams, the great Oiler teams of 1978-79, and more.

El Tropicoro, EsmeraIda, and the Ice Bowl by Victor Mastro. The author recalls his predictions of a Packer victory in the Ice Bowl.

Arnie and the Fish by Mark Latterman. Arnie Weinmeister, Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the New York Giants, became an official in the Teamsters Union upon his retirement.

Lost Skill of Drop Kicking by Rick Gonsalves. In the early days of the NFL, when the football was rounder and less pointed at the end, the drop kick was often used to kick points after touchdowns and field goals. The last drop kick used to score points at the time the article published was a PAT by Joe Vetrano of the San Francisco 49ers in 1948. Doug Flutie of Buffalo subsequently scored a PAT on a drop kick in 2005.

25 Significant Meaningless NFL Games by Mark L. Ford. Pre-season games that held special significance although pre-season games in general are not part of the regular season record. Among the games noted here are inter-league games played between the NFL, CFL, and AFL, College All-Star games, and games with rules experiments.

Football Hall selects another Marine (Bob Dove) by John Gunn. In electing Bob Dove to the College Football Hall of Fame, the Hall's Honor Committee has now elected 45 former marines to the Hall. Dove played 9 seasons with the Chicago Rockets, Chicago Cardinals, and Detroit Lions.

1964 - A Giant Collapse by Jack Ziegler. In 1964, age and injuries took their toll on the New York Giants. In addition, the defense missed the traded Sam Huff and Dick Modzelewski. Consequently, the Giants' dominance of the Eastern division ended and the team fell to last place.

Number 6:

1950 Championship Game by John Thorn. Account of the 1950 NFL Championship game between Los Angeles and Cleveland. Lou Groza kicked a field goal in the last minute, giving Cleveland the championship in its first year in the NFL.

Bullet Bill Dudley and the Steelers of 1942 and 1946 by T. J. Troup. The Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed their first winning season in 1942, Bill Dudley's first year in the NFL. The Steelers combined teams with the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals, in 1943 and 1944, respectively. Dudley returned to Pittsburgh from military service in late 1945 and in 1946, led the Steelers to a second place finish. Dudley subsequently left the Steelers due to a personality clash with coach Jock Sutherland.

Adolph Swede Youngstrom by Jeffrey Miller. Youngstrom, an all-pro lineman, was a standout for the Buffalo All-Americans, later the Buffalo Bisons, during the 1920's. Youngstrom played on a team that narrowly missed winning the championship in 19220 and 1921.

Inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When the Indians Roamed Buffalo's Gridiron by 1940 by Connie McGillicuddy. Retelling of the Buffalo Indians 1940 season in the American Football League. They finished the season at 2-8, and returned the following season as the newly christened Buffalo Tigers.

Milt Plum by Jim Sargent. Plum played 13 years in the NFL at quarterback, most notably with the Cleveland Browns from 1957-61 and the Detroit Lions from 1962-67. Plum's best years were with the Browns in 1960 and 1961 when he led the NFL in passing.

Jack Dolbin: Not one of the Anonymous People by Harold Aurand Jr. Overview of brief career of wide receiver who started on Denver's 1977 Super Bowl team. Dolbin's career ended with an injury in 1979.

This month's Coffin Corner

1958 Baltimore Colts

The 1966 Green Bay Packers

The All-America Football Conference

The Early History of Professional Football

A Minor Masterpiece

2020 Convention
June 18-21, 2020
Pro Football Hall of Fame
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