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Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:42 pm
by TanksAndSpartans
Nothing jumps out about his career and screams HOVG which can be viewed here:

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/N/NickEl00.htm?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-

but I watch a lot of Tel Ra highlight videos and he really does jump out in those, kind of like Billy Howton - whenever the Packers or Steelers are shown, those two seem to be making big plays. I'm not comparing him to Howton except for being noticeable in the highlights. One other interesting thing is the Steelers were the last to abandon the single-wing, so I bet he had to be a good blocker and may not have had the receiving opportunities he would have had, had he played his whole career in a more pass friendly system.

Any thoughts?

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:58 pm
by ChrisBabcock
I definitely wouldn’t vote for him for HOVG but I wouldn’t think anyone lost their mind if they tried to nominate him. He seemed to have a fairly consistent career. Only 3 postseason honors though. He may be remembered differently if he were on a team like the Rams. I’d put him in the 5-10 range at his position for the 1950s. After (in no particular order) Hirsch, Howton, Harlon Hill, Pihos, Renfro, Billy Wilson)

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:17 pm
by Saban
I remember Elbie Nickel. He was a good one. We got the Browns on TV where I live during the early 50's. Whenever the Browns played Pittsburgh, I always thought of Nickel along with guys like Lynn Chandnois and Jim Finks.

I would not have a problem with Nickel being in the HOVG or Chandnois for that matter.

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:30 pm
by TanksAndSpartans
Thanks for the replies! "Consistent" was the word that came to mind for me too. There was a lot of competition for postseason honors at End in the 50s. These guys were mentioned: Hirsch, Howton, Harlon Hill, Pihos, Renfro, Billy Wilson
You could throw in Fears, Speedie, Lavelli, Cloyce Box and Hugh Taylor which means Elbie might be outside the top 10, but like I said he just jumped out at me more than some of the others - thanks for the discussion.

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:25 pm
by JohnH19
I nominated Nickel for the HOVG a couple of years ago. He impressed the heck out of me on the 1952 & 53 Steeler highlight films and his receiving numbers were very good for his era.

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:32 am
by TanksAndSpartans
JohnH19 wrote:I nominated Nickel for the HOVG a couple of years ago. He impressed the heck out of me on the 1952 & 53 Steeler highlight films and his receiving numbers were very good for his era.


Thanks John! Same here - those are some impressive highlights. I recently stumbled on this article which looked at the decade of the 50s and noted him as toughest receiver: http://www.footballperspective.com/guest-post-brad-oremland-best-wrs-by-decade-1950-59-and-1955-64/

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:25 pm
by sluggermatt15
JohnH19 wrote:I nominated Nickel for the HOVG a couple of years ago. He impressed the heck out of me on the 1952 & 53 Steeler highlight films and his receiving numbers were very good for his era.


I don't feel numbers tell the whole story from players prior to 1970. The game was just different... players played two-ways and sometimes even three to four roles. What I think is more of a fair evaluation is, as you point out, John, the highlight film and game film.

I could see Nickel being elected, but maybe not for some time.

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:38 pm
by TanksAndSpartans
Thanks. The Steelers put him in their ring of honor which I don't think was mentioned above. Someone who knows the history better may correct me, but I also think the Steelers were a bit stubborn about moving away from the single-wing. Maybe he would have had a few more catches in a different system. I also wish T.J. Troupe would reveal his top players of the '50s - he does do so, but not in one place. I'd be curious how he rates Nickel.

Re: Elbie Nickel - HOVG?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:46 pm
by sluggermatt15
TanksAndSpartans wrote:Thanks. The Steelers put him in their ring of honor which I don't think was mentioned above. Someone who knows the history better may correct me, but I also think the Steelers were a bit stubborn about moving away from the single-wing. Maybe he would have had a few more catches in a different system. I also wish T.J. Troupe would reveal his top players of the '50s - he does do so, but not in one place. I'd be curious how he rates Nickel.


Yes, the Steelers were the last team in the NFL to switch out of the single-wing. They were behind the times offensively during the 1950s... only two winning seasons, and that was the end of the decade under Buddy Parker. Nickel's last season with the team was 1957.