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THE COFFIN CORNER - VOLUME 29 - 2007

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VOLUME 29 (2007)

Number 1:

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One on One with Ozzie Newsome, Part 1 by Roger Gordon. An enlightening interview with former Cleveland tight end Ozzie Newsome, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Houston Trio Were Trailblazers in Extravagant End Zone Antics by Dr. Gregory Selber. Tracing today’s end-zone antics to three pioneers of free expression: Homer Jones, Elmo Wright, and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.

1898 Syracuse Athletic Association by Ken Crippen. The return of the Syracuse Athletic Association after a two-year hiatus resulted in a 5-3 record, a loss of $200, and a notice that the team was back and could compete with the best clubs in the area.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. Updates on the official PFRA committees, their progress, and how members can get in touch with the chairs of each committee.

Player Deaths in 2006. The annual necrology of player deaths. Updated with the burial sites or cremations of 26 Hall of Famers.

Book Review: The Best Show in Football by Andy Piascik review by Bill Pepperell. A glowing review of The Best Show in Football: The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns, Pro Football’s Greatest Dynasty.

The Columbus Panhandles. Brief description of his new book by Chris Willis. A book review of Chris Willis’s history of the Columbus Panhandles, whose roster included manager Joe Carr and the six Nesser brothers.

The Complete 1965 and 1966 NEA All-Pro Teams by John Turney. Presenting the First- and Second-Team All-Pro selections for the NFL and AFL in 1965 and ‘66, as chosen by players and coaches polled by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

I'm Jack Whitaker and This Is the NFL Game of the Week by Andy Piascik. A fond recollection of the voice of the New York Giants and narrator of NFL Game of the Week during the 1960s.

Should the Packers Pack It In? by Bob Carroll. The writer rues the political correctness that has seeped into sports, especially as it regards nicknames.

Book Review: Outsiders: Minor League and Independent Football 1923-1950 by Bob Gill. Co-authored by Bob Gill and Tod Maher, Outsiders illustrates how minor-league and independent teams flourished during the first three decades of the NFL’s existence.

Number 2:

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Hay-Ross Winners. Emil Klosinski and Matthew Algeo are winners of the 2006 Ralph Hay and Nelson Ross awards, respectively.

What Shoe Contract? by Jim Campbell. Tom Fears had no choice but to buy his own shoes.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. Detailing recent changes to the PFRA committees.

Hall of Very Good 2007. Introducing the latest HOVG class: Frankie Albert, Roger Brown, Timmy Brown, Jim Lee Howell, Marshall Goldberg, Glenn Presnell, Dick Schafrath, Ed Sprinkle, Jake Scott, and Paul “Tank” Younger.

1987 Connecticut Giants by Mark L. Ford. The minor-league team contributed more replacement players than any other during the 1987 NFL strike.

Florida, 'The Son-Shine State' by Denis M. Crawford. In pro ball, it’s rare to to have a father employ his son as a player. The writer looks at two father-son combos: the George Wilsons of Miami and the John McKays of Tampa Bay.

Those Guys from Milton by Jim Campbell. Jack Hinkle and Bob Campiglio both played for Milton High School in Pennsylvania, and both lost NFL rushing titles due to questionable record-keeping.

One on One with Ozzie Newsome, Part 2 by Roger Gordon. A continuation of the writer’s interview with former Cleveland tight end Ozzie Newsome.

Well-Oiled Machine by Dr. Gregory Selber. With standout performers like George Blanda, Billy Cannon, Charlie Tolar, Jim Norton, Charlie Hennigan, and Bill Groman, the Oilers won the American Football League’s first two championships. They narrowly missed a three-peat, losing to Dallas in overtime in the 1962 title game.

Troup's Luggin' the Leather: An Appendage by Bob Irving. A follow-up to T. J. Troup’s 2006 article (Vol. 28, No. 7) confirming the importance to a team of having a 100-yard running back in a game.

The Orange County Rhinos by Lee Elder. Remembering the minor-league Rhinos of Southern California, whose 1959 roster included several NFL and CFL players. The article focuses on the season-ending match between the Rhinos and a team of college all-stars coached by Don Coryell.

Number 3:

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AAFC vs NFL: The Attendance Battle by Andy Piascik. From 1946 through 1949, the insurgent AAFC got the better of the established NFL in the battle of the turnstile.

Howard 'Cub' Buck by John Maxymuk. Tackle and kicker Howard “Cub” Buck blocked for Jim Thorpe in Canton before becoming Green Bay’s first significant free-agent signing.

Differential Scores by Bob Irving. The writer tests his formula to see what importance can be attached to a victory or defeat compared to the margin of victory or defeat.

The Two and Only by Jim Campbell. Michael Vick and Spec Sanders share a rare distinction: the only pro players to both run and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season.

Wilbur and Orville for the HOF by Bob Carroll. Revisiting the career of Bobby Layne to demonstrate that quarterbacks need more than gaudy statistics and a measure of fame to be inducted; they need a certain je nais se quoi.

One on One with Ozzie Newsome, Part 3 by Roger Gordon. The concluding installment of a wide-ranging interview with the Hall-of-Fame Cleveland end.

Bosh Pritchard by John Maxymuk. Speedy, shifty, and slightly built, Bosh Pritchard was the perfect complement to Steve Van Buren in the Eagles’ backfield.

Pro Football Lore by Joe Horrigan. Some intriguing football trivia, including the man who blocked an extra point three plays in a row and the punter who was hospitalized with a fractured skull after kicking himself in the head.

Number 4:

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Gene Hickerson from Pro Football Hall of Fame. A sketch of Hall-of-Fame inductee Gene Hickerson, who excelled as a guard with Cleveland from 1958 to 1973.

Michael Irvin from Pro Football Hall of Fame. A biography of wide receiver Michael Irvin, whose 12 outstanding years with Dallas resulted in three Super Bowl rings and a berth in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007.

Bruce Matthews from Pro Football Hall of Fame. Houston’s first-round pick in 1983 played in more games (296) than any positional player in NFL history at the time of his retirement following the 2001 season, including every position on the offensive line.

Charlie Sanders from Pro Football Hall of Fame. A profile of the Hall-of-Fame tight end, who played a dozen seasons with Detroit.

Thurman Thomas from Pro Football Hall of Fame. A biography of Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas, whose Hall-of-Fame credentials included 12,074 rushing yards, 472 receptions, and 88 touchdowns. He led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage a record four consecutive seasons.

Roger Wehrli from Pro Football Hall of Fame. A biographical sketch of Roger Wehrli, whose 14 seasons (1969-82) at cornerback for the St. Louis Cardinals earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Comparing the NFL, AFL, and AAFC by Andy Piascik. The writer compares the AFL and the AAFC to the NFL, quantifies how strong each was relatively, and then sees how the two upstart leagues compare to each other.

Tobin Rote by John Maxymuk. Big and rugged, Tobin Rote was the first running quarterback of the T-formation era.

Hall of Fame Presenters by Patrick Gallivan. The choice of a presenter is a big decision for inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here’s who several picked and why.

Book Review: All Things Being Equal: The Autobiography of Lenny Moore review by Harold Aurand, Jr. The Hall-of-Fame Baltimore Colts halfback offers little personal insight in the game, preferring to concentrate on the topic of racism. “Here everything comes out, from Moore’s belief that the media and their refusal to portray sufficient African-American role models cause African-American children to feel no sense of direction and lose themselves in self-destructive pursuits, to the institutional racism he sees at today’s colleges and universities.”

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. The Hall-of-Fame Baltimore Colts halfback offers little personal insight in the game, preferring to concentrate on the topic of racism. “Here everything comes out, from Moore’s belief that the media and their refusal to portray sufficient African-American role models cause African-American children to feel no sense of direction and lose themselves in self-destructive pursuits, to the institutional racism he sees at today’s colleges and universities.”

Number 5:

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Replacement Legends of the Fall by Mark L. Ford. A round-up of the many clever nicknames (e.g. Buffalo Counterfeit Bills, Green Bay Pickups, Detroit Paper Lions) bestowed on the NFL teams fielding substitute players during the 1987 strike.

I Was a 3rd Down Man by T.J. Troup. Bobby Jo Conrad played 11 seasons with the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals. The versatile Texan remains the only player in league history to intercept three passes in a game and later lead the league in receiving.

Best Point Differential by Andy Piascik. The 50 best single-season point differentials from 1933 through 2006.

Jack Hinkle by John Maxymuk. A cousin of Green Bay’s Clark Hinkle, the big Philadelphia back is best known for losing the 1943 rushing title by a single yard.

The 1947 College All-Star Game by Ed Gruver. The 14th annual College All-Star Game pitted Chicago’s fabled “Monsters of the Midway” against a squad of stars that included Buddy Young and Charlie Trippi. The collegians won, 16-0, and never allowed the Bears to cross the All-Stars’ 30-yard line all night.

When Bill Walsh Became Bill Walsh by Michael D. Parker. The many influences that made Bill Walsh a coaching success included his experience as a young boxer, where he learned the importance of intelligence over brute strength.

Send in the Adverbs by Anonymous. Looking at examples of football lingo in real-world communications, such as: “The engineers gang tackled the question of how to get the X-943 back from Mars.”

Recent Books by PFRA Writers. A selection of new offerings by PFRA authors.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. The latest committee news.

Number 6:

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PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. The announcement of the new Football, Culture and Social Movements Committee.

Football's Best Pennant Races by Andy Piascik. A look at 13 of the most exciting divisional races from the 1933-69 era.

Bob Gain by Roger Gordon. A profile of the defensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns in the 1950s and early ‘60s.

Baseball & Football's Close Relationship by Brian McKenna and Mark Ford. George Halas, Ernie Nevers, Jim Thorpe, and Cal Hubbard are just a few of the pro gridders with close ties to major league baseball. The article includes lists of major leaguers who played pro football and football players drafted by major league teams.

Right Place, Wrong Time by Gino Malattia. The story of quarterback Tom Kennedy, who went from the Continental League to the New York Giants in 1966.

Overtime Opinion by Kyle Standerfer. The writer’s advice: “Quit whining about the NFL overtime format.”

Forward Pass Rules by James Whalen, Sr. A timeline from 1906 to 2007 showing the evolution of rules governing the forward pass.

Number 7:

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PFRA-ternizing. Announcing the passing of Bob Braunwart, one of the PFRA’s original founders.

Red Equals Green by Bob Carroll. A deep dive into the 1925 NFL season, which featured a contested championship and Red Grange’s arrival on the scene.

Monte Clark by Roger Gordon. An interview with the former Browns lineman and Lions head coach.

John Baker by Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Big John” Baker spent 11 seasons with four NFL teams, but the defensive end’s entire career seemed to boil down to one famous photo: a bloodied and helmet-less Y. A. Tittle on his knees after a ferocious hit by Baker.

Pearce Johnson Interview by John Carroll. Talking football with PFRA member Pearce Johnson, who was the treasurer for the 1928 NFL champion Providence Steam Roller.

A Sense of Place. Remembering the late Pittsburgh center Ray Mansfield, one of the NFL’s true raconteurs.

Dick Modzelewski by Roger Gordon. A chat with Dick “Little Mo” Modzelewski, whose 14 seasons as a defensive tackle resulted in a host of nagging aches and pains that he calls his “Jim Browns.”

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
Canton, Ohio