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THE COFFIN CORNER - VOLUME 30 - 2008

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Number 1:

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PFRA-ternizing

Otto Graham and the All-America Football Conference by Joel Bussert. A game-by-game re-creation of the Cleveland quarterback’s record in the AAFC.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. An update on the All-America Football Conference Committee and other new committees.

1967 New York Giants by John Collins. A look back at the Giants’ 1967 campaign, with coach Allie Sherman and newcomer Fran Tarkenton taking the team to a 7-7 record.

Player Deaths in 2007. Bucko Kilroy and Jim Ringo are among those listed in this annual round-up of player deaths.

PAL Kicker Rating System by Rupert Patrick. The author explains his PAL (Points Above League) Kicker Rating System he developed to grade a placekicker’s performance. He ranks the top 25 best and worst seasonal and career PAL scores.

Longest 1940s Plays by Gary Selby. A season-by-season compilation of the longest runs, passes, field goals, punts, and interception, fumble, kickoff and punt returns from 1940 through 1949.

Research Notes by Ken Crippen. Did you know that the AAFC wanted to start a minor league? This and other interesting tidbits not quite long enough for a full-length feature.

Brian Brennan by Roger Gordon. A fourth-round draft pick of the Browns in 1984, Brennan was the definitive possession receiver during his eight seasons.

Number 2:

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PFRA-ternizing - PFRA Awards. The winners of the Ralph Hay and Nelson Ross Awards are announced.

Hall of Very Good by Andy Piascik, Bob Gill, Sean Lahman and Ken Crippen. Biographical sketches of the 22 finalists for this year’s Hall of Very Good: Dick Barwegan, Bruno Banducci, Les Bingaman, Ray Bray, Ox Emerson, Bob Gain, Harold Carmichael, Blanton Collier, Randy Gradishar, Bob Hoernschemeyer, Cecil Isbell, Charley Johnson, Ted Nesser, Buddy Parker, Jerry Smith, George “Peggy” Parratt, Spec Sanders, Jim Ray Smith, Walt Sweeney, Wayne Walker, Billy Wilson, and Verne Lewellen.

Pro Football Players Playing Pro Basketball in 1940 by John Hogrogian. When Johnny Blood, Don Hutson, and other familiar faces played the cage sport over the winter of 1939-40.

Challenging the Myths Surrounding Integration of Pro Football by Gretchen Atwood. Re-examining the desegregation of the Los Angeles Rams as they prepared to play the 1946 season at the publicly owned Coliseum.

The Effect of a Bye #1: An Inquiry by Bob Irving. Appraising the effects of a bye for teams in the NFL and Arena Football.

Research Notes by PFRA All-America Football Conference Committee. The results of the 1950 dispersal draft of AAFC players, listed by team.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. An update on the various PFRA committees, including contact information.

Number 3:

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Good, Better, Best by Jim Campbell. Weeb Ewbank and Dick Gallagher were those rare coaches who refused to go on record as to which of their players were better than others.

Forgotten Challengers to be the First Black Quarterback in the Post War Era by John Maxymuk. Barely remembered today, Oscar Givens, Alva Tabor, Bernie Custis, and others helped pave the way for Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon in the 1980s.

Ralph Wilson - The National Football League's Voice of Reason! by Greg Tranter. A modest and unassuming man, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson does not get the credit he deserves for the impact he had on the success of the AFL and NFL.

Doug Dieken by Roger Gordon. Offensive tackle Doug Dieken was a member of the Browns for all but the first and final games of the infamous “Three Rivers Jinx,” a 16-year period in which Cleveland lost heartbreakers in countless different fashions.

Punt Returns for Touchdowns: Part 1 by Gary Selby. Beginning with Dayton’s Frank Bacon hauling back a punt 75 yards for a score against the Columbus Panhandles on October 3, 1920, a chronological listing of all 152 punt return TDs during the NFL’s first four decades.

The Long Pass: Is It Pro Football's Best Offensive Weapon? by Bob Follensbee. Comparing the higher completion percentage of the short pass against the higher yards-per-completion of the long pass.

HOF Inductees vs. Super Bowl Participants by Ken Crippen. Testing the theory that the selection committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is more apt to vote for a candidate whose team had just played in the Super Bowl.

PFRA Committee Report by Ken Crippen. News of the various PFRA committees, including contact information.

Number 4:

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PFRA-ternizing

HOF Bios: Fred Dean by Pro Football Hall of Fame. A sketch of the Pro Bowl linebacker of the Chargers and 49ers, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

HOF Bios: Darrell Green by Pro Football Hall of Fame. A member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2008, the longtime Washington cornerback intercepted a pass in a record 19 consecutive seasons.

HOF Bios: Art Monk by Pro Football Hall of Fame. A mini-biography of Art Monk, who finished his Hall-of-Fame career with 940 receptions and three Super Bowl rings with Washington.

HOF Bios: Emmitt Thomas by Pro Football Hall of Fame. A profile of the Hall-of-Fame cornerback who was a key component of Kansas City’s defense during his 13 seasons with the team.

HOF Bios: Andre Tippett by Pro Football Hall of Fame. A biographical sketch of the New England linebacker, who in addition to being a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2008 also was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s.

HOF Bios: Gary Zimmerman by Pro Football Hall of Fame. The superior play of offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman with Minnesota and Denver resulted in the Hall-of-Fame inductee being named to two NFL All-Decade Teams, the 1980s and 1990s.

The Buccaneer Flop by Denis Crawford. Revisiting the wild final moments of the December 16, 1984 game between Tampa Bay and the New York Jets as Bucs tailback James Wilder tried to break Eric Dickerson’s season record for yards gained from scrimmage.

Research Notes by Ken Crippen. Minutes of the 1944 United States Football League organizational meeting, and other research nuggets.

Bruce Smith: The Road to Greatness by Lori Chase. In the prime of a career that covered 19 seasons with Buffalo and Washington, defensive end Bruce Smith was widely recognized as perhaps the best defensive player in the league. The writer explains why.

The Effect of a Bye, #2: (Arena Football2, Bye #2) by Bob Irving. Studying the effect of a second bye in Arena Football2.

PFRA Committee Report by Ken Crippen. Committee updates, including the possibility of a PFRA radio show.

Punt Returns for Touchdowns Part 2: The 1960s by Gary Selby. Listing the 76 punts returned for scores in the NFL and AFL during the 1960s.

Number 5:

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Meeting of Researchers by Ken Crippen. A report on the June 21, 2008 meeting of several PFRA members regarding a multitude of topics.

Book Review: '63: The Story of the 1963 World Champion Chicago Bears reviewed by Gino Malattia. The protagonists of this book by co-authors (and brothers) Gary and Maury Youmans are the exasperating George Halas and his young assistant coach, George Allen.

Hall of Very Good by Hall of Very Good Committee. Recognizing the newest members of the Hall of Very Good: Dick Barwegen, Randy Gradishar, Bob Hoernschmeyer, Cecil Isbell, Buddy Parker, Spec Sanders, Jim Ray Smith, and Billy Wilson.

Steel City Ironman: Mike Webster by Ed Gruver. Quick, smart, and exhibiting an unmatched work ethic, “Iron Mike” Webster anchored the offensive line on four Super Bowl championship squads during the Pittsburgh Steelers' dynastic run in the 1970s.

He Was a Contender: Hank Washington by John Maxymuk. According to the author, Hank Washington “was a serious contender in the quest by African Americans to call signals in the NFL in the late 1960s. Although he did not fulfill his goal, his career was punctuated with triumphs, however small, and friendships, however brief.”

Book Review: Strong Arm Tactics reviewed by John Vorperian. A favorable review of “the ultimate pro QB almanac.”

A Gleam of Dawn by Jacqueline Brannon Giles. A personal reminiscence of the Oakland receiver’s short but spectacular career.

1927: Here's Your Hat... by Bob Carroll. In 1927, Joe Carr and NFL owners removed most of the league’s weak franchises, resulting in a tight 12-team circuit that featured the most stars in the league’s history.

John Morrow by Roger Gordon. A visit with John Morrow, who played guard for Sid Gillman in Los Angeles and center for Paul Brown in Cleveland.

PFRA Committees by Ken Crippen. Committee updates and contact info.

Number 6:

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Things You Almost Never Hear from Football Fans by Bob Carroll. “Games would be better with more field goals” and other rare utterances.

It Don't Get No Better... by Joe Ziemba. Two dollars a day in meal money went a long way in 1942.

The Most Dominant Football Teams of All Time by Raymond Lee. The writer uses a variety of metrics, including the Points Factor, Scoring Efficiency Factor, and Drive Efficiency Factor, to determine the 20 most dominant teams since 1941. Surprisingly, the undefeated 1972 Dolphins rank 10th and the 2007 Patriots (18-1) are 20th.

Who Defeated the Champions? by Bob Kirlin. The teams who beat each season’s title winner (NFL champions 1933-65, Super Bowl champions 1966-99).

Steelers Dial Up a Long One by Steve Hickoff. Pittsburgh receiver Lynn Swann shook off a concussion and some pre-game trash talk from Dallas defensive back Cliff Harris to become Super Bowl X MVP.

Earnest Byner and the Fumble by Roger Gordon. Earnest Byner’s infamous fumble in the 1988 Cleveland-Denver AFC championship game was just one of the many highs and lows the running back experienced during his noteworthy career.

Thomas J. Holleran, Akron's Pro Signal Caller by Keith McClellan. Like so many other players lost to time, Tommy Holleran’s glory days on the gridiron happened before the formation of the NFL.

1927: Giants on the Gridiron by Bob Carroll. In a year that saw Babe Ruth clout 60 home runs and Lindbergh fly to Paris, Tim Mara’s New York Giants won their first NFL championship.

Book Review: Rockin' The Rockpile by Jeffrey Miller Reviewed by John Vorperian. “If you long for the days of gridders with two-bar helmets and white pants,” says the reviewer, “Rockin’ will solidly and enjoyably swing you from the Bills’ beginnings to the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.”

Punt Returns for Touchdowns (1980-1989) by Gary Selby. A chronological listing of the 77 punts returned for touchdowns in the 1970s.

Number 7:

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PFRA Corporate Bylaws Revisions by Ken Crippen. Detailing the first changes to the PFRA corporate bylaws since 2003.

Jim Gibbons: A Lion Playing End by Jim Sargent. A long, entertaining talk with Detroit’s Pro Bowl tight end of the 1960s, including memorable Thanksgiving Day games against the Packers and his storied last-second game-winning TD catch against Baltimore in 1960.

A Shot Is Not A Wing by John T. Reed. Straightening out football terminology as it applies to the single-wing formation.

Artful Eddie and Blue-Shirt Charlie by Tracy Thibeau. Edward J. O’Hare and Charlie Bidwell were two young men on the go during Chicago’s gangland era.

Jack Gregory by Roger Gordon. Rebellious defensive end Jack Gregory played 13 seasons with Cleveland and the New York Giants. Not all of them were happy ones.

Punt Returns for Touchdowns: 1980-1989 by Gary Selby. All 87 punts returned for scores during the 1980s are listed.

Only A Year Ago by PFRA Research. The All-Pro selections and NFL award winners from the 2007 season.

The Midnight Express Derailed by John Maxymuk. “Triple-threat tailback Joe Lillard continually overcame whatever obstacles were thrown in his way to be one of the most significant African American athletes of the 20th Century only to die in obscurity.”

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

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Pro Football Hall of Fame
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