|Posted by TheBEEZER 7 Hours Ago
Okay, we have one Baseball position in this series...Outfield...I've noticed, the biggest factor for the most part seems to be offensive numbers...well, except when 3B...Read More
This is the first installment of NFL Lucubrations
in 2011, and most likely the only one.
Ain't That A Kick In The Head
Ndamukong Suh is a throw back player stuck in a sad time in the NFL, otherwise known as the Goodell Valley. First he got screwed out of the Heisman Trophy, and award that is supposed to go to the best player but goes to the most popular quarterback, running back or wide receiver, two years ago.
He destroyed NFL offenses in his rookie season in 2010, quickly gaining respect and fear from his opponents. Suh hits hard and often, thus drawing critics who have been brainwashed by Goodell to worship just the offensive side of the football.
Suh isn't producing as much this year, most likely the infamous sophomore jinx being the culprit, but he is still producing at a good rate. He isn't going to match last years tackles and sacks totals, and that will be helped by the fact he is going to serve a two game suspension for stomping an opponent out of frustration on Thanksgiving.
Part of the frustration is the fact that the Detroit Lions defensive line has not met expectations this season. Suh, the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year, was surrounded by more talent than he had ever played with before. He is spending his second season lined up next to Corey Williams, but the veteran is having maybe the worst season of his eight-year career.
Defensive ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril have combined for 13 sacks so far, but they have offered little in run support with just 37 tackles. Linebackers Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch were two veterans signed as free agents before this year, but the duo has only 107 combined tackles. Pat Angerer, of the Indianapolis Colts, and Pro Bowler London Fletcher, of the Washington Redskins, have at least that many tackles by themselves.
Detroit used their first round draft pick this year on defensive tackle Nick Fairley, only to get just six tackles in six games so far. Dreams of this unit being Detroit's second "Fearsome Foursome" have not come about, with Suh and Fairley reminding no one of the great Roger Brown or Alex Karras in the 1960's.
Suh plays with a mean streak, one that recalls historians of "Mean" Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Greene, a member of both the pro and collegiate Hall of Fame's, also was the Defensive Rookie of the Year as a defensive tackle. Suh may not match the streak of 10 consecutive Pro Bowls to start out his career like Greene did, but there are other similarities between the pair.
Like Suh, Greene hated to lose and would often explode if frustrated. During a game against the Cleveland Browns in 1975, Greene repeatedly kicked the opposing center in the groin. "Mean Joe" would also bat the ball away from centers during games where his team was losing.
Not only does he own four Super Bowl rings as a player, he has earned two more as a coach and consultant since retiring. A two-time winner of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, there are few players in the history of professional football more respected and beloved.
Yet Suh is getting scorn for the same types of actions. Matt Slauson, a guard for the New York Jets, went to reporters to let them know he did not like Suh while the two were teammates at the University of Nebraska. Slauson then tried to say few of his fellow Cornhuskers liked Suh as well, yet not one of those teammates have corroborated these claims.
Some think Slauson's real issue is that he spent most of his time under performing in an injury-riddled collegiate career, which caused him to drop all the way to the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Others believe the cause of his ire was from being thrashed around by Suh continuously in inter-squad scrimmages during practice.
Slauson and others believe Suh's foot stomp of Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers was not unintentional, which Suh initially claimed it was. The star defensive tackle later apologized for the incident, but still garnered a suspension because he currently is carrying the tag as the dirtiest player in football.
Most of the media, many who never have played football or sports of any kind, claim Suh crossed the line of sportsmanship. While that may hold some truths, the game of football is bereft with emotions that can sometimes be borderline psychotic. As the legendary Jack Tatum, a Pro Bowl safety, once said, " I like to believe my best hits borderline on felonious assault".
That attitude of the game has been castrated by Goodell and rules he has invented like "putting too much weight on the quarterback". It is a game biased in offense and geared to carry the quarterback, one where defenses are now merely temporary obstacles at best.
After the incident on Thanksgiving, reporters were quick to run and get quotes from current and former players. Yet these came from offensive players, men who are basically the enemy of the defense. An outraged is expected from these types.
Playing in an atmosphere as antiseptic as a hospital, the modern defender must watch now only how high, low, or hard he hits a player holding the ball. They must engage an offensive lineman with kid gloves because blockers today are allowed to extend their arms and basically hold on each play, making it extremely difficult for a defender to get near the football.
Suh will have to go the rest of his career carrying the burden of an unjust label that comes from him playing the game with passion. He may have the respect of those who paved the NFL path to get get this game a multi-billion dollar empire, but Suh now has to carry the ire of the current leadership intent on making the game plush and cozy for quarterbacks and other offensive players.
This isn't his first fine, and it may not be his last suspension. If it is, we may soon see a docile Suh playing out the string of his career for a paycheck, something often witnessed in the game today, instead of striving for greatness.
Greatness that has made men like "Mean Joe" Greene and others some of the most recognizable and respected people in all of sports. If Suh wants to attempt to match that type of success, people like Roger Goodell need to get off of his back and let the man play this child's game with all of the zest he can muster. True gridiron legends are made by the man, fans and game, not meddling bores sitting in a posh office on Park Avenue in New York City.
Losing Isn't For Everyone
Cleveland Browns star Josh Cribbs was recently lamenting how he has experienced just 38 victories in the 107 games he has played with the club since joining them in 2005. With a new coach this season, his third with Cleveland, the results have been pretty much the same as they have been his entire NFL career.
The 2007 season was the best the Browns have had in his time there, where they went 10-6. Not only is it the only winning season he has experienced, but Cribbs also made the first of his two Pro Bowls that year after leading the league in all-purpose yards, kickoff return yards, and an average of 30.7 yards per kickoff return.
After setting a NFL record with eight touchdowns via kickoff returns in 2009, his last Pro Bowl year, Cribbs' production on special teams fell off in 2010. He has had a resurgence this year, but he is not satisfied because the new kickoff rules have made opportunities lessen for him.
He doesn't just return kicks or punts, but he is also does a bit of everything on offense. Cribbs was a quarterback in college, so Cleveland has had him rush the ball 121 times and toss 12 passes with them. He is also a productive pass catcher who is used in multiple wide receiver sets. Cribbs has snagged 88 passes so far, but his role has increased in the offense this year and he already has a career high mark in receptions with 29.
Despite the fact he is tired of losing, Cribbs will most likely spend 2012 in Cleveland. His contract will expire after that year, but the market for 30 year old return men may not be as desirable in the free agent market as he may hope.
Yet Cribbs harkens back memories of other legendary Browns return specialists. Men like Eric Metcalf, Greg Pruitt, Dennis Northcutt, Gerald McNeil, Hall of Famers Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly are just a few greats who spent years exciting Browns fans through the years.
Some will say this current Cleveland franchise isn't the same one that ties into the fantastic Browns teams that won eight championships between 1946 and 1964. That team went to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens. This version of the Browns was born in 1999 and has had just two winning seasons since.
This may not be the Browns that sent 16 men to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the fans of Cleveland's Dawg Pound just want a few more wins. It is refreshing to see a guy like Cribbs, a real leader of the team, say what is obvious.
It is also heartening for Browns fans to know they have players whose desire to win is that immense. Many men have been in Cribbs situation of being with a franchise in an era of losing, but there are also many stories where perseverance was later paid off by championship victories.
It will take some time for team president Mike Holmgren to show results in his attempt to rebuild the team, but Cribbs realizes his window as a productive player shrinks with each contest that passes by. The team is young, but there has been sporadic signs in 2011 that the Browns will improve sooner or later.
Sooner is not soon enough for Cribbs, so Cleveland can expect him to fight until the end. It has been what Cribbs has done since he joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
Blame The Coach For My Tears
Many Philadelphia Eagles fans have called for the firing of Andy Reid, the winningest head coach in franchise history, for years despite the fact his teams have won 122 out of 202 games since he was hired in 1999. That rage in helped by the fact the Eagles haven't won a championship since 1960.
Reid even has a winning record in the playoffs, but his teams only reached the Super Bowl once. He smoothly transitioned the squad from the Donovan McNabb Era last year, but the squad has hit a few bumps this season despite spending millions in the free agency market.
When fans saw the Eagles load their roster with Pro Bowlers like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cellen Jenkins, Vince Young, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Ronnie Brown, everyone expected the team to be headed for at least a division title in the NFC East. Many saw a Super Bowl ahead, which included yours truly.
But it hasn't worked out that way. Much like many other teams in professional sports history that doled out millions of dollars and got undesirable results, the Eagles have fallen flat on their faces in 2011. Things have fallen so far that Philadelphia was dealt their eighth loss already after getting stomped 31-14 by a young and rebuilding Seattle Seahawks team that has spent this season struggling themselves.
Owner Jeff Lurie is known for his loyalty, so there is hope he won't bow to a few fickle fans who starve for a trophy despite not knowing much about the game. Reid has made a few gambles that ended up being mistakes, like putting Juan Castillo in charge of the defense after the assistant had worked the offensive side of the ball the last 16 years with the team.
Trying to fill the shoes of Jim Johnson has been impossible since the guru died of cancer in 2009. Sean McDermott was fired after replacing Johnson, but he quickly found work with the Carolina Panthers. Yet fans need to realize the defense of 2011 is about the same as last year as far as yards and points allowed.
With the addition of Asomugha, Bryant, Babin, Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as retaining Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, fans expected a huge improvement. The offense is also scoring four points less per game than they did last year, which reflects on Reid.
Quarterback Michael Vick, the man who replaced McNabb, looks like a $100 million mistake. He still remains injury-prone, but he has also regressed from last year when he looked like he finally adjusted to passing in the pocket. Young, who has filled in a few times after Vick went down, has also played erratically in his place.
Brown played so poorly that the Eagles looked to trade him weeks ago. But it isn't just the money Lurie has tossed that has hurt this team. It is the cash he hasn't yet passed out that ultimately became an issue.
DeSean Jackson had made two Pro Bowls in his previous three years with the team. An all-purpose wide receiver, the diminutive Jackson has been a threat catching, running, or returning punts for Philadelphia.
With his output, Jackson wanted a raise in pay. Lurie and his staff seemed more inclined to discuss this after 2011, considering the owner spent a fortune in free agency. Since this moment, Jackson has been a petulant child more inclined to be clubhouse cancer rather than a productive player.
What is confusing about his behavior is the fact Jackson went to the prestigious University of California, Berkeley., a school noted for their scholastic endeavors. All Jackson has done is lower his value with his behavior, so he wont be getting the cash he once sought.
Reid might catch the blame of Jackson's histrionics by some, but the coach has been trying to appease an ego while trying to get his 2011 to learn how to win. It is a juggling act that has not fared well for the team.
Coaches like Jack Del Rio have been fired already, even though that head coach was destined for this result after the owner forced him to cut his starting quarterback to save money. Men like Norv Turner and Tony Sparano should soon follow him to the unemployment line once this season concludes.
But Reid deserves a better fate. Some will say his players laid down on him this year, which should necessitate a change, but the unfamiliarity of a roster loaded with stars might need more time to gel. A squad in need of a real training camp, something the NFL was not afforded this year because of the players lockout.
After all of his productive years of service, Reid deserves one more season. A real season where he is afforded time to instill his philosophies into the newcomers, and possibly get rid of some distractions.
Every head coach is hired to be eventually fired because nothing lasts forever in the NFL other than legacy. Fans of Philly might be tough critics, but what is one more season to a group that hasn't seen a trophy in over 40 years?
Punches Hurt At Any Age
Many know how Canadian Football Hall of Famers Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca brawled a week ago at a luncheon to discuss a cheap shot Mosca put on a teammate of Kapp's during a title game in 1963. Many may not know that the history of these men have NFL ties that still reverberate today.
When Kapp was drafted in the 18th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, he basically was forced to the Canadian Football League because the Redskins never even bothered to contact him. Kapp is Hispanic and the Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate in 1962.
He was coaxed to join the Calgary Stampeders by legendary general manager Jim Finks. Two seasons later, he was traded to the B.C. Lions for four players, soon turning the team into a winner.
Leading them to the Grey Cup in 1963, the Lions faced Mosca's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Mosca, whose nine Grey Cup appearances is a record, was a defensive tackle who was known as the meanest man in the CFL.
Kapp had a teammate named Willie "The Wisp" Fleming, a star halfback who would later be inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame himself. Fleming, who still holds the record for the longest play from scrimmage in CFL history, was tearing up the league during this time. Not only is Fleming the first 1,000-yard rusher in Lions history, he averaged 9.7 yards per carry in 1963.
Fleming went out of bounds after a carry, Mosca barreled into the prone player and knocked Fleming out of the contest. The Lions lost that game, but got revenge the following season by defeating Hamilton in the Grey Cup.
Kapp joined the NFL in 1967, thanks to Finks. Several franchises wanted his services, including teams in the American Football League, but Finks worked out a deal where his Minnesota Vikings waived a little-used halfback named Jim Young so that the Lions could sign him. Young would spend the next 13 seasons with the Lions and be named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Despite spending just three years with the Vikings, Kapp's Vikings made the first playoff appearance in franchise history. He made the Pro Bowl in 1969 and led Minnesota to the last NFL Championship Game ever. After winning that game, the Vikings went on to Super Bowl IV before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL.
He had played that year without a contract, thanks to an option in his contract. Despite having tied a record by tossing seven touchdowns in a single game, the NFL would not allow teams to contact the free agent until late September of 1970.
Kapp signed with the Boston Patriots, which caused the team to give the Vikings a pair of first-round draft picks, and struggled with a team that had just two wins that year. The newly renamed New England Patriots then drafted Heisman trophy winner Jim Plunkett, who also happened to be a quarterback with Hispanic heritage, and turned Kapp away at their facilities when he reported to camp.
After deciding to retire after that encounter, he spent the next decade acting in television and movies. He returned to football in 1982 by becoming the head coach of the University of California, his Alma mater.
Not only is he the last coach to lead Cal to the Rose Bowl, Kapp oversaw his squad make "The Play". This is when the Golden Bears lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return as the clock expired to defeat rival Stanford University.
After being fired in 1986, Kapp went back to the CFL in 1990 and became the general manager of the Lions. Though he he lasted just 11 games on the job, Kapp was the man who brought star quarterback Doug Flutie to the CFL.
Yet with all of that success, he did not forget what Mosca did to Fleming in 1963. Kapp was close with the halfback and had coaxed Fleming out of retirement in 1968 to try to play with Minnesota. Mosca became a Hall of Fame professional wrestler after he retired from the gridiron.
The popular video of Mosca swinging his cane and Kapp pounding his fists has been seen by many. Some have dubbed it a "geezers brawl" because both men are 74 years old. Yet there is much more respect to be had than humor.
These men played the game for passion, not cash. They had successes beyond that time, but the passion surely still burns in souls not nearly as withered and damaged as their bones. It beckons to the heart as to why a true football fan loves the game, as well as to past participants as to why they played it.
No one is calling for a re-match, but no one wants or expects these gridiron greats to ever lose their love for their teammates, fans, or the game itself. We need more of this passion to touch us all.
Yoooooooo! Dis iz 7thStoneFromTheSun again. OK, I struck out in da afternoon games las weak and only went 7-6
. I is now 104-67 overall. I knead two dew better dis time cuz it iz holidaze time.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I got dis sneeky feelin da Panthers will win hear, cuz da Bucs just have let down demselves in 2011. Dey mite rebound dis weak,but I tink Cam will get er dun.
27 Buccaneers 24
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Da Pats are in da middle of a run dat will sea dem win dere final eight games. I tink dat defense gets dem bounced from da playoffs, but a 13-3 record will look good.
34 Colts 20
Denver Broncos @ Minnesota Vikings
Da Teblow legend continues, but it is more an indictment of da crappy fundamentals of da NFL today. It is revoltin a NFL defense can't stop an option quarterback who can't throw da ball at all. Da Broncos defense is da reel savior of da teem.
17 Vikings 14
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills
Both teems 2011 playoff hopes iz on life support, but da Bills showed me a little sumfin las weak. I tink dey will build off dat big victory las Sunday.
28 Titans 24
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
Da Raiders iz cummin off a big win las weak,while da Dolphins are just playin four pride. Oakland kneads two seel da deel by winnin games like dis.
27 Dolphins 21
Atlanta Falcons @ Houston Texans
Game of the Week
Houston rules dere divishun wif a too game leed, but dey got quarterback issuez and is stuck havin two start a third-string rookie. Dey even went too a retirement community and brought Jake Delhomme back to be da reserve.
Da Texans will knead to rely on dere excellent runnin game and underrated defense two win hear. Lawrence Vickers, an excellent blocking fullback, mite miss da game and put more stress on Arian Foster and Ben Tate two be big.
Atlanta has been incunsistent and mediocre all yeer. But dere run defense is ranked second best in da NFL in yards alloud. Wif a rookie Texans quarterback expectin to see eight or nine defenders in da box Sunday, Atlanta will need to refrain from giving up big plays while controlling the line of scrimmage.
Da Falcons offense has not been as good as expected dis yeer, mainly because quarterback Matt Ryan has played poorly much to often. Halfback Michael Turner, just 52 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards, will need to be big against a Texans defense that is the best in the NFL in yards alloud and happens to bee forth best in rushin yards given up.
Who wins da line of scrimmage will prevail hear. Atlanta is a game behind New Orleans in da NFL South, so dey must stay pace. Dis iz why I iz rollin wif dem hear.
23 Texans 14
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Dese teems faced each other too weaks ago, wif Pittsburgh winning by a touchdown in a very closely contested battle. Even tho da Steelers gained more yards and had one less turnover, Cincinnati took it two dem.
I expect a replay really, but da Bengals are a game behind da Steelers in da AFC North and a loss hear will drop them in the Wild Card playoff quagmire with such average teems like da Jets, Broncos, and Titans.
I tink it goes to da wire.
21 Bengals 17
New York Jets @ Washington Redskins
Yeah, Mark Sanchez was a mistake to draft. Yeah, Rex Ryan ran his toe sucker much two much as his teem true frailties was exposed. Yeah, dis average teem only gets press cuz dey iz in New York.
Still, dey are very much in da AFC playoff race and should beet Washington two stay adrift in it. Dese too teems have faced each other just nine times before, and da Jets only win over da Redskins was a 3-0 barn burner in 1993.
23 Redskins 21
Kansas City Chiefs @ Chicago Bears
A battle of backup quarterbacks who knead a good rushing attack and defense too win. Da Bears.
24 Chiefs 10
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Da Ravens have had a habit of playin down to lesser oppossition in 2011, while da Brownies almost pulled off a big upset over da Bengals las weak. PLUS da Dawg Pound will never forgive Art Modell and will have extra venom four Baltimore.
24 Browns 17
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
Now dat da Cowboys sit alone on top of da NFC East, dey knead to win deez type of games to stay dere.
27 Cardinals 17
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
Remember las weak how I told ya'll da Jints defense would get steamrolled by da Saints? What do yous tink da Pack iz gunna do? Capeesh?
35 Giants 20
Saint Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
At da beginning of dis seesun, most taught da Rams would be 9-2 and da Niners 2-9 now. Dat iz why dey play da games.
27 Rams 14
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
I was one of dem who had Detroit goin two da playoffs dis yeer, but a loss hear will have dem drop another notch down on da ladder. Da Saints have to get dis two stay ahead of Atlanta in da NFL South.
I expect a high scoring affair, but I tink da Saints just got a few more weapons. If Detroit runs da ball well, dey got a shot.
38 Lions 31
San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Da Jags fired dere head coach dis weak, somethin da Chargers should have dun two dere head coach befour dis yeer even began. Why San Diego hasn't canned Norv Turner yet iz a question I have asked since 2009.
31 Jaguars 17
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. San Francisco 49ers
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Oakland Raiders
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Chicago Bears
13. Detroit Lions
14. New York Giants
15. New York Jets
16. Tennessee Titans
17. Denver Broncos
18. Buffalo Bills
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. Washington Redskins
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. San Diego Chargers
24. Kansas City Chiefs
25. Arizona Cardinals
26. Cleveland Browns
27. Carolina Panthers
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
29. Miami Dolphins
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. Saint Louis Rams
32. Indianapolis Colts
Welp,dat iz dat. I knead to get da fuck outta hear two do sum xmas shopping cuz yous alls knows dat dis goomba has a lot of hunnys to spread da mistletoe on in da cummin weeks. As dey say in Ol' Mexico= A.M.F.
6,723 Receiving Yards
5 Pro Bowls
AFL All-Time Team
First With 101 Receptions In A Season
Charles Taylor Hennigan joined the expansion Houston Oilers as an undrafted 25-year old in the fledgling American Football League in 1960. He had previously been a high school teacher at a high school, where he earned $4,000 annually. He kept a monthly pay stub of $270.72 in his helmet for inspiration on the gridiron.
He had initially went to college at LSU on a track scholarship, where the coaches of the school had designs for him to compete in the Olympic games. The Tigers were the SCC mile-relay champions in his freshman year, an event Hennigan specialized in.
Football became Hennigan's primary interest soon after his high school sweetheart passed away from cancer. LSU did not want him switching sports, so Hennigan transferred to Northwestern State University and played running back for three years.
After college, he was invited to try out for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He was cut after a week, so he had a stint in the United States Army before returning to Louisiana to teach biology and gym class while also coaching both football and track.
Hennigan used his time as a track coach to run and stay in shape, along with using isometrics. Red Cochran was a former NFL player who later became a scout. He happened to live nearby Hennigan, so Cochran got him to try out for the newly founded Oilers. Cochran's career would last 52 years in the NFL, ending up in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Having no real experience as a wide receiver, Hennigan asked Cleveland Browns legend Dub Jones for some help. Jones, whose son Bert would later become a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Baltimore Colts, was a former Pro Bowl receiver who happened to live close by Hennigan as well.
Jones, who still shares the NFL record for six touchdowns scored in one game, drilled Hennigan on how to fake the defender and not the area. NFL defenses employed man-to-man coverage in those days, as opposed to the zone coverage most teams use in the game today.
Hennigan went into a Oilers camp that had a few stars trying out for the team. The team cut future stars like Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown and Pro Bowl wide receiver Homer Jones. Jones, who still holds the NFL record for yards per catch in a career, is known best for inventing the football spike after a score.
A big reason Brown didn't make the Oilers is because he had difficulty covering Hennigan in practice. The two would butt heads many times over the years, often complimenting each other as the toughest opponent either had faced in their careers.
There was a few hundred men trying out for the Oilers and Hennigan began to hear rumors he was about to be cut as well. Yet he made the team and had Browns great Mac Speedie, a former teammate of Dub Jones, as his wide receivers coach.
He and Oilers teammate Charley "The Human Bowling Ball" Tolar are the first persons at Northwestern State to play professional football. The school would later produce such greats like Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, Pro Bowl players like quarterback Bobby Hebert, cornerback Terrence McGee, wide receiver Mark Duper, running backs Tolar, John Stephens and Joe Delaney. They are amongst the 44 players from that school to play professional football.
The five Pro Bowls Hennigan accrued is tied with Smith as the most ever by a Northwestern State Demon. Also a track star, he has been named one of the 100 greatest football players in school history.
He soon won a starting job in camp and developed an amazing repertoire with Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda. Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history, which happened in the first game in franchise history against the Oakland Raiders.
Separating his shoulder in the first half of that game, Hennigan then sat out for three games as he healed from the injury. He returned to be second on the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches as the Oilers eventually reached the first ever AFL title game.
Playing against the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston came back from an early deficit to capture the championship with a 24-16 victory. Hennigan's four receptions for 71 yards were both the second best totals on the team.
The 1961 season started out strange for the Oilers. After stumbling out to a 1-3-1, they replaced head coach Lou Rymkus with Wally Lemm. This awoke the Oilers roster, as they would then explode upon the AFL with 10 straight wins on their way to winning the second, and so far last, title in franchise history.
The offense was ranked first in the league in offense, total yards and passing yards. They also finished second in rushing yards, points and total yards allowed. It was also the finest season of Hennigan's career.
He had to share receptions with Pro Bowlers like Tolar, Billy Cannon, Willard Dewveall, Bob McLoud and Bill Groman. Groman led the AFL with 17 touchdowns off of 50 receptions for 1,175 yards that year, as well as leading the league in yards per catch.
Hennigan racked up 82 catches at an impressive 21.3 yards per reception average that was second best in the AFL. He led the league with a career best 1,746 receiving yards, breaking an 11-year old record previously set by Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch.
He had started out the season charting out a way to break Hirsch's record. Hennigan once calculated the number of receptions and receiving yards he needed to break the record by writing on a bathroom mirror with soap as he shaved.
Not only did he set a career best mark by leading the AFL with 124.7 receiving yards gained per game, he also caught a career high 12 touchdowns. The 124.7 yards mark stood as a record until 1982, when Wes Chandler surpassed it in a strike-shortened season that lasted nine games that year. Hennigan appeared in 14 games 21 years earlier and his average still ranks second best in pro football history.
Yet he also piled up more records. He still owns the record for three games of which Hennigan had over 200 yards receiving. He also owns the record for seven straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, which is how he started out the 1961 season. Hennigan was also the first player ever to have 10 games in a season with over 100 receiving yards.
Hennigan had 11 total games that year of at least 100 yards receiving. It, as well as his streak of seven games, was tied in 1995 by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Irvin needed 16 games to tie the record.
His streak of seven games ended after getting 232 yards and two scores against the Buffalo Bills. After missing his eighth straight game by 22 yards the next week in a game Houston won 55-14 over the Denver Broncos, he did not catch a pass the following game.
While the Oilers beat the San Diego Chargers for the 1961 AFL Championship, they did a good job limiting Hennigan to 43 yards on five catches. The reason was because they concentrated on him after he had burned them for 214 yards and three scores just three weeks earlier.
Not only did his 1,746 total yards lead the AFL on 1961, Hennigan began a streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. The record of 1,746 receiving yards stood as a record until 1995, when Isaac Bruce and record holder Jerry Rice surpassed it. Yet Hennigan's total still ranks and the third most ever.
The difference between Hennigan's record setting seasons to those who tied or surpassed him is the fact he passed Hirsch's record in 12 games, the same number of games Hirsch had played in 1951. Rice and Bruce needed 16 games, two more than Hennigan played in 1961, to surpass him.
Another difference is that only Irvin was on a championship team like Hennigan was during these record-setting years. Rice, a Hall of Famer, and Bruce would win titles in different seasons.
Hennigan, who was named First Team All-Pro in 1961 and 1962, then continued his excellence after his incredible year. He grabbed 115 balls for 1,918 yards and 18 touchdowns over the next two seasons. The 1962 Houston team reached the AFL title game for a third straight season, but lost in overtime.
Some say Hennigan's 1964 season was his best, while Hennigan prefers to think his 1961 season was. Though he was good friends with Denver Broncos legend Lionel Taylor, he set out to break Taylor's 1961 record of 100 receptions.
He broke the record by grabbing 101 passes that year. This mark stood 20 years until Hall of Famer Art Monk had 106 in 1984, a record would stand for. Hennigan also had 1,546 receiving yards, which also led the AFL and still ranks as the 21st most in pro football history.
The 110.4 yards gained per game receiving average he has in 1964 also still ranks as the eighth best ever in pro football history. Hennigan is the first pro player ever to have two seasons of over 1,500 yards receiving, and he is also the first to have four games of 200 or more receiving yards.
Concussions began to catch up to Hennigan by 1965, as well as the fact he was running around on an injured knee. He gutted it out over the next two years, catching 68 passes for 891 yards and seven touchdowns over that time.
One game against the Chargers saw San Diego cornerback Claude Gibson hit Hennigan with a rabbit punch, knocking the Oilers star out cold. Hennigan woke up in the locker room, but was dazed. He was put back out on the field, but didn't know where he was most of the time because of the concussion he suffered.
It turned out to be a mistake by Gibson, a great punt returner who led the AFL in punt return yardage and average twice. Player in those days took care of their own teammates.
Unbeknownst to Hennigan, two of his teammates set up Gibson during a preseason game a few years later. He was hit in the knees, which ended Gibson's career. Hennigan was told this story at a 50th anniversary reunion by his teammates.
Concussions went untreated back then, and medical technology was not good enough to do a good job repairing knees either. Houston traded Hennigan to the Raiders for a future draft pick, but he failed the physical and decided to retire.
Not only was Hennigan on the gridiron for the love of the game, but he was able to pursue his doctorate in education with an increase in salary compared to what he earned as a teacher.
He once asked Oilers owner Bud Adams for a raise after his monster 1961 season, but was refused. Instead, Adams cut him a check for $10,000 and sent Hennigan out of his offices.
When Hennigan retired after the 1966 season, he basically owned every receiving record there was for the Oilers and AFL. He still has the most touchdown receptions in franchise history, as well as the fourth most receiving yards and sixth most receptions in team history.
He owns the Oilers record of most catches and receiving yards in a game, when he went for 276 yards on 13 receptions in 1961. His 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving is also a franchise record.
His 71.8 receiving yards per game is not only the best in team history, it is still the 12th best ever in pro football history. Four of the players ahead of him on this list are still active, so Hennigan could move back up the list as the years go on.
The 16.8 yards per reception average is excellent for any era of football, especially one that dealt with the 10-yard chuck rule. Not only does it rank 39th best ever in yards per touch in pro football history, it is the second best in Oilers/ Titans history behind Oilers great Ken Burrough.
I do not know what disgusts me most. Hennigan's exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the fact Adams has seemingly spit on his teams earlier history.
Blanda and Jim Norton are the only early Oilers in the franchises Hall of Fame. Ken Houston and Elvin Bethea, two more Hall of Fame players, are the only other AFL Oilers inducted into the teams Hall of Fame.
Hennigan should have been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Oilers/ Titans Hall of Fame by now. Not only is he the greatest wide receiver in that franchises history, he is one of the very best in AFL history. Hennigan is a member of the AFL All-Time Team.
There are the obvious signs of the continued AFL disrespect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the reasons to why Hennigan has not yet been inducted. Even though the building in Canton does not say NFL Hall of Fame, it has become just that.
The NFL's anger of being forced to merge with the successful AFL still seems to burn brightly. The voters obviously cower and heed this anger by inducting modern inferior players instead.
Not only did Hennigan have to deal with the 10-yard chuck rule, which is a lot harder to have success in compared to the modern five-yard rule, he dealt with playing fields that were nowhere as near as pristine as they have been the past few decades.
Football used to be a game for men in Hennigan's era. Players had to actually earn their accolades then, as opposed to the rule changes that guarantee successes like now. Yet the numbers he put up easily match or exceed many players today that are deemed as stars.
Some detractors will point at he fact he lasted just seven seasons, but the Hall of Fame is filled with men who had careers of that length or less. Men who put up inferior production as well.
While Hirsch is in the Hall of Fame, he went to two less Pro Bowls and had one less First Team All-Pro honor than Hennigan. Though a great wide receiver, Hirsch had two excellent seasons and several decent ones.
Lynn Swann, another Hall of Famer, lasted nine years but many of his number pale in comparison to Hennigan. Swann was finalist 13 times before induction, while Hennigan hasn't even been named a semi-finalist once. Hennigan also has more receptions than Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes, let alone the fact he either owns or shares several other records with some of the best receivers to ever play the game.
Blanda, who was later a teammate of Brown's, often lamented the exclusion of Hennigan from the Hall of Fame up until his death. Hennigan set his receptions record after catching nine passes against Brown, who also agrees with Blanda that the Oilers legend deserves a bust in Canton.
Not only did Hennigan's 101 reception season stand as a record for 20 years, his 1,746 yards gained stood as a record for 34 seasons. He is the only player ever to have three games of 200-yards receiving in a season.
Voters should look at the travails Hennigan had to persevere through compared to the game now. Not only the rules to empower the modern offense that he did not have to help him nor the shoddy fields he played on often. How the hash marks placement greatly differed then and the goal posts used to be placed hazardously on the goal line in his day.
How the defenses of his day actually were allowed to play defense and even extend it further to the realm of crossing the lines of fair play. Even with medical care that didn't have as much expertise as now, Hennigan went out there and performed at a Hall of Fame level no matter how hurt he was.
There is no doubt that Hennigan belongs in Canton. The seniors committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is afforded just two nominees each year, which is unfair to the tremendous backlog they have to sift through annually. Yet Hennigan should never have reached the seniors pool, because it is obvious he should have been inducted long ago.
While he is in that deep seniors pool now, Hennigan easily rises to the top of the best wide receivers not yet inducted. Yet too much times has passed in his omission, so the voters must get it together now and put him in so Hennigan can enjoy his long overdue induction.
It is easy to see Charlie Hennigan is the greatest wide receiver not yet put into the hallowed halls within Canton. He belonged long ago, but now is the time to right the wrongs made by past voters. Contact all of the voters and tell them that Hennigan deserves his rightful place inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
LeBeau was a fifth round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 1959 draft, the was the 58th player picked overall. LeBeau did not make the Browns team, and was cut in training camp. He would then be picked up by the Detroit Lions.
He played six games in his rookie year, mostly on special teams, did recover the first fumble of his career that season. In 1960, LeBeau earned the starting job at cornerback opposite newly acquired Hall of Famer Dick "Night Train" Lane. The Lions defense also had Hall of Fame middle linebacker Joe Schmidt, Hall of Fame safety Yale Lary. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Alex Karras and Pro Bowl safety Terry Barr.
LeBeau picked off four passes his initial season. The next three seasons, LeBeau and Lane formed the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. LeBeau picked off four balls in 1962. He scored the first two touchdowns of his career that year, by interception and fumble recovery.
In 1963, LeBeau picked off five passes and returned them for 158 yards. He also returned one interception 70 yards for a touchdown. LeBeau would then make his first of 3 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 1964. That season also marked Lary's last in the NFL, and Lane played only seven games. LeBeau still managed five interceptions that year.
The 1965 season was the last year for both Lane and Schmidt. LeBeau picked off seven passes and returned one for the last touchdown of his career. LeBeau's last Pro Bowl season was in 1966, when he intercepted four passes.
LeBeau picked off four passes in 1967 by bookending Hall of Fame cornerback Lem Barney. He did this while under new head coach, and former teammate, Joe Schmidt. LeBeau and Barney would then team up for the next three years as one of the best cornerback tandems in the league.
The 1970 season saw LeBeau have a career high nine interceptions. At 34-years old in 1971, LeBeau would intercept six passes. The 1972 season would be the last year as a Detroit Lion for LeBeau and Schmidt. LeBeau was moved to free safety that year, and would not intercept a pass for the first time since his rookie season.
LeBeau only retired from the NFL as a player after 1972. He went into coaching in 1973 for the Philadelphia Eagles as a Secondary Coach. He stayed with the team until 1975. He then held the same duties with the Green Bay Packers from 1976 to 1979.
In 1980, he moved to the Cincinnati Bengals. He served as their secondary coach and a defensive coordinator with the Bengals until 1991. LeBeau then served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992 to 1996.
This is when LeBeau would gain notoriety for inventing the now commonly used "Zone Blitz" defense. The Steelers defense featured such greats as Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson, Pro Bowl linebackers Greg Lloyd, Hardy Nickerson, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown, Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon and strong safety Carnell Lake. They would go to the Super Bowl after the 1995 season.
In 1997, LeBeau returned to the Bengals as a defensive coordinator. He would then be named head coach of the Bengals in 2000, holding that job until 2002. LeBeau then worked for the Buffalo Bills in 2003.
He returned to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004, and is still the defensive coordinator of the Steelers today. In 2005, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. LeBeau is one of the most respected coaches in NFL history and is called "Coach Dad" by his players.
Dick LeBeau's playing career alone may have had him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He is the first player from the 1959 NFL Draft to make it into Canton. He is a member of the Detroit Lions Legends and his 62 interceptions are the most in the history of the Lions.
Butz was the fifth overall selection of the 1971 draft, chosen by the Saint Louis Cardinals. His career got off to positive beginnings, as he started 10 of the 12 games he played as a rookie.
Then Butz suffered a devastating knee injury of the first game of the 1972 season. The Cardinals believed his playing days were over, so they released him. The Washington Redskins quickly signed the huge defensive tackle.
After being brought along slowly by Hall of Fame head coach George Allen, where Butz started in 16 of the 40 games he appeared in over three seasons, he was elevated to a starters job in 1978. He would remain there the next 11 seasons.
Being 6'7" 291, he was an immovable object in the middle of the defense. While stuffing running backs was his specialty, Butz also batted down a ton of passing attempts. If that wasn't enough of a distraction for opposing quarterbacks, he was also a good pass rusher despite drawing multiple blockers most plays.
The 1983 season is considered his finest year. Butz was named to his only Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro nod after being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Kansas City Committee 101, an award chosen by 101 NFL sportswriters and sportscasters. He had a career best 11.5 quarterback sacks that season.
He was the Redskins model of consistency. After becoming a starter, he missed three games in 11 years. Butz missed five total in his 14 years with the Redskins. Besides having 59.5 career sacks, which is most ever by a Washington defensive tackle, his 203 games played is the fourth most in franchise history.
Dave Butz is a member of the NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team. Not only did he constantly make the Cardinals regret giving up on him, Butz made Redskins fans joyful by helping their team win two Super Bowls. He is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins ever.
Creekmur lasted until the 26th round of the 1948 draft when the Philadelphia Eagles used the 243rd pick on him. He did not make the team, so he was out of football until 1950.
The Detroit Lions offered him a tryout that year, which turned out to be a great move. He earned a starting job at left guard that season and went to the first of eight consecutive Pro Bowls. The 1951 season saw him honored as First Team All-Pro, something he would garner in six of the next seven years.
Creekmur moved to left tackle in 1952, where he would stay the rest of his career. While noted as a fierce run blocker, he was equally exceptional pass blocking. He kept Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne upright.
Layne also happened to be a player Detroit got from another team off that 1948 draft. He was selected by the Chicago Bears with the third overall pick that year, who would trade him one year later to the New York Bulldogs. He was traded to the Lions the following season.
Layne was known for taking his linemen out each week for expensive dinners to thank them for keeping him healthy. Creekmur would later note that Layne was his favorite quarterback to protect.
Detroit would go to four title games and win three of them behind Creekmur. He retired after the 1958 season, but was coaxed back in 1959 to play eight straight games despite not having any time to practice and get in shape. He retired permanently after that season.
Not only is Creekmur inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his six First Team All-Pro nods are the most ever by a Lions offensive lineman. It is also tied with Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Dutch Clark as the most ever by an offensive player in that franchises long history.
Lou Creekmur is the best blocker in Lions history and his toughness is legendary. Creekmur broke his nose 13 times playing football, but he never missed a game and always was great. Not bad for a guy who nobody wanted on their team for the first few years he was out of college.
Blanda was a 12th round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1949 draft. His final two seasons pf college football was played under legendary coach Bear Bryant. Blanda is a member of the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame.
Blanda then went on to play pro football under NFL founder and Hall of Famer George Halas. The two did not get along.
Blanda was given $600 to sign with the Bears, but Halas took the money back after Blanda made the team.
He kicked, punted, and quarterbacked his rookie year. Blanda started the next season with the Baltimore Colts, but found himself back on the Bears for the final 11 games of that season.
While mainly used as a kicker for three years, he spent the 1951 season also playing linebacker. Blanda intercepted the only pass of his career that season.
Blanda earned the starting job at quarterback in 1953, and led the NFL in attempts and completions. He started seven games the next year, and led the NFL in yards gained-per-games played.
He would accomplish that feat two more times in the AFL. Blanda was then mainly used as a kicker until 1958. He decided to retire because of his difficulties with Halas.
He said that Halas no longer seemed interested in the NFL and the game had passed him by. Blanda was quoted to have said, "Halas was too cheap to even buy me a kicking shoe."
After sitting out of the 1959 season, Blanda decided to play for the expansion Houston Oilers in the fledgling American Football League. The Oilers would go on to win the first AFL Championship with Blanda at the helm.
The Oilers repeated as AFL Champions the next year, as Blanda was named to his first All Pro team while leading the AFL in passing yards, touchdowns, and several other categories. He also set a record for fewest receiving yards in a career, when he caught a pass for negative 16 yards.
He would be named an All-Pro the next two seasons as well. He led the AFL in attempts and completions from 1963 to 1965. Blanda also led the AFL in interceptions thrown from 1962 to 1965.
At 40-years old, Blanda joined the Oakland Raiders in 1967. He was named to his last All Pro team, this time as a kicker, helping the Raiders get to Super Bowl II.
He led the league in extra points attempted and made in four of his first eight seasons with Oakland. He led the NFL in scoring in 1967 with 116 points, and had a career high 117 points the following year.
His biggest year in Oakland was in 1970, when he would be named the Bert Bell Award winner for Player of the Year. Blanda had actually been released for a short time in preseason, but was quickly brought back.
That season, Blanda had to come off the bench four times to replace Darryl Lamonica, the starter, due to injury. Blanda led the Raiders to three comeback wins and a tie.
He then had the come in for an injured Lamonica during the AFC Championship game. He booted a 48-yard field goal, and went 17-32 for 271 yards and two touchdowns, but the Raiders fell to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Colts.
In 1973, at 46-years old, Blanda scored 100 points. He then retired after the 1975 season at 48-years old.
Many fans may know that the Hall of Famer Blanda retired with an then-NFL record 2002 points, but he also holds several other records.
He shares the record for seven touchdown passes in a game, owns the record for most seasons played, and most seasons scoring a point (26). He's also the first player in history to score over 2,000 points, the oldest person to ever play in the NFL and in a title game. Blanda has thrown the most interceptions in a season.
He still has attempted and made the most extra points ever. While playing the fourth most games ever, he still has the fifth most points scored ever. His 26 seasons played and most years of scoring a point are also records.
Brett Favre broke his record of 277 interception in 2007, and Drew Bledsoe broke his record of 68 passing attempts in a game during the 1994 season.
George Blanda is truly one of the legends of the game of football, as a kicker and quarterback. Many Raiders will always remember him coming off the bench and leading Oakland to thrilling victories.
Brown was a 27th round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1959 draft. He only was on the roster for one game in his rookie year, and did not accumulate any stats.
He then joined the Philadelphia Eagles the next year. He played very sparingly, but did have a 79-yard kick return on 11 attempts.
The 1961 season would be the year Brown got his chance. He led the NFL with 29 kickoff returns and 811 yards. He scored on a 105-yard return, which still stands as an Eagles franchise record and is the seventh longest in NFL history. He also scored the only punt return touchdown of his career on just eight returns.
Brown led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 1962 and 1963. In 1962, Brown caught 50 balls and averaged an impressive 16.3 yards per catch.
He led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards in 1963, with 33 attempts for a career high 945 yards. He was also named to the Pro Bowl from 1962 to 1965.
He led the league with a yards per rushing average of 5.4 yards per carry, as he ran for a career high 861 yards in 1965. Brown became the first ever to score on two kickoff returns in one game during the 1966 season, which is still a NFL record that he shares with nine others.
Brown got injured in the seventh game in 1967 and missed the rest of the year. He joined the Baltimore Colts the next year, and helped the Colts win the NFL Championship before they went on to lose in Super Bowl III. He retired after that season and has enjoyed a fine acting career. Brown was in both the movie and TV version of M*A*S*H.
Timmy Brown rushed for 3,862 yards and 31 touchdowns, while catching 235 passes for 3,399 yards and 26 additional scores. His 14.5 yards per catch is very impressive for a running back, and he also averaged 26 yards on 184 kickoff returns. Brown's five career kickoff return touchdowns is tied for the eighth most in NFL history.
Maynard was drafted in the ninth round of the 1957 draft by the New York Giants. Though he did not make the team that year, he did play the next year for the Giants. He was used as a return specialist mostly, taking 24 punts and 11 kickoffs for 401 yards. Maynard also caught five passes and ran the ball a career best 12 times as a reserve halfback.
He was released after that season, so Maynard joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League in 1959. The fledgling American Football League was born the next year, so Maynard left the CFL to join the New York Titans.
He was teamed up with felow wide receiver Art Powe. Powe, who is a member of the AFL's All-Time Team, was another receiver rejected by the NFL the year before. Powe had been an 11th-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, but was also just used as a return specialist.
The duo lit up the AFL for the three years they teamed up. Powe had 204 catches over that time, leading the league in receiving yards and touchdown catches once, before going to play with the Oakland Raiders.
Maynard was equally as dangerous, grabbing 171 balls for 1,935 yards and 22 scores over that time. The Titans weren't a very good team, so the franchise was often on the verge of bankruptcy trying to compete against the Giants in the same city.
Renamed the Jets in 1963, the franchises fortunes began to change for the better after drafting future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. He and Maynard soon developed an excellent repertoire and Namath often looked the way of his favorite receiver when the team needed yards most.
Making his first Pro Bowl in 1965, Maynard led the AFL with a career best 14 touchdown receptions. Namath became the first quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in 1967, and Maynard's career best 1,434 yards and 102.4 yards receiving yards per game, both of which led the league, was a big reason why. He also averaged 20.2 yards on 71 receptions while scoring 10 times.
This set the stage for the Jets magical 1968 season. Maynard led the AFL with a career best 22.8 yards per catch average, while also leading the league with a 99.8 yards receiving per game average. He piled up 1,297 yards and caught 10 touchdown passes.
In the 1968 AFL Championship, Maynard burned the Oakland Raiders secondary for 118 yards on six receptions. Not only did he score the first touchdown of the contest, he also scored the last. That latter touchdown won the game for the Jets 27-23.
The Jets then faced the NFL's Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Tired of hearing the media constantly tell him the Colts would dominate, Namath made his famous guarantee that his team would win. Baltimore was so intent on stopping Maynard, Namath used him as a decoy and targeted George Sauer instead.
While Maynard did not touch the football, the strategy worked. New York won 16-7, an important moment in AFL history that ultimately forced a merger between the leagues. It is still the only championship season in Jets history.
The 1969 season was not only Maynard's last Pro Bowl year, it was his only First Team All-Pro nod. He averaged 20 yards on 47 receptions. His production began to decline over the next three years, so he joined the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1973.
After one catch in two games, he joined the Houston Texans of the World Football League in 1974. The Texans were later renamed the Shreveport Steamers because the WFL was struggling financially. He retired after that season.
Not only is Maynard inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is a member of the AFL's All-Time Team. Maynard is one of 20 players to play the entire 10 seasons the AFL existed, and he is one of seven to have played his entire AFL career for one franchise. He is also one of just a few players to play for the NFL, CFL, AFL and WFL.
Maynard was once just one of only five players to record more than 50 receptions and more than 1,000 receiving yards in five different seasons for many years. He left the game with the most receptions and receiving yards in pro football history at the time. He is the first receiver ever to exceed 10,000 receiving yards.
He still is the Jets all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns caught. His 18.7 career yards per catch average is even more amazing because Maynard dealt with the 10-yard chuck rule and caught balls from over a dozen different quarterbacks.
Known for his sure hands, Maynard also was had great improvisational skills when running routes. He is easily the greatest receiver in Jets history, let alone one of the best in pro football history.
In the final round of the 1947 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Lahr. Just six players were chosen after him. He did not make the team, but he was the last of 16 players from Case Western Reserve University to play in the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns had him try out in 1949 and he made the team. His rookie season found Lahr used in assorted ways, where he caught his only career pass and scored his only offensive touchdown off of nine rushing attempts.
Safety was the position he would make his mark quickly. He had four interceptions his rookie year as the Browns won the All-American Football Conference title for the fourth and final time. The AAFC merged with the NFL the next season.
Cleveland dominated the NFL in 1950 and Lahr was certainly a big reason why. He snagged a career best eight interceptions, two of which he returned for two scores. He led the league in scores off of interceptions that year.
When Cleveland beat the New York Giants in a 8-3 defensive struggle, Lahr picked off a pass that helped preserve the win. It helped substantiate the Browns as a legitimate powerhouse as well as showed the three AAFC teams belonged in the NFL.
He came up big in the Browns first title win. The Los Angeles Rams had two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin, but Cleveland picked off five of their passes that day. Lahr led the way with two, as the Browns prevailed 30-28.
Lahr led the NFL again with two touchdowns off of interceptions in 1951. Cleveland mowed through the league with one loss behind the top defense. They scored five times off of 58 turnovers that season.
The Browns faced Los Angeles again in the title game, where Lahr had an interception and two fumble recoveries. The Rams won the game 24-17 on a 73-yard bomb from Van Brocklin to Hall of Fame wide receiver Tom Fears late in the fourth quarter.
Despite 22 interceptions in his first four seasons, Lahr did not get to the Pro Bowl until 1953 after gaining a career best 119 yards off of five interceptions, He scored the final touchdown of his career in 1954, as the Browns won another championship.
Cleveland repeated as champions in 1955 as Lahr had another five swipes. In his first seven seasons, he had piled up an impressive 34 picks and never had fewer than four in a season. He stayed with the team until 1959 before retiring.
His 44 career interceptions are still the second most in Browns history, and his five touchdowns off of interceptions is still the most in franchise history. He is a member of the Browns Legends and should soon find himself inducted into the newly created Browns Ring of Honor.
Morrall was a first round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1956 draft. He was the second player chosen overall that year.
He was mostly used as a punter in his rookie year. He did start four games when the starter, Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle, was injured. Morrall was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers after that year, and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 1957.
After starting the first two games of the 1958 season for Pittsburgh, Morrall was traded to the Detroit Lions for Hall of Famer Bobby Layne. There, he backed up Tobin Rote, Jim Ninowski, and Milt Plum until 1964. During the 1963 season, Plum was injured early in the year and Morrall ended up starting 11 games.
Morrall tossed 24 touchdowns on 2,621 yards. Both totals would be the second highest of his career. He was hurt early in the 1964 season, and missed the rest of the year. He was then dealt to the New York Giants during the offseason.
He started the entire 1965 season, and threw the longest pass of that season for 89 yards. Morrall started seven games the next year and threw a pass that is still franchise long of 98 yards to Homer Jones, the man who invented the spiking of the football after a score.
He was replaced by Gary Woods as the Giants went 1-12-1. Morrall soon became a reserve behind Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton. He then was dealt to the Baltimore Colts in 1968, where his career would be reborn.
Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas was injured in the last preseason game and was out for the year, so Morrall became the starter. He led the Colts to a 13-1 record after throwing for a career high 26 touchdown passes with a career best 2,909 yards.
He led the NFL in touchdown passes, touchdown percentage and yards gained-per-pass attempt. He was selected to his last Pro Bowl and was named the 1968 NFL MVP. The Colts would go on to lose in Super Bowl III. With Unitas healthy again, Morrall started three games over the next two seasons.
In 1970, the Colts would win Super Bowl V when Morrall was called upon again after Unitas was injured early in the game. Morrall helped the Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13.
Morrall started the first nine games of the 1971 year, leading the Colts to a 7-2 record. He was then injured and replaced by Unitas as the Colts would go on to lose to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship game.
The Colts then cut Morrall, but he was claimed by Miami. Dolphins head coach Hall of Famer Don Shula had coached him on the Colts' 1968 Super Bowl team, so he knew what kind of player he was getting.
The move paid off early into the 1972 season, when Hall of Famer Bob Griese was injured during the fifth game.
Morrall started the next 12 games and helped lead the eventual Super Bowl Champion Dolphins to the only perfect season in modern NFL history. He took them to the AFC Championship game, but was replaced by Griese.
Morrall was named the AFC Player of the Year in 1972, and he also won the first Comeback Player of the Year Award that year. He started one game the next year, as the Dolphins repeated as Super Bowl Champions. Morrall retired after the 1976 season at the age of 42-years old.
Though Earl Morrall started only 102 of the 255 games he played over 21 years, he won 60 and tied three. He also was an important part of four Super Bowl teams and has to be considered one of the best firemen in NFL history.
Taylor was drafted in the 15th round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also selected in the fifth round of the American Football League's draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
What happened next is part of both AFL and Chiefs lore. Taylor was brought into the Eagle camp to try out, but legendary Chiefs scout Lloyd Wells had other ideas. Wells had successfully stolen Hall of Fame talents like Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas and Willie Lanier from the NFL.
Taylor was being watched closely by Eagles personnel to prevent him from talking to Wells, but were unsuccessful. In a moment called the "Babysitting Incident", Wells coerced Taylor to sneak out the Eagles facility and sign a contract with the Chiefs.
It turned out to be a great move for Kansas City because Taylor became the big-play receiver the needed. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1966 after having the best year of his career.
Taylor led the league with a 22.4 yards per catch average on 58 receptions for a career best 1,297 yards. He scored eight times, including one on a league leading 89-yards catch.
He led the AFL with a career best 11 touchdown catches the next year, as well as grabbing a career high 59 balls, then spent the next three seasons battling injuries. Yet he was there when Kansas City needed him most, which was seen in the 1969 season.
The Chiefs won the last AFL title that year, which propelled them into Super Bowl V. Taylor led all Chiefs receivers with six catches for 81 yards. He sealed Kansas City's 23-7 victory in the fourth quarter with a catch that covered 46 yards en route to a touchdown.
The 1971 season saw Taylor return to the Pro Bowl and earn his second First Team All-Pro nod after grabbing 57 passes for a league-leading 1,110 yards. He made his final Pro Bowl the next year after getting another 57 receptions.
After a decline in production over the next two seasons, he suited up for one game in 1975 before retiring. He was more than a productive receiver with a propensity of making a big play, Taylor was also a fierce competitor who is one of the best blocking wide receivers to ever play the game.
This fierceness was seen in a game against the Oakland Raiders in 1970. Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson was speared by mammoth Raiders defensive end Ben Davidson as he laid on the ground. Taylor attacked Davidson, which provoked a bench-clearing brawl.
Not only is he a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, Taylor is still all over the teams record books. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards and touchdown catches. His 410 career receptions still ranks third best in Kansas City history.
Wells was a huge reason the Chiefs got their only Super Bowl win. His famous encounter with Taylor helped give the team the best wide receiver that team ever had wear their uniform. Taylor also made the NFL regret not keeping a closer eye on their prospects.
Retzlaff was drafted in the 22nd round of the 1953 draft by the Detroit Lions, where he was the 265th player chosen overall. The Lions cut Retzlaff in training camp, so he went back to college and worked as an employee of the school for a year. He then enlisted in the United States Army for almost two years before coming back to again try out with the Lions.
Detroit sold his contract to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1956, where he would spend the first two seasons of his career as a reserve fullback. Though he did not have a rushing attempt over that time, the Eagles coaching staff noticed his excellent receiving skills.
Moved to wide receiver in 1958, Retzlaff exploded onto the NFL scene. He went to his first Pro Bowl after leading the team with 56 receptions. After a solid 1959 season, Retzlaff became part of Philadelphia lore.
The 1960 season is the last year the Eagles have won an NFL title. There were eight Pro Bowlers on that squad, which included Retzlaff, and four future Hall of Famers in Norm Van Brocklin, Sonny Jurgensen, Tommy McDonald, and Chuck Bednarik.
While all three Eagles receivers went to the Pro Bowl that year, Retzlaff led the team in receptions and receiving yards. He would catch 80 passes over the next two years, but he got hurt in 1962 and missed six games.
The Eagles asked Retzlaff to move to tight end in 1963, where he excelled immediately. Making the Pro Bowl until the 1965 season, he led the team in receptions and receiving yards each season.
The 1965 is considered by many his finest year in the NFL. Retzlaff set career best marks of 66 receptions for 1,190 yards and 10 touchdowns. Not only was he given his only First Team All-Pro nod, Retzlaff was the recipient of the Bert Bell Award for NFL player of the year.
He was 35-years old in 1966, an advanced age for an NFL tight end. Despite having another productive season, Retzlaff decided to retire at the end of the season after 11 years.
Dubbed "The Baron" and "Pistol Pete" by his teammates, Retzlaff bled the Eagles colors. He loved his peers so much, he was the second ever National Football League Players Association president.
He was also the second general manager in Eagles history. Not only has the franchise retired his jersey number, Retzlaff is a member of the Eagles Honor Roll.
Retzlaff still ranks second in Eagles history with career receptions and receiving yards. He also ranks fifth in touchdown catches. His five Pro Bowls is tied with McDonald and Mike Quick as the second most ever by a Philadelphia receiver.
Philadelphia got real lucky Retzlaff came along when he he did. Pete Pihos, the legendary Hall of Fame end of the Eagles, had just retired in 1955. Buck Shaw and his coaching staff also deserve credit for switching his position.
His experience as a fullback made him an exceptional blocker and a threat once he caught a pass. Retzlaff averaged over 16 yards per catch in his career, never averaging less than 15.4 yards in the last eight years of his career.
While the spectacular and diminutive McDonald got most of the press, which was also shared with Pro Bowl tight end Bobby Walston, Retzlaff was consistent. He led the Eagles receptions six times throughout his career.
Not only could he split the seam of a defense by being a deep threat, Retzlaff went and got the tough pass over the crowded middle of the field. He missed just 12 games in his career, showing the toughness and durability he exemplified.
The main reason Favre lasted until the second round of the 1991 draft is because teams were concerned about reports of a hip condition he had. The Atlanta Falcons used the 33rd overall selection on him.
He got into two games as a rookie, throwing two interceptions off of four attempts. Green Bay then hired Ron Wolf as their general manager, who then began trying to acquire Favre.
Wolf had been working for the New York Jets before that and had planned on drafting Favre until the Falcons snagged him one pick before the Jets could. New York took Browning Nagle instead, and the quarterback stayed in the NFL until 1996.
Giving up Green Bay's first round pick of 1992, a running back named Tony Smith, the Packers obtained Favre's services. Smith, who was out of the league after 1994, happened to be Favre's teammate at Southern Mississippi University.
What happened next is often compared to Wally Pipp. Pipp was the first baseman of the New York Yankees who sat out a game and never got his job back because Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig would man the position for the next 17 seasons.
Green Bay had a Pro Bowl quarterback named Don Majkowski, but he got hurt in the third game of the season. Favre took over and stood out immediately, making the Pro Bowl. It was the third straight year Majkowski got hurt, so he was released after the season and was out of the league at the end of the 1996 season.
Favre began a career where he went to the Pro Bowl in nine of his 16 seasons with the Packers. He not only had the respect of his peers, the media loved him. He would be named NFL MVP three times.
The 1996 season was his most successful. Favre led the NFL with a career best 39 touchdown passes while tossing just 13 interceptions. Green Bay would go on to win Super Bowl XXXI, where the gunslinger tossed a pair of scores in the 35-21 victory.
He led the NFL a third straight year in touchdown passes in 1997, something he would do one more time in his career. The Packers reached the Super Bowl again, but would lose 31-24 despite Favre's three touchdown passes. This would be the last time in his career that he took a team that far.
After setting a ton of NFL and Packers records, Favre decided to retire after the 2007 season, his last Pro Bowl season with Green Bay. He then decided he wanted to play again, but the Packers opted to go with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.
He was traded to the Jets and got off to a good start, tossing a career best six touchdowns in the fourth game of the season. He would make the Pro Bowl that season, then decide to retire again.
The itch to play quickly returned, so Favre decided to suit up for the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. He went to his 11th and final Pro Bowl after having maybe the best season of his career. The 40-year old tossed a career low seven interceptions against 33 touchdowns. His 4,202 yards thrown that year was the third highest total of his career.
After taking the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game that year, he decided to play in 2010. Unfortunately for him and Minnesota, he played like a 41-year old quarterback. He got hurt, which ended his streak of 297 consecutive starts, and missed three games that season. He retired for good soon after.
Favre owns several records, like most consecutive games started, most touchdown passes thrown, most passes attempted and completed. and most wins by a quarterback. He is the only player named NFL MVP by the Associated Press three straight years and he is a member of the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team.
There is the other side of his gunslinger attitude that most likely prohibited him from winning more than one title. Favre owns the NFL records for most interceptions thrown, most fumbles lost, most turnovers ever by a player, and most times sacked.
Yet he did take his teams to five conference championship games and two Super Bowls in his career. Pretty good for a guy given up on early in his career because people thought the avascular necrosis in his hip would prevent him from attaining the greatness he later achieved.
Yoooooooooo! Dis iz 7th again! Yo! I GOTS too make dis quik cuz sum of yous fuggazioz mite remember I owed a lot o cash on sum missed markers las yeer and has peoples lookin four me. Capeesh?
I got hammered las weak. I went 7-9, so I iz now 28-20.
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
Yo! I TOLD yous da Lions iz four reel! Yo, let us hope Ndamukong Suh brakes sum more of Tony Romo's ribs.
Lions 34 Cowboys 13
New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Drew Brees iz on fire, in case yous didnt notice.
Saints 37 Jaguars 24
Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns
Chris Johnson better come back two da Titans.
Titans 17 Browns 16
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo 4-0? Who hear called dat?
Bills 31 Bengals 21
Washington Redskins @ Saint Louis Rams
Da Rams knead dis. Da Skins run defense iz havin issues. I hate Rex Grossman, but 3rd mite hate me if I pik against his teem.
Redskins 30 Rams 28
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Da Igglez is slammed wif injurees and loss of confidence. Dey get sum back hear.
Eagles 27 49ers 16
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Both teems suck. Capeesh?
Vikings 28 Chiefs 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans
Dis game skares any bookie. Pittsburgh looks back and da Texans defense played like it was 2010 las weak.
Steelers 37 Texans 31
Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears
Cam Newton will trow near 50 balls cuz Carolina forgot the run game. Chicago's defense will be reddy.
Bears 24 Cardinals 21
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Falcons will rebound. Capesh?
Falcons 34 Seahawks 17
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
So, if Kevin Kolb wants to get his fans behind him...he better tear up dat torn up Giants secondary.
Cardinals 31 Giants 30
Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers
Yo! Iz yous serius?
Packers 38 Broncos 20
New England Patriots @ Oakland Raiders
Game of the Week
Yooo! Da Pats kant stop da run. Capeesh? Da Raiders kan run!
Da Raideras kant stop da pass and da Pats gort Tom Brady. Capeesh?
Dis will be close.
Patriots 27 Raiders 24
Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers
OK, da Bolts looked like dey should las weak. Ride em.
Chargers 21 Dolphins 20
New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens
Yo! Dis iz usually game of da weak material. I expect low scoring, but dat Jets offense ain't very good.
Ravens 20 Jets 13
Indianapolis Colts @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I dont kare uf Painer or Whistler's Mother is playin, da Colts stink wifout Peyton Mannng.
Buccaneers 27 Colts 10
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Detroit Lions
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Houston Texans
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Oakland Raiders
10. New England Patriots
11. San Diego Chargers
12. New Orleans Saints
13. New York Jets
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. New York Giants
16. Dallas Cowboys
17. Philadelphia Eagles
18. Chicago Bears
19. Washington Redskins
20. San Francisco 49ers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Cleveland Browns
23. Carolina Panthers
24. Miami Dolphins
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
26. Arizona Cardinals
27. Cincinnati Bengals
28. Minnesota Vikings
29. Saint Louis Rams
30. Denver Broncos
31. Indianapolis Colts
32. Kansas City Chiefs
OK, I GOTZ two roll. I heard frum dis littul bird dat dey knows where I am at. I iz goin too lay low at dis gurlz house. Lay her low two. Capeesh?
As They say in Ol' Messico = A.M.F.
The NFL Draft has been a roller coaster throughout history. The first draft took place in 1936, lasting nine rounds. The rounds increased each year, reaching 22 rounds in 1939.
It reached 32 rounds in 1943, then went to 30 rounds from 1948 to 1959. When the American Football League started in 1960, the NFL found itself battling with the AFL to sign players. The NFL draft was reduced to 20 rounds, while the AFL had six years of drafts in their existence before merging.
In 1967, the draft lasted 17 rounds, which was the norm until it went to 12 rounds in 1977. It has been just seven rounds since 1993, despite the fact history has given the NFL many great players chosen late in the draft.
Chris Hanburger was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year despite being drafted in the 18th round of the 1965 draft by the Washington Redskins. The Chicago Bears have drafted 29 players in the last round that have played in the NFL since 1936.
Cheta Ozougwa is the 2011 Mr. Irrelevant trying to make the Houston Texans. The undersized defensive end is trying to avoid history by having an NFL career.
Only 22 players drafted last by the NFL have played pro football. Seven have been since the league went to a seven-round draft in 1993.
The Mr. Irrelevant Award has been handed out since 1976 by Paul Salata, a former wide receiver who played two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts in the All-American Football Conference. He had 74 catches and eight touchdowns in his 23 games.
After the AAFC folded, Salata was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in an allocation draft. He decided to join the Canadian Football League instead, playing five years with the Calgary Stampeders before retiring.
Salata created the "Lowsman Trophy", which is the equivalent to the Heisman Trophy for the last person drafted. A ceremony called "Irrelevant Week" soon commences, with prizes being given to the player.
Besides a banquet, there is a roast in the players honor to joke over the fact he was drafted last. A street is named after the player that week, he gets more gifts, and several legendary athletes from various sports partake in the events.
The draft has changed a great deal in length since Salata invented the term "Mr. Irrelevant". Now unfortunately just seven rounds, the NFL had 17 rounds in 1976. There were 487 men drafted in 1976 and just 254 in 2011.
The laziness of draft participation by the NFL today is baffling, consider scouting departments are laden with employees assisted by computers that have film on virtually every player from Division 1A to Division III in the college football ranks.
The overall perception is that the modern athlete is better and college football is better these days. These facts have not propelled the NFL into adding more rounds to their draft in hopes of improving the overall quality of play by unearthing gems like so many teams have done in the past.
Danny Fortmann was drafted by the Bears in 1936, and he was the fourth from last selected. The story goes that Bears Hall of Fame owner George Halas only drafted Fortmann because he liked his name. Chicago was rewarded with a Hall of Fame player.
Fred Dreher is the first player selected last in the draft to play in the NFL. The Bears selected him in 1938, the only year he played. Dreher had three catches for 69 yards and a score that lone season.
Mort Landsberg was the last pick of the 1941 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He didn't make the Steelers, but he did play with the Philadelphia Eagles that season.
World War II beckoned, so Landsberg served the Armed Forces. After the war, he played for the Los Angeles Dons in 1947.
Stu Clarkson was drafted by the Bears in 1942. He went to serve in World War II after that year, but returned to the Bears in 1946. The linebacker stayed with the team until 1951, getting 10 interceptions and a touchdown in his career.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted hometown hero John Schweder in 1949, but he did not make the team. Schweder joined the Baltimore Colts of the All-American Football Conference in 1950 for one season before joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1951, where he lasted five years.
Clay Matthews was the fifth from last player chosen in 1949. After being selected by the Los Angeles Rams, he was cut and didn't play that year. Matthews made the San Francisco 49ers in the AAFC the next year and played four seasons.
He is the father of two sons who played in the NFL. Bruce is in the Hall of Fame and Clay Jr. played over 19 seasons. Matthews has three grandchildren playing in the NFL now in Kevin, Casey, and Clay III.
Clay Matthews III is considered one of the top linebackers in the game today, and he is the only member of the family who has earned a Super Bowl ring.
Jacque MacKinnon was not only the last person drafted last in the 1961 NFL Draft, he was the eighth from last player selected in the AFL Draft. MacKinnon eschewed the Philadelphia Eagles to join the San Diego Chargers.
MacKinnon spent most of his 10 year career as a blocking fullback who paved the way for Chargers legends like Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln, and Dickie Post as the Bolts won the AFL West five times between 1960 and 1965.
San Diego had three Hall of Famers coaching in Sid Gillman, Al Davis, and Chuck Knoll. The Chargers would win the only championship in franchise history during the 1963 season.
MacKinnon was more than a bruising blocker. He was also a deep threat as a receiver, often playing tight end. He averaged 18.8 yards on 112 career receptions, scoring 20 times. MacKinnon only carried the ball in three seasons, accumulating 86 carries and two scores at a 4.4 yards per carry average.
He was so respected in the AFL, MacKinnon made the AFL All-Star squad twice. He was the first player ever to be drafted last and accomplish this feat.
The San Diego Chargers inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1978, three years after he passed away. He is probably the greatest "Mr. Irrelevant" in pro football history.
Bobby Brezina was drafted by the Packers in 1963, but played played one game for AFL Houston Oilers.
Homer Jones, who invented the football spike after a score, was a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the New York Giants. He still holds the NFL record for yards per catch with a 22.3 career average on 224 receptions. Jones was drafted two picks ahead of Brezina.
John Sisk Jr., whose dad once played five years for the Chicago Bears, played in three games for Bears in 1964. It was a year after he was drafted.
The 1964 Chargers drafted Frank Kinard Jr., son of Hall of Famer Frank "Bruiser" Kinard, was one of five University of Mississippi players drafted by Bolts that year. Two made the made pros, but joined the NFL instead.
Bill Curry, a future NFL and college head coach, was the second to last pick in the 1964 NFL Draft. He went to two of Pro Bowls.
Tom Carr was the last pick in the 1966 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He eventually played four games for New Orleans Saints in 1968.
The 1972 draft saw Stan White and Ted Washington selected back to back with three picks left. Both linebackers lasted 11 years
Charlie Wade was the last pick in 1974 by the Miami Dolphins. He would become a member of the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs until 1977. Wade finished with 39 catches for 683 yards and a score, all of which was in 1974 for the Bears.
Bill Kenney is the only Mr. Irrelevant to go to a Pro Bowl for the NFL. Selected by the Miami Dolphins in 1978, he was cut and was out of the league until 1980.
He started three games for the Kansas City Chiefs that year, and was their starting quarterback for much of his eight years with them. He led the NFL in passing attempts and completions in 1983, his Pro Bowl year. Kenney finished his career with the Washington Redskins in 1989.
Kenney shared the title of Mr Irrelevant of 1978 despite being the second to last pick. Lee Washburn, a guard for the Dallas Cowboys, was the final pick who never went to training camp because of an injured back.
Drew Hill, a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, was the third to last pick in 1979.
Tyrone McGriff was the last pick in 1980, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started 10 of 16 as a rookie, 20 as a reserve next two years. McGriff then joined United States Football League for three years before retiring. He is a member of College Football Hall of Fame.
Tim Washington, the last pick in the 1982 draft by the San Francisco 49ers, played one game each for the Niners and Chiefs that year.
John Tuggle was the last pick in 1983 by the New York Giants. The fullback started five of 16 games, while getting 17 carries for 49 yards and a score. He died of cancer three years later.
Anthony Carter was selected one pick earlier than Tuggle. The wide receiver went to three Pro Bowls after finishing three years in the USFL where he won a championship and was All-USFL twice. He still holds NFL records for 642 all-purpose yards and 221 punt return yards in one postseason game.
Only eight of the 28 last round draft picks in 1987 didn't play in the NFL. Current Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, son of Hall of Famer Don Shula, was one of the eight.
Tyrone Braxton, the second to last pick, made a Pro Bowl and won two Super Bowl rings in five attempts. Fred Stokes, picked two slots ahead of Braxton, earned a Super Bowl ring as well.
Norman Jefferson was Mr. Irrelevant that year. He played two seasons for that Packers, appearing in 14 games while returning 11 kicks and punts.
Matt Elliott was the last pick in 1992 by the Washington Redskins. After playing one year in Washington, starting two of 16 games, he was out of the league a few years. Elliott joined the Carolina Panthers in 1995 and played three years there. He started in 32 of 47 games for them.
Just six of 28 picks in the last round of the1994 draft did not play in NFL, a year after the NFL shortened their draft to just seven rounds. Pro Bowl players like Gus Frerotte and Jamal Anderson were among the 22 who did.
The Denver Broncos found two starters on the offensive line in the final round. Tom Nalen and Keith Burns helped Denver win two Super Bowls. Nalen went to five Pro Bowls.
Marty Moore was the final choice in 1994, made by the New England Patriots. Moore started 11 times over six seasons, helping the Patriots reach Super Bowl XXXI.
He joined the Cleveland Browns in 2000 and started nine games before heading back to New England the next year. Though he played three games before getting hurt, he earned a Super Bowl XXXVI ring after the Patriots won the first championship in franchise history.
Michael Reed was the Carolina Panthers Mr. Irrelevant in 1995. He appeared in three games over two seasons.
Jim Finn was the final pick in 1999, made by the Bears The fullback didn't make the Bears and sat out that year, but he joined the Indianapolis Colts in 2000 and played three years with them.
Finn joined the New York Giants in 2003 and lasted four years before injuries ended his career. He has a Super Bowl XLII ring and averaged over seven yards er attempt on 60 career carries.
Mike Green was the last pick of the 2000 draft by the Bears. He became the starting strong safety in 2002, lasting three years. Green left Chicago after 2005 and was with the Seattle Seahawks in 2007 before joining the Washington Redskins the next season and retiring at the end of the year.
Ramzee Robinson was the final pick in 2007, made by the Detroit Lions After 19 games over two seasons with Detroit, Robinson spent 2009 with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. After not playing in 2010, he is trying out for the Browns this year.
David Vobora was the last pick in 2008, selected by the Saint Louis Rams After three seasons in Saint Louis, where he started 16 of 34 games at linebacker, Vobora joined the Seattle Seahawks this year.
Ryan Succop was "Mr. Irrelevant" 2009, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been the Chiefs kicker ever since he was drafted, and has 206 points so far.
While no player picked last in NFL drafts has made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, quite a few have made a significant contribution to the game. Two made Pro Bowls, and one was inducted into his franchises Hall of Fame.
Though the shortening of the drafts to seven rounds makes the surprise of "Mr. Irrelevant" making a roster much less exciting, it is quite an accomplishment for any player to get drafted. Making the team and even seeing action on the field is a huge accomplishment as well.
Though a bigger draft would be better, training camp time is shrinking and organizations today seem much less interested in finding the next "Night Train" Lane from virtual obscurity and watching them get inducted into Canton.
The NFL future of the current group of "Mr. Irrelevant's" is unknown right now, but it is quite clear their presence today makes the game better.
Next Week : My 2011 NFL Predictions
Chris Johnson is the best running back in the NFL today, and has been the past few seasons. He has accomplished this respect despite having virtually no help on offense besides his blockers.
Now Johnson wants to get paid like he is amongst the best in the NFL. The problem is that he plays a position where the average career doesn't last even two years. Gambling that a running back reliant on his speed can keep up his current pace after 925 carries in his first three seasons seems a bad bet to some.
Yet Johnson, the 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, has gone to the Pro Bowl all three years. His $12 million contract pales in comparison to the $40 million five-year deal Minnesota Vikings star halfback Adrian Peterson has.
Why Titans owner Bud Adams has allowed Johnson to miss so much training camp is bewildering. Adams is a maverick owner known for being aggressive to help his team win.
One of the original owners to kick-start the American Football League in 1960, Adams got the AFL front page headlines on most newspapers right away. He did this by taking on the established and powerful NFL.
Billy Cannon had just won the 1959 Heisman Trophy and was at the top of everyone's list as the most desired college football player in the 1960 draft. Pete Rozelle was still the general manager of the Los Angeles Rams, but was about to assume the duties of NFL commissioner for the next 30 years.
Rozelle made it no secret the Rams, who owned the first pick of the 1960 NFL Draft, was going to select Cannon. Adams decided to go a route few saw coming.
During the 1959 Sugar Bowl, Adams found his way along the sideline. When the game ended, he approached Cannon and got him to sign an AFL contact to play with Adam's Houston Oilers. The Oilers, now named the Titans after moving to Tennessee in 1997, would win the first two AFL titles.
Rozelle was not pleased with how Adams got Cannon on his team, so he threatened legal action. Adams took the NFL to court and won. But he was not done helping stabilize the AFL. Adams was crucial in helping a struggling New York Titans franchise, now named the Jets, stay in business.
These were critical moves that gave the AFL more power and eventually force the NFL to merge the two leagues. Adams vision is big reason the AFC is in existence today.
You'd think a man that aggressive would not lollygag about and let his best player twist in the wind. Especially since the team just hired a new head coach and got rid of a quarterback who was supposed to be a star there for years.
Adams certainly hasn't lost the fire in his gut at 88-years old, as was seen in 2009 when Adams gave the bird to Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson during the Titans 41-14 victory. Old friends who started the AFL together, the playful Adams was eventually fined $250,000 for his obscene gesture.
Yet not giving Johnson a contract worthy of his skills may be the more obscene gesture that Adams has given in years. Typically overly generous and loyal to his team, Adams is not doing himself any favors by dragging on this contact dispute.
Johnson is in Titans headquarters trying to get a contact done so he can play football again. While Adams might want some clauses in the contract he eventually offers, because of the tenuous life an NFL running back lives, he should allow Johnson the opportunity to play and earn a paycheck that is along the lines of Peterson's huge contract.