George Allen (American football coach)
George Herbert Allen was an American football coach in the National Football League and the United States Football League. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, he is the father of the Republican politician George Allen who served as Governor and U. S. Senator from Virginia. Born in Nelson County, Allen was the son of Loretta M. and Earl Raymond Allen, recorded in the 1920 and 1930 U. S. census records for Michigan as working as a chauffeur to a private family. He earned varsity letters in football and basketball at Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Allen went to Alma College in Michigan and at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he was sent as an officer trainee in the U. S. Navy's World War II V-12 program, he graduated with a B. S. in education from Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he earned his master's degree in physical education in 1947.
Allen was the head football coach at Morningside College in Iowa. The Morningside team was called the Chiefs at that time, he held that position for three seasons, from 1948 through 1950. His coaching record at Morningside was 16–11–2. Allen was the head football coach at Whittier College in Whittier, California for six seasons, where he was 32–22–5 from 1951 through 1956, he was the head baseball coach there from 1952 to 1957. Allen joined the Los Angeles Rams staff under fellow Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman. Allen was dismissed after one season, after several months residing in Los Angeles out of football, he was brought to Chicago during the 1958 season by George Halas, founding owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears; the original purpose of Allen's hiring was to scout the Rams, whom the Bears would play twice during the season. Allen's thoroughness and attention to detail so impressed Halas that he earned a full-time position on the coaching staff. During the latter stages of the 1962 season Allen replaced veteran Clark Shaughnessy as Halas' top defensive assistant, a post equivalent to that of defensive coordinator today.
His defensive schemes and tactics—and his strong motivational skills—helped make the Bears' unit one of the stingiest of its era. Allen's presence had a formative effect on such future Hall of Fame players as linebacker Bill George and end Doug Atkins during their most productive years. By 1963, in his first full season in charge of the Bears' defense, Allen's innovative strategies helped the Bears yield a league-low 144 total points, 62 fewer than any other team, earn an 11–1–2 record, a half game better than the two-time defending league champion Green Bay Packers and allowed the Bears to host the NFL championship game. Following their 14–10 victory over the New York Giants on December 29 at frigid Wrigley Field, the Bears' players awarded Allen the honor of the "game ball." NBC's post-game locker-room television coverage infamously captured Bears players singing "Hooray for George, hooray at last. Allen's was the most common name to be suggested as a replacement for Halas should the grand old man of the league decide to step down.
Jeff Davis's biography Papa Bear states that Halas informally told Allen in 1964 and 1965 that he would name him as head coach. But in 1965, after a 9–5 Bears finish that earned the iron-willed Halas NFL Coach of the Year honors, Allen decided to look elsewhere to fulfill his head-coaching ambitions. Halas stayed on as head coach through the 1967 season. In January 1966, Allen reached an agreement with owner Dan Reeves of the Los Angeles Rams to replace Harland Svare as head coach, he faced a legal battle with Halas, who claimed that Allen's leaving was in breach of his Bears contract. The Bears' owner did win his case in a Chicago court but allowed Allen to leave, saying he initiated the lawsuit to make a point about the validity of contracts. Halas would not be so magnanimous in an NFL meeting soon after. Upon hearing this, Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi joked to Reeves, "Sounds like you've got yourself a hell of a coach." The Rams had only notched one winning season since 1956, for much of that time been dwelling in or just above the NFL's basement.
The team boasted considerable talent at several positions, most notably on the defensive line. Allen brought his well-known motivational skills to Los Angeles, his twice-daily rigorous training-camp practices took players by surprise, he revealed the philosophy that he would be known for throughout his NFL career—acquiring veteran players for draft picks to fill specific roles. His motto was "the future is now." He emphasized the role of special teams as integral to team success. He revamped the Rams' secondary with trades and installed quarterback Roman Gabriel relegated to the bench, as his starter. Allen vaulted the Rams from a 4–10 record in 1965 to 8–6 in his first year—the team's first winning season si
History of the Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are a professional American football team that play in the National Football League. The Rams franchise was founded in 1936 as the Cleveland Rams in the short-lived second American Football League before joining the NFL the next year. In 1946, the franchise moved to Los Angeles; the Rams franchise remained in the metro area until 1994, when they moved to St. Louis, were known as the St. Louis Rams from 1995 to 2015; the Rams franchise returned to Los Angeles in 2016. This article chronicles the franchise's history during their time in Los Angeles, from playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum between 1946 and 1979, to playing at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim from 1980 to 1994, its return to Southern California beginning with the 2016 season. On January 12, 1946, Dan Reeves was denied a request by the other National Football League owners to move his team, the Cleveland Rams to Los Angeles and the then-103,000-seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Reeves threatened to end his relationship with the NFL and get out of the professional football business altogether unless the Rams transfer to Los Angeles was permitted.
A settlement was reached and, as a result, Reeves was allowed to move his team to Los Angeles. The NFL became the first professional coast-to-coast sports entertainment industry. From 1933, when Joe Lillard left the Chicago Cardinals, through 1946, there were no Black players in American professional football. After the Rams had received approval to move to Los Angeles, the Rams entered into negotiations to lease the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; the Rams were advised that a precondition to them getting a lease was that they would have to integrate the team with at least one African-American. Subsequently, the Rams signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946; the signing of Washington caused "all hell to break loose" among the owners of the NFL franchises. The Rams added a second black player, Woody Strode, on May 7, 1946, giving them two black players going into the 1946 season; the Rams were the first team in the NFL to play in Los Angeles, but they were not the only professional football team to play its home games in the Coliseum between 1946 and 1949.
The upstart All-America Football Conference had the Los Angeles Dons compete there as well. Reeves was taking a gamble that Los Angeles was ready for its own professional football team – and there were two in the City of Angels. Reeves was proved to be correct when the Rams played their first pre-season game against the Washington Redskins in front of a crowd of 95,000 fans; the team finished their first season in L. A. with a 6–4–1 record, second place behind the Chicago Bears. At the end of the season Walsh was fired as head coach; the Coliseum would be the home of the Rams for more than 30 years, but the facility was over 20 years old on the day of the first kickoff. In 1948, halfback Fred Gehrke painted horns on the Rams' helmets, making the first modern helmet emblem in pro football; the Rams' play-by-play announcer from 1937 through 1965 was Robert J. "Bob" Kelley, known as "The Voice of the Rams" broadcast for NCAA teams Notre Dame and Michigan football as well as the Los Angeles Angels Pacific Coast League team and American League team.
Kelley had an early evening talk show on L. A. radio station KMPC, considered by most sports enthusiasts as entertaining. Kelley was considered a Legend and a true professional, one of the great radio, play-by-play announcers of our time. At the beginning of the 1951 World Championship game after the kickoff, Kelley was able to cite every player on the field prior to the first snap from scrimmage, an 80-yard touchdown; the Rams' first heyday in Southern California was from 1949 to 1955, when they played in the pre-Super Bowl era NFL Championship Game four times, winning once in the 1951. During this period, they had the best offense in the NFL though there was a quarterback change from Bob Waterfield to Norm Van Brocklin in 1951; the defining Offensive players of this period were wide receiver Elroy Hirsch, Van Brocklin and Waterfield. Teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Tom Fears, Hirsch helped create the style of Rams football as one of the first big play receivers. During the 1951 Championship season, Hirsch posted a stunning 1,495 receiving yards with 17 touchdowns.
The popularity of this wide-open offense enabled the Los Angeles Rams to become the first pro football team to have all their games televised in 1950. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Los Angeles Rams went from being the only major professional sports franchise in Southern California and Los Angeles to being one of five; the Los Angeles Dodgers moved from Brooklyn in 1958, the Los Angeles Chargers of the upstart AFL was established in 1960, the Los Angeles Lakers moved from Minneapolis in 1960, the Los Angeles Angels were awarded to Gene Autry in 1961. In spite of this, the Rams continued to thrive in Southern California. In the first two years after the Dodgers moved to California, the Rams drew an average of 83,681 in 1958 and 74,069 in 1959; the Rams were so popular in Los Angeles that the upstart Chargers chose to relocate to San Diego rather than attempt to compete with the immensely popular Rams. The Los Angeles Times put the Chargers plight as such: "Hilton realized that taking on the Rams in L.
A. was like beating his head against the wall."During this time, the Rams were not as successful on the field as they had been during their first decade. The team's combined record from 1957 to 1964 was 24–35–1, but the Rams continued to fil
Charles Henry Noll was a professional American football player, assistant coach and head coach. His sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League from 1969 to 1991; when Noll retired after 23 years, only three other head coaches in NFL history had longer tenures with one team. After a six-year playing career that included two NFL Championships as a member of his hometown Cleveland Browns, several years as an assistant coach with various teams, in 1969 Noll took the helm of the moribund Steelers, turned it into a perennial contender; as a head coach, Noll won four Super Bowls, four AFC titles, nine Central Division championships, compiled a 209–156–1 overall record, a 16–8 post-season record, had winning records in 15 of his final 20 seasons. His four Super Bowl victories rank second behind Bill Belichick for the most of any head coach in NFL history. Between his playing and head coaching tenures, Noll won a total of six NFL Championships as well as one AFL Championship, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.
Noll built the team through meticulous tutoring. During his career, he was notable for the opportunities he gave African Americans, starting the first African American quarterback in franchise history, having one of the first black assistant coaches in league history, he was credited with maintaining the morale of the Western Pennsylvania region despite a steep economic decline by fashioning a team of champions in the image of its blue collar fan base. Noll was born in Cleveland, the youngest of three siblings of William Noll and Katherine Steigerwald Noll; the family lived in the house Noll's mother grew up in with her twelve siblings, near East 74th Street, in a neighborhood with a large African-American population, a fact that helps account for Noll's early championing of opportunity for African Americans in the NFL. On a local youth football team Noll played with Harold Owens, the nephew of Olympic star Jesse Owens. Noll attended Benedictine High School, he began working in seventh grade and by time he entered high school, he had saved enough for two year's worth of the $150 tuition.
Throughout high school he continued to work, making 55 cent an hour at Fisher Brothers meat market after school. Education was always important to him, so despite the schedule, he studied enough to graduate 28th in a class of 252, he played winning All-State honors. During his senior year, he was named to the All Catholic Universe Bulletin team by the Diocese of Cleveland newspaper. Noll planned to attend Notre Dame, but during a practice before his freshman year he suffered an epileptic seizure on the field. Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy refused to take the risk of allowing Noll to play there and so Noll accepted a football scholarship to the University of Dayton. Noll graduated with a degree in secondary education; as a member of the Dayton Flyers football team, he was a lineman, linebacker and a co-captain, acquired the nickname, the "Pope," for his "'infallible' grasp of the game." Noll was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 239th pick in the 1953 NFL draft. During his first year, the Browns lost to the Detroit Lions in the NFL championship.
The next two years the Browns were NFL champions. Although the undersized Noll was drafted as a linebacker, Coach Paul Brown used him as one of his "messenger guards" to send play calls to the quarterback. Brown recalled. That's how smart he was." According to Art Rooney, Jr. however, Noll felt demeaned by Brown's use of him in that way and "disliked the term'messenger boy' so much that as coach of the Steelers he entrusted all the play calling to his quarterbacks."Noll was paid only $5,000 per season with the Browns and so while there he acted as substitute teacher at Holy Name High School and sold insurance on the side. During that period Noll attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at night, he told Dan Rooney that he decided against becoming a lawyer because "he didn't like the constant confrontation and arguments that come with being a lawyer."Instead, when Noll lost the starting guard position to John Wooten, he chose to retire at age 27 expecting to begin his coaching career at his alma mater.
He was surprised, when he was not offered an open position on the University of Dayton coaching staff. He was offered a position by Sid Gillman on the staff of the Los Angeles Chargers, during its inaugural season. Noll was an assistant coach for the American Football League's Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers from 1960 to 1965, he became assistant to head Coach Don Shula of the NFL Baltimore Colts from 1965 to 1968, when he was selected as the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach. Noll is considered part of Sid Gillman's coaching tree, he remembered Gillman as "one of the game's prime researchers and offensive specialists. In six years, I had more exposure to football than I would have received in 12 years." During Noll's six-year tenure with the Chargers, where he was defensive line coach, the defensive backfield coach and defensive coordinator, the team appeared in five AFL championship games. Gillman said that Noll "had a great way with players," "If a guy didn't do the job expe
Earl Edwin Morrall was an American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League for twenty-one seasons. Morrall, who occasionally punted, played 21 seasons in the National Football League as both a starter and reserve. In the latter capacity, he became known as one of the greatest backup quarterbacks in NFL history. During the 1968 Baltimore Colts season, he filled in for an injured Johnny Unitas leading to an NFL championship shutout victory and Super Bowl III, which they lost to the New York Jets. For the 1972 Miami Dolphins season he filled in for an injured Bob Griese leading to Super Bowl VII and the only perfect season in NFL history. Morrall made Pro Bowl appearances following the 1968 seasons. Morrall led Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan to a state football championship in 1951, he attended Michigan State University, where he played under head coaches Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty. He played three seasons for the Michigan State Spartans football team, leading them to a 9–1 record in the 1955 season.
He capped his senior year with a victory over the UCLA Bruins in the 1956 Rose Bowl. Morrall played baseball at Michigan State and played in the College World Series as a shortstop and third baseman, he chose instead to play football. In his more than two decades on the professional gridiron, Morrall played for six different teams, starting with his rookie year in 1956 as a first-round selection by the San Francisco 49ers. On September 16, 1957, he was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks. Despite the high cost of the transaction, the Steelers traded him just over a year to the Detroit Lions in order to obtain future Hall of Famer Bobby Layne. Morrall was with the Lions for the next six years, having his best season in 1963 by throwing for 24 touchdowns and more than 2,600 yards; the following year, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in an October 18 contest against the Chicago Bears.
After spending the off-season rehabilitating from his injury, Morrall was dealt by the Lions to the New York Giants for Mike Lucci, acquired from the Cleveland Browns, Darrell Dess and a draft pick as part of a three-team transaction on August 30, 1965. Enduring his role during the Giants' rebuilding phase, Morrall threw for 2,446 yards and 22 touchdowns that season, but found himself seeing spot duty over the course of the next two years, he was traded to the Baltimore Colts for an undisclosed draft choice on August 25, 1968. Butch Wilson was sent to the Giants to complete the transaction eight days on September 2; when regular Colts signal caller Johnny Unitas was injured in the final exhibition game, Morrall became the team's starter. Morrall proceeded to lead the Colts to a 13-1 record added two playoff victories en route to winning the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, leading the Colts into Super Bowl III. However, in one of sport's greatest upsets, the Colts lost 16-7 to the New York Jets, with a second-quarter interception of a pass by Morrall symbolizing the team's luck on the day.
Wide receiver Jimmy Orr was wide open near the end zone. His throw down the middle was short and intercepted by Jim Hudson to blunt the Colts' momentum. Two years Morrall again replaced an injured Unitas in Super Bowl V, the Colts won 16-13 over the Dallas Cowboys on a 32-yard field goal by Jim O'Brien at the end of regulation. On April 25, 1972, Morrall was claimed on waivers for $100 by the Miami Dolphins, reuniting him with his former Colts head coach, Don Shula. Shula described Morrall as "an intelligent quarterback who's won a lot of ball games for me." Morrall replaced the injured Bob Griese for the Dolphins during the team's October 15 win over the San Diego Chargers. The victory gave Miami a 5-0 record, with Morrall building on that win to lead the team to the first undefeated regular season in the NFL since 1942 and only undefeated season starting 11 out of 17 games that year. After notching a win in the team's first playoff game against the Cleveland Browns, Morrall struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game, leading to the return of Griese.
Morrall would remain as a Dolphin quarterback for the next four seasons before announcing his retirement on May 2, 1977. Until first Doug Flutie and Vinny Testaverde 30 years Morrall was the oldest quarterback to start and win a football game in the NFL. In those 21 seasons, he was part of 255 games, completing 1,379 passes for 20,809 yards and 161 touchdowns. Morrall became the quarterback coach at the University of Miami in 1979. During his time there, he worked with Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde and Mark Richt. In 1989, he was elected to the Davie, Florida city council and became mayor. Morrall ran for the Florida House of Representatives District 97 seat as a Republican in 1992 and lost. During a 1989 interview, Morrall was asked what it took to come off the bench and be an effective quarterback and team leader, his response was, ``, you have to do the job. That's all there is to it."He died on April 25, 2014 at his son's home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79. After death, examination of his brain disclosed that he had grade 4 chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame profile Career statistics and player information from NFL.com · Pro-Football-Reference Earl Morrall on IMDb
The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns compete in the National Football League as a member club of the American Football Conference North division; the Browns play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999, with administrative offices and training facilities in Berea, Ohio. The Browns' official colors are brown and white, they are unique among the 32 member franchises of the NFL in that they do not have a logo on their helmets. The franchise was founded in 1945 by businessman Arthur B. McBride and coach Paul Brown as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference; the Browns dominated the AAFC, compiling a 47–4–3 record in the league's four seasons and winning its championship in each. When the AAFC folded after the 1949 season, the Browns joined the National Football League along with the San Francisco 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts; the Browns won a championship in their inaugural NFL season, as well as in the 1954, 1955, 1964 seasons, in a feat unequaled in any of the North American major professional sports, played in their league championship game in each of the Browns' first ten years of existence.
From 1965 to 1995, they made the playoffs 14 times, but did not win another championship or appear in the Super Bowl during that period. In 1995, owner Art Modell, who had purchased the Browns in 1961, announced plans to move the team to Baltimore. After threats of legal action from the city of Cleveland and fans, a compromise was reached in early 1996 that allowed Modell to establish the Baltimore Ravens as a new franchise while retaining the contracts of all Browns personnel; the Browns' intellectual property, including team name, training facility, history, were kept in trust and the franchise was regarded by the NFL as suspended, with a new team to be established by 1999 either by expansion or relocation. The Browns were announced as an expansion team in 1998 and resumed play in 1999. Since resuming operations in 1999, the Browns have struggled to find success, they have had only two winning seasons, one playoff appearance, no playoff wins. The franchise has been noted for a lack of stability with quarterbacks, having started 30 players in the position since 1999.
Through the end of the 2018 season, the Browns' win–loss record since returning to the NFL in 1999 is 95–224–1. In 2017, the Browns became only the second team in league history to finish a season 0–16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions. Through the 2018 season, the Browns hold the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, at 16 seasons; the history of the Cleveland Browns American football team began in 1944 when taxi-cab magnate Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride secured a Cleveland franchise in the newly formed All-America Football Conference. Paul Brown was the team's namesake and first coach; the Browns began play in 1946 in the AAFC. The Browns won each of the league's four championship games before the league dissolved in 1949; the team moved to the more established National Football League, where it continued to dominate. Between 1950 and 1955, Cleveland reached the NFL championship game every year. McBride and his partners sold the team to a group of Cleveland businessmen in 1953 for a then-unheard-of $600,000.
Eight years the team was sold again, this time to a group led by New York advertising executive Art Modell. Modell fired Brown before the 1963 season, but the team continued to win behind running back Jim Brown; the Browns won the championship in 1964 and reached the title game the following season, losing to the Green Bay Packers. When the AFL and NFL merged before the 1970 season, Cleveland became part of the new American Football Conference. While the Browns made it back to the playoffs in 1971 and 1972, they fell into mediocrity through the mid-1970s. A revival of sorts took place in 1979 and 1980, when quarterback Brian Sipe engineered a series of last-minute wins and the Browns came to be called the "Kardiac Kids". Under Sipe, the Browns did not make it past the first round of the playoffs. Quarterback Bernie Kosar, who the Browns drafted in 1985, led the team to three AFC Championship games in the late 1980s but lost each time to the Denver Broncos. In 1995, Modell announced he was relocating the Browns to Baltimore, sowing a mix of outrage and bitterness among Cleveland's dedicated fan base.
Negotiations and legal battles led to an agreement where Modell was allowed to move the team, but Cleveland kept the Browns' name and history. After three years of suspension while Cleveland Stadium was demolished and FirstEnergy Stadium built on its site, the Browns started play again in 1999 under new owner Al Lerner; the Browns struggled throughout the 2000s and 2010s, posting a record of 95–224–1 since their 1999 return. The Browns have only posted two winning seasons and one playoff appearance since returning to the NFL; the team's struggles have been magnified since 2012, when the Lerner family sold the team to businessman Jimmy Haslam. In six seasons under the Haslam ownership, the Browns went through four head coaches and four general managers, none of whom had found success. In 2016 and 2017 under head coach Hue Jackson, the Browns went 1–31, the worst two-year stretch in NFL history, received the number one overall draft pick in both of those years; the Browns are the only National Football League team without a helmet logo.
The logoless helmet serves as the Browns' official logo. The organization has used several promotional logos throughout the years.
Professional Football Researchers Association
The Professional Football Researchers Association is an organization of researchers whose mission is to preserve and, in some cases, reconstruct professional football history. It was founded on June 22, 1979 in Canton, Ohio by writer/historian Bob Carroll and six other football researchers and is headed by an executive committee led by its president, Ken Crippen, executive director Mark L. Ford. Membership in the organization includes some of professional football's foremost historians and authors; the organization is based in New York. The PFRA publishes books and a bimonthly magazine, The Coffin Corner, devoted to topics in professional football history; the organization gives out awards each year for outstanding achievement in the field of football research. The Coffin Corner is a semimonthly magazine devoted to topics in professional football history. PFRA members publish their research findings in the articles, regardless of prior writing experience. In the case of newer authors and first-time contributors, the magazine's editors assist, anonymously, in helping develop the narratives for publication.
The $35.00 annual membership in the organization includes a subscription to six issues of The Coffin Corner, as well as access to the "Members Only" section of their website, which contains detailed research on a variety of pro football subjects. The PFRA maintains ongoing database projects, with committees of members who update the record as information develops, or as it's discovered in the course of research. All-America Football Conference All-Pro and Awards Committees This committee researches AP and UPI awards and All-Pro teams. Hall of Very Good Committee Highlights outstanding players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Linescore Committee Responsible for compiling linescores for all professional games played since 1920. Gamebooks Aims to collect and display gamebooks from every NFL game played. Membership Committee For the PFRA's internal purposes. Pre-NFL Pro Football Committee Researches all professional football prior to 1920, such as the Ohio League and the New York Pro Football League.
Western and Northern New York Committees Researches professional football in upstate New York. This committee includes several subcommittees, including Buffalo football teams of the 1920s, Rochester Jeffersons, Buffalo Indians, AAFC Bills, the Empire Football League, Watertown Red & Black. Stadiums Compiles all stadiums used by professional football teams. Broadcasting Compiles all local and national television and radio announcers for every NFL and AFL game broadcast since 1939. Uniforms Compiles all information on AFL and AAFC uniforms from 1933 to the present. Canadian Football League United States Football League World Football League Oral History Chronicles PFRA interviews with former NFL players. NFL Officials Compiles a list of their positions and their uniform numbers; the Ralph Hay Award, named after the Canton Bulldogs owner whose Hupmobile Automobile showroom was the site of the NFL's first organizational meeting, is awarded for "lifetime achievement in pro football research and historiography."
Past winners have been: The Nelson Ross Award is presented annually by the PFRA for "outstanding achievement in pro football research and historiography." Past winners are: 2018 - Doug Farrar, for his book The Genius of Desperation: The Schematic Innovations that Made the Modern NFL 2017 – Ralph Hickok, for his book, Vagabond Halfback: The Saga of Johnny Blood McNally 2016 – James C. Sulecki, for his book, The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936-1945 2015 – Ted Kluck, for his book Three-Week Professionals: Inside the 1987 NFL Players’ Strike 2014 – William J. Ryczek, for his book, Connecticut Gridiron: Football Minor Leaguers of the 1960s and 1970s 2013 – Ivan Urena, for his book, Pro Football Schedules: A Complete Historical Guide 1933 to the Present 2012 – Dan Daly, for his book, The National Forgotten League 2011 – Mark Speck, for his book...and a Dollar Short: The Empty Promises, Broken Dreams and Somewhat-Less-Than-Comic Misadventures of the 1974 Florida Blazers 2010 – Kate Buford, for her book, Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe 2009 – Robert Lyons, for his book, On Any Given Sunday: A Life of Bert Bell 2008 – Sean Lahman, for his book, The Pro Football Historical Abstract 2007 – Andy Piascik, for his book, The Best Show in Football: The 1946-1955 Cleveland Browns 2006 – Matthew Algeo, for his book, Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles -- "The Steagles" -- Saved Pro Football During World War II 2005 – Chris Willis, for his book, Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Ohio, 1920-1935 2004 – Michael MacCambridge, for his book, America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured A Nation 2003 – Mark L. Ford, for his book, NFLX: NFL Exhibition Games 1950 to 2002 2002 – Bob Gill, Steve Brainerd, Tod Maher, for their book, Minor League Football, 1960-1985 2001 – William J. Ryczek, for his book Crash of the Titans: The Early Years of the New York Jets and the AFL 2000 – Paul Reeths, for his book, "The USFL Chronicle" 1999 – Joe Ziemba, for his book, When Football Was Football: The Chicago Cardinals and the Birth of the NFL 1998 – Keith McClellan, for his book, The Sunday Game: At the Dawn of Professional Football 1997 – Tod Maher & Bob Gill, for their book, The Pro Football
Robert Lawrence Layne was an American football quarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 1950–1958, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1958–1962. Layne was selected by the Bears with the third overall pick of the 1948 NFL draft, he played college football at the University of Texas. Layne was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968, his number, 22, has been retired by the University of Detroit Lions. Born in Santa Anna, Layne's family moved when he was young to Fort Worth, where he attended elementary and junior high school, his mother died when he was only eight years old, Layne moved in with his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Wade Hampton, he attended Highland Park High School in University Park, where he was a teammate of fellow future hall of famer Doak Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner in 1948 for the SMU Mustangs and a pro teammate with the Detroit Lions.
In his senior year, Layne was named to the all-state football team, played in the Oil Bowl All-Star game, led Highland Park to the state playoffs. One of the most successful quarterbacks to play for Texas, Layne was selected to four straight All-Southwest Conference teams from 1944–47, was a consensus All-American in his senior year. World War II caused a shortage of players, rules were changed to allow freshmen to play on the varsity, thereby allowing Layne a four-year career. Freshman play was sporadically allowed by various conferences during wartime, but would not be allowed universally until the rules were permanently changed in 1972. In his freshman season, Layne became a rare player to start his first game, he missed his second game due to an injury and was replaced by future North Texas transfer Zeke Martin, but Layne played the rest of the season and led the Longhorns to within one point of the Southwest Conference Championship when they lost to TCU 7–6 on a missed extra point. Prior to and during his sophomore year, he spent eight months in the Merchant Marines, serving with his friend Doak Walker.
He missed the first six games of the season, was replaced by Jack Halfpenny. The last game he missed was the team's only loss, by one point. Texas went 10–1, won the Southwest Conference, despite playing only half a season, Layne again made the all-conference team. In the Cotton Bowl Classic following that season, Texas beat Missouri 40–27, Layne played the best game of his career, he set several NCAA and Cotton Bowl records. In that game, he completed 11 of 12 passes and accounted for every one of the team's 40 points, scoring four touchdowns, kicking four extra points, throwing for two other scores, thus he was named one of the game's outstanding players. In 1946, the Longhorns were ranked number one in the preseason for the first time, but after beating number 20 Arkansas, they were upset by number 16 Rice and by unranked TCU, they went 8–2, finished third in the conference, ranked number 15 nationally, missed out on any bowl games. Layne led the Southwest Conference in total offense, total passing, punting average.
Despite the unexpected finish, Layne was named All-Conference again and finished eighth in Heisman Trophy balloting to Glenn Davis of Army. In 1947, Blair Cherry replaced Dana X. Bible as head coach at Texas and he decided to install the T-formation offense. Cherry and their wives spent several weeks in Wisconsin studying the new offense at the training camps of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League; the change was a success, as Layne led the Southwest Conference in passing yards, made the All-Conference and All-American teams, finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting to John Lujack of Notre Dame. The Longhorns, after beating number-19 North Carolina, started the season ranked number 3, they beat number-15 Oklahoma, but as happened in 1945, Texas was again denied an undefeated season by a missed extra point. After coming back once against Walker's number-8 SMU, Texas again found itself behind late in the game. Layne engineered a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that would have tied the game, but kicker Frank Guess pushed the extra point wide and the Longhorns lost 14–13.
They fell to eighth, finished behind SMU in the Southwest Conference, but gained an invitation to the Sugar Bowl, where Layne and the Longhorns beat number-six Alabama. As a result of his 10-24, 183 yard performance, Layne won the inaugural Miller-Digby award presented to the game's most valuable player; the Longhorns finished ranked fifth, the best finish in Layne's career. Layne finished his Texas career with a school-record 3,145 passing yards on 210 completions and 400 attempts and 28 wins. Layne was one of the first inductees into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and made the Cotton Bowl's All-Decade team for the 1940s. Both of Layne's sons and Alan, played college football. Robert L. Layne, Jr. was a kicker for Texas, playing on the 1969 National Championship team, Alan played tight end for Texas Christian in 1973. NCAA & Cotton Bowl – Most Touchdowns Responsible For, bowl game, tied by Chuck Long in 1984, Dan LeFevour in 2007 and Paul Smith in 2008 NCAA & Cotton Bowl – Most Points Responsible For, bowl game NCAA – Highest completion rate, bowl game, surpassed by Mike Bobo in 1998 NCAA – Most points scored, bowl game, surpassed by Barry Sanders in 1998 UT – Most Pass attempts, surpassed by Bret Stafford in 1986 UT – Most Pass completions, surpassed by Stafford in 1986 UT – Passing Yards, career (3