THE COFFIN CORNER - 2010's
View The Coffin Corner issues by decade:
documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You will
Acrobat Reader, or similar PDF viewing application to
access these files.
VOLUME 32 (2010)
in the Members Only Section
The State of the PFRA by Ken Crippen. A discussion of the
PFRA, where it stands and its future.
LC Greenwood: The Unofficial Super
Bowl Sack King by
Tod Maher. A biographical article on the Pittsburgh
Steeler, making the argument that Greenwood
has the record for the most sacks in a Super Bowl, even
though it is not in the record books.
Hall of Very Good. The announcement of the Class of
Carlisle Indians vs. Massillon Tigers by Tom Benjey. A discussion of the
November 15, 1905 game between the Carlisle Indians
and Massillon Tigers.
Paul Maguire: The AFL's Coffin Corner
Greg Tranter. A biographical article on the punter/linebacker,
who played 11 years in the AFL and NFL.
The 1956 Green Bay Packers by John Collins. A summary of the
1956 season for the Green Bay Packers.
Super Bowl Firsts by Tod Maher.
A list of various Super Bowl Firsts, compiled from the
official play-by-play accounts of Super Bowls I to XLIII.
2009 Player Deaths. A list of the players who passed
away in 2009.
1930: Nagurski's Debut and Rockne's
by PFRA Research. An in-depth look at the 1930 NFL season.
PFRA Football Publications Committee
by Chris Willis. The committee chair lays out his vision
for the new PFRA Football Publications Committee, including
an overview of short-term and long-term goals.
Marcol's Miracle by Andrew Prein. A detailed look at
the bizarre ending to the 1980 season opening game between
the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
Clarence 'Ace' Parker by Ken Crippen. A biographical article
on the oldest living Pro Football Hall of Famer (at
the time of the writing of the article).
An Inside Look at the Books of the
by Joe Ziemba. The author digs deep into the records
of the Pacific Coast Football League to reveal the accounting
of this minor league.
George S. Halas Courage Award by John Turney. A list of all winners
of this prestigious award, as well as a brief history
of the honor.
Johnny Blood Takes a Cab by Tracy Thibeau. A look at the Christmas
Eve 1933 incident involving one of the league's most
Remembering Eldridge Dickey: A Pioneer
Before His Time by Lloyd M. Vance. A biographical article on the first black quarterback
to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.
Johnny Bright by Brian Marshall. A look at the Canadian
Football League Hall of Fame running Back.
Recent Books by PFRA Members.
USFL Rushing Yards by Joe Williams. A list of all players
who played in both the NFL and USFL who gained more
than 2,000 yards.
1956 Detroit Lions by John Collins. A look at the Detroit
Lions' 1956 season.
Hall of Fame Class of 2010 by Pro Football Hall of Fame. Biographies
and statistics of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class
Running With The Pass by Dr. Greg Selber. Analysis of how
the passing game has changed over the years.
Some Early Additions to 'When Did They
by Mel Smith. An expansion on a previous article, detailing
teams that started between 1882 and 1890.
1954 Sarnia Imperials by Brian Marshall. A look at the Sarnia
Imperials' 1954 season.
Teammates with 150+ Yards Receiving
In The Same Game
by John W. Lesko. A listing of dual 150+yard games by
receivers on the same team.
Clark Shaughnessy and the 1949 Los Angeles Rams by TJ Troup. A recap of the 1949 season
for the Los Angeles Rams.
Podolak's Playoff Picasso by Joe Zagorski. A story about Kansas
City Chiefs' running back Ed Podolak and the 1971 Divisional
Playoff Game against the Miami Dolphins.
1983 Olympics in Green Bay by Andrew Prein. a detailing of the
October 17, 1983 game between the Green Bay Packers
and the Washington Redskins in which both teams combined
to score 95 points.
History in the Present: Success Then
Can Mean Success Now
by Dave Bonchi. Coach Dave Bonchi goes into detail on
the Wildcat formation.
PFRA Website Update by Ken Crippen. The executive director
updates the membership on new additions to the PFRA
website, including linescores, gamebooks, historical
player draft, uniforms of past teams and player deaths.
Opportunity Seized: Muzzy Field and
the Lost Game of the 1943 Green Bay Packers by Douglas S. Malan. A look at how the New London Diesels
were able to schedule a game against the Green Bay Packers
on November 28, 1943.
The Greatest Quarterback Draft Class
by Doug Bigelow. The author makes a case for the 1971
quarterback draft class being the greatest of all-time,
over the Class of 1983.
The Merchants of Minerva by John Seaburn. A brief history of
the Minerva Merchants, a semi-pro team from Ohio.
Research Notes by Joe Meeks. The author analyzes
the 1933 rushing statistics, as well as the 1925 schedule
of the New York Giants.
The Hall of Very Good by the Hall of Very Good Committee.
The finalists for the Class of 2010 are announced.
The AFL's Top Ten Teams by Ed Gruver. One man's opinion as
to who the top teams were in the American Football League.
The NFL's First Indoor Game by Simon Herrera. On January 9, 1921,
the Rock Island Independents battled the Decatur Staleys...or
was it the Chicago Pullman Thorns. You will have to
read the article to find out.
Chile and Bud by Tracy Thibeau. The story of Charles
F. "Chile" Walsh, Bud Yates and pro football
in St. Louis.
2010 PFRA Meeting by Ken Crippen. The executive director
updates the membership on the bi-annual organizational
The Big Mo: Does It Really Exist? by Jeff Eby. A statistical look at
winning and momentum heading into the playoffs. Does
it really matter whether you win games at the end of
The 1969 Raiders-Cowboys Rookie Game by the Jay Zahn. A detailed account
of the July 21, 1969 rookie game between the Oakland
Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. This game marked the debut
of Ken Stabler and Roger Staubach.
The 1967 Coastal Division Race: The
Pit and the Pendulum
by Bernard Brinker. Recounting the 1967 battle between
the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams for the Coastal
Division title in 1967.
Lost Games: The Chicago Cardinals by Joe Ziemba. A listing of the top
ten "lost" games in Cardinals history.
On the Wrong Side of History by Matt Reaser. A look at milestone
and record-breaking rushing performances against the
The Re-integration of Pro Football
by Larry Lester. A listing of how each NFL and AAFC
team re-integrated their franchise.
John Stofa: Not So Trivial After All by Bob Gill. A look at John Stofa's
VOLUME 33 (2011)
in the Members Only Section
The State of the PFRA by Ken Crippen. A discussion of the
PFRA, where it stands and its future.
Hall of Very Good by Ken Crippen and the Hall of Very
Good Committee. Biographies of the ten members of the
Class of 2010.
The King by Martin Jacobs. A personal retrospective
of San Francisco 49er great Hugh McElhenney.
Kuech by Drew Hall. A biographical article
on Miami Dolphins all-pro guard Bob Kuechenberg.
Draft Wars: The Fight for Players Between
the AFL and NFL by Glenn Cesa. A look at the battle for the top college players between
the warring leagues.
Scoring at Home (And Every Other Way)
by Dan Verdun. Five players have scored touchdowns by
rushing, passing, receiving, returning punts and returning
Determining the Best Franchises in
Pro Football History
by Matt Reaser. A ranking of the best franchises in
pro football history using criteria determined by the
2010 Player Deaths. A listing of all players that passed
away in 2010.
The Kardiac Kids by George Bozeka. A detailed account
of the 1980 Cleveland Browns.
Great Games of the 1970s: The Return
of Broadway Joe by
Joe Zagorski. An account of the November 28, 1971 game
between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets.
A Case of Statistical Methodology by Greg Thomas. A look at scrambling
quarterbacks and how their rushing statistics are calculated,
Why Joe Montana Needed Tampa Bay by Denis Crawford. A look at Joe Montana's
milestone games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rule Changes: 1920-1932 by Tod Maher. A listing of rule changes
from 1920 through 1932.
PFRA Forum by Ken Crippen. A listing of recent
discussions on the PFRA Forum.
Hall of Fame Class of 2011 by Pro Football Hall of Fame. Biographies
of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
Broadway Joe's 1967 Season by George Bozeka. A recap of the 1967
New York Jets' season.
Football Tour de France by Christian Joosten and Denis Crawford.
The story of American football games played in France
in December 1938.
Normalized Passer Rating by Rupert Patrick. The author's attempt
to normalize the passer ratings of quarterbacks across
Mel Renfro: "The Allegations Stop
Dr. Kristine Setting Clark. Mel Renfro has been blamed
for the Dallas Cowboys' loss in Super Bowl V. Here,
Renfro tries to set the record straight.
Hall of Very Good by Hall of Very Good Committee. Biographies
of the finalists for the Hall of Very Good Class of
The Cleveland Browns: Decade by Decade
Roger Gordon. A brief history of the Cleveland Browns
from their beginning in 1946 through the end of the
1916: Almost a League? by Mark L. Ford. Some evidence of an
attempt at a league in Ohio for the 1916 season.
It's Good to be the King by George Bozeka. A biographical article
on James Sean Patrick "King" Corcoran.
NFL/WFL Players with 2,000 Career Rushing
Joe Williams. A list of WFL rushers who have had at
least 2,000 yards in their career between the NFL and
Hey, Hey, Tampa Bay by Denis Crawford. The story of the
creation of the Buccaneers' song "Hey, Hey Tampa
Bay the Bucs Know How to Shine!"
The Championship Is Back Where It Should
Have Stayed by
TJ Troup. A recap of the 1943 NFL season and the Chicago
Bears' run for a third championship in four years.
Clem Neacy: All-Pro Guard, Boxer and
Michael D. Benter. A biography of Milwaukee Badgers
end Clem Neacy. He also spent time with the Chicago
Bears, Duluth Eskimos and Chicago Cardinals.
Revisiting Super Bowl III by Bill Pepperell. The author's examination
of New York Jets' safety Jim Hudson's quote on Weeb
Ewbank's preparation for Super Bowl III.
An Interview With Joe Perry by Martin Jacobs. An interview with
San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame fullback Joe Perry.
First Small College Players Drafted
by Tex Noel. A listing of the first
small college player drafted each year, including the
1954 Sarnia Imperials by Brian Marshall. A continuation of
the author's article detailing the 1954 season of the
Sarnia Imperials. Lineups and scoring are included.
Defensive All-Pros: 1938-1940 by John Hogrogian. A detailed look
at defensive all-pros from 1938 through 1940.
Chris Hanburger by Mike Richman. A biographical article
on one of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's most recent
The 1982 Make-Up Games by Denis Crawford. A look at how the
league rescheduled games after the 57-day work stoppage.
Doubles by TJ Troup. A chronological list of
all players who have caught a touchdown pass and intercepted
a pass in the same game.
AAFtermath by Mark L. Ford. A look at how players
dispersed when the All-America Football Conference merged
into the National Football League.
VOLUME 34 (2012)
Available in the Members
The State of the PFRA by Ken Crippen. An annual report from the
executive director on the PFRA's present status and
Hall of Very Good by the Hall of Very Good Committee. Mini-biographies of the nine
members of the Class of 2011.
Johnny Unitas’s 47-Game
Touchdown Streak by Chris Willis. A look back at one of the most
remarkable streaks in sports history and the unlikely
team that stopped it.
Winner Take All by Mark L. Ford.
A discussion of final regular season games between two
teams with a single playoff spot on the line.
2,000 Combined Yards by Brian Marshall. A review of the players who have broken
the 2,000-yard barrier in rushing and receiving
2,000 Net Yards by Ken Pullis.
A short introduction and statistical list of all the
players (AAFC/AFL/NFL) who have gained more than 2,000
PFRA-ternizing. A deadline reminder for Hall of Very Good nominations,
information on a Members Only exclusive and a report
from the vice-president on PFRA membership numbers and
Turning Points by Bert Gambini. An amusing
account of the 1966 AFL Championship between the Kansas
City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, a game which marked
a downturn in the fortune of the Bills franchise in
the league’s final years.
Pete Rozelle and the
Kennedy Assassination by George Bozeka. An examination of the NFL commissioner’s
controversial decision to play a full slate of games
less than 48 hours after the president had been assassinated.
When the Florists Ran
Joseph S. Page. Part one of a three-part series on a
football team in Nashville, sponsored by a local florist,
that went on to win the unofficial amateur national
championship in 1927.
Wanted: NFL QB for Contender by Lee Elder. The story of ex-Rams quarterbacks of the late 1950s
and early 1960s and the success they enjoyed with other
teams in the league after leaving Los Angeles.
2011 Player Deaths. A list of the professional
football players who died last year including information
on the team(s) they played for, the date and location
of their death and their age when they passed away.
listing of proposed amendments and revisions to the
Association’s bylaws. (An official PFRA ballot is included
on this page.)
Class of 2012 by
the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Highlights, statistics
and awards from the football careers of the six members
in this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Brian Marshall. An account of Sam Etcheverry’s 34-game
touchdown pass streak in the CFL from 1954–56 and a
statistical comparison to Unitas’ streak of 47 games
in the NFL.
the Rushers by
Ken Crippen. A new system for rating the performance
of running backs in the NFL, including methods to normalize
the rating for running backs from different eras, rate
teams in rushing (both offensively and defensively)
and factor in the receiving aspect of the modern running
Futility Bowl by
Jay Zahn. A humorous look back at NFL games played between
uncommonly bad teams. Winless teams, one-win teams or
teams with long losing streaks meet in late-season games...with
absolutely nothing on the line, except for a possible
top draft pick. Speaking of...
Chosen Few: Colleges in the NFL Draft. A listing of the top 25 FBS colleges and top five small colleges
that have had players selected in the first round of
the NFL draft, including players taken during the Common
PFRA-ternizing by Ken Crippen. A report from the
executive director on the recent PFRA meeting at NFL
Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, including photographs
of the venue and the meeting taken by Mark Palczewski.
2012 Hall of Very Good Ballot. (NOTE: Deadline for voting
is October 1, 2012.)
by Pete Palmer. A statistical look at sacks and sack
yards against quarterbacks going back to 1947, incorporating
new data available from the NFL and including AFL quarterbacks.
Culverhouse: A Shakespearean Tale by Denis M. Crawford. Adapted from a presentation at the 2012
PFRA meeting, this is a story of greed, power and revenge
that is, like the Bard's greatest works, based on an
historical figure—in this case, the original owner of
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Life of a Kicker
by Michael Husted. A former pro's perspective on the
missed field goal attempt by Baltimore Ravens kicker
Billy Cundiff that ended the 2012 AFC Championship Game
and the Ravens hopes of a Super Bowl.
Football’s Missing Link by John M. Spano. The story of an 1890 football game between two gentlemen’s
clubs in Philadelphia and the sterling silver cup
they played for—possibly the oldest football trophy
of any kind.
the Florists Ran Wild
by Joseph S. Page. Part Two of a three-part series covers
a Nashville football team’s 1928 season
and the unsuccessful defense of its amateur national
PFRA-ternizing. Words of congratulations on Ken Crippen’s 2012
Dick Connor Writing Award, an explanation of endnote
usage in articles and a brief memorial to Steve Sabol.
The Otto Graham Myth
and the Evolution of the Face Mask by Bert Gambini. An historical survey
of face masks in the open helmet-era before the
famous 1953 incident involving Ottto Graham.
“You Ready, Honey?” Breaking
Pro Football’s Gender Barrier by William J. Ryczek.
The Pat Palinkas story, she of the Orlando Panthers
and the first woman to play in a professional football
“Beat the Hell Out of
Them” The Chiefs-Raiders Rivalry, 1968–1971 by Bernard Brinker. A
narrative of the games and players involved at the beginning
of this fierce football rivalry during the transition
from the AFL to the NFL.
Cutting Off Your Nose
Tackle to Spite Your Face by Mark Speck. A look back the WFL's practice
of signing NFL players to "future contracts",
the different teams varying responses to this practice
and its contribution to the demise of the WFL.
PFRA-ternizing. A year-end membership
renewal reminder and updates from the Hall of Very Good
and Oral History committees.
Remembering Duke Slater by Neal Rozendaal. A recollection of one of the early greats
of the NFL and perhaps the greatest of pro football’s
pioneering African American players.
Ranking the NFL Head
by John Maxymuk. A ranking system for head coaches in
the championship-era (post-1932) of the NFL, AAFC and
AFL, including such factors as both regular
season and postseason performance, playoff winning percentage
and titles won.
The Ties That Bound by Mark L. Ford. A brief history of tie games in professional football and
the “what-if” scenarios involved. Example games are
from the early days of the APFA on up to and beyond
1974, when the overtime period was instituted in the
When the Florists Ran
Joseph S. Page. The final part of a three-part series
on a semi-pro team in Nashville whose season ends abruptly
in 1929 after several memorable years in Tennessee.
VOLUME 35 (2013)
in the Members Only Section
The State of the PFRA by Ken Crippen. An
annual report from the executive director on the PFRA's
present status and future goals.
The Hall of Very Good Class
of 2012. Mini-biographies of the nine members of the Class of 2012.
The 2011 PFRA Award Winners.
announcement of the winners of the Ralph Hay, Nelson
Ross and Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Awards for 2011.
The AFL's Farm Team in
Mark Speck. A humorous history of the Denver Broncos
of the 1960s and the stable of quality players they
supplied to other AFL teams.
George Saimes, Star Safety
Greg Tranter. A look back at the Buffalo Bills defender,
arguably one of the best safeties in the history of
Sages of the Sixties by Tracy Thibeau. An analytical
article that reviews the predictions of the major preseason
pro football publications of the 1960s and charts their
success (or lack thereof).
Killinger Was Here? by Michael D. Benter. The
curious case of former college star Glen Killinger and
the 1924 incident where he was promoted to appear and
to have allegedly have played in an NFL game, only to
have never even been in the league that year.
PFRA-ternizing. An updated schedule for
the remaining issues of the Coffin Corner of
the year and a report from the vice-president on membership
renewals and totals.
Official Hall of
Very Good Class of 2013 Ballot. (NOTE: Deadline
for voting is May 31, 2013.)
Johnny Blood the Boxer by Ralph Hickok.
The story of the brief boxing career of the unpredictable
John Victor "Blood" McNally, based on interviews
conducted with McNally and his trainer by the author
Five Open Questions in
NFL Coaching History by John Maxymuk.
Five coaching cold cases from the early days
of the NFL featuring short-tenured player-coaches, siblings
with similar (or the same) names, and teams that lasted
only a few games.
Papergate and the
Demise of the WFL by Denis M. Crawford. A ticket and tax scandal dubbed
"Papergate" that hurt the credibility of the
new World Football League and led to the resignation
of a team president on the same day President Nixon
announced he was leaving office.
Longshots: Division III Players
in the NFL by Doug Bigelow. Based on first-person interviews
by the author, these are inspiring and unlikely stories
of small-college players who beat the longest of odds
and made it to the highest level of professional football.
2012 Player Deaths. A list of the pro football players who died last year, including
information on the team(s) they played for, the date
and location of their death (if known) and their
age when they passed away.
PFRA-ternizing. An apology (of sorts) from the editor
on the lateness of the current issue.
The Hall of Very Good Class of 2013. Mini-biographies
of the nine members of the Class of 2013 and a list
of past enshrinees back to the inaugural class.
Rushing to Judgment: Recovering Jim Brown’s Lost
Yardage in 1962 by Brian Marshall. The argument
is made that Jim Brown in fact broke the 1,000-yard
barrier in 1962 after evidence is presented from play-by-play
reports of five disputed games from that season.
Trading Away the Future: Kemp and Lamonica by
Bert Gambini. A tale of two teams (the Bills and the
Raiders) and the reversal of fortune they experienced
after Buffalo held on to Jack Kemp and traded Daryle
Lamonica to Oakland in the waning days of the AFL.
Long Time, No See: Rare Meetings in the NFL by
Ivan Urena. An analysis of the different scheduling
formulas used by the NFL before realignment in 2002,
that led to such quirks as teams from the same conference
going nearly a generation without meeting on the field.
2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement
Festival: A Photo Essay by Mark Palczewski. Photographs from the Hall of Fame weekend
in Canton by the newly-named official photographer of
PFRA-ternizing. An announcement on the formation
of local chapters of the national PFRA and an official
ballot for the four elective offices of the group. (NOTE:
Deadline for voting is October 31, 2013.)
The Class of 2013 by the Pro Football Hall of
Fame. Highlights, statistics and awards from the football
careers of the seven members in this year’s Hall of
A Kick for the Ages by Ed Gruver. A look back
at Pat Summerall's game-winning field goal against the
Cleveland Browns in a blinding snowstorm on the last
day of the 1958 regular season—a victory that would
ultimately propel the New York Giants on to the "The
Greatest Game Ever Played."
Correcting the Coaching Record by John Maxymuk.
An attempt to set the record straight in six standard
references from both print and online sources on head
coaching omissions and the misallocations of wins and
losses in the early NFL and AAFC.
The Inner Circle by Roger Gordon. The story of
head coach Sam Rutigliano and the substance abuse support
group he created to combat drug and alcohol addiction
among players in the early 1980s. Though the program
no longer exists within the Browns organization, the
effort lives on in Coach Sam's Inner Circle Foundation,
a non-profit that works with disadvantaged children
in inner-city Cleveland.
PFRA-ternizing. An announcement on the resignation
of Ken Crippen as executive director, an update on the
2014 PFRA meeting hosted by the Cleveland
Browns and a survey asking members to rate the Coffin
Corner and suggestions for its improvement.
The Noblest Eagle: Remembering Steve
Van Buren by
George Bozeka. A football biography and eulogy for one
of the greatest Philadelphia Eagles players
of all time, who passed away in August of 2012.
Big-Time Football in Small Town America by
Andrew McKillop. An engaging look at the some of the
geographic (and demographic) oddities associated with
small town teams of the early league and the some of
the smaller municipalities that have hosted NFL games.
A Nose for the End Zone: Indexing the
Game's Most Efficient Scorers by Michael Peters. An analysis of NFL players who scored touchdowns
at rates that far outstripped rate of "touches"
or ball-handling opportunities.
2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement
Festival: Photo Essay, Part 2 by Mark Palczewski. Photographs
from the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton by the official
photographer of the PFRA.
PFRA-ternizing. The results of the 2013 PFRA elections,
the resignation of president Tod Maher, an announcement
on the formation of the Education Committee and the
2012 PFRA award winners.
Super Bowl V and the End of the AFL by
Bert Gambini. An argument for Super Bowl V, which pitted
the Baltimore Colts against the Dallas Cowboys, serving
as the unofficial end of the American Football League
after its merger with the NFL.
Fill the Air or Pound the Ground: The
Run-Pass Ratios of Head Coaches by John Maxymuk. A comparison and analysis of the run/pass
ratios of head coaches and league averages from the
NFL (81 seasons), AFL (10 seasons) and AAFC (four seasons).
Culp-Ability: Curly Culp Gets the Call
from Canton by Ed Gruver. A remembrance of the stellar football career of defensive
lineman Curley Culp, voted into the Pro Football Hall
of Fame's class of 2012.
Roughing It on the Road: Bad Weather
from Lambeau by Michael D. Benter. A description
of five memorable games played by the Green
Bay Packers in which the inclement weather was the
story -- and they weren't at Lambeau Field.
VOLUME 36 (2014)
Available in the Members Only Section
Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame Tribute (Photo Essay) - Mark Palczewski. The PFRA's official photographer was on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium last fall as members of the Bills' Wall of Fame were honored.
PFRA-ternizing - Chris Willis. The new executive director of the PFRA delivers his annual report to the members and looks ahead to the new year.
2014 PFRA Meeting - George Bozeka. This year's meeting organizer fills us in on the events scheduled for the biennial get-together in Cleveland on June 6-7.
Belichick & Bernie in Cleveland - Roger Gordon. A tale of a difficult relationship between a declining hero of Ohio and an ambitious young coach in his first head coaching gig.
A Brief History of Sacks - Nick Webster. An analysis of pass rushers from 1982 up to 2011, that includes a formula and data to compare defensive players who played at different times in the official sack era.
Fit to be Tied - Dr. David B. Pushkin. A response to Mark L. Ford's article entitled The Ties that Bound in which it is argued that the NFL should return to the pre-1973 rules regarding overtime.
PFRA-ternizing. An updated itinerary for the 2014 PFRA meeting schedule in Cleveland and the official announcement of the 2013 PFRA award winners.
Knowing the Score: Coaches Ranked by Points Scored and Allowed by John Maxymuk. An analysis of pro football head coaches based on their team's offensive and defensive output in terms of points scored and allowed and margins of victory.
The Roy Curry Story by Seth Schwartz. A look back at the life and career of African American player Roy Curry, one of the more interesting "what ifs" of the NFL, drafted by the Steelers in 1963 as a wide receiver through he was an outstanding college quarterback.
Earl Morrall and a Tale of Two Super Bowls by Bert Gambini. The story of the similar situations faced by Earl Morrall and his coach, Hall of Famer Don Shula, in the run-up to two different Super Bowls.
2013 Player Deaths. A list of the professional football players who died last year including information on the team(s) they played for, the date and location of their death and the age when they passed away.
PFRA-ternizing by George Bozeka. The organizer for this year’s biennial meeting covers the highlights of the weekend in Cleveland including a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Browns’ 1964 NFL championship. Photographs by Mark Palczewski illustrate this chronicle of the event.
The Class of 2014 by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Highlights, statistics and awards from the football careers of the seven members in this year’s Hall of Fame class.
High Fives: A Comparison of Five Single-Season Passing Performances by Brian Marshall. An analysis of the record =-breaking seasons of five quarterbacks—Sam Etcheverry, Warren Moon, Dan Marino and Doug Flutie—from both the CFL and the NFL and their statistical significance.
World Class: Paul Warfield by Roger Gordon. A look back at the football life of the Hall of Fame wide receiver, including interviews with Warfield and a recounting of his life and work after finishing his playing career.
2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Photo Essay by Mark Palczewski. Photographs from the Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio by the official photographer of the PFRA.
PFRA-ternizing. A notice to the members on a special board of directors meeting, an update on the new webmaster and plans for the new PFRA website, a reminder for the Hall of Very Good balloting and a message to members on the need for contributions to The Coffin Corner.
The Hall of Very Good Class of 2014 Ballot. The official ballot for the Hall of Very Good's Class of 2014. (NOTE: Deadline for voting is October 31, 2014.)
The Defeat Factor: All-Around Defensive Prowess and J.J. Watt's 2012 Season by Nick Webster. An analysis of the defensive end's extraordinary sophomore season in the NFL and the creation of the Defeat Factor statistic (the harmonic mean of sacks and stuffs) to measure a defender's ability to make game-impacting negative plays.
Mr. Brooks Goes to Canton by Denis M. Crawford. An appreciation of the newly inducted Hall of Famer and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks, including an inside look at Hall of Fame weekend by the author while he served as a volunteer.
The 2014 PFRA Bookshelf by John Maxymuk. A bibliography of books on professional football published (or scheduled to be published) in 2014, including highlighted titles by PFRA members.
PFRA-ternizing. A notice on the permanent change to the Coffin Corner’s masthead honoring Bob Carroll as the founder of the PFRA and a reminder for renewing memberships for next year.
The 1970 Snow Bowl: The Firebirds Nail Down the ACFL Title by William J. Ryczek. An excerpt from the Ryczek’s Connecticut Gridiron: Football Minor Leaguers of the 1960s and 1970s recounting the Atlantic Coast Football League championship game between the Pennsylvania Firebirds and the Hartford Knights and the wintry conditions the players and fans faced.
The Baron of Philadelphia: Eagles Receiving Great Pete Retzlaff by Bert Gambini. A history of the football career of Pete Retzlaff, who played multiple positions for the Eagles from 1956 to 1966 and wound up being one of the first of a new breed of modern tight ends in the NFL.
After Football for Kevin Fagan by Richard Burton. A look at the post-NFL career of former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kevin Fagan, who is now the head women’s softball coach at the College of Central Florida.
Roman Gabriel: A Career in Three Acts by John Turney. A detailed recounting of the three distinct parts to the NFL career of quarterback Roman Gabriel, elected to the PFRA’s Hall of Very Good in the Class of 2013.
PFRA-ternizing. A special message from the PFRA’s president on the results from the December 5 board of directors meeting and, from the vice-president, and an update on our membership numbers, including a map showing the PFRA's presence in 36 states and Canada.
It's a Gamble: Drafting Quarterbacks in Round One by Jared Kraus. From Terry Bradshaw to Teddy Bridgewater, a 45-year look at the risks inherent with picking pass throwers in the first round of the NFL Draft and the hidden gems such as Tom Brady found in later rounds.
The First NFL Championship: Portsmouth vs. Brooklyn? by Joshua M. Anderson. The final standings for 1933 don't tell the full story of the first title game. With three weeks left to play in the regular season, the Spartans (at .750) and Dodgers (at .800) both led their divisions, ahead of the Bears (.714) and the Giants (.700), respectively. The streaks that followed made all the difference and made NFL history.
World Bowl I... and Only by Mark Speck. (Coffin Corner Classic). The first in a new series of articles looking back at Coffin Corner history, where a relevant article from the publication’s last century gets a new look for this century. In this case, it’s the story of the one and only championship game for the World Football League, played 40 years ago in Birmingham, Alabama.
VOLUME 37 (2015)
Available in the Members Only Section
PFRA-ternizing A wrap-up of the PFRA meeting in Cleveland, a discussion on the PFRA website and the announcement of PFRA elections.
2014 PFRA Award Winners. The announcement of the winners of the PFRA Ralph Hay Award, the PFRA Nelson Ross Award and the Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award.
Hall of Very Good Class of 2014. The announcement of the PFRA's Hall of Very Good Class of 2014.
Lavvie Dilweg: The Best End We Ever Forgot - Bob Carroll. (Coffin Corner Classic) A biography of the Packers end of the 1920s and 1930s.
Playing (Back) The Percentages - Mark L. Ford. The first part of an entertaining look at teams' win-loss records by season (or winning percentages).
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son - Tracy Thibeau. A biography of the Kansas City Chiefs' great quarterback.
PFRA-ternizing. An update on membership count for the PFRA, numbers on the official PFRA Twitter feed and a recap of a local chapter meeting in Southern California from PFRA Secretary Lee Elder.
The Oswego Shakespeares and the Disputed 1915 Title by Doug Bigelow. A recounting of the 1915 season for the pro team from Oswego, New York and its claim to the title over the Fulton Nondescripts for the league located in northern and central part of the state.
Hunt Buys Cardinals, Moves Team to Dallas by Mark Speck. An amusing “what-if” story tracing the possible implications if the NFL had allowed Lamar Hunt to purchase the Chicago Cardinals franchise before he started the rival AFL.
Remembering Malcom Glazer by Denis Crawford, illustrated by Jared Kraus. A short tribute to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner who passed away last May.
2014 Player Deaths.. A list of the pro football players who died last year, including information on the team(s) they played for, the date and location of their death (if known) and their age when they passed away.
Playing (Back) the Percentages: Part Two by Mark L. Ford. The second part of an entertaining look at teams' win-loss records by season (or winning percentages) covers the teams under .500 and contains, not surprisingly nearly every defunct franchise in the NFL. Losers? Definitely. Lovable? Well, you be the judge.
PFRA-ternizing Updates on the PFRA elections for this year, the Hall of Very Good finalists for 2015 (including an official HOVG ballot) and the PFRA’s biennial meeting in Green Bay next year.
Red Grange and the First USFL by Ken Crippen. A summary of the (mostly) unsuccessful rival leagues that sprang up at the end of World War II to compete with the NFL with a focus on the short-lived United States Football League and its short-termed president, Red Grange, including transcripts of a memo and letter from USFL officials.
Split Personality Teams and Schedule Strength by Jeffrey Eby. An examination of NFL teams since the 1970 merger that exhibited “split personalities”—that is, good teams that lost to bad teams and vice versa, or middle-of-the-road teams with upset wins and losses. An analysis of strength of schedule, strength of victories (and defeats) and a new Split Personality Rating are included.
The Last Stand of the Duluth Eskimos by Michael Moran. A window into the dying days of the NFL’s Duluth franchise through two key historical documents—a 1927 contract with the Chicago Bears for their final game and a 1929 letter on Ernie Nevers’ Eskimos stationary asking Johnny “Blood” McNally to sign a contract in the hopes of keeping the club alive.
The 1973 NFC Championship: Memories, Miscues and Missteps by David Neal. A nostalgic look back by the author, in attendance as a young teen, at the conference championship game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys that featured a mistake-filled, if not hard-fought, second half with an incredible ten turnovers.
PFRA-ternizing Detailed information on the upcoming 2016 PFRA meeting in Green Bay including cost and hotel information.
Official PFRA Elections Ballot. (NOTE: Deadline for voting is October 31, 2015.)
The Class of 2015 by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Highlights, statistics and awards from the football careers of the eight members in this year’s Hall of Fame class—Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Bill Polian, Junior Seau, Will Shields, Mick Tinglehoff and Ron Wolf.
From Hollywood, It's the Los Angeles Rams! by Mark L. Ford. No other NFL team launched more acting careers than the Los Angeles Rams. A look back from 1946 to 1979, when the team played only ten miles from Hollywood and Vine, and players supplemented their salaries as guests on TV shows and in movies.
Running (and Passing) to Extremes: The Weather and Pro Football by Mark Wald. An analysis of the problems with historical data of pro football games and and a presentation of the research to correct the record. The author includes charts listing the coldest (both by air temperature and wind chill), hottest and windiest games on record and the number of outdoor games with significant rain or snow.
PFRA-ternizing A reminder on the PFRA elections and the Hall of Very Good balloting (both deadlines are October 31), an update on the PFRA book about the 1966 champion Green Bay Packers and a report on a 1920s-era pro football game featuring a tribute to the Rock Island Independents organized by PFRA member Simon Herrera.
A Bright New Look or the Same Old Game? by Mark Speck. A comparison of offensive and special teams numbers between the more established National Football League and the upstart World Football League from 1973 (the year before the WFL started) to 1975 (the year the league folded).
An Alternate World (Football League) by Mark L. Ford. An amusing “what if” tale that imagines how pro football history might have changed had the financially troubled WFL been able to stay solvent past 1975 and the weird, but strangely familiar, events that may have occurred through the rest of the decade and into the 1980s.
“O Canada”: Johnny Bassett’s Coup by Denis M. Crawford. An account, chronicled with first-person interviews, of one of the founding owners of the WFL who lured three Miami Dolphins—Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield and Jim Kiick—up north to join the WFL in Toronto (then south to Memphis) in an effort to help jumpstart interest in the fledging WFL. His efforts, while initially successful, ultimately failed, as did the league itself.
2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Photo Essay by Mark Palczewski. Photographs from this year’s Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio by the official photographer of the PFRA.
PFRA-ternizing The results of the elections to the PFRA’s offices, a reminder to renew annual memberships and an update on the 1966 Green Bay Packers book being prepared for next year’s meeting, including a sneak peek at the cover.
Coffin Corner Extra Point A new feature of the magazine that highlights the short-form research of our members. This installment is a brief look at the football career of former St. Louis Cardinals quarterback Tim Van Galder and the long wait he endured before actually starting.
The Ten Greatest Games Never Played: Part II by Ed Gruver. An entertaining look (continuing a 2002 article in Volume 24, Number 1) at the potential epic clashes between dominant teams in football history that might have occurred were it not for a simple twist of fate.
The Norse Nightmare: A Biography and Interview of Gary Larsen by Matt Reaser. An up-to-date profile of the Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle, a feared member of the team’s famed Purple People Eaters defense from the 1960s and 1970s.
PFRA Bookshelf: 2015 Edition by John Maxymuk. A bibliography of books on professional football (with a few notable exceptions) published or scheduled to be published in 2015, including highlighted titles by PFRA members.
VOLUME 38 (2016)
Available in the Members Only Section
PFRA-ternizing The executive director gives his state of the PFRA address and looks ahead to 2016, including his thanks to the officers and management team of the PFRA. The 2015 PFRA award winners are also announced with Jack Clary as the Ralph Hay winner, Ted Kluck for the Nelson Ross and Doug Bigelow winning the Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award.
The Hall of Very Good Class of 2015 by Ken Crippen, Matthew Keddie, Jeff Miller and Andy Piascik, with illustrations by John Richards. Mini-biographies of last year’s class including Alan Ameche, Rick Casares, Bill Forester, Rich Jackson, Chuck Knox, Ted Nesser and Gene Washington.
Then and Now: The Demographics of the NFL in 1941 and Today by Kenn Tomasch. A comparative study between the population of NFL players from just before World War II to the players from the 2014 season, including statistics such as age, body size, college attendance and geographic factors.
The Hollywood Rams, Part II: The Sequel by Mark L. Ford. The author revisits his previous article on the film and TV careers of Hollywood’s closest NFL team and presents his all-star lineup of the greatest entertainers and players for the Rams franchise while they were in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1979.
2015 Buffalo Bills Alumni Celebration Photo Essay by Mark Palczewski. The official photographer for the PFRA captures in words and pictures the alumni event last fall that featured a reunion of 1964–65 Buffalo Bills teammates, winners of back-to-back AFL titles.
PFRA-ternizing An announcement on the second book in the PFRA’s Greatest Teams in Pro Football History series featuring the 1958 NFL champion Baltimore Colts and a call for writers and editors to help on the project. There is also an update on the 2016 Green Bay meeting itinerary including a list of speakers that features two members of the 1966 Packers team that won the first Super Bowl.
Passion for the Game: Women’s Football in the Twenty-First Century by Neal Rozendaal. This brief history of women’s professional football since 1999 looks at the explosion of leagues that took place in the early part of this century, the gradual winnowing process that has occurred since then and the rise and dominance of three leagues—the WFA, the IWFL and the WSFL—today.
The Remarkable Hayseed Stephens by William J. Ryczek. A short biography of Harold “Hayseed” Stephens, who played football for Sammy Baugh in college at Hardin–Simmons and went on to play briefly in the AFL for the New York Titans. His post-playing career included work as a boom-or-bust oil driller, an enthusiastic evangelist and, finally, as a questionable investor.
2015 Player Deaths. A list of the pro football players who died last year, including information on the team(s) they played for, the date and location of their death (if known) and their age when they passed away.
Remembering Chuck Bednarik: Better Than the Best by Jared Kraus. A look back at the Philadelphia Eagles triumph in the 1960 NFL Championship Game and the heroic role played by the aging Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, the last of the league’s “Sixty-Minute Men.”
PFRA-ternizing. A report from PFRA member Jeff Miller on the recent Western New York chapter meeting and an announcement on member Greg Tranter’s donation of his large personal collection of Bills memorabilia to the Buffalo History Museum.
Official 2016 Hall of Very Good Ballot. (NOTE: Deadline for voting is October 31, 2016.)
The 1901 Philadelphia Quakers by Ken Crippen. A summary of the first (and last) season of the first all-professional football team in Philadelphia. The story of this club, captained by “Blondy” Wallace, includes box scores, rosters and scoring from each game that year as well as season statistics.
No-Touchdown Games by John W. Lesko. An examination of the rare occurrence of games from three leagues (APFA/NFL, AAFC and AFL) where no touchdown was scored. The various reasons why this happened is covered and stories from select games are included along with a complete list of the 269 touchdown-free contests.
Passing Thoughts: Clarifying History and the Philosophy of the Forward Pass by Bert Gambini. Five games in NFL history have been played without one team attempting a pass — or is it four? The author looks at all the matchups on this very short list and uncovers evidence that one of the games (Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Rams, September 10, 1937) may not belong on the list at all.
PFRA-ternizing. by George Bozeka. The organizer for the 2016 meeting covers the highlights of the weekend at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, including the release of The 1966 Green Bay Packers, the first book in the PFRA’s Great Teams in Pro Football History series. Photographs by Mark Palczewski illustrate the recap of this event.
The Class of 2016 by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A short biography, highlights, statistics and awards from the football careers of the eight members in this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Panning for Gold: The 49ers’ First Win in the NFL Playoffs by Joe Zagorski. A look back at the victory by MVP quarterback John Brodie and San Francisco over the Minnesota Vikings’ Purple Gang in the 1970 NFC divisional round to clinch the franchise’s first postseason win in league history.
The Boz Knows: In Defense of Brian Bosworth’s Performance in Week 11, 1987 (and to Some Degree His Entire Pro Career) by Ted Kluck. The author watches videotape of the famous Monday night clash he saw as an eleven-year-old between the controversial Seahawks linebacker and the phenomenal Bo Jackson, running back for the Raiders, now with an eye towards history.
The Rams’ First Move to Los Angeles by James C. Sulecki. Adapted from a newly published book, this is the story of the Cleveland Rams’ journey to the West Coast exactly 70 years ago and the intense negotiations required to gain permission to play in the city’s famed Memorial Coliseum.
The Rams All–Career-Year Team by John Turney. The best individual seasons by position in the history of the Rams organization as selected by the online Pro Football Journal and covering the years in Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis. The list includes first- and second-team players on offense, defense and special teams.
Decline and Fall of the ’69 Rams: “Personality Conflict” by Bert Gambini. A behind-the-scenes look at the 1969 Rams, who experienced 11 straight wins followed by four straight defeats and the fractious relationship between owner Dan Reeves and head coach George Allen.
How the West Was Won: Rams vs. Vikings in the 1969 NFL Western Title Game by Ed Gruver. A retelling of the Western Conference playoff that pitted a rollercoaster Rams squad against a tough Vikings team on a bitterly cold December day in Minnesota. L.A. would end its season in disappointing defeat while Minnesota would go on to represent the NFL in the last Super Bowl before the merger.
2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Photo Essay by Mark Palczewski. Photographs from this year’s Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio by the official photographer of the PFRA.
The Gridiron Greats from Goodyear by Lee Elder. A short history of the factory teams formed by employees of the Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company with an emphasis on the Goodyear Silents, a team comprised primarily of deaf workers who achieved remarkable success on the football field.
Worst. Game. Ever. by Greg Tranter. A not-so-fond look back at one of the worst-played contests in the three-week stretch of replacement games in October of 1987 during the NFLPA strike that pitted the hapless New York Giants against the inept Buffalo Bills, a team so bad they were christened “Counterfeit."
The Odd Couple and Football by David Krell. Rewind back to that ’70s show with this recollection of the football players and personalities who appeared with Felix and Oscar on the popular sitcom—celebrities such as Howard Cosell, Alex Karras, Deacon Jones and Bubba Smith.
2016 PFRA Bookshelf by John Maxymuk. A bibliography of books on professional football (with a few notable exceptions) published or scheduled to be published in 2016, including highlighted titles by PFRA members.
VOLUME 39 (2017)
Available in the Members Only Section
PFRA-ternizing The executive director gives his state of the PFRA address, listing the accomplishments of the organization for last year and looking ahead to the future, including the announcement of the site for the biennial meeting in 2018.
The Hall of Very Good Class of 2016 by Matthew Keddie, Andy Piascik, Matt Reaser and John Turney, with illustrations by John Richards. Mini-biographies of last year’s class are included for Gary Collins, Gale Gillingham, Jim Katcavage, Joe Klecko, Harvey Martin, Don Perkins, Duane Putnam, Isiah Robertson and Louis Wright.
2016 PFRA Awards The winners are officially announced with Mark L. Ford receiving the Ralph Hay Award for lifetime achievement, James C. Sulecki as the recipient of the Nelson Ross Award for his book The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon, 1936–1945 and Kenn Tomasch winning the Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award for his article “Then and Now: The Demographics of the NFL in 1941 and Today.”
Super Spreads: A Brief History of Point Spreads in the Super Bowl by Mark L. Ford. A quick introduction to the types of wagering in pro football and a recounting of the betting lines for each of the first fifty championships during the Super Bowl era, including a table of point spreads and final results from Super Bowl I to Super Bowl 50.
1,441–1: Measuring Football Futility by Doug Bigelow. The sad tale of one of the most hapless teams in NFL history—the Chicago Cardinals of the early to mid-forties, who went through most of World War II, or 1,441 calendar days, with only a single victory.
Sentimental Journey: In Search of Walter Koppisch by Jeffrey J. Miller. A nostalgic trip back to western New York with a niece and other relatives of former Buffalo Bison Walter Koppisch to the neighborhood and school of the early NFL player, including a visit with Sam “Smoke” Dana, the oldest living player at the time.
PFRA-ternizing. The official naming of Buffalo, New York as the location for the organization’s 2018 convention, a preview of the second annual meeting of the PFRA’s Western New York chapter and the announcement of a new book, The All-America Football Conference: Players, Coaches, Records, Games and Awards, 1946–1949, coming this fall from PFRA Publications.
Who Was Really the NFL’s First 1,000-Yard Rusher? The Case for Tex Hamer by John Wilke. An exploration of the Frankford fullback’s 1924 season and the possibility that he ran past the thousand-yard barrier that year. Newspaper accounts of the Yellow Jackets games are used to fill in gaps in the statistical record as well as extrapolations from the unofficial statistics compiled in the The Football Encyclopedia.
A Brief History of Developmental Football Leagues by Randy Snow. A review of some of the more well-known recent developmental leagues—NFL Europe (under its various monikers), arenafootball2, the United Football League, the Fall Experimental Football League, the Gridiron Developmental Football League and the National Arena League—as well as an argument and model for a possible future NFL D-league.
2016 Player Deaths. A list of the pro football players who died last year, including information on the team(s) they played for, the date and location of their death (if known) and their age when they passed away.
The Bonus Selection System in the NFL Draft, 1947–1958 by John Maxymuk. A short overview of the twelve-year history of the bonus pick in the draft including the reasons for its existence, a table of each player selected with the pick along with other notable players in that year, the order of teams being awarded the bonus and the system’s eventual demise.
PFRA-ternizing. A report on the PFRA’s Western New York second annual chapter meeting in Hamburg, New York that included a talk by former Buffalo Bills defensive back Jeff Nixon.
Official 2017 Hall of Very Good Ballot. Note that the deadline for voting is October 31, 2017.
Tom Dempsey and the Record Kick That Almost Didn’t Happen by Neal Golden. A look back at one of the most famous field goals in NFL history and the unlikely events that led up to the kick, through the eyes of a New Orleans writer.
A Pair of Bears: Two Chicago Running Backs and Their Record-Setting Days by Bryan Dietzeler. A twin tale of Bears rushers—Gale Sayers and Walter Payton—and the separate dates they both made pro football history.
Futebol Americano: American Football in Brazil by Alan Santiago. An introduction and short history of the gridiron game in the South American country, including a look at the game's status today with an examination of the highest level of football in Brazil and a list of champions from the top two divisions.
PFRA-ternizing. An announcement on next year's national PFRA convention in Buffalo including details on the official hotel and featured speakers in attendance.
Official PFRA Elections Ballot. (NOTE: Deadline for voting is October 31, 2017.)
The Class of 2017 by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Highlights, statistics and awards from the football careers of the seven members in this year’s Hall of Fame class—Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner.
Monday Night Miracle in Massachusetts: The Incredible Colts Comeback in 1978 by Joe Zagorski. A look back at one of the more thrilling games of the decade when a moribund Baltimore team caught fire in the fourth quarter and upset the New England Patriots, the eventual AFC Eastern Division champion that year.
In Fond Memoriam: The Run-and-Shoot Offense by Ted Kluck. A brief introduction and history of the wide open run-and-shoot offense including it's adoption by the USFL’s Houston Gamblers and the NFL’s Houston Oilers and speculation on its return.
PFRA-ternizing. An announcement on the Linescore 2020 project coinciding with the NFL’s 100th season, a note on PFRA secretary Lee Elder’s interview on the Sports Forgotten Heroes podcast produced by new PFRA member Warren Rogan and an update on next year’s national convention in Buffalo.
A Well-Oiled Defense Strikes It Rich in Houston by Ed Gruver. A look back at the surprisingly stout Oilers defense in the waning years of the AFL from 1967 to 1969 and the stars that formed the team’s nucleus with players like Garland Boyette, George Webster and future Hall of Famer Ken Houston.
Big Things in Small Packages by Roger Gordon. The life and football career of Cleveland Browns wide receiver and kick returner Gerald McNeil, nicknamed “The Ice Cube,” including his playing days in high school, college and the USFL.
2017 PFRA Bookshelf by John Maxymuk. A bibliography of books on professional football (with a few notable exceptions) published or scheduled to be published in 2017, with highlighted titles by PFRA members and the PFRA.
PFRA-ternizing. An update on the 2018 PFRA Convention in Buffalo, New York including details on the official hotel and featured speakers in attendance and a call to members for their feedback by the PFRA board members and management team.
The Night Broadway Joe Took His Act to Bridgeport by Andy Piascik. A look back at the 1967 preseason game between a rising star of the AFL, Joe Namath, and his ascendant New York Jets against another nearby team, the Boston Patriots, played one summer’s eve in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Inducting the NFL: Military Service Interruptions in the 1950s by John Maxymuk. A study of the effect of military conscription on the NFL in the decade that saw both the Korean and Cold Wars and including a comprehensive list of over 250 players who had their professional careers shortened by service in the armed forces.
The Pro Football Career of Paul Robeson by Joshua Anderson. A detailed examination of the famed actor, singer and activist’s playing days in the early NFL covering his time with the Akron Pros in 1921 and the Milwaukee Badgers in 1922, including extensive contemporary news accounts and research notes.
VOLUME 40 (2018)
Available in the Members Only Section
PFRA-ternizing The executive director gives his state of the PFRA address to the members, listing the accomplishments of the organization for the past year and provides a look ahead to the future. Also there's a big announcement about the 2018 PFRA Convention in Buffalo with the addition of Hall of Famer and former Bills running back Thurman Thomas as a guest speaker.
The Hall of Very Good Class of 2017 by the Hall of Very Good Committee, with illustrations by John Richards. Mini-biographies of last year’s class are included for Bobby Boyd, Todd Christensen, Joe Fortunato, Dave Grayson, Cornell Green, Dan Reeves and Bob Skoronski.
From Kickoff to Tipoff: Pro Football’s Notable Basketball Teams by Mark L. Ford. An account of pro football players who shed their cleats and laced up the high tops to represent their teams on the basketball court, including brief histories of the more prominent squads with lists of over 100 verified game scores and the top scoring players with 30 points or more in a contest.
The Crazy College Career of Elroy Hirsch by Matt Foss. A look back at the collegiate athletic achievements of “Crazylegs” Hirsch, who starred for two university football teams—Wisconsin and Michigan—and was a letter winner in an unprecedented four different sports in the same academic year for the Wolverines.
PFRA-ternizing. An update on the 2018 PFRA Convention in Buffalo, New York including the addition of two speakers to the schedule and the announcement of a free convention t-shirt to all attendees.
2017 PFRA Awards. The winners are officially announced with John Maxymuk receiving the Ralph Hay Award for lifetime achievement, Ralph Hickok as the recipient of the Nelson Ross Award for his book The Vagabond Halfback: The Saga of Johnny Blood McNally and John Wilke winning the Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award for his article “Who Was Really the NFL’s First 1,000-Yard Rusher? The Case for Tex Hamer.”
Pro Football’s Half-Decade Team, 1915–1919 by John Wilke. The author, using a methodology to rate individuals before All-Pro teams became commonplace, selects a starting lineup of the best players from the dawn of the professional game, including such greats as Pete Calac, Jim Thorpe, “Greasy” Neale and Norb Sacksteder.
The Canadian Factor by Robert Sproule. A description of Walter Camp’s trek north to witness a 1905 football match between the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tigers and the accompanying article written by Camp detailing his thoughts on the “ten-yard rule” that he proposed for the American game when he returned home.
2017 Player Deaths. A list of the pro football players who died last year, including information on the team(s) they played for, the date and location of their death (if known) and their age when they passed away.
PFRA-ternizing. An announcement on the release of The 1958 Baltimore Colts, the second book in the Great Teams in Professional Football series, and a final update on the 2018 PFRA Convention in Buffalo.
Official 2018 Hall of Very Good Ballot. Note that the deadline for voting is October 31, 2018.
Rushing for a Sweet Record: Walter Payton Runs to Glory in 1977 by Joe Zagorski. A look back at the day when the Chicago running back broke O.J. Simpson’s single-game rushing record against the first place Vikings, willed his team to victory and kept the Bears in the hunt for the playoffs—all while recovering from the flu.
What’s in a Name? An Update on the 1915–1919 Half-Decade Team by John Wilke. The author uncovers new information on the likely game appearances of “Greasy” Neale, one of the athletes on the Half-Decade first team, and the names of the second and third team members to conclude his list of the greatest professional football players right before the founding of the NFL.
The Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame: The First 100 (Or So) Members, 1981–1989 by Mark L. Ford. An annual listing of the first 107 inductees in the American Football Association’s Semi-Pro Hall of Fame, with brief biographies on the members of every class, including such names as Jim “King” Corcoran, Bob Kuechenberg and Otis Sistrunk.
PFRA-ternizing. by George Bozeka. The organizer for the 2018 convention recalls the highlights of the weekend in Buffalo, including the official release of The 1958 Baltimore Colts: Profiles of the NFL’s First Sudden Death Champions, the second book in the PFRA series on Great Teams in Pro Football History. Photographs by Mark Palczewski illustrate the recap of this event.
The Class of 2018 by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A short biography, highlights, statistics and awards from the football careers of the members in this year’s Hall of Fame class: Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Brian Urlacher.
Jim Brown Dropped Six, Then Picked Up 110 by Brian Marshall. The story of how one of the greatest players in the NFL survived a pregame scare before the 1960 season finale against the Giants in Yankee Stadium and was still able to surpass the 100-yard mark, despite an injured ankle that plagued him throughout the year.
The AAFC vs. the NFL: The Attendance Myth by Kenn Tomasch. An examination of the popularity of the rival leagues from 1946 to 1949 and a detailed accounting of the attendance numbers from each year of the AAFC and the NFL, including those of every team from the two.
PFRA-ternizing. A milestone announcement of the 1,000 follower to the PFRA’s official Twitter account and notices on the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Baltimore Colts season and the second book in the PFRA’s Great Teams in Pro Football History series along with the upcoming 2020 PFRA Convention in Canton, Ohio to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NFL.
Well-Traveled: NFL Players That Have Played in the Most Pro Football Leagues by Greg Tranter. A research report and listing of a group of 20 players that have played in five professional leagues or more with notable names including Ben Agajanian, Coy Bacon, Michael Bishop and Fred Jackson that played in leagues such as the AFL, the AAFC, the CFL, the USFL and the WFL. Short biographies of each player are included.
Coffin Corner Extra Point: An Interesting Conflict by Tracy Thibeau. The problem of game scheduling that faced the NFL arising from the fact that there were two teams in Chicago (the Bears and the Cardinals) before the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960.
2018 PFRA Bookshelf by John Maxymuk. A bibliography of books on professional football (with a few notable exceptions) published or scheduled to be published in 2018, with highlighted titles by the PFRA.
Philadelphia’s ”Public Enemy Number One”: Joe Kuharich by Mark A. Sullivan. A remembrance of a young Eagles fan attending a December 1968 game at Franklin Field where a despised coach wins a game against the Saints and loses out on the chance to draft Hall of Famer O. J. Simpson, all while a plane circles overhead with a banner reading "Joe Must Go." A brief biography of Kuharich is included along with the highs and lows of the Philadelphia franchise.
PFRA-ternizing. The inductees in the Hall of Very Good’s class of 2018 are announced—Lyle Alzado, Dick Anderson, Ken Gray, Lee Roy Jordan, Earl Morrall, Ralph Neely and Fred Smerlas—along with deadline reminders on the PFRA elections and membership renewals for next year.
Patriot Games: Boston’s Front Four—One of the AFL’s Best by Ed Gruver. The exploits of the Boston Patriots defensive line is explored along with biographical information on starters Larry Eisenhauer, Jim Lee Hunt, Houston Antwine, and Bob Dee, along with former Eagles player and contributing member Jess Richardson.
The Great White North: Heisman Trophy Winners in the CFL by Randy Snow. Our aptly-named author examines the careers of the nine Heisman award winners who played in Canada and the varying degrees of success (or lack thereof) they experienced while there.
Jacksonville Before the Jaguars by Barry Shuck. A short history of professional football in the northern Florida city with teams from the WFL (Sharks and Express), American Football Association (Firebirds and Sunbirds), and USFL (Bulls) covered, as well as the beginnings of the current NFL franchise.
Nine Years of Dislike: Raiders vs. Steelers, 1972–1980 by Harvey Aronson. The bitter rivalry between the teams from Oakland and Pittsburgh in the Seventies is revisited—a rivalry born out of one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
receive six issues of our official newsletter-magazine, The
Coffin Corner. Each issue is 24 pages crammed with pro football
history: articles on great players, teams, and games of the
past (and some not-so-great), occasionally a stat article,
some opinion, and organization news.