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THE COFFIN CORNER - VOLUME 18 - 1996

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Number 1:

The Ten Best Super Bowls by Bob Carroll. Recaps of the 10 most thrilling Super Bowls.

L.C. Greenwood by Bob Carroll. Nicknamed “Hollywood Bags” because of his golden shoes, end L.C. Greenwood was part of the legendary “Steel Curtain” that produced four Super Bowl wins in the 1970s.

1940: The Triumph of the T by Bob Carroll. The Bears’ famous 73-0 pasting of the Redskins in the 1940 NFL title game resulted in the T formation quickly becoming the dominant method moving the football.

Dan Towler by Stanley Grosshandler and Bob Van Atta. “Deacon Dan” Towler was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ “bull elephant backfield” in the early 1950s.

Heidi-Ho! by Bob Carroll. The nationally televised game between the Jets and Raiders on November 17, 1968 is famous for an unbelievable climax that most of the country did not see.

Semi or Pro? by Bob Carroll. How to tell one from the other.

Research Notes by Bob Gill. False hopes over uncovering a possible pro league in 1894 and little-known three-sport athlete Everett “Sam” Marcell.

Number 2:

Mel Renfro by Don Smith. Profiling Hall-of-Fame defensive back Mel Renfro, who was a Pro Bowler in the first 10 of his 14 seasons with Dallas (1964-77) and a member of the Cowboys’ first two Super Bowl championship teams.

Dan Dierdorf by Don Smith. The St. Louis Cardinals’ right tackle made a round-trip to Canton, Ohio, having grown up there and returning as a Hall of Famer.

Lou Creekmur by Don Smith. The heart of Detroit’s offensive line as it won three NFL titles in the 1950s, Hall-of-Fame tackle Lou Creekmur was a perennial All-Pro selection and Pro Bowler during his 10 seasons (1950-59) with the Lions.

Joe Gibbs by Don Smith. Under Joe Gibbs' leadership, the Washington Redskins played in four Super Bowls and won three. A profile of the “tough, but honest” Hall-of-Fame head coach, who surprised the football world by retiring when he was only 52.

Charlie Joiner by Don Smith. The Grambling graduate, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1996, played 18 NFL seasons, longer than any other wide receiver in pro football history. When Joiner retired after the 1986 season, he had caught more passes (750) for more yards (12,146) than any other player up to that time.

Has There Ever Been a Forfeit in the NFL? by Bob Carroll. The story behind the Rochester Jeffersons’ 1921 forfeit to the Washington Pros.

A Boom, Boom, Boom for the South Side by Bill Schubert. Charlie Trippi’s “Boom, Boom, Boom” play capped a perfect day as the Chicago Cardinals beat their hated crosstown rivals, the Bears, in 1951.

Dick Butkus: Born to Play Football by Michael Gershman. By the time he was in fifth grade, Dick Butkus knew he was going to be a pro football player. He wound up being the heart and soul of his hometown team.

Finishing in Style: 1949 AAFC Championship by Bob Carroll. Revisiting the fourth and final AAFC title game, a 21-7 victory for Cleveland over San Francisco.

Bubba Smith by Michael Gershman. Hard-charging Charles “Bubba” Smith was a college legend and the first player picked in the 1967 combined AFL-NFL draft.

Number 3:

National Football League Franchise Transactions by Joe Horrigan. A chronological presentation of the franchise transactions of the National Football League from 1920 until 1949.

O.J. Anderson by Bob Carroll. A biographical sketch of Ottis Anderson, who starred in the Cardinals’ and Giants’ backfields during a 14-year (1979-92) career.

Bert Bell: The Commissioner by Don Smith. A mini-bio of Bert Bell, NFL commissioner from 1946 to 1959.

Merlin Olsen: Gentlemanly Giant by Michael Gershman. Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the latest accomplishment for the Rams’ Merlin Olsen, who by the time he was 40 had won the Outland Trophy, been named NFL Player of the Year, earned a master’s degree in Economics, played in a record 14 straight Pro Bowls, won acclaim as “TV’s best color football man,” and starred in his own TV series.

Billy Ray Barnes by Rob Jackson. Talking football with halfback Billy Ray Barnes, whose solid 9-year career in the ‘50s and ‘60s included three Pro Bowls and a championship with the 1960 Eagles.

Cliff Battles (mini-bio) by Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall-of-Fame back was only 28 when he walked away from the game after winning his second rushing title with the Redskins in 1937.

Number 4:

Coach Steve Owen: The Great Innovator by Stan Grosshandler, et.al. A profile of player-turned coach Steve Owen, one of the great innovators of all time is Steve Owen, for 23 years the guiding genius of the New York Giants.

Bullet Bill Dudley by Jim Sargent. Despite all of his accomplishments, which included a pair of rushing titles with Pittsburgh in the 1940s and a bust at Canton, all-purpose back Bill Dudley was refreshingly candid about fame. “Yesterday’s sports hero is a lot like yesterday’s newspaper,” he said, “you always know there’s a fresh one coming tomorrow.”

Sweet Revenge: 1942 NFL Championship by Bob Carroll. Two years after their historic 73-0 blowout loss to the Bears, the Washington Redskins were itching for payback in their title-game rematch.

The Day Dub Jones Ran Wild by Stan Grosshandler. On November 25, 1951, Cleveland’s Dub Jones rang up six touchdowns against the Bears.

Sammy Baugh Courtesy of Pro Football Hall of Fame. Washington quarterback “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was the catalyst that changed the game into a more pass-happy and fan-friendly spectacle.

A Perfect Ending: 1948 AAFC Championship by Bob Carroll. The Cleveland Browns concluded a perfect unbeaten season by thrashing the Buffalo Bills in the AAFC championship game.

The Day Jim Hardy Threw Eight Interceptions by Stan Grosshandler. In the span of two weeks, Chicago Cardinals quarterback Jim Hardy threw 8 interceptions against Philadelphia and 6 touchdown passes against Baltimore.

Hall of Fame Candidates 1967 Supplied by Steve Hartman. The 1967 season featured several Canton-bound rookies, including Bob Griese, Willie Lanier, Floyd Little, and Lem Barney.

Do You Remember Bill Osmanski? by Stan Grosshandler. Fullback-linebacker Bill Osmanski helped the Bears win four NFL titles during his seven seasons in Chicago, all the while preparing for his second career as a dentist.

Top 20 Passers by Pro Football Hall of Fame. Steve Young led the way with a 96.1 rating at the start of the 1995 season.

Number 5:

Ernie Scores 6 Touchdowns from the Chicago Tribune. How the Chicago Tribune covered Cardinals back Ernie Nevers’s record-breaking day against the Bears at Comiskey Park in 1929.

Fred Biletnikoff: "I like catching passes" by Don Smith. When his 14-year pro career came to an end after the 1978 campaign, Oakland’s Fred Biletnikoff had amassed 589 receptions, at the time the fourth-best lifetime total.

When Houston Struck Oil by Stan Grosshandler. A brief overview of the 1960-62 Houston Oilers, who played in the first three AFL title games and won the first two.

Spec Sanders: A Memorable Runner by Stan Grosshandler. Between 1946 and 1950, Spec Sanders set records on both sides of the ball and in both leagues, the AAFC and the NFL.

Coach Vince Lombardi, the Power of Example by Victor Mastro & J. Shevalla. The famous coach had a passionate philosophy of life and of football: “A few men working closely together in a spirit of discipline, singleness of purpose, and a commitment to excellence could succeed no matter the odds.”

When the Buffalo Bills Rode High by Stan Grosshandler. Behind stars like Jack Kemp and Cookie Gilchrist, Buffalo won back-to-back AFL championships in 1964-65.

Joe Perry, "The Jet" by Joseph Hession. When fullback Joe Perry retired in 1963 after 16 seasons in the AAFC and NFL, he had more rushing yards than any player in NFL history. That record stood until someone named Jim Brown came along to break it.

Is Dan Marino Really the Greatest Passer by Greg Thomas. Using the NEWS (new rating system) formula introduced by Bob Carroll, Pete Palmer, and John Thorn in their 1988 book, The Hidden Game of Football, to determine which quarterback had the greatest positive impact as compared to other passers.

Gino Marchetti by Don Smith. Hall-of-Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti was a premier pass rusher and a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowler during his dozen seasons with Baltimore.

'39 Packers by Stan Grosshandler. Featuring several future Hall of Famers, such as Don Hutson and Clark Hinkle, Green Bay culminated the 1939 season with a 27-0 rout of the New York Giants in the championship game.

When Halas Cornered the Draft by Bob Carroll. George Halas’s draft machinations didn’t always work out as well as other owners feared.

Number 6:

Where Did All the Veterans Go? by Steve Somma. Exploring the reasons behind the shrinking number of “ten-and-tens”—players that have been in the league for ten or more years and have played for only one team.

Byron White's Rookie Season by John Hogrogian. An overview of Byron “Whizzer” White’s 1938 season, in which the rookie Pittsburgh tailback led the NFL in rushing.

Tribute to Charlie Conerly by Jimmie G. Purvis. Charlie Conerly, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, quarterbacked the New York Giants for 14 seasons (1948-61). Starting in 1996, the Charlie Conerly Trophy has been awarded annually to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi.

Art Moore by Robert Sproule. The Canadian star of the early 1900s combined great speed and kicking ability like no one else before him.

Don Smith: Nice Guy Finishing Up by PFRA Research. A shout-out to Don Smith, retiring as Vice President—Public Relations Director after 29 years at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Arda's Excellent Adventure by Jim Campbell. The story of how NFL Films made a star of Arda Bowser, a member of the 1922 Canton Bulldogs and ’23 Cleveland Indians, as the league kicked off its 75th season at Tampa Stadium.

A Ralph by Any Other Name by Bob Carroll. In the early 1920s, Ralph Horween and his brother Arnold played under fake names to keep their mother from finding out.

Top 20: Rushing, Passing, Receiving, Scoring courtesy of PF Hall of Fame. The lifetime leaders in rushing, receiving, scoring, and passings.

Annual: All-Pros: The First 40 Years by John Hogrogian. Four decades of the best.

2020 Convention
June 18-21, 2020
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Canton, Ohio

This month's Coffin Corner

1958 Baltimore Colts

The 1966 Green Bay Packers

The All-America Football Conference

The Early History of Professional Football

A Minor Masterpiece