Tag Archives: 1965

Historic Rookies: Gale Sayers In 1965

With the 4th overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears selected running back Gale Sayers from the University of Kansas. Sayers had been a two time All American and was highly touted coming out of college. The Bears were in need of a solid running back following the 1964 season in which the teams leading rusher was Jon Arnett who finished the season with 400 yards on the ground. Ronnie Bull was the second rusher in terms of yards with 320. Sayers would come in and rush for more yard than both backs combined.

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Gale Sayers was a very influential running back that changed how the game was played from the back field. Sayers was an explosive rusher with the ability to stop, move and go at practically any given moment. Sayers would also become one of the best kick returners the game had seen up to that point.

Gale Sayers had a phenomenal debut season in 1965. On the ground Sayers was practically unstoppable with 867 yards, 14 touchdowns. Sayers also gained 507 yards receiving and scored 6 touchdowns. Lastly Sayers returned 16 kicks for a total of 898 yards and 2 touchdowns on kickoffs and punt returns combined. Despite the incredible season Sayers had he could only help the Bears so much. The Bears finished that season with a record of 9-5 and placed 3rd in the NFL Western Conference.

Gale Sayers was named the NFL Rookie of the at the end of the 1965 season. That season he set the record for the most touchdowns scored by a rookie with 22, a record that still stands today, almost five decades later. Sayers would only play seven total seasons before retiring after the 1971 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1977.

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The History Of The 1st Overall Pick In The NFL Draft

Getty Images

Getty Images

The tradition that is known as the NFL Draft came into existence in 1936.  The first player ever taken in the NFL Draft was Running Back Jay Berwanger.  The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Berwanger, unfortunately he would never play a pro football game due to salary disputes with multiple teams

Since then the NFL Draft has involved thousands of players, many of which have gone on to become all time greats.  Many more however went on to have careers that would earn them the dubious distinction of being called a “Draft Bust”.  The most coveted position for any team is the first overall pick.  The team that holds this position is usually in desperate need of a break out rookie that can turn their franchise around.  There is only one chance for first overall greatness every year.

There have been only 78 men who can call themselves the first overall pick in the NFL draft.  The positions picked the most may not surprise you but the positions that were picked the least  might shock you.

The quarterback position has the title of the most popular first overall pick in draft history.  Twenty seven QBs have been nabbed by teams with the most coveted draft spot.  Ten of those twenty seven became pro bowl players, names like Eli Manning (2004), Peyton Manning (1998), Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Vinny Testaverde (1987) just to name a few.  Only Troy Aikman (1989), John Elway (1983) and Terry Bradshaw (1970) had careers so great they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Twenty five Running Backs have been picked first overall.  Seven of them became Pro Bowlers including Bo Jackson (1986), Billy Sims (1980) and Tucker Frederickson (1965).  The Running Backs hold the record of most Hall Of Fame inductees with five.  Running Back Bill Dudley (1942) was the first player at any position drafted first overall to become a Hall Of Famer.  The most recent Running Back to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame is Earl Campbell (1978) who was drafted by the Houston Oilers.

Defensive End’s have also been a very popular choice with eleven picked first overall.  Defensive Ends Mario Williams (2006), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (1974), Dave Parks (1964) and Leon Hart (1950) were all voted to the Pro Bowl.  Bruce Smith (1985) and Lee Roy Selmon (1976) were the only Defensive End’s to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

Positions that were drafted the least with the top pick are Defensive Tackle (4), Offensive Tackle (4), Line Backer (3), Center (2) and Wide Receiver (2).  Eight different positions have all seen the top choice.  Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle and Line Backer are the only positions to never have a first overall player reach the Hall Of Fame.

A few of the players drafted in the last decade will more than likely find a home in the Hall Of Fame.  As of now the first overall pick has only been a future Hall Of Famer twelve of the seventy seven times.  Who knows, we might see the next great NFL player drafted with the first pick tonight in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Otto Graham: The Greatest Quarterback Ever

Many modern football fans have never even heard the name Otto Graham.  Decades before Bernie Kosar was taking the Browns through many playoff runs.  Otto Graham was the best quarterback not only in Cleveland but in the NFL.  Years before Jim Brown dominated teams, Otto Graham was dominating the league.  Graham will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  He was the 1st and possibly the biggest Cleveland sports star ever.

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham goes for a pass in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. (Getty Images)

Otto Graham started his professional career in Cleveland during the 1946 season.  At the time the Browns played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC).  In that season Graham lead the Browns to their 1st Championship and the team finished with a 12-2 record.  The winning did not stop there.  The Browns went on to win the 1947, 1948 and 1949 AAFC Championship prior to entering the NFL in 1950.  During his first 4 seasons he played in 54 games and had 86 TD’s and 10,085 yards passing in total.  Many people considered the AAFC to be the minor leagues so to speak.  The Browns were not expected to be as dominant in the NFL.

The critics were completely wrong with their assumption.  Graham had almost the same numbers in the NFL as he did in the AAFC.  Graham would play in 72 games in the NFL and have 88 TD’s and 13,499 yards passing.  Graham and the Browns made the Championship game from 1950 to 1955.  In total Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games with them winning 7 of them.  The only years during this period where they did not win a championship was 1951, 1952 and 1953.  Their playoff record was 9-3 during those 10 seasons.

Otto Graham retired after the 1955 season.  He retired with 174 TD’s and 23,584 yards passing.  In his career Graham was a 5 time Pro Bowler and was a 7 time First Team All Pro.  He was one of the first inductees into the Hall Of Fame in 1965.

Otto Graham's Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham’s Plaque (Getty Images)

Otto Graham was able to accomplish something that will never happen again by leading his team to 10 straight championship games.  The only other player to come close was Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills made it to the Super Bowl from 1990-1994 but never won any of those games.

There are many names that are discussed when talking about who was the greatest quarterback ever.  Names like Dan Marino, John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady but none of those players achieved the success that Graham was able to do.  The only argument that any one might have against Graham would be that the playoffs were shorter with less games when he played.  The fact of the matter is he still won those titles and in both leagues.  The only reason that most people do not consider him the best is because they don’t know anything about him or what he did during his career.

As long as the stats and film are around no one can deny his greatness.  For such a short career by today’s standards he really made an impact.  Otto Graham passed away in 2003.  He left a legacy that will never be forgotten, he will live forever in the Hall Of Fame.

Top 3 Moments in June “The Greatest Month In Sports”

It’s July and that means one thing the greatest month in sports is over, for this year at least. June has held a big place in sports for many years now.  I personally consider it to be the most memorable month in sports every year.  No one can forget the O.J. Simpson bronco chase in June of 1994. Other unforgettable images pop up as well.  Michael Jordan winning his championships with the Chicago Bulls and sealing his place on sports history.  The Stanley Cup classics with greats like Wayne Gretzky capturing the cup numerous times for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. Numerous World Cup soccer competitions had their start in June and also brought many memorable moments with them.  Major League Baseball has some of its most exciting games matching up teams from the N.L. and A.L. in inter league play.  There have been so many great things that occurred during this month.  So I decided to give you my top 3 moments for this past month.  Let’s take a look…

#1- LEBRON JAMES WINS HIS FIRST NBA TITLE (June 21st, 2012)

Lebron James celebrates with the Miami Heat.
(Getty Images)

After 9 seasons in the NBA Lebron James showed the world that he was in fact a champion.  The Miami Heat defated the Oklahoma City Thunder and their young rising superstar Kevin Durant in 5 games to win the NBA Title.  This Miami Heat team was heavely favored going into the season to take the title.  They had some rough moments in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics but they came out on top and advanced to their second NBA Finals in a row.  Lebron showed a level of play and maturity like we have never seen from him before.  Lebron can have a nice relating summer and pick up the pursuit of more NBA Titles in the fall.

#2- THE LOS ANGELES KINGS TAKE THE STANLEY CUP (June 11th, 2012)

The Kings shocked the world this year in the NHL Playoffs.
(Getty Images)

The surprising L.A. Kings won the Lord Stanley’s Cup in 6 games over the New Jersey Devils.  This Stanley Cup victory will never be forgotten by the hockey world or the sports world for that matter.  The city of L.A. needed this victory at a time when the Lakers and Clippers both were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs early.  The city of L.A. got red hot over the Kings outstanding postseason run.  Many casual fans that disappeared when Wayne Gretzky left the team for the Rangers in the late 90′s were back.  The American Hockey scene needed this victory as well.  This could spark excitement and push the sport even further in the American Culture.

#3- MATT CAIN’S PERFECT PERFORMANCE (June 13th, 2012)

The Giants Matt Cain pitching perfection.
(Getty Images)

On the 13th of June the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain threw baseball’s 22 perfect game ever.  This was the second perfect game this season, Phil Humber of the White Sox threw a perfect ball game in April against the Mariners in Seattle.  Matt Cain’s perfect game ended in a score of 10-0 against the Houston Astors.  Stat wise this could be considered one of the best perfect games ever.  Matt Cain struck out an impressive 14 batters during the game.  A feat which had only been done one time before when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game in 1965.  The great game had a great moment at the end when Cain met his wife in the dugout to celebrate his history making performance with her.