Dropping Back: This Week in Pro Football History; Feb 13 - 19

By Tom Pollin
February 14, 2012 8:41 am
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Here we are in the middle of February already which means that roughly five months from now NFL training camps will be kicking into gear. Being two weeks into February also means there won’t be too many events in NFL history to look back on for a few months. Fortunately, the Redskins provided a newsworthy event back in 1937.

 
February 13, 1937: The Boston Redskins move to Washington D.C.*
George Preston Marshall wanted to place a team in Boston and in 1932 was awarded the franchise rights to the former Newark Tornadoes. Marshall changed the name of the team to the Braves after the baseball team, since they would be playing their games at Braves Field. Their first coach was former Buffalo All-Americans Center Lud Wray. They played their first game on October second, losing 14-0 to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following week brought the franchise’s first win, 14-6 over the New York Giants. They finished their first NFL season with a record of 4-4-2.
 
For the 1933 season, the team brought in a new coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who claimed Sioux ancestry. Dietz was a character with accomplishments to fill two or three lifetimes. He played tackle at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School with Jim Thorpe. He was head coach of the Washington State Cougars from 1915-1917, leading the team to a 7-0 record and a victory over Brown University in the Rose Bowl. It was the second Rose Bowl and the first since 1902. It became an annual game after 1916 and is still the only Rose Bowl that Washington State has ever won. Dietz was also an artist, actor, writer and championship dog breeder. He’s worth an article all by himself at a later time.
 
“Lone Star” Dietz wasn’t the only new development. The team moved to Fenway Park for the 1933 season and changed their name to the Redskins. As a counter to the protests about the team name that have arisen from Native American groups, the franchise has always argued that the team was named in honor of their new head coach. Another possibility is the new name was derived from the “Braves” baseball team name in the same way that George Halas renamed his team the Bears after establishing himself in Chicago to develop a tie with his favorite baseball team. Since George Preston Marshall never addressed the matter himself, the team name will always be a question.

Dietz wasn’t able to bring the same success to the Redskins that he enjoyed at Washington State. His record for the two years he was head coach was 5-5-2 and 6-6-0. The team wouldn’t find success until they brought in former New York Giants end Ray Flaherty as their head coach in 1936. They were 4-5 before finishing the season on a three game winning streak to win the Eastern Division with a 7-5 record and the NFL Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers to be played on their home field.

Marshall had become angry at the fan support the team had received in Boston though. For the final home game of the season only 4,813 fans showed up to watch them defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 30-0. For that reason, Marshall chose to have the Championship Game moved from Fenway Park to the Polo Grounds in New York. The Redskins ended up outplayed by the Packers and lost 21-6. With the season over, Marshall moved the team to Washington D.C. for the 1937 season where they finished with an 8-3 record and won the first NFL Championship in franchise history.

Boston didn’t succeed as a market for pro football until 1960 when the Patriots were formed to play in the new American Football League.

On February 17thsend birthday wishes to Buddy Ryan. No matter what anyone thinks of his personality or the abilities and personalities of his sons Rex and Rob as coaches, Buddy Ryan was one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history. Ryan started out his coaching career in 1968 as the defensive line coach for the New York Jets under defensive coordinator Walt Michaels and won his first championship ring in Super Bowl III.
 
He took over coaching the Vikings’ defensive line, known as “The Purple People Eaters” in 1976. Then, with his past successes George Halas brought Ryan to Chicago to be the defensive coordinator in 1978. On the Bears Ryan came into prominence when he finished developing his “46 defense” and set it loose on NFL offenses. The highlight of his success with the Bears was the 1985 season. The Bears held opponents to 10 or fewer points in 11 of sixteen regular season games, shut out the Giants and Rams in the NFC Playoffs before knocking Patriots quarterback Tony Eason out of the game on their way to a 46-10 victory in Super Bowl XX. Some would say that on a quiet night, Eason can still hear the thundering feet of linemen converging to sack him again.


















After that season, Buddy Ryan took over the Philadelphia Eagles for his first head coaching opportunity. He brought in and developed Pro Bowl players Seth Joyner, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons among others. He coached the Eagles to one division title and two wild card spots but never won a playoff game as a head coach. Ryan’s last stop as a football coach was as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 1993 but he couldn’t duplicate the success he achieved in Philadelphia. The Cardinals finished 8-8 in Ryan’s first season but collapsed to a 4-12 record the following season and he was let go.

Ryan is currently battling cancer that affected glands in his neck and spread to the lymph nodes. With everything he's going through though, from reports just before Super Bowl XLVI, Ryan is still hanging tough through his treatments. Happy birthday Buddy!
 
February 15th is the birthday of Ken Anderson, 1971 – 1986 Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback. Read the, excellent article by Kerry J. Byrne from the Cold Hard Football Facts website detailing the case for Ken Anderson’s enshrinement into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. I can't tell it any better than this folks.

Here is the rest of the birthday list for the week:
Feb 13
1972 – Charlie Garner; Eagles (5yrs), 49ers (2yrs), Raiders (3yrs), Buccaneers (1yr) running back; 1994 – 2004; 1 time Pro Bowler
1972 – Ruben Brown; Bills (9yrs), Bears (4yrs) guard; 9 time Pro Bowler
1977 – Randy Moss; Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, Titans wide receiver; 4 time First-Team All-Pro; 6 time Pro Bowler
1978 – Mike Brown; Bears (9yrs), Chiefs (1yr) safety; 2000 – 2009; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 1 time Pro Bowler
1982 – Michael Turner; Falcons running back; 2004 – Present;1 time First-Team All-Pro; 2 Time Pro Bowler
1983 – Will Montgomery; Redskins guard; 2006 – Present
1985 – Owen Schmitt; Eagles fullback; 2008 – Present
1986 – Aqib Talib; Buccaneers cornerback; 2008 – Present
1987 – Preston Parker; Buccaneers wide receiver; 2010 – Present
1989 – Charles Clay; Dolphins fullback; 2011 – Present

Feb 14
1910 – Jim Leonard; Eagles Back;1934 – 1937; Steelers Head Coach 1945
1917 – Red Hickey; Rams End 1941 – 1948; 49ers Head Coach 1959 – 1963
1945 – Larry Seiple; Dolphins Punter; 1967 – 1977
1960 – Jim Kelly; Bills Quarterback; 1986 - 1996; 5 Time Pro Bowler; 2002 – Inducted Into the Hall of Fame
1963 – Jeff Dellenbach; Dolphins (10yrs), Patriots (1+yrs), Packers (2+yrs), Eagles (1yr) Center; 1985 – 1999
1964 – Darrick Brilz; Redskins (1yr), Chargers (1yr), Seahawks (5yrs), Bengals (5yrs) Center; 1987 – 1998
1969 – Harry Colon; Patriots (1yr), Jaguars (1yr), Lions (4yrs) Safety; 1991 – 1997
1969 – Jeff Graham; Steelers (3yrs), Bears (2yrs), Jets (2yrs), Eagles (1yr), Chargers (3yrs) Wide Receiver; 1991 – 2001
1972 – Drew Bledsoe;  Patriots (9yrs), Bills (3yrs), Cowboys (2yrs) Quarterback; 1993 – 2006; 4 time Pro Bowler
1973 – Steve McNair, Oilers (11yrs), Ravens (2yrs) Quarterback; 1995 – 2007; 3 time Pro Bowler
1978 – David Garrard; Jaguars Quarterback; 2002 – 2010; 1 time Pro Bowler

Feb 15
1940 – John Hadl; Chargers (11yrs), Rams (1+yrs), Packers (1+yrs), Oilers (2yrs), Quarterback 1962 – 1977
1957 – Ted Brown; Vikings Fullback; 1979 – 1986
1960 – Darrell Green; Redskins Cornerback; 1983 – 2002; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 7 time Pro Bowler; 2008 -  Inducted into the Hall of Fame
1983 – Tony Scheffler; Lions Tight End; 2006 – Present

Feb 16
1931 – Buzz Nutter; Steelers (4yrs), Colts (8yrs) Center 1954 – 1965; 1 time Pro Bowler
1943 – Brig Owens; Redskins Safety 1966 – 1977
1955 – George Martin; Giants Defensive End 1977 – 1988
1972 – Jerome Bettis; Rams (3yrs), Steelers (10yrs) Running Back 1993 – 2005; 2 time First-Team All Pro; 6 time Pro Bowler; Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist 2012
1977 – Ahman Green; Seahawks (2yrs), Packers (7yrs) Running Back 1998 – 2006; 4 time Pro Bowler
1977 – Todd McClure; Falcons Center 2000–Present

Feb 17
1936 – Jim Brown; Browns Running Back 1957 – 1965; 8 time First-Team All-Pro; 9 time Pro Bowler; 1971 - Inducted into the Hall of Fame
1955 – Stanley Morgan; Patriots (13yrs), Colts (1yr), Wide Receiver; 1977 – 1990; 4 time Pro Bowler
1968 – Bryan Cox; Dolphins (5yrs), Bears (2yrs), Jets (3yrs), Patriots and Saints (1yr each) Linebacker; 1991 – 2002; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 3 time Pro Bowler
1969 – Levon Kirkland; Steelers (9yrs), Seahawks and Eagles (1yr each) Linebacker; 1992 – 2002; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 2 time Pro Bowler
1961 – Guy McIntyre; 49ers (10yrs), Packers (1yr), Eagles (2yrs) Guard; 1984 – 1996; 5 time Pro Bowler

Feb 18
1931 – Bob St. Clair; 49ers Right Tackle; 1953 – 1963; 5 time Pro Bowler; 1990 - Inducted Into the Hall of Fame
1957 – Dwayne Woodruff; Steelers Cornerback; 1979 – 1990
1958 – Roland James; Patriots Safety; 1980 – 1990
1962 – Gary Reasons; Giants (8yrs), Bengals (1yr) Linebacker; 1984 – 1992
1971 – George Teague; Packers (3yrs), Dolphins (1yr), Cowboys (5yrs) Free Safety; 1993 – 2001
1986 – Brandon Flowers; Chiefs Cornerback; 2008 – Present

Feb 19
1942 – Paul Krause; Redskins (4yrs), Vikings (12yrs) Safety; 1964 – 1979; 3 time First-Team All-Pro; 8 time Pro Bowler; 1988 - Inducted Into the Hall of Fame
1953 – June Jones; Falcons Quarterback 1977 – 1981; Falcons Head Coach; 1994 –1996; Chargers Head Coach 1998
1966 – William White; Lions (6yrs), Chiefs (3yrs), Falcons (2yrs) Safety; 1988 – 1998
1971 – William Henderson; Packers Fullback; 1995–2006; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 1 time Pro Bowler
1971 – Glyn Milburn; Broncos (3yrs), Lions (2yrs), Bears (4yrs) Running Back/Wide Receiver/Kick Returner;1993 – 2001; 1 time First-Team All-Pro; 2 time Pro Bowler
1980 – Dwight Freeney; Colts Defensive End; 2002 – Present; 3 time First-Team All-Pro; 7 time Pro Bowler

* From Today In Sport.com

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By Tom Pollin
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