Legend of The Fall: Max McGee

One of the most interesting arguments that persists are how many of the Green Bay Packers from the ’60s can make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?? Now if you ask Packer fans they believe they all should go. This belies the truth of the matter except when you look at the accolades many of them earned during their careers.

Max McGee only made one Pro Bowl although he played on 5 world championship teams.  Yet even when you take a look at Packer greats you would consider on the bubble, they still stack up with the contemporaries of their time.

  • Max McGee- 345 rec. 6,346 yards 50 TDs *1 Pro Bowl
  • Gary Collins – 331 rec. 5,299 yards 70 TDs *2 Pro Bowls **3 All Pros
  • Del Shofner – 349 rec. 6,470 yards 51 TD *5 Pro Bowls **5 All Pros
  • Raymond Berry – 631 rec. 9,275 yards 68 TDs *6 Pro Bowls **3 All Pros

Of course these are only his fellow NFL receivers yet look at his numbers compared to former Giant Shofner. He went over 1,000 yards on 4 occasions where Max never did. Yet over his last 4 seasons he caught 54 passes and fell off dramatically. McGee did as well with only 48 receptions his final 4 years yet career wise statistically stayed with him with a steadier career.

Now McGee didn’t score as often as Gary Collins yet he had a much higher per catch avg (18.5 yds – 16 yds) over their careers. As you can see he finished with 1,047 yards more than Collins. These men all played more than 10 seasons and played for the league or Super Bowl championship 3 times, well 2 in Collins case.

Berry’s numbers are out there and he is the only Pro Football Hall of Fame member of this group. Yet he along with Shofner played in the most pass conscience offenses of their day.  Johnny Unitas, who threw to Berry, was the 1st 3,000 yard QB and threw for a league record 32 TDs in 1962. Shofner was catching passes from Y.A. Tittle who broke Unitas touchdown record with 36 in 1963.

McGee played in a run heavy offense as the Packers swept to league titles in ’61 and ’62 yet the film coming up makes it seem as though he only had Super Bowl I. His best season was the ’61 campaign when he caught 51 passes for 883 and 7 scores. Its possible he could have made it to 1,000 yards had he played all 14 games.

When looking back on his career it was a lot more than his performance in Super Bowl I. He did catch a 35 yard bomb which was the key play in the 3rd quarter scoring drive that put Super Bowl II out of reach.

McGee had a steady career not a spectacular one. If falls short of the Pro Football Hall of Fame but he definitely had an incredible football journey.

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Philadelphia Receives Super Bowl LII Championship Ring

Well last weekend the Philadelphia Eagles were given the brass ring for becoming world champions.. their Super Bowl rings. This commemorates a great 2017 campaign concluding with a 41-33 win in LII to take home the Lombardi. To the chagrin of Dallas Cowboy fans everywhere the Eagles do have a rich tradition of championships although there was a 59 year drought between the years they won it all.

As for the ring itself: The top of the Super Bowl ring has an Eagles logo on top of a Lombardi Trophy. There are 52 pavé-diamonds within the Eagle head to signify Super Bowl 52. The base of the trophy has 52 diamonds for each of their 13 regular-season victories. The top has three diamonds for the number of postseason victory. This concludes the 2017 odyssey which landed the Philadelphia Eagles their 4th NFL championship.

Here is a quick question: Who was the NFL’s Commissioner and where was the league’s headquarters before Pete Rozelle?? You guessed it…Philadelphia where team owner/founder Bert Bell established the team in 1933. He became league commissioner in 1946 and remained serving both roles until he passed in October 1959. Much of what is the NFL was shaped during his tenure as owner of the Eagles before he became commissioner. Notable achievements during his years

  • In 1934 it was Bell who lobbied the NFL on a common draft where lesser teams receive higher draft status. The league adopted this rule in 1935 and been in place since.
  • Bell also came up with the NFL’s 1st  championship Trophy. The Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy. A rotating trophy which went from champion to champion from 1934-1965. Just before the advent of the Super Bowl Trophy given out every year.

Bert Bell, new NFL president, talks over the telephone at his Narberth, Pa. home, Jan. 22, 1946, while his children, Bert Jr., 10, left, Upton, 8, and Mary Jane, 4, listen intently. (AP Photo)

The Eagles have a rich heritage filled with famous coaches, players and some of the NFL’s landmark games. Especially in the days of the postwar era after WWII. In fact one of the lost treasures when talking about NFL history is the merging of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1943 to form the “Steagles”. Each team had lost so many players to WWII service this was a way to remain solvent. Both teams from the Quaker state are still in existence yet hold a respectful rivalry that is mild in comparison to others. It could be due to the respect each organization has for the other coming from this shared history.

However lost on a generation of Steeler fans, since many bandwagon fans jumped on once the Steelers started winning Super Bowls in the 70’s, it was the Eagles that kept them in that 42 year championship drought ending in 1974. Back in the pre-merger NFL both the Eagles and Steelers finished with 8-4 records. Led by NFL rushing champion Steve Van Buren the Eagles buried the Steelers 21-0 in a playoff and Pittsburgh struggled for the next 3 decades.

As for the Eagles? Head Coach Greasy Neale had a ground game that chewed up opponents as few had done before. During the years 1947-1949 not only did Van Buren lead the league in rushing all 3 years. He became the Eagles 1st 1,000 yard rusher (’47) with a league record 1,008 only to break it in ’49 when he pushed the record to 1,146 yards. They lost the ’47 NFL Championship to the Chicago Cardinals 28-21. However they powered their way to a 7-0 win in the ’48 Championship Game in a blizzard then beat the Rams 14-0 out in LA for their 2nd straight NFL title.

Yes you heard that correctly… The Philadelphia Eagles played in 3 straight NFL championship games and became only the 2nd team to win it back to back once a championship game was instituted beginning in 1933.

The late Steve Van Buren finished as the NFL’s leading rusher with 5,860 yards 69 touchdowns, 4 rushing titles and a member of the PFHOF since 1965.

In one of the more ironic twists between the Eagles and their cross state rival Steelers, Bert Bell had coached and co-owned both teams over the years. His life came to an end when he collapsed October 11, 1959 while his Eagles hosted the Steelers after a Tommy McDonald touchdown. The league than moved it’s headquarters to New York to do battle with the new American Football League, hired Pete Rozelle as Bell’s predecessor to compete in the modern age.

The 1960 NFL Championship Ring.

However the 1960 Eagles paid the absolute tribute to a fallen Bell by storming to the 1960 NFL championship. Having acquired former Ram quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, who had been a part of the “point a minute” offense earlier in the 50s had a renaissance year. In his final season he passed for 153 of 284 for 2,471 yards and a career best 24 TD passes in only a 12 game season.

The signature game came in midseason when the 6-1 Eagles went to New York to play the 5-1-1 Giants who had won the Eastern Conference 3 of the last 4 years. This is the game where Hall of Famer “Concrete” Charlie Bednarik flattened HOFer Frank Gifford, knocking him out of action for nearly 2 years. Philadelphia won 17-14 to take command and rode a 10-2 record to the NFL Championship Game.

Bednarik’s hit on Gifford was one of the greatest in NFL history.

In what would go down as the only postseason defeat in Vince Lombardi’s career, a more veteran laden ball club pulled out a 17-13 win. One of the enduring images of that game was the last play when Bart Starr hit Jim Taylor with a short pass and Bednarik saved the day with a tackle on the 9 yard line as time ran out. Having made the last tackle, “Concrete Charlie” bookended the day where he became the last full time two way player in NFL history. He played the entire game at Center and Middle Linebacker. Not a CB coming in as a WR as a gimmick for 5 plays in a game. Hitting on every play as a 35 yr old.

Bednarik would play on for 2 more seasons, however “The Dutchman” or Norm Van Brocklin for the history impaired retired after the title game. He became the 1st starting QB to lead two different teams to championships in NFL history. A feat that took another 55 years to be duplicated. Unlike Peyton Manning’s 9 TD 17 interception performance in 2015, Van Brocklin left a champion after his greatest statistical season.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it generation ESPN/NFL Network newbies.

A history lesson from the desk of The Chancellor of Football. Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles we await to see what your encore will be after a magnificent Super Bowl win.

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The Soul Of The Game: Willie Davis

Hall of Fame President David Baker presenting Jim Taylor and Willie Davis new PFHofF rings.

Hall of Fame President David Baker presenting Jim Taylor and Willie Davis new PFHofF rings.

One of the truly great moments in recent years have been the Hall of Fame rings given to the new inductees. David Baker, who is the President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been presenting rings to those previously enshrined in tributes at early season games. Back in September Willie Davis along with Jim Taylor received new rings from the Hall of Fame.

However the television execs only allow us glimpses of these presentations instead of hearing Mr.Baker’s presentation or the players themselves. We’re truly missing the opportunity to share the history of the game to a new generation.

Willie Davis with his Hall of Fame presenter... the legendary late Grambling Head Coach Eddie Robinson.

Willie Davis with his Hall of Fame presenter… the legendary late Grambling Head Coach Eddie Robinson.

Hopefully some kid asked his Father, Uncle, or Grandfather who Willie Davis was. A youngster could learn how Davis was one of the best Defensive Ends in pro football history. A living legend dating back to the legendary Green Bay Packer teams of the 1960’s.

Although fellow Hall of Famers Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, and Dave Robinson were on that team, it was Davis who made the biggest defensive plays during their dynasty. Remember the “million dollar fumble?” Well that is just one… take a look

Willie Davis was definitely A Soul of the Game defender who showed up in big games. An interesting aspect to Davis’ career was the fact he was the Defensive End to the strong side of the offense. He was only 240 lbs yet took on the double team of the Tackle and Tight End and had to play the run as well as the pass. Yet you saw he recorded sacks in the 1965 NFL Championship as well as Super Bowls I & II. Most of the time you think of light pass rushing ends they’re predominant weak side rushers. Not Mr. Davis.

Vince Lombardi stealing Davis from Paul Brown’s Cleveland team could have been the difference between the Packers ruling the 60’s instead of the Browns.

We may not have been able to hear from him during that Monday Night telecast but we could at least bring you his retirement speech from 1969.

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