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Old 01-22-2019, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Federal Way, WA
660 posts, read 196,057 times
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Was watching a show on NFL defensive backs the other night and they were talking about Emlen Tunnell. I had never heard of him until the show because he played in the late 40's through the 50's.

His performance over the years was amazing. He is still second on the all time interception list at 79, Paul Krause is 1st with 81.

The 79 interceptions are amazing because he did it in an era where there were only 12 games per year and teams typically threw the ball 20-25 times. #3 on the all time list is Rod Woodson at 71 INTs, who played in 237 games to Emlen Tunnells 154 games.

Essentially, Tunnell averaged an interception every other game for his career, an unimaginable feat in todays NFL.

Anybody else run across players from the past that hardly get mentioned whose accomplishments and stats are incredible?
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:46 PM
 
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Emlen Tunnel knew about firsts. He was the first African American to play for the New York Giants. He was the first African American to go into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. In 2012 NFL Films televised the greatest 100 players in NFL history. Emlen came in at #79. The stats that fit has shown are very impressive. In his day, when you think of the great defensive backs, Emlen tunnel comes up first, followed closely by Dick "Night Train" Lane, who I'll discuss later in this thread.

Vince Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959 and brought Tunnell with him. He was slowing down a tad, it was his 12th season. He played less but mentored a lot. Willie Wood was a qb on the Southern Cal. team, wrote to Lombardi for a tryout. Herb Adderley was a lowly 13th round draft pick. Tunnell worked with the two guys all the time and was a mentor to them. Both are African American. His last season as a player was 1961.

By 1961 Tunnell had both of them playing at an all pro level. Both Adderley and wood are in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. As a small midwest city Green Bay didn't have a very big black population but over the years Lombardi changed not only the face of the Packer franchise, but its complexion. In 1958 there was one black on the club. By 1967 there were 14 blacks on the club. Tunnel mentored Dave Robinson, Bob Jeter, Willie Davis, Lionel Aldridge, and other African Americans who joined the Pack on defense.

Emlen Tunnell is one of the great players in the history of the NFL.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 01-23-2019 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:57 PM
 
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Dick "Night Train" Lane is another. He came from Scottsbluff Junior College, a small school from northwest Nebraska, now called Western Nebraska Community College. As he came from a junior school, he had to wait two years before he could play in the NFL, finally as a Los Angeles Ram in 1952. He spent a few years in the military before he played pro ball.

Want to hear about his background? How about being totally abandoned as a baby. Like "thrown in the dumpster" baby--literally. The woman who saved his life adopted him and brought him to Austin, Texas along with a couple other kids she adopted. He was a three sport letterman; b-ball, football, and baseball. In fact, he was good enough in baseball that he played for a farm team in Omaha called the Rockets. The Rockets were the farm team of the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. He played just the one season at Scottsbluff jC, joined the army, and a few years later signed with the Rams as a free agent.

Intercepting 14 balls in his rookie season is an awesome stat IMO, especially when the NFL played a 12 game schedule in 1952. All told, he played 14 seasons in the NFL; 2 with the Rams, 6 with the Chicago Cardinals, and 6 with the Detroit Lions. And intercepted 68 passes, at the time, second in NFL history next to Emlen Tunnell. He was known for 2 things, he had a forearm tackle that would just clean your clock. And eventually the NFL had to outlaw his most popular tackle-the "Night Train" Lane neck tackle. Nowadays they call it a "clothsline." In one of art Donovan's tv appearances I remember Donovan talking about Lane, saying that the receivers in the league would all say (as they ran their patterns) "ok, where is he? Where is he?"

He went to the Pro football HOF in 1974. The guy was tough as nails.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 01-23-2019 at 04:26 PM.. Reason: addition, spelling
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
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I grew up playing corner and heard about Night Train Lane. Would you consider him the greatest corner of all time?
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:38 PM
 
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My opinion, Sammy Baugh doesn't receive enough love, for being a dominant athlete & passer of his era..

Larry Wilson, great Cardinal defender, seems largely & unfortunately forgotten..
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:40 AM
 
Location: God's Country
5,188 posts, read 3,506,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murksiderock View Post
I grew up playing corner and heard about Night Train Lane. Would you consider him the greatest corner of all time?

I can't rate players from different eras. They're bigger, faster, stronger as the years progressed. Different nutrition, year-round training, and maybe most importantly, rules changes.


I can recall when O linemen were not allowed to extend their arms. Refs would call illegal use of the hands or else holding. I recall DEs wrapping their hands like clubs and going upside OLs' heads. Plenty of other changes too.


And QBs didn't wear dresses.


Back in '67 I compiled my personal "all-time" team going back to the early 50s. Dick Lane was a 1st team CB. I'd call him the best of "his time."
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:44 AM
 
Location: God's Country
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babe_Ruth View Post
My opinion, Sammy Baugh doesn't receive enough love, for being a dominant athlete & passer of his era..

I'd say the same thing about Otto Graham. Won quite a few championships for Paul Brown in AAFC and NFL as I recall.


Seems that today, when the talking heads talk QBs, they stop at our own (Baltimore's) beloved Johnny U.


I reckon they think that there were no QBs before John.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:42 PM
 
16,527 posts, read 20,975,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murksiderock View Post
I grew up playing corner and heard about Night Train Lane. Would you consider him the greatest corner of all time?

Calvert Hall '62 has got it here on post #6. And I'll add one more item here--money!
Players back then had to work in the offseason, there was no such thing as a $six figure player until Joe Namath came along in 1965. In "Night train's" case, and I forgot to mention this earlier, that he drove over to the L.A. Rams training camp after he got off work to ask for a tryout. What kind of a job did he have? He worked at an airplane parts factory unloading steel with his hands, for the most part. I'm sure you can get why Lane wanted to play football.

I've always thought of two ways regarding why Lane played for three different clubs. Did he go round and round with management regarding salary? Or was it because the coaches complained that he was too much of a risk taker on the field? As far as textbook tackling, he seemed to me to be fine. But if you do a youtube search on Lane you will find that most of hits were either raising his foreman and blasting you on the run, or else doing the "Night Train" neck tackle.

At that time, though, it was legal to do that. Finally after he had been in the league for several years, the NFL banned it. And for good reason. Could he play in today's game given today's rules with defensive players, yes. There are a few youtubes showing his speed, particularly after a blocked field goal and he would run it in for 6.

Playing that way, you would think that he would pick up a lot of injuries but the only time in his career where he missed substantial time in a season was in 1957 where he played eight games. Keep in mind that those were 12 game seasons. In his last two years, he only played 8 games in those two seasons but by that time he was 37 years old IIRC. He worked with the younger d-backs like Dick LeBeau. Yes, the HOF defensive coordinator of the steelers, LeBeau was a great player in his day (1959-1970).

He had a rough time growing up, real rough. Playing the way he did got my attention, he didn't take any crap from anybody. No doubt he could star in today's game.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 01-24-2019 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:37 PM
 
1,579 posts, read 983,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvert Hall '62 View Post
I'd say the same thing about Otto Graham. Won quite a few championships for Paul Brown in AAFC and NFL as I recall.
Seems that today, when the talking heads talk QBs, they stop at our own (Baltimore's) beloved Johnny U.
I reckon they think that there were no QBs before John.
Agreeed. I think it has to do with the thinner stats of vintage passers, combined with disinterest in football history. Pro football was more run-heavy, guys like Baugh & Graham didn't accumulate the numbers of Manning & Marino, etc. But to me the only fair standard is to compare passers to their contemporary peers. Graham was the Montana of his generation.. he was money in championship games.

Older I get, more I realize the pundits don't know anymore than the rest of us about football history. Our opinions are often more/or at least equally, informed on these topics. When pundits overlook Graham it is ignorant/short-sighted.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,320 posts, read 21,890,925 times
Reputation: 33486
Roscoe Tatter...., no, Rocky Tatter..., no it was Roscoe, Roscoe...
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