Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Somewhere the Old Man is Smiling

By John Turney
The "Lombardi Sweep" or power seep is run likely every year, maybe not by every team but it shows up once in a while. But when I see it I still enjoy it every time. In, I want to say 1994 or 1995 the Bears ran it on Monday  Night Football and Dan Dierdorf was exceptionally pleased. He said it was good for young people to see it because it was the kind of football we didn't get to see much anymore.

The Bears had guards named Jay Leeuwenburg and Todd Perry. Leeuwenburg was listed at 294 pounds and Todd Perry. at 310. And in an era of road graders they were among the smaller guards in the NFL at the time

To back to present day:  Sunday the Seahawks ran it against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The description is rather, well, nondescript:
All we know is that there was a running play that gained 13 years. But if you saw it, it has to put a smile on your face—if you are a football fan.
As you can see the two pullers were the left guard and the center. Back in the day it was almost always the guards who pulled. With Lombardi's Packers is was soon-to-be Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston. The Seahawks used left guard Luke Joeckel and center Justin Britt. Both are former tackles but both can move very well. I am not sure why the Seahawks didn't use both guards, but there is no rule that says guards have to do the pulling. A center and a guard will do just fine.

So keep an eye out because it's a very pretty play to watch.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hundley Earns Passing Grade in Cleveland

By Eric Goska
The Green Bay Packers were in need of a quarterback by the name of Brett in their game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday.

Brett Hundley answered the call.

Green Bay was tested by the winless, but stubborn Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Packers didn’t waver, clawing back from 14-down to notch a 27-21 overtime victory and keep their playoff hopes alive.

This could have been a trap game for the visiting Packers. Cleveland, 0-12 at the start of the afternoon, had nothing to lose and everything to gain by derailing Green Bay.

For the better part of 60 minutes, the Browns appeared ready to pull off the upset. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer tossed three touchdown passes and running back Isaiah Crowell pounded out 103 yards rushing on 13 carries as Cleveland built a 21-7 lead after three quarters.

But even that two-touchdown advantage was no guarantee of victory for Cleveland. The fourth quarter remained, and somewhere along the line, Green Bay decided that staying relevant was a goal worth fighting for.

Mike McCarthy didn’t shy away from using his young quarterback as the team mounted its comeback. Hundley attempted 33 passes after halftime and completed 27 for 185 yards and two touchdowns (110.2 rating).

That’s quite a workout. In the case of the Packers, such a heavy dose of passing by one individual has been reserved for games in which they have trailed, usually by double-digit margins.
Hundley was up to the challenge. He directed three touchdown drives in 25 minutes as Green Bay improved to 7-6.

The first advance cut Cleveland’s lead to 21-14. Hundley completed seven of eight passes for 57 yards to set up Jamaal Williams’ 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.

The second tied the game 21-21 with 17 seconds left. Hundley completed only two passes on the 25-yard push, but the second was a 1-yard payoff to Davante Adams. On that throw, Hundley placed the ball such that cornerback Jason McCourty became nothing more than a spectator.

On the third, game-winning drive in overtime, Hundley went four-for-four. He connected with Williams, Adams, Randall Cobb and again with Adams for a 25-yard score that was all run after the catch.
Hundley also converted two third downs with his feet on the game-tying drive.

For the Packers, having an individual attempt 30 or more passes after halftime is rare. It has happened 28 times during the regular season with Brett Favre (14), Aaron Rodgers (5), Don Majkowski (4), David Whitehurst, Randy Wright, Blair Kiel, Matt Flynn and, now, Hundley serving as triggermen.

Only twice previously has such a barrage resulted in victory. On Oct. 14, 1996, Favre launched 40 passes after the break as Green Bay edged San Francisco 23-20 in overtime. On Nov. 21, 2004, Favre threw 31 times to lead the Packers past the Texans 16-13 in Houston.

For now, at least, only gentlemen named Brett have won under these circumstances for the Pack.

Hundley, of course, had help. Trevor Davis returned a punt 65 yards to set up the game-tying touchdown. Linebacker Clay Matthews pressured Kizer into an ill-advised pass that safety Josh Jones intercepted to provide a short field (42 yards) for Hundley in overtime.

And Hundley, whose 27 completions tied Favre’s after-halftime record set against the Browns in 2005, can also thank his receivers. Without Adams (10 catches), Williams (5), Geronimo Allison (4), Cobb (3), Jordy Nelson (3) and Lance Kendricks (2), Hundley wouldn’t have made a name for himself in a contest that was essentially a playoff game for Green Bay.

Passive Aggressive
The 10 regular-season games in which a Packers quarterback completed more than 20 passes after halftime.

No.   Player                   Opponent        Date
27     Brett Favre             Browns            Sept. 18, 2005
27     Brett Hundley         Browns            Dec. 10, 2017
23     Blair Kiel                Seahawks         Dec. 9, 1990
22     Brett Favre             Dolphins           Sept. 11, 1994
22     Brett Favre             Buccaneers       Dec. 7, 1998
21     Don Majkowski     Lions                Nov. 20, 1988
21     Brett Favre             Bears               Oct. 1, 2000
21     Brett Favre             Texans             Nov. 21, 2004
21     Aaron Rodgers       Vikings             Nov. 1, 2009
21     Matt Flynn              Vikings             Nov. 24, 2013

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Julius Peppers Lost a Sack

In Our View
By John Turney
Julius Peppers talking to official about a slow whistle
Football's action is very fast and it's the job of the official scorer to rule on who gets credit for tackles, sacks, and other statistics.

And because the game is so fast, it is easily understandable when an official scorer makes an initial error in scoring. Also, if he makes a call and the coaches of a team can contact the NFL and ask that a play be reviewed. Sacks are the most reviewed calls, at least that is my understanding.

Today Julius Peppers had a sack but also lost a sack in our view but this one is not reviewable. Peppers came off the left edge and hut Case Keenum whose knee hit the ground. However, the gamer Keenum is caused him to get up and hustle but was tackled a couple yards ahead of where he should have been called down. This time the play was whistled dead and defensive tackle Kyle Love was credited with the sack.
Credit for all stills: Fox Sports
 It was hard for the official to see, no doubt, but he really did get it wrong. So, Peppers will be shorted a sack this season, at least in our view.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Great Games of the 1970s: “Polar” Bears Procure the Playoffs

LOOKING BACK
By Joe Zagorski
We are now at that stage of the 2017 NFL season where the surge to make the playoffs is foremost on the minds of many teams. The games in December seem to hold a fan’s interest much more than the games in September, and the tenor of those important contests are just one notch below that of the playoffs themselves. One single play can sometimes mean the difference to a player between winning a championship ring or beginning the off-season workout schedule. The competitive ending of each year is not new in pro football history, however. One dramatic ending for an unlikely team occurred 40 years ago, and it was an ending that possessed several unique storylines.

On December 18, 1977, the Chicago Bears traveled to a frozen igloo of sorts at the New Jersey Meadowlands. A semi-persistent snowstorm, mixed with a steady dose of freezing rain and frigid 20-degree temperatures, greeted both the Bears and the New York Giants on this final day of the regular season. The Bears had been absent from post-season play for the past 13 years, and this meeting with the Giants would determine whether or not they would miss the playoffs for a 14th straight season. A Chicago win would give the Bears the NFC Wild Card designation. New York, in contrast, did not have a chance to make the playoffs. Their five wins in 1977 relegated them to play the role of spoilers, as they tried their best to keep Chicago from claiming a playoff berth and winning what would be their ninth win of the season. New York would by game’s end provide the Bears with all that they could handle.

Another team that was not playing in this chilling climate was just as interested in the outcome as were the Bears and the Giants. The Washington Redskins were spectators to their own fate, however.  They had defeated the Los Angeles Rams 17-14 on the previous day to earn their ninth win of the year. The Redskins players and their head coach George Allen would be intently watching the goings-on in the Meadowlands from the comfort of their warm living rooms. If the Bears lost to the Giants or tied the Giants, the Redskins would make the playoffs as the NFC Wild Card team. A Bears win would give the long-suffering fans in the Windy City a most savored taste of the playoffs.
There would be several separate side stories that played a noteworthy role in this game as well. One involved Chicago’s superstar tailback Walter Payton, who was trying to make NFL history. He would eventually win the league rushing crown by the end of this game.  But if he ran for 199 yards against the Giants, Payton would eclipse the single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards, set by the dynamic Buffalo running back O.J. Simpson in 1973. As much as Payton was beloved by his teammates, however, a victory over the Giants was much more important to the team than an individual record was to someone who would eventually break many records during his storied 13-year NFL career.

“Sure, it’s in the back of our minds, 2,004 (yards for Payton),” said Bears offensive tackle Ted Albrecht. “But I think all 45 guys on the squad want the W (as in win) before anything else, and Walter would be the first guy to tell you that.”

Payton would have a couple of foes this day, however. Both the Giants defense and the weather conditions would be formidable opponents to the man known to his teammates as “Sweetness.”  It was hard enough to gain 199 yards against any NFL team on a good playing surface. But on this day, Payton would become a victim of a slippery and frozen mess of a field.  He simply could not make a decent cut on the artificial turf, which was as hard as a rock, and as slippery as ice. To the observations from fans in the stadium and at home on television, the scene that was offered was mostly a snow-covered field with the slickness of an ice skating rink.

“The biggest disappointment was the condition of the field,” Payton admitted after the game. “We weren’t prepared for that.” Chicago safety Doug Plank was even more blunt with his assessment of the playing circumstances. “It was the most uncomfortable day in my life,” said Plank.  “It was not a soft, powdery kind of snow; that would have been fine.  This was the worst kind of cold.  First, you got wet. Then the temperature dropped.”

Both teams’ scoring chances dropped too. Players were struggling to stay upright all game long.  Each team managed a field goal in the first quarter. That was more than what Walter Payton could manage.  Indeed by halftime, Payton was held to a hard to believe negative five yards, and his hopes for a new rushing record had all but officially ended. Nevertheless, Chicago’s star halfback was still looking for ways to gain yardage, one of which was rooted in NFL history. Chicago started the game by wearing rubberized turf shoes, which proved faulty at best. At halftime, they dispatched an assistant trainer to go out and buy a supply of steel-tipped cleated shoes.
Practically the same thing happened way back in 1934 when the Giants changed from their cleated shoes to sneakers at halftime of their championship game against the New York Giants at the old Polo Grounds. It was called for posterity as “The Sneakers Game,” and the change of footwear proved beneficial enough for the Giants to help them notch a 30-13 victory over the Bears. The Bears’ change of shoes in 1977 helped them a little bit, but a simple offensive strategy adjustment was just as responsible for more yardage gained by Chicago in the second half.

“We started to go inside instead of outside,” Payton said.
Payton was not the only player slipping and sliding on the frozen turf, however. The kicking game for both teams was at a major disadvantage all game long. Chicago placekicker Bob Thomas missed two field goals and a conversion attempt, and another one of his field goal attempts was thwarted by a bad snap from center. New York placekicker Joe Danelo fared better, however, as his three field goals were all the points that the Giants could muster in this game. A 4-yard touchdown run by Chicago fullback Robin Earl late in the fourth quarter gave the Bears a 9-6 lead, and it appeared to be the winning score until Danelo booted his final field goal late in regulation.

This all-important game would go into an overtime period with the score knotted at 9-9, and with the weather not improving one little bit. In fact, the temperature dropped as the skies darkened, which made for the ice on the field to become even slicker. It was getting more and more probable that if any of the two teams would eventually win this game, they would do it with a field goal. This probability – and the frozen turf – were not aiding the psyche of Chicago kicker Bob Thomas.
“A kicker has to plant that left foot and try to stay stable,” Thomas would say many years after that historic game. “It was really tough. The field was worse than snow and ice because some portions were solid ice and some portions were thin ice (that) you could break as you stepped on it, and there’d be freezing water underneath.”

Thanks to a key pass from Bears quarterback Bob Avellini to Payton for 14 yards late in the overtime period, Chicago would have one last chance from 28 yards out to claim a victory.  Just before his final field goal attempt, a couple of Thomas’ teammates had something “inspiring” to say to him.

Bob Parsons grabbed me by the shoulder pads and picked me up and said, ‘If you don’t make this kick, I’ll break your neck,’” Thomas recalled.  “So I said to him, ‘You obviously weren’t a psychology major at Penn State (Parson’s alma mater).’” Another of Thomas’ teammates, Bears linebacker Don Rivas, grabbed the kicker by the collar and told him not to come back to the locker room if he missed this kick. Chicago safety Doug Plank added that Rivas “...wasn’t laughing; it wasn’t a joke.”
With nine seconds left in the overtime period, however, it would be the entire Chicago team that would be laughing, as Thomas’ 28-yard field goal split the uprights. The Bears were headed back to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. The players frolicked gleefully on the field, many hugging Thomas, and some making snow angels on the frozen turf (as if the past 74 minutes and 51 seconds were not enough time to get wet and frozen).

Elderly Chicago team owner and NFL patriarch George S. Halas would shed a tear and revel in the glory of seeing his team make the playoffs once more in his historic life. “Thank-you Lord,” Halas was heard to say after the game.

The Bears did not go far in the 1977 playoffs, losing in the first round to the eventual world champion Dallas Cowboys. But no one who saw their incredible 12-9 victory over the Giants in the frozen Meadowlands 40 years ago will ever forget it. “That day was something else, I’ll tell you,” Thomas confirmed.  It was a day that the Chicago Bears, wearing their white away jerseys on the snowy white field, appeared to look more like “Polar” Bears...and bonafide NFC Central Division Champions.

Sources:
Associated Press.  “Bear Victory Eliminates Redskins.”  Hagerstown (Maryland) Morning Herald, December 19, 1977, 27.
Boss, David.  Prolog: The Official National Football League Manual for 1978.  Los Angeles: Dell, 1978, 110-113.
Lapointe, Joe.  “For ‘77 Bears, Giants Stadium Was a Special Place,” The New York Times,
 December 26, 2009. 
Zagorski, Joe.  The NFL in the 1970s: Pro Football’s Most Important Decade.  Jefferson, North
Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2016, 277-278.
Website:  Pro Football Reference, Chicago Bears at New York Giants - December 18th, 1977.

Joe Zagorski, a long-time member of the Pro Football Researchers Association (PFRA), is also the author of the book The NFL in the 1970s: Pro Football's Most Important Decade, published by McFarland and Company, Inc., in 2016.  It was ranked as one of the top ten football books in 2016 by The Library Journal. 
He has written numerous pro football articles over the years for The Coffin Corner, the official newsletter of the PFRA.  He was also a former sportswriter for The Coatesville Record (in Coatesville, Pennsylvania) and The Evening Phoenix Newspaper (in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania).  In his free time, he does volunteer work on several charitable causes for the Tennessee Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.  He lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Friday, December 8, 2017

WADE PHILLIPS: The Collapse of the Broncos

By T.J. Troup
Usually, my stories here are subtitled "Looking Back" and concern men or teams from the past. Not so today, as the subject is two-fold: Wade Phillips and the team he left. Phillips learned his lessons well from the days with his dad through all the stops he made.

Most folks that truly dissect the game, and understand defense, would rank him as one of the top defensive coordinators of the past 25 years. The defensive passer rating is a tool to evaluate the efficiency of TEAM pass defense, and this tool has served me well over the years.

Let us take a look at the Broncos defensive passer ratings for 2015 & 2016. When the Broncos won it all in 2015 the rating when they won was 74.5 which of course was better than the league average, and when they lost it was 90.7. Last season Denver played even more efficient pass defense as the rating in victory was 62.0 and in loss 81.1.

Phillips is now in Los Angeles teaching his concepts to a hungry group of men who have all the traits of a playoff team and are ranked 5th so far this season in the defensive passer rating category. These are challenging, yet fun days for the boys in the helmets with horns. Not so in Denver. Much has been written concerning the quarterback position, and no doubt Mr. John Elway will address that situation in the offseason, but this short story is about team pass defense.

Denver not only is on an 8-game losing streak, they have plummeted in the rankings in trying to stop opposing quarterbacks. In the 3 wins this year the Broncos defensive passer rating is 80.4—about the league average, but in the 9 losses, it is a woeful 107.6! Blaming the quarterback when your secondary cannot stop ANY and ALL quarterbacks is a very narrow view.

Wade Phillips is sorely missed in Denver.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"I Don't See How Kansas City Ever Loses A Game": The Significance of the Chiefs Defense in 1969

LOOKING BACK
By T.J. Troup
The above quote comes from the "Dancing Bear" Ron McDole after Buffalo lost to the Chiefs on December 7th, 1969. Reading online a story by Michael DiRocco of ESPN, he stated that the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguar defense could become the first team ever to lead the league in scoring defense, total defense, takeaways, and sacks. He mentioned previous great defenses, and that the Elias Sports Bureau stated no NFL team in the SB era had ever accomplished the above criteria.

ESPN is in the process of laying off folks, and Mr. DiRocco's inability to research might prove costly to his career. For ten years there was another league playing pro football, and though there were some putrid defensive teams there were also a handful of truly excellent defensive teams.

I learned from a college history professor years ago that being first is always SIGNIFICANT. That said—let's examine the best defensive team in AFL history and the only team that is truly significant in the SB era.

Kansas City allowed only 177 points, but more important the Chiefs allowed only 11 offensive touchdowns in their eleven victories. They allowed only 10 touchdown passes all season (tied the record set by the Oilers in 1967).

Kansas City allowed only 3,163 yards in total offense. Though very impressive, a detailed game-by- game breakdown in run defense tells us so much more about how dominant the Chiefs were. Only three times during the season did an opponent run the ball more than 30 times in a game—a rarity in this era of run dominant play calling. Two of the three were in the losses to the Silver & Black Raiders.

In their eleven wins, opponents ran the ball just 225 times for only 777 yards (3.0 a carry). Kansas City recorded 47 takeaways including a very impressive 32 interceptions. Kansas City recorded 48 sacks to lead the league.

Now that we have the stats, shall we take a look at the personnel and scheme employed by the first second-place team to win a Super Bowl. Bart Starr exposed the three weak links in the Chiefs chain mail in January of 1967. Corners Willie Mitchell and Fred Williamson struggled the entire game, while middle linebacker Sherrill Headrick got his butt kicked by the Packer offensive lineman. Only Willie Mitchell was still on the Chiefs roster in 1969.

Aaron Brown had size (6-5, 255) and speed, and was very disappointed he did not start as a rookie in 1966 in the Super Bowl. Brown led the team with 14 sacks, and his month of November is one of the best in team history as he has great pass rushing games against Buffalo on November 2nd, and Denver on November 27th. He was an explosive, big-play lineman and does receive some All-AFL recognition.
Buck Buchanan recorded 6½ sacks and was extremely difficult to move due to his size and strength. He was recognized as First-team All-AFL for the fourth year in a row
The trade with Denver for Curly Culp (for just a 4th rounder pick) gives Buchanan a running mate at tackle, as he is just as strong and even quicker than Buck. Culp records 8½ sacks (dominant performance against Buffalo in early November), and was learning how to shed blocks, and pursue. Culp ended the season with 69 tackles with nine coming behind the line of scrimmage.

Left defensive end Jerry Mays was not selected to the Western Conference All-star team, yet does receive some All-AFL recognition to go along with his 11 sacks. The veteran has seen in all and has never missed a game. The 40 sacks by this group means that the Chiefs do not have to blitz to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The heat applied sure helped the secondary.
Let us take a look at the revamped secondary. Emmitt Thomas earned a berth on the Western Conference All-star team at left corner in 1968, yet he is moved to right corner in 1969 and leads the league in interceptions. Though he is not a great tackler, he is willing when asked. Thomas is more than adequate as a zone defender, but he is outstanding in man coverage and alert in playing the ball in flight. First-round draft choice Jim Marsalis has an outstanding season at left corner. Quick, athletic, and tough (ask Bobby Crockett) he is tested, and proves he is the final piece the Chiefs defensive puzzle.

Jim Kearney had much to learn, and as such the Detroit Lions let him go, and he is no doubt a work in progress at left/strong safety. A fine run defender, he is swift enough to play man coverage on tight ends, and has proven to also be a big play man (ask the Broncos).
Johnny Robinson is the best safety in the ten-year history of the AFL. Savvy, resilient, and very instinctive—JR is always in the right place. He is superb at covering running backs out of the backfield in man coverage, demonstrates the ability to play the deep pass in weak side roll coverage, and is an experienced deep pass "centerfielder". Robinson records 8 interceptions and is again All-AFL.

The Chiefs defensive passer rating is a league-leading 42.1 under the guidance of Tom Bettis. Tom learned defense as a Green Bay Packer middle linebacker under Phil Bengston, and a season with the champion Bears under George Allen. Bettis can mix and disguise coverages with the best of them. Though he is not listed as defensive co-ordinator—film study shows Bettis learned his lessons well.

Finally to a group that over time has become known as one of the best linebacking trios in pro football history. Jim Lynch played very well in 1968, and even better in 1969. He didn't blitz often, though he was very effective opening day against the Chargers. A fine tackler, he understands his role at right outside linebacker.
 Willie Lanier in just three seasons has proven himself to be the best middle linebacker in the history of the AFL. A leader, this explosive tackler can blitz if asked, but more importantly can play coverages most middle linebackers cannot. "Banjo" is not used frequently simply because you are asking the middle linebacker to take the tight end man to man when the strong side linebacker is blitzing or has the back to his side man-to-man. Lanier has the quickness to do this coverage. Willie also can play zone pass defense, and this is never more evident than against the Vikings in the SB.

Finally, the key to the entire defense: BOBBY BELL. Opinions vary concerning who is the best strong-side linebacker in league history. Bobby Bell still is ranked among the very best. Much has been written about his versatility; that Bobby could do this, or do that or play any position—hell, he could probably fly the plane, and drive the team bus if asked.

The Chiefs at times play a gap control defense with their lineman and align Lanier and Bell almost side by side inside between the tackles. Thus, no team is going to have much success running inside. This alignment invites opponents to sweep strong side, but Bell is so quick for a man his size—he pursues properly to stop the sweep (81 tackles). Bell is effective on the blitz with 5 sacks and can play either man or zone coverage.
He is the poster boy for big plays and is again First-team All-AFL. An aspect that has never been discussed, but will be listed here:  durability. All eleven Kansas City starters play in 14 games, this is unheard of. In summation; possibly someone will read this saga and let Mr. DiRocco know it exists. The Super Chiefs defense of 1969 is significant.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Otto Graham Booklist

LOOKING BACK: Booklist
By Chris Willis, NFL Films
On this day (Dec. 6th) in 1921, Otto Graham was born in Waukegan, Illinois. Nicknamed “Automatic Otto” Graham played for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1955. He won four All-America Football Conference (AAFC) titles and three NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955. In his last game, the 1955 NFL title tilt against the Los Angeles Rams, Graham passed for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 2 more scores in a 38-14 victory. Graham guided the Browns to 10 division or league championships in ten seasons. In 1965 Graham was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Despite these great credentials Graham has only two books written about him. One authored by himself, while the other authored by his son. Here is a look at both books.
Otto Graham: T-Quarterback
Otto Graham: T-Quarterback (published 1953)
Published in 1953 by Prentice-Hall publishers Otto Graham: T-Quarterback was written by Graham himself near the end of his career (maybe helped by a ghostwriter). It’s a 223-page look at how to play the quarterback position. The volume is broken down into 12 chapters.
  1. Winning Football
  2. Quarterback Mechanics
  3. Starting the Play
  4. Hands-Off, Fakes and Laterals
  5. Fundamentals of Passing
  6. Getting Set to Throw
  7. Basic Pass Patterns
  8. Passing Fancy
  9. Fundamentals of the running Game
  10. The Quarterback’s Other Duties
  11. Halfbacks and Fullbacks
  12. For Young Players and Their Parents
Graham gives much detail and insight into playing the quarterback position and what it takes to be fundamentally sound. This book shows why Graham went on to a coaching career, eventually guiding the Washington Redskins for three years (1966-1968) finishing with an overall record of 17-22-3.
Also within T-Quarterback are 24-pages of photos with many images showing the reader how to play quarterback. Many geared towards beginning players, and even veteran players, T-Quarterback gives a very unique and insightful look at the Hall of Fame passer.
“The Graham book is a masterpiece for study by young footballers, coaches and those who teach the game. It deals with all the tricks of the trade from mental attitude to execution.” Book review from Salt Lake Desert News & Telegram.
Ottomatic: The Remarkable Story of Otto Graham
Published in 2004 by Immortal Investments Publishing, Ottomatic was written by Duey Graham, the son of Otto and Bev Graham. In this 252-page volume, Duey Graham writes a biography based on interviews with his father and his mother Bev Graham. Their voices and words carry the whole volume. Nine chapters long that cover Graham’s career from Waukegan High School; to Northwestern; his stint in the Navy; the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference; and his Browns years in the NFL. The last four chapters go into detail about his time coaching in the College All-Star game in Chicago; his career at the Coast Guard Academy; his time as head coach of the Washington Redskins; and the final chapter on his legacy (1970-2004).

One of the best parts of this book are the photos. Because of his access to family photos and material.

Over 100 images appear in the book with tons never before published, including Otto as a young boy; high school images; playing at Northwestern, in the service; and much more.
The book also features a Forward by hockey great and Otto’s good friend Gordie Howe.
On his birthday let's remember one of the NFL's all-time greatest quarterbacks.