(Part One of an on-going series)
The National Football League didn’t recognize a Most Valuable Player Award until 1938 when Joe F. Carr, President of the league at that time, announced that the NFL would officially name
The more glaring stat is the comparison of passing touchdowns to interceptions. There were 67 touchdowns compared to a whopping 216 interceptions. Those statistics result in a league-wide NFL passer rating of 29.2. Yes, the sophisticated passing games of today had a long way to go. Every team threw at least fifteen interceptions with the Chicago Bears,
Looking at the top five passers in the NFL in 1936 only Arnie Herber, the seven year vet of the Green Bay Packers, belongs in the discussion for MVP. Leading the Pack to the Eastern Division title with a 10-1-1
|Arnie Herber. Colorization by John Turney|
Hutson was tops in receptions (34), receiving yards (536) and receiving touchdowns with eight. He added another score on a
The running backs around the NFL in 1936 featured a who’s who ofGiants rookie running back Tuffy Leemans, who Wellington Mara drafted as a second round pick out of George Washington, was a workhorse in 1936 leading the NFL in rushing with 830 yards on a league high 206 carries. But his work load hurts him here as he was the only player in the NFL to have over 200 carries, plus he only scored two touchdowns all season for a Giants team that finished with a losing record of 5-6-1. Side note here about Leemans, after rushing for 830 yards as a rookie over his next seven years he never gained more than 474 yards in a single season.
of Fame ball carriers. Each NFL team had a pretty dominate
runner. The top five rushers from 1936, which featured three future Hall of
Famers, did not include the Bears’ Bronko Nagurski (529 rushing yards on 122
carries, 4.3 great Hall , 3 TDs) and the Packers’ Clarke Hinkle (476 rushing yards on
10 carries, 4.8 avg , 5 TDs). avg
Cliff Battles had a solid season with 614 yards rushing and 7 total touchdowns as he contributed in the kick return game too for the Eastern champions Boston Redskins. But it was the Lions backfield that grabbed all the headlines. Fullback Ace Gutowsky (827 rushing yards on 191 attempts) and
Clark called all the plays from the field and in 1936 he called his number not as often as you think. He rushed for 628 yards, 3Clark was the best back in a crowded backfield. The Lions rushed for
rd in the NFL, but it was done on just 123 rushing attempts. His average best
just behind was at 5.1 yards per carry and his 7 rushing touchdowns Caddel’s
tops in the league. was
Dutch not only handled the offense, he was the best kicker in the league too, leading the NFL in scoring with 73 points- behind four field goals and a league leading 19 extra points.
The thirty year-old Clark played the entire 1936 season at the highest level. He scored a point in every game, including an incredible stretch where the Lions played three games in eight days TWICE during the season. Games on October 11
(Philly), Oct. 14 th
(Brooklyn) and Oct. 18 th (Green Bay) and again later in the year on Nov.
25 th (Green Bay), Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 29 (Bears) and Dec. 2
(Bears). He was never better than those three games in late November. He scored
a touchdown in all three games, kicked one field goal and four extra points.
Against the Bears on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26 th ) th sprinted
51-yards for the deciding touchdown in a 14-7 victory, sending Lions’ fans home
happy on Turkey day. he
In the end, Dutch Clark is the 1936 NFL MVP,
out Arnie Herber. edging
|Dutch Clark. Colorization by John Turney|