Saturday, February 23, 2019

1950s NFL All-Decade Team Critique

LOOKING BACK
By John Turney
When the Hall of Fame released the 1950s All-Decade team the format was odd. They listed three quarterbacks but only one center. There was not a First- and Second-team as there has been since the 1970s All-Decade Team. So, we don't know which of the three were the "top" quarterback.

There were two tackles and three guards. Two defensive ends and tackles yet four linebackers, two corners (halfbacks) and three safeties. As Paul Zimmerman once wrote, "They don't line up that way".

Here is the official team:
We've gone back and chosen a First- and Second-team and attempted to use our film study, stat research and other means to determine who might be the top players in a format that is similar to the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s All-Decade Teams.

Now, here are our selections:
Gone are Raymond Berry (on our 1955-65 team), Tom Fears (on our 1945-55 team), and Bobby Walston. Jim Parker (only 3 seasons in the 1950s) is on the 1955-65 team and our 1960s team as a guard. It was hard leaving out Doug Atkins but Brito was better during this decade and Atkins dominance was the mid-1950s to the end of his career.

We went with a 4-3 defense but could have added middle guards for the first-half, but the best ones didn't get a lot of time in during the decade and fit with other teams.

Agree or disagree? Let us know.

16 comments:

  1. Yale Lary was the original 'hang time' punter. Yale was better punter than Gillom and Baker, imo.


    Yale Lary was not only a shutdown safety and fearless open field tackler,

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    1. What is the percentage of punts returned for each kicker? That's a good indictor for coffin-corner punts, at which Lary had few if any peers.

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  2. Gillom's net punting in 1950s = 38.9
    Baker's net punting in 1950s = just around 38.2
    Lary's net punting in 1950s = just around 37.0

    We use net punting, rather then gross average. Lary had a few too many toucbacks and return yards...while very good. The guys we picked were better

    Same at safety...Lary very good, but Christiansen and Tunnell better

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  3. John, where are you seeing game film? thanks

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  4. have lots and also at Mt. Laurel.

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  5. Replies
    1. NFL Films is there. They have a small movie theater where you can watch film. Some of us watched some 1940s action there at the PFRA convention in 2012.

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  6. John, I greatly respect your expertise and am in general agreement with your revised list....i would however ask how you put Gifford ahead of Lenny Moore (full disclosure: I have a bias as a lifetime fanatical Baltimore Colts fan)...not those Indys btw....anyway, if you could 'draft' one or the other for your team, you'd pick Frank over Lenny?)....I also question Gifford over Ollie Matson....and was Dale Dodrill in your consideration vis a vis George Connor?... these are quibbles....Creekmur > Bob St. Clair? interested in your reasoning/conclusion and lastly, we broached this in an earlier post, but thank you for recognizing how great Gene Lipscomb was

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    1. Lenny Moore didn't play long enough in the 1950s to be qualified, IMO. He's on the 1955-65 All-Decade team.

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  7. Van Brocklin was simply a better passer than Layne. Rate+ consistently higher than average.

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    1. Layne got the jewelrym so that plus passing > VB

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    2. VB had one, and one in 1960...and in 1951 he shared one. Layne had 2 plus shared one.

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  8. Dr Z said in Thinking Mans Guide that Van Brocklin may have been the best of all time at his 1960 level.

    You boys don't like Abe Gibron as much as Z did huh? What did you see there?

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  9. Great team, though I would have chosen Layne over Graham because I didn't think he had as good of offensive talent around him,as Graham. Plus he won more head to head matchups. Wow, Brito must be something to leave out Doug Atkins ! Dan Towler didn't qualify ?

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    1. Doug Atkins didn't become a full-time starter until 1958. He was a part-time starter/backup for four of his first five seasons.

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