Saturday, February 23, 2019

1960s NFL All-Decade Team Critique

By John Turney
Like the 1950s All-Decade Team, the Official Hall of Fame 1960s NFL All-Decade Team had a unique makeup:
Again, like the 1950s it had three quarterbacks, not distinguishing who (if any) were the First- and Secon-teams. It had two fullbacks and four halfbacks. We suspect there may have been some ties in the voting that account for the oddities but the votes have never been made available so that is just speculation. There are five linebackers three of them are middle linebackers, but three ends, tackles, corners, and safeties. Again, Zim would say, "They don't line up that way fellas". 

So, we've taken the resources available and made some selections on our own. Feel free to criticize. We chose five years of service as the minimum to qualify for the All-Decade team so Nobis is out right away. 
No one had a full decade of dominance at outside receivers, Del Shofner started out that way but faded due to injuries. Bob Hayes gets credit for "changing the game" by how zone defenses reacted to him but it was Shofner who first consistently drew zone coverage to the weak (1 receiver) side, and it continued with Hayes. Shofner was our Second-team split end behind Raymond Berry on the 1955-65 All-Decade Team

Here is a chart, courtesy Pro Football As can be seen, there are a lot of ways to go, stats, honors. We combined both mixed with the ole' "eye test". Really, lots of picks for receiver would work.

Now, back to Mackey. Mackey was on the official team (and the Combined AFL-NFL 1960s All-Decade Team which should be the official 1960s All-Decade Team in our view.) Here is a look at that team:
However, Mike Ditka was shut out. We put him on the PFJ Second-team. Jim Parker also got snubbed but the panel picked Shaw and Kramer; we put him on our NFL First-team.

Back to our team—outside linebacker was difficult on the final slot. We went with Joe Fortunato over Dave Wilcox (who came into his own on the 1965-75 Second-team), Matt Hazeltine, Wayne Walker, Jack Pardee, Larry Morris (who made the official team), and Lee Roy Caffey

The official team got the kicker right, but we feel that Tommy Davis and Bobby Joe Green were better punters than Chandler, but Chandler could kick well. Davis could kick, but punting was his forte. We reserve the right to change this as we do more research into the punting of the 1960s. We have partial data now and if it holds, we may bump Green ahead of Davis.

Agree or disagree? Let us know.


  1. John, love your revisions, especially making 1st/2nd team've watched a lot of film to pull Ken Gray out of relative obscurity....the two questions I have are Ed Meador over Paul Krause at 2nd team safety? where is Dave Wilcox....decade 'tweener'? thanks

  2. Yes, Wilcox a tweener, though he could have been here, he was considered, but went with Fortunato

  3. Just awesome stuff. I never really understood how Crow, Dowler and Larry Morris were worthy of being on the '60's all-decade team, and am glad you've set the record straight. Or at least listed your teams - which carries a lot of weight given your extensive (and objective) knowledge of the sport.
    I imagine '70's is next, and I can't wait for that. As far as 60's would you consider listing your all-decade combined teams (combining NFL and AFL)? I for one would love to see that and I bet I'm not alone in that sentiment.

  4. Nitsche intrigues me? Many different accounts on his size. I have heard anything from 6-3 to 6-5, just how big was he? How much did he weigh? Was he quick and fast enough to play in space?

  5. Would have chosen Dale over Taylor because he caught more TDs and was part of three straight championships on a running football team. I know, he played longer, but had inconsistent QBs before Starr, and didn't have Jurgenson throwing to him.
    We had a great argument on Mackey, but Retzlaff would have been my choice...Though Hornung had the TDs, thought John David Crow or Timmy Brown, were better, especially with their receiving numbers...Would give the nod to Brown, with his Special teams numbers.

    1. Dale was a fine receiver, and could get deep but nowhere near Taylor's class. Timmy Brown fumbled a lot third-highest percetnage of decade among qualifieds, so we looked at that.

      Hornung was key to Packer offense, even without the ball, more valuable than numbers suggest