Wednesday, June 12, 2019

George Wilson Jr. and His First Uniform Number

By John Turney
Expansion teams often have some oddities of some sort. Sometimes it's in their roster that mixes castoffs and young players. Sometimes it's in the uniforms.

Today we look at George Wilson, Jr. who was the son of the expansion Dolphins coach George Sr. Wilson won the punting job for the Dolphins in 1966 and in the first two weeks he was the punter only. He'd played quarterback in college but was beaten out as a senior. With the Dolphins he played some quarterback in the preseason but was not given a quarterback number at the beginning of the season.

In game three of the 1966 season Dolphins starter Rick Norton was having a poor game (3/10 for 17 yards no touchdowns and three picks) and the Dolphins were behind 41-3. In came Wilson. Wilson did well,  throwing for three touchdowns.

But the interesting note was his uniform number. It was #48. We've all seen John Hadl of the Chargers wearing his famous #21 jersey.
But seeing a number higher than #21 is rare, if it's ever happened in the modern NFL. Here are a few screenshots.

After Wilson's performance, he was named the starter at quarterback the following week versus the Chargers and for that game and the rest of the season, he wore #10. 
In the shotgun
So, even if it was for just a week, it's a nice little oddity to add to the Dolphins lore.
Matte at QB wearing #41
Of course, some will mention when the Colts were forced to used running back Tom Matte as a quarterback the year before. Matte wore #41, but Matte was the "emergency" quarterback whereas Wilson was a quarterback who played that spot in the preseason and was likely more of a third quarterback rather than the emergency quarterback.


  1. didn't Ed Rutkowski wear #40 when he was pressed into service as the Buffalo qb in 1968?

  2. Yes, he was in same category as Matte, he was an emergency QB

  3. John, is there anything you don't know?

    1. LOL. Yes, tons, and fogetting more every day. Getting older sucks

  4. There is a photo of 3 Chicago Bears quarterbacks together from the 1948 season. The starter, Sid Luckman, was wearing #42. The 2 back up quarterbacks were Johnny Lujack, wearing #32, & Bobby Layne, wearing #22

    1. Yes, you are 100% right. I have colorized that photo ... that was prior to the 1952 rules on numerals, when QBs could wear anything. After that they had to wear 1-19 ... but there were these (and more) exceptions.