Monday, June 10, 2019

Players of the Decade—1955-65

By John Turney
This is the ninth in a series of picking players of the decades. We began with 1915-25, the 1920s, the 1925-35 period, the 1930s, 1935-45, the 1940s, 1945-55, the 1950s, and now we go after 1955-65.

Here are the picks:

1955-65 Player of the Decade
Jim Brown
Brown was a multiple MVP/POY (1957, 58, 63 and 65) winner, a Rookie of the Year, an eight-time All-Pro, won a championship and many other accomplishments including statistical achievements from 1955-65. There was no other choice for the best player for this period as he beats out Unitas who had an amazing 1955-65 period.

1955-65 co-Defensive Players of the Decade
Gino Marchetti and Joe Schmidt

Marchetti and Schmidt were too close to separate. They both won titles, were Linemen of the Year winners and many time All-Pros in this mid-Decade period.

Both are on the "Mr. Rushmore" for their positions. Marchetti with Deacon Jones, Reggie White, and Bruce Smith. Schmidt with Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis, and Jack Lambert.

So, maybe it is a cop-out, but when players for an award come down to a coin flip, we tie them and honor both.

1955-65 Player of the Decade Runner-Up
Johnny Unitas
Unitas was a clear second to Brown for this mid-decade. He was a three MVP awards (1957, 59, and 64) and won a pair of championships and was in his prime by the end of this mid-decade.

Unitas' teammate Jim Parker is an honorable mention behind Unitas.

1955-65 Defensive Player of the Decade Runner-Up
Night Train Lane
Lane was the Defensive Player of the 1950s and he kept his skills up through the early 1960s and other than Marchetti and Schmidt he was the top defensive player from 1955-65. He follows up his 1950s Defensive Player of the Decade with a runner-up for this time frame.

Bill George is a very close honorable mention behind Lane. He had Defensive Player of the Year-quality seasons in 1961 and 1963 and maybe even others.

Next up: the 1960s


  1. no other possible choices.....the whole series is a wonderful trip through the 100 years....thank you guys....Parker as honorable mention is great

  2. Can't argue with any of the choices. But where do you put a player like Lenny Moore of the Colts who was productive as both a running back and receiver during this time frame. Finished his career with over 100 Total Touchdowns, which was rare at the time.