Monday, June 10, 2019

Players of the Decade—1950s

By John Turney
This is the eighth 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 and now have reached the decade of the 1950s.

Here are the picks:

1950s Player of the Decade
Bobby Layne
Layne won three titles (one shared) in the 1950s and since Otto Graham played through only 1955 he was not eligible for this decade's honor. Layne also had good statistics and plenty of legendary stories.

1950s Defensive Player of the Decade
Night Train Lane
Night Train exploded onto the NFL scene in 1952 and as a rookie set the NFL record for interceptions in a season, a record that still stands. He was mostly a corner, but there were a couple of seasons he played some safety and did it well. He's the best-ever corner and edges our our runners up who were also very highly rated all-time, but neither were number one as Lane is so he gets the award.

1950s Player of the Decade Runner-Up
Joe Perry
Perry was the NFL MVP in 1954, he won rushing titles, he was All-1950s and eventually retired as the top rusher of all-time. He edges out several others as the runner up Player of the Decade for the 1950s.

1950s co-Defensive Player of the Decade Runners-Up
Emlen Tunnell and Jack Christiansen

Tunnell was more steady, year-to-year, than Christiansen but Christiansen had a higher peak. In the end, we picked both as runners up. Both were great, both could play run support and coverage. Both could return punts and kicks. Both were great tacklers. Christiansen was faster, Tunnell stronger. So, they share the award.

Leo Nomellini is a solid honorable mention behind the Defensive Player of the Year and the co-Runners Up.

Next up: The 1955-65 period.

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