By Nick Webster
It’s a regular season game in Week Two in 1952 and something happened that hasn’t repeated itself to this day. It’s the first quarter of a home tilt in the Los Angeles Coliseum and the home-standing Rams are facing off against the future champion Detroit Lions. The Lions are an ascending power and will tally two of the three regular-season defeats against the Rams and knock them out of the playoffs, games between teams like these require a little something special.
On 3rd and 12 to go in the first quarter the Rams line up with Norm Van Brocklin under center and with Bob Waterfield in the slot to the left. Van Brocklin rifles a short pass which is completed to Waterfield for a 5-yard gain, short of the first.
Bob Waterfield was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1965 and Norm Van Brocklin in 1971, making this the only time in history that two quarterbacks connected on a completed pass in a regular season game.
Later in his career, Van Brocklin would tutor a young future Hall of Famer in Sonny Jurgenson, but no passes were completed between the two. There was no combination of Sid Luckman, Bobby Layne or George Blanda connected for a completion with the Bears in the late 1940s.
Blanda played long enough to team with Ken Stabler for the Raiders in the early 1970s but no passes were completed between the two. Never did aging, and unrecognizable, Charger Johnny Unitas complete a pass to Dan Fouts and the young Fouts never connected with aging Unitas. Steve Young was one of the more athletic quarterbacks around, yet the only two passes he caught in his career were thrown by his own left hand, no connections occurred between Young and Joe Montana.
As for future we already know that Hall of Famer Brett Favre and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers never connected on a pass during their time with the Packers. In 2004 presumptive Hall of Famer Drew Brees caught a long pass from Hall of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson while potential Hall of Famer Phillip Rivers on the bench. Should Eli Manning squeeze into the Hall, neither he nor Kurt Warner were able to connect on a pass in 2004.
It’s a fair bet to say that the pro game will go a long time before we again see what was seen on that day in 1952.