Friday, May 26, 2023

Bob Waterfield's Retirement Haul

 By John Turney 
December 14, 1952, was Bob Waterfield's final game with the Rams and had announced that it would be his last regular-season game. 

As such the Rams honored him with a retirement ceremony that included parting gifts and awards.

He got a boat, a motor, some fishing and hunting gear and golfing equipment among other things.
Here is the list.

The Rams beat the Pittsburgh Steelers that day 24-14 with the aid of three Night Train Lane interceptions - the final breaking the NFL record, one that still stands to this day.

Jim Finks throws high to tight end Dick Hensley and it is (maybe) tipped with "The Train" lying in wait - pick number 14 on the season was his. Tipped or not the ball was high.

Lane had the flanker, Ray Matthews, on the play but had his eyes in the backfield and dropped the coverage. He was behind Matthews, trail technique you could call it, but he didn't need to worry because he had deep help from the right safety Norb Hecker. Hall-of-Famer Les Richter has Hensley and Finks has to throw it a bit high but it gets away from him—it sails.

Here is the play—

A couple of plays later Norm Van Brocklin hits Crazy Legs Hirsch for a 65-yard touchdown to make the game 28-7.

The long one to Hirsch—

Waterfield didn't have a great day going 7 for 15 for 69 passing yards and didn't throw a touchdown pass. He did throw two interceptions.

With the win the fams finished 9-3 and played the Lions the following week in a divisional playoff, losing 31-21. Waterfield played enough to throw nine passes, making it his final playoff game.

This all capped a Hall-of-Fame career, one that included two NFL titles, one in 1945 in Cleveland and one in Los Angeles in 1951.


  1. From Brian wolf ...

    There are people who question Waterfield making the HOF but he was similar to Namath, being a young champion in Cleveland before being a celebrity in Los Angeles ... his career path is similar to Paul Hornung, a magazine idol who did everything including kicking but with a better thrower on the team with Van Brocklin, should have tried to join another team than retiring but Russell convinced him ...

    You wonder if he could have succeeded Thompson in Philly or Albert in SF?
    GB may not have been able to protect him before Rote ...

  2. not to be contrarian Brian, but if Jane Russell wanted me to do just about any thing, I would have happily complied!....she is waaay sexier to me than MM...just sayin'

  3. BW ...

    Bettie Page had all of them beat but I can understand Jane wanting Bob to retire but at the same time, Russell lost favor as an actress in the 60s while Waterfield struggled as a head coach ...

    I actually met a woman in Reno Nevada in 1999 who was a dead ringer for a younger Jane Russell and this lady loved wearing lipstick ...

    1. ok, Brian, now you’ve gone and done it….given your persepacity in introducing Bettie Page to a PFJ discussion (in conjunction with the fabulous Jane R), I concede (or defer or something)….you go ahead and bring up that Weeb-revenge game anytime the spirit moves you…..another couple of reasons why I love the 50s so much….(sigh)….jim