Legendary Insights — Carl Eller on Jim Marshall’s Wrong Way Run, 50 Years Later

Legendary Insights — Carl Eller on Jim Marshall’s Wrong Way Run, 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago this week, on October 25, 1964, Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings pulled one of the NFL’s ultimate blunders. He recovered a fumble, rumbled downfield, and crossed the goal line – for a safety. Many remember the play a farce at Marshall’s expense. But how justified is the amusement? I discussed the play with Marshall’s Hall of Fame teammate, Carl Eller. I first, however, asked about a seldom known fact: Carl returned a fumble earlier that quarter for a touchdown. A surprised Eller said, “Most people remember the wrong way run by Jim Marshall during my rookie year, and a lot of people only remember that. What people don’t remember is that I returned a fumble for a touchdown right before that….John Brodie was the (49ers) quarterback. I think Jim (Marshall) hit him and the ball snapped out. I picked up the ball and ran for a 45-yard touchdown in Gale Sayers–like fashion. [Laughs.]” Eller then recalled the […]

THIS MIGHT SURPRISE YOU: WHAT WAS THE WORLD LIKE LAST TIME YOUR TEAM WON A TITLE?

This is the first in a four-part series. Knowing how much I love history, my wife bought me a birthday card listing facts about the year I was born. I started wondering what was happening the last time teams won a championship. Let’s find out, and I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had researching. We’ll start with the NFC East and NFC North Divisions. Some of the most decorated trophy rooms in football reside here, their championships might seem longer ago than one might think. As Bruce Springsteen says, “Glory Days – They’ll pass you by.”   NFC EAST DALLAS COWBOYS – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Company dominated, winning 3 out of 4 Super Bowls. For their last title, the Cowboys topped Carnell Lake (remember him?) and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 30.  That January of 1996. Bill Clinton’s first term in office. Hootie and the Blowfish had the number one […]

An Appreciation: Tom Landry

Phil Simms named his Top 5 Coaching Innovators during last week’s CBS Thursday Night Football broadcast. Being a Wisconsin native, I happily concurred with Vince Lombardi finishing number one. While I understand the difficulty of compiling such lists, the glaring omission of Tom Landry surprised me. To right that wrong in my little corner of the blogging universe, I humbly spotlight Coach Landry’s valuable contributions to the game. THE ROAD TO COACHING Landry attended the University of Texas. He played fullback and defensive back for the Longhorns. Like so many others playing college ball in the 1940s, World War II interrupted his NCAA career. He flew over two dozen difficult combat missions before returning home. Landry later stated that surviving the war built his confidence. He broke into professional football with the New York Yankees of the All-American Football Conference, playing one season with the team before the league folded. The New York Giants picked up Landry, employing him mostly […]

Best I Remember — Gamers

What is a gamer? A guy who plays hard, every single down. A guy who gets back up when others would stay down. They are players you respect even though they play for the team you hate. Some are superstars. Some simply play several levels above their combine scores once the game starts. Earlier we discussed the 10 Best Running Backs I remember, and I explained how this category is completely subjective. These posts are in good fun, and based solely on my fading memory – not statistics. Perhaps I’ll forget the most obvious candidate, like when Cris Carter forgot to name Calvin Johnson in his top 5 current receivers on the Mike and Mike Show. I’ll take that risk, however, and hopefully we’ll all enjoy a few good football memories together. 10. Steve Tasker: The man who made the Pro Bowl 7 times as a special teams player. I don’t remember any player having such an impact on the other team’s starting […]

Thinking Out Loud — Johnny Manziel

The NFL hasn’t experienced rookie hoopla like Johnny Manziel since, well, since Tim Tebow. There’s a reason why players dub the league “Not For Long.” Tebow had his fifteen minutes of Tebow Time in the NFL and it’s over. Debating whether Manziel will prove a star or another Tebow (or Colt McCoy, or Heath Shuler, or Ryan Leaf) is a hot topic. The real answer is that nobody knows, not even Johnny himself. Maziel gave the finger to the Washington bench Monday night. Speaking on the Mike and Mike show, Washington safety Ryan Clark, leaked the trash talk that set Manziel off. It was akin to, “Hey kid, this ain’t college. We’re all faster than you.” Nothing much more than one of my favorite sayings: “The fastest player in college is the slowest player in the NFL.” Few rookies break into the NFL with complete poise, but many shake off such comments. Other rookies undoubtedly heard similar things this weekend. Finger Gate tells me one very important thing about Manziel: the […]

Letter From a Champion — Robert Kahler of the 1944 Packers

We tracked down Bob Kahler a while back. At the time he was the last surviving member of the 1944 World Champion Green Bay Packers. He requested we asked questions via snail mail rather than by phone. True to his word, Mr. Kahler promptly wrote us back. Here are his responses in his own outstanding penmanship. (Click to view larger.) Perhaps Kahler’s speed impressed Coach Lambeau. Bob set an American indoor record on the 70-yard low hurdles at Nebraska, making it to the finish line in 7.8 seconds. The Packer’s “high school facilities” paled in comparison to Nebraska’s, but what perhaps surprised Bob most was the cigarette smoking in the Packer locker room. Even Don Hutson, whom Bob had the unfortunate assignment of covering during practice, puffed away. Kahler, who was born in 1917, passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 96. He was one of only a handful of men alive who played for Curly Lambeau in Green Bay. Those Packers […]

Legendary Insights — Eric Hipple: Depression affects many after NFL career ends

My father-in-law and I recently heard former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple speak. Hipple, who quarterbacked the Lions to the 1983 NFC Central Division title, reviewed his career and shared about his current work at the University of Michigan Depression Center. He noted that 50% of NFL players battle depression after retirement. ALMOST DIDN’T SURVIVE ACCIDENT BEFORE COLLEGE Hipple accepted a scholarship to play at Utah State. A serious dune buggy accident nearly ended everything for him about six weeks before leaving for Logan. His vehicle flipped, and Eric suffered a fractured skull and separated shoulder. His doctor told him he’d never play football again. Eric’s father promptly fired that doctor, and Hipple began recovering under another doctor’s supervision. Hipple recovered well enough that he led the Aggies to conference championships his junior and senior years. He placed sixth in the NCAA for passing his senior year. The Detroit Lions drafted him as the first pick of the fourth round […]

QB Reality – Why Most Teams Stand No Chance

UPDATED: Super Bowl 48 was a bit of an anomaly. Maybe. We’ll see if Russell Wilson wins another Super Bowl, which he’s already in position to do. Stark reality looms for teams without a quarterback sporting a championship ring: Out of nearly 50 Super Bowls, only 31 quarterbacks have won. Of those 31 quarterbacks, 11 have won multiple Super Bowls. That equates to 28 of the 48 Super Bowls, roughly 60 percent of the games. The trend stays fairly steady through the Free Agency Era. Multi-winning quarterbacks have won 11 of the 21 contests, and only 15 quarterbacks won championships. Before Free Agency, 16 quarterbacks won those 27 SBs. Dawson in Super Bowl 4. Wilson and Joe Flacco won the last two, perhaps slightly bucking the trend. In the Super Bowl era, however, Super Bowls 3-5 were the only three straight SBs in which the winning quarterback didn’t win multiple times on Super Bowl Sunday. Even that statistic’s a stretch, […]

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