Today's Tidbit... 100 Years of Football: Modern NFL and Post-1906 All-Stars
This is the seventeenth and last in a series looking back at “100 Years of Football,” syndicated cartoons published by Jerry Brondfield and Charles Beck in 1969. Today's version covers the modern NFL and football all-stars since 1906.
The Baltimore Colts dominated the late 1950s NFL with the unheralded Johnny Unitas tossing to Ray Berry and Lenny Moore while being protected by Jim Parker and others.
The Green Bay Packers had fallen on hard times in the 1950s, but hiring Vince Lombardi, the New York Giants Offensive Coordinator, turned the franchise around and allowed them to become the dominant team of the 1960s. Though he had stars like Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, Herb Adderley, and Willie Davis, Henry Jordan summed him up, saying, “He treated us all the same — like dogs.”
The NFL beat down several rival leagues over the decades, absorbing three teams from the AAFC in the early 1950s, but the formation of the AFL in 1960 and their revenue-sharing TV deal established a new model for pro sports. The bidding war for college players between the AFL and NFL ultimately led the leagues to create the Super Bowl and merge operations.
USC’s OJ Simpson earned the 1968 Heisman, but his year ended in a loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Another upset came 11 days later when the AFL’s New York Jets and Joe Namath upended the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, showing the AFL teams could compete with and beat top NFL teams.
Naming college football all-star teams is always challenging due to variations in systems and teammates across teams. The task is even harder when naming the top players over multiple decades, such as from 1906 to 1939 (legal forward pass).
A second college all-star team covering 1940 to 1968 -the era of the Modern T formation and its derivatives- is equally challenging, as is an all-time NFL team. Among those named to both the college-era teams and the all-time pro team were Ernie Nevers (Stanford and Cardinals), Bronco Nagurski (Minnesota and Bears), Don Hutson (Alabama and Packers), Leo Nomellini (Minnesota and 49ers), Chuck Benarik (Penn and Eagles), and Jim Brown (Syracuse & Browns).
Click the appropriate link for other stories in the series:
1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900-1905 | 1905-1910 | 1910-1915 | 1916-1922 | 1923-1926 | 1927-1930 | 1931-1935 | 1935-1939 | 1940-1946 | 1946-1952 | 1953-1963 | The Pros | Modern NFL and Post-1906 All-Stars
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