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Today's Tidbit... NFL Scoring Leaders Of Old
Most everyone knows that kicking specialists did not become common in the NFL until the 1960s. Before then, kicking specialists were rare because substitution rules limited the ability to send kickers into games for a play or two, and rosters were limited to 16 players in 1925 and 30 in 1938 before increasing to 40 in 1964.
The combination meant that position players doubled as the punters and kickers. Linemen sometimes kicked, but drop kicking and punting were typically handled by backs.
The list below from a 1961 Four Roses promotional brochure shows the NFL scoring leaders from 1932 -when the NFL began keeping official statistics- to 1960. Many on the list are well-known names, with eleven making the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Of the twenty players on the list, only three, Gene Roberts, Elroy Hirsch, and Jim Brown, scored all their points the season via touchdowns, while Andy Farkas and Steve Van Buren kicked only two extra points in their league-leading years.
Elroy Hirsch, Gordon Soltau, and Bobby Walston played end, Lou Groza was an offensive tackle, while the remainder played in the backfield.
Gene Roberts, unknown to most, is the only player to lead the NCAA, NFL, and CFL in scoring in a season. (Three separate seasons, of course.)
Sam Baker's 1957 season was an oddity. Despite being a regular at fullback, most of his points came as a kicker, and his only touchdown came on a fake punt.
The low point totals for the league leaders in the 1930s are notable. Teams scored less often in those days, so the position player-kickers earned fewer points on the touchdown and kicking sides of the equation.
While backs and ends generally attempted their kicks from shorter distances and were less accurate than kick specialists, there is still an old-school attraction to players who scored a touchdown and converted the PAT.
Can anyone identify the last NFL player to kick the extra point after scoring a touchdown?
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