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NFL – Greatest QBs – Sammy Baugh & Sonny Jurgenson & Joe Namath

DOG COMMENTARY:

As I continue to post Bone Daddy’s entire 2300 hour video vintage sports, comedy and music library on this site…..which includes many hours of NFL Films from the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that featured their Greatest Players Ever Series….that so aptly highlighted the careers of NFL players that they considered the greatest of all time by position….as this video showcases two Washington Redskins all-time great quarterbacks in Slingin’ Sammy Baugh (1937 – 1952)….and QB Sonny Jurgensen (1964 – 1974)….and finishes off with the  Broadway Joe Namath….for these three QB’s were not only impressive on the field…..but also just as impressive off the field in their own individual ways.

Samuel Adrian “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh was an American football player and coach….who played college football for the TCU Horned Frogs where he was a two-time All-American….and then he played in the NFL for the Washington Redskins from 1937 to 1952….after which he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 17-member charter class of 1963.

Slingin’ Sammy led the Washington Redskins to the NFL Championship title in 1937 and 1942….and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1947 and 1948….in which he led the league in completions, attempts, completion percentage, yards passed, passing touchdowns, interception percentage and passer rating…..as he was primarily known for his passing prowess due to leading the NFL in completion percentage seven times….passing yards four times, and an NFL record six times in passer rating….which remains an NFL record still today (2016)….however, he was also known for his versatility….having the ability to play at a high level as a punter as well as a defensive back. Throughout his career, he led the league in yards per punt five times….as well as yardage in 1943….a year in which he also led the league in defensive interceptions, with 11….and his yards per punt of 51.4 during the 1940 season also still stands as an NFL record as of 2016

Sonny Jurgensen took over play-calling for the Redskins during the 1964 season….as he was then selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the season after being named second Team All-Pro….for one of Sonny’s most memorable games was during the 1965 season….when the Cowboys took a 21–0 lead at DC Stadium….as Jurgensen then threw for 411 yards, leading the team back to win 34–31….along with rushing for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak and threw a game-winning 35-yard TD pass to Bobby Mitchell.

In 1967, Jurgensen broke his own record by passing for 3,747 yards and also set NFL single-season records for attempts (508) and completions (288)….then he missed much of the 1968 season because of broken ribs and elbow surgery. He did, however, tie an NFL record early in the 1968 season for the longest pass play in NFL history….with a 99-yard pass play to Jerry Allen….as coincidentally….Redskins’ quarterbacks had three of the first four occurrences of a 99-yard pass play (Frank Filchock to Andy Farkas in 1939 and George Izo to Bobby Mitchell in 1963 were the other two occurrences of the play)….a feat that has not been accomplished by a Redskins QB since.

In 1969, Vince Lombardi took over as the Redskins’ head coach….for in that season, Jurgensen led the NFL in attempts (442), completions (274), completion percentage (62%) and passing yards (3,102)….as the Redskins went 7–5–2 and had their best season since 1955 (which kept Lombardi’s record of never having coached a losing NFL team intact).  Sadly, Lombardi died of cancer shortly before the start of the 1970 season….leading Jurgensen to later say that of the nine head coaches he played for during his NFL career….Lombardi was his favorite.

In 1974, at the age of 40 and in his final season….Sonny Jurgensen won his third NFL passing crown even though he was splitting time with Billy Kilmer….in what would be the final game of his NFL career…. Jurgensen made his first and only appearance in an NFL postseason game in the Redskins’ 19–10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the 1974 NFC playoffs.

Jurgensen is recognized as the finest pure passer of his time….having been a five-time Pro Bowl selection….and earning three NFL individual passing titles….wherein he exceeded 400 yards passing in a single game five times and threw five touchdown passes in a game twice. With a career rating of 82.6, his stats include 2,433 completions for 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns….and he also rushed for 493 yards and 15 touchdowns….as his 82.62 career passer rating is the highest for any player in the “Dead Ball Era” (pre-1978).  Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi would later tell Pat Peppler of the Green Bay Packers head office that, “If we would have had Sonny Jurgensen in Green Bay, we’d never have lost a game.

Joseph Willie Namath, nicknamed Broadway Joe,….is a former American football quarterback and actor….who played college football for the University of Alabama under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant from 1962 to 1964….followed by a professional career in the AFL and NFL during the 1960s and 1970’s….as Namath was an AFL icon and played for that league’s New York Jets for most of his professional football career. He finished his career with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams….and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Statistics belie Namath’s enduring influence on the game of professional football….having retired after playing 143 games over 13 years in the AFL and NFL….but ue mainly to chronic injuries which undermined his career at its peak….with an overall record is 68 wins, 71 losses, and four ties (64–64–4 in 132 starts and 4–7 in relief)….having completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards….throwing 173 touchdowns and having 220 interceptions.  He played for three division champions (the 1968 and 1969 AFL East Champion Jets and the 1977 NFC West Champion Rams)….earning one league championship (1968 AFL Championship)….and one Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl III).

Namath is known for boldly guaranteeing a Jets’ victory over Don Shula’s NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III (1969)….then making good on his prediction with a 16–7 upset….and since Joe Willie was already a celebrity….his Super Bowl prediction and victory established him as a sports icon….with which notoriety he subsequently parlayed into success as a nightclub owner, talk show host, pioneering advertising spokesman, theater, motion picture and television actor and sports broadcaster. He remains a highly recognizable figure in the media and sports worlds nearly half a century after his brashness cemented his identity in the public mind….and in this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion…..these are the reasons he was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame…..as it wasn’t for his stats…..but more for his bravado and notoriety.

In 1999, Broadway Joe Namath was ranked number 96 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players…..as the only player on the list to have spent a majority of his career with the Jets. In his 1975 autobiography, Alabama head coach Bryant called Namath the most natural athlete he had ever coached.

For my money, the best of these three was Sammy Baugh….but that might be cuz he was born in Sweetwater, TX….just a few miles down the road from Midland, TX….where Bone Daddy grew up…..but then again, I sure would have loved to have found Joe Willie’s cleats under my bed on any given morning.

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