1944 ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS BEST EVER?

The Army Black Knights of 1944 and 1945 are considered the best college football teams ever to play.  This story is about the 1944 edition that Coach Red Blake said was the greatest team he ever coached.  1945 team was the best squad he ever coached.

1944 was a powerhouse going 9-0 and scoring 504 points while giving up 35. The average win was 56-4 per game.  Before the game with Villanova, Blake let his assistant run the team as he went out and scouted Notre Dame for an upcoming game.  The score was a disappoint to Blake as the team only won 83-0.  Other team scores were 46-0 over North Carolina, 59-7 over Brown, 69-7 over Pittsburgh, 76-0 over Coast Guard (a number of Pro players enlisting), 27-7 over Duke (won Sugar Bowl), Villanova, 59-0 over second ranked Notre Dame (I guess Blake’s scouting worked), 62-7 over Pennsylvania and 23-7 over the then 2nd ranked Navy.  The schedule they played was a .623 record of all teams.

What made this team so good was the use of two platoons, The starters would play the 1st and 3rd quarters and the second team (shock troops) would play 2nd and 4th quarters.  The second team had Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis (wow).

My statistics came from the West Point Library.  A number of years ago, I visited West Point and it’s library, but it was a few years later that I called them for the stats.  It was around 10 AM when I asked the Captain for the stats.  He said “yes sir, I will have the stats for you at 2 PM”, I called back and he gave me the stats for 1944 and 1945.  After we were finished, he asked me for my rank, I told him I was just an ordinary citizen.  I have in the past done the following: 1984 calling the Houston Gamblers of the USFL for stats and actually talked to Mouse Davis about his run and shoot offense, Going to different Universities libraries for stats.   Below is the first team (quarters 1 and 3), and the second team roster (quarters 2 and 4), along with some stats and result numbers.

Doug Kenna 1st-Team-QB(5) FS(5) 5-11-180lb-pass-53.5% for 5 TDs, rush at 5.2 avg. Pass-two-2’s, 2-3’s, one 4, one 6; rush six-15s, two-16s.  Kickoff return 25.0 avg., punt return 22.0 avg.

Tom Lombardo 2nd-Tm-QB(4) FS(4)-pass-57.4% for 3 TDs, rush 4.1 avg.  Pass-two-2s, one 3, two-6s. rush two 15s and one 16.

Bobby Dobbs 1st-Tm-FB(4) (SS(4) rush 5.4 avg., 2 receptions. six 4s, 5-6s.

Doc Blanchard 2nd Tm-FB(5) SS(5) rush 5.5 avg.  one 2, three-4s, six-6s. 3 defense interceptions.

Max Minor 1st Tm-HB(4) CB(4) rush 7.5 avg., 6 receptions for 121 yards. 2 defense int.  one K, five 15s, eight 16s.

Glenn Davis 2nd Tm-HB(5) CB(5) rush 11.5 avg., 13 receptions. 4 defense Int. one-1, one-2, nine-3s.  Also returned kickoffs and punts.

Dale Hall 1st Tm-HB(4) CB(4) rush 6.9 avg. one K, nine 15s.

Dick Walterhouse 2nd Tm-rush 6.0 avg. eight 15s, three 16s. 1st stringer Kicker and punter.

Ed Rafalko 1st-Tm-WR(4) DE(3) 12 receptions

Dick Pitzer 2nd Tm-WR(4) DE(3) 8 receptions

Barney Poole plays all quarters TE-5 DE(5) 8 receptions 6-2 231 lb

Bob St. Onge-1st Tm-C(4) MLB(4)

Herschel Fuson-2nd Tm-C(4) MLB(4)

Joe Stanowicz-plays all quarters G(5) OLB(5)

John Green-plays all quarters G(5) OLB(5)

Al Nemetz-1st Tm OT(3) DT(4)

William Webb-2nd Tm OT(3) DT(4)

Tex Coulter-plays all quarters OT(4) DT(4) the largest of all Army players at 6-4 250lb.

The offense is 47 for both squads basic and master and the defense is 47 for both squads basic and master.

Dave Urban Cards

Dave Urban Cards

I just received the nicest present in the mail today. My dear friend, Dave Urban, sent me a duplicate copy of one of the greatest high school football teams that he ever carded the Bishop Gorman Gaels. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the workmanship that went into this team set. I’m a big fan of customized envelopes and Dave’s has a nice clean look and is informative. Once I removed the cards from the envelope, I was greeted with a team card identifying the starters on offense and defense. Let me tell you these cards are all APBA from the rounded corners to listing player’s height, weight and year in school and the artwork on the back of each card. My favorite part is how Dave inserted the offensive skill player’s statistics in a different color just above the player’s name. This is extremely informative and I wish the game company did the same thing.

Let’s review Tate Martell’s quarterback card. This kid put up some crazy numbers and his card reflects it. I’ve never seen such power numbers on a card before (1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, and 9). I literally laughed out loud when I saw that interception number at play result 46. That is traditionally were Mark Zarb places his interception numbers. Some of you know this story but I will share it anyway. Two years ago, I was replaying the 1969 AFL/NFL season and I was playing the playoff game between the Oakland Raiders and my beloved New York Jets. The Jets were trailing late in the game but Broadway Joe was marching the Jets down the field for the go-ahead score but a redzone interception ended all that. Of course, it was that @$#%%$ dice roll 46. I was literally sick and threw the dice across the room. Seven hours later, I was transported out of the house on a gurney at 2:00 A.M. for a fast ride to the Emergency room. Now the doctors diagnosed me with congested heart failure but they don’t know @#$%, it was that dice roll 46 that did me in!

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, it would be to replay the 1984 USFL season using a Dave Urban carded set. Dave, once again, thank you for this team set and you are an APBA Football legend!!!

 

1985 BALTIMORE STARS USFL’s LAST CHAMPION.

In 1985 the USFL dropped 4 teams to create a 14 team league. The 4 teams removed, had their players dispersed among the remaining 14.  The league was much stronger than the previous two seasons.  In 1986 the USFL wanted to confront the NFL in the fall.  The Philadelphia Stars folded and move to Baltimore in 1985 because Philly would not allow the Stars to play in the stadium that was tied up by the Eagles. This is one of the reasons that the USFL filed a anti-trust lawsuit.  The lawsuit was won by the USFL.  The jury however was instructed that a minimum amount of $1 could be awarded (which meant in an anti-trust suit the sum is tripled to $3).  The jury felt that is what they should award and that the USFL could get millions of dollars later. This  misunderstanding led to the $3 reward and the end of the USFL.

The Baltimore Stars in Philadelphia finished 15-3 and lost the title game to the Michigan Panthers in 1983 and won the USFL title in 1984 against the Arizona Wranglers.  In 1984 the Stars were very dominating, going 16-2.  1985 saw an injured Stars team struggle with a 0 wins, 2 loss and 1 tie in OT first three game start.  The Stars with the injury bug over won the last 9 of 10 games to finish 4th in the Eastern Conference and a wild card berth with a 10-7-1 record. The Stars showed their metal with an opening 20-17 win over the NJ Generals (led by Herschel Walkers all time pro record of 2,411 yards rushing with 21 TDs and a 5.5 average.). Next the Stars downed the Eastern Conference champions Birmingham Stallions (13-5-0) 28-14 and won the USFL title beating the Western Conference champion Oakland Invaders (13-4-1) 28-24.

The starting lineups with some partial play numbers

Chuck Fusina QB(4) 6-1-197-PENN STATE  61.1% COMPLETE, 20 TD, 14 INT. and rushing for a 4.0 average.  Numbers-one-2, two-5s, three-6s and three 7s.

Allen Harvin FB(3) 5-9-200-CINCINNATI 549 yards rushing, 4.0 avg. with 38 receptions for 279 yards. Numbers-one-2, two-15s, three-16s and three-17s.

Kelvin Bryant HB(4) 6-2-195-NORTH CAROLINA rushing for 1,207 yards, 5.1 avg. and receiving 40 receptions for 407 yards and 4 TDs. Numbers-one K, two-15s, six-16s and seven-18s.

Scott Fitzkee WR(3) 6-0-187-PENN STATE 73 receptions for 882 yards.

Willie Collier WR(3) 5-10-175-PITTSBURGH 35 receptions for 473 yards master 2/3

Ken Dunek TE(3) 6-6-235-PADUCAH JC; MEMPHIS 44 receptions for 508 yards

Bart Oates C(4) 6-3-265-BRIGHAM YOUNG   master 4/3

Chuck Commiskey OG(4) 6-4-290-MISSISSIPPI

George Gilbert OG(3) 6-3-265-TULSA

Joe Conwell OT(2) 6-5-280-NORTH CAROLINA

Irv Eatman OT(4) 6-7-296-UCLA master 3/5

Defense

Mike Lush FS(5) 6-2-195-EAST STROUDSBURG 10 Int., 1 Sack

Scott Woerner SS(4) 6-0-195-GEORGIA 1 Int. 2 Sacks

Jonathan Sutton CB(5) 6-1-195-NEW MEXICO 5 Int. master 5/4

Garcia Lane CB(4) 5-9-180-OHIO STATE 3 Int. master 4/3

Sam Mills MLB(5) 5-9 227-MONTCLAIR STATE 2 Int. 5.5 Sacks

Mike Johnson OLB(4) 6-1-228-VIRGINIA TECH 2 Int. 3.5 Sacks

George Cooper OLB(3) 6-2-225-MICHIGAN STATE 2 Int.

Dave Opfar DT(3) 6-4-270-PENN STATE 3 Sacks master 3/4

John Walker DT(4) 6-6-270-NEBRASKA-OMAHA  10 Sacks master 4/3

William Fuller DE(4) 6-3-274-NORTH CAROLINA 1 Int. 8.5 Sacks

Don Fielder DE(4) 6-3-240-GOLD WEST JC, KENTUCKY  9 Sacks master 5/4

All the teams that I write about and over 300 more have been made by myself and are printed with printed card backs, cut, corners rounded and printed envelopes. This a fun project for me.

 

 

 

 

1937 LOS ANGELES BULLDOGS RAZZLE-DAZZLE

The pro football world in it’s history has never seen a team like the 1937 LA Bulldogs.  The Bulldogs were pure excitement.  The team had a 16-0-0 season, going undefeated in the regular AFL season (8-0-0) and in exhibition games against other tough pro teams and two all-star teams.  It’s history is one that includes victories over NFL teams.

On the Bulldogs, 18 past and future NFL players were part of their roster.  Many experts at the time said that this team would easily beat any NFL team.  The team ran an offense that was part T-formation and part single wing.  The two wide receivers were flanked to the sidelines on each side of the field, the other 9 players were in the usual formation.

Here is how the LA Times and several New York newspapers described the team: “Using razzle-dazzle the team would use lateral plays, double lateral plays, reverses, spinner plays-they had them all”.  On kickoffs the team would use: ” befuddle huddle, Howard the main star would return the kickoff to the 15 yard line, where all of the Bulldogs would converge, where each player would bend over so that anyone could have the ball, then all players would brake out and run down the field.”

Here is the starting offense and defense of the team of 26 players.

BILL HOWARD QB-(5) HB-(5), CB-(5), SAFETY-(5).  6-0-185 lb.-Compton CC, Southern Cal. Stats and partial card numbers: Passing 55.6%, 8 TDs and 4 INT. Rushed for 571 yards for a 6.8 Avg. scoring 5 TDs and kicking 7 XP,  Rush 3 K’s, 5-15’s. Pass-two-1s, one-2, three-3’s. Kickoff return 28.7 avg., punt return avg. 12.2.

GORDON GORE FB-(4) HB-(4) MLB-(4) CB-(4). 6-0-215 lb.-Southwestern Oklahoma State.  Stats and partial card numbers: Rushing 361 yards for a 6.0 Avg. scoring 1 TD and kicking 4 XP and the only 2 FGs. two-K’s seven-4s

ANDY NICHELINI HB-(5) CB-(4). 6-0-207 lb.-St. Mary’s California. Stats and partial numbers: Rushing 324 yards, 5.8 avg.  Passing 58.3% for 1 TD and 0 Int. Kickoff returns 30.1 avg. and punt returns 16.2 avg.  3-Ks, three 15s.

ED STARK HB-(4) QB(4) FB (4). SAFETY(4) LB(4) MLB (4) 5-11-165 lb. Pasadena CC, Oklahoma Baptist. Stats and partial numbers: Rushing 256 yards, 5.7 avg.  Passing 50% with 1 TD and 1 Int.  One-K, five-15s. for rushing.

BILL MOORE-WR-(4) SAFETY-(4) 6-1-200 lb. North Carolina. Stats 20 Rec. for 412 yards and 5 TDs

JERRY DONNELL-WR-(3) G(3) LB(3)CB(3) 5-11-203 lb. Oregon. Stats 18 Rec. for 288 yards 3 TDs and 2 XP.

BERNIE HUGHES-C-(4) G-4 LB-(4)-6-1-190 lbs. 6-1-190 Oregon.

RAY CLEMENS-G-(4) DE(4)-6-0-215-Central Oklahoma.

PETE MEHRINGER-G-(4) DE(4)-6-1-206 lbs.-Kansas

HARRY FIELD-OT-(4) DT(4)-6-1-230-Hawaii-Oregon State

STEVE SINKO-OT-(4) DT(3)-6-3-220 Duquesne

When using this team for an APBA football game, here are the playing rules.

RAZZLE-DAZZLE option

  1. Throw two dice after runner gains yards.  If the result is 2-5 then razzle-dazzle takes place. If the total is 6-12 then it is a regular running play.
  2. Pick runner to receive razzle-dazzle.
  3. Throw the regular APBA dice and find out the final rushing yards by the razzle-dazzle runner receiving the ball.  Special note:  if the print number is a 23, 43, or 63 the then a fumble has happened with 0 yards gained, throw two dice and add. If the numbers are 1-4 the offense recovers, if 5-11 defense recovers, if 12 defense recovers and can advance ball the regular fumble recovery way.

 

 

1948 BROWNS unbeaten & unappreciated

The 1948 Cleveland Browns were the first team to go undefeated and win a championship game.  The Browns had a 14-0 regular season record, scoring 389 points and giving up 190 and won the title game over the Buffalo Bills by a 49-7 blowout. The Browns were led by Hall of Famers Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Frank Gatski, Dante Lavelli, Lou Groza and Bill Willis.  Bill Willis was the first black player in Pro Football since the early 1920s and Horace Gillom was the first black punter in football history.

During an 8 day time period the Browns won three games going from one coast to another with an injured Otto Graham playing.  In that 8 day stretch the Browns beat NY 34-21, Los Angeles 31-14 and San Francisc0 (finished 12-2, losing only to the Browns) 31-28 after being down.

The Browns after entering the NFL in 1950 won 6 straight conference titles and 3 NFL titles.

The players for the Browns were: with partial play result numbers.

QB-OTTO GRAHAM (5) with 52% complete for 25 TDs, 15 Int. and rushing for a 6.3 avg. Otto at time played safety with 1 Interception.  6-1-190 lb. Passing with one 2, three 3s, two 4s. one 5 and one 6.

FB-MARION MOTLEY (5) with a league leading 964 yards on a 6.1 avg. with 13 catches.  At times played LB and Middleguard 6-1-220 lb. Three Ks, five 15s and three 16s.

HB-EDGAR JONES (3) rushed for 400 yards and a 4.0 avg. with 14 receptions. 5-10-195 lb. Three 15s, three 16s and four 17s.

HB-BILL BOEDECKER (3) rushed for 254 yards and a 3.3 avg. with 13 receptions. Also played safety and defensive halfback (CB) 5-11-190 lb. One 3, two 15s, one 16 and four 17s.

WR/TE-MAC SPEEDIE (5) caught 58 passes for 816 yards. 6-3-200 lb. A receiver.

WR-DANTE LAVELLI (4) caught 25 passes for 463 yards and missed half the season with an injury, otherwise a sure 5 rating. 6-0-190.  B receiver.

C-FRANK GATSKI (4) also played MG at times. 6-3-220 lb.

G-ANGELO GAUDIO (3) also played LB at times. 5-10-215 lb.

G-ED ULINSKI (4) played LB at times 5-11-200 lb.

T-LOU GROZA (3) played DT at times.  kicked 51 XP and 8 FG. 6-3-215.

T-LOU RYMKUS (4)also played DT (4) 6-4-230

The league leading defense had:

FS-TOM COLELLA (4) with 2 Int. Also played HB on offense (3) rushing for 60 yards. 6-0-187

SS-CLIFF LEWIS (5) with 9 Int. also playing backup QB. 5-11-165.

CBs-TOMMY JAMES (5) with 4 Int. 5-10-180 and ARA PARSEGHIAN (3) also HB on offense with 135 yards rushing and a 4.2 avg. (later a Notre Dame coach) 5-10-195

MG-Bill Willis (5) great speed and quickness. 6-2-210

LBs-LOU SABAN (5) very fast with 5 Int., was so good on AAFC all pro team was given the center slot even though he never played the position.  6-0-198. WELDON HUMBLE (4) had 1 interception and was at times used as a guard for the messenger to  Otto Graham. 6-1-215.

DTs-CHUBBY GRIGG (4) received in a trade and was a mountain to move and very quicj for his size. 6-2-280.  CHET ADAMS (4) was another tough player to move out. 6-3-230.

DEs-JOHN YONAKOR (4) had 1 Int., caught 5 passes and used his tallness to stop passes.  6-5-218.  GEORGE YOUNG (4) tough as nails 6-3-210.

 

 

MONTREAL ALOUETTES 2009 one of Canadian Football League’s Best

Over the years I have made all sorts of teams and leagues, one of which was the CFL.   The Montreal Alouettes, and are considered one of the CFL’s greatest.  Montreal finished the regular season with a15-3 record and won the Gray Cup-CFL Title. The team scored 600 points, (1st in the League) and gave up 324 points (1st in defense) in the League. The Alouettes was lead by Anthony Calvillo the greatest QB in Pro Football CFL and history and one of the best  in any Pro Football league.  Calvillo lifetime had 9.437 attempts, 5,892 completions for a 62.4% Pct. with a world record of 79,816 yards which included 455 TD passes.  Rushing wise (in the CFL the QB is considered as one of the runners), Calvillo had 3.658 yards rushing for a 5.4 Avg., 34 TDs and a long run of 53 yards.

In 2009 Anthony Calvillo (5)  completed 72.0% for 4639 yards, 26 TDs, 6 Int. while rushing for 198 yards anda 6.2 average.

His partial passing numbers for the 6-1, 197 lb. graduate of Utah State USA was one 2, two 3’s, one 5 and two 6’s. with 15.5 other completions. Running numbers were: six 15s and one 2.

Aaron Cobourne (4) had 1214 yards rushing for a 5.4 average with 56 receptions for 458 yards.  five 15’s, 2 K’s and four 16’s.  He is 5-8, 209 lb. and played at West Virginia in college.

Brian Bratton (2) received 58 passes for 613 yards is 5-10, 186 lbs and played college at Furman.

Ben Cahoon (5) wide receiver had 89 receptions for 1031 yards.  Ben is 5-9 and weighed 179 lbs. playing college ball for BYU.

Kerry Watkins (4) wide receiver was 4/3 master game caught 81 passes for 1242 yards and weighed  in at 189 at 5-11 and played college ball at Georgia Tech.

Jamel Richardson Tight End (4) caught 85 passes for 1055 yards and weighed 215 lbs at 6-3 and played college ball for Victor Valley College.

WHEN playing CFL teams a 12th man must be used on offense and defense- Larry Taylor was that man with 7 receptions, but also was the return man for punts and kickoffs.  Punts has to be returned in CFL, no fair catch.  Taylor is 5-6, 177 lbs. and played for Connecticut University in college.

Offensive line had Bryan Chiu (C-4) 6-2, 287, Washington State, Scott Flory (G-5) 6-4, 290, Saskatchewan UIniversity, Paul Lambert (G-2) (V:3/2) 6-4, 295, Western Michigan, Josh Bourke (T-4) 6-7, 315, Grand Valley State and Jeff Perrett (T-2) 6-7, 320, Tulsa.

Defense: Matt Proulx SS(4) 6-0, 202, Laval; Jerald Brown FS(3) 5-11, 185, Glennville State (WV); Mark Estelle (CB-4) 5-9, 180, Utah State; Davis Sanchez (CB-3) 5-10, 190 Oregon, WHEN playing in CFL a 12th defender must be used-Billy Parker FS(3) 6-0, 195, William & Mary, Shea Emry (MLB-3) 6-1, 235, UBC, Chip Cox ( OLB-4) 5-9, 194, Ohio, Diamond Ferri (OLB-3) 5-10, 223, UBC, Eric Wilson (T-3) 6-4, 290, Michigan, Kenon Williams (T-4) 6-1, 265, Massachusetts, John Bowman (E-4) 6-3, 255, Wingate and  Anwar Stewart (E-5) 6-3, 245, Kentucky.

The CFL has some amazing rules, a kickoff for a TB is a point for the kicking team, each team has 3 downs to get a first down, the football field is 110 yards long.

In the past when USA pro team would play the CFL, each half would follow the  rules of the other league.

 

 

COACHING CARDS

A number of years ago I created Coaching cards for the legends of College and Pro football.

The card basically looks like this:

BUD                                                                                                                                                  WILKINSON

OFFENSE +3

DEFENSE +3

For every game this coach plays, the general manager (human coach)  may increase  either the team’s offense by the number on the card or the defense number for a single quarter in the game only. Example: the offense Total of 1956 Oklahoma is 48 and the defense total of 2015 Ohio State is 43, meaning a B index for 1956 Oklahoma.  However the human coach decides to use the Wilkinson coaching card offense in the 3rd quarter making it Oklahoma 51 Index giving the  team an A index in the 3rd quarter. The card can’t be used anymore for offense or defense.  If the human coach used the defense rating on the card, in this case a +3 for example in the fourth quarter, then 1956 Oklahoma defense goes to 51 and puts the Ohio State offense of 41 into a C index in the fourth quarter.  The card is used for offense or defense only and for one quarter, you can’t use the card for offense and defense in the same game.

For example other ratings: Knute Rockne +3 Off, +3 Def; Red Blaik +3/+3; John McKay +2/+2; Frank Leahy +3/+3; Tom Osborne Off +3/+2; Woody Hayes +2/+2; Paul Bryant +3/+3; Lou Saban +3/+3.

For Pro Teams for example: Vince Lombardi +3/+3; George Halas +3/+3 and Bill Belichick +3/+3.