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Free Substitution Rule 1950 Free Substitution Rule 1950
The Quarterbacks rules the NFL - Pro Football History

Free Substitution Rule 1950 No longer did the same players play on offense and defense In 1950 the NFL adopted the free-substitution rule that introduced the modern pro football game. Football History Because fans were packing the NFL stadiums the league teams could afford squads of 35 men. Coaches could train offensive and defensive teams. Specialists appeared. The big man who was hard to move and was fast enough to rush the passer was wanted on the defensive team’s forward wall. The fast back who could also tackle and run back intercepted passes for yardage went into the defensive secondary. On the offensive teams were the best passers, runners, blockers and pass receivers. And of course there was the man who came into the game only to kick placements or to punt.


The age of the specialist, with the accent on the forward pass, had actually begun in 1945. In that year quarterback Bob Waterfield led the Rams (then in Cleveland) to the league title. Thereafter, no team would win a title without a great quarterback at the helm. In 1946 it was Sid Luckman and the Chicago Bears; in 1947 Passin’ Paul Christman and the Chicago Cardinals; in 1948 and 1949 one-eyed Tommy Thompson of Tulsa put the Philadelphia Eagles on top. The following year it was quarterback Otto Graham and the Browns; in 1951 it was Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin with the Los Angeles Rams. Bobby Layne and the Detroit Lions did it in 1952 and 1953; Otto Graham was on top again in 1954 and 1955. In 1956 the elderly gentleman from Mississippi, Chuckin’ Charley Conerly, led the Giants home; and Bobby Layne was the star again in 1957. Quarterback Johnny Unitas brought the Baltimore Colts out of nowhere to the top in 1958 and 1959. In 1960 it was Van Brocklin again, this time with Philadelphia. For the next two years Bart Starr shone for the Green Bay titlists; and in 1963 Billy Wade put the Chicago Bears out in front.

1965 NFL 1965 NFL
The NFL Explosion

The following from a book ‘The Story of Football’ by Robert Leckie - 1965 Edition In 1946 Elmer Layden resigned as NFL Commissioner and Bert Bell took his place. Bert Bell was the old Penn star and had brought pro football to Philadelphia. Under him, the NFL weathered its battle with the All-America Conference, and pro football began to explode. By the time of Bert Bell’s death in 1959, the twelve-team NFL was playing to more than three million paying customers every year. Under young and energetic Alvin ‘Pete’ Rozelle, who eventually succeeded Bert Bell, the annual ‘gate’ rose to more than four million fans in 1962. It keeps rising every year. In some cities in the National League it is next to impossible to buy a ticket to a home game. The only way to secure a season’s ticket is to inherit one. In 1963, the franchise of the Los Angeles Rams sold for $7,100,000. In 1941 that same franchise had been worth only $100,000. Twenty years before that, a pro franchise went for just one hundred dollars. Some experts say that the 1963 franchise, worth more than seven million dollars, may be a better risk than the one that went for a mere hundred. That is because the possibility of pay television may open up even more profitable frontiers. And it is also because television has enabled pro football to challenge pro baseball as the national pastime.

Spotlight on All-Pro Performers - 1936

Watching teams move effectively up-and-down the field all season long, pro football's head coaches did not hesitate to name their 1936 All-Pro selections.

All-Pro teams are the best tools that historians can use for getting reliable information about the best pro ballers in the distant past. The NFL archives carries a list of All-Pro linemen during early football history, which takes the place of statistics because no records of sacks nor solo or part tackles were kept in this era.

Starting in 1932, the NFL All-Pros were chosen by teams' head coaches. The coaches' poll called the Official team or OFF lasted through 1939. The United Press selections were Started in 1931 and were selected in tandem with OFF. The UP is the longest continuos poll and is still being used to elevate today's players.

A few of the All-Pros selected in 1936... remember players played both offense and defense during this time frame.

Players' Bios:

* Mel Hein, Center/Linebacker New York Giants - one of the top linesmen in pro football history, he was selected All-Pro for eight consecutive seasons - 1933-1940. 'Quick as a Cat' he deserves favorable comparison to any linebacker in modern time... an endless hustler, Hein was the heart-and-soul of the New York Giants throughout his brilliant 15-year Hall of Fame Career - all with the Giants, 1931-1945.

* George 'Ox' Emerson, Guard Detroit Lions - one of the strongest men to ever anchor the offense line, the 5-ft, 11-inch, 203-pounder won All-Pro honors six straight years - 1932-1937. Born in Douglas, Texas, Ox Emerson was a standout star at Texas University prior to debuting in the NFL with the old Portsmouth Spartans in 1931. An All-Pro in his second season, he was traded to the Detroit Lions in 1934 where he was an All-Pro until his final NFL season (1938) with the old Brooklyn team of the NFL.

* Earl 'Dutch' Clark, Quarterback Detroit Lions - an instant success both as a quarterback and defensive halfback, he captured the attention of football fans throughout the nation with his brilliant rookie season. An All-Pro in his first season, 1932 and picked from 1934-1937, Dutch Clark went on to a resounding Hall of Fame career and is generally ranked as one of the best players in the history of pro football.

* Albert 'Turk' Edwards, Tackle Boston Redskins - a stalwart on both offense and defense he was rated All-Pro every season from 1932-1937 and again in 1939. An unmovable offensive blocking tackle he was 'Power in the Trenches' in his nine year Hall of Fame career, spanning 1932-1940 - all with the Boston/Washington Redskins.

Footballhistorian.com - NFL Football History

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