Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday – Sammy Baugh

While A11 Football League quarterbacks will need to be able to do more than just drop back and throw, they will be hard-pressed to be as versatile – and play at an All-Pro level at so many positions – as Pro Football Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh.

Baugh is best known as a quarterback, both as a collegian at Texas Christian and as a 16-year professional with the National Football League’s Washington Redskins (1937-52). With Washington, Baugh threw for 21,886 yards, 187 touchdowns, a completion percentage of 56.5 and a passer rating of 72.2 – all numbers unheard of for that era. Baugh led the league an amazing nine times in completion percentage, including five seasons in a row (1945-49).

But not only was Baugh a standout quarterback in the NFL, he also saw time at single-wing tailback, punter and defensive back. Baugh’s career totals, in 165 regular-season games, include a 45.1-yard average on 338 punts, nine rushing touchdowns, 31 interceptions for 491 yards (all in his first six NFL seasons) and 11 punt returns for 99 yards.

Two months ago, Dan Daly of asked if Baugh’s 1943 season was the best in NFL history. In 1943, the Redskins went 6-3-1 and tied for the Eastern Division title, then lost the NFL title game to the Chicago Bears, 41-21.

During the regular season, all Baugh did was the following – throw for 1,754 yards and 23 touchdowns, and complete 55.6 percent of his passes; averaged 45.9 yards on a career-high 50 punts; intercepted a career-high 11 passes for 112 yards in returns and returned two punts for 13 yards.

Then, in a playoff game against the New York Giants, a 28-0 victory, Baugh threw a touchdown pass while going 16-for-21 for 199 yards, picked off two passes and averaged 41 yards on four punts. Even in the title game loss, Baugh was 8-for-12 for 123 yards and two touchdowns and punted twice for a 39.5-yard average.

A11FL teams most likely won’t have a quarterback who also can play in the secondary and punt. But if they can find a quarterback to revolutionize this league like Sammy Baugh did in the NFL, that’s the start of a winning formula.

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