1952 Green Bay Packers
frozen ground. During the season, the Packers and their followers carry their chins high and their hopes even higher. Because, as they say, anything can happen in a football game. In some respects, the Packers were remarkable this year. They managed to win - to put it bluntly - without a running attack. This, of course, is a credit to the club's powerful aerial offense. It is interesting to compare the Packers with the Forty Niners; one has a strong air game and no ground power, while the other has all soil strength and nothing to write home about upstairs. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Packers had Joe Perry and Hugh McElhenny with their aerial power? Also, can you imaging what the ground-power of the Forty Niners would do with our air game? All three of the current contending clubs are strong in both offensive departments. Each has a representative among the league's first 10 ground gainers - Dan Towler of the Rams is leading, Bob Hoernschemeyer of the Lions is fifth and Marion Motley and Ken Carpenter of Cleveland are sixth and ninth, respectively. Each club has a top-flight receiver - Cloyce Box of Detroit, Elroy Hirsch of the Rams and Mac Speedie of Cleveland. It can be concluded that strong air and ground arms are musts - for championships.
ROTE NOSED OUT IN BID FOR PASS CROWN
DEC 17 (Green Bay) - A three-year veteran and a pair of sparkling rookies were the Packers' Big Three in the NFL's statistical race. They are Tobin Rote, the gallant Texan who came to Green Bay in 1950 along with the new regime; Babe Parilli of Kentucky, the Packers' No. 1 draft choice last January; and Bill Howton of Rice Institute, the No. 2 draft pick. Rote ranked today as the league's second best passer - not to mention some sort of hard luck merchant. The Lean One, who was a senior at Rice when Howton was a sophomore, led the league in passing in 10 out of the first 11 weeks - only to have the Los Angeles Rams' Norm Van Brocklin beat him out with a hot performance against Pittsburgh last Sunday. At that, Rote made a tremendous leap this season. As a rookie in '50, Rote placed 17th among the league's throwers; he moved up to 15th in '51; and now second! Van Brocklin won the championship with an average gain per pass of 8.47 yards, while Rote finished second with 8.08. Parilli, undoubtedly the finest rookie quarterback in the league last fall, ranked third with an even 8.00. They were the only hurlers to average eight yards or more, the Cleveland Browns' Otto Graham placing fourth with 7.74. Van Brocklin went wild in the nightcap by completing 17 of his 28 passes for 289 yards, while Rote pitched 29 times against San Francisco and completed 13 for 149 yards. Van Brocklin lost the title by a narrow margin to teammate Bob Waterfield in 1951. Rote and Parilli each threw 13 touchdown passes, with Rote completing 52.2 percent of his throws and Parilli 43.5. Van Brocklin had the best percentage in the league, 55.1. Rote completed 82 out of 157 for 1,268 yards and Parilli connected on 77 pitches in 177 tries for 1,416 yards. Rote has only eight intercepted - lowest in the league and one under Bobby Thomason, the former Packer - and Parilli saw 17 of his throws grabbed by enemies. Actually, the big gun behind the Packers' quarterbacks' surge was Howton, the slender catcher who could easily rank as the Rookie of the Year. Howton finished fifth in pass catching, but a far first in yards gained, 1,231, on his 53 receptions. He averaged a spectacular 23.2 yards on each catch, thus carrying on as he did in college - only better. At Rice last fall, Howton was the only pass receiver in all college football to average over 20 yards a catch. He finished with 22.4. Howton's yardage figure shattered the mark of 1,211 set by peerless Don Hutson with the Packers in '42. The league record of 1,495 was established by Elroy Hirsch of the Rams in '51. Howton was on the receiving end of the two longest aerial touchdowns in the league this season - a 90-yarder against Washington Oct. 5 and another 90-yard job against San Francisco last Sunday. Parilli threw both passes. Howton's 13 touchdown passes gave him 78 points and ranked him sixth in the league scoring table. The Packers were represented among the top ten in only one other department - punting. Parilli placed 10th with an average of 40.7 yards on 65 boots. His longest was 73 yards, which equaled the longest of the punting champion - Horace Gillom of Cleveland.
PACKERS LEAP 4 PLACES IN NFL WITH 6-6 MARK
DEC 18 (Green Bay) - Statistics don’t mean much after a game. But after a complete season, they have a way of explaining a team’s net strength – its weak points and its strong suits. The Packers fashioned a 6-6 record in the NFL standings. Six teams finished above the Packers in the entire loop and five closed out below. Against five of the “top” six (the Packers didn’t play Cleveland), the Packers scored two victories – over New York and Philadelphia – and absorbed five losses – two each from Los Angeles and Detroit and one from San Francisco. Against the “bottom” five, the Packers posted a 4-1 record on two wins over Dallas, a split with the Chicago Bears and a triumph over Washington. The Bays didn’t play the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh. Thus, the composite standings (both conferences) would seem to indicate that the Packers ranked as the seventh-best club – an increase of four places over 1951, when they closed as the 11th. In order to measure the Packers’ overall “finish” statistically, we’ve taken 32 departments of offensive play and obtained the Packers’ ranking against the league’s other 11 clubs in each department. The 32 “places” averaged out to a rough fifth place finish for the Packers on offense – 5.5 to be exact….COUNTED MOST TD PASSES: On defense, 13 departments were measured, revealing an approximate 7th place finish – 7.4 to be exact. The Packers bagged one “championship” on offense – most touchdown passes. They came home with 26 – two more than Detroit. Quarterbacks Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli each threw 13 and Bill Howton caught 13 TD passes himself. Green Bay’s strong air arm finished second only to the pass-minded Cleveland Browns. The Bays gained 2,374 net yards throwing against the Browns’ 2,566 – a difference of 192. The Packers gained a dubious second place in the fumbling department, finishing second. The Philadelphia Eagles fumbled 43 times and the Bays did it an even 40. But the thing that really hurt was the fact that the Packers were able to recover only nine of those 40 errors. By comparison, the Eagles recovered 21 of their own 43 fumbles…The Packer party was about 12 strong when it arrived here from San Francisco on the North Western at 8:20 Wednesday night. Heading the group were head coach Gene Ronzani and assistant coach Dick Plasman, trainer Bug Jorgenson, assistant trainer Johnny Proski and about eight players, including Tony Canadeo – the 11-year veteran who ended his career this season. Most of the players left for their homes from San Francisco while others branched off from Chicago…Thirteen players shared in the Packers’ 295-pont total – five markers short of the all-time high of 300 set in 1942. Bill Howton led the scoring with 78 points on 13 touchdowns, while fullback Fred Cone finished second with 53 on three touchdowns, 32 extra points and one field goal. Cone, who scored 20 points in the Bear game in Chicago, missed the last two games because of injuries suffered in the Detroit game Thanksgiving day. End Bob Mann caught six touchdown passes to rank third with 36 points. Rookie fullback Bill Reichardt came in fourth with 26 points on one TD, five field goals and five extra points. Probably the most unexpected scorer was John Martinkovic, the huge defensive end who counted two touchdowns. He picked up a blocked punt (by Deral Teteak) to score the winning TD in the Eagle game, 12-10, and flopped on a fumble in the end zone in the second Bear game for the other TD.
PACKERS PLAN 1953 COLLEGE STAR DRAFT
DEC 16 (Green Bay) - Nine of the 12 clubs in the NFL, including the Green Bay Packers, today started aiming at the 1953 draft while the remaining three – Los Angeles, Detroit and Cleveland – buckled down for more competition on the field. The Packer preparations were rolling along, so to speak, since head coach Gene Ronzani and members of his coaching staff are presently on the train en route back to Green Bay from San Francisco. Arrangements for the Packers’ draft was started several months ago and picked up steam when Ronzani signed Joe Stydahar, former Los Angeles head coach, as his administrative assistant. Stydahar is handling the chores vacated by Jack Vainisi, the Packer scout, who is recuperating presently from illness at his home in Chicago. The entire draft business will come to a head in Philadelphia Jan. 23-25 when the league holds its annual meeting. And for the umpteenth year, the Packers will be praying for a bit of luck on the bonus pick. Green Bay is one of six teams still in the running for the “top” pick. The Packers will join the Chicago Cardinals, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and possibly Baltimore in the annual out-of-the-hat drawing. The lucky team will get pick of any graduating college player in the nation. All of the other teams have won the bonus choice and are ineligible until each team has drawn successfully. The Los Angeles Rams were the bonus winners last year. They selected Bill Wade, Vanderbilt quarterback who is now in service. If there’s no luck in the bonus pick, Ronzani is hoping that the draft turns out as good as the 1952 list. The club salvaged eight players from the group – Babe Parilli, Bill Howton, Bobby Dillon, Dave Hanner, Tom Johnson, Bill Reichardt, Deral Teteak and Bobby Jack Floyd. The first order of major business in Philadelphia will be settling the status of the proposed Baltimore franchise for the 1953 season. Commissioner Bert Bell has told a group of prospective Baltimore owners that it must sell 15,000 season tickets to gain admittance to the NFL. Latest reports from Baltimore are that more than 8,000 have been sold. The Baltimore group has until the NFL meeting to sell the additional 7,000. The Packers – what’s left of them – are due to arrive in Green Bay on the North Western at 8:20 Wednesday night. They left San Francisco Monday morning and are scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 1:30 Wednesday afternoon. Most of the players left for their homes immediately after the game, some of them flying.
THREE PACKERS ON NC'S BOWL TEAM
DEC 16 (Los Angeles) - The Green Bay Packers’ spectacular rookie Bill Howton will pair with veteran Cloyce Box of the Detroit Lions at ends for the National conference in the annual pro bowl football game between the NC and American conference here Jan. 10. Howton, who bettered Don Hutson’s yards mark this season, was the only Packer named on the “first team”. Two other Packers were picked for the reserve squad – veteran Ab Wimberly, a defensive end, and Deral Teteak, the rookie linebacker, from Oshkosh and the University of Wisconsin. The National conference will lead off with a backfield made up of Norm Van Brocklin, Dan Tower, Bob Hoernschemeyer and Joe Perry. The quartet was picked by the division coaches as the No. 1 offensive backfield, and standing by for action will be such other stars as Bobby Layne, Hugh McElhenny, Pat Harder and George Taliaferro. The American conference announced its personnel Monday. It includes Otto Graham and Dub Jones, Cleveland; Ray Mathews, Pittsburgh, and Eddie Price, New York Giants, with Mac Speedie of the Browns and Elbie Nickel, Pittsburgh, at the ends. The National division offensive team listed Box and Howton, ends; Bob Toneff and Leo Nomellini, San Francisco, tackles; guards Lou Creekmur, Detroit, and John Woznick, Texans; and center Bill Johnson. Van Brocklin and Towler are from the Los Angeles Rams, Perry from the 49ers, and Hoernschemeyer from Detroit.
PACKERS HIT .500 FIRST TIME IN HISTORY; PLAY UNEXPECTED!
DEC 16 (Green Bay) - The 1952 Packers preformed the unexpected and the historical by finishing with a percentage of .500. It was unexpected because the "experts" didn't rate our boys for more than four or five victories this season. It was historical because the break-even ratio of six wins and six losses marked the first time that any Packer team ever finished in a dead heat in the standings. By comparison to the previous four seasons, when the Bays scored 11 wins against 37 losses, the 1952 finish was slightly less than colossal. The Packers' big drought set in after the 1947 season. They posted 3-9 in 1948, 2-10 in '49 and 3-9 in 1950 and 1951. Thus, this year's 6-6 record looked like a first rate "winning" record. Actually, the 6-6 betrays the heat of the '52 season. The Packers, under head coach Gene Ronzani, were in the championship running as late as the 11th game. They scored their victories over the Texans (two), the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. They lost two games to Detroit, two to Los Angeles and singletons to the Bears and San Francisco. Detroit manhandled the Pack, 52-17 and 48-24, while Chicago and 'Frisco beat the Bays by identical 24-14 counts. The first loss to the Rams was by 30-28 and the second by 45-27. That initial Ram game was one of those once-in-a-lifetime losses, the LAs scoring 24 points in the last quarter for their win. That one game might have made the Packers and broken the Rams. It would have been the Rams' third loss and certainly would have given them a darker outlook on their future. As it turned out, they won all but one of their remaining games to gain a playoff with Detroit. It has been customary, as the Bays later went on a four-game winning streak, to refer back to that game and weep, "If we hadn't kicked that one away to the Rams," etc. After licking the Bears, 41-28, we wept to a wise man in our town and he consoled with these words, "Maybe we aren't that good this year!" Now that it's all over, it must be admitted that he was right. The Packers weren't that good - good enough to win the championship or get into the playoff. Naturally, when the Packers zoomed to a 6-3 record and poised for their climatic Thanksgiving day battle in Detroit, we wondered "how good" the Packers were. But football is a great equalizer; the cream generally comes to the top. The Packers lost the Detroit game on fumbles and pass interceptions which sounds like the responsibility of a few men. But in a clutch game, when a proven team like Detroit meets a new and upstart group like the Packers, the proven - or more experienced - team generally rises to the heights and, among other ways, sweeps away blockers and murders the ball carriers and passers, thus forcing fumbles and the passers to throw wild, interception-possible passes. The Ram game on the coast followed a similar pattern. It must be admitted that this is a cold, calculated way of evaluating a season and can only be done - at least by this writer - when the heat of the battle is buried under snow and
COUTRE EYES RETURN TO PACKERS; REICHARDT 'IN'
DEC 19 (Green Bay) - Corporal Larry Coutre, the onetime Notre Dame scatback who averaged 6.9 yards a crack as a rookie for the Packers in 1950, will play with the Green Bays in 1953. Packer head coach Gene Ronzani uncovered this information from a two-foot stack of letters and packages on his desk Thursday afternoon. Coutre, writing from Camp Breckenridge, Ky., where he is stationed, not only wants to play football here next fall – “I’d like to work there during the off season; I’m looking for something in sales promotion or maybe insurance.” Little Larry, who stands 5-10 and packs 175 pounds, entered the Army shortly after the 1950 season. And he expects to be discharged sometime next January, completing a two-year hitch. Coutre, mentioning the Packers’ successful 1952 season, wrote: “I am glad I belong to the Packers.” Coutre, selected on the All-Army team, will play in the Salad bowl in Phoenix Jan 1. Ronzani also received word that Clayton Tonnemaker, the Packers’ powerful linebacker of 1950 who is now a lieutenant in the Army in Japan. Big Clayton, the All-American from Minnesota, indicated that he hoped to get out by 1952. Tonnemaker went into the Army about the same time as Coutre but entered officer candidate school and received a commission. He is with a medical unit and already has put in two seasons of Army football. He also made the all-service team in ’52…SZAFARYN DUE BACK: Tonnemaker pointed out that his chances of getting out for ’53 depend “on getting the Korean mess over.” If Tonnemaker can’t play until ’54, he’ll still be only 25 years of age when he returns. Also expected to return is Len Szafaryn, the big guard who went into service with Coutre in January of 1951. He is due out next month. Szafaryn was obtained in a trade with the Washington Redskins for tackle Paul Lipscomb. Ronzani learned a spot of bad news as the season ended in San Francisco Sunday. Fullback Bill Reichart of Iowa will go in the Army Air corps Jan. 2. Big Bill, who kicked five field goals, enjoyed his best ground gaining against ‘Frisco with 43 yards in 11 attempts. Ronzani reported two weddings. Tackle Bob Dees, who goes into the Navy Jan. 1, was married this morning in St. Louis while guard Dick Logan will be married in Mansfield, O., Sunday. Ronzani remained as the only coach on the home front today, following the departure of Dick Plasman yesterday afternoon. Plasman drove to his home in Miami, while Ray McLean stayed on the west coast to cover the East-West game. Administrative assistant Joe Stydahar, who is keeping in touch with Ronzani on the draft, will view the Rose bowl battle. Plasman will scout the North-South and Orange bowl games. The other coaches, Chuck Drulis and Tarz Taylor, also will be viewing bowl battles for pro material. Ronzani will leave next week for the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, Ala., Dec. 27, then head for New Orleans and the Sugar bowl and back to Mobile, Ala., for the Senior bowl Jan. 3. After the bowl games, Ronzani plans to take in the national collegiate convention in Washington – a good spot to get first-hand information on prospects from the college coaches themselves. Then, it will the National league’s annual meeting and player draft in Philadelphia Jan. 21. Due in Green Bay this weekend is Jack Vainisi, the Packer talent scout who is recuperating from a long illness at Hines Army hospital in Chicago.
'FRISCO ELEVEN FOR SALE; WILL ASK $300,000
DEC 19 (San Francisco) - The San Francisco 49er football team is for sale by owners Anthony J. and Victor P. Morabito. Tony, 42, was advised by his doctors to sell last spring because of a heart ailment, but he wanted to see how the season affected him. “I’ve found out,” he said today, “that it’s too much.” The 49ers, after a rampaging start, wound up 7-5 for third place in the National league’s national conference. But they had their best season financially in their seven year history. Tony said his hand was being forced, but he’d not accept any “bargain basement offer.” It was indicated the Morabitos would demand in excess of $300,000. That’s the reported sale of the Philadelphia Eagles several years ago, and the amount a Dallas syndicate paid for the New York Yanks a year ago. But the Texans flubbed financially and the franchise was taken over by the league.
BALTIMORE AT 10,000
DEC 19 (Baltimore) - Baltimore today passed the 10,000 mark in the 10th day of its drive to sell 15,000 professional football season tickets by Jan. 22. Commissioner Bert Bell of the NFL told the city if it wanted pro football again it must subscribe for $250,000 worth of tickets – meaning about 15,000 season passes – before the league meeting beginning Jan. 23. If the city meets that condition, he promised to transfer the Dallas franchise to Baltimore.
HOWTON NAMED TO NEW YORK NEWS' ALL-PRO TEAM
DEC 20 (New York) - Bill Howton, the outstanding Green Bay end, was one of three rookies selected on the annual New York News all-pro football offensive and defensive teams, it was revealed here today. Howton was placed at end with veteran Gordon Soltau of San Francisco on the first offensive team. Wings on the second offensive team were Elroy Hirsch of the Rams and Mac Speedie of Cleveland. The young Packer pass catcher, who played college ball at Rice, received two other honors this year. He was selected to play on the National conference team in the pro bowl in Los Angeles and was named on the second offensive team chosen by the United Press. The other rookies chosen on the News’ team are Hugh McElhenny, the great halfback from San Francisco, and Johnny Williams, Washington Redskin safety. Other backs on the No. 1 offensive team are Otto Graham of Cleveland, QB Bob Hoernschemeyer of Detroit, halfback; and Eddie Price of New York, fullback. The offensive linemen besides the ends – Lou Groza of Cleveland and Leo Nomellini of San Francisco, tackles; Lou Creekmur, Detroit, and Bruno Banducci, San Francisco, guards; Frank Gatski, Cleveland, center. The defensive unit is composed of Len Ford of Cleveland and Pete Pihos of Philadelphia
, ends; Arnie Weinmeister of New York and Thuman McGraw, Detroit, tackles; Stan West of Los Angeles and Bill Willis of Cleveland, guards; George Connor of the Chicago Bears and Jerry Shipkey of
Pittsburgh, linebackers; and Bob Smith of Detroit and Herb Rich of Los Angeles, halfbacks.
FLOYD LONE ACTIVE FULLBACK AFTER CONE RETIREMENT
DEC 22 (Green Bay) - The Packers were down to one active fullback – Bobby Jack Floyd, who wasn’t “supposed” to play, anyway, until 1953. It all started last week when fullback Bill Reichardt revealed that he will start duty in the Army Air corps in January and reached a climax over the weekend when veteran Fred Cone revealed that he is retiring from pro football to enter high school coaching. Floyd thus remains as the Bays’ lone fullback available for 1953 – barring a change of mind by Cone. All of which points up the need for a fullback when coach Gene Ronzani steps to the college draft in Philadelphia next month…10TH TO BETTER 100 POINTS: Floyd was an unusual case to start with. Ronzani drafted him last January for delivery in 1953 since the Texas Christian star had another year of eligibility left – even though his class had graduated. Floyd, however, decided to drop school and play for pay. Reichardt, too, was a rookie this past season. Cone, who will coach high school athletics in South Carolina, said: “I had given the idea of retiring considerable thought all season. I definitely made up my mind to quite when I injured my leg in the Thanksgiving day game in Detroit.” Cone, in the short space of two years, became the 10th Packer in history to score 100 or more points. Freddy counted 103 on four touchdowns, 61 extra points and six field goals. He registered 50 in 12 games in 1951 and 53 in 10 games in 1952, missing the last two contests because of injuries. He was the third highest PAT kicker in Bay history, ranking behind Don Hutson, with 174, and Ted Fritsch, with 62. On the injury-payoff play, Cone was running wide to his right when three Lions smashed him down. The former Clemson star lives in Coosada, Ala…AVERAGED 3.7 PER TRIP: Cone averaged 3.7 yards per carry in his two seasons here. He rushed 126 times for 466 yards and three touchdowns. He caught 36 passes for 413 yards and one TD. Cone has his best day this season when the Packers defeated the Bears in Chicago, 41 to 28. He scored 20 points on two touchdowns, five extra points and a field goal. He ran nine times for 46 yards and caught three passes for 69 yards. The Clemson star was responsible for one of the Packers’ three victories in 1951 when he kicked a field goal in the last 12 seconds to defeat the New York Yanks, 29 to 27.
game, Samuel (Mike) Wilson will be the umpire; Charlie Berry the head linesman; Lloyd Brazil, field judge, and James H. Hamer, back judge. Carl Rebele and John Gascott are alternates.
ALL-TIME PASSER ARNIE HERBER UNCOVERS NEW WAY TO RANK NFL PITCHERS; GRAHAM RANKED NO. 1
DEC 27 (Green Bay) - Arnie Herber, one of the NFL's all-time great passers, the other day got to pondering about the league's method of computing the ranking of its passers. He doesn't agree with the method of giving the passing title to the passer with the best average gain per pass - and he has devised what he feels is a fairer formula. "I don't suppose the league is going to change the present system just because I don't agree with it, but it seems to me that more consideration should be given, in ranking the passers, to something else besides the average gain per pass completed," the ex-Packer star opined. Arnie got working on his method after the 1952 rankings showed Norm Van Brocklin of Los Angeles in the top spot, Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli two-three, and Otto Graham of Cleveland fourth. The fact that these boys were at the top wasn't the main reason, though, for Arnie's disagreement with the yards gained per pass method. "Sure, they deserve to be up there. But take a look at the spot Bobby Layne of Detroit holds. He's down there in seventh place and yet he threw 20 touchdown passes, six more than Van Brocklin. Then there's this Finks from Pittsburgh - playing with a fourth place team - he threw 19. The league should take touchdown passes into consideration and, not only that, there should be some penalty for interceptions," Herber believes. Briefly, here's how Arnie's system would work. First, he would deduct one completion from a player's record for each interception. Then he would figure the passer's percentage of completions and give one point for each 100 percentage points. Third, one more point would be given for each 100 yards of completions. And, finally, one point would be added for each touchdown pass. Sound a little complicated? It isn't when it's applied. Let's take Green Bay's Rote, for example, and apply the method. First, Rote completed 82 passes this season but had eight intercepted. Deducting the penalty for interceptions, Tobin winds up with 74. His percentage of completions - 74 in 157 attempts - figures out to .477, or five points less because Arnie gives the benefit of a full point where the percentage per 100 is over half. So, thus far, Rote has five points. Then, add a point for each 100 yards of completions, or 13 for Tobin because he threw for 1,286 yards. Add 13 points for touchdown passes, and Rote winds up with 31 points. This puts him in sixth place under Herber's method. How about Parilli? He finishes in seventh place with 30 points. He gets three points for percentage of completions, 14 for 1,416 yards, and 13 for touchdowns. For those who may be critical at this point because Green Bay's two passes wind up in sixth and seventh instead of two-three as under the present system. It should be pointed out hurriedly that the 61 total points for Rote and Parilli make them the toughest one-two passing punch to the league. Herber's method gives Graham of Cleveland the title with 52 points, puts Finks of the Steelers second with 47 and Layne of Detroit third with 43. Considering the fact that these quarterbacks did practically all the passing for their teams, Herber figures that justice prevails under his system. Van Brocklin would wind up fourth with 36 points. The Rams' double threat - Van and Bob Waterfield - have a combined total of 31 points and San Francisco's Frankie Albert and Y.A. Tittle 53. The Chicago Bears, patently weak at quarterback this year, wind up way down the list with 18 for George Blanda and 15 for Steve Romanik for a grand total of 33, a poor showing. "As long as passing has become the great weapon it is in pro football today, the passing championship should take everything the passer does into consideration," Arnie believes. "It's not just enough to take the average yards per pass completed. To take a far fetched example, a passer could complete passes all over the place until he gets down where it's tough - near the goal line. He might not hit on any touchdown passes and yet wind up with a title without helping his team to win any games." Arnie figures his idea will give the hot-stovers something to mull over during the long months arguments. While he'll admit that his method probably can be refined, he isn't going to give up easily on his stand that "It's just not right to take only the average completion to decide the passing title."
CUT NFL ROSTERS TO 30, BELL SUGGESTS; ALSO EXTRA POINT!
DEC 29 (Cleveland) - Bert Bell wants to cut three men from each of the pro football teams. The National league commissioner said Saturday he would recommend that rosters be held to 30 players. Bell added he would make his recommendations Jan. 20 at the annual league meeting at Philadelphia. He gave economy as the reason, but added the move would also make more good men available to weaker teams. Here for the championship game between the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, Bell said he would ask that the extra point be eliminated after touchdowns. Coaches and owners previously have turned down that suggestion.
BILL HOWTON ROOKIE OF YEAR IN NFL!
DEC 31 (Green Bay) - Bill Howton is Rookie of the Year in the NFL! If you wish to argue that, just name your back alley and the time. The Packers' sparkling freshman offensive end from Rice Institute easily outdistanced any rookie in consistency, scoring power and improvement over the 12-game route. And no other first-year man was a greater touchdown threat - from the first minute of the Chicago Bear opener Sept. 28 to the last second of the San Francisco closer Dec. 14. The league had two other top-flight considerations for rookie of the year honors - the Packers' Babe Parilli, the deft quarterback from Kentucky, and the Forty Niners' Hugh McElhenny, the power runner from the University of San Francisco. But, in our book, Howton had it over both of them. Bill actually got better as the season progressed, blazing his best against the National conference finalists Detroit and Los Angeles and unpredictable San Francisco in the last three games. On the other hand, McElhenny started to skid when the Chicago Bears shattered the Forty Niners' dreamboat in the sixth game. Parilli, almost unbelievably perfect for a rookie in his first eight games, ran into 11 of his 17 pass interceptions in the last four contests. Howton, in the process of spearheading the Bays' offense, "made" the Packers' twin pitchers - vet Tobin Rote, also a Rice grad, and Parilli. Each thrower benefited from the "long distance" touchdowns scored by Howton - especially Parilli, who was on the heave end of two 90-yard aerials, the longest in the league this year. The passing championship, based on yards per attempt, saw Rote finish second and Parilli third. The best description probably of Howton is merely that he did things on the gridiron that reminded of the Packers' immortal Don Hutson, the greatest of all offensive ends. Packer coach Gene Ronzani, who played against Don as a Bear, as well as Hutson, himself, feel that Howton has a bright future ahead in professional football. In fact, Don pointed out that "there is no limit to what Howton can accomplish in pro football." Ronzani, in comparing the antics of the two receivers, says that "Howton does not have the blinding speed that Hutson had but Howton seems to be better than Don in breaking away when he is in the grip of tacklers. Don could get into the open more often because of his speed. Howton, like Hutson, has excellent timing when he goes up for the ball." The yardstick also showed that Howton has Hutson tendencies. The Rice Rocket caught 53 passes for 1231 yards and 13 touchdowns. The yardage total snapped Hutson's best-year record of 1,211 by 20 yards. That year, Hutson caught 74 aerials and turned 17 of them into touchdowns. Howton averaged 23.2 yards on each catch - the highest ever in the league by a player catching more than 50 passes. Elroy Hirsch had the previous high - 22.7 on 66 catches in 1951. Incidentally, Howton averaged an even 22.7 per catch at Rice a year ago. Howton's first-year record, of course, is a mile ahead of Hutson's first-season effort - 1935 - although it must be reported that the Packers, for instance, gained only 1,1416 yards passing in 1935 (league high) against the 1952 yardage total of 3,859 (second high). In other words, the '52 Packers passed nearly three times as much as the '35 Bays. Hutson broke in a spectacular fashion, scoring three of his seven TDs against the Bears for two victories - the last time the Packers beat the Bears twice in the same season. Hutson caught only one pass in his historical debut against the Bears, but it went for an 83-yard TD, the pitch coming from Arnie Herber in a 7-0 win. In Chicago the same year, Hutson caught two TD pitches from Herber in the last two minutes for a heart stopping 17-14 triumph. Huston scored two touchdowns in five of the 12 games played in '35, while Howton produced TDs in nine of 12. Howton was blanked by Philadelphia Nov. 2, by New York Nov. 16 and by Los Angeles Dec. 7. While the Packer offense bogged down against Philadelphia, Howton was consistently "held" in the New York game as he finished with only one catch for six yards. Oddly enough, Howton had his best yardage day in the second LA game, catching six for 200 yards and setting up three touchdowns. A rookie generally finds tough sledding as the season progresses but not Howton. He caught 21 of his 53 passes, gained 485 of his 1,231 yards and scored five of his 13 TDs in the last three encounters. Howton is the second player in Packer history to score more than 11 touchdowns in a single season. Hutson's bests were 17 in '42, 11 in '43 and 10 in '41. Don had four nine-touchdown seasons, and closed out his 11-year career with a total of 101 touchdowns. Howton was the only rookie to finish among the league's top 10 pass receivers, ending in sixth place behind Gordy Soltau of 'Frisco and Don Stonesifer of the Cardinals, who tied with 54 catches each. Howton's yardage total of 1,231 was tops in the league and he led in TD catches, 13, until Cloyce Box of Detroit got hot in the last three games. Box caught 15 for six-pointers but nailed nine of them in the last three games against the Packers, Bears and Texans. Howton's 13 touchdowns placed him seventh in scoring with 78 points. Box, with 90 points, was the top non-kicking scorer. Soltau, by comparison, won the league scoring title with only seven TDs but he added 34 extra points and six field goals. Howton, a cool customer, has never attempted extra point or field goal kicking here.
PACKER OFFICE 'GROWS'; VAINISI, EARP RETURN
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - If you can dodge "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for a few seconds, here are several pro football items: The Packer office "grew" some yesterday with the arrival of two gentlemen - Jack Vainisi and Jug Earp, a pair of 200-plus pounders. Vainisi, player scout and office assistant, made his first appearance in nearly three months, looking hale and hearty. The onetime Notre Dame tackle spent most of the time battling illness in Hines' General hospital in Chicago. During his stay there and later at his parents' home in Chicago, Vainisi sweated out the Packers' 1952 progress and the careers of hundreds of college boys who might become Packers next year. Earp, genial director of Packer public relations, had just returned from the west coast - plus a "slight" detour - where he had been with the club for the Los Angeles and San Francisco games. He had been away for three weeks. Packer head coach Gene Ronzani was due to leave this week for Montgomery, Ala., where he'll view the Blue-Gray game Saturday, the Sugar bowl game in New Orleans Jan. 1 and the Senior bowl battle in Mobile, Ala., Jan. 3. All of the other bowl games will be scouted by Packer coaches. The next two orders of business for the Packers will be the annual draft meeting in Philadelphia Jan. 21 and the annual Packer Stockholders' session in Green Bay in February. At Philly, the Packers will join the other 11 clubs in deciding the future of the Texan franchise, work out league problems and then draft college players. The stockholder parley, moved from January to prevent conflict with the league session, will be featured by presentation of the annual financial report, as well as a report from Ronzani...The Packers received word today from Sherman, Tex., that former tackle Joe Spencer has been hired as assistant football coach at Austin college in Sherman. Spencer, a onetime Cleveland tackle, played here in 1950-51 and part of 1952...More discussion material on the Texan situation was promised for the league meeting today with a report that a second government tax lien - this one for $23,089 in unpaid withholding and federal insurance taxes - has been filed against the defunct Dallas Texans club of the National league. A $10,000 lien for unpaid amusement taxes was filed by the federal government against the club several weeks ago, and a Dallas official said Monday some Texans are raising a fund to pay off the club's indebtedness. The Dallas franchise was taken over by the NFL following the club's financial collapse in mid-season of its first year. Bert Bell, league commissioner, said he did not the liens were any concern of the league, which operated the franchise for the final five games of 1952...Commissioner Bell has named the men who will officiate in Sunday's NFL title clash between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Thomas A. Timlin will referee the