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Sports Then and Now



Lawrence McCutcheon: Ram Tough 1

Posted on September 02, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Lawrence McCutcheon

Lawrence McCutcheon

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season four times in a five-year stretch, but also threw a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XIV.

A third round draft pick out of Colorado State in 1972, Lawrence McCutcheon played in just three games without a single carry as a rookie. However, beginning in his second season, the fleet runner made five straight Pro Bowl appearances and finished in the top five in the NFL in rushing four times. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Deacon Jones, the Secretary of Defense 0

Posted on June 04, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Deacon Jones was twice the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and recorded 20 or more sacks in four seasons.

Deacon Jones was twice the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and recorded 20 or more sacks in four seasons.

The NFL lost an all-time great with the death this week of Hall of Fame defensive end David “Deacon” Jones at the age of 74.

While he will be remembered as a revolutionary defender who invented the term “sack” and the now-outlawed “head slap”, Jones was more than just another great player.

At a time when African American players were just gaining wide-spread acceptance, Jones beat the odds to become one of the best players of his generation.

Born in Eatonville, Florida (near Orlando), Jones attended Hungerford High School and then South Carolina State. After just one season, Jones lost his scholarship after being involved with the Civil Rights Movement. He then played one season at Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State) before being drafted in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.

Though unheralded, Jones soon established himself as a rising star and became part of one of the greatest defensive lines in NFL history. During the 1960s, the “Fearsome Foursome” developed into a key component of the turnaround of the Rams from a perennial loser to a consistent playoff contender.

When Jones joined the Rams in 1961, Lamar Lundy was already on the squad as a defensive tackle. The year after Jones, Merlin Olsen was drafted by the Rams and became one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history.  The line was complete when Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier was traded to the Rams from the Giants in 1963.

Over the next three seasons, the defensive front became one of the best in football, but the Rams were still unable to develop into a winning team. Read the rest of this entry →

Merlin Olsen: A Giant On and Off The Field 1

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Merlin Olsen earned 14 Pro Bowl trips during his 15-year NFL career.

Merlin Olsen earned 14 Pro Bowl trips during his 15-year NFL career.

The sports world lost a gentle giant on Thursday with the death at age 69 of NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.

Though Olsen made his name as one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history, he is known to a generation for his post football work as a broadcaster and pitchman as well as for his role on one of the leading television programs of the 1970s and 1980s.

A three-time All-American and 1961 Outland Trophy winner at Utah State, Olsen was the first round pick in the 1962 AFL Draft by the Denver Broncos (second overall) and in the 1962 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams (third overall).

He chose to play for the Rams and the result was one of the greatest careers in NFL history.

Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Sudden Sam McDowell
      July 4, 2017 | 8:48 pm
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      Sudden Sam McDowell

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a hard-throwing lefthander who often led Major League Baseball in both strikeouts and walks. His off-the-field story also made him the prototype for a famed television character.

      Sudden Sam McDowell made his Major League debut for the Cleveland Indians a week before his 19th birthday and pitched in the majors for 15 seasons.

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