Monday, March 31, 2008

Rich "Tombstone" Jackson

Rich Jackson wore number 87 for the Broncos as a defensive end. Here is a brief synopsis from the Broncos website:

He was considered by many as the best defensive end in professional football during his prime. Jackson was the first Bronco to be named to the All-NFL first team in 1970. He posted his career high in quarterback sacks in 1969 with 11, and had 10 sacks in both 1968 and 1970. He was All-AFL from 1968-69 in addition to starting in the 1970 Pro Bowl. He made the Pro Bowl again in 1971 despite playing in only seven games due to a knee injury which eventually forced him out of football. Jackson finished his career with 34 sacks. He was a standout end at Southern University on both sides of the ball. He also lettered in track and was the NAIA shotput champion.

Jackson, a defensive end whose nickname was "Tombstone", was famous for moves such as the "head slap" and the "halo spinner" which he used to subdue opposing offensive linemen. In the late Lyle Alzado's book "Mile High" he recalled Rich Jackson as the toughest man he'd ever met, and told the story of Jackson breaking the helmet of Green Bay Packer offensive tackle, Bill Hayhoe, with a headslap. Jackson's career was cut short by a severe knee injury. Despite the shortened career, Sports Illustrated's football expert, Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, said that Tombstone Jackson was perhaps the finest overall defensive end and pass rusher he ever saw, a surefire Hall of Famer if he would have had a longer playing career, in a bigger media market. As it was Jackson will be remembered as a great one, only by a handful of football insiders, including those who lined up with and against him.
Jackson wore number 87 with the Broncos and was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Denver Broncos' "Ring of Fame". He was inducted in 1984 along with safety Goose Gonsoulin, running back Floyd Little, and wide receiver Lionel Taylor

Friday, March 28, 2008

Frank Tripucka

Frank Tripucka was the first QB in Broncos history. Apparently that got him a free pass into the Ring of Fame. His number 18 is retired by the team. He went to Notre Dame and is the father of former Irish and Detroit Piston Kelly Tripucka. Here is the good stuff taken from another website:

Frank Tripucka—who was one of the four original Ring of Fame inductees in 1984—is also one of the original Broncos, having played for the team from 1960 to 1963. "Trip" led the Broncos to their first ever .500 season in 1962 (7-7). He was half of the Tripucka-to-Lionel Taylor passing combination, as the duo (both Ring of Famers) went on to set various marks together. Tripucka's best statistical season came in 1960 when he completed 248 of 478 passes (51.9%) for 3,038 yards and 24 touchdowns. His 477 yards passing against Buffalo (Sep. 15, 1962) still stands as the team record, and he shares the team record for most touchdown passes in a game with five (Oct. 28, 1962 vs. Buffalo). Tripucka also has the distinction of having thrown the first touchdown pass in the American Football League's history (to Al Carmichael on Sep. 9, 1960 at Boston). In addition to his status as a member of the Ring of Fame, Tripucka remains as only one of three players in Broncos' history to have his jersey number (18) retired. Frank is now a retired beer distributor and resides in New Jersey.
Here is a link to his stats:

He threw way more interceptions than touchdowns and according to the Hall of Fame, there have been 140 Quarterbacks in NFL history that have attempted 1500 passes. Frankie here ranks dead last in completion percentage.

Normally, I look at all things football through my orange & blue glasses, but I just don't see how the Broncos retired his number. Being a pioneer has to count for something, but he is given a lot of accolades for only 4 unimpressive seasons.

Floyd Little

Today's player is Floyd Little. Nicknamed simply "The Franchise" heinspired scores of Denver fans to come out to see the Broncos play and forced ownership to stay put in Denver instead of relocating to another city. His number 44 is one of only 3 Broncos numbers retired. He was a first round draft choice out ofSyracuse. He was the first Bronco to lead the NFL in rushing, doing it twice. He played in 5 all star games. When he retired, he ranked 7th alltime on the NFL rushing list. A member of the Broncos Ring of Fame. His career statistics are below.

Games: 117

Rushing Attempts: 1641

Yards: 6323

Touchdowns: 43

Average: 3.9 yards

Receptions: 215

Yards: 2418

Touchdowns: 9

Total Yards From Scrimmage: 8741