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Sonny Jurgenson

Washington Redskins legends Sonny Jurgensen and Bobby Mitchell exploded in the 1960. They were touted last week by Cold, Hard Football Facts as two of a group of 16 players who revolutionized pro-football offenses in the dawn of the Super Bowl era in the 1960s.

CHFF points out that Jurgy was the highest rated passer in football history in the years before the rules changed in 1978 to favor offenses.

Jurgensen was successful because he was throwing to the likes of Bobby Mitchell, traded to the Redskins in 1961 when the team yielded to societal and federal pressure to integrate.

It’s here that CHFF flubs their story. They tie Mitchell to Cleveland where he began his career in 1958 as Jim Brown’s running mate.  But they cite Mitchell’s 99 yard scoring play on a pass from Redskin Quarterback George Izo 1963.  Mitchell made that score for the Redskins against the Browns. (Note: CHFF has since corrected the story.)

Not that it helped much.  Jim Brown later scored on an 80 yard rushing play to seal Cleveland’s easy 37-14 win over Washington.

But the point was made.  Mitchell’s play was the first 99 yard scoring play in 24 years. Ironically, it was Washington’s Andy Farkas who turned the trick in 1939 on a pass from Sammy Baugh.

Later in the decade, NFL players Pat Studstill (Lions) and Gerry Allen (Redskins) would score 99 yard pass plays.

CHFF closes their case by pointing out that the highest scoring game in NFL history occurred in November 1966 between two NFL teams in our beloved DC, later RFK, Stadium when the Redskins out-pointed the New York Giants in a 72-41 win.

Author’s Note: Boy, do I feel old. I have first hand memories of 14 of CHFF’s 16 players as well as witnessing that Redskins-Giants barn burner in ’66. I still don’t like Homer Jones who also appears on the CHFF list. The Giant have never had a receiver as explosive as that guy, fortunately.

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