An Offseason Stroll Through My Old Buddy, Pro Football Reference

Admittedly, I'm a stats nerd, especially when it comes to mining through football that predates my existence (pre-1982). I've watched a lot of football in my lifetime, and the historical games available on Youtube have allowed me to see players I would have otherwise missed out on. While I'm watching said historical games I like to take a glance at the circumstances surrounding the game, the league climate, and any standout players or teams from the era.

This Fanpost will likely ramble on, but stick with it if you'd like a digest of some interesting happenings.

Poor Old Charley Hennigan. Begin again!

Cursed by a relatively short career, you've likely never heard of Charley Hennigan unless you dedicate hours to the excellent quiz website, Sporcle. He played for the George Blanda-era Houston Oilers from 1960-1966 and put up two of the best receiving years in AFL history. They still stand as two of the best receiving years in NFL history. Consider that Hennigan's 101 receptions in 1964 made up almost 40% of Blanda's 262 completions. More amazingly, Hennigan was essentially all the Oilers had that year as they finished 4-10 and only managed a meager 22 points per game. If you can't be bothered to click Hennigan's link up there, just take a gander at these two eye-popping seasons:

1961: 82 rec, 1746 yards, 21.3 YPC, 12 TD

1964: 101 rec, 1546 yards, 15.3 YPC, 8 TD

Amazingly, Hennigan's 12 touchdowns and 21.3 average in 1961 didn't even lead his team. Fellow wide receiver Bill Groman led in both of those categories with 17 touchdowns and a 23.5 average.

Kenny Stabler, snake charmer

In 1976 the league's completion percentage was 52.1%. This was the era of power running and chucking it deep. Ken Stabler managed to complete a near record 66.7% of his passes, while also leading the league in passing yards per game, touchdowns, yards-per-attempt, and (duh) passer rating. All of this was accomplished while still running a "chuck it deep" style passing attack with Cliff Branch averaging a staggering 24.2 YPC average.

Stabler's incredible completion percentage, when looked at compared to the league average, would be the equivalent of a quarterback completing 78.2% of his passes in the 2013 NFL season. The NFL record for completion percentage in a season belongs to the 2011 version of Drew Brees at 71.2%.

Here's how Stabler's stretch of 1970-1979 stacks up against the other quarterbacks who threw at least 1,000 passes during the decade:


Stabler stacks up incredibly well against the other premier passers of the era, a list that includes Hall of Famers Fran Tarkenton, Bob Griese, Len Dawson, and Roger Staubach. Stabler also ranks in the top-5 in passer rating, yards-per-attempt, and adjusted yards-per-attempt. Somehow Stabler didn't win All-Pro honors (Bert Jones did), and Stabler has met with middling support from Hall of Fame voters. Stabler's peak was quite dominant, and he won a championship in 1976, but the twilight years of his career saw many interceptions and limited success. Still, Kenny the Snake was special.

The Chuck Foreman Grill, serving up low-fat meat since 1973

Chuck Foreman was a true dual-threat running back. He was a dynamic runner (seriously, check out these highlights:, and could catch a pass or two (350 career receptions and a 9.0 YPC average). But, as you can see from the video above he could get sloppy with the football, which led to his fair share of fumbles (52 career fumbles on 1,902 touches; 12 fumbles in 1975 alone).

Pro Football Reference doesn't allow me to use their Game Finder feature to sort fumbles, but coughing up the ball every 36.7 touches has to be pretty high up on the leaderboard. Or is that pretty low on the leaderboard? That's one of those leaderboards that nobody wants to be on. I bet he wishes he could have that throw back. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred he makes that play. Insert additional generic football cliche here.

A red-and-white striped club tie in a half-Windsor knot!

The Seahawks are one of only four teams in the NFL to have never had a tie. The three other teams -- Jacksonville, Carolina, and Houston -- have played significantly fewer games than the Seahawks.

The Bears, with 42, are sucking up all the ties.

Oh-so-close to respectability, baby!

Super Bowl victory be damned, the Seahawks, as a franchise, are on the cusp of true respectability. Should they go 13-3 during the 2014 NFL season, they will bring their franchise tally to 306 victories and 306 losses. That's .500 for those of you without a calculator. Of the 32 current NFL teams, 18 have a .500 or better winning percentage. Of the remaining 14 teams most are the ones you would expect when assembling a list of moribund franchises: the Browns, Buccaneers, and Lions among others. A few have reached levels of success (Bills, Jets, Saints, Bengals) but haven't found a way to turn flashes of greatness (goodness?) into sustained success.

Let's hope that 2013 serves as a launching point of sorts for the Seahawks to begin their ascent.

The Chicago Bears, who lead the NFL in ties, also lead the league in winning percentage at .577. In order for the Seahawks to increase their franchise winning percentage to .578 (actually, .57799) would need to win their next 122 games. That's possible, right? 3elieve.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Field Gulls

You must be a member of Field Gulls to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Field Gulls. You should read them.

Join Field Gulls

You must be a member of Field Gulls to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Field Gulls. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.