Charlie Hennigan

Last updated

Charley Hennigan
Charles Hennigan 1961.jpg
No. 37, 87
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:(1935-03-19)March 19, 1935
Bienville, Louisiana
Died:December 20, 2017(2017-12-20) (aged 82)
Humble, Texas
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school: Minden (LA)
College: Northwestern State
Undrafted: 1960
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:410
Receiving yards:6,823
Touchdowns:51
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Charles Taylor Hennigan, Sr. (March 19, 1935 – December 20, 2017) was an American football player with the former Houston Oilers of the American Football League (AFL). [1]

Contents

Background

Born in Bienville in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, Hennigan was reared in nearby Minden, the parish seat of Webster Parish, located thirty miles east of Shreveport. His father, Clarence Roland Hennigan (1905–1992), [2] was still a sheriff's deputy when he died at the age of eighty-seven, having served under Webster Parish Sheriffs J. D. Batton, O. H. Haynes, Jr., and Royce L. McMahen. He was the oldest serving sheriff's deputy in the state. Deputy Hennigan said that the crime rate at the time was a fraction of what it became in later decades. Hennigan referred to Batton and the two successor sheriffs as "all quite capable of the job. They were all decent, honorable, honest people, and I'm proud to have been able to have worked with them." [3]

His mother, Lura E. Hennigan (1916–1997), [2] though originally Baptist became a Pentecostal minister, piano teacher, and artist. She wrote a regular column entitled "The Abundant Life" for the Minden Press-Herald . [4]

Hennigan graduated in 1953 from Minden High School, where he excelled in football, basketball, and track as well as academics.

Football career

Hennigan attended LSU on a track scholarship but wanted to play football. He therefore transferred to Northwestern State University (then Northwestern State College) in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he became the star of the team. In 1960, he joined the American Football League's Houston Oilers in the team's first year of operation. Prior to joining the Oilers, he had taught high school biology at a salary of some $2,700 per year. He kept his teacher pay stub in his helmet to remind him that he must succeed in pro athletics.

Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history, catching a 43-yard touchdown pass from George Blanda in the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders. That year, he caught 44 passes for 722 yards, averaging 16.4 yard per catch. He had six touchdowns. In the 1960 American Football League Championship Game, he caught four passes for 71 yards as the Oilers prevailed 24-16 to win the inaugural AFL title over the Los Angeles Chargers. After a promising rookie season, in 1961, he started all 14 games and established himself as a superstar in the AFL by gaining 1,746 yards receiving with 12 touchdowns, the former being a pro football record that stood for 34 years. In October alone, he had 822 receiving yards, the most in a single calendar month. One of quarterback George Blanda’s main targets, Hennigan was the second professional football player to catch more than a hundred passes in a single season (101 in 1964, an AFL record) and to twice gain over 1,500 yards receiving (1961 and 1964). He holds the all-time records for most games in a season with over 200 yards receiving with three, and most games in a season with over 100 yards receiving with 11. Hennigan had the All-time AFL single game record of 272 yards receiving, against the Boston Patriots on October 13, 1961. The 13 passes caught in the game is tied for the most ever in the AFL, shared with Lance Alworth, Lionel Taylor, and Sid Blanks. In the 1961 American Football League Championship Game, he had five catches for 43 yards as the Oilers prevailed for their second and final AFL title.

On January 19, 1962, Minden observed "Charlie Hennigan" Day. Then State Senator Harold Montgomery, State Representative, Parey Branton, Mayor Frank T. Norman, and other local officials presented Hennigan with a signed document of his accomplishments. A luncheon and evening meal were served in his honor. [5] The event was postponed because of hazardous weather the previous week. [6] That year, he had 54 catches for 867 yards with eight touchdowns. In the AFL title game, he had three catches for 37 yards, but the Oilers lost in double overtime to the Dallas Texans.

Hennigan was selected by his peers as a Sporting News AFL All-League offensive end in 1961, 1962, and 1964. He was an American Football League Eastern Division All-Star five straight years (1961 - 1965), and retired after the 1966 season. He was selected to the All-Time All-AFL Second Team.

Over four decades later, Blanda recounted a story about Hennigan in the 2009 series Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League . He noted that Willie Brown had been signed by the Oilers in 1963 before being cut during training camp because he couldn't cover Hennigan, which led to the Denver Broncos picking him up. He stated that "The next year we played Denver, and Charley needed nine catches to break Lionel Taylor's record of one hundred receptions in a season. Charlie got the nine he needed, with Willie covering him. Willie's in the Hall of Fame. Charlie Hennigan should be, too."

The Professional Football Researchers Association named Hennigan to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2014 [7]

Career Statistics

YearTeamGPRecYdsAvgLngTDY/G
1960 HOU 114472216.473665.6
1961 HOU 14821,74621.38012124.7
1962 HOU 145486716.178861.9
1963 HOU 14611,05117.2681075.1
1964 HOU 141011,54615.3538110.4
1965 HOU 144157814.153441.3
1966 HOU 142731311.623322.4
Career954106,82316.6805171.8

[8]

Oilers/Titans Franchise records

Source: pro-football-reference.com's team encyclopedia

As of 2019's NFL off-season, Charley Hennigan held at least 9 Titans franchise records, including:

Later years

In 1967, Hennigan received his doctorate in education from the University of Houston. [9] Hennigan operated an educational tutoring service in Shreveport and worked with prisoners seeking the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Hennigan had seven children, the oldest being Charles, Jr., who was born in Natchitoches in 1957.

He was named to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. [10]

On April 6, 2002, Hennigan, then a Democrat but a registered Independent as of 2014, [11] ran in a special election for Place 8 on the Caddo Parish Commission, his parish's governing body. He was defeated by Republican Michael Long, 2,139 votes (74.9 percent) to 716 ballots (25.1 percent).

On December 20, 2017, Hennigan died at the age of 82. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Daryle Pasquale Lamonica is a former American football quarterback who played in the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons, primarily with the Oakland Raiders. He spent his first four seasons mostly as a backup for the Buffalo Bills, who selected in the 24th round of the 1963 AFL Draft. Lamonica played his next eight seasons as the primary starter of the Raiders, including after they joined the NFL through the AFL–NFL merger.

Lionel Thomas Taylor is a former American football wide receiver who led the American Football League (AFL) in receptions for five of the first six years of the league's existence.

George Blanda American football quarterback and placekicker

George Frederick Blanda was an American football quarterback and placekicker who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). Blanda played 26 seasons of professional football, the most in the sport's history, and had scored more points than anyone in history at the time of his retirement.

Billy Cannon American football running back and tight end

William Abb Cannon was an American football running back and tight end who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). He attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where he played college football as a halfback, return specialist, and defensive back for the LSU Tigers. At LSU, Cannon was twice unanimously named an All-American, helped the 1958 LSU team win a national championship, and received the Heisman Trophy as the nation's most outstanding college player in 1959. His punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night in 1959 is considered by fans and sportswriters to be one of the most famous plays in LSU sports history.

Charles B. Joiner Jr. is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons. He is best known for his career with the San Diego Chargers, with whom he spent 11 seasons. Before joining the Chargers, he played for the Houston Oilers and Cincinnati Bengals each for four seasons. He retired with the most career receptions, receiving yards, and games played of any wide receiver in NFL history. Joiner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Isaac Bruce American football wide receiver

Isaac Isidore Bruce is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) and a member of the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft after playing college football for the University of Memphis. He is currently the athletic director of the University of Fort Lauderdale, a Christian college with HBCU roots.

Derrick Mason American football player

Derrick James Mason is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver for fifteen seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Tennessee Oilers in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft after playing college football for the Michigan State Spartans. Following eight seasons with the Oilers franchise, including two Pro Bowl selections, Mason signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. He became the Ravens' all-time leading receiver with 5,777 yards from 2005 to 2010. He spent 2011 with the New York Jets and Houston Texans. Mason retired as a Baltimore Raven on June 11, 2012. He was the last active NFL player to have played for the Oilers.

Arthur Louis Powell was an American football wide receiver.

Bill Groman American football player

William Frederick Groman was an American professional football player who was a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL). He played college football at Heidelberg College, and played professionally for the Houston Oilers from 1960 through 1962 and was on the first two AFL championship teams. He played for the Denver Broncos in 1963, and for the Buffalo Bills in 1964 and 1965, playing on the Bills' two league championship teams. In his six years of professional football, he played on four AFL championship teams, the only man ever to do so.

Jacky Lee

Jack Ross "Jacky" Lee was an American quarterback who played professional football in the American Football League for all ten of its seasons (1960–1969). After playing football, baseball, and basketball at Ellet High School in Akron, Ohio, he played college football at the University of Cincinnati. In 1958–1959, Jacky Lee was the team MVP and an All Conference Quarterback. In 1960, he was MVP of the Senior Bowl.

David Allen Lee is a former American football punter for the former Baltimore Colts in the National Football League and subsequently retired from a career as a General Motors executive in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish, in northwestern Louisiana. He accumulated several sports records in punting for the Colts in a 12-year career from 1966 until 1978.

The 1960 Oakland Raiders season was the inaugural one for the franchise and for the American Football League (AFL). Head coach Eddie Erdelatz led the team to a 6–8 finish, third out of four teams in the Western Division.

The 1967 Oakland Raiders season was the team's eighth in Oakland. Under the command of second-year head coach John Rauch, the Raiders went 13–1 and captured their first Western Division title. The addition of strong-armed quarterback Daryle Lamonica greatly energized the Raiders' vertical passing game. Additionally, the Raiders added Gene Upshaw, Willie Brown, and George Blanda to their roster as well as linebackers coach John Madden during the 1967 offseason. All four would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame.

1967 American Football League Championship Game

The 1967 American Football League Championship Game was the eighth AFL championship game, played on December 31 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.

1962 American Football League Championship Game

The 1962 American Football League Championship Game was played on December 23 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. The host Houston Oilers (11–3) of the Eastern Division were trying for their third consecutive AFL title, matched against the Western Division's Dallas Texans, also at 11–3.

1960 American Football League Championship Game

The 1960 American Football League Championship Game was the first AFL title game, played on New Year's Day 1961 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. With New Year's on Sunday, the major college bowl games were played on Monday, January 2. This was the first time that a major professional football league's playoff game was played in January rather than December.

Hoyle John Granger is a former collegiate and professional American football player in the United States. He played his college football at Mississippi State. He was the first pick in the fifth round of the 1966 American Football League draft, by the Houston Oilers. He was an AFL All-Star in 1967 and 1968.

Otis Taylor is a former American college and professional American football player, for Prairie View A&M University and the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 215 pounds, Taylor possessed sure hands during his career and served as a devastating downfield blocker, springing Chiefs running backs for many long runs.

Mark Johnston (American football)

Mark Johnston is a former professional football cornerback who played five professional seasons 1960-1964 in the American Football League with the Houston Oilers, New York Jets, and the Oakland Raiders. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1961, and was with the Oilers in the first three AFL Championship games, winning the title in 1960 and 1961.

1991 Houston Oilers season 32nd season in franchise history

The 1991 Houston Oilers season was the 32nd season and their 22nd in the National Football League (NFL). Haywood Jeffires would become the second Oiler to have 100 receptions in a season. The first Oiler to accomplish the feat was Charley Hennigan in 1964. Jeffires would be the fifth receiver in NFL history to have a 100 reception season. The Oilers scored 386 points and gave up 251 points. The franchise earned its first division title since the AFL-NFL merger, having last won a division title in the 1967 American Football League season. The franchise finished the season with 11 wins compared to 5 losses and appeared twice on Monday Night Football.

References

  1. "Former Oilers Great Charlie Hennigan Passes Away". Tennessee Titans . Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Clarence Roland Hennigan". findagrave.com. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  3. Teri Herren (February 5, 1986). "Deputy C. R. Hennigan: 80-years young and still upholding the law". Minden Press-Herald . Archived from the original on September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  4. "Lura Hennigan: Sacrifice of Thanksgiving", Minden Press-Herald, November 16, 1984, p. 5
  5. "Hero's Welcome Given Local Pro Grid Athlete", Minden Press, January 22, 1962, p. 1
  6. "Second Attempt Set for Charlie Hennigan Day", Minden Herald, January 18, 1962, p. 1
  7. "Professional Researchers Association Hall of Very Good Class of 2014". Archived from the original on March 13, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  8. "Charley Hennigan Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  9. "Charles Henningan to Get Doctor's Degree", Minden Press-Herald, June 2, 1967
  10. https://nsudemons.com/news/2017/12/21/demon-football-demon-legend-charlie-hennigan-among-nfls-all-time-receiving-greats-dead-at-82.aspx
  11. "Charles Hennigan, March 1935". Louisiana Secretary of State . Retrieved September 12, 2014.[ permanent dead link ]
  12. https://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/texans/article/Oilers-great-Charlie-Hennigan-passes-away-12447887.php
Records
Preceded by
Elroy Hirsch
NFL single-season receiving record
1961–1995
Succeeded by
Jerry Rice