|No. 25, 11|
|Born:||March 15, 1926|
Parade, South Dakota, U.S.
|Died:||May 2, 1983 57) (aged|
Social Circle, Georgia, U.S.
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||190 lb (86 kg)|
|High school:||Lafayette (CA) Acalanes|
|NFL Draft:||1949 / Round: 4 / Pick: 37|
|As a player:|
|As a coach:|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
Norman Mack Van Brocklin (March 15, 1926 – May 2, 1983), nicknamed "The Dutchman", was an American football quarterback and coach who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons. He spent his first nine seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and his final three with the Philadelphia Eagles. Following his playing career, he was the inaugural head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 1961 to 1966 and the second head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 1968 to 1974.
Van Brocklin received All-American honors at Oregon, but was not selected by the Rams until the fourth round of the 1949 NFL Draft due to concerns over his professional availability. During his first three seasons, he and teammate Bob Waterfield alternated as the starting quarterback, culminating with them leading Los Angeles to victory in the 1951 championship. After Waterfield retired, Van Brocklin served as the Rams' primary starter from 1952 to 1957, concluding his tenure with six consecutive Pro Bowl selections and a passing-yards leading season in 1954. He joined Philadelphia in 1958, where his three seasons all saw him receive further Pro Bowl selections, bringing his total to nine. In his final season, he was named Most Valuable Player en route to winning the 1960 championship.
As the head coach of the expansion Vikings and Falcons, Van Brocklin had less success and was unable to reach the postseason with either team. Nevertheless, he recorded the first winning seasons for both franchises. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Born in Parade, South Dakota,Van Brocklin was one of nine children of Mack and Ethel Van Brocklin. His father was a watchmaker. The family moved to Northern California and settled in Walnut Creek, east of Oakland. Van Brocklin was a three-sport standout at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, where he quarterbacked the football team to a 5–3 record as a sophomore and a 4-2-2 record as a junior. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 through 1945, foregoing his senior year of high school.
Following World War II, Van Brocklin followed two former high school teammates north and enrolled at the University of Oregon in Eugene.He became the starting quarterback in 1947 under first-year head coach Jim Aiken, and led the Ducks to a 16–5 record in his two seasons as a starter. In 1948, Oregon tied with California for the title of the Pacific Coast Conference, forerunner of the Pac-12. California was undefeated overall, and Oregon's only loss was at undefeated Michigan, that year's national champions, and the Ducks had seven victories in the PCC to Cal's six. Oregon did not go to the Rose Bowl, however, because Cal was voted by the other schools to represent the PCC in the game. Oregon needed only a 5–5 tie vote, as Cal had been to the game more recently, and with six Northwest schools and four in California, appeared favored to advance. Oregon had opted for a playoff game, but California declined. Among the Cal voters was the University of Washington, which elevated the intensity of the Oregon-Washington rivalry. Breaking with tradition, the PCC allowed Oregon to accept an invitation to play SMU in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It was the first time that a Pacific Coast team played in a major bowl game other than the Rose Bowl (a policy which was continued by the Pac-8 through 1974). Both Oregon and California lost their New Year's Day bowl games. That season, Van Brocklin was honored with an All-America selection and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Coincidentally, the Heisman Trophy winner that year was SMU running back Doak Walker. Both Walker and Van Brocklin got Outstanding Player recognition for their performance in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Van Brocklin left Oregon for the NFL with one remaining year of college eligibility. At that time, a player was not allowed to join the NFL until four years after graduating from high school. Though he had only been at the University of Oregon for three years, he was eligible due to his time in the Navy during World War II. At age 23, he completed his bachelor's degree in June 1949.
Van Brocklin was selected 37th overall in the 1949 NFL Draft, taken in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams.Teams were not sure if he planned to play the 1949 season in college or not, so he fell in the draft, conducted in December 1948. Van Brocklin signed with the Rams in July and joined a team that already had a star quarterback, Bob Waterfield. Beginning in 1950, new Rams coach Joe Stydahar solved his problem by platooning Waterfield and Van Brocklin. The 1950 Rams scored a then-record 466 points (38.8 per game – which is still a record) with a high octane passing attack featuring Tom Fears and Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch. Fears led the league and set a new NFL record with 84 receptions. Van Brocklin and Waterfield finished 1–2 in passer rating as well. They were defeated by the Cleveland Browns in the 1950 title game, 30–28.
In 1951, Van Brocklin and Waterfield again split quarterbacking duties and the Rams again won the West. That year, Hirsch set an NFL record with 1,495 receiving yards and tied Don Hutson's record of 17 touchdown receptions. This time, the Rams won the title rematch against Cleveland, 24–17.Waterfield (9-24, 125 yards) took most of the snaps at the L.A. Coliseum, but Van Brocklin (4-6, 128 yards) threw a game-winning 73-yard touchdown pass to Fears. It was the Rams' only NFL championship while originally based in southern California; their next came in 1999, several years after the move east to St. Louis. After returning to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, the Rams subsequently won Super Bowl LVI in 2022.
Earlier in 1951 on opening night, Van Brocklin threw for an NFL record 554 yards on September 28, breaking Johnny Lujack's single-game record of 468 set two years earlier. Waterfield was injured so Van Brocklin played the entire game and completed 27 of 41 attempts with five touchdowns. Despite the increase in passing attacks by NFL teams in recent years, the yardage record still stands, set 72 years ago.
Waterfield retired after the 1952 season and Van Brocklin continued to quarterback the Rams, leading them to the title game again in 1955, hosted at the L.A. Coliseum. In that game, the visiting Browns crushed the Rams 38-14 as Van Brocklin threw six interceptions.In early January 1958, he announced his retirement from pro football after nine seasons and had plans to enter private business in Oregon at Portland.
Less than five months later in late May, Van Brocklin changed his mind and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for two players (offensive lineman Buck Lansford and defensive end Jimmy Harris) and a first round draft pick. 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)176 lb (80 kg) Tommy McDonald, Van Brocklin led the Eagles to victory. In a game dominated by defense, he led a fourth quarter comeback, resulting in a final score of 17–13.It was disclosed he did not want to play another season for the Rams under head coach Sid Gillman's offense, but it was not a personality issue with Gillman. Under famed head coach Buck Shaw, Van Brocklin was given total control of the offense in Philadelphia in 1958, and he steadily improved the Eagles' attack. In his third and final season with Philly in 1960, the team had the best regular season record in league at 10–2, and hosted the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field. Throwing to his favorite receiver,
During his twelve-year career, Van Brocklin played on two NFL championship teams: the 1951 Los Angeles Rams and the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles. Following the latter triumph, he retired. As it turned out, the Eagles were the only team to defeat the Packers in a playoff game during Vince Lombardi's tenure as Green Bay's head coach.Van Brocklin led the NFL in passing three times and in punting twice. On nine occasions, he was selected to the Pro Bowl.
Van Brocklin cut his ties with the Eagles after his belief that the team had reneged on an agreement to name him head coach to replace the retiring Buck Shaw. On January 18, 1961, he accepted the head coaching position for the expansion Minnesota Vikings, .369). The tenure was highlighted by his contentious relationship with quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Van Brocklin was displeased with Tarkenton's penchant for scrambling, preferring that he stay in the pocket. The feud culminated with Tarkenton's demand for a trade and Van Brocklin's surprise resignation on February 11, 1967. Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants shortly after Van Brocklin's departure, but was reacquired by Van Brocklin's successor, Bud Grant, five years later in 1972. One thing Van Brocklin was known for was his disdain for soccer-style kickers (now the standard in the NFL). In one game, soccer-style kicker Garo Yepremian beat Van Brocklin's team and after the game, a reporter asked about how felt about losing the game on a last-second field goal, and he replied "They ought to change the god-damned immigration laws in this country".less than a month after winning the NFL Championship game. During his six years with Minnesota, Van Brocklin compiled a record of 29-51-4 (
During his first year off the field in over two decades, Van Brocklin served as a commentator on NFL broadcasts in 1967 for CBS.
In 1968, Van Brocklin took over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons on October 1, replacing Norb Hecker, who had started the season with three defeats, extending the team losing streak to ten games.Over the next seven seasons, Van Brocklin had mixed results, putting together a 37-49-3 mark. He led the team to its first winning season in 1971 with a 7-6-1 record, then challenged for a playoff spot in 1973 with a 9–5 mark. His 1973 Falcons handed the Fran Tarkenton-led, 9-0 Minnesota Vikings its first defeat, on Monday Night Football . However, after winning just two of his first eight games in 1974, he was fired.
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|MIN||1961||3||11||0||.214||7th in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|MIN||1962||2||11||1||.179||6th in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|MIN||1963||5||8||1||.393||4th in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|MIN||1964||8||5||1||.607||2nd in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|MIN||1965||7||7||0||.500||5th in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|MIN||1966||4||9||1||.321||6th in NFL Western||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1968||2||9||0||.182||4th in NFL Coastal||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1969||6||8||0||.429||3rd in NFL Coastal||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1970||4||8||2||.357||3rd in NFC West||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1971||7||6||1||.536||3rd in NFC West||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1972||7||7||0||.500||2nd in NFC West||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1973||9||5||0||.643||2nd in NFC West||—||—||—||—|
|ATL||1974||2||6||0||.250||4th in NFC West||—||—||—||—|
Following his dismissal, Van Brocklin returned to his pecan farm in Social Circle, Georgia, east of Atlanta. His only connections to football during this era were as a running backs coach for Georgia Tech under head coach Pepper Rodgers in 1979,who was fired that December. It was his only stint as an assistant coach. Rodgers's successor Bill Curry brought in a new staff in 1980 and Van Brocklin then was a college football analyst on "Superstation" WTBS in Atlanta.
Van Brocklin, a heavy cigarette smoker, suffered a number of illnesses, including a brain tumor. After it was removed, he told the press, "It was a brain transplant. They gave me a sportswriter's brain, to make sure I got one that hadn't been used."He died of a heart attack in 1983 at age 57, five weeks after former teammate Bob Waterfield.
Van Brocklin was posthumously elected to the University of Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
|AP NFL MVP|
|Led the league|
Francis Asbury Tarkenton is an American former professional football player who played as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons, primarily with the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at the University of Georgia, where he was recognized as a twice first-team All-SEC, and was selected by the Vikings in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft. After retiring from football, he became a media personality and computer software executive.
Vince Anthony Ferragamo is an American former gridiron football player. He played professionally as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) and the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Robert Stanton Waterfield was an American professional football player and coach who played in the NFL for 8 seasons. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins and Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. His No. 7 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952. He was also a motion picture actor and producer.
John Harvey McKay was an American football coach. He was the head coach at the University of Southern California (USC) from 1960 to 1975 and of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to 1984. In sixteen seasons at USC, McKay compiled a record of 127–40–8 (.749) and won nine AAWU/Pac-8 conference titles. His teams made eight appearances in the Rose Bowl, with five wins. Four of his squads captured national titles.
Robert Chadwick Berry is a former American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League for twelve seasons. He was selected to one Pro Bowl in 1969 as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Berry was a member of three Super Bowl teams with the Minnesota Vikings in the mid-1970s.
The 1951 NFL Championship Game was the National Football League's 19th championship game, played December 23 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
Lawrence Timothy "Buck" Shaw was an American football player and coach. He was the head coach for Santa Clara University, the University of California, Berkeley, the San Francisco 49ers, the United States Air Force Academy and the Philadelphia Eagles. He attended the University of Notre Dame, where he became a star player on Knute Rockne's first unbeaten team. He started his coaching career with one year as head coach at North Carolina State and four years as a line coach at Nevada in Reno.
The 1960 NFL Championship Game was the 28th NFL title game. The game was played on Monday, December 26, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
James Wilson Aiken was an American football player and coach of football and basketball. He served as the head football coach at the University of Akron (1936–1938), the University of Nevada (1939–1946), and the University of Oregon (1947–1950), compiling a career college football record of 78–53–5. Aiken was also the head basketball coach at Nevada for a season in 1944–45, tallying a mark of 8–9.
The 1961 season was the Minnesota Vikings' first in the National Football League (NFL) after being created as an expansion franchise to become the league's fourteenth team. Their inaugural regular season game was a 37–13 victory at home to the Chicago Bears; rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to toss four touchdown passes and run for another. However, under head coach Norm Van Brocklin, the Vikings won just two of their remaining 13 games, including a seven-game losing streak, and finished the season with a 3–11 record.
The 1964 season was the Minnesota Vikings' fourth in the National Football League. Under head coach Norm Van Brocklin, the team finished with an 8–5–1 record for their first winning season and a franchise-best until 1969. They tied with the Green Bay Packers for second place in the Western conference, who gained the berth in the third-place Playoff Bowl in Miami on January 3. The two teams had split their season series, with the road teams winning, but the Packers won the tiebreaker on point differential: the Vikings' victory was by just one point, while Green Bay won by over four touchdowns. In the season opener, the Vikings upset eventual Western champion Baltimore.
Garet Neal Reichow is a former professional American football player. A 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), 220 lb tight end from the University of Iowa, Reichow was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 1956 NFL Draft. He was one of two Minnesota Vikings selected to the Pro Bowl after their inaugural 1961 season.
The 1968 Baltimore Colts season was the 16th season for the team in the National Football League (NFL). Led by sixth-year head coach Don Shula, they finished the regular season with a record of 13 wins and 1 loss, and won the Western Conference's Coastal division.
The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 28th season in the National Football League, and finished with the Eagles' win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFL championship game to get their third league title. The victory over the Packers was also the first and only playoff defeat of the Packers' Vince Lombardi's coaching career. The 1960 season was the Eagles' first postseason appearance since their last NFL championship season of 1949. It was their only postseason appearance in the 28 seasons from 1950 to 1977, and their last NFL title until their victory in Super Bowl LII, 57 years later.
The 1970 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's twentieth annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1969 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 18, 1970, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The final score was West 16, East 13. Running back Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears was named the game's offensive Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the third time after rushing for 75 yards on nine carries. Defensive end George Andrie of the Dallas Cowboys was selected as the defensive MVP.
The 1968 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's eighteenth annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1967 season. The game was played on January 21, 1968, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
The 1961 Pro Bowl was the NFL's eleventh annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1960 season. The game was played on January 15, 1961, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California in front of 62,971 fans. The final score was West 35, East 31.
The 1948 Oregon Webfoots football team represented the University of Oregon in the 1948 college football season. The Webfoots competed as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). The team was led by head coach Jim Aiken, in his second year, and played their home games at Hayward Field in Eugene and at Multnomah Field in Portland. Oregon finished the regular season ranked ninth, with nine wins and one loss, and won all seven conference games in the PCC. They did not play Montana or #4 California; the Golden Bears won all ten games during the regular season.
The 1947 Oregon Webfoots football team was an American football team that represented the University of Oregon in the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) during the 1947 college football season. In its third season under head coach Jim Aiken, the team compiled a 7–3 record, and outscored their opponents 174 to 121. Oregon played its home games on campus at Hayward Field in Eugene.