Nose for Defense


When Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 enshrinee Curley Culp was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Houston Oilers during the 1974 season, he changed positions. He moved from defensive tackle to nose tackle. 

His new role, which was part of the Oilers 3-4 defense, was one of the most thankless in all of professional football. As the nose tackle, Curley lined up opposite of the center, and was required to hold the point of attack, and occupy as many blockers as possible so the rest of the defensive unit can swoop in a make all the plays.  Culp dominated at the position.

His best season may have been 1975 when he logged an incredible 11.5 sacks, a staggering number for a nose tackle, while he helped lead the Oilers to a 10-4 record. The season marked the first winning record in eight seasons for Houston. For his efforts, Culp was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

Below is a game-by-game log of Culp’s spectacular 1975 season, his first full year at nose tackle.

      Tackles Fumbles
WK Opp Result Comb Total Ast Sacks Recovered TD
1 at New England W - 7-0 8 7 1 1.0 1 0
2 San Diego W - 33-17 3 1 2 1.0 1 1
3 Cincinnati L - 19-21 7 4 3 2.0 0 0
4 at Cleveland W - 40-10 6 1 5 2.0 0 0
5 Washington W - 13-10 3 3 0 1.0 0 0
6 Detroit W - 24-8 8 6 2 0.0 0 0
7 at Kansas City W - 17-13 5 3 2 2.0 1 0
8 at Pittsburgh L - 17-24 3 3 0 0.5 0 0
9 Miami W - 20-19 9 6 3 0.0 0 0
10 Pittsburgh L - 32-9 4 0 0 0.0 0 0
11 at Cincinnati L - 19-23 7 6 1 0.0 0 0
12 at San Francisco W - 27-13 1 1 0 1.0 0 0
13 at Oakland W - 27-26 4 4 0 0.0 0 0
14 Cleveland W - 21-10 3 2 1 1.0 0 0
Total     71 47 20 11.5 3 1

Culp, Curley
Recent Comments
  • John Spurlock - July 26 2013 11:12 PM

    It's so way overdue for Curly to be enshrined. For all of the mid-to-late 70's, he was the model for nose guards. Always double-teamed and many times, triple-teamed, he still dominated play like no nose tackle, ever. WHY did it take so long, HOF elite? He should have been a first-round enshrinee in his first year of eligibility, 25 years ago. Shame on you!

    Report Violation

First time posting? A confirmation email will be sent to you after submitting.



Your Comments



Your email address is required to confirm your comments. Email addresses are never displayed to other users and they are not used for any other purposes other than story comments.

Once you enter your email address, name, and comment, you will be emailed a link to confirm your comment. Additionally, you will be sent a password. In the future, if you wish to leave other comments, use the password that is provided in the email.