TOM FEARS

TOM FEARS

Class of 1970
End >>> 6-2, 216
(Santa Clara, UCLA)
1948-1956 Los Angeles Rams

Thomas Jesse Fears. . .Led NFL receivers first three seasons, 1948-1950. . . Top season mark: 84 catches, 1950. . .Had three TD receptions in 1950 division title game. . .Caught 73-yard pass to win 1951 NFL title. . .Caught then-record 18 passes one game, 1950. . .All-NFL, 1949, 1950. . . Career mark: 400 catches for 5,397 yards, 38 TDs. . .Precise pattern-runner, specialized in button-hook route. . . Born December 3, 1922, in Guadalajara, Mexico. . . Died January 4, 2000, at age of 77.

Tom Fears was a big-play receiver with the Los Angeles Rams from 1948 through 1956. He first played football at Santa Clara, took three years out for military service during World War II, and then finished up with a pair of All-America seasons at UCLA.

Although originally drafted as a defensive back, Rams coaches realized his ball-hawking skills would be best utilized on offense. It was a wise decision. Fears went on to lead the league in receptions in each of his first three NFL seasons. He improved his total each year, setting a new league record with 77 catches in 1949 and then smashing his own mark with 84 in 1950.

In a game against the Green Bay Packers that year, Tom caught a then-league record 18 passes. One week later, the Rams defeated the Chicago Bears 24-14 to win the NFL Western Division title and Fears scored all three touchdowns on sensational pass plays of 43, 68, and 27 yards.

Although the 6-2, 216-pound Fears did not possess unusual speed, he ran extremely precise patterns, specializing in the buttonhook route, and was absolutely fearless when catching in a crowd. Time and again Tom demonstrated his big-play abilities, but no play was more memorable than his game-winning reception in the 1951 NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns. In the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 17 apiece, Fears grabbed a short 13-yard toss from quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and raced an additional 60 yards for the tie-breaking touchdown and victory. It was the Rams first title since moving from Cleveland following the 1945 season.

While one play doesn't make a successful career, in Fears' case, such heroics were standard achievements for nine seasons with the Rams. His career marks include 400 receptions for 5,397 yards and 38 touchdowns.

Year Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1948 Los Angeles

12

51

698

13.7

4

1949 Los Angeles
12
77
1013
13.2
9
1950 Los Angeles
12
84
1116
13.3
7
1951 Los Angeles
7
32
528
16.5
3
1952 Los Angeles
12
48
600
12.5
6
1953 Los Angeles
8
23
278
12.1
4
1954 Los Angeles
10
36
546
15.2
3
1955 Los Angeles
12
44
569
12.9
2
1956 Los Angeles
2
5
49
9.8
0
Career Total
87
400
5397
13.5
38
 
Additional Statistics: Rushing: 5-15; Scoring: 39 TDs, 1-4 FG, 12-14 XP; Interceptions: 2-37, 1 TD

Full Name: Thomas Jesse Fears

Birthdate: December 3, 1922

Birthplace: Guadalajara, Mexico

Died: January 4, 2000

High School: Manual Arts (Los Angeles, CA)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 12, 1970

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 8, 1970

Presenter: Harold "Hal" Dean, former Rams teammate

Other Members of Class of 1970: Jack Christiansen, Hugh McElhenny, Pete Pihos

Pro Career: 9 seasons, 87 games

Drafted: 11th round (41st overall) by Philadelphia Eagles

Uniform Number: 80 (55)

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