EARL (DUTCH) CLARK

EARL (DUTCH) CLARK

Class of 1963
Quarterback >>> 6-0, 185
(Colorado College)
1931-1932 Portsmouth Spartans, 1934-1938 Detroit Lions

Earl Harry Clark ... Colorado College All-American, 1928 ... Called signals, played tailback, did everything superbly well ... Quiet, quick-thinking, exceptional team leader ... NFL's last dropkicking specialist ... All-NFL six of seven years ... NFL scoring champ three years ... Generalled Lions to 1935 NFL title ... Scored 368 points on 42 TDs, 71 PATs, 15 FGs ... Player-coach final two seasons ... Born October 11, 1906, in Fowler, Colorado ... Died August 5, 1978, at age of 71.

Dutch Clark’s story doesn’t fit the ordinary picture of an all-time great. In 1929, he became the first Colorado College football star to be named All-America, yet he didn’t play pro football until almost two years after he graduated, when he joined the Portsmouth Spartans for the 1931 season.

He retired from the pro game after two All-Pro seasons to become head coach at the tiny Colorado School of Mines. However, Clark returned to pro football in 1934 rejoining his team, which by then had been sold and had become the Detroit Lions. For the next five years, Clark, from his tailback position, was the general in Detroit's famed infantry attack that in 1936 set a team rushing record that stood for 36 years.

He was called the quarterback because he called the plays. A true triple-threat back, Dutch consistently finished among the leaders in rushing and once completed 53.5 percent of his passes in a season when the league average was just 36.5 percent. He also led the league in scoring three times, kicked field goals and extra points and, is generally considered the last of the great drop kickers.

The versatile Clark was All-NFL six of the seven seasons he played. Although a great athlete, Dutch was not particularly fast and had such poor eyesight he had trouble seeing his receivers. According to teammates, though, he had the uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Furthermore his teammates swore that no one could follow blockers as well as Dutch.

Humble, Clark was always conscious of his role as team leader. So unassuming, he sometimes avoided calling plays directed his way for fear of hogging the limelight. “If Dutch stepped on the field with Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, and George Gipp,” a rival coach once said, “Dutch would be the general.”

Year Team
G
Att.
Comp.
Pct.
Yds.
TD
Int
Rating
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1931 Portsmouth
11
0
0
0.0
0
1
0
0.0
0
0
0.0
9
1932 Portsmouth
11
52
17
32.7
272
2
8
24.4
137
461
3.4
3
1934 Detroit
12
50
23
46
383
0
3
47.3
123
763
6.2
8
1935 Detroit
12
26
11
42.3
133
2
4
44.7
120
427
3.6
4
1936 Detroit
12
71
38
53.5
467
4
6
57.7
123
628
5.1
7
1937 Detroit
11
39
19
48.7
202
1
3
40.8
96
468
4.9
5
1938 Detroit
6
12
6
50
50
1
2
49.3
7
25
3.6
0
Career Total
75
250
114
45.6
1507
11
26
40.3
606
2772
4.6
36
Additional Career Statistics: Receiving: 28-341, 6 TDs; Scoring: 42 TDs, 15-6 FG, 66-71 XP

Full Name: Earl Harry Clark

Birthdate:
October 11, 1906

Birthplace:
Fowler, Colorado

Died:
August 5, 1978

High School:
Central (Pueblo, CO)

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame:
September 7, 1963

Presenter:
Philip A. Hart, U.S. Senator, Michigan

Other Members of Class of 1963:
Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Harold "Red" Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Wilbur "Pete" Henry, Cal Hubbard, Don Hutson, Earl "Curly" Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John "Blood" McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, Jim Thorpe

Pro Career: 7 seasons, 75 games

Drafted: Clark played prior to the NFL Draft being implemented.

Uniform Number: 7

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