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
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