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"There’s no thrill in football, like popping the ball to a receiver who has a step on his man in the open.”
(UCLA)...6'1'', 200...Robert Stanton Waterfield. . .Cleveland Rams' No. 5 future draft pick, 1944. . .NFL's Most Valuable Player as rookie, 1945 . . .Two TD passes keyed Rams' 1945 title win. . .All-NFL three years, NFL passing champ twice. . . Career marks include 11,849 yards, 97 TDs passing; 573 points on 13 TDs, 315 PATs, 60 FGs; 42.4-yard punting average. . .Also played defense first four years, intercepted 20 passes. . .Born July 26, 1920, in Elmira, New York. . .Died March 25, 1983 at age of 62.
In the 1945 NFL Championship Game, Bob Waterfield threw 37- and 44-yard touchdown passes to lead the Cleveland Rams to a 15-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. That capped a season in which he was a unanimous All-NFL choice, and became the first rookie ever to win the league's Most Valuable Player.
Early in 1946, the Rams moved to Los Angeles. As the Rams quarterback – later splitting time with Norm Van Brocklin – Waterfield took the team to three straight title games, 1949-1951. The Rams won it all in 1951 with a 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns in the title game.
As a passer, Waterfield was known for his ability to throw deep. He led the National Football League in passing in 1946 and 1951, finishing with career totals of 814 completions, 11,849 yards gained and 97 touchdown passes.
He was named first- or second-team All-NFL five times. One of the game’s most versatile players, he was also an ace defensive back for his first four seasons, a top punter with a 42.4 yard average, and a deadly place kicker. In eight seasons he totaled 573 points on 13 touchdowns, 315 PATs and 60 field goals.
For the next seven seasons, the Rams were pro football's most feared offensive team and Waterfield was the brilliant field general and precision passer who put points on the scoreboard. Always calm against even the greatest odds, he often led his team to come-from-behind victories.
In one 1948 game, the Rams fell behind eventual league champion Philadelphia 28-0. Waterfield rallied his team to a tie on four late touchdown passes. Waterfield proved to be a determined competitor in the pros. In the 1950 divisional playoff, although he was unable to practice all week because of the flu, he came off the bench and threw three touchdown passes in a 24-14 win over the Chicago Bears.
RT @Giants: A look back at the life and career of Wellington Mara, born 102 years ago today.
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Posted on 14 Aug
Latest entry in our "Stories from the HOF Archives" Blog covers the 2001 @NFL season and Super Bowl XXXVI.