Paul Hornung Green Bay Packers
"This game is more mental than physical…It’s the guys who are right mentally who come out on top. It’s the guys who don’t make the big mistakes who win. Maybe that’s why I do well in big games. When the pressure’s on, guys get tight. By my very nature, I’m a loose character…In the big games I make less mistakes than some other guy.
Even though the Green Bay Packers had quality players at almost every position during the "dynasty years" of the 1960s, many insist that Paul Hornung, the team's bonus draft pick in 1957, was the most important contributor to the Packers' successes.
Said to have a "nose for the end zone," Hornung scored 760 points in nine seasons on 62 touchdowns, 190 PATs and 66 field goals. As his record clearly shows, Paul did more than just score points. He gained 3,711 yards rushing and 1,480 yards on pass receptions.
In addition to his placekicking, he was a superb blocker and highly effective on the halfback option pass. Known as "The Golden Boy," Hornung was above all a leader to whom the Packers looked for the big plays in the big games.
He reached the zenith of his colorful NFL tenure with three exceptional seasons in 1959, 1960, and 1961. Paul led the NFL in scoring each year and, in 1960, he posted a record 176 points. The 1956 Heisman Trophy winner as a Notre Dame quarterback; Hornung was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1961. In the 1961 NFL Championship Game, Paul was on Christmas leave from the Army when he stunned the New York Giants with a record-smashing 19-point outburst as Green Bay won, 37-0.
Paul’s pro career got off to a slow start as he divided his time between fullback and quarterback for two different head coaches. That changed, however, when Vince Lombardi was named coach and he made Hornung his starting halfback. Throughout his super-star career, Paul remained a dangerous threat to put points on the board.
In 1965, he scored five touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts and scored the clinching touchdown in the championship game against the Cleveland Browns.