Dick Lane Detroit Lions & Chicago Cardinals & Los Angeles Rams
"My object is to stop the guy before he gains another inch. I’m usually dealing with ends who are trying to catch passes, and if I hit them in the legs they may fall forward for a first down. There is nothing I hate worse than a first down."
Dick Lane was an Army veteran “looking for a good job” when he stopped in the offices of the Los Angeles Rams in 1952 and asked for a tryout. All he had for credentials was a battered scrapbook, which chronicled his football experiences in high school, junior college and the Army.
The defending-champion Rams’ coach Joe Stydahar saw just enough “good press” in the scrapbook to offer Lane a trial. At first Dick was tried at end but with future Hall of Famers Tom Fears and Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch set as starters, his chances didn't look good. Lane did, however, spend a great deal of time consulting with Fears, who was continually playing the hit record "Night Train," on his phonograph. One day, a teammate entered the room, saw Dick and blurted out, "Hey, there's Night Train," and "Night Train Lane" it was from then on.
Once Stydahar moved Lane to defense, he quickly made an impression. Blessed with outstanding speed, exceptional agility, reflex action, and a fierce determination to excel, “Night Train” set the NFL on fire as a rookie. He intercepted a record 14 passes in the 12-game season. Besides being a constant threat to steal passes, Lane also became known as a devastating tackler.
Lane also was willing to take chances on the field in spite of the risks. Most, however, would agree that percentage-wise he was well a head of the game. Lane played two years with the Rams before being traded to the Cardinals in 1954.
Six years later, he was sent to the Detroit Lions where he enjoyed his finest years. Dick was named first- or second-team All-NFL every year from 1954 through 1963. Named to seven Pro Bowls, Night Train intercepted 68 passes for 1,207 yards and five touchdowns during his Hall of Fame career.