Friday, February 12, 2010

Video - Don Hutson's TD leading seasons

Today we have some rare video of the Lambeau-era Packers in action, including a few fleeting seconds of great color footage: Top Ten Records That Will Never Be Broken, #5: Don Hutson Leads the League in Touchdowns Eight Times. Well worth checking out.

Some screen captures (click for larger):

Yet another color-on-color matchup against the Bears:

This three-image sequence shows Irv Comp passing up the middle to Hutson, who catches it, spins and runs for a few extra yards:

Interesting - those pants look a lot like the canvas-colored version the Packers wore as part of their 1994 throwback.

This is from 1935 or 36, Hutson running in for a touchdown (love the official's snow-white getup and flat cap):

So why won't Hutson's record be broken? He led the NFL in touchdowns eight times - his closest competitors are Lance Alworth, Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith, who each led the league in touchdowns three times.

Hutson was such a dominant player that you can't just compare him to other players of his era—his stats compare favorably to those of entire teams. In 1942 (in which he earned his second consecutive MVP), Hutson made more receptions than three entire teams: the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. In that same season, he scored 17 touchdowns, as many as the Pittsburgh Steelers and more than the Eagles, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cardinals and Detroit Lions. More, even, than the Cardinals and Lions combined.

There's hardly a word to describe his accomplishments. "Dominant" is diminished through overuse, but if it ever applied to a player it would be Hutson. From his bio at the Hall of Fame website:
Don Hutson’s first touchdown came on an 83-yard pass from Arnie Herber in just his second game as a Green Bay Packer. He wound up with 99 career touchdown receptions, a record that stood for more than four decades. When Hutson retired in 1945 after 11 superb seasons, he held 18 NFL records, including 488 career receptions. That was 200 more than his closest competitor.

Hutson invented modern pass receiving. He created Z-outs, buttonhooks, hook-and-gos, and a whole catalog of moves and fakes. Although he had been an All-America at Alabama in 1934, there were plenty who doubted the skinny speedster could stand the pace of pro football. But it wasn't long before his mere presence on the field had changed the defensive concept of the game.

Don could outmaneuver and outrace virtually every defender in the league. He led the NFL in receiving in eight of his 11 seasons and in scoring five straight years. Twice, in 1941 and 1942, he was named the league’s MVP.

Like everyone in the days before free substitution, Hutson was a 60-minute player who spent most of his career as a very fine safety on defense. In his final six seasons, he swiped 30 opposing quarterbacks’ passes. Often after scoring a touchdown, he would kick the extra point. In one quarter of a 1945 game, he caught four touchdown passes and kicked five PATs for an amazing 29 points.
Curly Lambeau had the vision to bring the passing game into pro football, but it was Don Hutson who made it work.

There will never be another like him.


Tom said...

That color footage is incredible, isn't it? I can't get over the high quality of it.

And, of course, seeing Don Hutson in action in color is priceless.

The NFL Films DVD "Green Bay Packers Heroes," which came out last year, has some similarly fine Tony Canadeo footage. It might even be from the same game; if I recall correctly, the opponent is the Lions and the venue is City Stadium.

Chance Michaels said...

Thanks - I'll have to check out the DVD. Period color footage is extremely rare.

I've often wondered why we don't see more early footage from NFL films. I suspect that there might be rights issues, or that the NFL doesn't actually own it, and without the profit motive they're happy to forget that the pre-Super Bowl era ever happened.

David Comp said...

Thanks for posting the still shots of Irv Comp (my grandfather) to Don Hutson. Just posted the link to your blog on Facebook and sent via e-mail to all the family! Many tanks again!