Earl Edwin Morrall (May 17, 1934 – April 25, 2014) was an American football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for twenty-one seasons. Morrall, who also occasionally punted, played 21 seasons in the National Football League as both a starter and reserve. In the latter capacity, he became known as one of the greatest backup quarterbacks in NFL history. During the 1968 Baltimore Colts season, he filled in for an injured Johnny Unitas leading to an NFL championship shutout victory and Super Bowl III, which they lost to the New York Jets. For the 1972 Miami Dolphins season (both under coach Don Shula) he filled in for an injured Bob Griese leading to Super Bowl VII and the only perfect season in NFL history. Morrall made Pro Bowl appearances following the 1957 and 1968 seasons.
Morrall in 1965
|No. 11, 10, 14, 15|
|Born:||May 17, 1934|
|Died:||April 25, 2014 (aged 79)|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school:||Muskegon (MI)|
|NFL Draft:||1956 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Morrall led Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan to a state football championship in 1951. Morrall attended Michigan State University, where he played under head coaches Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty. He played three seasons for the Michigan State Spartans football team, leading them to a 9–1 record in the 1955 season. He capped his senior year with a victory over the UCLA Bruins in the 1956 Rose Bowl. Morrall also played baseball at Michigan State and played in the College World Series as a shortstop and third baseman. He was offered the opportunity to play professional baseball but chose instead to play football.
In his more than two decades on the professional gridiron, Morrall played for six different teams, starting with his rookie year in 1956 as a first-round selection by the San Francisco 49ers. On September 16, 1957, he was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks. Despite the high cost of the transaction, the Steelers traded Morrall just over a year later to the Detroit Lions in order to obtain future Hall of Famer Bobby Layne. Morrall was with the Lions for the next six years, having his best season in 1963 by throwing for 24 touchdowns and more than 2,600 yards. The following year, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in an October 18 contest against the Chicago Bears.
After spending the off-season rehabilitating from his injury, Morrall was dealt by the Lions to the New York Giants for Mike Lucci who had been acquired from the Cleveland Browns, Darrell Dess and a draft pick as part of a three-team transaction on August 30, 1965. Enduring his role during the Giants' rebuilding phase, Morrall threw for 2,446 yards and 22 touchdowns that season, but found himself seeing spot duty over the course of the next two years. He was traded to the Baltimore Colts for an undisclosed draft choice on August 25, 1968. Butch Wilson was sent to the Giants to complete the transaction eight days later on September 2.
When regular Colts signal caller Johnny Unitas was injured in the final exhibition game, Morrall became the team's starter. Morrall proceeded to lead the Colts to a 13-1 record, then added two playoff victories en route to winning the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, leading the Colts into Super Bowl III. However, in one of sport's greatest upsets, the Colts lost 16-7 to the New York Jets, with a second-quarter interception of a pass by Morrall symbolizing the team's luck on the day. Wide receiver Jimmy Orr was wide open near the end zone, but Morrall inexplicably did not see Orr (despite having successfully run the same play earlier in the year). His throw down the middle was short and intercepted by Jim Hudson to blunt the Colts' momentum. Two years later, Morrall again replaced an injured Unitas in Super Bowl V, and the Colts won 16-13 over the Dallas Cowboys on a 32-yard field goal by Jim O'Brien at the end of regulation.
On April 25, 1972, Morrall was claimed on waivers for $100 by the Miami Dolphins, reuniting him with his former Colts head coach, Don Shula. Shula described Morrall as "an intelligent quarterback who's won a lot of ball games for me."
Morrall replaced the injured Bob Griese for the Dolphins during the team's October 15 win over the San Diego Chargers. The victory gave Miami a 5-0 record, with Morrall building on that win to lead the team to the first undefeated regular season in the NFL since 1942 and only undefeated season ever, starting 11 out of 17 games that year. After notching a win in the team's first playoff game against the Cleveland Browns, Morrall struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game, leading to the return of Griese.
Morrall would remain as a Dolphin quarterback for the next four seasons before finally announcing his retirement on May 2, 1977. Until first Doug Flutie and then Vinny Testaverde almost 30 years later, Morrall was the oldest quarterback to start and win a football game in the NFL. In those 21 seasons, Morrall was part of 255 games, completing 1,379 passes for 20,809 yards and 161 touchdowns.
Earl Morrall became the quarterback coach at the University of Miami in 1979. During his time there, he worked with Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde and Mark Richt. In 1989, he was elected to the Davie, Florida city council and eventually became mayor. Morrall ran for the Florida House of Representatives District 97 seat as a Republican in 1992 and lost.
During a 1989 interview, Morrall was asked what it took to come off the bench and be an effective quarterback and team leader. His response was, "When you get the chance to do the job, you have to do the job. That's all there is to it."
He died on April 25, 2014 at his son's home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79. After death, examination of his brain disclosed that he had grade 4 (the most serious stage) chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The 1955 Big Ten Conference football season was the 60th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1955 college football season.
The 1955 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, won the Big Ten football championship with a record of 7–2 and was ranked No. 5 in the final AP Poll. Halfback Howard Cassady was a consensus first-team All-American and won both the 1955 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the most valuable player in the Big Ten.
The 1955 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Duffy Daugherty, compiled a 9–1 record, defeated UCLA in the 1956 Rose Bowl, and was ranked No. 2 behind Oklahoma in the final AP Poll. Quarterback Earl Morrall was a consensus first-team All-American and was the first Big Ten player selected in the 1956 NFL Draft with the second overall pick. Tackle Norm Masters was also a first-team All-American.
The 1955 Michigan Wolverines football team, under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, compiled a 7–2 record and was ranked No. 12 in the final AP Poll. In the second week of the season, the Wolverines defeated Michigan State, the Spartans' only loss of the season. The Wolverines rose to No. 1 in the AP Poll after defeating Army (ranked No. 6), but after starting the season 6-0, Michigan lost to Illinois on November 5, 1955. End Ron Kramer was a consensus first-team All-American.
Iowa guard Cal Jones won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. He was the first Big Ten player to receive the award.1955 Michigan State Spartans football team
The 1955 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in the 1955 Big Ten Conference football season. In their third season in Big Ten play and their second season under head coach Duffy Daugherty, the Spartans compiled a 9–1 overall record (5–1 against Big Ten opponents) and were ranked No. 2 behind Oklahoma in the final AP Poll. Michigan State was named national champion by Boand, an NCAA-designated major selector.Three Michigan State players were selected by the AP as first-team players on the 1955 All-Big Ten Conference football team: quarterback Earl Morrall, tackle Norm Masters, and guard Carl Nystrom. Halfback Jerry Planutis was selected for the second team.The 1955 Spartans won two of their three annual rivalry games. In the annual Indiana–Michigan State football rivalry game, the Spartans defeated the Hoosiers by a 20–13 score. In the Notre Dame rivalry game, the Spartans defeated the Fighting Irish by a 21–14 score. And, in the annual Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry game, the Spartans suffered their only loss, losing to the Wolverines by a 14–7 score.In non-conference play, the Spartans also defeated Stanford, 38–14, and defeated UCLA, 17–14, in the 1956 Rose Bowl.1958 Detroit Lions season
The 1958 Detroit Lions season was their 29th in the National Football League. The defending NFL champions failed to improve on their previous season and finished at 4–7–1, fifth in the six-team Western Conference.Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne, age 31, was traded after the second game to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Earl Morrall and two draft choices. After losing their first two games without Layne, the Steelers finished at 7–4–1.
The Lions won only one game in the first half of the season, then spilt the final six games. It was one of the poorest performances by a defending league champion in league history.1968 Baltimore Colts season
The 1968 Baltimore Colts season was the 16th season for the team in the National Football League. Led by sixth-year head coach Don Shula, they finished the regular season with a record of 13 wins and 1 loss, and won the Western Conference's Coastal division.
The previous season, the Colts' record was 11–1–2, tied for the best in the league, but were excluded from the playoffs. They lost a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Rams for the Coastal Division title in 1967; the other three teams in the NFL postseason, all division winners, had nine wins each.
In 1968, Baltimore won the Western Conference playoff game with the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL Championship Game in a shutout of the Cleveland Browns, but then lost to the New York Jets of the American Football League in Super Bowl III. Hall of fame quarterback Johnny Unitas had been injured during the pre-season, so Earl Morrall led the offense. Shula decided to bring Unitas back in during the second half of the Super Bowl, to no avail.1972 Miami Dolphins season
The 1972 Miami Dolphins season was the team’s seventh season, and third season in the National Football League (NFL). The 1972 Dolphins are the only NFL team to win the Super Bowl with a perfect season. The undefeated campaign was led by coach Don Shula and notable players Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, and Larry Csonka. The 1972 Dolphins went 14–0 in the regular season and won all three post-season games, including Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins, to finish 17–0.
The team remains the only NFL team to complete an entire season undefeated and untied from the opening game through the Super Bowl (or championship game). The closest team to repeating this feat was the 2007 New England Patriots, who recorded the most wins in a season in NFL history by going 18–0 before shockingly losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (the Dolphins won 18 straight through and until the first week of the 1973 season). Besides the 1972 Dolphins and 2007 Patriots, the only other team to ever complete the regular season undefeated and untied is the Chicago Bears, who accomplished the feat in both 1934 and 1942. Both of those Bears teams however failed to win the NFL Championship Game.
During the 1972 season, Bob Griese’s ankle was broken in Week 5 as he was sacked by San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Ron East and defensive end Deacon Jones. He was replaced by veteran Earl Morrall for the rest of the regular season. Griese returned to the field as a substitute in the final regular season game against the Baltimore Colts and then also relieved Morrall for the second half of the AFC Championship game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and then started for Miami in Super Bowl VII. On the ground, running backs Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris became the first teammates to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Paul Warfield led the receivers, averaging over 20 yards per catch on 29 receptions. The offensive line included future Hall of Fame members Jim Langer and Larry Little and Pro Bowler Norm Evans.
The 1972 Dolphins defensive unit, called the No-Name Defense because Miami’s impressive offense received much more publicity, as well as Cowboys coach Tom Landry coining the phrase in an interview, was the league’s best that year. It was led by linebacker Nick Buoniconti, end Bill Stanfill, tackle Manny Fernandez, and safeties Dick Anderson and Jake Scott. In all, nine players—Csonka, Morris, Warfield, Little, Evans, Buoniconti, Stanfill, Anderson and Scott—were selected to the Pro Bowl, and Morrall, Stanfill and Anderson were named 1st team All-Pro.On August 20, 2013, four decades after their accomplishment, President Barack Obama hosted the 1972 Dolphins, noting that they "never got their White House visit".Craig Erickson
Craig Neil Erickson (born May 17, 1969) is a former professional quarterback who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft and also by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He is one of the few NFL players to be drafted twice, another famous example being Bo Jackson. Coincidentally, each was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.George Izo
George William Izo (born September 20, 1937) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Lions, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame.Jim Del Gaizo
Jim Del Gaizo (born May 31, 1947) is a former professional American football quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants. His career in the National Football League lasted five seasons (1971–1975).Jimmy Orr
Jimmy Orr (born October 4, 1935) is a former American Football wide receiver who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts for 13 seasons from 1958 to 1970. Orr was a two-time Pro Bowler, as a Steeler in 1959 and as a Colt in 1965. Orr was a popular player during his time in Baltimore and the corner of the end zone in Memorial Stadium where he caught many of his passes was often affectionately referred to as "Orrsville".Orr played college football at the University of Georgia and was chosen UPI NFL Rookie of the Year in 1958 in a season in which he had 33 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns and also punted. His 910 yards stood as a franchise rookie record until 2017 when it was surpassed by JuJu Smith-Schuster. Orr's three touchdowns and 205 yards in the season finale against the Chicago Cardinals remain Steelers rookie records. He played his first three seasons in Pittsburgh and his final 10 in Baltimore.
Orr retired in 1970 with exactly 400 career receptions for 7,914 receiving yards and 66 touchdowns.
Orr is known for his part in a play in Super Bowl III against the New York Jets. On the last play of the first half, Colt quarterback Earl Morrall handed off to Tom Matte, who threw a lateral back to Morrall in a flea-flicker play. Orr was wide open at the 20 yard line with a open lane to the end zone, but Morrall did not see him (perhaps because Orr was camouflaged by a backdrop of uniformed band members outlining the end zone). Videos of the play reveal that on an otherwise overcast day, the sun mysteriously came out just before the play, and shone directly into Morrall's face, while Orr was downfield in the shadows. Morrall threw instead to fullback Jerry Hill, but the ball was intercepted by New York Jets safety Jim Hudson.Joe Reed (American football)
Joe Reed (born January 8, 1948 in Newport, Rhode Island) is a former professional American football quarterback in the National Football League. He played for the San Francisco 49ers (1972–1974) and the Detroit Lions (1975–1979). He recorded an album of standards with the 49ers' cheerleading squad, then known as the Niner Nuggets, in 1974.List of Detroit Lions starting quarterbacks
These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Lions.List of Indianapolis Colts starting quarterbacks
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL).
The club was officially founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1953, as the Baltimore Colts, replacing a previous team of that name that folded in 1950. After 31 seasons in Baltimore, Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis.
The Colts have had 33 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise. The Colts' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Unitas, as well as the Associated Press National Football League Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) winners Earl Morrall and Bert Jones. Unitas also won the MVP award three times in his career. The franchise's first starting quarterback was Fred Enke, who started 9 games in total for the Colts. The Colts' starting quarterback from 1998 to 2011 was 5-time MVP Peyton Manning. The Colts' current starting quarterback is Andrew Luck.List of Miami Dolphins starting quarterbacks
The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. They are members of the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). Lawyer Joe Robbie and actor Danny Thomas were granted enfranchisement on August 15, 1965, committing their team as the ninth member of the American Football League (AFL).The Dolphins have had 32 different starting quarterbacks (QB) in their franchise history; only George Mira and Tyler Thigpen have started only one game for the Dolphins. The Dolphins' first starting quarterback was Dick Wood during the first inaugural season game in 1966, against the Oakland Raiders; Wood however was replaced a week later by rookie Rick Norton due to inconsistency. Notable Dolphin starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Bob Griese and Dan Marino, who together combined for 391 total starts and 239 wins all with the Dolphins. Other standouts include Earl Morrall, Don Strock, David Woodley, Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington, and A. J. Feeley.
The Miami Dolphins entered the 2012 season with the franchise's 32nd different starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is the first rookie to ever start on opening day for the Dolphins.List of New York Giants starting quarterbacks
These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the New York Giants of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Giants.Mike Lucci
Michael Gene Lucci (born December 29, 1939) is a former National Football League player for the Cleveland Browns for 3 seasons from 1962 to 1964 and 9 seasons with the Detroit Lions from 1965 to 1973. Lucci played collegiately at the University of Tennessee and for one year at the University of Pittsburgh.
Lucci joined the Lions as a result of a three-team transaction on August 30, 1965. He, along with a draft pick, was first sent by the Browns to the New York Giants for all-pro cornerback Erich Barnes. Then the Giants traded him, guard Darrell Dess and a draft pick to the Lions for quarterback Earl Morrall.He was a 6'2", 230-pound middle linebacker known for his ability to play through injury. Lucci’s defensive coverage abilities earned him a total of 21 career interceptions with Detroit. He returned four of those interceptions for touchdowns. Lucci was voted by his teammates the Lions’ Defensive Most Valuable Player from 1969-1971. In addition, he was All-NFL in 1969, NFC All-Conference in 1970-1971. Lucci was named to the Pro Bowl following the 1971 season where he intercepted five passes, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Lucci also appeared as himself in the 1968 film Paper Lion, and from 1976 to 1978 served as a color analyst for Lions broadcasts on WJR radio.Milt Plum
Milton Ross Plum (born January 20, 1935) is a former American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns (1957–61), Detroit Lions (1962–67), Los Angeles Rams (1968) and New York Giants (1969) of the National Football League.National Football League Most Valuable Player Award
The National Football League Most Valuable Player Award (NFL MVP) is an award given by various entities to the American football player who is considered the most valuable in the National Football League (NFL) during the regular season. Organizations which currently give an NFL MVP award or have in the past include the Associated Press (AP), the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), and United Press International (UPI). The first award described as a most valuable player award was the Joe F. Carr Trophy, awarded by the NFL from 1938 to 1946. Today, the AP award is considered the de facto official NFL MVP award. Since the 2011 season, the NFL has held the annual NFL Honors ceremony to recognize the winner of the Associated Press MVP award.Super Bowl III
Super Bowl III was the third AFL–NFL Championship Game in professional American football, and the first to officially bear the trademark name "Super Bowl". The game, played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in both American football history and in the recorded history of sports. The 18-point underdog American Football League (AFL) champion New York Jets defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Baltimore Colts by a score of 16–7.
This was the first Super Bowl victory for the AFL. Before the game, most sports writers and fans believed that AFL teams were less talented than NFL clubs, and expected the Colts to defeat the Jets by a wide margin. Baltimore posted a 13–1 record during the 1968 NFL season before defeating the Cleveland Browns, 34–0, in the 1968 NFL Championship Game. The Jets finished the 1968 AFL season at 11–3, and defeated the Oakland Raiders, 27–23, in the 1968 AFL Championship Game.
Jets quarterback Joe Namath famously made an appearance three days before the Super Bowl at the Miami Touchdown Club and personally guaranteed his team's victory. His team backed up his words by controlling most of the game, building a 16–0 lead by the fourth quarter off of a touchdown run by Matt Snell and three field goals by Jim Turner. Colts quarterback Earl Morrall threw three interceptions before being replaced by Johnny Unitas, who then led Baltimore to its only touchdown, during the last few minutes of the game. With the victory, the Jets were the only winning team to score only one touchdown (either offensive, defensive, or special teams) until the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Namath, who completed 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards, was named as the Super Bowl's most valuable player, making him the first player in Super Bowl history to be declared MVP without personally achieving a touchdown.Super Bowl V
Super Bowl V, the fifth edition of the Super Bowl and first modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game, was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Colts and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the NFL champion for the 1970 season. The Colts defeated the Cowboys by the score of 16–13 on a field goal as time expired. The game was played on January 17, 1971, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the first Super Bowl game played on artificial turf, on first-generation Poly-Turf.
This was the first Super Bowl played after the completion of the AFL–NFL merger. Beginning with this game and continuing to the present day, the Super Bowl has served as the NFL's league championship game, with the winner of the AFC Championship Game and the winner of the NFC Championship Game facing off in the culmination of the NFL playoffs. As per the merger agreement, all 26 AFL and NFL teams were divided into two conferences with 13 teams in each. Along with the Colts, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to join the ten AFL teams to form the AFC; the remaining 13 NFL teams formed the NFC. This explains why the Colts represented the NFL in Super Bowl III, but the AFC for Super Bowl V. Baltimore advanced to Super Bowl V after posting an 11–2–1 regular season record. Meanwhile, the Cowboys were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting a 10–4 regular season record.
The game is sometimes called the "Blunder Bowl", "Blooper Bowl" or "Stupor Bowl" because it was filled with poor play, a missed PAT, penalties, turnovers, and officiating miscues. The two teams combined for a Super Bowl record 11 turnovers, with five in the fourth quarter. The Colts' seven turnovers remain the most committed by a Super Bowl champion. Dallas also set a Super Bowl record with 10 penalties, costing them 133 yards. It was finally settled when Colts rookie kicker Jim O'Brien made a 32-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation time. In order to win the game, Baltimore had to overcome a 13–6 deficit after three quarters, and losing their starting quarterback Johnny Unitas in the second quarter. It is the only Super Bowl in which the Most Valuable Player Award was given to a member of the losing team: Cowboys' linebacker Chuck Howley, the first non-quarterback to win the award, after making two interceptions (sacks and tackles were not yet recorded).
1955 College Football All-America Team consensus selections