Fuzzy Thurston

Frederick Charles "Fuzzy" Thurston (December 29, 1933 – December 14, 2014) was an American football player who played offensive guard for the Baltimore Colts and the Green Bay Packers.[1][2]

Fuzzy Thurston
refer to caption
Thurston's 1963 Topps trading card
No. 64, 63
Position:Offensive guard
Personal information
Born:December 29, 1933
Altoona, Wisconsin
Died:December 14, 2014 (aged 80)
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:247 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Altoona (WI)
College:Valparaiso
NFL Draft:1956 / Round: 5 / Pick: 54
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games:116

Early years

Born and raised in the small western Wisconsin town of Altoona, Thurston accepted a basketball scholarship to Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and didn't play collegiate football for the Crusaders until his junior season (1954).

He led Valparaiso to an Indiana Collegiate Conference title and was twice selected All-American. Thurston was also named All-Conference for the 1954 and 1955 seasons,[3] while being named the conference's top lineman in 1955.[4] He was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 1956 NFL Draft.[5]

Pro football

As the left guard, Thurston was a key member of the Packers' offensive line during the team's glory years under head coach Vince Lombardi, when they won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. Paired with hall of famer Jerry Kramer at right guard, they led the vaunted Packers sweep running attack. Thurston was named to the 1961 and 1962 All-Pro teams.

Prior to joining the Packers, Thurston played the 1958 season with the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. Along with two former Packer teammates—Herb Adderley and Forrest Gregg—and Tom Brady, Thurston is one of only four players in pro football history to play on six NFL championship teams. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in January 1975.[6]

In response to a sportswriter's question about how he prepared for the famous Ice Bowl game in 1967, when the gametime temperature was −13 °F (−25 °C) (with a wind chill well below that), Thurston responded that he drank "about ten vodkas" in order to stay warm.[7] He remained popular in Wisconsin after his playing days and could often be found at Fuzzy's, a bar he owned not far from Lambeau Field.[8]

Thurston was elected to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1982,[9] and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the first athlete ever to be voted in by the people of Wisconsin, even though the Hall had been founded in 1951. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Thurston to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2006.[10]

Death

After several years of declining health, Thurston died at age 80 in Green Bay,[11] battling Alzheimer's disease and cancer.[12]

References

  1. ^ Hendricks, Martin (December 16, 2014). "Packers teammates mourn Fuzzy Thurston". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  2. ^ "Packers.com – Fred Thurston". Packers.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  3. ^ http://www.valpoathletics.com/athletics/halloffame/1997-98/2897/fred-fuzzy-thurston/
  4. ^ http://www.indiana-football.org/?q=node/669
  5. ^ "Fuzzy Thurston Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Fred Thurston". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Ward, Doug. "Lambeau or Bust: NFL Experience Incomplete Without a Trip to Green Bay". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  8. ^ "Former Green Bay Packers G Fuzzy Thurston's Super Bowl II ring being sold to settle $1.7M tax debt". Green Bay Gazette. June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
  9. ^ http://www.indiana-football.org/?q=node/669
  10. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2006". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Megan Pospychala. "Packers legend 'Fuzzy' Thurston dies", Fox 6 News, December 14, 2014.
  12. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/sports/football/fuzzy-thurston-an-ex-packer-dies-at-80-was-a-big-broom-in-the-great-sweep-play.html?_r=0

External links

1956 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1956 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 24th in the league. They failed to improve on their previous output of 4–7–1, winning only three games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

1958 Baltimore Colts season

The 1958 Baltimore Colts season was the sixth season for the team in the National Football League. The Colts finished the 1958 season with a record of 9 wins and 3 losses to win their first Western Conference title. They won their first league title in the NFL championship game, which ended in overtime.

1959 Green Bay Packers season

The 1959 Green Bay Packers season was their 41st season overall and their 39th season in the National Football League and 41st overall. The club posted a 7–5 record in the 1959 season under first-year coach Vince Lombardi to earn a third-place finish in the Western Conference.

It was the Packers' first winning season in a dozen years, the last was a 6–5–1 mark in 1947. Green Bay had just one victory during the previous season in 1958 with the worst record in the 12-team league, and were 3–9 in 1957, tied for worst.

1961 Green Bay Packers season

The 1961 Green Bay Packers season was their 43rd season overall and their 41st season in the National Football League. The club posted an 11–3 record under coach Vince Lombardi, earning them a first-place finish in the Western Conference and ending a fifteen-year playoff drought. The Packers ended the season by defeating the New York Giants 37–0 in the NFL Championship Game, the first title game ever played in Green Bay. This was the Packers 7th NFL league championship.

The 1961 season was the first in which the Packers wore their trademark capital "G" logo on their helmets.

1962 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team in 1962. Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.

1963 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press National Football League's All-Pro Team in 1963.

Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.

1965 Green Bay Packers season

The 1965 Green Bay Packers season was their 47th season overall and their 45th season in the National Football League. The club posted a 10–3–1 record under seventh-year head coach Vince Lombardi, earning a tie for first place in the Western Conference with the Baltimore Colts.

In the final regular season game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, a late touchdown by the 49ers caused a tie and dropped Green Bay into a tie with the Colts. Although the Packers defeated Baltimore twice during the regular season, the rules at the time required a tiebreaker playoff, played in Green Bay on December 26. With backup quarterbacks playing for both teams, the Packers tied the Colts late and won in overtime, 13–10.Green Bay then met the defending champion Cleveland Browns (11–3) in the NFL championship game, also at Green Bay. The Packers won, 23–12, for their ninth NFL title and third under Lombardi. It was the last NFL championship game before the advent of the Super Bowl and the first of three consecutive league titles for Green Bay.

Known as "New City Stadium" for its first eight seasons, the Packers' venue in Green Bay was renamed Lambeau Field in August 1965 in memory of Packers founder, player, and long-time head coach, Curly Lambeau, who had died two months earlier.

1965 NFL Championship Game

The 1965 National Football League Championship Game was the 33rd championship game for the National Football League (NFL), played on January 2, 1966, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This was the first NFL championship game played in January, televised in color, and the last one played before the Super Bowl era.

The game matched the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Browns (11–3), the defending NFL champions, and the Green Bay Packers (10–3–1) of the Western Conference. A week earlier, the Packers defeated the Baltimore Colts in a tiebreaker Western Conference playoff at County Stadium in Milwaukee, while the Browns were idle. The Packers were making their first appearance in the championship game in three years, since their consecutive wins in 1961 and 1962. Green Bay was relegated to the third place Playoff Bowl the previous two seasons, with a victory over the Browns and a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The home field for the NFL title game alternated between the conferences; in odd-numbered seasons, the Western team was the host. Home field advantage was not implemented in the NFL playoffs until 1975.

With the 23–12 victory, the Packers won their ninth NFL title, sixth in the championship game era.

1966 All-Pro Team

The Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and New York Daily News selected All-Pro players following the 1966 NFL season.

Bill Austin (American football, born 1928)

William Lee Austin (October 18, 1928 – May 22, 2013) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a lineman for the New York Giants for seven seasons and was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1966–1968) and the Washington Redskins in 1970.

Don Chandler

Donald Gene "Babe" Chandler (September 5, 1934 – August 11, 2011) was a professional American football player who was a punter and placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons in the 1950s and 1960s. Chandler played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

Gale Gillingham

Gale Herbert Gillingham (February 3, 1944 – October 20, 2011) was a professional football player, a guard for ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers (1966–1974, 1976).Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Gillingham grew up on a farm in nearby Stoughton. His family moved to Little Falls, Minnesota, when he was in high school and he played college football at the University of Minnesota, where he was a teammate of future Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Aaron Brown, whom he faced in Super Bowl I.

In the 1966 NFL draft, Gillingham was the thirteenth overall selection. In his rookie season, he alternated as the starter at left guard with veteran Fuzzy Thurston. During the 1967 season, he took Thurston's spot full-time, opposite perennial All-Pro Jerry Kramer. He started the Ice Bowl and Super Bowl II, coach Vince Lombardi's final games after nine seasons with the team.

Gillingham was the last member of the Lombardi-era Packers to be active with the franchise. By time he retired, Bart Starr, whom he blocked for when Starr was leading the Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls, was the team's coach. Gillingham was a five-time Pro Bowler (1969, '70, '71, '73 and '74), six-time All Pro (1968, '69, '70, '71, '73, '74, and a two-time AP NFL First Team All Pro (1969 and '70). Gillingham was selected as the inaugural winner of the Forrest Gregg Award for the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year following the 1970 season. He was the NFC choice as the NFLPA/Coca-Cola Offensive Lineman of the Year for 1971. Gillingham was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1982.The only season he wasn't on offense was 1972 when head coach Dan Devine inexplicably shifted him to the defensive line after the pre-season, even though Gillingham was the team's best offensive lineman. During that campaign, the success of the Packers' offense heavily depended on a strong running attack led by MacArthur Lane and John Brockington. Devine's move failed when Gillingham sustained a season-ending knee injury two games into the regular season, and he was criticized for eventually being a factor in diminishing the team's playoff run.After his playing days, Gillingham was in the real estate business in Minnesota and retired in 2010. Noted for his brute strength, he was one of the first players in the NFL to use weight training to stay in playing shape during the offseason. His oldest son, Karl, is a Professional Strongman and has competed in two Worlds Strongest Man competitions. Middle son, Brad, is a 6 time World Champion powerlifter with several National and World Records. Youngest son, Wade, is a former Professional Strongman and is widely regarded as having one of the best grips in the world (current hold world record on York Blob).

Gillingham died at age 67 in 2011 in Little Falls, survived by his three sons and one daughter.In 2016, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Gillingham to the PFRA Hall of Very Good Class of 2016

Guard (American and Canadian football)

In American and Canadian football, a guard (G) is a player who lines up between the center and the tackles on the offensive line of a football team on the line of scrimmage used primarily for blocking. Right guards (RG) is the term for the guards on the right of the offensive line, while left guards (LG) are on the left side. Guards are to the right or left of the center.

The guard's job is to protect the quarterback from the incoming linemen during pass plays, as well as creating openings (holes) for the running backs to head through. Guards are automatically considered ineligible receivers, so they cannot intentionally touch a forward pass, unless it is to recover a fumble or is first touched by a defender or eligible receiver.

Packers sweep

The Packers sweep, also known as the Lombardi sweep, is an American football play popularized by Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers sweep is based on the sweep, a football play that involves a back taking a handoff and running parallel to the line of scrimmage before turning upfield behind lead blockers. The play became noteworthy due to its extensive use by the Packers in the 1960s, when the team won five National Football League (NFL) Championships, as well as the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi used the play as the foundation on which the rest of the team's offensive game plan was built. The dominance of the play, as well as the sustained success of Lombardi's teams in the 1960s, solidified the Packers sweep's reputation as one of the most famous football plays in history.

Pulling (American football)

Pulling is when a blocking player in American football leaves his usual spot in order to pick up another assignment on the opposite side of the field, running behind the other offensive linemen, to sprint out in front of a running back and engage a defensive player beyond the initial width of the offensive line.

Red Cochran

John Thurman "Red" Cochran Jr. (August 2, 1922 – September 5, 2004) was an American football cornerback and later an assistant coach and scout in the National Football League. He played college football at Wake Forest University.

Sweep (American football)

A sweep is a running play in American football where a running back takes a pitch or handoff from the quarterback and starts running parallel to the line of scrimmage, allowing for the offensive linemen and fullback to get in front of him to block defenders before he turns upfield. The play is run farther outside than an off tackle play. Variants of the sweep involve the quarterback or a wide receiver running with the ball, rather than a running back.

World Championship Snowmobile Derby

The World Championship Snowmobile Derby is the World championship snowmobile race. It is held at the Eagle River Derby Track along U.S. Route 45 in Eagle River, Wisconsin on the third weekend in January. Eagle River is known as the "Snowmobile Capital of the World" because it hosts the Derby. Eagle River is located in the same county as Sayner, Wisconsin, the place that Carl Eliason invented one of the first modern snowmobiles.

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