Raymond Berry

Raymond Emmett Berry Jr. (born February 27, 1933) is a former American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a split end for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 to 1967, and after several assistant coaching positions, was head coach of the New England Patriots from 1984 to 1989. With the Colts, Berry led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards three times and in receiving touchdowns twice, and he was invited to six Pro Bowls. He and the Colts won consecutive NFL championships, including the 1958 NFL Championship Game—known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played"—in which Berry caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. As a head coach, he led the Patriots to Super Bowl XX following the 1985 season, where his team was defeated by the Chicago Bears, 46–10.

After catching very few passes in high school and college, Berry was drafted in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Colts and was considered a long shot to even make the team's roster. Diminutive and unassuming, his subsequent rise to the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been touted as one of American football's Cinderella stories. He made up for his lack of athleticism through rigorous practice and attention to detail, and was known for his near-perfect route running and sure handedness. Berry was a favorite target of quarterback Johnny Unitas, and the two were regarded as the dominant passing and receiving duo of their era.

After his playing career, Berry coached wide receivers for the Dallas Cowboys, the University of Arkansas, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Patriots. He became the Patriots' head coach in 1984 and held that position through 1989, amassing 48 wins and 39 losses. In recognition of his playing career, Berry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team as one of the best players of the NFL's first 75 years. His number 82 jersey is retired by the Indianapolis Colts and he is a member of the Patriots' 1980s All-Decade Team.

Raymond Berry
refer to caption
Berry on a 1961 trading card
No. 82
Position:End
Personal information
Born:February 27, 1933 (age 86)
Corpus Christi, Texas
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school:Paris (Paris, Texas)
College:SMU
NFL Draft:1954 / Round: 20 / Pick: 232
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:631
Receiving yards:9,275
Yards per reception:14.7
Receiving touchdowns:68
Player stats at NFL.com
Head coaching record
Regular season:48–39 (.552)
Postseason:3–2 (.600)
Career:51–41 (.554)

Early life and college

Raymond Emmett Berry Jr. was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 27, 1933, and spent the majority of his childhood in Paris, Texas.[1] At Paris High School and in college, Berry caught very few passes. He did not start on his high school team until he was a senior, even though his father, Berry Sr., was the coach.[2] After high school Berry played one year of junior college football at Shreiner Institute (now Schreiner University) in Kerrville, Texas, during the 1950 campaign.[3] He helped the Mountaineers finish its most successful season in 10 years with a record of 7–3.[4] He then transferred to Southern Methodist University (SMU). In three seasons for the SMU Mustangs football team, Berry received only 33 passes total. Sportswriters attributed his lack of receptions to his poor eyesight, but during the early 1950s, colleges specialized in the running game. As Berry said, "I didn't catch many passes because not many were thrown".[5] He also played outside linebacker and defensive end for the Mustangs, despite weighing only 180 pounds (82 kg) even by his senior year.[6]

Professional playing career

Drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the twentieth round as the 203rd overall pick of the 1954 NFL Draft, Berry was considered a long-shot to make the team roster.[2] After being used sparingly as a rookie, catching only 13 passes, he became a permanent starter on the team by his second NFL season when the Colts acquired quarterback Johnny Unitas. Over the next 12 seasons together, the two became one of the most dominant passing and catching duos in NFL history.[2][7][3] Berry, who did not miss a single game until his eighth year in the league, led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards three times and in receiving touchdowns twice.[8]

In 1957, Berry caught 47 passes for 800 yards and six touchdowns, leading the NFL in receiving yards for the first time. Against the Washington Redskins that year in near-freezing weather, Unitas connected with Berry on 12 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, staging what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called a "spectacular show".[9] He was recognized as a first-team All-Pro by The Sporting News and earned second-team honors from the Associated Press (AP).[8] The following season, he recorded 794 receiving yards and led the league with 56 receptions and nine touchdowns. For his efforts, Berry was invited to his first Pro Bowl, and was a first-team All-Pro by the AP and several other major selectors.[10] The Colts finished atop the Western Division with a record of 9–3 and faced the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game.[11]

One of Berry's most notable performances was in that 1958 NFL Championship Game, known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played", in which he caught a championship record 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown in the Colts' 23–17 victory over the Giants.[12][2] At the end of regulation, he caught three consecutive passes for 62 yards to set up the Colts' tying field goal. He also had two key receptions for 33 yards during the Colts' final game-winning drive in overtime.[13][6]. His 12 receptions would remain an NFL championship game record for more than half a century, not broken until Demaryius Thomas caught 13 passes in Super Bowl XLVIII after the 2013 season.[14]

Berry led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns in 1959, becoming the fourth player to record a "triple crown" in receiving.[15] His 14 receiving touchdowns set a Colts single-season franchise record that stood unmatched for over four decades.[16] He was invited to his second straight Pro Bowl, and earned first-team All-Pro honors from the AP,[17] UPI,[18] the Newspaper Enterprise Association,[19] and the New York Daily News.[20] The Colts won their second championship in a row, again defeating the Giants, 31–16. In that game, Berry caught five passes for 68 yards, second on the team behind halfback Lenny Moore's 126 yards on three receptions.[21][22]

In 1960, Berry recorded his only 1,000-yard season, as he caught 74 passes and had career highs in receiving yards (1,298) and receiving yards per game (108.2). Each of those totals led the NFL that year by a wide margin; no other player had more than 1,000 yards, and the next highest yards-per-game average was 81.0.[23] He had a mid-season string of six straight games with over 100 yards, during which he caught 50 passes for 920 yards and eight touchdowns.[24] Berry again was a Pro Bowl invitee, and earned first-team All-Pro honors from all the same selectors as the previous year,[25] including unanimous All-Pro recognition by UPI sportswriters.[26]

Having reached his zenith, Berry did not have the same statistical success over his final seven seasons, but he remained a consistent target for Unitas. His 75 receptions in the 1961 season was second most in the league, and he finished 10th in receiving yards, but failed to record a touchdown for the first time since his rookie year.[8] He scored the first touchdown of that year's Pro Bowl on a 16-yard reception from Unitas in the first quarter.[27] His streak of Pro Bowl invitations ended at four, as he was not invited in 1962, but made consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 1963 and 1964, the latter being his final.[8] The Colts returned to the postseason in 1964, where they were shut out 27–0 by the Cleveland Browns in the 1964 championship game.[28]

After consecutive seasons recording 700+ receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 1965 and 1966, Berry missed half of the 1967 season due to injuries and caught only 11 passes for 167 yards. He announced his retirement shortly after the season's end.[29] He completed his professional playing career having caught 631 passes for 9,275 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 68 touchdowns.[8] At the time, he held the NFL career records for receptions and receiving yards,[30][31] and his receiving touchdowns were tied for fourth most with Don Maynard.[32]

Coaching career

After retiring from playing, Berry joined Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys coaching staff as receivers coach.[33] In 1970, after two seasons, Berry took a job with Frank Broyles at the University of Arkansas as receivers coach. In 1973 Berry joined Don McCafferty with the Detroit Lions as his receivers coach. In 1976, Berry joined former SMU teammate Forrest Gregg as his receivers coach with the Cleveland Browns. Berry joined the New England Patriots as receivers coach under Chuck Fairbanks in 1978. He stayed on with new coach Ron Erhardt until Erhardt and his entire staff were fired following a 2–14 1981 season. Berry left football and worked in real estate in Medfield, Massachusetts, until the Patriots fired Ron Meyer in the middle of the 1984 season and hired Berry to replace him. Under his leadership, the Patriots won four of their last eight games and finished the season with a 9–7 record.[34] Berry's importance to the team was reflected less in his initial win–loss record than in the respect he immediately earned in the locker room – according to running back Tony Collins, "Raymond Berry earned more respect in one day than Ron Meyer earned in three years".[35]

In the 1985 season, the team improved further, posting an 11–5 record and making the playoffs as a wild card team. They went on to become the first team in NFL history to advance to the Super Bowl by winning three playoff games on the road, defeating the New York Jets 26–14, the Los Angeles Raiders 27–20, and the Miami Dolphins 31–14.[36][37] It was the first time the Patriots had beaten the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl (Miami's then-home stadium) since 1966, Miami's first season as a franchise. The Patriots had lost to the Dolphins there 18 consecutive times, including a 30–27 loss in Week 15 of the regular season.[38] Despite their success in the playoffs, the Patriots were heavy underdogs to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.[39] They lost 46–10 in what was at the time the most lopsided defeat in Super Bowl history. "We couldn't protect the quarterback, and that was my fault. I couldn't come up with a system to handle the Bears' pass rush", Berry acknowledged.[40]

The following season, Berry's Patriots again recorded an 11–5 record and made the playoffs, but this time lost in the first round of the postseason. That was the final time the Patriots made the playoffs with Berry as their coach. They narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8–7 record in 1987 (a strike-shortened season) and a 9–7 record in 1988. Then in Berry's last year as a coach, the Patriots finished the 1989 season 5–11. New Patriots team owner Victor Kiam demanded Berry relinquish control over personnel and reorganize his staff; Berry refused and was fired.[41] His regular season coaching record was 48–39 (.552) and he was 3–2 (.600) in the playoffs.[42]

After a year out of coaching, Berry joined Wayne Fontes' staff with the Detroit Lions in 1991 as their quarterbacks coach, and then held the same position the following season on Dan Reeves' staff with the Denver Broncos.[43] Reeves was fired after that season, along with his entire coaching staff.[44]

Profile

Berry overcame several physical ailments during his football career, a fact he became famous for,[5][3][34] but one that according to Berry was often exaggerated by the media.[45] He was skinny and injury prone, such that when his college teammates saw him for the first time they sarcastically dubbed him, "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy".[3] Reportedly, because one leg was shorter than the other, Berry had to wear padding inside his shoe in order to walk properly.[3][2] However, according to Berry, this was not entirely true. In actuality, bruised nerves near the sacroiliac joint occasionally caused misalignment in his back, which in turn affected his legs and caused one to become slightly shorter; it was not a permanent condition.[46][5] To alleviate this, he wore a back brace for 13 years in the NFL. That he required specialized shoes was a myth, which Berry says was perpetuated by an overzealous information director with the Colts when Berry tried to compensate for his condition by putting something in his shoe during training camp.[45]

Due to his poor eyesight, Berry wore contact lenses when he played.[13] Because the lenses would often slip when he did rapid eye movements toward the ball, he tried many different lenses, which led sportswriters to believe he must have had major eye problems. "I tried all kinds of lenses till we got what we wanted," he said. "I even had tinted lenses for sunny days, so I could watch the ball come right across the sun."[5]

Berry was famous for his attention to detail and preparation, which he used to overcome his physical limitations. Considered slow for a wide receiver, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.[5] Rather than speed, he was renowned for his precise pass patterns and sure hands; he rarely dropped passes, and he fumbled only once in his career.[47][48] He would squeeze Silly Putty constantly to strengthen his hands.[47] He and Unitas regularly worked after practice and developed the timing and knowledge of each other's abilities that made each more effective. The reason for this, according to Berry, was that the two did not think on the same wavelength. "Every season we had to start all over on our timing, especially the long ball," said Berry. "He knew he had to release the ball when I was eighteen yards from scrimmage for me to receive it thirty-eight yards out. I knew I had to make my break in those first eighteen yards and get free within 2.8 seconds."[7] He also relied on shifty moves, and by his count, he had 88 different moves to get open,[2] all of which he practiced every week.[47]

Even in his adult years, Berry was soft-spoken and reserved. He preferred not to draw attention to himself, and was described by sportswriter Jim Murray as "polite as a deacon, as quiet as a monk."[39] Both as a player and as a coach, he was studious, serious, and orderly; "He was too straight and narrow—but a great guy, a hell of a guy," former Colts teammate Art Donovan said of Berry. "He was a little peculiar, to say the least."[47]

Honors and later life

In 1973, Berry was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He is a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, compiled in 1994 by the Hall of Fame selection committee and media to honor the NFL's best players of the league's first 75 years,[49] and the 1950s All-Decade Team.[50] In 1999, he was ranked 40th on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.[51] Berry's number 82 jersey is retired by the Colts,[52] he is a member of the Patriots' 1980s All-Decade Team as a coach,[53] and he is enshrined in the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor.[54]

Berry is a professed born again Christian and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.[55][56] He considers his faith to be a "huge part" of his life.[1] As of 2009, he lives with his wife in Tennessee.[57] On February 5, 2012, at Super Bowl XLVI, Berry carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy to midfield to present it to the New York Giants, who had just defeated the New England Patriots.[58] He was given the honor due the game being played at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home stadium of his former team, the Colts, who had moved to Indianapolis in 1984.[48]

Coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NE 1984 4 4 0 .500 2nd in AFC East - -
NE 1985 11 5 0 .688 3rd in AFC East 3 1 .750 Lost to Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX
NE 1986 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Game
NE 1987 8 7 0 .533 2nd in AFC East - -
NE 1988 9 7 0 .563 3rd in AFC East - -
NE 1989 5 11 0 .313 4th in AFC East - -
Total 48 39 0 .552 3 2 .600

References

  1. ^ a b Berry 2016, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Raymond Berry Bio". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Newell, Cliff (February 10, 1985). "Raymond Berry: Underestimated Champion : Skinny Little Receiver Looked More Like a Candidate for the Hospital Than a Football Immortal at Schreiner". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  4. ^ "Past Athletic Hall of Honor". Schreiner University. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Wills 2004, p. 348.
  6. ^ a b Olesker 2008, p. 105.
  7. ^ a b Wills 2004, p. 359.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Raymond Berry Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on November 13, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "Unitas' Score Wins for Colts Over 'Skins in Last Minute, 21-17". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. November 11, 1957. p. 27. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "1958 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  11. ^ "Flashy Colts Seek First NFL Crown". The Eugene Guard. Associated Press. December 28, 1958. p. 24. Retrieved October 6, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Baltimore Colts at New York Giants – December 28th, 1958". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Gregory, Sean (December 29, 2008). "Legends of the NFL's "Greatest Game Ever"". Time. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "Broncos Demaryius Thomas Sets Super Bowl Receptions Record In Losing Effort". cbslocal.com. February 2, 2014.
  15. ^ "Triple crown for receivers". Chicago Tribune. December 18, 2003. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Porter, David L. (2004). Latino and African American Athletes Today: A Biographical Dictionary (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 156. ISBN 0313320489.
  17. ^ "Brown Tops All-Pro Squad". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. December 23, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Berry, Brown, Huff Lead All-Pro Team". The Town Talk. United Press International. December 23, 1959. p. 11. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Olderman, Murray (December 17, 1959). "Colts, Giants Dominate Players' All-Pro Teams". Redlands Daily Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 8. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "1959 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  21. ^ "New York Giants at Baltimore Colts – December 27th, 1959". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  22. ^ Sell, Jack (December 28, 1959). "Colts Destroy Giants for Pro Crown, 31–16". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 20. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  23. ^ "1960 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  24. ^ "Raymond Berry 1960 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  25. ^ "1960 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  26. ^ "Ray Berry Only Unanimous Choice on All-Pro Team". Traverse City Record-Eagle. United Press International. December 21, 1960. p. 17. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  27. ^ "Unitas' Last-Second Pass Nips East, 31–20". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 15, 1962. p. 23. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  28. ^ "Cleveland Wallops Baltimore, 27–0". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. November 28, 1964. p. 1D. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  29. ^ Snyder, Cameron C. (January 7, 1968). "Retirement Is 'Certain,' Berry Says". The Baltimore Sun. p. 35. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  30. ^ "NFL Career Receptions Leaders Through 1967". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  31. ^ "NFL Career Receiving Yards Leaders Through 1967". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  32. ^ "NFL Career Receiving Touchdowns Leaders Through 1967". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  33. ^ Couch, Dick (September 5, 1968). "Dallas Top Grid Choice". The Evening News. Associated Press. p. 6B. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  34. ^ a b Donaldson, Jim (December 20, 1985). "Berry Again Overcomes The Skeptics". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  35. ^ Felger 2006, p. 76.
  36. ^ Rattey, Chris (October 8, 2015). "Squish the Fish: 1985 Patriots run one of the greatest in NFL history". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  37. ^ Goldberg, Jeff (January 24, 1997). "Ah Yes, The '85 Pats: They Were Never Dull". Hartford Courant. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  38. ^ "Patriots break jinx vs. Miami". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. January 13, 1986. p. 8. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  39. ^ a b Murray, Jim (January 23, 1986). "It's Not Berry's Part, but He's Got His Act Down Pat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  40. ^ Felger 2006, p. 80.
  41. ^ "Patriots Fire Berry; Rust in Line for Job". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. February 27, 1990. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  42. ^ "Raymond Berry Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  43. ^ "Berry named QB coach of the Broncos". United Press International. February 12, 1992. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  44. ^ "Denver Broncos fire Dan Reeves". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. December 29, 1992. p. 3B. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  45. ^ a b Berry 2016, p. 13.
  46. ^ Berry 2016, p. 12.
  47. ^ a b c d Roberts, Rich (January 20, 1986). "The Meticulous Motivator Raymond Berry: Locked Into His Own Private World, He's Still Been Able to Leave It Long Enough to Reach the Hall of Fame and Super Bowl". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  48. ^ a b Klingaman, Mike (January 21, 2012). "Former Colts great Raymond Berry has ties to Baltimore and New England". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  49. ^ "Very Best of the NFL". Detroit Free Press. August 24, 1994. p. 1D. Retrieved November 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  50. ^ "Graham, Huff on All-1950s Pro Football Selections". Racine Sunday Bulletin. Associated Press. August 31, 1969. p. 6C. Retrieved January 28, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  51. ^ "Sporting News Top 100 Football Players". Democrat and Chronicle. August 15, 1999. p. 3D. Retrieved November 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  52. ^ "NFL Retired Player Numbers". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  53. ^ Price, Christopher (2013). New England Patriots New & Updated Edition: The Complete Illustrated History (illustrated, revised ed.). MVP Books. p. 198. ISBN 0760345139.
  54. ^ Hensley, Jamison (October 5, 2002). "Ravens to honor Unitas, ex-Colts". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  55. ^ "Hall induction was full of stars". The Gadsden Times. May 23, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  56. ^ Smith, Sam (January 16, 1986). "Pats Ripen Under Berry". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  57. ^ Klingaman, Mike (December 15, 2009). "Catching Up With...former Colt Raymond Berry". The Toy Department (The Baltimore Sun sports blog). Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  58. ^ Klingaman, Mike (February 6, 2012). "Raymond Berry's 'Super' Walk". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.

Bibliography

  • Berry, Raymond; Stewart, Wayne (2016). All the Moves I Had: A Football Life. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1493017810.
  • Felger, Michael (2006). Tales from the Patriots Sideline (illustrated, reprint ed.). Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1596701544.
  • Olesker, Michael (October 13, 2008). "5: Father Raymond Berry". The Colts' Baltimore: A City and Its Love Affair in the 1950s (illustrated ed.). JHU Press. ISBN 0801890624.
  • Wills, Garry (2004). "37: Raymond Berry". Lead Time: A Journalist's Education (illustrated, reprint ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0618446907.

External links

1958 NFL Championship Game

The 1958 National Football League Championship Game was the 26th NFL championship game, played on December 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime. The final score was Baltimore Colts 23, New York Giants 17, and the game has since become widely known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played".It marked the beginning of the NFL's popularity surge, and eventual rise to the top of the United States sports market. A major reason was that the game was televised across the nation by NBC. Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry recorded 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. His 12 receptions set a championship record that stood for 55 years.

1961 Baltimore Colts season

The 1961 Baltimore Colts season was the ninth season for the team in the National Football League. The Baltimore Colts finished the National Football League's 1961 season with a record of 8 wins and 6 losses and finished tied for third in the Western Conference with the Chicago Bears. There weren't any tiebreakers until 1967.

1966 Baltimore Colts season

The 1966 Baltimore Colts season was the 14th season for the team in the National Football League. The Baltimore Colts finished the National Football League's 1966 season with a record of 9 wins and 5 losses and finished second in the Western Conference.

1984 New England Patriots season

The New England Patriots season was the franchise's 15th season in the National Football League and 25th overall. The Patriots finished the season with a record of nine wins and seven losses, and finished second in the AFC East Division.

Head coach Ron Meyer, who had coached the Patriots for the previous two seasons, was fired halfway through the season. Meyer had angered several of his players with public criticism. After a 44–22 loss to Miami in Week 8, Meyer fired popular defensive coordinator Rod Rust; Meyer himself was fired by Patriots management shortly thereafter.The Patriots went outside the organization to hire Raymond Berry, who had been New England's receivers coach from 1978 to 1981 under coaches Chuck Fairbanks and Ron Erhardt. Berry had been working in the private sector in Medfield, Massachusetts, when the Patriots called him to replace Meyer. Berry's first order of business was to immediately rehire Rust.

Under Berry's leadership, the Patriots won four of their last eight games. Berry's importance to the team was reflected less in his initial win-loss record than in the respect he immediately earned in the locker room – "Raymond Berry earned more respect in one day than Ron Meyer earned in three years," according to running back Tony Collins.

1985 New England Patriots season

The 1985 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 16th season in the National Football League and 26th overall. The Patriots had a record of eleven wins and five losses and finished tied for second in the AFC East Division. They then became the first team in NFL history ever to advance to the Super Bowl by winning 3 playoff games on the road, defeating the New York Jets 26–14, the Los Angeles Raiders, 27–20, and the Miami Dolphins 31–14, in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots' win in Miami was their first victory in that stadium since 1969. The win over the Dolphins in the game has gone down as one of the greatest upsets in NFL history, as the Dolphins were heavily favored.

But despite the Patriots' success in the playoffs, they proved unable to compete with the acclaimed 15–1 Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX, losing 10–46 in what was at the time the most lopsided defeat in Super Bowl history.

"We couldn't protect the quarterback, and that was my fault. I couldn't come up with a system to handle the Bears' pass rush," head coach Raymond Berry acknowledged.

1988 New England Patriots season

The 1988 New England Patriots season was the franchise's 19th season in the National Football League, the 29th overall and the 5th under head coach Raymond Berry, with a record of nine wins and seven losses, and finished tied for second in the AFC East Division. It would take until 1994 for the Patriots to record another winning record. As for this season, the Patriots briefly improved on its 8-7 record from 1987, winning one more game due to one game being cancelled the previous season. Despite the winning record, the Patriots did not reach the postseason. They finished tied for second place in the AFC East with the arch rival Colts, but finished in 3rd place because the Colts had a better record against common opponents than the Patriots did.

1989 New England Patriots season

The 1989 New England Patriots season was the team's 30th, and 20th in the National Football League. The Patriots finished the season with a record of five wins and eleven losses, and finished fourth in the AFC East Division. After the season, Head Coach Raymond Berry was fired and replaced by Rod Rust.

The Patriots' pass defense surrendered 7.64 yards-per-attempt in 1989, one of the ten worst totals in NFL history.

Berry Oakley

Raymond Berry Oakley III (April 4, 1948 – November 11, 1972), was an American bassist and one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band. He is ranked number 46 on Bass Player magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time".

George Preas

George Robert Preas (June 25, 1933 – February 24, 2007) was an American football lineman in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts.

Preas grew up in Roanoke, Virginia and played high school football at Jefferson High School, graduating in 1951. He went on to star at Virginia Tech, and was inducted as a member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, the second year Tech honored its former athletes.

He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts, and played offensive tackle for the Colts from 1955–65, alongside teammates like quarterback Johnny Unitas, receiver Raymond Berry, running back Lenny Moore, left tackle Jim Parker, defensive tackle Art Donovan and defensive end Gino Marchetti.

Preas died in the South Roanoke Nursing Home in 2007.

Glyn Berry

Glyn Raymond Berry (June 14, 1946 – January 15, 2006) was a Canadian diplomat killed in a car bomb attack in Afghanistan. He was the first Canadian diplomat to be killed while on duty in Afghanistan. Two other civilians were killed in the incident and ten people were wounded, including three Canadian soldiers, MCpl. Paul Franklin, Pte. William Edward Salikin and Cpl. Jeffrey Bailey.

History of the Baltimore Colts

The Indianapolis Colts professional American football franchise was originally based in Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1984. The team was named for Baltimore's history of horse breeding and racing. It was the second incarnation of the Baltimore Colts, the first having played for three years in the All-America Football Conference and one in the National Football League (NFL). The 1953–83 Baltimore Colts team played its home games at Memorial Stadium.

List of National Football League annual receiving yards leaders

In American football, passing, along with running (also referred to as rushing), is one of the two main methods of advancing the ball down the field. Passes are typically attempted by the quarterback, but any offensive player can attempt a pass provided they are behind the line of scrimmage. To qualify as a passing play, the ball must have initially moved forward after leaving the hands of the passer; if the ball initially moved laterally or backwards, the play would instead be considered a running play. A player who catches a forward pass is a receiver, and the number of receiving yards each player has recorded in each season is a recorded stat in football games. In addition to the overall National Football League (NFL) receiving champion, league record books recognize statistics from the American Football League (AFL), which operated from 1960 to 1969 before being absorbed into the NFL in 1970, Although league record books do not recognize stats from the All-America Football Conference, another league that merged with the NFL, these statistics are recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The NFL did not begin keeping official records until the 1932 season. The average the yards the leader has gained has increased over time – since the adoption of the 14-game season in 1961, all but one season saw the receiving leader record over 1,000 yards. No player has ever finished with over 2,000 receiving yards in a season; the current record is 1,964 yards, set by Calvin Johnson during the 2012 season. Wes Chandler, who led the league with 1,032 yards in the strike-shortened 1982 season, averaged 129 yards receiving per game, an NFL record.Don Hutson led the league in receiving yards seven times, the most of any player; Jerry Rice is second with six. Hutson also recorded the most consecutive seasons leading the league in receiving, doing so for five seasons from 1941 to 1945, while Jerry Rice ranks second with three consecutive league-leading seasons from 1993 to 1995. A Green Bay Packers player has led the league in receiving yards eleven times, the most in the NFL; the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams rank second with nine league-leading seasons. The most recent receiving yards leader was Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, who recorded 1,677 receiving yards over the 2018 season.

List of National Football League annual receptions leaders

This is a list of National Football League players who have led the regular season in receptions each year.

List of New England Patriots head coaches

The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. They are a member of the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team began as the Boston Patriots in the American Football League, a league which merged with the National Football League before the 1970 season.There have been 14 head coaches for the Patriots franchise. Lou Saban became the first coach of the Patriots in 1960, although he was fired part way through their second season. Bill Belichick, the current coach since 2000, has led the team for more regular season games (288), post-season games (37) and more complete seasons (18) than any other head coach. His 214 wins with the Patriots are far and away the most in franchise history, more than three times those of runner-up Mike Holovak. Belichick has also led the team to eight of their ten Super Bowl appearances, winning five of them. Holovak, Raymond Berry and Bill Parcells all led the Patriots to league championship games, with only one coach failing to reach the Super Bowl. Five Patriots head coaches, Holovak, Chuck Fairbanks, Berry, Parcells, and Belichick, have been named coach of the year by at least one major news organization. Additionally, Raymond Berry is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1973, eleven years before he became the Patriots' head coach.Twice in Patriots history there were "interim" head coaches. In 1972, John Mazur resigned with five games left in the season. Phil Bengston was named as the interim head coach for the rest of the season, during which he only won one game, and he was not made the permanent coach the next year. In 1978, head coach Fairbanks secretly made a deal to leave the team to coach the University of Colorado Buffaloes while he was still coaching Patriots. Team owner Billy Sullivan suspended Fairbanks for the final game of the regular season, stating "You cannot serve two masters," and Ron Erhardt and Hank Bullough took co-head coaching responsibilities for that game. Fairbanks was reinstated when the team qualified for the playoffs, and he lost the first playoff game, his last for the Patriots.

Ray Phillips (cricketer)

Raymond Berry Phillips (born 23 May 1954) was an Australian cricketer who was born and raised in New South Wales and originally represented that state, but moved to Queensland in 1979 and played for that state for many years. He was selected for the 1985 Ashes squad but did not appear in any of the Test matches on the tour.

Rod Rust

Rodney Arthur Rust (August 2, 1928 – October 23, 2018) was an American football player and coach. He is best known in the United States as the head coach of the New England Patriots of the National Football League during the 1990 season, which ended with a 1–15 record.

For most of Rust's early coaching career, he was an assistant to one of two coaches: Marv Levy or Dick Vermeil. Rust began as an assistant under Levy at the University of New Mexico between 1960 and 1962, before leaving to serve under Dick Vermeil at Stanford University. In 1967, he became the head coach at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), a position he held until 1972. North Texas had a 29–32–1 record during Rust's tenure.

Rust returned to work for Levy in 1973 as defensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. In his three seasons in Montreal, the Alouettes went to two Grey Cup finals, winning in 1974.

In 1976, Rust left the Alouettes to become an assistant with Vermeil's Philadelphia Eagles. He served as linebackers coach for two seasons before leaving to take the defensive coordinator position with Levy and the Kansas City Chiefs. After Levy's firing in 1982, Rust became defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. Head coach Ron Meyer fired Rust midway through the 1984 season, but he was later reinstated (with Meyer himself fired). Rust and the Patriots went to Super Bowl XX (under head coach Raymond Berry) in 1985, but he left the team after the 1987 season. He returned to the Chiefs for the 1988 season, and moved again to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989.

The Patriots hired Rust as head coach in 1990, but fired him after a 1–15 season, the worst showing in team history. The New York Giants hired Rust as defensive coordinator in 1992, and he lasted one season. He spent the rest of the 1990s as a defensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons.Rust was named the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 2000, and was fired during the 2001 season after a six-game losing streak. Rust spent 2002 as the defensive quality control coach of the New York Giants. He returned to the CFL in 2005, taking the coordinator position with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; he left abruptly halfway through the season. He became defensive coordinator of the Ottawa Renegades in February 2006; however the team suspended operations before the season began.Rust died on October 23, 2018 at the age of 90.

Ron Meyer

Ron Meyer (February 17, 1941 – December 5, 2017) was an American college and professional football coach. He is best known for having been the head coach of Southern Methodist University, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.

Super Bowl XX

Super Bowl XX was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Chicago Bears and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1985 season. The Bears defeated the Patriots by the score of 46–10, capturing their first NFL championship (and Chicago's first overall sports victory) since 1963, three years prior to the birth of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XX was played on January 26, 1986 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

This was the fourth Super Bowl where both teams were making their Super Bowl debuts. The Bears entered the game after becoming the second team in NFL history to win 15 regular season games. With their then-revolutionary 46 defense, Chicago led the league in several defensive categories, outscored their opponents with a staggering margin of 456–198, and recorded two postseason shutouts. The Patriots were considered a Cinderella team during the 1985 season, and posted an 11–5 regular season record, but entered the playoffs as a wild card because of tiebreakers. But defying the odds, New England posted three road playoff wins to advance to Super Bowl XX.

In their victory over the Patriots, the Bears set or tied Super Bowl records for sacks (seven), fewest rushing yards allowed (seven), and margin of victory (36 points). At the time, New England broke the record for the quickest lead in Super Bowl history, with Tony Franklin's 36-yard field goal 1:19 into the first quarter after a Chicago fumble. But the Patriots were eventually held to negative yardage (−19) throughout the entire first half, and finished with just 123 total yards from scrimmage, the second lowest total yards in Super Bowl history, behind the Minnesota Vikings (119 total yards) in Super Bowl IX. Bears defensive end Richard Dent, who had 1.5 quarterback sacks, forced two fumbles, and blocked a pass, was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP).The telecast of the game on NBC was watched by an estimated 92.57 million viewers. To commemorate the 20th Super Bowl, all previous Super Bowl MVPs were honored during the pregame ceremonies.

Weeb Ewbank

Wilbur Charles "Weeb" Ewbank (May 6, 1907 – November 17, 1998) was an American professional football coach. He led the Baltimore Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. He is the only coach to win a championship in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL).

Ewbank grew up in Indiana and attended Miami University in Ohio, where he was a multi-sport star who led his baseball, basketball and football teams to state championships. He immediately began a coaching career after graduating, working at Ohio high schools between 1928 and 1943, when he entered the U.S. Navy during World War II. While in the military, Ewbank was an assistant to Paul Brown on a service football team at Naval Station Great Lakes outside of Chicago. Ewbank was discharged in 1945 and coached college sports for three years before reuniting with Brown as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, a professional team in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns won all four AAFC championships. They joined the NFL with the leagues merger in 1950, winning the championship that year.

Ewbank left the Browns in 1954 to become head coach of the Colts, a young NFL team that had struggled in its first season. In 1956, Ewbank brought in quarterback Johnny Unitas, who quickly became a star and helped lead a potent offense that included wide receiver Raymond Berry and fullback Alan Ameche to an NFL championship in 1958. The Colts repeated as champions in 1959, but the team's performance slipped and Ewbank was fired in 1963. He was soon picked up by the Jets, another struggling team in the AFL. While his first few years were unsuccessful, Ewbank helped build the Jets into a contender after signing quarterback Joe Namath in 1965. The Jets won the AFL championship in 1968 and went on to win Super Bowl III.

Ewbank, who was known as a mild-mannered coach who favored simple but well-executed strategies, retired after the 1973 season and settled in Oxford, Ohio. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. He died in Oxford on November 17, 1998, the 30th anniversary of the "Heidi Game".

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