A Break, A Wrench And A March Of New Quarterbacks

autographed 1969 topps john stofa
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Back before Bob Griese was leading the Miami Dolphins to an undefeated season, the AFL expansion team had its share of quarterback woes.  This old Sports Illustrated article talks about some of the trials and tribulations that the Dolphins had to endure before finding their premier signal caller.

Todd Tobias (789 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

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7 Responses to A Break, A Wrench And A March Of New Quarterbacks

  1. Paul Beaver says:

    Even though “exhibitions” are “exhibitions”, two victories over NFL teams by a one year old expansion Miami team shows the AFL was making progress toward League parity with the NFL. (beating both Detroit and Minnesota of the National Football League)

  2. Tom says:

    Todd this article and your earlier interview with John Stofa, that gave voice to what could have been if not for the tragic injury that ended his career age 25, if there is any satisfaction to be found from John’s career ending prematurely, my wish is that John found it shortly after, knowing that on any given Sunday, when physically able he could play with anybody, anywhere, anytime. If all things happen for a reason, then broken bones that end football careers and break hearts happen for a reason as well, and in time eventually heal, but not without a scab that if you pick slows the healing process, prolongs the pain and worsens the scar.

  3. billd says:

    John Stofa and 1st Team All Time AFL Defensive End Gerry Philbin of the NY Jets were college teammates at the University of Buffalo.

  4. 1967 says:

    MIA’s travails at QB 1967 caused me to recall the ’68 Bills too had a revolving QB door as the bad news started pre-season with Kemp & deteriorated from there, Flores, Stephenson, Rutkowski and Darragh too all took a spin under center. The difference being the Bills were on their way down while the Dolphins were (baby steps) ascending.

    The list of guys who saw their careers diminished, ended early or extinguished almost afore said began due injury on-field or circumstance off, contains some notables every sport, and sad stories abound as fate moves its giant hand.

    Despite his success can’t help but wonder what MLB pitcher Sandy Koufax might have done had he not succumbed to injury age 30 – ditto Karl Spooner and Herb Score, Gale Sayers and Bo Jackson NFL, Maurice Stokes NBA, as well boxing and hockey and other sports too.

    Back to the AFL, John Stofa and his Dolphins teammate Jack Clancy had their careers ended too soon due injury & loss of effectiveness, Greg Cook of CIN, BUF’s Bobby Burnett, Mack Lee Hill of KC and Bucky Pope of LA too, NFL. Some players overcame unique circumstances, Fred Arbanas and Ed Budde of KC among them, while Bob Kalsu, Bob Laraba, Stone Johnson and Ernie Davis each met a tragic demise, their own particulars.

    Will never forget the moment that I, as a young fan, first became aware of the fact players don’t play forever on a team. When one year you memorize a roster and the next you discover what retirement, injury & waivers entails (death too, some cases), the transient nature of heroes become a reality, fans and players measuring careers by the play, game & season(s), if fortunate case the latter.

    • Tom says:

      1967 Excellent post although One need not to look as far back as you have to realize the extent of the emotional devastation some players experience when their playing days end abruptly to injury. Paul Oliver, Kenny McKinley and OJ Murdock come to mind and Jovan Belcher was coming off and injury.

  5. 1967 says:

    True, Tom; alas, my interest in modern sports as the players is nigh on nil, so as this website I focus on what was in lieu what is left us, the former’s; I’ve already contributed my 2 cents, now here’s $1.50 more.

    Give me yesteryear and more of it in lieu what must suffice century 21 morass. Having lived both era’s, know for me there is a difference; I’ll be the first in line volunteer once time travel becomes an reality. My dissatisfaction the modern game fixates on its too much emphasis ‘me me me’ and ‘$ $ $’, football become theatrical, bad thespians demonstrating upon gridiron stages copiously assisted by rule changes that protect meal ticket$ (Jack Lambert’s commentary, ‘they ought to put QB’s in dresses’ comment resonates, memory.)

    Maybe it is a game its pure form whose time has passed as Roman Colosseum, but there is no allure for me in watching the modern version. I tune in for a game, and instead a party breaks out – ‘dancing with the stars’ in lieu ‘seeing them’ – preening prima donna thumping chest as another beats his gums unintelligibly, two buffoons, no waiting… where’s the vomit bag.

    The bloom came off the rose long ago for me, game I loved (reason I prefer re-watching/re-reading/talking about the golden era football in lieu overexposed, overproduced, overpriced & overdone modern landscape.) As case AFL, relentless march of time proceeded without me the most part. Suffice to say, it is always 1969 at my house & thankfully TFTAFL as a few other websites serve as an oasis, a refuge… I’ve embraced ‘old fartdom’, and it is good.

    Gotta go, Huntley/Brinkley will be on shortly.


    • Charles Oakey says:

      Yes, and the “Summer of Love”, Surrealistic Pillow and Sgt Pepper’s. My first girl friend, my first drivers license, my first championship (AFL Oakland Raiders). Want to back to ’67 but don’t know how.

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