Earlier this year we ran a series of “Pre-Super Bowl” articles which discussed the mythical matchups of AFL vs. NFL champions from 1960-1965. In the midst of that run, guest blogger and author, Dave Steidel, volunteered to run simulations of some of those games, and then offered to expand his findings into a series of posts for Tales from the American Football League. The result of Dave’s efforts are an in-depth look at Pre-Super Bowl I, or as Dave calls is, Mythical Super Bowl I 1960. The week will begin with some background on the two teams, the Houston Oilers and Philadelphia Eagles, and transcend into play-by-play of the game and ultimately, the final statistics. So get ready to enjoy the game that should have been played some 53 years ago!
As we begin the second period the Eagles are facing a 3rd and 5 from the 33 – VanBrocklin drops back to pass, the Oilers bring pressure, it’s a screen to Barnes, he can’t hang on – incomplete.
4th and 5 from the Houston 33 – it looks like the Eagles are going for it, figuring that the distance and angle are beyond Walston’s range for a field goal – Van Brocklin is trying to draw the Oilers offsides. The backfield is in the I formation, it’s Barnes with the handoff up the middle where he’s hit by a host of tacklers including Don Floyd who brings him down at the 31 – a 2 yard gain and well short of what they needed. Houston will take over on downs at their own 31 yard line.
That was a good defensive series for Houston, holding the Eagles to two field goals and now stopping them on 4th down.
It’s 1st and ten at their own 31 yard line as Blanda brings them up to the line.
They run a trap left with Dave Smith, Bobby Freeman comes up from his safety position and brings him down at the 35 for a 4 yard gain.
2nd and 6 from the 35 – Blanda pitches right to Smith trying to get around the corner, he’s to the 40, the 50, cuts past the 40, the 30, 20 and out of bounds at the 19. Jimmy Carr runs him down and gets the tackle after Smith runs for 46 yards and Houston’s biggest play of the day.
1st and 10 from the 19 – Blanda sets up in the pocket, he fires, Richardson bats it down! incomplete – FLAG ON THE PLAY – Defense Offside – Richardson – 5 YARD PENALTY – 1ST AND 5 for Houston.
From the 14 yard line – it’s a trap right with Cannon, Richardson brings him down after 4 yards. It will be 2nd and 1 from the 10 – Blanda gives to Smith who sweeps left, dives and is tackled by Joe Robb at the 8 – he got the first down and a gain of 2. That gives Houston a 1st goal from the 8 yard line.
Here’s Cannon with the hand off on a blast into the line, he’s to the 5 and is stopped by Jessie Richardson, who spins him down at the 3, a gain of 5 yards.
2nd and goal at the 3 – Blanda with a quick drop, he fires….. incomplete, intended for Bill Groman in the end zone.
3rd and goal at the 3 – the give is to Smith up the middle, tackled by Chuck Weber at the 1, for a gain of 2 yards.
So on 4th and 1 George Blanda will attempt an 8 yard field goal to get his Oilers on the board. Here’s the snap from Belotti, the kick is up……..and good. The Oilers move the ball 68 yards on 9 plays and with time out on the field – and 10 minutes and 48 seconds remaining the 2nd quarter – it’s now Philadelphia 6 – Houston 3.
Blanda is set to kickoff – It’s very high and deep, taken by Tim Brown 1 yard deep, he’ll bring it out, follows his blocking in front, he’s at the 20, the 25, the 30 Jamison tackles him by the ankle at the 35 return of 36 yards – FUMBLE! it’s recovered by Houston’s George Shirkey!
It’s 1st and 10 Oilers at the 35 after the turnover – Blanda hands off on a trap right with Cannon, fighting for yardage across the 30, Bednarik on the stop at the 29 it’s a gain of 6, Houston 2nd and 4 from the 29 – I formation the hand off is to Cannon off tackle right, Joe Robb with the tackle at the 27 for 2 yards, Jamison (Hou) is shaken up.
3rd and 2 from the 27- Houston’s in the I, pitch to Cannon running right, he’s tripped up by Maxie Baughan at the 25 with a 2 yard gain. It’s close to the first down marker, close enough to measure. Let’s see…..it’s just short
It’s 4th and inches for Houston at the 25. Blanda looks over the Eagle defense, it’s Cannon on the dive play – tackled by Richardson at the 22 for a first down, gain of 3 to the 22 yard line.
1st and 10 – Blanda fades back to pass and dumps it to Hennigan but he couldn’t hang on. It falls to the ground
2nd and 10 at the 22 – Blanda gives to Cannon who sweeps the right side trying to get outside, he’s past the 20 and Burroughs hits him out at about the 17, gain of 5 on the play. 3rd and 5 at the 17. Bednarik is blitzing, Cannon with the hand off on a trap left into the line, across the 15, tackled by Robb at the 13 for a pickup of 4, leaving the Oilers a yard shy of the first down and they’ll be looking to tie the game with a
20 yard field goal try. Clean snap from Belotti, Blanda’s kick is up, but it sails right. Wow, a missed opportunity for Houston! That should have been an easy one for Blanda but he hit it wide.
The Eagles will take over from their own 20 yard line. There’s a flag on the snap, hold on. It looks like Jerry Huth the Eagle guard was offside and it will set the Birds back 5 yards . 1st and 15 from the 15 now – The Eagles pitch right to Barnes, Dalva Allen with the tackle at the 17, gain of 2 2nd and 13 from the 17. VanBrocklin fades back to pass, he’s going long on a hitch to McDonald, Spence is with him……… it falls to the ground. Morris (Hou) is limping off.
3rd and 13 from the 17 – Van Brocklin back to pass again, he fires over the middle on a slant, incomplete, intended for Walston, Kendall had him covered. Morris(Hou) has returned.
4th and 17 – Van Brocklin to punt, Lapham with the snap, Van Brocklin kicks. It’s a towering kick, Ken Hall has it at the 35, he has some running room, Keys with the stop, return of 8. That was a 48 yard punt.
1st and 10 from the 43 – I formation, Blanda calling the signals. Blanda sets up in the pocket, he throws, Robb tipped it, incomplete.
2nd and 10 from the 43. Blanda fades back to pass, he throws a quick crossing pass – complete to Groman at the 49 – Groman has running room, he’s tripped up by Burroughs at the 41, it’s gain of 16 on the play and Burroughs (Phi) is hobbling off the field. It doesn’t look serious, he may just have been shaken up.
Houston lines up from the 41 – 1st and 10 – Blanda fades, the Eagles are bringing a heavy rush, Richardson is after Blanda, he throws to Carson – complete at the 35 tackled by Tom Brookshier at the 31, 10 yards gain, it’s near the first down marker, here come the sticks, it’s just short. 2nd and inches from the 31. Here’s a quick hand off to Dave Smith. The fullback dives over the line, tackled by Joe Robb at the 31, it doesn’t look like he got much but he got to the sticks.
1st and 10 at the 31 – 3:31 to go in the 1st half – Pitch right to Smith, he’s whipped down by Brookshier at the 28 for a gain of 3. Blanda back to pass, he’s pressured, he throws to Groman complete at the 20. He’s brought down by “Blade” Burroughs at the 18 where the Oilers will have another first down after a 10 yard gain to the 18 yard line of Philadelphia.
Blanda takes a deep drop, throws a short out to Carson, it’s complete at the 14. Carson is pushed out by Jimmy Carr at the 13, a gain of 5. Blanda and the Oilers are clicking.
2nd and 5 from the 13. Blanda – back to pass again – he fires to the sideline – incomplete pass trying for Smith. Chuck Weber on the coverage and he was all over Smith. That could have been dangerous if Weber was a yard closer, he had a great angle and an open field in front of him if he could have gotten his hands on it. And the will take us to the 2 minute warning.
3rd and 5 at the 13 – Blanda to pass, he’s leaving the pocket, better unload it, he spots Hennigan down field, throws… complete, Hennigan is dangerous after the catch, there he goes, he’s downed at the 1 by Burroughs, that’s a 12 yard gain and gives the AFL champions a first and goal. Philadelphia is in a goal line stance – Blanda gives to Smith, power sweep right TOUCHDOWN! HOUSTON TAKES THE LEAD! Smith goes in untouched.
Blanda now to try the extra point…. it’s good – And we have timeout on the field with the score the AFL champion Houston Oilers 10 – the NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles 6. We’ll be right back.
With 1:50 left in the 2nd quarter George Blanda tees it up for the kickoff – he boots it – it’s deep, Timmy Brown is 4 yards deep and he’ll just he’ll down it. It’ll be Eagles ball, first and ten from their own 20.
Retzlaff split outside, they run a trap with Barnes, he’s tackled by Morris at the 17, gain of 2. 2nd and 13 from the 17 – Van Brocklin drops back, he throws a deep post, deflected by Johnston, incomplete, intended for Walston.
3rd and a long 13 – Morris is blitzing, blocked by Barnes, Van Brocklin to pass, he has time, and throws to Walston complete at the 29, tackled by Dukes at the 36 for first down and a gain of 19 for Philadelphia at the 36. Here’s a handoff to Ted Dean, sweeping left, Pitts drags him down at the 38 for a gain of 2.
2nd and 8 from the 38 – Van Brocklin fades back to pass, Houston is bringing a heavy rush, he throws to Walston, leaps but he can’t come down with it – incomplete — THERE’S A FLAG on the play. Offense Holding – 15 yard penalty on the Eagles – and now it’s 2nd and 23.
The Eagles trail 10 – 6 – as we near half-time – Van Brocklin fades, he throws to McDonald, complete at the 28, Spence pushed him out for gain of 5 – ANOTHER FLAG – and another HOLDING call on the Eagles. That moves the ball back to their own 11 yard line and gives them a 2nd down and 35.
Van Brocklin fades back to pass, the Oilers are coming at him again, he throws short to McDonald, he dives… great catch! brought down by Kendall for 8 yards.
3rd and 27 at the 19 – Van Brocklin fades, good coverage downfield, Van Brocklin on the run, off he goes, Trask on the stop at the 19, he got back to the line but that’s it.
4th down – Van Brocklin to punt – here’s the kick, good hang time, taken by Hall from the 39, he has some running room, tackled by Huth, return of 12 yards and a punt of 42 yards
Houston will start from the 49 with 20 seconds remaining – Blanda looking to throw, the Eagles are pressuring him, Blanda threw it away.
2nd and 10 from the 49 – Houston is not interested in running the clock down as Blanda fades back to pass, throws long to Carson, Jackson deflected it! Picked off by Weber! He’s got it at the 35 and brought down for no return.
Here’s Barnes on a sweep to the right, tackled by Orville Trask at the 34 for a 1 yard loss.
2nd and 11 from the 34 – we may have time for one more play – Van Brocklin fades back to pass, he fires, Trask tipped it at the line and that will do for the first half. The Eagles controlled things early on but the Oilers turned on in the second period and take 10 – 6 lead into the locker room after the first 30 minutes.
The Eagles will kickoff to start the 2nd half – Bobby Walston boots it – it’s heading towards the sideline not deep, Ken Hall takes it at the 9, he can’t find much room, he’s at the 20, the 25 where he’s hit by Pete Retzlaff, drags him for a few yards and it down at the 31 for a return of 22 yards.
1st and 10 from the 31- Blanda fades back to pass, he throws to Hennigan in double coverage – complete at the 40 and tackled by Don Burroughs. A gain of 9
2nd and 1 from the 40 – Blanda hands off to Cannon – Cannon dives over the line trying for the first down – Riley Gunnells on the stop at the 41 – a gain of 1. It’s close to the first down marker time for a measurement – they made it!
1st and 10 at the 41 – Blanda fades back to pass, here comes the Eagles rush, it’s a screen to Smith – complete to Smith who has blocking in front. Chuck Weber with the tackle at the 48 for a gain of 7 but it looks like this is going to come back. Houston is penalized 15 yards for holding and that will put the ball back on the Houston 26 and give the Oilers a 1st and 25. Blanda drops back to pass, he throws to Carson, complete at the 34, Carson puts his head down and bulls Jimmy Carr back for a few more yards before he’s brought down at the 37. 11 yards on the play.
2nd and 14 at the 37 – Blanda fades back to pass again – good coverage downfield Blanda is scrambling, he has run, and is hit by Robb at the 38, gain of 1 the ball is loose! recovered by Joe Robb – EAGLES ball!
Blanda is not a runner and it showed on that play as the Eagles created a break and now have the ball and a 1st down at the 38. Here’s a draw to Ted Dean – tackled immediately by Orville Trask at the 39 for a loss of 1 and the Eagles are flagged again for holding. It will be accepted by the Oilers to push Philadelphia back for the 47 where they will have a 1st and 25.
1st and 25 from the 47 – The Eagles come out in the I formation, Van Brocklin to throw – it a crossing pass to Walston, he’s open and it’s complete at the 42, he’s hit there and breaks loose and now is tackled by Julian Spence at the 39 for a gain of 14
2nd and 11 – Van Brocklin gives to Billy Ray Barnes on a draw play, he’s across the 30, to the 20 and tackled by Spence at the 17. It’s a gain of 22, the longest Eagle run of the day.
The Eagles now have a 1st and 10 at the Houston 17 – Barnes sweeps left and Mike Dukes pushes him out at the 17 – no gain and there’s another penalty on the Eagles. They were offsides and will move the ball back 5 more yards to the 22.
2nd and 15.
Van Brocklin to pass, he’s going long crossing for Retzlaff, he’s got it – TOUCHDOWN EAGLES!! Bobby Waltson will attempt the extra point – it’s up………………. and good –
The EAGLES are back on top 13 – 10 as they took advantage of the Houston turnover.
Here’s Walston’s kick – it’s not deep, taken by Hall from the 6, he’s at the 20, Bobby Freeman with the tackle at the 31. Hall returns it for 25 yards.
1st and 10 from the 31 – Blanda pitches to Cannon around right end and is pushed out by Riley Gunnells at the 31 for no gain.
2nd and 10 from the 31 – Houston looking to move – Blanda with a quick drop, he throws to Carson on a short crossing pass, complete at the 37, Brookshier pulls him down at the 42 for a first down, 11 yard gain
1st and 10 from the 42 – Cannon on a run up the middle, Maxie Baughan with the tackle at the 45 – gain of 3.
2nd and 7 from the 45 – Blanda drops back, sets up in the pocket and throws a quick out to Groman – incomplete
3rd and 7 from the 45 – Houston will need Blanda to work some magic here as they need to maintain their drive – he’s looking to throw again, look out!!! He’s sacked by Gunnells! For a loss of 7. That’s his 2nd sack today and will force Houston to punt as we hit the mid quarter mark – 7:30 to go in the 3rd. Here’s the kick, Tim Brown waves his hand for a fair catch – he dropped it! But he covered it up at the 23. Eagles ball.
1st and 10 at the 23 – Houston bottle him up but it was only a 39 yard kick.
Van Brocklin, back, he’s scrambling, he better get rid of it! He’s downed by Trask at the line of scrimmage but there’s a flag on the play. It looks like Trask got a head start and that will be a 5 yard penalty for being offside.
Philadelphia will have a 1st and 5 at the 28. They give the ball to Barnes up the middle stopped by Dukes at the 30 for a 2 yard gain.
Philadelphia has the ball and the lead on 2nd and 3 from the 30. They pitch right to Barnes and this time Dukes has him for 5 yard loss!
It’s 3rd and 8 – That was a big defensive play for Houston and Dukes has been very active today. Van Brocklin sets to throw, it’s a quick out pass to Retzlaff – Johnston nails him, the ball is knocked loose, incomplete. 4th down.
Van Brocklin to punt, the snap from Lapham, here’s the kick, good hang time from the 31 it’s Hall, he fights for yardage and is whipped down by Gunnells for a return of 5 that punt covered 44 yards.
1st and 10 at the 36 for the Oilers – Blanda under center – he gives to Cannon who sweeps to the left, fights past the 40 and is pushed out by Bednarik at about the 42 a gain of 6. Cannon needs a breather and he’ll go to the sidelines. 2nd and 4 from the 42 – they pitch right to Smith, the fullback is trying to get the corner to the 45, Marion Campbell knocks him out at the 47 for a first down and a gain of 5.
1st and 10 from the 47 – Houston comes out in the I. Blanda fades, he throws a deep slant Freeman tipped it! Incomplete and it will be 2nd and 10.
Bednarik is blitzing, Blanda gives to Smith on a draw, he’s tackled by Richardson at the 47 – no gain
3rd and 10 – Houston needs a play here – Blanda back to pass, he throws short to Groman who’s double teamed – Groman dives but he can’t reach it – it’s incomplete.
Milstead back to punt, the snap from Belotti, bad snap! Milstead picks it up and is hit and downed by Chuck Weber at the 34, there’s a fumble! Groman has it but it will be Philadelphia’s ball right there. Another crucial defensive play for the Eagles brought about by a Houston mis-hap.
1st and 10 – It’s Ted Dean up the middle. He’s tackled by Shirkey at the 33 for a gain of 1.
2nd and 9 – It’s a counter play, Dean on a trap right, drilled by Pitts! He broke loose and is past the 30, Trask grabs him and brings him down at the 27 for gain of 6. 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter –
3rd and 3 for the Eagles – Van Brocklin calls out the signals, it’s another counter give to Dean sweeping left, he needs a block, he’s across the 25 where Don Floyd brings him down at the 21for a first down. Dean picks up 6 more yards.
The Eagles have the ball 1st and 10 at the 21 as Van Brocklin goes to work – he’s back to pass medium slant to Retzlaff, he’s double covered and the Dutchman overthrew him. Mark Johnston dives but he can’t come up with it. It’s incomplete
2nd and 10 – Van Brocklin calls the signals. Van Brocklin back to pass, Houston is bringing a heavy rush, Allen in pursuit, Van Brocklin looks and throws to Walston…. complete at the 12 tackled by Dukes at the 10. It’s another Philadelphia first down deep in Houston territory.
1st and goal from the 10 – I formation, Dean is the up back, Barnes lines up behind him. Van Brocklin fades back to pass, he throws a short slant to Retzlaff – he leaps and makes the catch! TOUCHDOWN EAGLES as they capitalized again on Houston turn over.
Walston will try the point after… it’s good. The Eagles now lead 20 – 10.
Walston’s kick is not deep and Kenny Hall takes it at the 9. Not much running room and he’s stopped at the 24 yard line – a return of 15 yards.
Houston will start from the 24 – Blanda will take to the air again, he’s got plenty of time dumps it to Smith, complete at the 30, he’s got room to run and finally brought down at the 39 by Tom Brookshier. Smith gets 15 yards and Houston 1st down. Houston really needs put a drive together here and if they can put some points on the board they could change the momentum that has move in favor of the Eagles.
Blanda hands off to Smith on a sweep to the right side, Smith is looking to throw! He throws to Carson, complete at the 49, he’s hit hard by Brookshier after a gain of 10. It’s close to a first down, here come the sticks – it’s just short. It’ll be 2nd and less than a yard.
Blanda gives to Smith. He dives, drilled by Gunnells at the 50 – FUMBLE!!! Bednarik has it – EAGLES ball! Another turnover by Houston and another take away with good field position for Philadelphia. It’s 1st and 10 at mid-field, and if Houston is going to stay in this game they are going to have to stop the Eagles here and hold on to the ball. They cannot afford another turnover and especially can’t afford the Eagles any more points here. At the very least they have to keep them out of the end zone.
And that brings the 3rd quarter to a close. So with three periods gone, the Eagles are up by 10 by virtue of two Houston miscues, a fumble and a muffled snap on a 4th down punt that they turned in to 14 points and that’s difference. Eagles 20 – Oilers 10 after three.