Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FANTASTIC FOOTBALL HANDICAPPER LEAGUE POST-NFL DRAFT UPDATE

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

Attached is some additional info on the NFL Draft and some odds on the NFL divisional races and Super Bowl odds.  Plus, for you college fans, I threw in some odds (under the new 4-team playoff system; the BCS is out) for college teams to win the NCAA national title.

Hawk Fans, make sure you read the quiz question at end of letter.

See you in August.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

(Ed Note: due to Pot Poonanza this report is posted 4 days late by moi)


POST-DRAFT HYPE

Two NFL draft stories continue to fuel sports talk radio.

The Johnny “Football” Manziel frenzy must be for real.  His new #2 Browns’ jersey has had greater sales in the first week than did the first-week sales for the then new jerseys of Tim Tebow, Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III – COMBINED!!
This is being at least partially attributable to the meteoric rise of social media in the last few years.  But there’s no doubting his charisma and intrigue, especially with the under-25 crowd (I’m told).

And the Michael Sam story is still alive, but on hold for a few months.  The big question now is whether the first openly gay player will actually make the 53-man roster of his new team, the St. Louis Rams.  He has a tough task as a defensive end, as the Rams have one of the best defense lines in the NFL.  However, as a 7th-round draft pick he may be more likely to stick around for at least one year, even if it is only on the practice squad.  Last year, of the 48 seventh-round draft picks (including compensatory picks), 47 are currently still on NFL rosters.  That is, many of those draftees were kept on practice squads during the 2013 season as “developmental” players even if they didn’t make the 53-man roster.

To further complicate matters, Michael Sam is getting a reality show on The Oprah Winfrey Network that will show his life as the first openly gay player in the NFL.  [This is disaster waiting to happen.  And is Winfrey desperate enough to turn into a Barbara Walters sensationalist?]
Here’s a segment of Oprah statement: “We are honored [“SHOCKED”] that Michael is trusting us with his private [“NOT ANY MORE”] journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever.  I am proud of the focus on authentic storytelling in our new documentary series format.”
There’s been no word on how much access the Rams will give the reality TV cameras, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the team has some qualms about it. NFL teams generally prefer for their rookies to put all their energy into football, not outside projects.
Michael Sam says, “Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability.  I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.”
Working with Oprah may be nice, but working for Jeff Fisher is what Sam really needs to do in the next three months, if he still wants to be a STL Rams employee in four months.

OK, back to real football stuff.
The 2014 NFL Draft is over, but some teams still have holes to fill in their starting lineups and all teams will still be trying to improve their depth charts prior to the start of the 2014 season.  But for now, let’s take a look at how teams are being perceived as currently structured and how they are evaluated, just to have something to think about over the summer.



UPDATED NFL DIVISIONAL ODDS as of 5/12/14

The day after the 2014 NFL Draft concluded, new odds came out to reflect how each divisional race is being perceived by the oddsmakers and the betting public.  Following are the odds for each team to win their division for the 2014 regular season as of May 12th, as posted by LVH Las Vegas Hotel and Casino’s SuperBook.

AFC EAST                  New England is big favorite to repeat
NE Patriots      4 to 13 (bet $13 to win $4, total payout $17)  won division 10 of last 11 years
MIA Dolphins  9 to 2   (4.5 to 1 odds; bet $10 to win $45 and get paid out $55)
NY Jets                       8 to 1   (bet $10 to win $80 and get paid out $90)
BUF Bills         10 to 1                         Long dry spell for Buffalo

AFC NORTH              Looks like a great 3-team race, with dark horse Browns
CIN Bengals    8 to 5  (1.6 to 1 odds)  won division last year; lost tiebreaker in 2012
BAL Ravens    9 to 4  (2.25 to 1)         won division in 2012
PIT Steelers    9 to 4                           last won division in 2010
CLE Browns    6 to 1                           has never won “AFC North”

AFC SOUTH              Indianapolis is a big favorite to repeat
IND Colts        4 to 5    (0.8 to 1 odds)            won division last year
HOU Texans   13 to 5  (2.6 to 1)                     last won division in 2012
TEN Titans      13 to 5                                     last won division in 2008
JAX Jaguars   30 to 1                                     has never won the AFC South

AFC WEST                 Denver is a big favorite to repeat
DEN Broncos  2 to 7   (bet $21 to win $6, total payout $27)  won division last 3 years
SD Chargers   5 to 1                           won division from 2006-2009
KC Chiefs       5 to 1                           last won the division in 2010 (before that 2003)
OAK Raiders   10 to 1                         last won division in years 2000 through 2002

NFC EAST                  This division is up for grabs
PHI Eagles      8 to 5  (1.6. to 1)          won division last year (barely)
DAL Cowboys 9 to 4  (2.25 to 1)         8-8 record last 3 years; last won division in 2009
NY Giants       9 to 4                           last won the division in 2011
WSH ‘Skins     9 to 2  (4.5 to 1)           Nickname is under pressure to be changed

NFC NORTH              Green Bay is pretty big favorite, with Detroit and Chicago contenders
GB Packers    5 to 8  (0.625 to 1)       won division last 3 years
DET Lions       3 to 1                           HAS NEVER WON “NFC NORTH”
CHI Bears       7 to 2  (3.5 to 1)           last won division in 2010
MIN Vikings    18 to 1                         No franchise quarterback, no respect!!

NFC SOUTH              This division is up for grabs; could be 4-team race to the finish
NOR Saints     5 to 4  (1.25 to 1)         last won the division in 2011
CAR Panthers 5 to 2  (2.5 to 1)           won the division last year       
ATL Falcons    3 to 1                           last won the division in 2012
TB Buccaneers           5 to 1                           last won the division in 2007

NFC WEST                 Tough division, with Seattle and San Francisco the clear favorites
SEA Seahawks           10 to 11  (0.91 to 1)     won division last year and 6 of last 10 years
SF 49’ers         6 to 5      (1.2 to 1)       won division 2 of last 3 years; before that, 2002
AZ Cardinals   10 to 1                         won the division in 2008 & 2009
STL Rams       12 to 1                         last won the division in 2003 (and in 2001 & 1999)
Not surprisingly, the odds favor the teams that won their divisions last year, except that New Orleans is favored to win the NFC South this year over last year’s division winner Carolina.


UPDATED SUPER BOWL ODDS as of 5/12/14

Per BleacherReport.com (not sure how scientific their numbers are, but you get the idea), the odds to win the Super Bowl after the 2014 season as of Monday, May 12th are:

ODDS             Teams

6 to 1               SEA -- defending champ is the favorite right now
7 to 1               DEN – Super Bowl runner-up is next favorite right now
7.5 to 1                        SF, NE – not surprisingly, these two teams lost conference title games
12 to 1             GB – made playoffs last year; lost on Wild Card weekend to SF
20 to 1             NOR, IND, CHI (of these 3 teams, only Chicago missed playoffs last year)
22 to 1             PHI  -- won division and made playoffs last year
28 to 1             CAR-- won division and made playoffs last year
33 to 1             SD, PIT, KC (of these 3 teams, only Pittsburgh missed playoffs last year)
40 to 1             NYG, HOU, DAL, CIN, BAL, ATL, AZ (only Cincinnati made playoffs last year)
50 to 1             WSH, TB, STL, MIN, MIA, DET, CLE (none of these teams made playoffs last year)
66 to 1             NYJ
75 to 1             TEN, BUF
100 to 1           OAK
200 to 1           JAX

Comments:
Da Bears are the most highly touted non-playoff team from last year at 20 to 1 odds.  And, the least-favored playoff team from last year is Cincinnati at 40 to 1 odds.


COLLEGE RANKINGS

Just to break it up a bit, let’s look at some college football projections posted @LVSuperBook (Las Vegas Sports Book) on or about May 12th.  Following are the odds to win the NCAA national championship (under the new 4-team playoff system; and nobody knows how this will affect the outcome, even the oddsmaker experts):

FSU                 4 to 1               The Seminoles are the defending champion
Oregon                        5 to 1               QB Mariota is back
Alabama          6 to 1               Tide just reloads and fires against “weak” schedules
Ohio State       10 to 1             Big 10 is still looking weak as a conference
Auburn                        12 to 1             Tigers made it to title game last year
Oklahoma       12 to 1            
UCLA              18 to 1             Favorable PAC 12 schedule this year
Michigan State            20 to 1
LSU                 20 to 1             Lost a lot of good players to NFL Draft this year
Georgia                       30 to 1
USC                50 to 1
Notre Dame    50 to 1             Irish alumni/fans will bet on “anything”
Texas              60 to 1             They have odds posted for the ‘Horns?!!? New coach may help
Florida             60 to 1            

MORE DRAFT - 2ND ROUND and 3RD ROUND (Friday night, 4+ hours )

There were many trades in the second round, which made for an exciting 2nd round (and even 3rd round), since there were so many good players still available.
I glossed over these two rounds in the May 12th newsletter, so thought I’d throw out a couple of other things from these two rounds, plus a few trades and free agent pickups.

With the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th picks of the second round (#34 through #36 overall), three Mountain West players were selected – OLB, OT, and then QB Derek Carr (Fresno State) by the OAK Raiders.

Tampa Bay picked up TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins at #38; he’s not a great blocker, but he’s 6’5”, 262 lbs. and should fit in well with the two Bucs’ wideouts, rookie Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, who are the same height.

Jacksonville really had a nice draft, and is trying to upgrade the offense to be competitive.  After selecting their “franchise QB of the future” in Blake Bortles, they made a (hopefully) great pick of WR Marqise Lee (USC), who had a knee injury and a high “drop” percentage in 2013, and may have also gotten sidetracked during the Lane Kiffin mess of a year ago.  He had a tough life growing up, with both parents being deaf, an interesting story.

Creating a bit of discussion, New England drafted a quarterback in the 2nd round (#62 overall) – Jimmy Garoppolo (quick release!) out of FCS Eastern Illinois (alma mater of Tony Romo).  The Patriots still have Ryan Mallett lying in the weeds behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, and decided not to trade him prior to (nor during) this year’s draft.  Mallett, drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Arkansas, may be expendable.

Iowa’s first draft pick, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, was selected by Houston with the 1st pick of the 3rd round (#65 overall).  He is considered a blocking TE, which is becoming a rarity at the position as the league evolves into a pass-happy league.

Cleveland didn’t pick up any wide receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft, but just recently tried to fill their glaring needs at the position by signing free agents Earl Bennett (CHI, release after 6 years) and Miles Austin (DAL, age 29 and injured for most of the 2013 season).  It would be a bonus to the Browns if WR Josh Gordon’s one-year suspension is overturned on appeal.

Seattle shored up its secondary for the next four years by re-signing CB Richard Sherman ($56.4MM, $0MM guaranteed) and FS Earl Thomas ($40MM).  Sherman becomes the highest paid cornerback in the league.  Also, the Seahawks re-signed HC Pete Carroll through 2016.

NFL DRAFT GRADES COMPARISON

Following are the draft grades for all 32 teams (listed by “average” grades) by various NFL pundits (but each one graded on a different “curve”, so see analysis below this table first **):
                                                                                               
Raw Grade
Team   Kiper    CBS    NFL     Walter  BR.com           Average (Ranking)

HOU    A-        B+       A-        A-        A-                    A-        (#1 TIE)
JAX     A          A          A-        B-        A                      A-        (#1 TIE)
MIN     B-        A          A+       B+       A                      A-        (#1 TIE)

SF       A          B          B+       B          A+                   A-/B+   (#4 TIE)
STL     A-        A+       A-        C+       A-                    A-/B+   (#4 TIE)
PIT      A-        B+       B          A-        A-                    B+/A-   (#6 TIE)
OAK    B+       B          A          B          A                      B+/A- (#6 TIE)
GB       B          B          A          B+       A                      B+/A-   (#6 TIE)
CHI      B-        A          A-        B-        B+                   B+       (#9)

ATL     B-        B+       B          C+       B+                   B          (#10 TIE)
BAL     B          B          A-        C         A-                    B          (#10 TIE)
DEN    C+       B+       B          A-        C+                   B          (#10 TIE)
CLE     B-        B-        B+       B-        B+                   B          (#10 TIE)
SD       B          B-        B          B          B                      B          (#10 TIE)
TB       B+       B+       B+       C         B+                   B          (#10 TIE)
AZ       B          B          B          C+       B                      B/B-     (#16 TIE)
SEA     C+       B+       B-        A          C                     B/B-     (#16 TIE)
DET     B-        B-        B          B-        B                      B-/B     (#18 TIE)
CIN      B          C+       A-        C         B                      B-/B     (#18 TIE)
NOR    C+       B          B-        B          B                      B-/B     (#18 TIE)
MIA     B          C         B-        C         B+                   B-        (#21 TIE)
NYG    B          C+       B          B-        B-                    B-        (#21 TIE)
WSH   C+       B-        B+       C+       B-                    B-        (#21 TIE)
NYJ     B          C         B          C-        B                      B-/C+  (#24 TIE)
PHI      B+       B+       C         C         B+                   B-/C+  (#24 TIE)

DAL     B          B          B-        C-        C                     C+/B-  (#26 TIE)
TEN     C+       C-        B          B          C+                   C+/B-  (#26 TIE)
KC       B-        C+       B-        C-        B-                    C+       (#28 TIE)
BUF     C-        C         B          C-        B                      C+       (#28 TIE)
NE       C         B-        C+       D         B-                    C/C+   (#30)

CAR    C         D         A-        C         C-                    C         (#31)
IND      D+       C         C         C-        C-                    C-        (#32)


** Of course, the various pundits are grading on a “curve”, and everyone’s curve is different.  The following chart shows the average grade for each pundit listed above (“median” is the grade at which 50% of the teams are above and 50% are below; i.e., grade “in the middle”):

                                    Average                                  Median
Pundit              Grade                                      Grade              Highest/Lowest Grade Given Out

Mel Kiper         halfway between B & B-         B                      Highest A        Lowest D+

Burke/Farrar   halfway between B+ & B        B                      Highest A+      Lowest C
nfl.si.com

Pete Prisco     halfway between B & B-         B                      Highest A+      Lowest D
cbssports.com

WalterFootball halfway between C+ & B-      C+                   Highest A        Lowest D

Bleacher
Report.com                                                                            
A. Miglio          a little bit better than B            B                      Highest A+      Lowest C-

COMMENTS ON GRADES
This may look statistical, but these grades really don’t have much meaning.  The true draft grades can better be determined three or four years from now.  With that in mind:

INDIANAPOLIS had a bad draft, fueled by giving up their 1st round pick to Cleveland in a trade to get RB Trent Richardson during the 2013 season.  If he comes alive this year, it will be extra credit for the Colts.

ST. LOUIS got top grades from our pundits, except Walterfootball.com.  The Rams got the two guys they wanted in the first round, bolstering the offensive and defensive lines, and made other good “value” picks.

CAROLINA was generally considered to have had a bad draft, but between Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of NFL.SI.com, they gave the Panthers an A- and kept them from getting the worst ranking of all 32 teams.

TEAMS IN THE TOP 5: HOU, JAX, MIN, STL, SF
TEAMS IN THE BOTTOM 5: IND, CAR, NE, KC, BUF

The above meaningful (?) analysis settles that issue.  Now we can move on and not discuss draft grades until next year (and Mike Mayock is very happy about that; he trashed his own TV program for posting draft grades during the telecast – NFL Network probably wasn’t very happy with him).



UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS (not selected in 2014 NFL Draft)

NFL teams had significant interest in undrafted players this year, since the quality of potential draftees was greater than last year.  That is partially because 98 underclassmen declared for the draft in 2014, whereas the greatest number previously was only 73 (in 2013).  And, 36 of the 98 early entrants (37%) did not get selected in this year’s 7-round draft process. 
As of Monday, May 12th, teams had signed 395 undrafted free agents, or an average per team of 12+ extra players to evaluate in camp (there have been many more signed since then).  Each team can carry 90 players on the roster through the summer and training camps, and then must carve it down to 53 players by the start of the season (plus 8 practice squad players, plus players allowed to be retained on “injured reserve” or the PUP list).

I’m not going to comprehensively list undrafted players that were signed by NFL teams after the draft, but here are a few names that you may recognize:

QB Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois), picked up by CHI and will be converted to RB
QB Connor Shaw (S.CAR), picked up by CLE
QB James Franklin (Missouri), picked up by DET
QB Keith Price (UW), picked up by SEA
QB Tommy Rees (ND), picked up by WSH
QB Stephen Morris (MIA.FL), picked up by JAX
QB Jeff Mathews (Cornell), picked up by ATL

TE Mike Flacco, age 26 and younger brother to Joe, signed with the SD Chargers.  He declared early for the draft after completing his first year at Division II New Haven, where he was selected as a 3rd-team All-American.

RB Silas Redd (USC), picked up by WSH
RB George Atkinson III (ND), picked up by OAK
RB Julius (Trey) Watts III (Tulsa), son of J.C. Watts, former Oklahoma QB and former US Congressman (1995-2003)
WR Kain Colter (Northwestern), picked up by MIN and converted from college QB to wideout
WR Jerry Rice, Jr. (UNLV, related), picked up by BAL; he had mediocre production in college

LB Max Bullough (Michigan State), picked up by HOU
LB Shayne Skov (Stanford), picked up by SF (could have gone to OAK, chose the Niners/HC Harbaugh)
DT Kelcy Quarles (S.CAR), picked up by NYG


SPORTS QUOTES (oldies, but goodies)

From Dallas Cowboys’ fullback Walt Garrison when asked if head coach Tom Landry ever smiles:
“I don’t know.  I only played there for nine years.”



FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1:  Which undrafted free agents have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
HINT:  There have been 15, but only 3 since 1970 (six in the 1940’s, 2 in the 1950’s, 4 in the 1960’s, and 1 each in the 1970’s, 80’s, & 90’s).  These dates are the years the players entered their NFL drafts and started their careers, not the induction year.  If you get three of them, you’re doing great.

BONUS: Which undrafted Hall of Famer turned out to be the best of this 15-player elite group?
HINT: Of course, the answer is subjective, but take a shot and see if your guy is the same as my answer.

ANSWER #1:
Following is the list of undrafted free agents that became Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees (in chronological order by year of the draft).

1946    Frank Gatski                         G         Cleveland Browns (AAFC)
1946    Lou Groza                             T-K      Cleveland Browns (AAFC)
1946    Marion Motley                        FB       Cleveland Browns (AAFC)
1946    Bill Willis                                 MG      Cleveland Browns (AAFC)
1948    Joe Perry                               FB       San Francisco 49ers (AAFC)
1948    Emlen Tunnell                        DB       New York Giants
1951    Jack Butler                             CB       Pittsburgh Steelers
1952    Dick "Night Train" Lane          DB       Los Angeles Rams
1960    Willie Wood                            DB       Green Bay Packers
1963    Willie Brown                           DB       Houston Oilers (Cut at training camp by Oilers    and then signed by Denver Broncos.)

1966    Emmitt Thomas                      DB       Kansas City Chiefs
1967    Larry Little                             G         San Diego Chargers
1970    Jim Langer                             C         Cleveland Browns (Cut by Browns during training camp and then signed by Miami Dolphins.)

1984    Warren Moon                        QB       Houston Oilers
1990    John Randle                          DT       Minnesota Vikings


BONUS ANSWER:

EMLEN TUNNELL was the best undrafted free agent – ever!  And you ask, “Why him?” You’ll have to read further to get your answer (it’s three pages, but the story is amazing, especially for Hawk fans).

He was drafted in 1948 to play in the then All-America Football Conference (AAFC).  His career spanned 14 years as a defensive back, the first 11 years with the New York Football Giants as a key member of a defense that introduced what became today's 4-3.  He spent his last three years with the Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi.  He amassed 79 interceptions, which was significant back in those days when the passing game was limited.
His 79 career interceptions and 262 punt returns (for 2,217 yards) were NFL records at the time of his retirement.  The career interceptions mark still ranks second all-time, behind Paul Krause's
81, and he’s third in career interception return yardage, behind modern players Rod Woodson and Deion 'Sandcastle' Sanders.

Tunnell was named by Pro Football Chronicle to its 1950s All-Decade team.

When he entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, Emlen Tunnell was the first black man to be inducted. And since Eagles' linebacker Chuck Bednarik (who entered the Hall with him) was considered to be the last of the NFL's two-way players, Tunnell was also the Hall of Fame's first purely-defensive player.

Years later,  Hall-of-Fame coach Tom Landry, who played beside Tunnell in the Giants' secondary for several years and then served as Giants' defensive coach, remembered Tunnell as "one of the great players of all time."

Tunnell was the first black man to play for the New York Giants, the first black man to become an NFL assistant coach, and the first black man to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He was a multi-sport star at Radnor High School in Pennsylvania, and then moved on to the University of Toledo, where he played football until a neck injury cut his career short. Turning to basketball, he was good enough to help get the UT Rockets to the 1943 NIT finals.  But with a war going on, he decided to join the service. Turned down by both the Army and the Navy for medical reasons, he enlisted instead in the Coast Guard, where he served until his discharge in early 1946.

While in the service he had resumed playing football, and he played it with such distinction that he was named to the United Press Pacific Coast All-Service team.

Following the war, while playing semi-pro baseball on the West Coast, he became friends with a former Iowa football player named Jim Walker, a black man who had starred for the Hawkeyes before the war. Tunnell said he peppered Walker with questions about his famous teammate, the great Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner who had died in the war.  In the process, Tunnell became interested in attending Iowa.

So rather than return to Toledo to resume his college career, Tunnell decided instead to enroll at Iowa and play football. Having grown up in a largely-white community in Pennsylvania,  having attended  a largely-white college, and then having served in the Coast Guard on board a ship whose crew of 200 consisted of just  "five negro boys and a couple of Filipinos," as he put it,  his first practice at Iowa was an eye-opener.
 "I had never seen so many negro guys in one place in my life," he said.  Of the 325 players out for football, he recalled, 58 of them were black.

Apparently, Iowa had a reputation among black athletes as a place where they would be treated fairly. "Most of those negro boys had come to Iowa for the same reason I had," he said. "They knew they would be given a chance to play.  Great negro players were a part of the tradition at Iowa, going back to the days around World War I."

In the spring of 1948, although he didn’t know it at the time, Tunnell’s days at Iowa came to an end. An eye infection required an operation, followed by lengthy rest, and the recovery meant missing at least two weeks' worth of classes. In Tunnell’s own words, "I was something less than a Rhodes Scholar even when I went to classes," so he left Iowa and returned home to Pennsylvania, fully intending to return to Iowa for the 1948 season.

However, back home he came across a questionnaire he'd been sent by the New York Giants.  The Giants apparently were one of the few teams that knew that his original class had graduated from college, making him eligible under the rules at the time to sign a professional contract. But Tunnell, knowing that there were few black players in pro football, was ready to discard the questionnaire when he happened to run into an old friend named Vince McNally. McNally had been a coach at nearby Villanova, and he remembered Tunnell from the days when he was a little kid and he and his buddies used to watch the Wildcats practice.  McNally had just been let go as general manager of the Los Angeles Dons in the All-American Football Conference, and he knew how pro football worked.

McNally told him, "Emlen, if I were you I'd at least go over to New York and talk to the Giants. Tim Mara (Giants' owner) is a square shooter and he'll level with you. The Rams have Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, and the New York Yanks (then an NFL team) have Buddy Young, so a colored player won't be anything new. Maybe the Giants are ready for a colored player. If so, it might as well be you."

With $1.50 in his pocket, Tunnell hitchhiked to New York (unannounced) and asked for a tryout.  Although he was known to the Giants from his year at Iowa, later stories spun by sportswriters (after he’d made the team) made it sound otherwise. One of them had Mara saying to the unknown young black man standing in his office, "Well, since you had the nerve to come in and ask for a tryout, we might as well give you one."  
However it happened, he made the team and then some, as his 14-year NFL career speaks for itself.

He played on one New York NFL title team and he played in the so-called "Greatest Game Ever Played," in which the Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts in the first use of sudden-death overtime in NFL history.

Following that season, when it became clear to him that he was no longer in the Giants' plans, he asked for (and got) his outright release.  Not long thereafter, he was contacted by Vince Lombardi, who had been the offensive coach of the Giants and had subsequently been named head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

It took some persuading by Lombardi to get Tunnell, who loved the city and loved city life, to leave New York for Green Bay. Tunnell remembered when he was a young player and Giants' coach Steve Owen would holler, "All right, Tunnell. If you don't start working, I'm going to send you to Siberia.”
Anyone who had ever spent any time in the NFL knew “Siberia” meant Green Bay.

Right from the start, as an 11-year veteran familiar with Lombardi's ways, Tunnell played a major role in Lombardi's turnaround efforts.  In his three years at Green Bay, Tunnell would play on Lombardi's first NFL championship team.

 When he left, his legacy lived on in his replacement, Willie Wood, who would himself become a Hall-of-Famer. Wood attributed much of what he knew to Tunnell's mentoring of him: "I used to sit around and quiz (him) all the time. ‘What do you do in this situation? How do you know when your man's coming inside?'  He taught me how to anticipate what would happen. Em (nickname for Emlen) was a very bright guy who helped me tremendously. He had been around so long, one of the first black stars in the league, and for me just to have the opportunity to hang around him, I was awed by that. Em was so cool.'"

At the time of his retirement following the 1961 season, Emlen Tunnell was the NFL's all-time leader in interceptions and punt returns. For 14 years he was one of the best safeties in the game. He was named All-Pro six times, and played in nine Pro Bowls.

And that answers that.  If you didn’t answer Emlen Tunnell, then you were wrong.
If you would like to read the whole story (I know I made this “answer” lengthy, but there is more detailed stuff if you are interested), here is the website:
 

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