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During talk about Notre Dame quarterbacks is the name Joe Theismann. I thought he did a great job at Notre Dame. What are your thoughts on Joe?
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by naplescarpenter 22 months ago
2 Time POTW in a previous life Plus 1 on 24/7 = Gringo Mafia Professor Emeritus of Veterans Affairs.
He was before my time FC. But my old man is very fond of Joe T. Also was a helluva pro QB having won a superbowl. He represent's ND very well imo. Class man.
I've never really noticed any omission of Theismann when the roll call of great Notre Dame quarterbacks is listed. He was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, even before Heisman winner John Huarte, so I think there has been always a natural respect associated with his name and achievements.
Many will tell you that Theismann's senior year in 1970 when ND finished 10-1 and No. 2 (the lone loss to USC when he threw for 526 yards) might have been the greatest season by an ND quarterback. His passing yardage that year was an ND record for 29 years, and he also ran for more than 400 yards, including a couple of TDs in the 24-11 victory versus No. 1 Texas when star receiver Tom Gatewood was injured in the first quarter.
The most impressive aspect of Theismann's senior year was not offensive lineman nor one running back from that team played pro football. Gatewood was, but played only a couple of years and was not really considered a speed merchant. It's a testament to team play and coaching how well that team did.
If any QB is sometimes overlooked from that era, it might be Tom Clements (1972-74). He was sandwiched in between Theismann and Joe Montana — both of whom were Super Bowl winners. Every time I talk with players from that era, I don't know if I've heard such reverence of a teammate as a leader than I do of Clements.
Good point on the rushing yardage, Lou. Clausen could certainly throw, but a lot of his throws were of the jump ball variety. You didn't really see that 20 or so years ago. I remember Huarte and Hanratty lifting perfect rainbows to Jack Snow and Jim Seymour. While Clausen had a great touch on that kind of throw, guys who didn't see Huarte, Hanratty, LaMonica, Theisman et al have no idea what they're dismissing when they call Clausen a clear number one.
On the other hand, Clausen played on pretty bad overall football teams. It's just hard to compare players from different eras and supporting casts. It would have been fun to see Clausen play on some great Notre Dame football teams, and, although a lot less fun, at least interesting to see how some other Notre Dame great QB's would have fared in the Weis years.
If there is such a thing as a Golden Era of ND quarterbacks, it would be hard to argue against that Huarte, Hanratty, Theisman, Clements run. I wouldn't want to rank order any of them -- they were all great. Joe T was something of a larger than life figure on campus (I suspect one poster on here would have some interesting stories to tell). I can't help but think he'd be one heckuva a quarterback in Brian Kelly's offense, but then I'd say that about any of the names I mentioned above.
I may not be pretty, but I'm fast.....
POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11
The run from Huarte through Montana was extremely special, but nothing in college football matched the 1943-56 run.
Angelo Bertelli — Heisman Trophy, College Hall of Fame, national champ
Frank Dancewicz — No. 1 overall pick in NFL Draft
John Lujack — Heisman Trophy, College Hall of Fame, national champ three times
Frank Tripucka — Unbeaten in lone season as starter, number retired by Denver Broncos
Bob Williams — College Hall of Fame, national champ
Ralph Guglielmi — College Hall of Fame, unbeaten in 1953
Paul Hornung — Heisman Trophy, Hall of Fame
Even in the darkest days under Joe Kuharich, the Irish featured the No. 2 pick in the 1960 NFL draft with George Izo, and Daryle Lamonica (1960-62), who had a brilliant pro career while going 66-16-6 as a starter (second to Otto Graham in all-time winning percentage by a starting NFL QB).
This is the "Notre Dame Tradition"
Lou, that was quite a run, indeed. Of course the comparison makes me think of questions like the '27 Yankees vs. the '98 Yankees. The landscape changes, even in the shorter interval of the ND QB comparison. The benchmarks are based on the time frames, and while the benchmarks are the same, the time frames aren't. I find those to be impossible questions.
i agree. I recently had the chance to do a "Where Have You Gone" piece in the magazine edition on 1951 ND captain Jim Mutscheller, who was an All-Pro tight end for Johnny Unitas and a key figure on that 1958 team that won the NFL Championship in the classic overtime victory versus the Giants.
He maintained that to this day, Unitas is the best QB he's even seen — although with an understandable bias — mainly because of how different the game was back then with coaching, how he had to call his own plays, etc. He thinks while today's QBs are physically superior, they also have so much more coaching and so many more rules advantages than in his day. Those are things that can't always be measured or quantified.
Lou, I've always maintained, at most, you can say they were the best in their era. As such, I should not have claimed any "Golden Era" status to the quarterbacks I named, even though their greatness is undeniable. The playing field is not level across the decades. For example, as indicated, Unitas did not have the benefit of coaching and training that modern day quarterbacks do (think of the "training regimens" of stalwarts like Bobby Layne, Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen). Conversely, they were not playing against the caliber of opponent that current quarterbacks do. Defensive linemen, today, are probably as quick as linebackers were back then, while today's linebackers are as big as some of the linemen Unitas would have faced. What scale can balance all these factors? It should be enough to say they were the best of their time. No small achievement in that.
And Lou, just as a sidebar to this discussion, not surprisingly, if you were to go to horse racing web sites, you would find some very contentious debates as to who was the greatest race horse of all time. This just boggles my mind. All I'm interested in is finding who is the best horse in the next race.
Yes, it does all become relative.
Joe Montana finished his Notre Dame career barely completing 50 percent of his passes (including 23-of-59 in bowls with five INts and two TDs), and threw more picks (30) than TDs (27), including bowls. Tony Rice's passing stats were even worse than Montana's, including two TDs and nine picks as a senior.
Tommy Rees hasn't even entered his junior year and already has more TD passes than Montana and Rice (32), fewer interceptions (22) and has completed 64 percent of his passes.
So based on that raw data, who would a space alien trying to learn the game say is the best among the three? Indeed, it's a different game.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi 22 months ago
Lou, it appears your post ran out of gas before reaching its destination.
The suspense is killing me. I need to know. I'm still trying to learn football.
Sometimes the mouse that is running that wheel in my so-called cranium just conks out.
Welcome to the Club Lou!!!!!!!!!!
Lou and Ham. You're preaching to the choir. At least one member of the choir.
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