Saturday, February 23, 2019

1968 NFL / AFL Rookies of the Year

With 4 presenters of the Rookie of the Year award in 1968, it can get confusing. I'll try to break it down.

The Associated Press (AP) picked Earl McCullouch on offense and Claude Humphrey on defense.  The Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), who had just one award, also chose McCullouch. The Sporting News (TSN) chose McCullouch in the NFL and Paul Robinson in the AFL. United Press International echoed TSN's picks with McCullouch in the NFL and Robinson in the AFL.

On the trading card front, Topps was now the sole producer of football cards. They included both AFL and NFL cards in their set for the first time since 1961. Although there were 3 different Rookies of the Year in 1968, all of them would wait until 1970 before Topps included them in the set.

Earl McCullouch was a unanimous ROY winner. He received honors from AP, NEA, TSN and UPI. He was a two sport star and Olympic Hopeful at USC. Ultimately he chose the money of professional football over the glory of the Olympics in 1968. He played 7 seasons in Detroit from 1968-1973. He finished his career on the Saints in 1974.

Paul Robinson was chosen in the 3rd round of the combined 1968 AFL/NFL draft. In his rookie year he put up 1023 rushing yards and scored 9 TDs. In addition to winning the ROY in the AFL, he came in second to Joe Namath in MVP voting. He played for the Bengals from 1968 until the 4th game into the 1972 season when he was traded to the Oilers. He played sparingly in Houston in 1972 and 1973. In 1974 he played in the newly formed WFL for the Birmingham Americans. He ran for 599 yards and 2 TDs. The Americans won the championship in the WFL's only year in existence. 

 Claude Humphrey was chosen 3rd overall in the draft by the Atlanta Falcons. The defensive end from Tennessee played from 1968-1981 on the Falcons and Eagles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. YES!! I am paying attention! You will be the professor emeritus (for me) for any gridiron action before the mid 70's. For some people, football is an acquired taste - and it must be said I am one of them. Yes, it took until my mid 20's to develop any positive associations with this sport. I may not have fit in, but as a consequence, at least I can still think!! Horsehide and "hoop" you can do with your friends - but ohhh fooball that's an entirely different world all together. Anyway, despite oaths, I finally did turn into yet another beer chugging, pizza scarfing, towel waving fool. Every post you make (as well as the previous 2) of this nature will help me fill in the gaps of my "history book". A couple of these names I can actually recall. Thanks "Buzz" (Bryant)