Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1950s

Welcome to part four of our study looking at the NFL All-Decade Teams. Today, we look at the 1950s.


Position Player Name: Team(s): College Attended: In Hall of Fame?
Quarterback Otto Graham Cleveland Browns Northwestern Yes
Norm Van Brocklin Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles
Oregon Yes
Bobby Layne Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers
Texas Yes
Running back Frank Gifford New York Giants Southern California Yes
Ollie Matson Chicago Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco Yes
Hugh McElhenny San Francisco 49ers Washington Yes
Lenny Moore Baltimore Colts Penn State Yes
Fullback Alan Ameche Baltimore Colts Wisconsin No
Joe Perry San Francisco 49ers
Baltimore Colts
Compton Community Yes
End Raymond Berry Baltimore Colts South Methodist Yes
Tom Fears Los Angeles Rams UCLA Yes
Bobby Walston Philadelphia Eagles Georgia No
Elroy Hirsch Los Angeles Rams Michigan Yes
Tackle Roosevelt Brown New York Giants Morgan State Yes
Bob St. Clair San Francisco 49ers Tulsa Yes
Guard Dick Barwegan Chicago Bears
Baltimore Colts
Purdue No
Jim Parker Baltimore Colts Ohio State Yes
Dick Stanfel Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins
San Francisco JC
San Francisco
Center Chuck Bednarik Philadelphia Eagles Pennsylvania Yes


Position Player Name: Team(s): College Attended: In Hall of Fame?
Defensive end Len Ford Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers
Michigan Yes
Gino Marchetti Dallas Texans
Baltimore Colts
San Francisco Yes
Defensive tackle Art Donovan New York Yanks
Dallas Texans
Baltimore Colts
Boston Yes
Leo Nomellini San Francisco 49ers Minnesota Yes
Ernie Stautner Pittsburgh Steelers Boston Yes
Linebacker Joe Fortunato Chicago Bears Virginia Military Institute
Mississippi State
Bill George Chicago Bears Wake Forest Yes
Sam Huff New York Giants West Virginia Yes
Joe Schmidt Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Yes
Cornerback Dick “Night Train” Lane Los Angeles Rams
Chicago Cardinals
Scottsbluff Yes
Jack Butler Pittsburgh Steelers St. Bonaventure No
Safety Jack Christiansen Detroit Lions Colorado State Yes
Yale Lary Detroit Lions Texas A&M Yes
Emlen Tunnell New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
Iowa Yes

Special Teams:

Position Player Team(s) played for College Hall of Famer
Placekicker Lou Groza Cleveland Browns Ohio State Yes

Looking at the distribution of talent, the Baltimore Colts had eight former players represented on the 1950s All-Decade Team. The next closest in terms of players represented are the Rams and the Lions who have five each, who are then followed by the Giants and 49ers with four each. The 1950s NFL All-Decade Team marked the first time a special teams player (Lou Groza of the Browns) was named as a member.

By looking at the make-up of the 1950s All-Decade Team we can see that the college football landscape started to experience parity in the 1940s when most of these players were still in school. Many more of the schools we’ve come to think of as classic football universities are represented on this 1950s All-Decade Team, although there are still a number of non-football schools represented. Morgan State, Tulsa, Pennsylvania, Virginia Military Institute, Scottsbluff, St. Bonaventure, and Colorado State are all represented with former players making this list. Also two community colleges, Compton Community and San Francisco Junior College, are represented for the first time. But the most surprising thing, collegiately speaking, about the make-up of the 1950s NFL All-Decade Team is that the college most represented is the University of San Francisco.

As we stated before, what prompted this look at the NFL’s All-Decade Team was the question as to how many players have made the All-Decade Team, meaning they’ve been a great player for roughly a decade if not more, but failed to make it into the Hall-of-Fame.

1950s All Decade Team Players Who Didn’t Make It Into The Hall Of Fame:
Alan Ameche – Fullback – Baltimore Colts
Bobby Watson – End – Philadelphia Eagles
Dick Barwegan – Guard – Chicago Bears, Baltimore Colts
Dick Stanfel – Guard – Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins
Joe Fortunato – Linebacker – Chicago Bears
Jack Butler – Cornerback – Pittsburgh Steelers

Players selected: 34
Players not in Hall of Fame: 6
18% of 1950s All Decade Team Players are not in the Hall of Fame

The next chapter will cover the 1960s NFL All-Decade Team.

Other chapters in this study: Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1920s Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1930s Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1940s Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1950s Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1960s Examines The NFL All-Decade Teams: The 1970s

Leave a Reply