Monday, September 22, 2014

The Short, Wonderful History of the College of Wooster in the NFL


·       On a whim, I decided to see if any Fighting Scots have ever played in the NFL. The answer is yes: six of them, four in the league's early days. Hank Critchfield, a 5'10", 207-pound center, played for the Cleveland Indians in 1931. Wilson "Willie" Flattery, a giant for his time at 6'0", 220, was a two-year guard for the Canton Bulldogs in '25-'26. Johnnie Layport, a preposterous 5'9", 170-pound guard/tackle, actually switched teams in his three-year career; he spent 1924 with the Columbus Tigers, and 1925-26 with the Dayton Triangles. 

      Ben Roderick, who was born in the nineteenth century and attended Columbia and Boston College along with Wooster, played for four teams as a 5'9", 175-pound FB/HB/QB. In 1923, he played four games apiece for the Buffalo All-Americans and the immortal 11-0-1 Canton Bulldogs, who won the championship that year. (The 1972 Dolphins can suck a dick: the 1920, 1922, 1923 and 1929 (Packers!) champions were all undefeated.) After two years away from football, Roderick returned to the Bulldogs in 1926 before playing a final season for the Buffalo Bisons, surely the worst team name in NFL history, in 1927.
Dan Callahan was the only Wooster player to grace the major leagues between 1931 and the glory days of the 1980s, playing one season as a 6'0", 230-pound guard for the New York Titans under Sammy Baugh.* But he was merely setting the table for--are you ready?--the legend of Blake Moore. 
http://img.fanbase.com/media.fanbase.com/8/21098/99153b96cacec751bf8e25967de5118d965a3910.jpg?x=174&y=274&sig=200486a0b22c9091479fcb11cb76f035
Feast your eyes upon him. Blake Moore towers above the greats of Wooster football, a 6'5", 267-pound colossus. All men feared him. Defying all odds, he played in 77 games as a guard/center for Cincinnati (1980-83) and Green Bay ('84-'85), eclipsing the careers of his five predecessors combined. But that's not even the zenith of the monumental career of Wooster's greatest warrior. 

E. Blake Moore, giant of the Wooster graduates, has done something no one else had ever done, except for maybe Ben Roderick: he scored an honest-to-God NFL touchdown. Two of them. In each of his years with the Packers, who obviously saw something in him that Cincinnati didn't, he lined up as an eligible receiver and caught one three-yard touchdown pass. Two catches, career, two touchdowns: the greatest ratio in NFL history.
Epilogue
Moore is currently an Executive Vice President at Mackenzie Financial Corporation; he was a history major and fourth-generation Fighting Scot. He went to Harvard Law School after football, practiced law for four years, then became a money manager. He also wrote the world's worst-titled autobiography, Through a Pigskin Prism


*The legend of Sammy Baugh will have to wait until next post.

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