Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Washington Sellouts

Rich Gosselin, NFL Columnist for the Dallas Morning News (of all places) Points out that the Washington Redskins have the NFL's longest running sellout streak. The streak dates from 1967 and is up to 304 games and counting.

Gosselin's column mentioned a name I haven't heard in many-a-year, under-used running back A.D. Whitfield. Otto Graham used him as a change-of-pace back. I liked watching Whitfield play, but an October 2, 2004 Robert Janis story points out that Graham preferred bigger backs, apparently viewing 5-10 Whitfield as a 198 pound weakling; this despite his 5.1 yards-per-carry in 1966, and 13.7 yard receiving average in '67.

In the Redskins 72-41 whuppin' of the Giants (1967), Whitfield carried the ball four times, scoring three touchdowns.

Graham was a legit NFL legend, but his previous coaching experience was with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. At 17-22-3, he was not the change agent the team expected, because (I suspect) of questionable use of personnel, like Whitfield, and neglect of the defense. Edward Bennett Williams replaced the legend with a bigger legend -- Vincent T. Lombardi.

Alas, Whitfield did not survive Lombardi, who went instead with Larry Brown and Charlie Harraway. In the sixties, when the Skins could score, but make no stops, Whitfield was one of the giants who, along with Jurgy, Taylor, Mitchell and Huff, gave the faithful something to cheer for on Sundays.

To see Whitfield's story in depth, see What Ever Happened to A.D. Whitfield?


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