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Hogs Haven loves Slingin' Sammy Baugh

While I try to comb my brain for good news this week (for instance, that the Colts are quite possibly the 2nd worse team in the league against the rush -- go Portis and more on that in a later post) I stumbled upon a Cold Hard Football Facts article outlining the best eleven-man football team in history (hat tip: Football Outsiders)

Here's the shtick:

Eleven men culled from the thousands who have played during the entire 86-year history of professional football. They had to play offense. They had to play defense. They had to play special teams. And we get just 11 players to build a perfect team that could run, pass, catch, kick, punt, block and tackle better than any other 11 you could put in front of them.

Here's their Roster:

Offense Player Defense
RB Jim Brown SS
RB Bronko Nagurski OLB
TE Lawrence Taylor OLB
WR Don Hutson CB
WR Deion Sanders CB/KR
RT Lou Groza DE/K
LT Cal Hubbard DT
LG Joe Greene DT
RG Bobby Bell DE/LB
C Chuck Bednarik MLB

And of course, the unimaginably awesome Sammy Baugh playing QB, Free Safety, and Punter.

Most of Baugh's greatness is well known to Redskins faithfuls, as he is the single Greatest Player in Universe History. His Greatness knew no bounds, as he invented the modern passing game while at the same time dominating on defense and special teams. He is also the only surviving Charter Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Father Time came around and stole from us the other greats: George Halas, "Red" Grange, "Dutch" Clark, Bert Bell, Jim Thorpe, Ernie Nevers, Bronko Nagurski, "Blood" McNally, George Preston Marshall, Tim Mara, Earl "Curly" Lambeau, Don Hutson, "Cal" Hubbard, "Pete" Henry, and Mel Hein. When Father Time came to collect Baugh, Slingin' Sammy punted his ass 70 yards and then threw a perfect spiral directly into his groin. He's that good.

More from the article for you to oooh and ahhhh at:

His passing numbers have stood the test of time. In 1945, he completed 70.3 percent of his attempts and posted a very modern-looking 109.9 passer rating. His amazing 70.3 completion percentage has been surpassed only once, by Cincinnati's Ken Anderson (70.6) in the Live Ball Era season of 1982. The 109.9 passer rating in 1945 is the second-best passing season in the history of the NFL when compared with the league-wide rating that year (47.4).

As an aside, Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman are the only two early-era QBs who can even be measured by the modern Passer Rating. The Live Ball Era started in 1978 when the league changed the rules to increase scoring. Sammy Baugh spits on rule changes, as he didn't need them to completely dominate the competetition.

His career punting average of 45.1 is second all-time to current Oakland punter Shane Lechler's 45.9. He averaged an amazing 51.4 yards per punt in 1940 - still an NFL record - and led the league in punting a record four different seasons (1940-43).

When discussing players of old eras, it is easy to dismiss their greatness relative to modern era players because of the advancements in sports training and medicine. The greatest offensive lineman from 1945, for instance, probably wouldn't do well against anyone in the modern era. Even Andre Carter. There's just too much of an athleticism and size differential.

But Punter is different. I would feel absolutely comfortable bringing back a 1940s Sammy Baugh to replace Derrick Frost right now. I'd probably feel comfortable letting him throw the pigskin as well.

As good as he was in 1945, Baugh's signature season was 1943. In that 10-game campaign, he led the NFL in passing (1,754 yards), interceptions (11) and punting (45.9 average)

In my mind his greatest accomplishment. The man was the best defender, best punter, and best quarterback in the league all in the same year. It should go without saying that Slingin' Sammy Baugh was the greatest player in Football History.

Hope that cheers you up a bit as we prepare ourselves for the terrifying game this weekend. Go Skins.