Roger Staubach, NFL

by Mike Magers

A clipping from the October 11, 1960 Garden City Telegram of Garden City, Kansas was a writeup of a non-conference game between the Broncbusters of Garden City Junior College and  the Broncos of New Mexico Military Institute.  Garden City lost to the Institute 20-13 despite having outgained NMMI by a margin of 280 yards to 233.  All of Garden City’s yards were on the ground, and they did not complete any passes, except for a lone pass in the flat that was called back by a penalty.

The Broncos yardage was balanced, 120 yards on the ground against 113 in the air.  Their young quarterback went 8 for 12 and was a 6’2″ 185 athlete by the name of Roger Staubach.  Staubach was out of Purcell High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and had received an honorable mention in the high school All-America ranking.  Rumors had it that he was being groomed to succeed Rich Mayo as quarterback at the Air Force Academy and the Instutute had just been on the losing end of a 35-31 game with the Air Force Junior Varsity the week before.  The Institute went on to earn a 9-1 record in 1960.  Roger completed 60% of his passes and was named first string Junior College All-America quarterback.

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(Image credit: NMMI, yearbook photo)

Two years later, he would be leading the offense at the Naval Academy on the way to winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 1963.  Staubach had started the year as the Naval Academy’s third string quarterback behind senior Ron Klemick and junior Bruce Abel, but earned the starting role after Navy lost its first three games.  Staubach went on to make all-conference and all-region in basketball while being named third string All-America on the USNA baseball team, hitting .320 and playing center field.  An Associated Press article would quote NMMI coach Bob Shaw as claiming that Roger was a better all-around athlete than Johnny Unitas, whom he had seen while coaching for the Baltimore Colts.

Roger would go on to be drafted in the NFL by the Dallas Cowboys 1963, who had the full knowledge that he would first serve his military commitment to the United States Navy.   It proved to be a choice that was worth the wait.  He joined the club in 1969 after his service in the United States Navy and played 11 seasons with the team.  As a pro, Roger played in 131 games, starting 114 of them, as he accumulated 22,700 passing yards, just over 173 yards per game.  He completed 1685 of 2958 attempts while helping the Cowboys earn a record of 85-29.  Roger played from 1969 to 1979 and was named All-Pro 17 times.

Roger was known as a mature, no-nonsense type of person but one incident that may not be widely remembered stands out out to the contrary.  He had been wanting to get an audience with Cowboys GM Tex Schramm to discuss his player contract, but had been told that Schramm was on the phone and could not see him.  Staubach found a door to the outside of the building and climbed onto the outer ledge outside Schramm’s office on the 11th floor.  Needless to say, he got Schramm’s attention and the two negotiated the changes in his contract.

Staubach’s honors include being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Under him the Cowboys would win the NFC four times and go on to win the Super Bowl two times.  He was named MVP of Super Bowl VI.  He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and to the Cowboy’s Ring of Honor.  He is now active in the real estate business and living in Dallas, Texas.

© 2017, all rights reserved.

 

Timmy Smith, NFL

by Mike Magers

Timmy Smth was a running back from Hobbs, NM.  While at Hobbs, he rushed for 2,306 yards and scored 31 rushing touchdowns, both records at the time.  It  attracted Division 1 interest and he signed with Texas Tech.  Though he was injured with knee and ankle problems a great deal of the time he was at Tech, his record shows that he had 292 attempts rushing and gained 1,313 yards, scoring 8 touchdowns.  He also had 41 receptions and gained another 401 yards and one touchtown.  It was enough for him to be drafted by the Washington Redskins.  He was taken 117th in the 5th round of the 1987 NFL draft.

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Coach Marv Levy

by Mike Magers

marvlevy

(Image credit: buffalobills.com)

Coach Marv Levy’s connection to New Mexico is when he served as head football coach of University of New Mexcio in 1958 and 1959, after serving as an assistant coach there since 1954.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 1925 and graduated from South Shore High School in 1943.  Following his graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps where he served for the duration of World War II.  Upon his discharge in 1946, he enrolled at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he was a three sport letter winner in basketball, track and football while earning a degree in English literature.  He obtained a master’s degree in English history from Harvard University after graduating from Coe College.

A football coach with degrees in English literature and history may be something of a rarity in pro football but his mother read English literature from such authors as Shakespeare, Keats and Milton.

His first coaching job was at the high school level when he was a baskeball and football coach at St. Louis Country Day.  Following this, he began his college coaching career by returning to his alma mater, Coe College, as an assistant and head coach.  He then transitioned in 1954 to University of New Mexico where he was an assistant until being named head coach of the Lobos in 1958.  In his two years as head coach, the Lobos earned a record of 14-6, going 7-3 each year with strong running back and future All-American Don Perkins.  He left New Mexico for California where he served as head coach from 1960 to 1963 before moving on to the same position at William and Mary until 1968, after which he began his professional football coaching career.

Coach Levy served as an assistant coach with the following teams: Philadelphia Eagles (1969), Los Angeles Rams (1970) under Coach George Allen, and again under Allen with Washington Redskins (1971-1972).  His first head coaching position was with Montreal where he served as head coach of the Alloettes of the Canadian Football League from 1973 to 1977.  His overall record at Montreal was 43-31-4.  In his five seasons with the Alloettes, he took the team to the Grey Cup three times, winning the championship in two of them.  Levy then joined the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL where he was head coach from 1978 to 1982.  His record in Kansas City was 31-42.  Under Levy, the Chiefs showed improvement each year except for 1982 when the season was interrupted by a player strike.  Except for one season in the USFL when he was head coach of the Chicago Blitz, he was on the sidelines in the interim before signing on in 1986 as head coach of the Buffalo Bills at mid season.

In Buffalo, where he would remain for the rest of his career, Coach Levy had his greatest success, recording 112 wins against 70 losses.  During his tenure, the Bills won the AFC Championships a record four consecutive years, 1990 through 1993, earning the team appearances to the Super Bowls, though they did not win a Super Bowl game.

Coach Levy retired as a head coach after the 1997 season.  His NFL regular season record was 143-112.  His teams went 11-8 in the playoffs bringing his overall record in the NFL to 154-120 in his 17 seasons with the NFL.

His 154 career wins rank 21st in the NFL, a very respectable place on the list.  His impact on the Buffalo club is quite dramatic.  The Bills have had only four winning seasons in the twenty years since Levy retired.  Their all time record as of 2017 is 414-475.  Without regard to Levy’s wins and losses, the team record drops to 302-405.

His honors include being named to the Buffalo Bills’ Wall of Fame.  Levy holds the club record in Buffalo for most wins at 112.  He was twice named UPI’s NFL Coach of the Year and once named the Sporting News Coach of the Year.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in its 2016 class.

Levy now lives with his family in Chicago but makes it back to Buffalo occasionally for Bills games.  He also has written at least four books and feels that he may have more books inside him.  Even now when he is in his 90s, no one doubts that he could do it.

 

Brian Urlacher, NFL

by Mike Magers

Brian was born in Pasco, Washington but moved with his mother to the unlikely location of Lovington, New Mexico where his maternal grandparents lived, after a family separation.  His mother supported Brian and his two siblings by often working several jobs at a time, becoming quite a respected and beloved person in town.  In Lovington, Urlacher developed his natural affinity for sports, focusing on basketball and football.  He graduated in 1996 and his last three years in high school, the Wildcats went 9-3, 11-4 and 14-0, winning the State Championship in 1995 under Head Coach John T. “Speedy” Faith.  Coach Faith sent film of his highlights to Texas Tech, where Brian had wanted to play, but Tech never responded with a scholarship offer, so Brian accepted an offer to play for University of New Mexico.

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Robin Cole, NFL

by Mike Magers

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(image credit: fanmail.biz)

Robin Cole was born in Los Angeles, California in 1955 and played football at University of New Mexico from 1973 to 1976.  At UNM, his career statistics rank highly in many categories.  The following are just a few of them.  In career tackles, his 406 tackles place him at 5th, just behind Brian Urlacher, his career sacks at 36 rank him second behind Johnny Jackson.  He is highly ranked in career fumble recoveries, career fumbles caused and also season records for most of these categories.

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