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Notable NFL QB platoons

by Berry Tramel Published: August 20, 2013

The three notable quarterback platoons in NFL history:

1. Los Angeles Rams, 1949-52: Bob Waterfield was a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback, but the Rams drafted Norm Van Brocklin in 1949, and suddenly, the Rams were QB-rich. Over the next three years, the Rams used both quarterbacks; Waterfield more than Van Brocklin, but Van Brocklin started his fair share of games and relieved Waterfield a bunch. The 1950 Rams set an NFL scoring record of 38.8 points a game, which still stands. The Rams lost the 1949 NFL title game with both quarterbacks playing, lost the 1950 NFL title game with Waterfield going virtually the entire way, then won the 1951 NFL title game when Waterfield played most of the game but Van Brocklin came in and threw a tiebreaking touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Finally, after each started six games in 1952, Waterfield retired.

2. Dallas Cowboys, 1970-71: Craig Morton was Don Meredith's heir apparent, but Roger Staubach arrived after a five-year hitch with the U.S. Navy. Staubach started one game in 1969 and three in 1970, though Morton started the Super Bowl loss to the Colts. Then in 1971, coach Tom Landry decided to alternate their starts. After six games, Landry went all in — he alternated quarterbacks on every play. The Cowboys lost 23-19 at Chicago, and Landry decided to go with Staubach. Dallas won 10 straight, including the Super Bowl.

3. Washington Redskins, 1973-74: Billy Kilmer was 34 in 1973; Sonny Jurgensen was 39. Over the 1973 and '74 seasons, George Allen eight times played both quarterbacks extensively in the same game. Allen gave Kilmer 20 starts, Jurgensen eight. In the 1974 playoffs against the Rams, Allen played both. The Rams won 19-10.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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