- Curt Gowdy Football
- A rundown of the 1972 season, predicting winners, losers and
key players on each team:
- NFC East
- Cedarhurst - The defending CGFL champs return in 1972 with a
solid defense and a respectible offense. Their 81 points on D rank
2nd in the league, with only one starter rated lower than a 7. The
offense will thrive behind the superb offensive line of Bob Brown,
Bruce Van Dyke and Forrest Blue. John Fuqua, Doug Dressler and Jim
Bertelsen will share the ball, and offset a slightly subpar year
by Len Dawson. Prediction - 12 wins, home field throughout the
- Iron Mountain - The Miners will ride the passing game in 1972,
as Francis Tarkenton will take full advantage of the league's best
receiving trio, Otis Taylor, John Gilliam and Bob Tucker. Calvin
Hill and Altie Taylor will provide a solid running game, enough to
keep the defense honest. The defense is a solid 74 points, ranking
in the upper half of the league. The Miners would win the West,
but will settle for a wild card in a toughly fought battle in the
East. Prediction - 10 wins, wild card #1.
- Jersey - The Giants will again look to the ground game in
their efforts to make the playoffs. There is potential for a pair
of 1000 yard rushers, with Ron Johnson running outside and John
Riggins running inside. QB Greg Landry is as much a threat on the
ground as he is in the air, but he and partner Steve Spurrier are
going to be hampered by a less than adequate receiving corps. Bob
Newland is the only threat at WR, so look for a lot of passes to
Johnson and receiving back Fred Willis. The defense has some
weaknesses in the middle, and the secondary is pourous at best.
Teams like Iron Mountain will be able to stay away from Lem Barney
and go to their 2nd and 3rd receivers with ease. For Jersey to
make the playoffs they must have a strong record in close games.
Prediction - 7 wins, in a five-way battle for the final playoff
- Reading - The Rage are one of the five teams who should battle
for the final wild card in the NFC. The questions begin at QB,
where Jim Hart is being groomed for a starting role, but is not
quite ready for prime time. To cover for Hart, the Rage picked up
Daryl Lamonica in the off-season. The mad bomber may have to tone
things down a bit as his receivers are more suited for the shorter
passing game. Carl Garrett and Charlie Smith lead a respectable
running game. The problems for Reading are on the other side of
the ball. Their are weaknesses on the line and at linebacker,
which make the Rage succeptable to the run. With division foes who
each feature a solid running game, they'll need some big plays and
good coaching to make it. Prediction - 6 wins, the least likely of
the five to take the wild card.
- Gate City - Franco Harris solves one problem, now if the
Gunfighters only had an answer at QB. Scott Hunter gets another
chance with southpaw Ken Stabler in reserve. Stabler will one take
be the leader but he has a problem with interceptions that needs
to be corrected. Of course, so does Hunter. The offnesive line is
young, which is a nice way to say they aren't real good yet. The
highlight for Gate City is on defense...not in performance but in
potential. In a few years this unit may be the league's best. For
now, their will be growing pains. Prediction - 3 wins.
- NFC West
- Fort Lauderdale - The Trojans have a trio of 10s on defense,
led by the linebacking duo of Chris Hanburger and newly acquired
Dick Butkus. Using Tommy Nobis and Fred Carr, Fort Lauderdale will
unveil a new twist this year - the 3-4 defense. With Alan Page
clogging the middle, and Jake Scott patroling centerfield,
opposing teams will struggle to move the ball. On offense, Dave
Hampton and a conservative game plan look to be in order, so the
Trojans should be in a lot of close games. Prediction - 10 wins,
- Minnesota - Having an offense similar to Fort Lauderdale, and
a defense just a notch below, it will be tough for the Storm to
win the division. However, they can do it. They will need to win
the division games and not give the ball away. The special teams
are terrific and there is big play potential on defense.
Prediction - 7 wins, a player for the final wildcard.
- Canton - Turn the Juice Loose! That's the call in Canton, but
with a mediocre line there could be problems. OJ is the offense as
Gary Garrison is the team's only decent receiving threat. Claude
Humphrey leads one of the league's top pass rush units, but
weakness at linebacker could be the achilies heel. As is the case
with Minnesota, to win the division the Crushers need to win most
of the division games. Otherwise, they're in the hunt for a wild
card. Prediction - 7 wins.
- Duluth - Last year John Brodie led the Rangers to the NFC
Championship Game. This year, questions of durability hover around
their hero. Brodie has an difficult off-season, so aging John
Unitas was brought in to carry part of the load. Certainly there
will be no lack of leadership. Steve Owens and Jim Kiick man the
backfield, but there are doubts that Owens can repeat his 1000
yard season of a year ago. The defense is pretty good, but like
Canton, there are concerns at linebacker. The Rangers are the 5th
of 5 teams fighting for a wild card. Prediction - 6 wins.
- Chicago - Well, not everyone can make the playoffs. Larry
Csonka will be as bruising as ever, but the QB situation is up in
the air. The Plunkett/Phipps battle will be for the right to throw
to a shallow pool of receivers, led by TE Dave Parks. The
defense is the weakest in the league, with Pugh and Wilcox the
only anchors. It will be a long year, but the reward should be a
decent rookie in 1973. Prediction - 2 wins.
- AFC East
- Willamette - This could be the best team in the AFC. Get ready
for Billy Kilmer deep to Charley Taylor, Marv Hubbard up the
middle and Bob Trumpy grabbing short tosses over the middle. The
Wolverines should be able to control the ball on offense, then use
the league's 4th best defense to shut down their opponents. A team
effort on D, only Dick Anderson will catch your eye. This is a
solid unit that looks to end up in the AFC Championship Game.
Prediction - 10 wins, AFC East title.
- Waikiki - Two words: Bobby Douglass. Stop laughing, I'm
serious. Bobby could easily be the team's top rusher, perhaps even
breaking the 1000 yard mark. Running with Douglass will be Leroy
Kelly, Art Malone and Josh Ashton. The line is terrific - Winston
Hill, Larry Little and Bob Johnson. If teams play the run too
tight, Fred Biletnikoff and friends are ready to grab a short toss
and scramble for big yards. The defense is weak, especially
against the pass. Hopes are for a wild card as one of 5 teams
looking at 2 spots. Prediction - 8 wins.
- Hudson Valley - Defending AFC East Champs, the offense is
much the same as last year. Mike Garrett and Willie Ellison will
run behind a pair of 10s, Rayfield Wright and Tom Mack. The strong
ground game should allow Bob Berry to enjoy the same type of
success as he had last year. The defense is strong against the
pass, but weak vs. the run. A wild card contender. Prediction - 7
- Marathon - A new logo, new uniforms, a new RB in Mercury
Morris, but unfortunately, a new QB as Roger Staubach will miss
most of the year. In his place, Marty Domres gets his chance of a
lifetime. Domres will have a pair of good receivers in the
Washingtons, Vic and Gene. The defense is not so good, except for
Bill Stanfill, Bobby Bell and Isaiah Robertson. Another wild card
contender. Prediction - 7 wins.
- New York - The AFC Super Bowl representative was dealt a
blow similar to that received by Duluth and Marathon. QB Bob
Griese was injured in the off season and will miss a big part of
the season. So Dennis Shaw was brought in to try to save the day.
His supporting cast is decent, but not deep. Harold Jackson and
J.D. Hill are a great WR duo, but RBs Mac Lane and Wendell Hayes
will need relief from time to time. An ordinary defense, plus a
tough schedule will keep the Knights out of the playoffs.
Prediction - 5 wins.
- AFC West
- Rhinelander - Norm Snead and Earl Morrall are an experienced
team at QB. Floyd Little carries the ground game, while Chip Myers
is the best hope at WR. Ron Yary is a top lineman, while Willie
Brown leads a tough secondary. A weaker schedule may help too, but
clearly the Hodags are the best in the West. Prediction - 10
- Woodbine - Led by a defense which features Joe Greene and Nick
Buonicounti, the Tigers look to win a lot of close games. A lot
depends upon the play of Roman Gabriel and whether the running
game can outperform their mediocre label. They'll be in the hunt
for a wild card, but a division title looks unlikely. Prediction -
- San Antonio - Larry Brown and John Brockington are the AFC's
toughest 1-2 punch, and with Cid Edwards in reserve, the Renegades
could challenge Hudson Valley's record from last year. It looks
like another year of rotating QBs with Joe Namath having the
inside track. Whoever gets to throw the ball their should be
plenty of candidates. Kwalick, Caster, Abramowicz, Jefferson and
Bell all will be part of the receiving team. So why not a higher
prediction? The defense, and specifically the line is very weak. A
running team should be able to easily move the ball. Prediction -
6 wins, but a chance at a wild card.
- Houston - The Oilers give the reigns to Ken Anderson in hopes
that he can get more going than last year's man Bill Nelsen.
Anderson has mostly the same crew, but most of them are too young
to be reliable. The defense is weak except in one area - Houston
has the league's top pass rush unit. As bad as they are against
the run, the rush should be a non-factor. Prediction - 4
- Miami Valley - Virgil Carter makes 4 QBs who will miss a lot
of time after a successful 1971 campaign. Carter's replacement,
John Reaves is, well, young. Essex Johnson must duplicate his
monster season if the Madcats are to have a chance at the
playoffs. A look at the receivers and the defense, and I'm
not going to hold my breath. Prediction - 4 wins.
- The Playoffs
- NFC - Which ever team wins the wild card, they will face the
Cedarhurst monster and likely go down to defeat. Iron Mountain at
Fort Lauderdale will be an interesting matchup, but I think
the Rage will shutdown Archie Manning and Dave Hampton. In the
Championship Game, look for Cedarhurst to win in a close
- AFC - So many wild card candidates, but both of them will go
down to defeat to the division-winning Willamette and Rhinelander
teams. The Wolverines have a slightly better running game, and I
think Marv Hubbard will be the difference as Willamette goes to
the Super Bowl.
- Super Bowl - On paper it looks close, but on the field the
Wolverine ground game goes for close to 200 yards and brings a
title to Willamette, 31-14.