Washington Redskins: Top 30 players in franchise history
By Ian Cummings
People don’t always understand how hard it was for quarterbacks to play in the era of leather helmets and black-and-white game tape. Receivers didn’t have the protection they have now, and looking back, safety was a fairly pressing concern. It was called the dead ball era for a reason. The nature of the game was skewed in favor of defense.
With those factors in mind, the exploits of Sonny Jurgensen are truly extraordinary.
Jurgensen will never be in the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. Most quarterbacks need Super Bowls to be in that conversation. And he never won a Super Bowl. In fact, the only Super Bowl he even went to, he was a backup to Billy Kilmer.
But as a pure player, Jurgensen was one of the smartest. He was one of the toughest. And did he ever have an arm.
Jurgensen was virtually unmatched at the quarterback position in his time with the Redskins. In 11 years with the team, he passed for over 22,000 yards, 179 touchdowns and 116 interceptions. In 1967, Jurgensen broke the record for passing yards in a season, a record that was his already. No one else had beat it. So Jurgensen had to take matters into his own hands.
Jurgensen was regarded as an all-time great upon his retirement, and today, although his stats may pale in comparison to the offensive production of the modern NFL, Jurgensen was the best at making something out of nothing. He never got a ring to show for it. But a gold jacket is a fine substitute.