Saturday, November 23, 2013

San Diego Chargers

Here are the 1972 San Diego Chargers. After finishing in 3rd place (6-8) in 1971, the team dropped to last place (4-9-1) in 1972. The free-fall continued, and they didn't see a winning record until 1978.

John Hadl was the Chargers' 3rd-round pick (and the Lions' #1 pick) in the 1962 draft. Incumbent QB Jack Kemp missed all but 2 games with injuries, so Hadl started 10 games as a rookie. The next season, he was the #2 QB behind newly-acquired veteran Tobin Rote.

Hadl regained the starting role in 1964, and remained there through the 1972 season. John led the league in passing TDs in '68 and '71. He was also the Chargers' punter during the '64 and '65 seasons. Hadl played for the Rams, Packers, and Oilers from 1973-77. He made 6 Pro Bowls, and was the last QB to wear a number higher than #19.

Mike Garrett began his career with the Chiefs in 1966, the season that culminated in the team's appearance in Super Bowl I. He rushed for over 1000 yards in his 2nd season. After 4+ seasons as the starting halfback in Kansas City, the Chiefs traded him to the Chargers 3 games into 1970. He played for the Chargers through the 1973 season, all as the starting halfback. In 1972 he had his 2nd 1000-yard season. Mike was a 2-time Pro Bowler.

Jeff Queen played for the Chargers for 3 seasons (1969-71) and was the starting fullback for the last two. He also played for the Raiders (1972-73) and the Oilers (1974).

Gary Garrison was drafted by the Eagles in 1965, but did not play for them. He joined the Chargers in 1966, and was their starting split end from 1966-1975 (while missing part of the 1973 season). He played in only 2 games for the Chargers in 1976, then finished his career in 1977 with the Oilers. Gary was a 4-time Pro Bowler.

Jerry LeVias was the Oilers' 2nd-round pick in 1969, and was a kick and punt returner, as well as a wide receiver. As a rookie, he led the AFL in punt returns and return yardage. After 2 seasons in Houston, Jerry was acquired by the Chargers. He continued in all 3 roles for San Diego in 1971, but played sparingly in '72 and '74. In 1973, he was a starting wide receiver, but did not play on special teams.

Dave Williams was the Cardinals' #1 pick in the 1967 draft. He was the starting split end from 1968-71, then played for the Chargers in 1972 and part of 1973, before finishing up with the Steelers at the end of the 1973 season.

Walt Sweeney was San Diego's #1 pick in 1963, and played for the Chargers from 1963 to 1973. He was their starting right guard for all but his rookie season, and made 9 Pro Bowls (all but '63 and '73). He finished his career as the Redskins' starting right guard in 1974 and 1975. Sweeney passed away in early 2013 from pancreatic cancer, at age 71.

Dennis Partee played 8 seasons (1968-75), all with the Chargers. He was the team's punter every season, and was also their placekicker except for the '70, '73, and '75 seasons. In 1969, he led the AFL with 44.6 yards per punt.

After 11 seasons with the Rams (1961-71), Deacon Jones played 2 seasons with the Chargers before wrapping up his career in 1974 with the Redskins. He was his team's starting left defensive end in all but his final season. (For some reason, Topps chose to airbrush him into a red jersey, seemingly unnecessary, since the Rams' and Chargers' jerseys were both blue!) Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, and passed away in June 2013 at age 74.

Bob Babich was the Chargers' #1 pick in the 1969 draft, and was the starting middle linebacker in San Diego for 3 seasons (1970-72) and in Cleveland for 4 seasons (1973-76). After 2 seasons as a Browns' backup, he retired following the 1978 season.

Also check out the 1968 and 1971 Chargers.