Fantasy Flashback, Celebrating 50 Years of Fantasy Football 1963-2012
To celebrate the 50th season of fantasy football let’s look back at some notable and surprising fantasy performances of the past 50 fantasy seasons that involved NFL teams playing each other this week.
Our first dose of fantasy history…
Week 8, 1973, Sunday November 4, Chicago Bears at Green Packers
Lightly regarded Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass, known more for his running than his inaccurate passing had his finest statistical game of his 10-year career on this day in Titletown. Douglass at best, was a bench fantasy QB his entire career, although the year before he had set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 968 – during a 14 game season no less.
The Bears came into Lambeau Field with a 2-5 record, although the week before they had trounced the Houston Oilers 35-14. They faced Head Coach Dan Devine’s Packers, Central division champs the year before, but were having an off year at 2-3-2 coming into this game.
Douglass single-handedly beat the Packers that afternoon, rushing for 100 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns on short runs. He also passed for 118 yards in a 31-17 Bears victory. Douglas committed no turnovers that afternoon (one of the few games in his career he accomplished that) while putting together a 39 point fantasy day. His was by far the highest scoring fantasy quarterback that week.
In comparison, during week 8 1973, future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Roger Staubach scored 22 fantasy points, Fran Tarkenton scored 15 points, and Bob Griese scored 11 points, respectively. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw was benched that week by Chuck Noll in favor of Terry Hanratty and Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen watched from the sidelines as Billy Kilmer guided the Redskins’ attack.
It should be noted that week Hall of Famer John Unitas completed the last pass of his golden career, a 7 yard completion to WR Jerry Levias in a mop up role for the San Diego Chargers. Unitas came off the bench for the Chargers in a 19-0 loss to the Chiefs. He was subbing for Oregon rookie Dan Fouts, who made his third pro start that day.
As for Douglass, after that fantastic fantasy finish the balance of 1973 was forgettable. The Bears would not win another game that year. Douglas finished the year throwing for 9 TD’s, 12 INT’s and rushed 525 yards including 5 scores. Douglas held his quarterback rushing record until 2006 when Michael Vick rushed for 1,039 yards, albeit in a 16 game season.
Vick averaged 65 yards rushing per contest in 2006 while Douglas’ 1972 average was 69 yards per game. The big southpaw retired after the 1978 season, never having another fantasy game like he did on November 4, 1973.