Sunday, Sept. 11, is the day when the Green Bay Packers travel to Jacksonville to take on the upstart Jaguars.
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Most recently, we took a look at number 19 – Carlos Brown – a quarterback who didn’t play the position very well, but went on to a successful television and film career.
Today we move on to number 18, where we once again turn to John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” to provide insight and background and take us back to the years when Tobin Rote played for the Packers …
Maxymuk, titles his chapter about Rote as the “Running Quarterbacks” and then follows that up with his chapter about Isbell, “1939 Champs,” but we’ll look at Isbell in our next installment. But before we get to Maxymuk’s descriptions, I’ll address the question you are all thinking – why not focus on Randall Cobb for the #18 jersey?
Clearly, Cobb has been the most dynamic player in the past 50 years to wear #18. He burst onto the scene as a rookie and has been one of the go-to players for the Packers over the past four seasons. His injury in his second season slowed his incredible statistical output, but his upside is beyond average, good and excellent and could be considered superior.
In his five seasons, Cobb has accounted for 6,827 all-purpose yards for the Packers and if he continues to stay healthy, he could light up the NFL as one of the best.
But he’s got a long way to go to prove that he belongs in the same breath as the great wide receivers who have played the game.
Stay tuned on that point.
Let’s move on to Tobin Rote …
Here is a guy who was years ahead of his time. While we go ga-ga over the likes of Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick, we can take a look back to the 1950s when Tobin Rote played for the Green Bay Packers.
But let’s let John Maxymuk talk about what Rote brought to the table more than 60 years ago. Here is how he describes Rote, the QB who played for the Packers from 1952-56:
"“The great quarterbacks in future years will have to run as well as pass to survive pro lines, which seem to get rougher and faster every season … the pro ends of today are bigger than the guards and tackles were a decide ago. The defense places greater emphasis on rushing the passer. The ne development in pro football, therefore, will have to be the running quarterback.”… those lines above were used by Paul Zimmerman to begin the chapter on “Football of the Eighties” in his “The New thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football.”The quotation, however, dates all the way back to 1955 when Paul Brown wrote an article, “I Watch the Quarterback,” for the Oct. 28 issue of Colliers. And, with apologies to Frankie Albert and Johnny Lujack, the first running quarter back was playing for the Packres at the time, Tobin Rote.In the 1940s the teams in the NFL set aside the single wing offense and moved to the T Formation, and the increase in passing led to an explosion of points. Tobin Rot was a throwback single wing tailback in his talents and a throwback in general for his toughness. In one game, he had his nose broken, left the field for one play, and cam be back for th net play with blood streaming down his face. In another game, he thrw a pass to Ray Pelfry 10 yards downfild. As the defense conveyed on Pelfry, he lateraled back to Rote who was trilling on the play and Tobin went for the the first down. He could run and throw with equal skill, and he had a long successful career in, remarkably, three professional football leagues.Rote was a tall, tough Texan born Jan. 18, 1928, in San Antonio. H was a record-setting passer for Rice Institute from 1946-1949 and was drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 1950 NFL Draft. It was his misfortune to play for some of the poorest teams in Packrs history from 1950 through 1956. In those years, the 6-3, 201-pound quarterback led the league twice in attempts, completions and touchdown passes and once in passing yardage.In addition, he was the first quarterback to lead his team in rushing yards which he did initially in 1951. He repeated the achievement in 1952 and 1956 while finishing second on the team two other times.All this with a yearly rushing average that nerve fell below 4.5 yards pr-carry. In 1951, Coach Gene Ronzani installed an early version of the shotgun formation against the Bears to take advantage both of Rote’s throwing and running skills. He ran for 150 yards in the second Bars game that far, but also fumbled twice inside the Bears’ 15 yard line as the Packers lost. Of course, to fit in on a team that never finished better than 6-6, he led the league in fumbles twice as well.While his greatest triumphs occurred with better teams in large cities, Tobin Rote’s most athletic yard were spent in Green Bay where he set the original standard for the running quarterback that continues to evolve today."
Here are Tobin Rote’s career statistics:
The following are the players who have worn #18 for the Packers the past 50 years: