Tag Archives: early TV

A brief glimpse of the NFL in 1960

Every once in a while some old NFL footage pops up on YouTube. Today’s discovery: the first few minutes of CBS’s broadcast of a 1960 game between the Colts and 49ers at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. It’s mostly pregame chatter between Niners’ broadcast team, Bob Fouts and Gordy Soltau, the latter a former receiver and kicker for the team. Perhaps you’ve heard of their sons — Dan, the Hall of Fame quarterback, and Mark, who writes for and edits Tiger Woods’ website (and used to work for Golf Digest).

Anyway, maybe the best thing about the clip is the way the Colts offense is introduced. Check it out:

Classic, huh? They line up at their positions, one by one, then run a play before heading to the sideline. Four of the guys who trotted out, of course, are in Canton: receiver Raymond Berry (82), tackle Jim Parker (77), quarterback Johnny Unitas (19) and running back Lenny Moore (24). It was quite the offense.

By all means watch the whole video if you’re interested. I just pulled out the intros because they were so amusingly retro. Something else in the clip also is pretty funny. At the top of the show, Soltau refers to the 49ers’ 26-14 win the week before over the Dallas “Texans.” Uh, Gordy, that’s the Dallas Cowboys. You can excuse him, though, because (a.) it was the Cowboys’ first year in the league; and (b.) he’d actually played against a team called the Dallas Texans in 1952 — twice. (In fact, he caught a touchdown pass in both games.)

The Texans folded after just one season, and many of their players — such as Hall of Fame defensive linemen Gino Marchetti and Art Donovan — moved on to Baltimore, which was given a franchise in ’53. Three years later Unitas arrived, and the rest is history.

Here’s Gordy’s flub:

Little-known fact: This game was the Beginning of the End for the ’50s Colts. After winning titles in ’58 and ’59, they got off to a 6-2 start in ’60 and looked like they might make it three in a row, which would have tied the NFL record. But the Niners forced six turnovers and upset them 30-22 — the start of a four-game Baltimore skid that knocked Johnny U. and Co. out of the running. The team that ended up winning the Western Conference that year? The Packers in Vince Lombardi’s second season.

The Dallas Texans/Cowboys, meanwhile, finished 0-11-1. Their situation would eventually improve, though.