Giants Memories

Another installment

Two HOF oldtimers I did see play a couple times both before and during WWII were Tuffy Leemans and Mel Hein, in my opinion and that of many others, one of the two best two way center/LBs along with Chuck Bednarik. Leemans was a FB, HB, passer, kicker who played defense as well. His induction into the armed forces was cancelled when he suffered a head injury (helmets weren't as good as those made today) in a game that left him deaf in one ear. He played one more year (and served as some sort of coach) before retiring. I'm thinking of including him on my all-time Giants team as a DB. Mel Hein played two ways for fifteen years and never missed a game. Because he could do what other centers couldn't--flawlessly snap the ball to any one of three backs, the Giants were able to use a formation unique in the league. All NFL for eight years, he was MVP in'38, the only offensive lineman to win that award. I saw him play five or six times and remember him being able to snap the ball and get out in front of a runner on a sweep, pancaking defenders as often as not. As an LB in the 5-2 defense all teams played until Bill George of the Bears became the first MLB in '54, his hits separated defenders from their cleats, and he was a demon in pass coverage. Next installment, Steve Owen and his innovations.

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