National Conference 27

American Conference 7

 

January 10, 1953

 

By Dave Lewis

Executive Sports Editor

Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram

 

LOS ANGELES COLISEUM- Pinpoint passing by the Rams' great "whip," Norm Van Brocklin; sensational receiving by the fabulous Elroy (Crazy Legs) Hirsch, Hugh McElhenny of the 49ers and Green Bay's Bill Howton; the tremendous defensive play by both the line and secondary, and finally the unerring kicking toe of Detroit's Pat Harder gave the National Conference All-Stars a 27-7 victory over the American All-Stars in the NFL's annual Pro Bowl classic here Saturday before 34,208 fans.

 

The American All-Stars from the six clubs in the Eastern half of the NFL were never in the game after the West's National All-Stars rocketed into a 14-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of play and were never seriously threatened.

 

It wasn't until late in the third quarter after the Nationals had moved out to a commanding 17-0 advantage that the Americans finally cracked the score ice ...although three times in the first half coach Paul Brown's crew had shots at the National goal but were hurled back by the unyielding defensive alignment designed by coach Buddy Parker.

 

Although there were bits of spectacular action all through the contest, the game actually was on the dull and listless side in the overall picture.

 

The summer weather- the mercury soared to 90 degrees on the field- combined with the soft footing caused by recent rains had much to do with the slow action during most of the game.

 

Scoring heroes were Van Brocklin, who pitched two touchdown passes; McElhenny, who grabbed two aerials for TD's; Howton, who made an unbelievable catch of one of Van Brocklin's throws to complete a 74-yard scoring strike, and Harder, the veteran Detroit Lion star who accounted for nine points with two field goals and three conversions.

 

The Americans were presented with the first scoring opportunity on the third play of the game when Len Ford recovered Bobby Layne's fumble .... but three plays lost three yards, and Lou Groza finally "attempted" a field goal from the 43 that was just about 18 inches too short.

 

Moments later the National closed in for their first score when Leo Nomellini of the 49ers recovered Otto Graham's fumble on the American 25.

 

Five plays later, Deacon Dan Towler of the Rams started out on a wide sweep around right end, then suddenly stopped and pitched a "blooper" pass to Hugh McElhenny on the goal line, for the TD at 8:26 of the initial stanza. The first of three conversions by Harder made it 7-0.

 

The Nationals lengthened their lead to 14-0 two minutes later on a spectacular 74-yard aerial strike from Van Brocklin to the Green Bay Packers' great end from Rice Institute, Howton.

 

Backed up on their own 26 following Horace Gillom's tremendous kick that netted 54 yards....the Nationals needed only one play to get the touchdown.

 

It was the first play of the game for Van Brocklin and he caught the Americans by surprise. Behind exceptional protection, Van Brocklin coolly waited for Howton to get in position on the "swing pass," then, at the very last second before two American linemen came crashing through his cordon of blockers, the Ram "whip" unleashed a tremendous aerial that sailed 52 yards in the air to Howton, who made a magnificent fingertip catch of the ball a step behind the New York Giants' great defensive back, Emlen Tunnel. Tunnel made a desperate lunging tackle to bring down Howton, but was left sprawling on the turf clutching thin air as the Green Bay end outjockeyed him in the dash for the goal line.

 

The Americans came roaring back after the kickoff and stormed their way 71 yards to the Nationals' 10 on the strength of a 44-yard pass from Graham to his Cleveland teammate, Gillom, on the 11, but an offside penalty and a fumble by Ollie Matson that resulted in a 15-yard loss slowed the advance and a four-down pass from the 15 into the end zone was knocked down.

 

Again midway in the second quarter the Americans were in scoring position after Tunnel recovered McElhenny's fumble on the National 17, but big Tank Younger of the Rams ended the threat by intercepting Graham's pass in the end zone.

 

The Nationals marched 42 yards to the American 14 at 11:15 of the third period to set the stage for the first of Hardens two field goals- a 23-yarder.

 

The American took the kickoff and moved 82 yards in 15 tries for their lone tally scored by Graham on a "sneak" from the 1-yard line at 4:45 of the final period. Groza added the extra point.

 

With Bobby Layne firing passes to Cloyce Box, Towler and Hirsch, the Nationals came right back with a 64-yard surge to the American 13 in 12 plays to get in position for a 21-yard field goal by Harder, which made the score 20-7.

 

There were only three minutes left to play when the Chicago Bears' Gene Schroeder intercepted Graham's desperation pass on the American 35 and returned 20 yards to the 15.

 

Van Brocklin hit McElhenny in the end zone from seven yards out for the final touchdown with only 1:55 left on the clock.

 

The Bears' Gene Schroeder intercepts pass in front of Hugh Taylor.

 

1952 1954

 

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