The late Vince Lombardi, during the season in which he coached the
Washington Redskins, said, "Sonny Jurgensen is a great, great
quarterback. He may be the best this league has ever seen. He is the
best I have ever seen. He is all man. He hangs in there under adverse
conditions and remains very effective."
The late Vince Lombardi had Sonny Jurgensen tagged right. Sonny may be
the best pure passer in the game. Each season he'll be near 60 per cent
in accuracy ... he has no equal for being consistently accurate. His
career has been ill-fated in that he's always been with also-rans and
have-nots. If he had played for a top club, there is no telling what he
may have done. The past tense is used because Sonny will be 37 in August
of 1971 and is well into the twilight of his career. And the Redskins
are not likely to change that much.
Somewhat like Bobby Layne in extra curricular activities, Jurgensen is
unlikely looking. He's 6-0, paunchy and looks something like an orange
with toothpicks sticking out.
Sonny has spent practically all his career playing catch up. Constantly,
he has to take his club the length of the field to score but the
Redskins have been able to score against anybody.
Until Larry Brown came along, Jurgensen had to operate with a running
game that was little more than a pop gun. Opponents knew he was going to
throw but couldn't stop him.
"He has no weakness," a defensive back said. "You just have to trap him.
If you don't he'll have the ball on target."
Jurgensen does not have a picture delivery. He seems to throw around the
horn, slightly sidearmed. But he has great accuracy and will overcome
his delivery by throwing through the lanes, between the defensive
linemen. He has the arm to throw all types of passes, short, deep, the
sidelines. And he throws both a soft and hard spiral, depending on where
he's trying to place the ball. He probably has quickest wrist action in
Sonny is short but does not scramble, unless in rare times when he is
attempting to save his life. He does not set up particularly fast, yet
he is seldom trapped ... always seeming to release the ball to some
receiver at the last instant.
Throws very few interceptions and dumps the ball with skill. There have
been a number of games when Sonny Jurgensen didn't throw a bad pass. His
incompletions came when he was trying to dump the ball.
Jurgensen has no trouble picking alternate receivers. He has the ability
and experience to key very quickly. He will look off (look one direction
and come back and throw another) defenders and is probably the best
passer in football at throwing the ball by linebackers in tight spots.
Jurgensen is very confident and his team has utter confidence in him ...
the reasons are obvious. When he's about to be hit, he never flinches
nor takes his eye off the receivers. In this respect he sometimes shows
One thing that is generally overlooked about Jurgensen is his toughness.
He is extremely durable and has excellent pain tolerance. Spent most of
one season pitching with painful calcium deposit in elbow of throwing
arm. Has played with fractured ribs and other injuries, so he is both
mentally and physically tough.
Jurgensen, then, is the top passer in the National Football Conference.
Along with Namath, he is the best thrower in football and he is more
consistently accurate than Namath.