Norman Snead

Philadelphia Eagles


When former Philadelphia coach Joe Kuharich traded Sonny Jurgensen for Norman Snead he was asked if this wasn't a little unusual, swapping one front line quarterback for another one. In a typical Kuharich-ism, Joe replied, "No. It certainly isn't unusual, though it is a little odd." The guy who's felt odd has been Snead who went from a situation which wasn't good in Washington to one in Philly which turned out worse. Norm has had to spend most of his career surrounded by a few fine players and a lot of lukewarm bodies.

Snead, when you look at him, is in the perfect quarterback mold. He's 6-4, 215, has a very strong arm and brings the ball up high in a perfect position to release. He has a good high delivery that helps him avoid defensive rushers and has a good view of what's happening downfield.

Whether it is due to the fact that he is usually playing catch-up or to a personal characteristic of his, Snead continually tries to throw long. He is a good long ball thrower and seems to rifle rather than hang the ball deep, but it often appears he is trying to go deep when it isn't necessary. Even when his club is moving the ball fairly well, Norm is liable to wind up and throw the bomb.

"He thinks there's an easy way out," said the scouting report. "So rather than take short things and work downfield, he goes long. Therefore, he sometimes tends to overlook some of the things teams are letting him have."

Snead has fine deep receivers in Ben Hawkins and Harold Jackson. Both are fast and quick. But when he gets in trouble he seems to prefer to go to tight end Gary Ballman.

Snead is accurate if given the time to throw but he is seldom given the time to throw. He will sometimes use a roll-out or half rollout to throw the ball, but most all the time he's a classic drop-back passer. He is not a good scrambler, though with the Eagles in recent years he'd have probably been better off if he had been.

He has become erratic at times and pressure has a lot to do with this. Norm does not seem the fiery leader-type and there is some doubt whether he can motivate a team or that he has the necessary leadership qualities to quarterback a winner. But perhaps had he been with a winner, he'd now- after ten seasons in the league- formed better habits.

If the term snakebit applies to anybody, it applies to Snead. Unusual things just keep happening to him. He once suffered a broken ankle on a play in which he pitched back to his running back who, in turn, threw an interception.

Snead has also been seen to throw what appeared a perfect touchdown pass in the end zone to a wide open receiver, only to have the ball hit the goalpost. And once when he turned and went back to pass, a blitzing linebacker brushed by him just as he turned, took the ball and lit out for the Eagle goalline. It appeared a perfect handoff.

Snead reminds you of a serious actor, playing one of the Keystone Kops.