LA Rams: Norm Van Brocklin still holds the passing record
By Larry Brake
Norm Van Brocklin is another LA Rams player to hold a single-game NFL record
Historically, the LA Rams have always fielded talented teams. The franchise has benefitted from a string of very good head coaches to put Rams players in position to excel. Norm Van Brocklin is a great example.
The Rams selected Van Brocklin in the fourth-round of the 1949 NFL Draft. He played for the Rams from 1949 through 1957. After that, he spent the next three seasons in Philadelphia where he quarterbacked the Eagles.
As a Rams quarterback, he completed 1011 passes for 16,114 yards with 118 touchdowns. Van Brocklin was purely a throwing quarterback, as most were during the time of his play. As such, he ranks fourth on the Rams all-time passing yards list.
Football from the 1950’s era has the reputation of being the in-the-dirt, grind-it-out type of football. While everybody was running to daylight, the Rams were throwing the ball. Van Brocklin had a historical day on September 28, 1951.
The Rams were hosting the New York Yank on that crazy day. The Yanks played three NFL seasons, 1949-51. Actually, they played as the Boston Bulldogs in 1949 and moved to New York for the 1950 season.
In that game, the LA Rams jumped out to a huge lead, 34-0. Van Brocklin threw three touchdowns passes of 41, 67, and 47 yards respectively. Elroy Hirsch caught the 41 and 47-yard TD passes. Vitamin Smith caught the longest first-half touchdown pass.
The Rams scored 20 more second-half points. Hirsch caught two more touchdown passes from Van Brocklin of 26 yards and one yard. Thanks to their unstoppable aerial assault, the Rams easily won the game 54-14.
On that day, Van Brocklin completed 27 of 41 passes for 554 yards with 5 touchdowns. He threw two interceptions but it really hurt his yardage total instead of the team. His yardage total may never be duplicated.
Van Brocklin holds the NFL record for passing yards in a single game with 554 yards. His performance on that day has withstood the test of time. Matt Schaub and Warren Moon are second with a single game passing yard totals of 527 yards.
Van Brocklin is a member of the NFL Hal of Fame. He coached 13 seasons after his playing days ended, and he was named to the head coach position of the Minnesota Vikings inaugural season in 1961. His record may never be matched or broken even though the NFL throws the ball much more now.