John Turney: Why we should never forget Packers' great Willie Wood

photo courtesy of USA Today

Clark Judge

There are dozens of former Green Bay Packers that we remember, and safety Willie Wood should be one of them. Not only was he part of the great Packers’ teams of the 1960s; he was a seven-time All-Pro, an all-decade choice and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And now he is gone. Willie Wood died Monday at 83.

A former college quarterback (he played at USC), Wood was undrafted by the pros after leaving school. But he was so determined to play that he wrote teams, hoping for a tryout. Fortunately for the Packers, coach Vince Lombardi gave him that chance and moved him to defensive back, a position he also played at USC.

The rest you should know.

If you don’t, please keep reading NFL historian John Turney’s piece that appeared in Pro Football Journal below:

Comments (2)
brian wolf
brian wolf

As a big fan of both of these sites, I hope in the future the voters of the various committees on the PFHOF can read the various suggestions and improvements from these sites including Pro Football Journal and help make the research and voting more fair and transparent concerning deserving candidates.

At this time last year in an article by the writers of Pro Football Journal, including John Turney, TJ Troup, Nick Webster, Jeffrey Miller and others, they did critiques and reevaluations of the various All-Decade teams, voted previously by the various, HOF voters, some spanning decades.

Since this Centennial Class of 2020 was obviously influenced by these various All-Decade selections, with as many as six of the seven first-team selections making the semifinals amongst seniors, including other All-Decade choices, for the overall class, its makes sense that these All-Decade choices should be reevaluated and recategorized for better, more logical
future consideration for deserving players and historical documentation, that's official.

Last year, and other years, Pro Football Journal has reevaluated these selections and even created the Mid Decade Team selections, that many players over the course of their careers fall under.

Why hasn't the Pro Football Hall Of Fame taken their lead and reevaluated these All Decades teams as well ?

What's wrong with having OFFICIAL All Decade and Mid Decade Teams ?

I am not advocating deletion or accepting of more or less players to these teams but reevaluation and recategorization of these teams, that makes better sense.

Chuck Howley of Dallas had many All Pro designations during the sixties but gets left off the 60s All Decade team, while Tommy Nobis of Atlanta, who played only three full seasons in the 60s, gets put on this team ?

Like Pro Football Journal suggested, just take Nobis off the 60s team and put him on a recategorized 1965 - 75 team, which makes more sense.
Does that mean put Howley on the 60s team or 65-75 team ?
That's for the voters to decide during REEVALUATION of these teams, but it would be more just, especially in his quest to finally make the Hall.

If a player played at least six years of a decade, fine. Even five years is good, if the player was great/dominate. Four years or less, should not make an All Decade Team, with reevaluation or categorzation needed ...

Reevaluating The All Decades Teams

1920s All Decade Team Players

Lavvie Dilweg ... played only four years/seasons in the decade. Should be recategorized on the Mid Decade Team from 25-35

Cal Hubbard ... played only three years ... 25-35 team

Hunk Anderson ... played only four years

Walt Kiesling ... played only four years ... 25-35 team

Mike Michalske ... played only four years ... 25-35 team

Red Grange ... played only four years ... 25-35 team
Yes, I know he was great and essential, but Tony Latone was better for the decade, running for more yardage and TDs in fewer games ...

Ernie Nevers ... played only four years

Vern Lewellen ... could also qualify for 25-35 team

The 1930s All-Decade Team

Don Hutson could also qualify for the 35 - 45 team

Wayne Millner ... played only four years

Gaynell Tinsley ... played only TWO years, are you kidding me ?

Frank Cope ... played only two years ... 35-45 team

Joe Stydahar ... played only four years ... 35-45 team

Dan Fortmann ... though dominant, played only four years ... 35-45 team

Russ Letlow ... played only four years

George Svendsen ... played only three years

Cecil Isbell ... Best example of a player who needs reevaluation ... played only TWO years ... and five overrall, despite HOF semifinals

Alphonse Leemans ... played only four years

Vern Lewellen ... could also qualify for 30s team ?

1940s All Decade Team including the AAFC

Dante Lavelli ... though dominant, played only four years ... 45-55 team

Mac Speedie ... though dominant, played only four years ... 45-55 team

Bill Willis ... though dominant, played only four years ... 45-55 team

Marion Motley ... though dominant, played only four years ... 45-55 team

Pete Pihos ... played only three years ... 45-55 team

Ed Sprinkle ... could also be considered for 45-55 team

Al Blozis ... played only three years

George Conner ... played only two years ... 45-55 or 50s team

Bill Edwards ... played only four years

Garrard Ramsey ... played only four years

Charlie Trippi ... played only three years ... 45-55 team

Byron "Whizzer" White ... played only two years, are you kidding ?

Pat Harder ... played only four years ... 45-55 team

Frankie Albert ... could also qualify for 45-55 team ?

1950s All Decade Team

Raymond Berry ... tough choice with four good out of five years ... could also qualify for 55-65 team

Jim Parker ... only played three years ... 55-65 team

Lenny Moore ... though dominant, played only four years ... 55-65 team

Joe Fortunato ... also qualifies for 55-65 team

Bill George ... also qualifies for 55-65 team

Sam Huff ... played only four years ... 55-65 team

Larry Morris ... Also qualifies for 55-65 team

Gene Brito ... could also qualify for 50s team ?

1960s All Decade Team with AFL SEPARATE

Tommy Nobis ... played only three full years ... 65-75

Lem Barney ... played only three years ... 65-75 team

Chuck Howley ... could also qualify for 60s or 65-75 team

1970s All Decade Team

Earl Campbell ... played only two years ... 75-85 team

Dick Butkus ... played only four years ... 60s or 65-75 team

Larry Wilson ... played only three years ... 60s team

Cliff Branch ... could have qualified for 70s or 75-85 team ?

1980s All Decade Team

Gary Zimmerman ... played only four seasons ... 85-95 team

Ted Hendricks ... played only four seasons ... 70s or 75-85 team

Jack Lambert ... played only four quality years ... 75-85 team

Mel Blount ... played only four years ... 70s or 75-85 team

1990s All Decade Team

Ronnie Lott ... played only four good seasons out of five ... 80s and 85-95 team

From the 90s till now, the HOF voters have done a much better job of picking the All Decade teams, but by officially allowing Mid Decade teams as well, more reevaluations and qualifications could allow more deserving candidates to have a better chance at making the Hall Of Fame.

Please Voters, reconsider these teams for the players, their families and for the fans, journalists, and readers who follow their careers and these sites.

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