The Bootleg's "Stanford
Football All-70s Team": Tight
Sometimes an already ambitious project can blow up into something bigger than originally planned. We started compiling a list of candidates for a series of "Stanford Football All-Decade Teams" last summer and since that time have had conversations and correspondence with countless former players in order to get critical feedback, anecdotes and suggestions from multiple sources. Last fall, we published the "All-70s Team" choices at "Quarterback" and "Fullback", released the "Running Backs" earlier are now rolling out our next position: Tight End . In making the choices for The Bootleg's "Stanford Football All-Decade Teams", we have tried to take into consideration a player's individual contribution in a specific decade, which for this particular purpose we have defined as years '0 through ‘9 (e.g. 1970 through 1979) Some outstanding players straddle more than one decade and unfortunately that may have worked against them in a few instances.
The selection criteria are by necessity subjective, but they include a variety of factors such as minutes-played, letters-won, statistical production, records set, prime-time performances, national and all-conference honors, contributions to team success, demonstrated leadership skills, respect commanded from fellow teammates and various other factors. Avoidance of injury was clearly a factor. As Coach Ralston used to say "You can't make the club, sittin' in the tub!". That may not always be fair, but it is what it is. There are a lot of "should-have-been" stories, some of them disappointing, some sad, some truly tragic. Some players inevitably benefit from a bit of grade inflation from the success of their teams and teammates, and we feel that some players who played on less-successful squads nevertheless deserve credit and consideration. We know there are many talented student-athletes who have played their hearts out for Stanford University. We apologize in advance if we offend any deserving former player or former player's family members, teammates, friends, or concubines. This series is designed to stimulate discussion, encourage debate, and surface forgotten anecdotes for the enjoyment of our readers.
The year shown in parentheses are to remind our readers of a player's primary years as a player, not necessarily the exact years they were technically on a team, while redshirting or waiting for playing time.
The overall "All-Decade" series is still very much a work in progress, but I think it makes sense to start rolling these out. Let's continue with the "Tight End" position, which is one of the tougher positions to evaluate in the 1970s, since a tight end's worth is not necessarily tied to catches and yardage.
The "All-70s" Tight Ends:
First Team: Bob Moore (1970)
Second Team: Bill Scott (1970-72)
Honorable Mention: Ted Pappas (1974-75) , Brad Williams (1972-74)
First Team: Bob Moore (1970)
Robert R. Moore was, still is, and always will be, a flat-out winner. A third-team AP All-American as a junior in '69, Moore kicked it up a notch in his final season on the Farm. He was one of the primary weapons for his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and close pal Jim Plunkett during the 1970 season, a tight end so ridiculously fast and fluid that he ran more like a wide receiver. He is perhaps best-remembered for his famous "Mad Dog" catch against the Buckeyes, a breathtakingly clutch play made right in front of Buckeye All-American Mike Sensibaugh. What some forget is that Moore also caught a beautiful 18-yard touchdown pass from Plunkett earlier in that same Rose Bowl, but it was brought back for a ticky-tack illegal procedure penalty. From 1968-70, Moore teamed with Plunkett to form one of the finest "pitch & catch" tandems in school history, since rivaled perhaps only by quarterback John Paye's mutually-beneficial partnership with 1985 First-Team All-Pac-10 tight end Greg Baty, who tallied a remarkable 61 receptions during that '85 season, still a record for Stanford tight ends. [Disclosure: Baty and Paye were fraternity brothers of "Emeritus" so he feels duty-bound to bring this up!]
In looking back at some of the better
single-season performances by Stanford tight ends, most averaged about 13 yards
per catch, but during that sensational senior season in ‘70, the 6'3" 221-pound
Moore kicked it up a notch with 562 yards on 34 catches, averaging a phenomenal
16.5 yards per catch and ranking as the team's second-leading receiver behind
only Randy "The Rabbit"
Vataha. To put that in perspective, please note that the
Cardinal's fleet-footed downfield threat Coby Fleener averaged 15.5
yards per catch in 2010 and wide receiver Chris Owusu averaged 15.8
yards per catch! The ball was really spread around in 1970, with Plunkett using
all of his outstanding available options including Randy Vataha, Jackie
Shockley, and Eric
Cross, but Bob was often the guy "Plunk" looked to for the big
play, whether it was a 50-yard TD in a 24-14 win over SC or his crunch-time
performance in the '71 Rose Bowl.
"Our" Bob Moore gained some additional All-American recognition and was named First-Team All-Pacific 8 Conference in 1970 (he was also a first-team selection in '69), but should not be confused under any circumstances with Oregon's "Bobby" Moore , the Pacific 8's leading scorer, second-leading rusher, and fourth-ranked receiver in 1970, who would famously change his name to "Ahmad Rashad" and enjoyed not only enjoy a fine career as a wide receiver in the NFL, but a broadcasting career of some note as well.
A fifth-round pick by Oakland in the 1971 NFL Draft, Moore went on to play professional football with the Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, later serving as Vice President of the National Football League Players' Association. He managed to squeeze in a JD from the Stanford Law School and today, Bob is a renowned litigation attorney in San Francisco, a partner with Allen Matkins. He also serves on the board of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, working together with his old friend, Executive Director Gary Cavalli, who back in 1974 successfully followed the legendary Bob Murphy as Stanford' Sports Information Director.
Second Team: Bill Scott (1970-72)
We had to give this one a lot of thought and it might be seen as somewhat controversial. Ted Pappas, a big, strong, talented player, had one outstanding season, making First-Team All-Pacific 8 Conference in 1975, William D. "Bill" Scott nevertheless comes down with our second-team spot. Much like his quarterback Don Bunce had to bide his time waiting for Jim Plunkett to graduate, Scott had to wait for his chance after playing behind an outstanding veteran in Bob Moore. But, also like Bunce, #84 came through with a superb season in '71 (adding five catches for 55 yards in the 1972 Rose Bowl win over Michigan) and produced another 372 yards on 27 catches during in his final season in 1972, putting him tops among Pacific 8 tight ends that year.
At 6'3" and a lean 200, the native ofStockton, Calif. had terrific hands – arguably the best on the team at the time and, like his predecessor Moore, could get open pretty much at will, helping his quarterback Mike Boryla lead the conference in passing and total offense in '72. Bill was a "tough guy" too. He had to come out of the 1972 USC game with a broken right thumb, which had to be put in a cast. He wore the cast on campus all week, but then had it removed and was right back and ready for action against Washington the next week, catching three passes for 28 yards in a 24-0 win for the Cardinal!
Honorable Mention: Ted Pappas (1974-75) , Brad Williams (1972-74)
Theodore A. "Ted" Pappas, the 6'4" 220-pound former hurdler from Medford, Oregon where he had been a high school teammate of Stanford wide receiver Billy Singler, split time in 1974, alternating with similar-sized senior Brad Williams , who had come to Stanford as a junior college All-American transfer from Fullerton, Calif. Head Coach Jack Christianson stated publicly that Pappas, a history major who was the first to wear #86 for Stanford after fellow Oregonian Bob Moore, had "the best hands on the team", which was saying something considering that wide receivers Singler (first-team all-conference in 1973) and Tony Hill (first-team all-conference in 1975-76), as well as Eric Test, and Bill Kellar were on Stanford's '74 roster. Pappas was selected to represent the Cardinal in the 1975 Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic and the 1976 Hula Bowl.
To be clear here, we would be pretty darn satisfied having Brad Williamsor speedy 6'1" TE/WR hybrid and aero/astro engineering major Glen Stone among our All-70s tight ends as well. Williams is probably the one player who should be on our "All-70s" squad for a single play alone! Who can forget BW's extraordinary, super-human effort to bull through Herman Edwards and several other desperate Cal players, dragging the lot of them to the sideline in order to get out of bounds with just two seconds left in the '74 Big Game. That memorably clutch 25-yard reception from "back-up" (wait, "back-up"? - are kidding me?) quarterback Guy Benjamin set up Mike Langford's game-winning 50-yard field goal that gave the Cardinal a thrilling 22-20 walk-off victory over the "Evil Empire of the East Bay". You know you made a helluva great play when your rival's head coach actually praises you in the immediate aftermath of a stinging last-second defeat. "That was a great effort by Williams", said White, "He made a fine catch and then a super effort to get out of bounds. It was a good heads-up play." Uh, you would not have heard sportsmanship like that from a John McKay.
To this day, Bradley B. Williams remains one of those "larger-than-life" personalities that transcends generations and was so dynamic and influential that the Stanford coaches frequently relied upon him for years after he graduated to help recruit prospective players. If you ever run into Brad, the next round should be on you, thanking Williams for one of the truly legendary efforts in the 119-year history of the Big Game rivalry. Amazingly, that high bar of heroism was challenged, at least in my own opinion, less than a year later by the extraordinary effort by true freshman Larry Reynolds in the '75 USC game. Reynolds, a future star outfielder on the Stanford baseball team, made a last-ditch, touchdown-saving, shoe-string ankle-tackle of Trojan All-American Ricky Bell at the Stanford nine yard-line (Bell stumbled forward to the Stanford four), a stunning individual play that ultimately proved the difference in the Cardinal's last-second 13-10 upset of Troy at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Hey, no big deal, right? Wrong. It would be 16 years before Stanford would beat USC again.
Back to Williams... not only was #88 a pretty darn good football player, he was by most counts an even better teammate and vocal leader. The popular, party-loving president of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity (and future prominent Bohemian) would entertain his fellow Cardinal with an outstanding impression of actor George C. Scott, memorizing the entire opening speech from Patton and getting more laughs by channeling Marlon Brando in The Godfather, complete with cotton balls stuffed in his cheeks. He was known to liven up long, boring bus rides by spontaneously singing Beatles tunes and raucous old rugby songs to loosen up the Cardinal troops. In summary, Brad Williams makes our "All-70s Team", and not just for football!
Right, OK, so once again, this time at Tight End (a position rumored to be the personal favorite of BootBoard stalwart "Cardinalmaniac"), some excruciatingly difficult decisions had to be made. Fortunately, even with multiple friendships seriously at stake, The Bootleg was once again up to the toughest of tasks!
Special Request: Please discuss these selections all you like - we encourage it! Are we spot-on or talking out our Andy Geigers? Just do us a favor and refrain from engaging in "pre-debate" of our remaining "All-Decade" choices before we publish each position in sequence. We considered releasing the entire "All-70s" team in one fell swoop, but decided it would be more fun and perhaps a bit less overwhelming to do it by individual position. At one point during fall ball last year, a well-intentioned Bootie started polling people on this very subject, but we were already deep into the monster project and didn't want to spoil things.
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