Wednesday, April 29, 2020

More Bob Holly

When TigerBlog wrote about Bob Holly as part of the look back at the 1981 Princeton-Yale football game yesterday, he should have mentioned that the former Princeton quarterback won a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins after the 1982 season.

Holly was drafted by the Redskins and served as the backup to Joe Theisman that season. If you remember the 1982 NFL season, that was the year that a player strike resulted in a shortened nine-game schedule and then a 16-team playoff tournament in which teams in each conference were seeded 1-8 regardless of divisions.

The Redskins had the NFL's Most Valuable Player that year. Do you remember who it was?

Washington defeated Miami 27-17 in the Super Bowl in a game famous for one play - a 43-yard touchdown run by John Riggins on a the fourth-and-1 in the fourth-quarter with the Redskins down 17-13 at the time.

Riggins - who happened to be the all-time favorite athlete of MotherBlog, who was a huge Redskins fan - was the MVP of the Super Bowl, but not the regular season. Theisman wasn't either.

Washington that year featured an offensive line known as the Hogs and a group of wide receivers who became the Fun Bunch. None of those guys was the MVP either.

Give up?

It was Mark Moseley, the placekicker. Moseley, who made 20 of 21 field goals that season, is famous for a few things.

First, he was the second placekicker to win the MVP award, and the first, Lou Groza in 1954, was also an offensive tackle. Picture that, if you will.

Groza, by the way, stood 6-3 and weighed 250 pounds. By today's standards that's tiny for an offensive tackle but big for a placekicker. Princeton's placekicker last year was Tavish Rice, who was 6-2 and 215, and he's big for a kicker.

As for Holly, his pro career consisted of two seasons with the Redskins and then time with the Eagles and Falcons. His NFL career stats saw him complete 25 of 40 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for 49 yards on seven carries. Of those 49 yards, he picked up 20 on one touchdown run in 1985 for the Falcons against San Francisco.

Atlanta lost that game 38-17. Holly's TD run made it 31-17 in the fourth quarter before San Francisco clinched on a touchdown pass from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, one of the greatest QB-WR combos of all time.

TigerBlog couldn't find any video online of Holly's TD run, but if you click HERE and go to the 27:30 mark, you can see three Bob Holly completions against the Dallas Cowboys from Oct. 27, 1985.

The announcers for that game, by the way, were Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw. And look how big the shoulder pads were back then; TB has noticed that on all these old highlight's he's seen lately.

Holly threw for 2,622 yards in 1981, which at the time was the Princeton single season record. That record, by the way, lasted one year, until Brent Woods broke Holly's record with 2,668 passing yards.

Woods would hold that record for exactly one more year, until Doug Butler threw for 3,175 in 1983. Butler's record stood for much longer, until Chad Kanoff set the record 3,474 in 2017.

The 1980s were a time of big passing numbers at Princeton. In fact, of the top 13 single-season passing performances in program history, seven of them happened in the 1980s.

Four others, by the way, have happened since Bob Surace has been head coach, including the 2,569 that Kevin Davidson threw for in 2019, a figure that ranks fifth.

The 1981 Tigers started out 0-1-1 with losses to Dartmouth and Delaware (in a year Delaware would reach the national championship game). From there, Princeton would lose two more non-league games, one in which the Tigers would get shut out (34-0 at Army) and put up 44 (a 55-44 loss to Maine in Week 8).

As for the Ivy League, Princeton didn't lose again, but did tie Harvard 17-17. The dramatic win over Yale was the Bulldogs' only loss of the year, but the tie against Harvard (the Crimson missed a potential game-winning field goal on the final play) left Princeton a half-game away from a share of the Ivy League title at 5-1-1, behind Yale and Dartmouth at 6-1.

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