Quarterback Tobin Rote led
Rice University to two Southwest Conference titles in the
late 1940s. As a professional, he is a player who “fell between
the cracks”. The American Football League Hall of Fame ordinarily honors
players whose greatest contribution to professional football was in the AFL.
Some were in the AFL before they had more extensive post-merger careers that
resulted in their induction to the “pro football” hall of fame.
These players have been included in the AFL Hall of Fame. Rote,
however, played ten years in the older league, then three years in the
Football League, then three years in the AFL before his
It's not my usual
policy to present players’ NFL accomplishments, but I feel this is a
After making enough of an impression on the Packers to be in their team’s
hall of fame, Tobin Rote went on to the Lions, where he led the team to an
NFL championship in 1957, the last time they would win one. He played
there until 1959, then from 1960 through 1962 was with the CFL’s Toronto
Argonauts, where he lifted a 4-10 team to within one game of the Grey Cup,
and in 1960 had six 300+ yard games, three 5-td games, a game with 38
completions, and a league record 38 tds in the season.
In 1963, he joined the
San Diego Chargers of the AFL, and threw for 2,510 yards on 170 completions
out of 286 attempts, for 17 touchdowns and rushed for two scores. In the
American Football League Championship game, he scored a rushing touchdown
and passed for three more as he led the San Diego Chargers to a 51-10 defeat
of the Boston Patriots. He was selected by the Associated Press as the
American Football League Most Valuable Player.
Rote accumulated 15,144
yards passing in the NFL, 9,872 in the CFL, and 3,706 in the AFL for a total
of 28,722: more than Daryle Lamonica, Jack Kemp, Bob Griese or Joe
Namath, and just 5 yards short of Len Dawson. He had 115 td throws in
the NFL, 66 in the CFL, and 33 in the AFL
for a total of 214: more than Flores, Kemp, Lamonica, Namath,
Parilli, or Griese. He was the only
quarterback ever to lead his team to championships in both the NFL and the
If the “pro football”
hall of fame were truly representative of ALL of professional
football, Tobin Rote would be in it. It has demurred, so in
spite of his serving only three years in the AFL, we accept him as our own
and install him in the American Football League Hall of Fame.
In 2011, Rote was inducted to the
Texas Sports Hall of