The Washington Redskins will mark their 80th anniversary Sunday by revealing their 80 greatest all-time players, and one of those honored also will have played a significant role in University of Miami making a national name for itself.
Don Bosseler, now 76, starred at UM in the mid-1950s, back when the Canes were the biggest game in town, closer to the only game in town. Back then, if you said “the Dolphins,” folks thought you must have been talking about an attraction at the newly opened Miami Seaquarium.
This was three decades before the Canes’ first national championship. This was before stars such as George Mira and Ted Hendricks came along.
You want to know how different ’50s college football was?
“I played at 200 pounds,” Bosseler, then a fullback, recalled Thursday with a chuckle, “and I think I was larger than both my guards. Sometimes, they’d be pulling and I’d have to yell, ‘Hey, not so fast!’ ”
In 1956, Bosseler became only UM’s fourth Associated Press first-team All-American, and he is the earliest Canes player now inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His last three UM teams were a combined 22-5-1. He was a part of Miami’s first national top-10 ranking in 1954, was a party to the team’s first-ever Orange Bowl sellout (against Notre Dame) in 1955, and his senior year in 1956, UM ended up ranked No. 6.
But his proudest Canes memory?
“We never lost to the Gators!” he said.
Bosseler, a first-round NFL draft pick, retired from the NFL in 1964 as Washington’s all-time leading rusher before returning to Miami and a long career as a stockbroker.
This weekend’s Redskins honor is deserved. So is the gentleman’s place in UM history.
Scatter-shooting the league:
• Dolfans who put any stock in computer projections might be delighted to know Miami enters Week 9 given a 51.1 percent chance of making the playoffs, fifth in the AFC, by the nerdniks at makenflplayoffs.com. That trails the Texans (92.4), Ravens (77.1), Patriots (69.3) and Broncos (62.1), and ranks just ahead of the sixth and last projected qualifier, the Colts (48.0). Top six NFC playoff teams are today seen as Falcons (94.9), Bears (81.1), 49ers (80.8), Giants (80.1), Vikings (52.0) and Packers (50.9).
• You want to quantify the Dolphins’ affinity for the no-huddle offense? Miami’s average scoring drive of 3 minutes 13 seconds is third-shortest in duration, fastest of any but the 3:05 of the Browns and Raiders.
• No wonder Miami’s Olivier Vernon, the ex-Cane, won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The Dolphins last week became the first team in 20 years with a blocked punt, blocked field goal and recovered onside kick in the same game.
• Aficionados of interconference play — not that there are any — should know the tide is turning. The AFC won the season war 15 consecutive years until the NFC won last season, 33 games to 31. Now the NFC leads again this year, 20-12.
• Cowboy Jason Witten last week became only the third active receiver with two games of 15 or more catches. Pretend you knew the others were Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker.
• The Trail Kings: The Chiefs entered Thursday night’s game as the first team since 1940 to not lead in regulation in any of its first seven games. (Only win was in OT.)
• Even Dan Marino’s more obscure records are falling. Drew Brees’ 16th game with at least 300 yards and four touchdowns tied Marino in that arcane category. One Marino mark built to last: Fewest games (62) to reach 150 TD passes. Aaron Rodgers just became second-fastest and it took him 76 games.
• Watch for our King Sport midseason awards in this space next Friday.