What If? Gale Sayers 1965 season



This is my second post for the What If? Fantasy Football edition. This is where I look back at a season long before fantasy football became prominent among us in our society. Today, we look back at the rookie season of 1965 for Pro Football Hall of Fame legend Gale Sayers. I'm using the default scoring systems for Sporting News and Yahoo! to calculate the point totals.

Here's the point scale for SN(default configuration):
60 points for every touchdown
2 points for every rushing, receiving, and punt return yard gained
1 point for every kickoff return yard gained
2 points for every reception
1 point for every passing yard
-10 points for every kickoff return attempt
-45 points for lost fumble and interception
-2 points for incomplete pass

Here's the point scale for Yahoo!(default configuration):
6 points for every rushing, receiving, and return touchdown
4 points for passing touchdown
1 point for every 10 rushing and receiving yards
1 point for every 25 passing yards
2 points for every two-point conversion
-1 point for every interception
-2 points for every fumble
No points are given for receptions or return yardage in the default configuration.

Here are the stats for Sayers in 1965 and fantasy points for the SN game:
Rushing yards: 867 = 1734 points
Rushing touchdowns: 14 = 840
Receptions: 29 = 58 points
Receiving yards: 507 = 1014 points
Receiving touchdowns: 6 = 360 points
Punt return yards: 238 = 476 points
Punt return touchdowns: 1 = 60 points
Kickoff return attempts: 21 = -210 points
Kickoff return yards: 660 = 660 points
Kickoff return touchdowns: 1 = 60 points
Fumbles Lost: 5 = -225 points
*Incomplete pass attempts: 1 = -2 points
*Passing yards: 53 = 53 points
*Passing touchdowns: 1 = 60 points
*Interceptions: 1 = -45 points
Total points w/o passing stats: 4827 points
Total points w/passing stats: 4893
Total points per game w/o passing stats: 344.79
Total points per game w/passing stats: 349.50
Note: Teams only played 14 games in 1965.

Here are the stats for Sayers in 1965 and fantasy points for the Yahoo! game:
Rushing yards: 867 = 86 points
Rushing touchdowns: 14 = 84 points
Receiving yards: 507 = 50 points
Receiving touchdowns: 6 = 36 points
Punt return touchdowns: 1 = 6 points
Kickoff return touchdowns: 1 = 6 points
Fumbles Lost: 5 = -10 points
*Passing yards: 53 = 2 points
*Passing touchdowns: 1 = 4 points
*Interceptions: 1 = -1 point
Total points w/o passing stats: 258 points
Total points w/passing stats: 263 points
Total points per game w/o passing stats: 18.43
Total points per game w/passing stats: 18.78

*-Some don't consider passing stats at any position other than quarterback. But for the sake of it, I've figured the stats up with and without passing stats.

According to many historians, Sayers had the best rookie season of anyone in NFL history. He had a couple of great games that would have had fantasy owners drooling. The first coming on October 17 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings where he scored four touchdowns as the Bears won 45-37. But every single fantasy owner would have wanted him on a particular rainy and muddy day on December 12, 1965 against the San Francisco 49ers at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Have a look at these numbers for the SN game:

SN point total for game against San Francisco on 12/12/65:
Rushing yards: 113 = 226 points
Rushing touchdowns: 4 = 240 points
Receptions: 2 = 4 points
Receiving yards: 89 = 178 points
Receiving touchdowns: 1 = 60 points
**Punt return yards: 85-yard TD = 170 points
Punt return touchdowns: 1 = 60 points
Total combined yardage: 336
If the unconfirmed difference of yardage are all punt return yards: 49 = 98 points
Total points w/o the unaccounted for 49 yards: 938 points
Total points w/unconfirmed yardage counted as punt return yards: 1036
**-Unconfirmed(can't locate complete return yardage on-line) on the exact punt return yardage, and the total combined yardage could include kickoff returns which wouldn't count for as many points. Still, he had more than 938 points on that afternoon if SN had fantasy football in those days! I think he had a 1,000 point day, but I can't confirm it and anyone would have just taken the points without it anyway! Even Adrian Peterson's single-game rushing record day last year against the Chargers was 812 total SN points, which is great though! I'm not sure you could find anyone that tops a single-game SN fantasy points total than Sayers' game against the 49ers in 1965!

Sayers still holds the record for total touchdowns in a season by a rookie with 22. His career was cut short because of injuries, but he still led the NFL in all-purpose yards three times during his time in the league. 'The Kansas Comet' was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 for his outstanding play despite a short career.

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3 comments:

Lester's Legends said...

Simply amazing. Some pretty impressive numbers to say the least. It's a shame about his career. Terrell Davis had a similar ending.

David Funk said...

Yeah, that 49er game was just insane enough! Terrell Davis and him are much alike, but Sayers could do it all on the field. Davis was the better power back though.

Lester's Legends said...

agree