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Weekend Trivia: Two All-Pro Safeties

The last three seasons, Seattle’s Earl Thomas has been named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, among others.  In each of the last two years, his teammate at the safety position, Kam Chancellor, was a second-team honoree from the AP. Last year, Thomas was a runaway selection, while Chancellor was just two votes shy of being a first-team choice (which made up for the joke that was the AP second-team All-Pro safety situation from ’13).

Over the course of football history, there have been several organizations that have awarded All-Pro teams.  Principal among those have been the Associated Press, the Sporting News, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly.  Can you name the last time that any one of those organizations named two safeties from the same team as first-team All-Pros?

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As you might imagine, there aren’t too many other times since 1950 that this has happened, so let’s run through the other cases. From 1972 to 1974, Miami’s Jake Scott and Dick Anderson were two of the game’s best safeties.  In ’72 and ’74, both were first-team All-Pros, but no organization selected them both.  But in ’73, Anderson was a unanimous first-team selection, while both the AP and the Pro Football Writers selected Scott to their first teams.

The ’63 Bears defense is legendary, but Doug Atkins, Joe Fortunato, and Bill George weren’t the only stars.  Safeties Richie Petitbon and Rosey Taylor were both selected by the Associated Press as the game’s top safeties that season. It probably didn’t hurt that Taylor tied for the league lead with 9 interceptions, while Petitbon had eight picks.

The AFL Broncos were not very good, but safeties Goose Gonsoulin and Bob Zeman were named the AFL’s two All-Pro safeties in 1962. 

And finally, in 1956, Detroit’s Jack Christiansen was a unanimous first-team All-Pro choice, while teammate Yale Lary was selected by both the AP and the Sporting News as a first-team All-Pro.  And in ’57, both the NEA and the UPI selected both Lions as their top safeties in the NFL.

  • Kibbles

    I have to admit, this Broncos fan had never heard of Bob Zeman. On the other hand, I totally nailed the Christiansen/Lary pairing!