Breaking Records and Conventions
By Anthony Cotton
Although he already was a record-setting quarterback in 1964, Christian Adolph Jurgensen III didn't become the legendary Sonny Jurgensen until he joined the Washington Redskins that year in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Over the next 11 seasons, Jurgensen would break both records and conventions and leave behind a host of memories.
One was as a pinpoint passer who completed 1,831 throws for 22,585 yards and 179 touchdowns. He found receivers with footballs thrown from assorted angles overhead, sidearm or even behind his back.
"He could change speeds on the ball like a baseball pitcher even throw a screwball," said former teammate Sam Huff. "He was just so wonderful to watch some quarterbacks could throw a great short pass, some were good with the long ball, but very few could do both Sonny could."
Each pass was delivered from a body that one teammate said was better suited for the pro bowlers tour than for the NFL.
"My problem was I didn't have a good enough tailor I picked my uniforms out off the rack," Jurgensen said. "Vince Lombardi was the only coach I had who didn't mention my weight; every other one did. They'd ask me how much I weighed, and if I said 215, they'd say they wanted me to play at 210. If I said I weighed 210, they'd say they wanted me to play at 205. I never understood why it was so important to look good in your uniform you don't throw the ball with your stomach, you throw it with your arm."
When weight-lifting started to become the rage, the only use Jurgensen had for the training room was as an impromptu lunch counter, leaving mustard stains on the bars for teammates to clean up before they could pump their iron.