Joe Perry (2nd from left) one of the members of the 49ers 'Million Dollar Backfield' all of whom are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Was very sad to hear of the passing of former San Francisco 49ers fullback (as he was known back then) Joe Perry.
As a huge fan of NFL history and record breakers I was well aware of some of the accomplishments of Joe ‘the Jet’ Perry, including;
– the fact that he was the first running back in NFL history to have back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons (1953 and 1954)
– he was one of the members of the 49ers ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ – consisting of QB Y.A. Tittle, fullback John Henry Johnson and half back Hugh McElhenny (all of whom went on to become members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame).
Some of the more interesting facts that I was not as aware of about Perry include;
– Perry served in World War II;
– Perry retired as the leading all time NFL rusher in 1963 with 9,723 yards, having held the all time title from 1958 to 1963 (when it was broken by Jim Brown);
– Perry is one of only three running backs in the top 30 all time rushing yardage leaders
to have retired with a career average of 5 yards a carry or over (5.0). Only Barry Sanders (5.0) can match him and only Jim Brown has ever topped that (5.2 career average per carry);
– Perry is still the #27th all time rusher in NFL history even today.
As someone who wallows joyously in NFL statistics the achievements of Perry are remarkable, and the fact he wasn’t even drafted makes his feats even more unbelievable.
For a guy who was playing football for the Alameda, California Naval Training Station after the end of World War II to become the NFL’s all time rushing leader is stuff that should become a Hollywood blockbuster. With a smile as wide as Perry’s maybe give the job to someone like Chris Rock !
The logo 49ers players and staff will wear in the 2011 season to honour Joe Perry.
I am also very pleased the 49ers organisation are going to honour Perry’s achievements by having a #34 decal placed on every players helmet throughout the 2011 season (if we do indeed have one).
If you haven’t heard of Joe Perry before – make sure you check out his career stats
at the very least. This guy was a legend.
Rest in peace Joe ‘Jet’ Perry – whilst I never had the honour of seeing you play, you are and will continue to be one of my NFL idols.