Greg Hansen: Finally, Foles set to break NFL Curse of the UA QBs

2012-04-24T00:00:00Z 2012-04-26T14:41:14Z Greg Hansen: Finally, Foles set to break NFL Curse of the UA QBsGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 24, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Did you know that in 50 years of college football, three quarterbacks from William and Mary have been drafted? Even if you split it up - two for William and one for Mary - it's more than Arizona's total of the last 50 years.

Arizona's total? It rhymes with rip.

Over the last 50 years, Wichita State has had three QBs drafted - and the Shockers haven't fielded a football team since 1986. Quarterbacks from Minot State, Lehigh and Cornell have been drafted in the last half-century.

Arizona? It rhymes with done.

Since the NFL draft of December 1961, four quarterbacks from Cal-Davis and three from Morehead State have been drafted. There have been two from C.W. Post and another from Fordham.

Arizona? It is the Welsh word for zero: dim.

Across the half-century, 572 quarterbacks have been drafted., 87 from Pac-12 teams, including 18 at USC. Three Pac-12 quarterbacks who were essentially substitutes - USC's Matt Cassel, Oregon's A. J. Feeley and UCLA's Jay Schroeder - have been selected in the draft.

Arizona? Its starting quarterback of 1984-86, Alfred Jenkins, was selected by Washington in the 1987 draft - as a tight end.

Since December 1961, when the Detroit Lions selected Arizona quarterback Eddie Wilson in the second round, roughly 70 men have started at QB for Bear Down U. Only one, Bill Demory, Class of '72, ever took a snap in an NFL game.

Demory was an undrafted free agent who started two games for the 1973 Jets. He left football a year later and ultimately became a professor at Central Arizona College.

Now, after 50 years in the wilderness, the Curse of the Arizona QBs is about to be lifted. Sometime after Happy Hour Friday, in prime time, someone on the NFL Network is likely to announce that Nick Foles, quarterback from Arizona, has been selected in Round 3 of the 2012 NFL draft.

Can the Rose Bowl be far behind?

The UA threw a mighty party on Dec. 4, 1961, at the old Ramada Inn, drawing more than 800 UA fans and Gov. Paul Fannin. Earlier that day, the Detroit Lions had selected UA's Wilson in the second round, No. 24 overall.

The governor presented Wilson with the aptly-named Governor's Award as the state's top college football player, and the Towncats, the school's old booster group, gave their QB a Bulova watch and a big kiss.

Wilson, a third team Associated Press All-American and leader of the 8-1-1 Wildcats, was the most popular man in Tucson in the fall and winter of 1961.

Ed Anderson, general manager of the Detroit Lions, flew to Tucson in an attempt to sign Wilson. When Anderson arrived, he discovered that J. I. Albrecht, director of player personnel for the Montreal Alouettes was also in Tucson.

Rumors spread that the Canadian team was offering a $20,000 signing bonus, which was an outrageous sum in 1961-62 pro football.

Wilson, who had played at small-town Chandler High School and arrived at Arizona with plans to be (a) a big-league shortstop or (b) a marine biologist, had become a celebrity beyond his imagination.

In attempt to beat the NFL and the Canadian League to the punch, the Dallas Texans of the American Football League had two days earlier selected Wilson in the third round of the AFL draft, and arranged for him to fly to Dallas after the Towncats banquet.

"He's almost an ideal quarterback," Los Angeles Rams GM Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch told the Star. "He can pass with the best of them. His ball-handling is excellent and he's a very cool field general."

Wilson was convinced his path to the starting lineup would be easier with the Texans (who became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963). It was at that time the Curse of Arizona QBs took root.

Cursed? Also signing with Dallas that winter was 26-year-old free agent Len Dawson, an obscure ex-Steeler and ex-Brown who would become a Hall of Fame quarterback over the next 14 years.

Wilson bounced around. In 1965, after recovering from hepatitis, he was given the Patriots starting job but was knocked out, suffered a concussion, and soon found himself on the Miami Dolphins' bench. A knee injury ended his career in 1966.

Wilson then began a coaching odyssey, distinguishing himself at Arizona, Duke, Florida State, Wake Forest, Army, Cornell and Georgia Tech. Today, at 71, he lives on a golf course in Goodyear.

He wasn't a football star but he won at the game of life.

Soon, the clock will begin ticking again. Much like Wilson in 1962, Foles will get his shot at the NFL, and UA football will resume with a roster that has seven QBs, none of them NFL prospects.

This time it shouldn't take 50 years, until 2062, to add another quarterback to the list with Eddie Wilson and Nick Foles.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Video

More videos

La Estrella: Mariachi, Cantinflas y río Sonora

Ernesto "Neto" Portillo Jr. y Liliana López Ruelas hablan sobre música, películas y Sonora.


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

We provide safe and secure storage services at a budget friendly rate.

We provide storage space in our warehouse and distribution fac…

Iron pot stands

Visit www.qualitypottery.net for more information, sales and specials.