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1960: Hirsch and Waterfield take over the Rams

The 1960 season marked the Rams’ 15th season in Los Angeles (23rd in the NFL), but there was little to celebrate. The team struggled for the second consecutive season, despite improving on the horrific 2-10 record it posted in 1959.

The personnel changed a bit due to the sudden death of NFL commissioner Bert Bell. The league elected Rams general manager Pete Rozelle to replace him, which meant the team needed to put together a new front office. The Rams hired future Hall of Famers Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch as the new general manager and named Bob Waterfield as the new head coach.

Waterfield’s Rams didn’t start off well. The Rams lost four straight games before finally earning a tie against the Bears (24-24). However, the tide turned in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions. Both teams put up big numbers offensively, but it was the Rams’ defense that performed on a higher level that day. The Rams forced eight turnovers, five of which were interceptions. Two of the five interceptions were returned for touchdowns, including DE Lamar Lundy’s 25-yard return. DB Charley Britt, LB Bob Long, DB Clendon Thomas and LB Les Richter had the other interceptions.

The defense had an impact, but failed to prevent the Lions from scoring. Detroit scored 21 points in the second quarter, but the Rams retaliated with 24 points of their own. In the end, TE Red Phillips led the charge with five receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 48-35 victory. Unfortunately, Los Angeles lost the return match in Detroit 12-10 two weeks later.

The Rams played against the new expansion team, Dallas Cowboys, in Week 7. The Cowboys entered the game as the worst team in the NFL, and the Rams took advantage of it. Los Angeles used a multi-dimensional offensive attack, including WR Red Phillips and FB Joe Marconi. Phillips racked-up 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions, while Marconi rushed for 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 38-13 win.

The Rams picked up two more victories against the Packers in Green Bay (33-31) and the Baltimore Colts in Los Angeles (10-3). In the end, the team’s late season efforts weren’t enough to salvage the season. The Rams finished sixth in the NFL West Division with 4-7-1 record.

There were no Rams on the All-Pro team, but the roster did feature some Pro Bowlers. HB/KR Jon Arnett, WR Red Phillips, DB Eddie Meador and LB Les Richter all represented the Rams in the league’s all-star game.

Phillips scored eight touchdowns and ranked fifth in the league with 885 receiving yards. Richter finished third in the NFL in fumble recoveries (4) and had two interceptions.

Season Notes

– The Rams drafted LSU TE Billy Cannon in the first round (first overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft.

– The Rams also had two steals of the draft featuring WR Carroll Dale from Virginia Tech in the eighth round (86th overall) and FB Curtis McClinton from the University of Kansas in the 10th round (11oth overall). Unfortunately, the Rams let them go before they hit the prime of their careers.

– DB Charley Britt had five interceptions and one fumble recovery in his rookie season.

1960 Los Angeles Rams
Week Date Opponent Score Record
1 Friday, Sept. 23 St. Louis Cardinals L, 21-43 0-1
2 Sunday, Oct. 2 @San Francisco 49ers L, 9-13 0-2
3 Sunday, Oct. 9 @Chicago Bears L, 27-34 0-3
4 Sunday, Oct. 16 @Baltimore Colts L, 17-31 0-4
5 Sunday, Oct. 23 Chicago Bears T, 24-24 0-4-1
6 Sunday, Oct. 30 Detroit Lions W, 48-35 1-4-1
7 Sunday, Nov. 6 @Dallas Cowboys W, 38-13 2-4-1
8 Sunday, Nov. 13 @Detroit Lions L, 10-12 2-5-1
9 Sunday, Nov. 20 @Green Bay Packers W, 33-31 3-5-1
10 Sunday, Dec. 4 San Francisco 49ers L, 7-23 3-6-1
11 Sunday, Dec. 11 Baltimore Colts W, 10-3 4-6-1
12 Saturday, Dec. 17 Green Bay Packers L, 21-35 4-7-1

You can follow Johnny Gomez on Twitter @Johnny5not6. Be sure to follow Rams Talk on Twitter @TalkRams.

Sources: Profootballreference.comStlouisrams.com

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