THE "MORRALL" IS EARL
By Jimmy Miller, Sun-Telegraph Writer
If you check with Webster you'll find the definition of the word moral pertains to or concerns right conduct. That's a fitting description of the Steelers' bright, young quarterback - Earl Morrall - whose name is a rhythmical twin of the adjective.
For he certainly has the right conduct on a football field. And off it, too, we hasten to add.
But it is anent* his conduct on the field that is of prime interest to the Steeler patrons, who are as expert in their evaluation of a player's ability as most experts.
And what the fans have seen of Morrall in the two games he has pitched for the Steelers, we don't doubt that they rate him Grade A.
It's rare, indeed, when a fellow with just a year's pro experience as a sub in his pocket can walk into an entirely new -system and take command as Morrall has. And it's doubly unusual when the position he walks into is quarterback.
Most any of the old heads around the National Football League readily will tell you that it takes several seasons of constant play and study for a quarterback to develop to a point where he can assume control and lead his club.
Well, Morrall has cut the time in half the hard way. True, he was with the San Francisco 49ers all of last season, but he only played about four games while Y. A. Little, the man with a "yardarm", was hurt.
In those games, Morrall tossed 78 passes and completed 38 for 621 yards and a long touchdown. It was a 48.7 average. He had six intercepted but they were run back for only 36 yards.
Earl also had to do a lot of sitting out at Michigan State, too. He didn't play much in his
sophomore year and missed his entire junior season due to a case of glandular fever.
But in his senior year he broke out in brilliance, leading the Spartans into the Rose Bowl
on Jan. 1, 1956 and personally seeing to it that his team walked off with the Roses.
While at Michigan State, he flipped only 68 passes. Forty-two were direct hits for five touchdowns and an aggregate of 941 yards. He did the punting and also excelled there, collecting an average of 42.9 yards per boot.
It was in his last year at school that Morrall attracted Coach Buddy Parker's attention. Buddy, then at Detroit and tied for last place in the Western Division with the 49ers, decided to make Morrall his No. 1 pick in the draft.
But fortunes were against Parker. He lost first grab in a flip of a coin with 'Frisco, who promptly plucked Morrall. However, when Parker moved into the Steeler job in August, he immediately began to calibrate means and ways of getting his man from the 49ers.
'Frisco demanded linebacker Mary Matuszak, a solid gent, and the Steelers' No. 1 draft picks for 1958 and '59 in return for Morrall. The pound of flesh was turned over and Morrall became the Earl of Pittsburgh.
In two games with the Steelers, Morrall has played all but 15 seconds and his efforts have been slightly on the terrific side. He has completed 32 out of 57 passes for 504 yards and five touchdowns.
His throwing crushed the Washington Redskins, 28-7, in the opening league game and he threw two TD aerials while the Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns 23-12. Four of his payoff heaves have been to Jug Girard. The other one went to Ray Matthews.
Parker has great faith in Morrall predicting the youngster will be one of the great passers in the league once the Steelers offense get aligned. And thus far Morrall is making his coach our a seer.
And like all tales, this one has a “Morrall,” and his name is Earl.
* (Ed’s note - even I had to look this word up. Means “about.”)
Article and image taken from the November 10th official programme.
Editor's note: Steelers had a 6-6 season and also lost this game 0-24.
Full results on Pro-Football Reference.com.