Quarterback Tom “Terrific” Brady of the New England Patriots tied an NFL record for passing touchdowns in a playoff game (six) a few weeks back on their way to demolishing the Denver Broncos. But only five NFL quarterbacks have had seven touchdown passes in a single regular season game, and the last time that happened was way back in 1969. Here are those quarterbacks – some great names in NFL history:
Sid Luckman, Chi. Bears vs. N.Y. Giants, Nov. 14, 1943
Adrian Burk, Philadelphia vs. Washington, Oct. 17, 1954
George Blanda, Houston vs. N.Y. Titans, Nov. 19, 1961
Y.A. Tittle, N.Y. Giants vs. Washington, Oct. 28, 1962
Joe Kapp, Minnesota vs. Baltimore, Sept. 28, 1969.
The second QB to reach the 7 mark was Adrian Burk who first played for the Baltimore Colts and then the Philadelphia Eagles. Burk was a Texan who played his college ball at Baylor University and was drafted in the first round of the 1950 NFL Draft.
Burk later graduated from Baylor University law school and became General Counsel to the Houston Oilers. He also worked as an NFL official as a back judge (now called field judge), wearing uniform number 63. He actually was a judge at the game that saw Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings tie his record for seven touchdown passes in one game in 1969 vs. the Baltimore Colts (and become QB #5 to reach that record – the last one).
I had the good fortune to meet Adrian Burk in person back in the mid 1990s. He became one of the first speakers when the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was founded and I heard him at a large men’s retreat one year. He was living in central Massachusetts at that time and I later invited him to speak to a men’s group at the church I attended. Burk was a great down to earth guy and enjoyable to engage in conversation.
There are lots of published stories and anecdotes about the early NFL players – Blanda, Y.A. Tittle, Sammy Baugh, etc. One story that Burk told me that I’ve never seen in print involved Hall of Famer “Slingin” Sammy Baugh and a game against the Chicago Bears (I think the November 1945 game). Baugh’s right guard (Joe Ungerer I believe) complained that one of the Bears’ tackles was hitting on him illegally when the officials were looking the other way. Baugh went over and spoke to one of the refs to alert him to what was happening and strongly suggested the ref watch that tackle on the next play. Then he told Joe to call the Bears’ tackle some unflattering names to get him REALLY riled up. That would draw a 15 yard penalty and keep the drive alive. Joe did what he was told and was knocked senseless on the play. On the sidelines they were bringing Joe to with smelling salts and he looked up to ask how he did. Baugh had to tell the poor guy that he was sorry but their team scored a TD on that play and so they declined the penalty!