Tommy O'Connell

American football player (1930–2014)

American football player
Tommy O'Connell
refer to caption
O'Connell on a 1953 Bowman football card
Personal information
Born:(1930-09-26)September 26, 1930
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died:March 20, 2014(2014-03-20) (aged 83)
near Delray Beach, Florida, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
College:Illinois
Position:Quarterback
NFL draft:1952 / Round: 18 / Pick: 212
Career history
As a player:
  • Chicago Bears (1953)
  • Cleveland Browns (1956–1957)
  • Buffalo Bills (1960–1961)
As a coach:
  • Drake (1959)
Career NFL statistics
TD–INT:21–34
Passing yards:3,261
Passer rating:57.5
Passing attempts:423
Passing completions:204
Completion percentage:48.2%
Player stats at PFR

Thomas B. O'Connell (September 26, 1930 – March 20, 2014) was an American collegiate and professional football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for three seasons. He played in 1953 for the Chicago Bears and in 1956 and 1957 for the Cleveland Browns. O'Connell also played in two American Football League (AFL) seasons, 1960 and 1961, for the Buffalo Bills. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Class of 1953, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity.

He started for the Cleveland Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship Game while coming off a severely sprained ankle and a hairline fracture of the fibula.[1] He retired from football after the 1957 season to go into coaching, but was lured back to the playing field when the American Football League started play in 1960. He is the father of former professional ice hockey player and general manager Mike O'Connell. He died March 20, 2014, aged 83.[2]

Professional career

O'Connell played backup duty in his rookie year of 1953, having 67 total passes that year in relief. He returned in 1956 to play with the Browns, and he went 3-2 as a starter while throwing four touchdowns to eight interceptions with 551 yards. He emerged as the Browns quarterback in 1956 after injuries to quarterbacks George Ratterman and Babe Parilli. In 1957, he was selected to the Pro Bowl and won seven of the nine games he started, leading the Browns to the Eastern Conference title. His performance that year was stellar. In nine games as the starter, he won seven of them while throwing nine touchdowns to eight interceptions while passing for 1,229 yards. He retired after the year only to return to football in 1960. He played for the Buffalo Bills in 1960 and 1961 and started seven combined games (winning just once), throwing seven touchdowns to fourteen interceptions before retiring again.

Coaching career

O'Connell was the 18th head football coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and he held that position for the 1959 season.[3] His coaching record at Drake was 2–7.[4] O'Connell died in 2014.[5]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Drake Bulldogs (NCAA College Division independent) (1959)
1959 Drake 2–7
Drake: 2–7
Total: 2–7

See also

References

  1. ^ Chuck Heaton, Lions Crush Browns, 59-14, Cleveland Plain Dealer December 29, 1957, Plain Dealer Browns' History Database Accessed November 29, 2007, http://www.cleveland.com/brownshistory/plaindealer/index.ssf?/browns/more/history/19571229BROWNS.html Archived October 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "THOMAS B. O'CONNELL Obituary (1930 - 2014) Boston Globe". Legacy.com.
  3. ^ O'Connell Quits at Drake
  4. ^ Drake Coaching Records Archived July 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Thomas B. "Tommy" O'CONNELL Obituary (2014) the Palm Beach Post". Legacy.com.

External links

  • Tommy O'Connell at IMDb
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Illinois Fighting Illini starting quarterbacks
  • S. Williams (1890)
  • Fred Muhl (1903)
  • Clark (1914–15)
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  • Sid Nichols (1917)
  • Fletcher (1918–20)
  • Sternaman (1921)
  • Beynon (1932–34)
  • Moss (1946–47)
  • O'Connell (1951–52)
  • Taliaferro (1962–63)
  • Wells (1970–72)
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  • Steger (1975–77)
  • McCray (1977)
  • Weiss (1978–79)
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Cleveland Browns starting quarterbacks
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Buffalo Bills starting quarterbacks
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Drake Bulldogs head football coaches
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Chicago Bears 1952 NFL draft selections