One of the stars of the game immortalized as “The Epic in Miami,” Kellen Winslow is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Tight End in pro football history.
Winslow came out of the University of Missouri to join the Chargers in 1979. The first round pick fit in perfectly with Head Coach Don Coryelll’s passing offense, nicknamed “Air Coryell,” for a style that was adapted from Cornell’s mentor, former Chargers coach Sid Gillman, who is credited with the modern passing game.
Winslow, along with many of the great tight ends of the 70’s and 80’s, redefined the position. The tight end position was one of a blocker, but Winslow’s speed and great hands changed the position to one of blocking some, but catching passes more. Charger's head coach Don Coryell said, "If I asked Kellen to block a defensive end and not catch passes, I'm not a very good coach.”
Kellen Winslow. Thanks to BMarksPhoto at flickr.com for the picture.
Winslow played in five Pro Bowls, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. He added a place in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. In his nine NFL seasons, Winslow caught 541 passes for 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns. He was a consensus All-Pro in 1980, 1981, and 1982. He is also a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and in1999, he was ranked 73rd in the Sporting News poll of the 100 Greatest NFL players.
The playoff game against the Miami Dolphins has been called one of the greatest in NFL history, and Winslow’s performance one of the greatest single player efforts in NFL history. In the game, Winslow caught a playoff record 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, while also blocking a field goal with seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. What made Winslow's performance all the more memorable was that fact during the game he was treated for a pinched nerve in his shoulder, dehydration, severe cramps, and received three stitches in his lower lip. After the game, a picture of Winslow being helped off the field by his teammates became an enduring image in NFL Lore.
Winslow’s son, Kellen Jr., wore his father's number 80, when he played for the Cleveland Browns, to celebrate his father’s accomplishments.
Kellen Winslow Jr & Braylon Edwards. Thanks to Locobone at flickr.com for the picture.
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