By Joe Torosian
Brief note on this day in 1925 Leon McLaughlin was born.
After playing at Santa Monica High School, McLaughlin went to UCLA and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1947…eventually joining the team in 1951 at the age of 26.
Taken in the 21st round, the 6-2/228 McLaughlin played five seasons for the Rams, never missing a game, as their starting center. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1954.
McLaughlin was a starter on the 1951 championship team that beat the Cleveland Browns.
All this I knew, including that he wore number “50,” the same another great Ram center in the future, Ken Iman, would wear.
I looked up and saw that he served as an assistant around the NFL through 1989—including two seasons with the Rams under Tommy Prothro (1971 & 1972).
McLaughlin was also HC at San Fernando Valley State (Now Cal State Northridge/CSUN) in 1969 & 1970.
McLaughlin died on October 27, 2014, at the age of 89.
But what I didn’t know—until I started reading “The 1951 Los Angeles Rams: Profiles of the NFL’s First West Coast Champions”—was that McLaughlin was the starting center on an offensive line made up entirely of rookies.
An offensive line made up of rookies that went on to win the NFL championship that same season (1951). Unbelievable.
So while you’re remembering McLaughlin a little bit today, take your mouse, point, click on Amazon, and buy this book. As a Rams fan, you’ll be in Heaven.
The Los Angeles Rams Starting Offensive Line: 1951
LT: #76 Don Simense (St.Thomas College UDF) 6-2/220
LG: #67 Dick Daughtery (Oregon 18/217/1951) 6-1/219
C: #50 Leon McLaughlin (UCLA 21/193/1947) 6-2/228
RG: #26 Bill Lange (Dayton 30/389/1950) 6-1/239
RT: #71 Tom Dahms (San Diego St. UDF) 6-5/242
Last Note: In the book, there’s an excellent profile on Ray Richards, the line coach. As I read it, it amazed me that the Rams (Owner Dan Reeves, HC Joe Stydahar, Hamp Pool) went to war with a rookie offensive line. And beat the Cleveland Browns, the gold standard of football at that time.
It especially boggles the mind when you think that these rookies were blocking for Bob Waterfield, Norm Van Brocklin, Tank Younger, Deacon Dan Towler, Tom Fears, and Crazy Legs Hirsch (to name a few).
BTW: Buy the book.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Join his newsletter)
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b
Subscribe to Joe T. Sports on YouTube for “RamView”
On Spotify for “RamView” podcast.