Eddie Hinton
refer to caption
Eddie Hinton, 1970
No. 33, 87, 22
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1947-06-26) June 26, 1947 (age 76)
Lawton, Oklahoma, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Lawton (OK)
College:Oklahoma (1966-1968)
NFL draft:1969 / Round: 1 / Pick: 25
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:111
Receiving yards:1,822
Receiving average:16.4
Receiving touchdowns:10
Rushing Yards:110
Rushing Touchdowns:2
Player stats at PFR

Edward Gerald Hinton (born June 26, 1947) is an American former professional football wide receiver who played for six seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Hinton spent four seasons with the Baltimore Colts, including their 1970 Super Bowl winning season, and one season each with the Houston Oilers and New England Patriots. He played college football at the University of Oklahoma.

Early life

Eddie Hinton was born on June 26, 1947 in Lawton, Oklahoma.[1] Hinton began playing sports in fifth grade to escape his unpleasant home life. His parents were bootleggers and he claimed his family had a poor reputation in their neighborhood.[2]

Hinton was a multi-sport athlete at Lawton High School. In his senior year, Hinton earned All-State honors as a halfback on the football team, started on the state-runner up basketball team, and won a state title in track in the low hurdles, earning him the Boomer Conference Athlete of the Year award.[3] Hinton was also selected to represent Oklahoma in the 1965 Oil Bowl high school all-star game.[4] He subsequently received a football scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.[3]

College career

Hinton played for three years at Oklahoma as a halfback and defensive back. Under offensive coordinator Barry Switzer, Hinton had a productive college career as both a pass catcher and rusher.[2]

1966 season

In Hinton's sophomore year, Oklahoma started the season with four straight wins, reaching #10 in the AP poll. The team ultimately finished at 6-4, fifth in the Big Eight Conference. Hinton appeared in all 10 games with 26 receptions for 341 yards and two touchdowns and 270 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.[5] Hinton also recorded a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown against Colorado.[6]

1967 season

In his junior season, Hinton again appeared in all 10 games and led the team in receiving with 28 receptions for 427 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Oklahoma went 10-1 and won the Big Eight Conference. The #3 ranked Sooners faced #2 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, winning 26-24.[5]

1968 season

Despite suffering a broken hand,[1] Hinton's senior year was his best statistical season at Oklahoma. Hinton led the Big Eight Conference in all major receiving categories with 60 receptions for 967 yards and six touchdowns.[5] After his senior season, Hinton was named to the 1968 AP All-America Third team and was named as an Academic All-American.[7][8]

Oklahoma went 7-4 on the season and were co-champions of the Big Eight Conference with Kansas. The Sooners earned a postseason bowl invite to play SMU in the Bluebonnet Bowl, which they lost 27-28. The team finished the 1968 season ranked #11 in the AP poll.[5]

Professional career

Hinton was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft.[9]

Baltimore Colts (1969-1972)

1969 season

In Hinton's rookie year, he saw limited playing time until the latter half of the season. His best game came in a snowy week 12 contest against the Detroit Lions where Hinton had five receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown. He finished the season with 13 receptions for 269 yards and one receiving touchdown and added another rushing touchdown.[1][9] The Colts finished the season at 8-5, placing second in the Coastal Division standings and missing the playoffs.[9]

1970 season

In 1970, Hinton became a starter at wide receiver and was a key contributor to the Colts' Super Bowl winning team. Hinton started 13 games and recorded his best statistical season in the NFL with 47 receptions for 733 yards and five touchdowns. He also added two rushing touchdowns.[9] His best game of the season came in week two during the second-ever telecast of Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts were routed 24-44, but Hinton served as the lone bright spot with 11 receptions for 190 yards and one touchdown.[10]

The Colts recovered from the blowout loss and finished the regular season at 11-2-1. The Colts won the AFC East Division and earned a place in the 1970-71 playoffs. In Hinton's first playoff appearance against the Cincinnati Bengals he had three receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown. His longest catch was a 53-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Johnny Unitas in the fourth quarter to seal the Colts' 17-0 victory.[9]

The following week, the Colts faced the Oakland Raiders in the inaugural 1970 AFC Championship Game. Hinton again performed well with five receptions for 115 yards. Although he did not score, Hinton was the Colts' leading receiver and had several long receptions to set up scoring plays.[9][11] The Colts won 27-17 and earned a spot in the Super Bowl.

In Super Bowl V, the Colts faced the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. In what later became known as the "Blunder Bowl" due to the poor level of play, the Colts defeated the Cowboys 16-13 on a last second field goal by kicker Jim O'Brien. Hinton had two receptions for 51 yards in the game.[9]

Hinton was also involved in two plays that contributed to the game's mocking nickname. In the second quarter, a Unitas pass intended for Hinton sailed high and bounced off his hands. The ball was then tipped by Cowboys defender Mel Renfro before falling into the arms of Colts tight end John Mackey who ran for a 75-yard touchdown. Hinton later caught a pass from wide receiver Sam Havrilak on a broken flea flicker play, but the ball was stripped by Renfro and Cornell Green on the Cowboys' 11-yard line. Several players attempted to control the ball before it eventually bounced through the back of the end zone for a Cowboys touchback.[12]

1971 season

In his third professional season, Hinton and fellow receiver Ray Perkins maintained the Colts' dynamic passing attack. Hinton led the Colts in receiving yards with 25 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns. His two best regular season performances for the year came against the New England Patriots. In their week three matchup, Hinton had four receptions for 81 yards with the Colts winning 23-3.[13] In week 14, Hinton scored both of the Colts' touchdowns, with a total of four receptions for 74 yards, in a 17-21 loss.[14]

The Colts finished 10-4 and earned a wild card berth to the playoffs. In a Divisional round win against the Cleveland Browns, Hinton had two catches for 30 yards. In the 1971 AFC Championship Game against the Miami Dolphins, Hinton caught six passes for 98 yards, but the Colts lost the game 0-21.[15]

1972 season

The 1972 season was a disappointment for both the Colts and Hinton. In the season's opening game, Hinton suffered a hamstring injury that lingered throughout the rest of the season. Hinton only appeared in eight games and totaled 11 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown.

Hinton's lone touchdown was an important moment in an otherwise meaningless week 12 win against the Buffalo Bills. Quarterback Marty Domres, who had taken over earlier in the season for a benched Johnny Unitas, was injured and forced out of the game. Unitas entered the game and threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Hinton in the fourth quarter, Unitas' last touchdown pass as a Baltimore Colt.[16]

Hinton later said about the play, "I saw [the ball] coming and thought, 'Oh, my gosh, it's going to be intercepted.' I couldn't allow that to happen. I came back for the ball, reached over my shoulder and snatched it. Then I reversed field and just kept running. It was like I was walking on air and nobody could touch me. But I felt like I had to score that for [Unitas]."[17]

The Colts ended the season at 5-9 and did not make the playoffs. Under new ownership, the Colts began to make coaching and player personnel changes. Hinton was a casualty of the team's new direction, and was cut by the Colts prior to the start of the 1973 season.[18]

Houston Oilers (1973)

Hinton was claimed by the Houston Oilers at the beginning of the 1973 season.[19] Houston struggled throughout the season, finishing with a 1-13 record. Hinton also struggled. Hobbled by lingering injuries, Hinton only recorded 13 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown. Hinton also returned kickoffs, with eight returns for 141 yards.[9]

Two days prior to the conclusion of the 1974 NFL Strike in August 1974, Hinton reported to Oilers training camp. However, the Oilers cut Hinton in early September prior to the start of the regular season.[20]

New England Patriots (1974)

Hinton was signed by the New England Patriots on October 17, 1974. Hinton had multiple connections that brought him to New England. Patriots' head coach Chuck Fairbanks was Hinton's head coach at Oklahoma, while Patriots' receivers coach was former Colts teammate Ray Perkins. Fairbanks hoped that Hinton could easily adjust to the Patriots' offense because of this familiarity.[21] Hinton was brought in to strengthen the Patriots receiver group after Darryl Stingley suffered a spinal cord injury in a pre-season game, which ended Stingley's career and left him as a quadriplegic.[21]

Hinton's role was limited during his season with the Patriots. He appeared in nine games, but only made one start, and recorded two receptions for 36 yards. The Patriots finished the season at 7-7. Hinton was placed on waivers by the Patriots in April 1975.[9][22]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Won the Super Bowl
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
1969 BAL 12 3 13 269 20.7 46 1 1 -3 -3.0 -3 0 0 0
1970 BAL 13 13 47 733 15.6 40 5 5 58 11.6 21 2 0 0
1971 BAL 14 11 25 436 17.4 33 2 4 56 14.0 30 0 0 0
1972 BAL 8 2 11 146 13.3 63 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0
1973 HOU 11 1 13 202 15.5 34 1 1 -2 -2.0 -2 0 1 1
1974 NE 9 1 2 36 18.0 20 0 1 1 1.0 1 0 1 0
Career 67 31 111 1,822 16.4 63 10 12 110 9.2 30 2 3 1

Postseason

Year Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
1970 BAL 3 3 10 252 25.2 53 1 1 -5 -5.0 -5 0 1 0
1971 BAL 2 2 8 128 16.0 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 5 5 18 380 21.1 53 1 1 -5 -5.0 -5 0 1 0

Personal life

After retiring from football, Hinton became a homebuilder. Hinton now lives on a farm in Spring Branch, Texas, with his wife and several animals. He previously served as a school bus driver for local school districts with the goal of helping troubled children.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b c "1970 Baltimore Colts media guide". Colts.com.
  2. ^ a b Trotter, Jake (February 12, 2011). "Collected wisdom: Eddie Hinton, former OU and Colts receiver". The Oklahoman. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  3. ^ a b Jacobs, Herb (May 20, 1965). "LHS Paces Loop All-Star Team". The Lawton Constitution. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Wood Added to Oil Bowl". Tulsa World. August 13, 1965. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b c d "Eddie Hinton". Sports Reference CFB. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  6. ^ Soldan, Ray (October 3, 1975). "Colorado Often Provides 'Scary' Afternoon". The Daily Oklahoman. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "1968 All-America". The Progress. Associated Press. December 5, 1968. p. 17. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Academic All-Americans". Sooner Sports. University of Oklahoma. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Eddie Hinton". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  10. ^ "1971 Baltimore Colts media guide". Colts.com. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  11. ^ "First AFC Championship Game". Sports History Network. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  12. ^ Maule, Tex (January 25, 1971). "Eleven Big Mistakes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  13. ^ "Baltimore Colts at New England Patriots - October 3rd, 1971". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  14. ^ "New England Patriots at Baltimore Colts - December 19th, 1971". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  15. ^ "AFC Championship - Baltimore Colts at Miami Dolphins - January 2nd, 1972". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  16. ^ Snyder, Cameron C. (December 4, 1972). "Unitas TD pass climaxes Colt win over Bills". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ a b Klingaman, Mike (October 5, 2012). "Enjoying life in the driver's seat". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "NFL Transactions". Arizona Daily Star. September 12, 1972. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Klingaman, Mark (October 31, 1973). "Hinton Is No Starter At Houston Either". The Evening Sun. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  20. ^ "NFL Teams Cut Back". Waco Tribune-Herald. September 11, 1974. Retrieved March 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ a b Whiteside, Larry (October 17, 1974). "Hinton joins Patriots' depleted receiver corps". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  22. ^ Kinsley, Bob (April 17, 1975). "Sports Log". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 19, 2024.

Further reading