Don Hutson “The Alabama Antelope”
Don Huston was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Hudson was born to Roy B Hutson and Mable Hudson. While Hutson did play football at Pine Bluff High School, his favorite sport was basketball as he was an All-State basketball player in his senior year of high school and even said: “I’d rather see football, but I’d rather play basketball.”
After high school, Hutson joined the University of Alabama. While at Alabama, Hutson was one of the best receivers in college football history. Hutson earned numerous awards as was an All-American. Hutson had great moments while in college, most notably against Stanford in the 1935 Rose Bowl where Hutson had six receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
While Hutson was a great player at Alabama, the NFL was not in the plans for Don. Being that the farthest south team in the NFL at the time was the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL was not that popular in the south. While the NFL was not in Hutsons sights, the NFL had their eyes on Hutson. The Green Bay Packers and the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Hutson, but both contracts arrived at the NFL offices at the same time. NFL President Joseph Carr decided that since the Green Bay contract had an early signing date, Hutson would go to Green Bay.
Hutson did not do much in his first game, but in his 2nd game, he made a huge impact. On the first play from scrimmage against the Chicago Bears, Hutson would catch an 83-yard touchdown pass. That touchdown pass that Hutson caught was the only score of the game for either team, which led to the Packers winning the game 7-0.
In Hutsons 2nd season in the NFL, he had one to remember. Hutson finished the 1936 season with 34 receptions for 536 yards, both of which broke the NFL record. While Hutson’s 1936 record-breaking season was great, he wasn’t done there.
Hutson had his receiving yards record broken by Gaynell Tinsely in 1937, but in 1939 Hutson would take his record back as he put up 846 receiving yards. In 1940 Hutson broke the career touchdown record, and would hold on to the record for 49 years until Steve Largent broke it. in the 1941 season, Hutson became the first player to receive 50 catches in a season.
Hutson broke plenty of records while in the NFL, but he also managed to rack up a few awards to his name as well. In the 1941 season where Hutson caught 50 receptions, he was also named the MVP of the league as he received six first-place votes. While Hutson had multiple great seasons, the 1942 season may have been Hutsons best. In 1942, he had 74 receptions, 1,211 yards, and 17 touchdowns, all those great numbers would land Hutson his 2nd MVP of his career.
Don Hutson the innovator
What made Hutson great and what separated him from his competition was the fact that Hutson practically invented the modern receiver position. Due to Hutson’s thinner size and his great agility, Hutson quite literally invented multiple routes, most notably the modern-day slant route, the “chair route” (also known as an out-and-up), and the post route.
The Alabama Antelope
While Hutson was on the thinner side of things, one thing he did have on his side was his speed and agility. While at the University of Alabama, many players and coaches talked about how fast and agile he was, with Georgia Tech coach Bill Alexander saying “All Don Hutson can do is beat you with clever hands and the most baffling change of pace I’ve ever seen”.
3-Time NFL Champion
4-Time NFL All-Star
8-Time First-Team All-Pro
8-Time NFL Receptions leader
7-Time NFL Receiving Yards leader
9-Time NFL Receiving Touchdowns leader
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
Number 14 retired by the Green Bay Packers