Monday, March 26, 2007
The John Hadl Trade
Packers’ Coach Dan Devine's trade for Los Angeles Rams quarterback John Hadl after the sixth game of the 1974 season is one of the most infamous in Packers history. Devine gave up five draft picks — a first, second and third in '75 and first and third in '76 — for the 34-year-old veteran. Hadl would play just 1-1/2 seasons for the Packers, throwing 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions for a 54.0 quarterback rating in 1974 and 6 touchdowns and 21 interceptions for a 52.8 rating in 1975. Devine resigned at the end of the '74 season.
Here is the original article from the Milwaukee Journal:
Packers trade for Hadl
By MIKE KUPPER
October 23, 1974
MILWAUKEE — Coach Dan Devine of the Green Bay Packers, as displeased as most fans with the Packers' lack of punch on offense, overhauled the team's quarterback corps Tuesday.
After announcing that veteran Jack Concannon, Jerry Tagge's backup, would start Sunday against the Lions in Detroit, Devine then obtained veteran John Hadl from the Los Angeles Rams for five draft choices and waived the Packers' other quarterback, Dean Carlson.
Hadl, 34, and in his 13th season of pro ball, was expensive. To get him, the Packers gave up first-, second- and third-round choices in the next draft, and a first and second choice in 1976.
Said Devine, however, "We still have everything for the 1975 draft but our first and third choices, and that includes two second-round picks. The Rams originally wanted players, and we got it down to the draft choices. We have a lot of people on injured reserve who, when healthy, will give us an overcomplement of players, so replacing those draft choices is not going to be any problem if and when we want to do it."
Devine said that the Packers had been considering a quarterback deal for more than a week before Monday night's 10-9 defeat at Chicago against the Bears.
"We had a lot of discussions," he said. "We were thinking about Archie Manning of the Saints, too. But John became available and we needed to do something at this point."
The deadline for trades in the National Football League was 3 p.m., Wisconsin time.
Devine said that Hadl was the only quarterback actually sought by the Packers, although three other NFL quaterbacks, Craig Morton, Norm Snead and Joe Reed were traded Tuesday.
Ironically, it was a poor showing against the Packers in Milwaukee Oct. 13 that led to Hadl's availability. He was the Rams' starter for that game, but he was replaced by James Harris after completing only 6 of 16 passes for 59 yards and throwing two interceptions.
The Packers went on to win the game, 17-6, and Harris was promoted to starting quarterback. In his first start Sunday, Harris completed 12 of 15 passes, three for touchdowns, and the Rams beat the San Fransisco 49ers, 37-14.
Just Monday, Ram's owner Carroll Rosenbloom had called Hadl a great quarterback, saying, "We expect John to be with us for a long time."
The trade caught Hadl by surprise, he said Wednesday morning. "I knew they had some irons in the fire, but I thought it would be for next year," he said. "But I'm ready to play for Green Bay. I just hope I can work out a deal with the Packers and get up there right away. I want to play, but only if the numbers are right."
Hadl would not elaborate on that statement, but apparently means that he wants to work out a new contract with the Packers, or renegotiate the one he was under with the Rams.
Hadl, from the University of Kansas, has spent his entire pro career on the West Coast, first with the San Diego Chargers, then with the Rams. He also has a business there.
When Hadl played against the Packers here, there were rumors that he had a sore arm. "We checked them all out and we have assurances that he's sound," Devine said. "I heard the rumors too." Both Hadl and Coach Chuck Knox of the Rams said after the game against the Packers that there was nothing wrong with Hadl's throwing arm, although Hadl admitted to having been in a slump.
He said again Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with his arm. "My arm is good," he said. "I heard that other stuff, too, but it's just a lot of stuff the Rams put out and that's BS. Chuck Knox knows my arm's okay. Ask him and he'll tell you."
Last season, his first with the Rams, Hadl led the team to the National Conference title and was chosen the most valuable player in the National Conference. He ranked third in NFC passing with 135 completions in 258 attempts for 2,008 yards and 22 touchdowns. Eleven of his throws were intercepted.
Even if Hadl would report to Green Bay this week, Concannon will be the starter Sunday for the Packers. He was impressive for the Packers when Tagge was injured during the exhibition season, although he has not played in any of the Packers' six league games. Tagge has been the starter for Green Bay since the sixth game of the 1973 season.
Devine said, however, that the Packers' problems on offense could not all be traced to Tagge.
"I in no way want to make Jerry Tagge the scapegoat," he said. "But we feel a change is indicated. The decision is based in part on the fact that we feel Jack deserves a chance because he moved the offense well during the preseason. Jerry's attitude has been great and I still have strong convictions that he will be a strong NFL quarterback.
"I know Jerry is disappointed, but I think the best thing for him now is a little break in the action. He's been throwing a lot and I think his arm has lost a little zing, a little life. He's taking the films of the six games we played this year home to study and look at the technical aspects of what he's been doing. He's going to study those very, very carefully.
"And this isn't necessarily permanent. He's just one play away from being back in there Sunday. There are other things, too, besides his passing, holding up our offense. The quarterback always gets too much blame when things are going bad and too much credit when they're going good. It's the nature of the position."
Another Packer problem has been the lack of a strong running attack this season, and a strong running game has been a Packer trademark. Adding to the problems in that area, MacArthur Lane has been suffering back spasms, missed much of Monday night's game because of them, and has been list as doubtful for Sunday's game.
Asked if that might mean that Barty Smith, the big running back from Richmond, might make his debut Sunday, Devine said he was not sure.
Smith, the Packers first round draft choice last spring, was injured in June during the Coaches' All-American All-Star game and has not been activated by the Packers, although he has been practicing in recent weeks.