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Elroy Hirsch

Wide-open Offense

Rule changes helped open up pro football during this period and helped creative offensives such as the Rams's prosper. In 1950, the NFL restored unlimited free substitution, opening the way for two-platoon football and specialization. Hirsch changed his position from running back to wide receiver that year. The Rams, gaining in popularity in Los Angeles and perceived as one of the NFL's glamour teams, became the first NFL team to televise all its games, home and away.

Los Angeles competed in four NFL championship games within a seven-year span while Hirsch played, three against the Cleveland Browns. Ironically, the Rams's franchise originated in Cleveland (they are now in St. Louis). In 1951, with Hirsch averaging 22.7 yards during the regular season, the Rams atoned for a last-second 30-28 defeat in the previous year's NFL championship game in Cleveland by defeating the Browns 24-17 in Los Angeles. This was the first NFL game to be televised nationwide, and was the only championship in Los Angeles for the Rams, who had defeated the Chicago Bears 24-14 in a special Western Conference playoff game.

The Rams, who fell to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 1949 title game, also lost to the Browns in 1955. Hirsch retired in 1957, having hauled in 343 receptions over his nine NFL seasons. A movie, Crazylegs, was based on his life and career. Hirsch also starred in the 1955 movie Unchained, with Chester Morris and Todd Duncan, based on a true story about life on a Chino, California prison farm.

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Famous Sports StarsFootballElroy Hirsch Biography - Wolverine And Badger, Launches Pro Career, Wide-open Offense, Gm, Athletic Director