July 16, 2015

Highlighted Year: Erich Barnes, 1961

Cornerback, New York Giants

Age: 26
4th season in pro football, 1st with Giants
College: Purdue
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 198

The versatile Barnes played halfback and end on offense in college as well as cornerback on defense. He was chosen by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL draft and intercepted four passes as a rookie, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Fast and intelligent, Barnes had another five interceptions in ’59 and was named to the Pro Bowl. In a three-team trade following the 1960 season, the Bears traded him to the Rams to obtain QB Bill Wade and LA in turn sent him to the Giants for CB Lindon Crow, who Barnes replaced in the starting lineup.

1961 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 7 [5, tied with four others]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Pittsburgh 9/24, at Dallas 10/15
Int. return yards – 195 [1]
Most int. return yards, game – 102 (on 2 int.) at Dallas 10/15
Int. TDs – 2 [1, tied with Jerry Norton, Dale Hackbart & Bill Stacy]
Fumble recoveries – 1

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 2        
Yards – 74
Average gain – 37.0
TDs – 1

TDs – 3
Points – 18

Postseason: 1 G (NFL Championship at Green Bay)
Interceptions – 0
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, UPI, Sporting News, NY Daily News
Pro Bowl

Giants went 10-3-1 to finish first in the NFL Eastern Conference while leading the league in interceptions (33), turnovers (54), and fewest points allowed (220). Lost NFL Championship to Green Bay Packers (37-0).

Barnes went to the Pro Bowl following each of the next three seasons and he received second-team All-NFL honors after intercepting six passes in 1962. He made up half of an outstanding cornerback tandem with Dick Lynch, but with the Giants dropping to the bottom of the standings in ’64 and looking to rebuild, Barnes was traded to Cleveland in 1965 at age 30. He spent seven seasons with the Browns and was chosen to one last Pro Bowl in 1968. Overall, over the course of 14 years, Barnes intercepted 45 passes, seven of which he returned for touchdowns. Of those totals, 18 interceptions and three TDs came with the Giants. He received at least some first-team All-NFL recognition five times and was named to six Pro Bowls, achieving that honor with all three teams for which he played.  


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970