Today in Patriots History
An original Patriot
An original Patriot
Happy 83rd birthday to Gerhard Schwedes
Born April 23, 1938 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Patriot HB, 1960-61; uniform #44
Pats territorial/bonus pick, 1960 AFL draft/allocation, from Syracuse
The AFL's first draft | Pro Football Hall of Fame
On November 22, 1959, not long after the American Football League was founded, the first AFL draft occurred. At the time, no front offices or coaching staffs were complete and no more than half of the eight teams even had any scouts or personnel staff.
This draft certainly was unlike the NFL draft of today in which millions of people watch on television accompanied by large stacks of draft guides. This draft was held in secret and the merits of each player were determined during the selection process.
To begin the draft, each of the eight teams received one territorial/bonus pick to help ensure every team had a regional draw to help the financial success of each franchise. These regional picks did not occur in any order. Instead, they were unanimously agreed upon by the other teams.
Following the territorial picks, a consensus was determined as to who the top eight players at each position were – due to the rules of the time, college players were generally listed by their offensive positions only. The names of each position were then put into a box and drawn for by each club. This process continued until each team had 33 selections, or three offensive units.
A second round of selections occurred two weeks later on December 2. The process was similar to the first selection meeting but consisted of only 20 rounds.
Even though it was a consensus and territorial allocation, Schwedes is considered to be the answer to the trivia question of who was the first player "drafted" in the history of the Patriots franchise.
(If you are interested in more detail on that first AFL draft, and the formation of the league prior to the first kickoff, I recommend this interesting, highly informative and very detailed account of what was happening with the eight owners back in 1959):
-->> Demystifying the Inaugural American Football League Draft
Ger Schwedes was an All-American and captain at Syracuse, playing halfback, safety and quarterback. In 1959 the Orange went undefeated and beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl to win the National Championship. Schwedes played a pivotal role in the game, throwing an 87-yard halfback option pass to RB Ernie Davis to score the game’s first touchdown on the third play of the game, and running for another TD himself in the third quarter. Schwedes finished ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
The Pats traded the German-born Schwedes to the Titans before the season began, then re-signed him in mid-season. Injuries derailed his pro career though. In seven games over two seasons with the Patriots, Schwedes rushed for 14 yards on ten carries and had one reception for 21 yards. After a stint in the Army where he rose to the rank of captain, he then moved to upstate New York, owning a small marketing company that specialized in motivational aids.
Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame | Gerhard Schwedes
His son Scott also went to Syracuse, setting school receiving records that lasted for 31 years. While the younger Schwedes was in high school he played against PatsFan @Ring 6 . Scott Schwedes was drafted in the second round by Miami; he was with the Dolphins from 1987-90 as their punt returner and backup WR.