Note: The following entry was the first blog entry to be published on the Viking Underground on October 6, 2004.
This past Sunday (September 26, 2004) Bill Brown was inducted into the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor. It brought back a memory from an earlier meeting with Brown. On February 12th, 1995 I was invited to sit in on the Minnesota Viking Marketing and Sales task force. The meeting was held in the board room at Winter Park. As we sat down in purple chairs around a football-shaped table, a gentleman sporting a crew cut entered the room and immediately started joking with each individual as if he had known them all his life.
Bill Brown was a starting running back for the Minnesota Vikings from 1962-74. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1964, 1965, 1967 (started), and 1968. Among the all-time Viking leaders he ranks second in rushing yards (5,757), ninth in receiving yards (3,177), second in rushing-receiving yards (8,934), third in scoring (76 touchdowns and 456 points), and second in combined yardage (9,237). He led the Vikings in rushing in 1964-1966 and 1968, and in receiving in 1964.
Among individual Viking records Bill is third in career points (456), first in most seasons leading team in touchdowns (5), first in career touchdowns (76), and third in most touchdowns in one season (16). Playing the Rams on November 19, 1972, Bill hauled in a pass from future Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and scampered 76 yards for the score. But the best record of all for "Boom-Boom" Brown are his stories from those exciting Viking years. And he told a few good ones at the meeting.
During the early years training camp was held in Bemidji, Minnesota. The coach at that time was Norm Van Brocklin and it seems Norm had a nasty way of cutting players during camp. According to "Boom-Boom" Norm had one system for this. He would cut players anywhere, anytime. Van Brocklins' favorite spot seemed to be the team bus as the team would return to Bemidji after a pre-season game. "That was especially hard on not only the player but the other players as well sitting next to him.", said Brown, "And it was a very long way from Minneapolis back to Bemidji anyway, not to mention if you happened to get cut as we boarded the bus."
Van Brocklin was also famous for his "two-beer" rule during training camp. Each player was only allowed two beers a day while at camp, unless, as Brown stated, you happened to be drinking Van Brocklins' favorite...whiskey.
As "Boom-Boom" was finishing his whiskey story, Bud Grant knocked on the open door and Bill excused himself from the meeting. The two went next door to Bud's office and the meeting became very serious once again. But at least we all had big grins on our faces courtesy of a player from a time when football was still a game, and meetings about marketing were not needed.