“Slinging” Sammy Baugh, pictured here as quarterback for the Washington Redskins (now Commanders), embodied Texas toughness, tenacity, and loyalty. Born in Temple, Baugh played high school football in Sweetwater and college football at Texas Christian University in the 1930s before spending 16 years in the NFL, where his passing ability revolutionized the sport. Before Baugh, football was a rudimentary game that centered on running and blocking. Passing was almost strictly reserved for long downfield heaves. Baugh changed all that, making the forward pass a strategic weapon rather than an act of desperation. He was also a defensive back and punter. In 1943, Baugh had perhaps the greatest season of all time, leading the NFL in passing, punting, and interceptions. After retiring from the NFL, Baugh bought the 20,000-acre Double Mountain Ranch southeast of Lubbock. He was married to his wife, Edmonia, for 52 years. Baugh died in 2008 at the age of 94, but not before actor Robert Duvall used Baugh’s speech and mannerisms as the model for Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove.
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