South Dakota Was Home to One of the Greatest QB’s in NFL History
There was a day in the National Football League that if 'The Dutchman' was on the field, you had a chance of, not only winning, but seeing something spectacular happen.
Over a dozen seasons Norm Van Brocklin did 3 things: Win...dazzle...and get under people's skins.
And believe it or not, this former Los Angeles Ram and Philadelphia Eagle (and the very first head coach of the Minnesota Vikings!) got his start right here in South Dakota...and in a community that you may not have heard of.
Yep, Parade, South Dakota.
Norm was born there on March 15, 1926. But before we go any further, the question might well be 'Where is Parade, South Dakota?' Well, if you travel up into the north central part of the state, you might find yourself in Dewey County. Just to the west side of the Missouri River, where the County Seat is Timber Lake, there it is. The unincorporated community of Parade.
One of nine kids, and the son of a watchmaker, Norm and his family moved 'out west' settling in the Oakland, California area. Following an All-American career at the University of Oregon, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1949 and ended up playing on two NFL Championship teams (This was, ah...a bit before the Super Bowl).
His playing career was followed by becoming the expansion Minnesota Vikings very first head coach. That tenure was noted for a lot of things, not the least of which was Van Brocklin's rather stormy relationship with his All-Pro quarterback Fran Tarkenton (suffice to say Norm was not big on scrambling...and Fran made a living doing just that).
'The Dutchman' went on to coach the Atlanta Falcons as well. Norm was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971. In his later years, Van Brocklin suffered a number of illnesses and passed away in 1983 at the too young age of 57.
What a football career! And to think it all stared in a community called Parade.
Parade, South Dakota.
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