Came across some good trivia in the book The Last Headbangers, which appropriately enough, features Jack Lambert making a rather savage tackle on the cover.
- Who is the only player in NFL history (as of the book’s writing) to have his jersey number retired even though he never played a single game in the league?
- What record setting running back was being discussed in this quote: “Trying to arm-tackle _____ was like grabbing a truck.” Clue: In 1972, when a record 10 backs rushed for 1,000+ yards, this man led the way with 1,251.
- What bruising fullback was the only man to be penalized for unnecessary roughness while running with the football when he knocked out a tackler with a forearm to his chin. Clue: The book said that his U-shaped nose guard on his helmet made his resemble a rodeo bull. The book also said this runner “played football like a bully.” One year this Stow, Ohio, native who was born on Christmas Day in 1946, ran for 1,117 yards while a fellow runner hit 1,000 exactly.
GREAT QUOTE: In 1973, Steelers coach Chuck Noll was convinced his team was ready to prove they were the best in the business. When a writer asked him if the Steelers grueling schedule made him have doubts? Was he worried? “No. We have an easy schedule,” he replied, “We don’t have to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Answers: 1. Ernie Davis. This Syracuse star was the #1 draft pick in ’62 (Washington). They traded him to the Browns where he and fellow Syracuse runner Jim Brown would have formed a dream backfield. However, stricken with leukemia, he became weak and died a year later having never appeared in an NFL contest. 2. O.J. Simpson. Now, I have no respect for the man, but I included this item to fill you in on another thing the book said about him. It quoted a defender as saying, “It took two or three guys to bring him down. Then he bounces up and gives you this crazy-eye stare, like, ‘Who the [expletive] are you, tackling me?’ We called it the death stare.” That “death stare” part and the maniacal eyes part sure conjured up image of Simpson as an alleged killer. 3. Larry Csonka. The other Miami runner was Mercury Morris and his story of how he hit 1,000 on the nose is another story for another day.