#TBT Sports Blog: NFL Hall of Fame RB Jerome “The Bus” Bettis

The Bus Jerome BettisToday’s #TBT sports blog highlights the career of former Pittsburgh Steelers great Jerome “The Bus” Bettis.

The legendary running back deservedly got inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH in 2015.

Here’s a chapter excerpt from one of my books, NFL Favorites, into which “The Bus” motored into the #7 spot.

MIKE sports comic book NFL FavoritesWhen it comes to taking kids to school, there’s no bigger way to travel than by bus. The NFL has its own bus, and his name is Jerome Bettis.

This powerful running back got his nickname “The Bus” for transporting would-be tacklers on his back nearly every time he carried the football for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bettis was built more like a linebacker than a quick and fast ball carrier.

One of the best big backs in NFL history, Jerome Bettis ended his 13-year NFL career as a 2006 Super Bowl XL Champion with the Steelers.

In addition, the retired Bettis is now ranked as the sixth all-time rusher. He ran for 13,662 yards and scored 94 touch downs. Big number 36 also made the NFL Pro Bowl six times.

Genesis of “The Bus” Nickname

The nickname “The Bus” was first used during his college days at Notre Dame. But, the clever nickname was put on hold, or sort of parked in the garage, for several years.

Nobody remembered the name during his early NFL years with the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams called the powerful running back the “Battering Ram.”

Bettis earned the “Battering Ram” name because of a spectacular first season with the Los Angeles team in which he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

After relocating to St. Louis in 1996, the Rams surprisingly traded Bettis to the Steelers. Pittsburgh radio commentator Myron Cope quickly called Bettis “The Bus” because of his punishing running style.

Also, “The Bus” nickname fit perfectly with the colors of the Steelers black and yellow uniforms.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher named Bettis the team’s feature running back, and “The Bus” starred in Steel City both on and off the field.

The popular Bettis was voted the Steelers’ Most Valuable Player three times.

Jerome Bettis Awarded 2001 Walter Payton Award

Bettis was also awarded the coveted 2001 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the NFL’s highest honor, for his community involvement off the football field.

Now an NFL Network analyst, the always smiling Bettis is still called “The Bus” in the broadcast booth.

He’s also earned respect away from the gridiron and the studio where Bettis founded his non-profit Jerome Bettis: The Bus Stops Here Foundation.

No football fan ever questioned that Jerome Bettis’ final stop would be in Canton, OH.

There, the deserving former NFL running back known as “The Bus” was rightfully enshrined into the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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#TBT Sports Blog: Jamaican Bobsled Team

MIKE Comic 135 Jamaican BobsledToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls a Winter Olympic Games fan favorite.

It may not have been a podium favorite in Sochi, Russia four years ago, but the Jamaican Bobsled Team was always a crowd pleaser.

Led by pilot Winston Watts, the Jamaican Team returns to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia after failing to qualify in 2006 in Torino, Italy and in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

In spite of losing their luggage in route to Sochi, the Jamaicans have maintained their generally upbeat attitudes.  They received their runners (blades for sleds), helmets, sliding suits and shoes yesterday and immediately took to the Sanki Sliding Center for practice runs.

This is the sixth Olympics for the unlikely Winter Olympians from a Caribbean Island. The Watts’ led two-man team is excited about competing. And, an adoring public is thrilled to have the improbable bobsledders back at the games. The team raised more than $170,000 via crowd sourcing in order to come to Sochi to compete.

The Jamaicans’ story ranks as one of the most memorable in sports history, leaving no doubt why they are once again fan favorites.

Having Winter Olympic dreams when you hail from a tropical island takes plenty of guts. Known for its sandy beaches, reggae music, mountain grown coffee and bottled rum, Jamaica became the first tropical nation to field a team in an Olympic winter sport.

The Jamaican Bobsled Team Debuted in 1992 in Calgary

The Jamaican Bobsled Team debuted at the Calgary Games in Canada in 1988. They comprised a four person team with little practice, no international experience and some borrowed sleds.

Obvious underdogs, Devon Harris, Michael White, Dudley Stokes and Nelson Stokes of the Jamaican squad struggled in Calgary. They finished last among all competitors in the event, but captured the hearts of fans and the keen interest of the international media.

This unlikely bobsled team is the brainchild of American businessmen George Fitch and Michael Fennel. The two were inspired when watching Jamaica’s annual push cart derby in Kingston and quickly determined that push carting and bobsledding required similar skills.

Originally thought to be a joke, then explained as a brilliant marketing ploy, the Jamaican Bobsled Team continued to hone their craft and surprised many of those who doubted them.

Jamiacan Bobsled Team Inspired the Movie “Cool Runnings”

The Jamaicans qualified again, but performed poorly during the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. Unexpectedly, their heroic efforts and unlikely story caught the attention of Hollywood. Disney Studios told their incredible story in a popular 1993 movie called Cool Runnings, with the late actor John Candy starring as coach.

In 1994, an undaunted Jamaican Bobsled Team returned to the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Here, they enjoyed their greatest international success. The team, also known as the Hottest Thing on Ice, finished 14th and bested other more heavily favored teams from the United States, Russia, France and Italy.

The Jamaican Bobsled Team has since expanded. It now features two- and four-man teams as well as a two person squad comprised of women from the Jamaican Defense Force.

Although the Jamaican Bobsled Team more than likely did not medal in Sochi, their inspiring story makes them special. They are champions at heart and reflect the true spirit of the Olympic Games.

Ya Man! These Jamaicans be jammin’.

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#TBT Sports Blog: Fanny Blankers-Koen “The Flying Housewife”

Dutch Olympic Champion The Flying Housewife

Chances are pretty good that you’ve never heard of my #9 choice in this book on Olympic Favorites.

However, after reading about how she dominated international women’s track and field events a generation ago, you’ll more than likely never forget The Flying Housewife.

Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands was not your average housewife. Her 1940s fame came from flying around the track at international track and field events. This Dutch woman’s amazing success earned her the nickname, The Flying Housewife.

 

Ironically, this incredible runner missed her peak performance years in the sport of track and field. Events during World War II cancelled the 1940 and 1944 Olympics. However, at age 30, The Flying Housewife entered the 1948 Summer Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium in London. It was here that this stay-at-home mother of two defied all track and field logic and also broke through social norms of the time.

Blankers-Koen was truly a long shot in the events by the time she entered the 1948 Summer Olympics. The patriarchal press, and those who believed a mother of two should remain home with kids, frowned upon her participation in the Olympic Games.

The Flying Housewife Soared in 1948 London Olympics

Surprisingly, this Flying Housewife didn’t just compete. She soared. Blankers-Koen dominated women’s track and field during the 1948 London Games like Jessie Owens did during the men’s events in Berlin in 1936. She captured gold medals in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the 80 meter hurdles and as part of the Dutch women’s 400 meters relay team.

Blankers-Koen came out of the London games as a symbol and heroine for aspiring female athletes across the globe. Back home, she also became known as something of a national treasure. Queen Juliana of Holland knighted her into the Order of the Orange Nassau, the country’s highest honor.

The Flying Housewife’s performance at the London Games should not have come as a surprise. Before her stunning 1948 Olympic Games victories, Blankers-Koen already held six world records in the sprints, hurdles, long jump and high jump.

Fanny Blankers-Koen Named Female Athlete of Century

In 1999 the International Association of Athletic Federations named Blankers-Koen as their Female Athlete of the Century. She earned the award for her brilliant London accomplishments and her incredible overall track and field resume. Her career included 58 Dutch Championships, five European titles and twelve total world records.

Many housewives of her era dusted ordinary knick-knacks around the house. But, dusting all of the track and field medals, trophies and world record awards she won during her career likely kept this gifted and socially pioneering Flying Housewife one busy woman.

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#TBT Sports Blog: St. Louis Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf

Greatest Show on Turf St. Louis RamsToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers the former St. Louis Rams football team before the franchise relocated to Southern California.

The team entertained NFL fans with their amazing speed and ability to score quickly and often and earned a clever nickname inspired by Big Tent Entertainment of a by gone era.

More than 100 years ago P.T. Barnum, James Anthony Bailey and the Ringling Brothers built their famous traveling circus into the world’s greatest entertainment event.

Traveling about the country under a big top tent, it was coined the Greatest Show on Earth.

These circus masters could never have guessed that a century later, an NFL team from the Midwest would borrow most of their nickname.

The St. Louis Rams did just that and so much more.

St. Louis Rams Cleverly Named The Greatest Show on Turf

Playing their games on Astroturf under a modern day big top known as the Edward R. Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO, the Rams’ fast and entertaining style of play on the football field gave new meaning to the original traveling circus nickname Greatest Show on Earth.

The electrifying Rams were honored yesterday in St. Louis. Head Coach Dick Vermeil and several dozen players were on hand to recall their incredible football exploits from 15 years ago.

Now calling Southern California home, the current Rams sport similar uniforms the players on the Super Bowl XXXIV winning team wore. The bright blue and yellow jerseys spark recollections of the team’s incredible season.

ESPN’s Chris Berman Named the Rams The Greatest Show of Turf

Chris Berman once remarked on ESPN in 2000, “Forget Ringling Brothers: the Rams are the Greatest Show on Earth.” After that, a new and faster moving traveling circus emerged – this time in sports.

Berman’s comment was soon changed to Greatest Show on Turf because of the artificial surface, or turf, in the Edward R. Jones Dome.

The Astroturf greatly increased the speed of the Rams’ already speedy receivers Tory Holt, Isaac Bruce, Ricky Proehl and Az-Zahir Hakin, and star running back and 2000 NFL MVP Marshall Faulk.

Rams offensive coordinator Mike Martz expertly called plays for two-time NFL MVP QB Kurt Warner. The QB masterfully directed the Rams’ passing game that ESPN.com Page Two named the best NFL offense of all time.

With the accurate Warner at QB, the Rams set NFL total yardage and passing records. They also scored 500 or more points in three consecutive seasons, still a league record.

Warner’s pinpoint passing on precision timing patterns to blazing receivers made them un-coverable, especially on Astroturf.

Warner’s throwing ability and the Rams’ talented wide-outs led the team to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory in 2000.

Circus legends P.T. Barnum, James Anthony Bailey and the Ringling Brothers might have created the original Greatest Show on Earth.

But, NFL football fans will always remember the exciting traveling troupe known as the St. Louis Rams.

With Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and speedy receivers performing under the lights of the Edward R. Jones Dome, the Rams will always be known in sports lore as the Greatest Show on Turf.

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#TBT Sports Blog: MLB’s Mr. November Derek Jeter

MIKE Comic 48 Mr. NovemberToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers one of Major League Baseball’s most admired players ever – Derek Jeter.

In addition to his Captain Clutch nickname, the retired New York Yankee also came to be known as Mr. November.

Derek Jeter got the name through the unique circumstances surrounding the postponement of the 2001 World Series.

The former New York Yankee shortstop not only earned his own separate month on the calendar in Major League Baseball lore.

But, Jeter also will be remembered as one of the greatest players and most trustworthy athletes of his generation.

It’s only fitting, and maybe even a little coincidental, that we honor Mr. November at the beginning of the month of November – the morning after an exciting World Series Game 7 was decided the previous night, November 1st, when the Houston Astros captured their first world championship.

2001 World Series & Derek Jeter

Due to the shocking September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed. Games were pushed back until late October.

The Yankees won Game 4 of the series when Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. This extra-inning game took place for the first time during the month of November. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard recognized Jeter’s historic moment and immediately called him Mr. November.

Derek Jeter Excelled in the Post Season

Historically, Derek Jeter excelled in the post-season where he won five World Series championships and batted an impressive .351. The Yankee shortstop also played in a total of 152 post-season games. During that time, he made 679 plate appearances and collected 191 hits. No wonder why Derek Jeter was known for being clutch.

In addition to his remarkable post-season statistics, Jeter served as a terrific role model during his 20 years with the New York Yankees. The Yankee great is expected to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

This 1996 American League Rookie of the Year and 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player made 14 All-Star appearances. Mr. November’s also collected five Silver Slugger Awards and won five Gold Gloves.

The Late Don Zimmer Called Derek Jeter the All-time Yankee

Legendary baseball coach Don Zimmer appropriately called Jeter “the all-time Yankee.” Upon retiring last year, Jeter ranked as the all-time New York Yankees leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats.

Over and above his baseball exploits, Derek Jeter’s leadership and ever present smile made him one of the most successful product spokesmen in sports.

Global brands like Nike, Gillette, Ford, VISA and Gatorade paid Mr. November handsomely to endorse their products – no matter what month of the year.Honor the Legend - Derek Jeter Retirement Day Gear at MLBShop.comFor Major League Baseball fans interested in authentic Derek Jeter sports memorabilia, simply click on the image above and visit MLB Shop.

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MIKE – the ultimate talking head on sports!

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Happy Halloween: “Deadly Sports Stuff” Comic Book

Deadly Sports StuffHappy Halloween!

To celebrate today’s holiday, I just released my 3rd edition of the sports comic book Deadly Sports Stuff.

It’s available for safe downloading on Amazon for just 99 cents. Click HERE.

Here’s my intro. It should give you a feel for what’s inside Deadly Sports Stuff……

…..Today’s sports world is preoccupied with death.

The deadly language of sports is absolutely lethal. It permeates the entire landscape of sports.

Grim jargon and murderous mumbling in sports don’t stop with just a handful of carcinogenic cliches.

Check Out These Deadly Nicknames

Toxic titles are foisted upon famous teams like Doomsday Defense.

They’re given to aggressive players like The Cannibal.

And, they’re even emblazoned on college stadiums like Death Valley.

In spite of these notorious names, we accept them, along with other widespread mortal murmurings, as part of our country’s sports culture.

But, don’t blame me for the deadly diatribe.

The Media’s Morbid Manner When Reporting on Sports

Register responsibility with the media for the morbid manner it reports on NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and FIFA action.

Yes, unrelenting mortal utterances are ubiquitous.

I laugh when I see how completely the media’s shroud of deadly clichés, references and expressions envelop sports in our society.

That’s why I wrote Deadly Sports Stuff. This book demonstrates how fixated sports fans are on the macabre. For example:

We applaud NFL punters for their mastery in directing punts into that eerie area called Coffin Corner.

We pay homage to fatal named athletes like The Embalmer, The Undertaker and The Executioner.

Former NHL player Alf Pike

We admire the deadly marksmanship of a guy named Pistol Pete who was the greatest scorer in NCAA basketball history.

We proudly refer to two college football stadiums as Death Valley.

We even look back longingly at the 1994 Arkansas Razorback NCAA championship basketball team and their suffocating defense known as “40 Minutes of Hell.”

And, as fans, we revel in the excitement of Sudden Death Overtimes.

Sure, our country’s preoccupation with death and sports can make us wince.

But, we voluntarily participate in perpetuating the deadly language of sports.

In football, we explain how the blitzing linebacker buried the quarterback.

In baseball, we applaud teammates for successfully executing a suicide squeeze play.

And, in basketball, we always seem to reference how their deadly shooters murdered us.

Admittedly, we all love it. So, enjoy this killer comic book aptly called Deadly Sports Stuff. It will make you laugh, but it certainly won’t kill you! Happy Halloween. Boo!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Mr. October Reggie Jackson

Mr. October Reggie JacksonIt’s only fitting that Major League Baseball’s Mr. October Reggie Jackson leads off today’s #TBT sports blog.

This Baseball Hall of Fame slugger wore the colorful uniform of the Oakland A’s and the traditional pinstripes of the New York Yankees. He normally starred during the spring and summer months of the Major League Baseball season.

However, Reggie Jackson flourished on the baseball field during the fall.

That’s when he earned his nickname Mr. October.

Late Yankee Thurmon Munson Coined the Name Mr. October

Yankee teammate Thurmon Munson first used the title when questioned during the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Munson told a reporter to interview Jackson. He referred to the Yankee right fielder’s history of fantastic post-season games and said, “Go ask Mr. October.”

A 1999 Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductee, Reginald Martinez Jackson enjoyed a stellar 21-year Major League Baseball career. He retired in 1987. Jackson was a 14-time All-Star who hit 563 dingers, drove in 1,702 runs and batted .262 with 2,584 total hits.

The 1973 American League MVP also had his number 9 jersey retired in Oakland and his number 44 jersey retired in New York. Pretty great accomplishments, indeed!

Reggie Jackson: World Series MVP for Two Different Teams

A clutch hitting right fielder, Jackson had the ability to perform his best during post-season play. Mr. October ranks as the only baseball player ever to be named World Series Most Valuable Player for two different teams. Jackson first won the award in 1973 with the Oakland A’s. He won it again in 1977 in spectacular fashion with the New York Yankees.

Jackson’s World Series numbers are incredible. In 27 Fall Classic appearances, Mr. October belted 10 home runs, drove in 24 runs and batted an impressive .357. He won five world titles. In the deciding Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three consecutive first pitch home runs off of three different Dodger hurlers.

Baseball fans will never forget this amazing Oakland A’s and New York Yankees’ right fielder and his Fall Classic heroics.

In a Boys of Summer sport, this Baseball Hall of Fame player rightfully earned his fitting autumn nickname – Mr. October.

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The Annual NFL Crucial Catch Campaign to “Intercept” Cancer

Today’s Sunday Special Sports Blog focuses on a priceless endeavor.

It recognizes the NFL, once again, for making A Crucial Catch its annual initiative to raise awareness of, or as its slogan aptly states, to intercept cancer.

The NFL’s Crucial Catch Campaign Continues Throughout October Each Year

The league’s A Crucial Catch campaign continues through out the month, and football fans need to acknowledge the NFL, teams, players and the NFL Players Association for their support of this critical cause each October.

Media and fans have been quick to criticize the NFL for the botched manner in which it has handled some of the egregious as well as convoluted off-field incidents of its players over the past few years.

From current suspensions, newly imposed rules, player hold outs, the occasional scandal to last season’s Colin Kaepernick protest, America’s most successful professional sports league has been microscopically evaluated on every decision it’s made and action it’s undertaken.

Despite many valid criticisms, the NFL needs to be recognized for the positive social message it annually evangelizes on behalf of the American Cancer Society with its A Crucial Catch marketing campaign.

Since 2009, the NFL has designated October as Cancer Awareness Month and has actively promoted the distinct symbol of a pink ribbon entwined with its iconic league logo.

However, the great cancer awareness campaign has gotten even greater as it heralds awareness of pancreatic, pediatric and cervical cancers.

Color Pink Has Abounded During NFL’s Crucial Catch Campaign to Intercept Cancer

During the month, NFL players have been allowed to skirt the normally stringent NFL uniform standards by donning pink gloves, cleats and socks. The league has also sold officially licensed NFL pink merchandise and even auctioned off player gear to raise funds for cancer research.

Historically, by promoting the pink ribbon and encouraging players to wear pink apparel on the football field, the NFL has publicly, and admirably, promoted a most worthy social cause. The league even commissioned large pink ribbons to be stenciled on the 25 yard lines of each NFL field.

All 32 NFL teams have actively participate in this month long promotion.

Since its 2009 launch, the NFL estimates that the A Crucial Catch message has educated and screened 191,700 woemn for breast cancer while  raising more than $18.5 million.

And that’s awesome news from the NFL and better news for women living in under served communities.

The NFL Makes Positive Strides for Research to Intercept Cancer

Though the NFL has made positive strides in promoting awareness to intercept cancer with its A Crucial Catch campaign, the league can still do far more, not just with cancer education, but also with other serious social issues like domestic violence.

With embattled Commissioner Roger Goodell’s appointment of several socially conscious, educated and successful women to his staff, expect more positive social change from the league.

Also, with ubiquitous television coverage, the NFL can be a powerful force for awareness and change concerning the debilitating health issues that afflict far too many women in our society.

May the popularly accepted A Crucial Catch serve as the example of the an admirable public service campaign that the NFL has launched and serve as a harbinger for many more. To quote the empowering NFL slogan during this month, “Everyone can make a crucial catch.”

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Racing Weenies at Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park

Racing Weenies at Miller Park in MilwaukeeThe Milwaukee Brewers’ return to the MLB Playoffs has prompted me to dust off a popular #TBT sports blog from a few years ago.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park’s Racing Weenies in-game entertainment inspired its genesis.

Let’s take a #TBT look back at Miller Park’s beloved packaged meat entertainers.

MLB In-game Entertainment

…..All sports fans can agree that MLB in-game entertainers can be especially creative in how they support their home team.

These entertainers range from perky cheerleaders to talented jugglers. They include dancers, twirlers and tuba players.

From Frisbee catching dogs on a baseball field to dunking gorillas on a basketball court, in-game entertainment absolutely enriches the sports fans’ experience at the park, stadium or arena.

Sports fans can also provide big time entertainment even when they’re not the main event. They include fans with streaming shakers, those who design and display giant cardboard signs and shirtless guys with painted faces sitting in bleachers during frigid weather.

In-game promotions involving team mascots are always fun, and they bring out the best in local sentiment.

For example, if you haven’t been to Nationals Park in Washington, DC, you’ve never witnessed the patriotic thrills of cheering on Tom (Jefferson), Abe (Lincoln), Teddy (Roosevelt) and George (Washington) in the famed Presidential Races.

The Sausage Race: Favorite MLB In-game Entertainment

Perhaps, my all-time favorite in-game promotion involving local mascots is the Sausage Race held at Miller Park in Milwaukee. They represent my all-time favorite non-athletes in sports.

This creative and fun 7th inning race involves a German Bratwurst, a Polish Kielbasa, an Italian Sausage and the All American Hot Dog.

What an event, and at a Major League Baseball game no less!

What fans can resist rooting on their favorite racing weenies? This one-of-a-kind foot race gets 45,000 frenetic fans cheering wildly for their favorite packaged meat mascot racing around the baseball field.

Kudos to Miller Park in Milwaukee

Kudos to Miller Park and what a way to think outside the bun!

It might sound cliche, but the Sausage Race at Milwaukee’s Miller Park is a real weener!

That’s why these packaged meat sausages, my favorite non-athletes of all-time, also rank as my #9 pick in my FREE sports comic book Favorite Non-Athletes in Sports!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: NCAA Football’s Galloping Ghost Red Grange

Fomer Illinois running back Red GrangeToday’s #TBT Sports Blog features Red Grange – one of NCAA football’s greatest players of all time.

My post recalls Grange – an incomparable college football player with the unforgettable nickname – The Galloping Ghost.

In 2008, ESPN.com called Red Grange, an electrifying running back and kick returner, the greatest college football player ever.

However, 90 years earlier it was Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown who attributed The Galloping Ghost name to Harold Edward “Red” Grange.

Grange earned the Galloping Ghost moniker because of his race horse speed and quick, ghostlike movements that avoided tacklers in the open field.

Tackling Grange was like trying to lasso a fast moving cloud driven by a strong wind in a large open field. Few defenders ever succeeded.

A three-time All American at the University of Illinois, the 5’11″ and 175 lb. Grange led the Illini to an undefeated season and college football’s national championship in 1923.

The Galloping Ghost’s Best College Game

The Galloping Ghost’s best college game was against Michigan on October 18, 1924. Most college football fans called it the greatest individual performance in the history of college football.

Against the Illini’s fiercest rival, Grange spooked the Wolverine defense by racing the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He scored three more times on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards – all within the first 12 minutes of the game.

There was no television or internet back in The Galloping Ghost’s era. Instead, TIME Magazine highlighted Grange’s amazing college career by including The Galloping Ghost on the cover of its October 1925 issue. It was a huge national honor.

An original member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Grange signed with the Chicago Bears immediately after college. Grange is also a history maker for the professional sport of football.

Back in the 1920s, professional football was only beginning to form nationally, and Grange became instrumental in its initial success.

Grange participated in a 67 day, 19 game cross-country series of exhibition games. For his efforts, The Galloping Ghost pocketed an incredible $100,000 for his role. The other players were paid only $100 per game.

Chicago Bears’ Owner Calls Red Grange Best RB Ever

Chicago Bears Hall of Fame owner George Halas called Grange the greatest running back he had ever seen. Unfortunately, The Galloping Ghost suffered a terrible knee injury in 1927 that inevitably shortened his professionally career.

The highlight of #77′s NFL career came in 1933. Grange made a heroic game saving play on defense in the closing seconds of the NFL’s first ever Championship Game held at Wrigley Field.

The spirit of this Galloping Ghost will always live on. And, today’s #TBT Sports Blog rekindles the fiery spirit of this amazing college football player.

Red Grange passed away in 1991, but today let’s remember the elusive, fast gridiron great whom ESPN.com recognized as the best college football player of all time.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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