Ryan Grigson lives and breathes the NFL. He has recently taken on the position of personnel executive with the Cleveland Browns. Here, he takes a look at five of the most influential figures in the history of the NFL.
Top 5 NFL Figures According to Ryan Grigson
- George Plimpton. Plimpton was a famous author from New York who played QB for a single series, and trained with the Detroit Lions in the 1960s. The reason why he is so influential is because he offered paper lion, perhaps the greatest sports book ever written period thanks to this book football was humanized for millions of people.
- Roger Staubach. The reason why he deserves mention is because he is credited with developing instant replay. Rodger used this for a 1963 army Navy telecast and he changed the way people watched TV forever. Suddenly, casual viewers would be able to see even the smallest intricacies of the games. The downside of the instant replay is the fact that everybody now thinks they are a game official because they can see everything.
- Ed Sabol. in 1960, he spent $3,000 to purchase the rights to film a championship game of the NFL. He created an empire that is now known as NFL Films and they have been hugely influential in every element of the game today. NFL Films as words, music, grace, and even poetry to what is essentially a brutal game. The voice of NFL films is John Facenda, a voice recognised by millions of football fans across the world.
- Joe Namath. He guaranteed that the New York Jets would win against the Baltimore Colts and he actually made it so. Joe is responsible for ensuring the AFL became legitimate and that it gained both excitement and star power. If it wasn’t for him and his win, the NFL and AFL would probably never have merged, or at least not as quickly. It took Joe just 60 minutes to equalise the two leagues.
- Red Grange. He has also been nicknamed the galloping ghost. He was someone who finished his studies at the University of Illinois back in 1924. College football, in those days, was far more important than pro football as the latter was essentially something for everyday manual workers to offload some energy. However, when Grange signed George Harris while managing the Chicago Bears, pro football suddenly became something people went to watch in huge stadiums, abandoning the sandlot and back alleys.
There are many more hugely influential figures who made the NFL what it is today. One example is Byron Donzis who is responsible for developing the flak jacket, which all football players now wear for protection. Legend has it that Donzis actually hit famous player Pastorini in the chest with a baseball bat while he was in hospital with cracked ribs to prove the efficacy of his jacket. Other mentions include Roone Arledge, Tex Schramm, Lamar Hunt, George Halas, and Pete Rozelle.
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