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View Full Version : What person is the identity of pro football?


Rain Man
01-16-2005, 01:47 PM
Whose name is most inextricably intertwined with football, and vice versa? I'm talking about the whole package: public image, contributions, fame, etc.


Poll coming, but I'll bet y'all can come up with other good names.

Phobia
01-16-2005, 01:50 PM
Bradshaw has been incredibly effective marketing himself.

I don't know if that's what you're looking for, but he's one of the first who comes to mind for me.

Bowser
01-16-2005, 01:51 PM
There is three. Peyton is the poster boy the brass of the NFL want us to follow. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are the players to follow for vaunted "street cred".

*edit

From your list, how can you not go with Lombardi?

Misplaced_Chiefs_Fan
01-16-2005, 01:52 PM
I'd have to go with Johnny U. but Walter Payton would be right up there also.

Unfortuntely the face of the NFL today is the TO/Moss variety. Not a great PR move in my opinion.

CosmicPal
01-16-2005, 01:52 PM
Lombardi

The trophey is named after him....

Phobia
01-16-2005, 01:53 PM
Yeah, looking at your poll choices, I'd still say Bradshaw. He's stayed on the forefront of the NFL for 3 decades. There are certainly better players on your poll, there are better media personnel, and there are better ambassadors for the game, but I feel like Bradshaw has offered a healthy mixture of all the dynamics. Or I could just be a huge moron, kinda like Terry.

Rain Man
01-16-2005, 01:53 PM
I have a hard time deciding between Vince Lombardi and Johnny Unitas, with Joe Montana in third. I voted for Vince, but feel a little guilty that I didn't pick a guy who was a player.

Mile High Mania
01-16-2005, 01:53 PM
I don't think there is just 1 name... I read that list and while there are a few names on there that do nothing for me and some left off that I would have included... there wasn't 1 name that jumped out most.

Phobia
01-16-2005, 01:54 PM
From your list, how can you not go with Lombardi?

Well, there is the whole "dead" thing.

Mr. Kotter
01-16-2005, 01:54 PM
Rich Scanlon

Phobia
01-16-2005, 01:54 PM
I have a hard time deciding between Vince Lombardi and Johnny Unitas, with Joe Montana in third. I voted for Vince, but feel a little guilty that I didn't pick a guy who was a player.

Are you kidding? Montana has abandoned the NFL for rodeo, damnit. No loyalty.

Bowser
01-16-2005, 01:57 PM
Are you kidding? Montana has abandoned the NFL for rodeo, damnit. No loyalty.

:spock:

I thought he was into Nascar? Natural progression, I guess.

Phobia
01-16-2005, 01:58 PM
:spock:

I thought he was into Nascar? Natural progression, I guess.

Bob Dole posted some story about him in a rodeo recently.

He's not into NASCAR as much as his coors distributorship is in bed with NAScAR.

Count Zarth
01-16-2005, 01:58 PM
I voted for Jerry Rice.

Mr. Kotter
01-16-2005, 02:00 PM
I voted for Jerry Rice.

Shit, so did I.

I want my vote back... :banghead:

Ultra Peanut
01-16-2005, 02:00 PM
Gaz.

Skip Towne
01-16-2005, 02:01 PM
Montana

Wile_E_Coyote
01-16-2005, 02:01 PM
laughable I know, but today it's John Madden

PastorMikH
01-16-2005, 02:02 PM
Used to be Jim Brown but I don't think the NFL is that tough anymore.

siberian khatru
01-16-2005, 02:03 PM
Polling isn't everything, it's the only thing.

stumppy
01-16-2005, 02:04 PM
I have to go with Bronko Nagurski. Not just for his looks but his name rings tough ass mofo.

Phobia
01-16-2005, 02:04 PM
laughable I know, but today it's John Madden

Despite my distaste for the man, I'm inclined to support your nomination for the same reasons I nominated Bradshaw.

Rain Man
01-16-2005, 02:05 PM
Jim Thorpe should be another top contender, too.

shaneo69
01-16-2005, 02:07 PM
I don't think there is just 1 name... I read that list and while there are a few names on there that do nothing for me and some left off that I would have included... there wasn't 1 name that jumped out most.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I was disappointed that Elway wasn't on there as well.

RNR
01-16-2005, 02:10 PM
Have to go with Lombardi, he has been the face of the NFL my whole life. I am sure the younger people may not agree, but for me it is him by a mile.

Blitz
01-16-2005, 02:54 PM
My dad isn't the biggest sports fan as he only watches NHL and NBA, however he knows only a few players in baseball and football. He and I see it like:

NBA-Jordan
NHL-Gretzky
NFL-1.Montana 1a.Bradshaq
MLB-Clemens

KcMizzou
01-16-2005, 02:57 PM
Have to go with Lombardi, he has been the face of the NFL my whole life. I am sure the younger people may not agree, but for me it is him by a mile. I agree. His name was the first I thought of when I read the thread header.

Demonpenz
01-16-2005, 03:07 PM
emmitt smith

DanT
01-16-2005, 03:23 PM
There's not a "best" answer. I went with Red Grange, though, because of his crucial role in the early history of the NFL. Here are excerpts from an ESPN "Sports Century" page on him:

http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00014216.html


"I was interviewing George Halas and I asked him who is the greatest running back you ever saw. And he said, 'That would be Red Grange.' And I asked him if Grange was playing today, how many yards do you think he'd gain. And he said, 'About 750, maybe 800 yards.' And I said, 'Well, 800 yards is just okay.' He sat up in his chair and he said, 'Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old.' "
-- Chris Berman on ESPN's SportsCentury show.

Grange, a three-time All-American halfback at Illinois and the player who put the NFL on the map, was voted No. 28 among North American athletes of the 20th century by SportsCentury's distinguished 48-person panel.

When Grange's college coach, Bob Zuppke, tried to persuade him from becoming a pro after his college eligibility expires, Grange said, "Zup, you coach for money. Why isn't it okay to play for money?"

Grange earned more than $100,000 -- a stupendous sum at that time -- for the Bears' 19-games-in-17-cities tour in a little more than two months.

On Dec. 6, 1925, more than 65,000 showed up at the Polo Grounds to watch Grange, helping save the New York Giants' franchise. Grange scored a touchdown on a 35-yard interception return in the Bears' 19-7 victory. Offensively, he ran for 53 yards on 11 carries, caught a 23-yard pass and completed 2-of-3 passes for 32 yards.

Halas said that no player has had a greater impact on the game of football, college or professional, than Grange.

At a stop at the White House, Grange and Halas were introduced to President Calvin Coolidge as being with the Chicago Bears. "Glad to meet you fellows," said the President. "I always did like animal acts."

Grange was the Michael Jordan of his day in terms of endorsements. There were Red Grange dolls, Red Grange sweaters, Red Grange candy bars, Red Grange shoes ... and even Red Grange meat loaf.


To commemorate college football's 100th anniversary in 1969, the Football Writers Association of America chose an all-time All-America team. Grange was the only unanimous choice.

DanT
01-16-2005, 03:28 PM
Here's Red Grange's Pro Football Hall-of-Fame bio.

http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?PLAYER_ID=78


In the early 1920s, George Halas was desperately seeking a special gate attraction to help draw attention not only to his Chicago Bears team but also to the National Football League as a whole. University of Illinois running back Harold "Red" Grange, who ran with ghostlike speed and elusiveness, seemed to be the answer.

Although college stars rarely turned to pro football in those days, Halas and his partner Dutch Sternaman pondered just how much Grange could do for their team. Grange, who worked as an ice deliveryman during his college summers agreed to play for the Bears.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1925, just 10 days after Grange's last college game, 36,600 filled Wrigley Field to see Red's pro debut against the Chicago Cardinals. Ten days later more than 70,000 packed New York's Polo Grounds to see Red and the Bears take on the New York Giants.

Sensing that a rare opportunity was at hand, Grange's agent, C. C. "Cash and Carry" Pyle, Halas and Sternaman, lined up an exhausting “barnstorming tour” of the country winning thousands of new fans for pro football. When Pyle and the Bears ownership couldn’t agree on terms for the 1926 season, Pyle formed a rival American Football League with a team in New York called the Yankees that featured Grange.

While the Yankees had moderate success, the rest of the league failed. Pyle was allowed to move his team into the NFL in 1927 but Grange suffered a crippling knee injury during a game against the Bears. "l didn't play at all in 1928,"Grange remembers. "l was just an ordinary ball-carrier after that. I did develop into a pretty good defensive back, however."

Halas invited Grange back to the Bears in 1929 and he remained with them through the 1934 season. In the 1933 NFL Championship Game, Grange was a defensive hero with a difficult touchdown-saving tackle in the final seconds.

Chiefaholic
01-16-2005, 04:34 PM
To answer the original question...

"Whose name is most inextricably intertwined with football, and vice versa? I'm talking about the whole package: public image, contributions, fame, etc."

As much as I hate to admit it, it's John Madden. As annoying as I find the SOB, he's probably the most recognized person in the NFL. He's gone from coaching a championship caliber team, to broadcasting, to commercials, to video games. Heck, even the Madden Cruiser get national recognition. There's not a doubt in my mind that he's even recognized by many non-football fans.

Next in line could be no other than Vince Lombardi. The guys name has to be the most recognized when refeering to the NFL.

As far as former players... Bradshaw gets my vote. Superbowls, commercials, and broadcasting has made him probably the most recognized athlete from the game.

DanT
01-16-2005, 04:38 PM
Bradshaw's a great choice. Great player with savvy and smarts that he hides behind a regular-guy image.

DanT
01-16-2005, 04:56 PM
To balance out my ignorant opinion about Jack Lambert, here's a cool 1984 Sports Illustrated article about him written by Dr. Z:

http://www.mcmillenandwife.com/lambert_man_of_steel.html

WilliamTheIrish
01-16-2005, 04:57 PM
Jim Brown.

A close second for Johnny U.