June 15, 1937|
Cape Charles, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||April 26, 2005(aged 67)|
|College||Maryland Eastern Shore|
|NFL Draft||1958 / Round 7 / Pick 79|
|Jersey #(s)||47, 44, 24|
|Records||Only Professional Football player to win an NFL (1958), AFL (1968), and World Championship (1968 season)|
|NFL Baltimore Colts
NFL Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL Washington Redskins
AFL New York Jets
John B. Sample, Jr. (June 15, 1937 – April 26, 2005) was an American football defensive back who played in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts (1958–1960), Pittsburgh Steelers (1961–1962), and Washington Redskins (1963–1965), and in the American Football League for the New York Jets (1966–1968).
Sample had the distinction of beginning and ending his career with championship wins in two of the most famous games in Professional Football history, and winning an NFL championship, an AFL championship, and a World Championship. In his rookie season, he won an NFL championship ring with the Colts in their victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL title game, which became known as The Greatest Game Ever Played. In his final season, he helped the Jets win the AFL Championship against the Oakland Raiders, and then to defeat the Colts in the third AFL-NFL World Championship (Super Bowl III), recording an interception in the Jets' 16–7 win. He is the only professional football player to have won all three: an NFL, AFL, and Super Bowl Championship.
Sample finished his 11 professional football seasons with 41 interceptions, which he returned for 460 yards and four touchdowns. He also recovered 13 fumbles, returning them for 61 yards. On special teams he returned 68 punts for 559 yards and a touchdown, along with 60 kickoffs for 1,560 yards and a touchdown. Sample led the NFL in punt return yards in 1961.
After his career, Sample released a very outspoken autobiography titled Confessions of a Dirty Ballplayer (1970). During the 1980s and 90s, Sample became a tennis official, a linesman, even a chair umpire, at bigger and bigger events. He came to officiate at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open, in matches involving Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and most of the celebrated players of the day.