Toni Fritsch

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Toni Fritsch
Personal information
Full name Anton Fritsch
Date of birth (1945-07-10)July 10, 1945
Place of birth Petronell-Carnuntum, Austria
Date of death September 13, 2005(2005-09-13) (aged 60)
Place of death Vienna, Austria
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1963–1971 Rapid Wien 123 (15)
National team
1965–1968 Austria 9 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 June 2008.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 June 2008
Toni Fritsch
Career information
Position(s): Kicker
Organizations
As player:
1971–1975
1976
1977–1981
1982
1984–85
Dallas Cowboys
San Diego Chargers
Houston Oilers
New Orleans Saints
Houston Gamblers (USFL)
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1979
Honors: 1× All-Pro selection (1979)
Career stats
Playing stats at NFL.com

Anton K. "Toni" Fritsch (July 10, 1945 – September 13, 2005) was an Austrian footballer who later started a successful career in American football in the United States.

Soccer career[edit]

Toni Fritsch started to play association football (soccer) at an early age and joined the Austrian record titleholder Rapid Vienna at the age of 13. After six seasons, he was admitted to the club's first league team and played his first professional game in fall 1964. During his time there, he played 123 games for Rapid, scoring 15 goals. The team won the Austrian Championship three times (1964, 1967, 1968) and the Austrian Cup twice (1968, 1969). He was described as a small, but extremely fast striker.

Fritsch played for the Austria national football team nine times. He scored two goals when Austria defeated England 3-2 in London's Wembley Stadium on October 20, 1965, from which his nickname "Wembley-Toni" is derived. This was only the third time for a continental team to beat England at home (following Hungary in 1953 and Sweden in 1959).

American football[edit]

In 1971, Tom Landry, coach of the Dallas Cowboys, went to Europe looking for strong-legged soccer players. The first city he went to was Vienna, and the first player he tried was Fritsch. Though hardly speaking any English at all, Fritsch decided to take a chance. He accepted the offer, moved to the US and joined the National Football League team as a placekicker. In 1972, he won the Super Bowl with his team, the first Austrian to do so. In 1974, he injured his knee and was lost for the season, but came back the next year to lead the NFL with 22 field goals. In 1976, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for a draft choice. He later played for the Houston Oilers, the New Orleans Saints and the USFL's Houston Gamblers. In 1979, he was voted into the Pro Bowl.

He scored 758 points in 125 games during his 11-year NFL career, among those 317 for Dallas. While with the Houston Gamblers in the USFL, Fritsch converted 42 of 50 field goals in 1984 and 1985 and 126 of 131 PATS for a total of 252 points in two seasons. Fritsch led the NFL in field goal percentage three times (1977, 1979, 1980). His NFL record of having kicked a field goal in 13 straight playoff games has been beaten by Adam Vinatieri on January 13, 2007.

Even though Fritsch worked for his former Austrian football (soccer) club Rapid Vienna for one year in 1992/1993, he remained a resident of Houston throughout the rest of his life.

Death[edit]

On September 13, 2005, Fritsch suddenly collapsed on a Vienna street after a meal at a restaurant. He died of heart failure at the age of 60.

Honours (soccer)[edit]

External links[edit]