Portal:American football/Selected biography/2007

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December 2007

Jerry Claiborne (August 2, 1928, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky – September 24, 2000, in Nashville, Tennessee) was a college football coach, most notable as the head coach at Virginia Tech, Maryland, and his alma mater of Kentucky. Claiborne was famous for being a winner, taking over historically underachieving teams and turning them into winners, as well as teaching his players to become excellent students. He retired with an overall record of 179–122–8.

Claiborne attended the University of Kentucky and was named the College of Education’s Outstanding Senior. Claiborne played halfback under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Kentucky. Claiborne became Bryant’s assistant coach at Texas A&M and Alabama before he moved up to become a head coach.

Claiborne was head coach for Virginia Tech from 1961 to 1970 with an overall record of 69–32–2. The Hokies would not be as successful in football again until current coach Frank Beamer, who played for Claiborne at Virginia Tech, built the program into a powerhouse in the mid-1990s.


November 2007

Jerry Claiborne (August 2, 1928, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky – September 24, 2000, in Nashville, Tennessee) was a college football coach, most notable as the head coach at Virginia Tech, Maryland, and his alma mater of Kentucky. Claiborne was famous for being a winner, taking over historically underachieving teams and turning them into winners, as well as teaching his players to become excellent students. He retired with an overall record of 179–122–8.

Claiborne attended the University of Kentucky and was named the College of Education’s Outstanding Senior. Claiborne played halfback under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Kentucky. Claiborne became Bryant’s assistant coach at Texas A&M and Alabama before he moved up to become a head coach.

Claiborne was head coach for Virginia Tech from 1961 to 1970 with an overall record of 69–32–2. The Hokies would not be as successful in football again until current coach Frank Beamer, who played for Claiborne at Virginia Tech, built the program into a powerhouse in the mid-1990s.


October 2007

Paul Brown was an athletics coach of American football and a major figure in the development of the National Football League. A seminal figure in football history, Brown is considered the "father of the modern offense," with many claiming that he ranks as one of if not the greatest of football coaches in history. Such claims are backed by significant evidence: Brown dominated as a gridiron general on every major level -- high school, college, and professional.

Born in Norwalk, Ohio, Brown's family moved to Massillon when he was nine. His father Lester, a dispatcher for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad, was described as "very meticulous, serious-minded and highly-disciplined," all of which characterized Brown's later approach to coaching. Brown graduated from Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio in 1925, having played varsity quarterback in the wake of Harry Stuhldreher (one of the University of Notre Dame's legendary Four Horsemen).

Enrolling at Ohio State University as a freshman quarterback, Brown (also known as Bruno/Pot) found his 145-pound frame would not stand the rigors of major college football, and transferred to Miami University in Ohio, losing a year of eligibility in the process. Under Coach Chester Pittser, Brown played two years and was named to the All-Ohio small college second team by the AP at the end of the 1928 season. In 1930, he graduated from Miami with a B.A. in Education. He would complete his academic career in 1940 when he received an M.A. in Education from The Ohio State University.

As his academic credentials indicate, Brown was as much a teacher as he was a coach. He qualified for a Rhodes Scholarship in 1930, but he had married Katie Kester, his "high school sweetheart", in 1929 and with the coming of the Great Depression, he needed employment. His coaching career began in 1930 when he was hired as a teacher/coach at Severn School, in Severna Park, Maryland, at the time a Naval Academy preparatory.


September 2007

Mack Brown.png

Mack Brown is head coach of the University of Texas Longhorn football team. During the 2005 season, Brown led the Longhorns to a Rose Bowl victory and a National Championship. With the 2006 season, Brown led his team to win 10 games or more for six straight years, which is the best current ten-win streak in the NCAA.

Prior to coaching at Texas, Brown coached at Appalachian State, Tulane, and North Carolina. Brown is credited with revitalizing the Texas and North Carolina football programs, and is well-known for being a successful recruiter. The Longhorns beat Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Ohio State at The Horseshoe in September 2005, and division rival Oklahoma in 2005 and 2006. The 2005 season was capped off by victories over Colorado and USC to win the Big 12 conference and national championships, respectively. In 2006 he was awarded the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award for "Coach of the Year".


August 2007

Brett Favre is the current starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL).

Favre started at quarterback for The University of Southern Mississippi for four years before being selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. After one season with the Falcons, Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers on February 10, 1992, for a first-round draft pick. He became the Packers starting quarterback in the third game of the 1992 NFL season.

Favre is the only three-time MVP (1995–97) in NFL history and has led the Packers to two Super Bowls: a victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI and a loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. Favre has played 16 seasons in the NFL and has started every game since his first for the Packers in 1992. His records include most consecutive starts among NFL quarterbacks with 237 (257 total starts including playoffs) and most completions (5,021). He ranks second behind Dan Marino for career touchdown passes (414), career attempts (8,223), and career passing (57,500). With 147 victories as a starting quarterback, Favre is tied with Dan Marino for second; they both trail John Elway's 148.

At Southern Miss, Favre began his freshman year as the seventh string quarterback and took over the starting position in the second half of the third game of the year against Tulane on September 19, 1987, in which he led the Golden Eagles to a come-from-behind victory with two touchdown passes. In his junior season, Favre led the Golden Eagles to an upset of Florida State (then ranked sixth in the nation) on September 2, 1989. Favre capped a six-and-a-half-minute drive with the game-winning touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining.


July 2007

Fielding Yost sitting side.jpg

Fielding Yost was an American football coach best known for his long tenure at the University of Michigan. He was born in Fairview, West Virginia. Yost was a lawyer, author, and businessman in addition to being a well known football coach.

After three single-season stints at Nebraska, Kansas, and Stanford, Yost served as the head football coach for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1901 through 1923, and again in 1925 and 1926. Yost was highly successful at Michigan, winning 165 games, losing only 29, and tying 10 for a winning percentage of .833. Under Yost, Michigan won four straight national championships from 1901-04 and two more in 1918 and 1923.

Yost's first Michigan team in 1901 outscored its opposition by a margin of 550-0 en route to a perfect season and victory in the inaugural Rose Bowl on January 1, 1902 over Stanford, the school Yost had coached the year before. From 1901 to 1904, Michigan did not lose a game, and was tied only once in a legendary game with the University of Minnesota that led to the establishment of the Little Brown Jug, college football's oldest trophy. Before Michigan finally lost a game to Amos Alonzo Stagg's University of Chicago squad at the end of the 1905 season, they had gone 56 straight games without a defeat, the second longest such streak in college football history. During their first five seasons under Yost, Michigan outscored its opponents 2,821 to 42, earning the nickname "Point-a-Minute."


June 2007

Thomas Edward Brady, Junior (born August 3, 1977, in San Mateo, California, United States) is an American football quarterback at present with the New England Patriots of the National Football League. Brady attended Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo and played American football and baseball on the secondary level; although he was selected in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft, he elected to pursue collegiate football at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Brady did not start across his first two years with the Wolverines but was named first-string quarterback by head coach Lloyd Carr for the 1998 and 1999 seasons. In each of his latter two seasons, Brady earned All-Big Ten Conference honors as Michigan won 20 of 25 games played and claimed victory in the 1998 Citrus Bowl and 1999 Orange Bowl. He was drafted made the 199th overall choice in the 2000 NFL draft by the New England Patriots to play behind Drew Bledsoe but finally assumed control of the side after Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding as a result of a collision suffered in a September 23, 2001, game against the New York Jets, to whom the team under Brady lost. Although New England won one of its next two games, Brady did not play exceptionally, posting quarterback ratings of 79.6 and 58.7, but he demonstrated improvement over the season, ultimately leading his team to an 11 wins and a playoff berth. The Patriots overcame the Oakland Raiders in a divisional round game in which an ostensible Brady fumble was controversially reversed on instant replay by referee Walt Coleman consistent with the tuck rule, and the team advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI with an American Football Conference championship game victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game in which Bledsoe replaced an injured Brady.

Read more about Tom Brady...


May 2007

Phillip Martin Simms (born November 3, 1955, in Lebanon, Kentucky) is a former American football quarterback, and currently a television sportscaster for the CBS network. After a standout career at Morehead State University, Simms was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) with the number seven selection overall in the 1979 NFL draft.

Simms won his first five starts of his rookie year. He led the team to a 6–4 record as a starter, throwing for 1,743 yards and 13 touchdown passes and was named to the NFL All Rookie Team. According to his 1981 Topps card, he was runner-up in 1979 for Rookie of the Year, losing out to future teammate, Ottis Anderson. Simm's next four years were marred by injuries and inconsistent play. He finished the 1980 season with 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, while completing a subpar 48.0% of his passes for 2,321 yards. In 1981, Simms threw for 2,031 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions on 54.4% completion percentage before suffering a separated shoulder in a November 15 loss to the Washington Redskins. With Simms out, the Giants went on a run led by Scott Brunner and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Simms suffered a torn knee ligament in a preseason game against the New York Jets, preventing him from playing the entire 1982 season.

Read more about the Phil Simms...

April 2007

Rex Grossman (born August 23, 1980) is a quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. Grossman was born in Bloomington, Indiana to Daniel and Maureen Grossman. Under the motivation and guidance of his father, Grossman began to play football at an early age in grade school. He originally started his football career as a running back. Despite his success as a running back, Grossman’s mother asked his coach to convert him to a quarterback, while he was in the sixth grade.
Grossman in a post-game interview in 2006.jpg

He attended Bloomington South High School, where he threw 97 touchdowns for 7,518 yards. Grossman threw 44 touchdown passes during his senior year, including a game where he threw six and two games where he threw four. His senior season reached its pinnacle on November 28, 1998, when he led his team to a 34-14 5A championship title over Homestead High School. Grossman threw five touchdowns for 216 yards, setting a state record for most touchdowns thrown in a championship game.

Grossman received national recognition as the 1998 Indiana Player-of-the-Year by USA Today, and was ranked among the top fifteen players in the nation by the National Recruiting Advisor. Parade Magazine also named him to their "All-America team". He received state-wide honors when he was named "Indiana's Mr. Football" later that year. Residents of his hometown community still remember his accomplishments and passing records. Grossman’s high school retired his jersey in 2006 to commemorate his initial return and success during the 2006 season.

After completing high school, Grossman elected to attend the University of Florida as opposed to Indiana University, where his father and grandfather played football.

Read more about Rex Grossman...


Older biographies

September 24, 2006, to April 12, 2007

Harold Donald Carson (born November 26, 1953, in Florence, South Carolina) is an American collegiate and professional American football inside linebacker and defensive end, best known for his having played all thirteen of his National Football League seasons with the New York Giants franchise; for his having, over his professional career, been selected nine times to the Pro Bowl; for his having helped the Giants to the 1986 National Football Conference (NFC) East division championship and thereafter to the Super Bowl XXI title; for his having, whilst playing for the South Carolina State University Bulldogs, twice won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) defensive player of the year award and his having been named, subsequent to the 1975 National Collegiate Athletic Association season, an All-America; and for his having, in part in view of such, been enshrined in 2002 in the College Football Hall of Fame, pictured, and in 2006 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Having attended McClenaghan and Wilson Senior High Schools in Florence County, Carson matriculated in 1972 at South Carolina State University, for the team of which he played, principally as a defensive end, in every game across his four seasons. In his junior and senior seasons, Carson served as team captain and in each year earned defensive player of the year and all-conference honors in the MEAC, in the hall of fame of which he was subsequently enshrined, en route to his team's winning, in each season, the MEAC conference. In 1975, behind Carson, who tallied 117 tackles, more than any player in school history, and seventeen quarterback sacks, the Bulldogs recorded six shutouts and conceded just 29 points across ten games, fewer across a ten-game season than had any other Division II team previously.

Carson was selected by the Giants in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL draft, and appeared in twelve games during the Giants' 1976 season, ultimately earning a starting middle linebacker position after the eighth week of the season and eventually earning all-rookie team honors. In 1977, he played in fourteen games and, as in 1976, recovered an opponent's fumble. Carson partook of all sixteen games contested by the Giants in each of the 1978 and 1979 seasons, over the two years recovering four fumbles, to one of which a touchdown was appended, and intercepting six passes and achieving selection to the NFC Pro Bowl side, which, in the latter year, he was unable to play due to injury; in the former year, his third in the league, Carson was named to the all-NFC team and second all-NFL team by The Sporting News and selected by head coach John McVay as a team captain. Having sustained injury during the 1979 season and having exacerbated such injury prior to the 1980 season, Carson played in just eight Giants games during the latter season, but returned, aged 27 years, to play the 1981 season in its entirety, once more recovering a fumble and earning selection to the 1981 Pro Bowl, in which he contributed to the NFC's permitting the American Football Conference just seven points.

The 1982 season was shortened to nine weeks in view of a strike action undertaken by the National Football League Players' Association, but the 1983 season was fully played, and Carson, although able due to injury only to play ten games, earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection; he was joined in the Pro Bowl by Lawrence Taylor, the second selection in the first round of the 1981 draft and also a 1981 and 1982 selection and in each year the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, with whom Carson would qualify for four subsequent Pro Bowls and with Brad Van Pelt, Brian Kelley, Frank Marion, and whom Carson formed a linebacking corps, known often as the Crunch Bunch in view of its physical nature, that, between 1980 and 1983, combined to catch sixteen interceptions and recover sixteen fumbles.

July 20 to September 24, 2006

Fielding Harris Yost (April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football collegiate head coach and university athletic director, best known for having coached the University of Michigan Wolverines for 25 years, during which time his teams won four National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I consensus national championships, maintained—between 1901 and 1905—a four-season unbeaten streak, and captured ten Big Ten Conference championships, after the first of which his team won the first Rose Bowl Game ever contested, in part for which he was an inaugural inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

Born in Fairview, West Virginia, United States, Yost began his coaching career at the Universities of Nebraska (1898) and Kansas (1899), leading the teams to a combined record of 18 wins and three losses before, after a year during which he served on the coaching staff of the Stanford University Cardinal, assuming the Michigan coaching job.

During Yost's first season, the Wolverines team won all 10 regular season games they played, scoring 506 points whilst permitting none, before travelling to Pasadena, California, for a January 1, 1902, Rose Bowl against Stanford, which Michigan defeated 49–0, earning recognition as the nation's top collegiate team and, in 1936, retroactive national championship honors from the Helms Athletic Foundation.

Under Yost, the Wolverines would once more win all 11 games played during the 1902 season—for which the Helms Foundation again declared the team to have been national champion—and would finish the 1903 season having conceded just one draw over 12 games, although Princeton University, having won all 11 games the team played, was considered to have been the national champion.

Yost led Michigan to 22 more consecutive wins over the 1904 and 1905 seasons before the Wolverines finally fell to the Big Ten rival and eventual national champion University of Chicago, then coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg, in their 13th game in 1905 season. During Yost's first five years at Michigan, then, his teams won 55 games, lost one, and tied one, compiling a .974 winning percentage while outscoring opponents 2,821 to 42; the team's defensive success was credited largely to Yost's inventing the linebacker position, whilst the team's offensive success led to Yost's teams being labelled as Point-a-Minute squads.

The 1903 6–6 draw Yost's team permitted to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers was instrumental in the development of an interstate rivalry and a concomitant trophy: at Yost's direction, a Michigan student manager purchased a small earthenware jug from which Yost might drink during the game, and Yost (ostensibly inadverently) left his jug behind after the game. A Minnesota custodian found the jug and fans decorated it to commemorate the team's draw, writing to Yost that he might garner the trophy only upon his team's defeating Minnesota; the Little Brown Jug has devolved on the winner of the game betwixt the two schools since 1909.

July 5 to July 20, 2006

Image:Terry Bradshaw.jpg
Terry Paxton Bradshaw (born September 2, 1948) is a former American football quarterback and television commentator on FOX NFL Sunday, best known for having played fourteen seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers after having been drafted first overall in 1970, during which time he won four Super Bowl titles, during two of which he was named game most valuable player; earned Pro Bowl honors four times; claimed the 1978 league most valuable player award; was selected by Sports Illustrated magazine as its 1979 Sportsman of the Year; and ultimately earned election into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Bradshaw attended Woodlawn High School, captaining the school's football team to a championship game and participating in athletics, setting a national high school record in the javelin toss. Bradshaw matriculated at Louisiana Tech University, and, in 1969, as a junior, Bradshaw passed for 2,890 yards, ranking first amongst National Collegiate Athletic Association College Division (now Division II) players, and subsequently led his team to a 20-point win over Rice University in the Grantland Rice Bowl.

Having started every game of the subsequent season but having often been removed when the Bulldogs achieved an ostensibly insurmountable lead, Bradshaw passed for only 2,314 yards in his senior season and, in view of his playing in the less-than-prominent Gulf States Conference, did not receive consideration for the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards. Bradshaw performed well in the Senior Bowl, though, and was ranked as the best player in the 1970 NFL draft, in which he was selected by the Steelers, for whom he became starting quarterback the following season.

In 1972, Bradshaw, assisted by the Steel Curtain defense and running back Franco Harris, led the Steelers to the first of eight consecutive American Football Conference Central division championships, notably connecting with Harris for a touchdown in a 1972 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders in a play that came to be referred to as the Immaculate Reception. The Steelers, though, lost the AFC Championship game one week later to the Miami Dolphins.

June 18 to July 5, 2006

Billy Shaw
William Lewis Shaw (born December 15, 1938, in Natchez, Mississippi) is an American football offensive guard who is the only player never to have played in the National Football League to be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1999.

Shaw played on the offensive (as a guard and offensive tackle) and defense (as a linebacker) units while a collegian at the Georgia Institute of Technology, from which he was, in 1961, drafted by the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (in the 14th round, with the 184th overall selection) and the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (in the second round, with the seventh overall selection) and elected to play for the Bills, principally because he wanted to play at guard; the Cowboys intended to start Shaw as a linebacker.

Shaw played in eight consecutive AFL All-Star games between 1962 and 1969, during which time he was five times a first-team and twice a second-team all-league selection. Playing behind Shaw, quarterback Jack Kemp and running back Wray Carlton each qualified achieved All-Star status, with Kemp's winning the league most valuable player award in 1965. The Bills claimed the Eastern Division championship in three consecutive years and won the league championships after the 1964 and 1965 seasons.

Shaw also worked with other African-American Bills players in a group led by fullback Cookie Gilchrist to move the 1965 AFL All-Star game from New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Tulane Stadium of which it was scheduled to be played, to Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas, in order that black players would not have to endure likely refusals of service in New Orleans.

May 28 to June 18, 2006

Doug Flutie
Douglas Richard Flutie (born on October 23, 1962) is a former professional gridiron football player in the National Football League (American football) and Canadian Football League (Canadian football). His success as a quarterback is noteworthy because he is substantially smaller (standing 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m), and weighing 180 pounds (82 kg)) than most quarterbacks.

Within the United States he is perhaps best known for his career at Boston College, where his Hail Mary pass pass on November 23, 1984, is considered among the greatest moments in college football history; Flutie would win the Heisman Trophy and Walter Camp, Maxwell, and Davey O'Brien Awards later that year, in part because of his performance in that nationally-televised game against the University of Miami. In Canada, he is well known for his three Grey Cup victories (1992, 1996, 1997) in the CFL; he was also named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player six times, including four years consecutively from 1991 to 1994.

Doug Flutie was born in Manchester, Maryland, to Lebanese-American parents, but his family moved to Melbourne Beach, Florida, in 1968 and then again to Natick, Massachusetts, in 1976.

Flutie graduated from Natick High School, where he was an all-league performer in football, basketball, and baseball; in view of his stature, he was known to teammates as the wee one. He matriculated at Boston College, which was the only Division I-A university to have recruited him, in 1981, and became a starter for the Screamin' Eagles immediately upon his arrival.

March 4 to May 28, 2006

Jim L. Mora
James Lawrence (Jim) Mora (born November 19, 1961, Los Angeles, California) is the current head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He is the son of retired coach Jim E. Mora. Jim Mora is often mistakenly referred to as Jim Mora, Jr. Since the father and son do not share the same middle name, "junior" is not applicable. He was hired as head coach on January 9, 2004, previously working as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Mora played defensive back at the University of Washington from 1980 to 1983 appearing in two Rose Bowls.

February 26 to March 4, 2006

John Madden
John Earl Madden (born April 10, 1936, in Austin, Minnesota) is a former American football coach for the Oakland Raiders who later became an extremely popular TV football announcer, author, and commercial pitchman for various products and retailers. He won a Super Bowl as the Raiders head coach on January 9, 1977, but is perhaps best known for his nearly three-decade career as a broadcaster. That subsequent profession resulted in countless endorsement deals, including the popular, NFL-branded home video game series that has carried his name since 1991: Madden NFL.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 4, 2006.