Tony Momsen

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Tony Momsen
No. 28, 51
Tony Momsen.jpg
Date of birth (1928-01-29)January 29, 1928
Place of birth Toledo, Ohio
Date of death March 6, 1994(1994-03-06) (aged 66)
Place of death Columbus, Ohio
Career information
Position(s) Center, Linebacker
College Michigan
NFL draft 1951 / Round: 5 / Pick: 59
(By the Los Angeles Rams)
Career history
As player
1951 Pittsburgh Steelers
1952 Washington Redskins
1953 Calgary Stampeders
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1953
Career stats

Anton Henry "Tony" Momsen, Jr. (January 29, 1928 – March 6, 1994) was an American football center in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins. He played college football at the University of Michigan in 1945, 1949 and 1950, and is most remembered for scoring the winning touchdown in the 1950 Snow Bowl game between Michigan and Ohio State.

Early years[edit]

Momsen was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1928. He was the son of Rose and Anton Momsen, Sr.[1] He attended Toledo's Libbey High School where he was a star athlete in football, basketball and track.[1] In 1944, he was selected as the first-team center on the Associated Press All-Ohio football team. In announcing the selection, the AP quoted an Ohio coach who said, "Momsen was one of the finest linebackers I have ever seen. He diagnoses plays rapidly, is extremely fast and a terrific tackler."[2] He was also an all-city and all-state basketball player.[3]

University of Michigan[edit]

Momsen enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1945. In November 1945, when Michigan's starting center, Harold Watts, was transferred for additional Navy training, Momsen became a starter at center for the 1945 football team.[4][5][6]

After the 1945 season, Momsen withdrew from school. He entered the military.[7] He also married and had two children.[8] In 1947, he played football for Bob Snyder's Grills in the City Federation football league.[9]

In the winter of 1949, Momsen returned to the University of Michigan.[7] Momsen played center and linebacker for the 1949 and 1950 Michigan football teams.[10][11]

Momsen is most remembered for his role in the famed 1950 Snow Bowl game against Ohio State. The game matched Momsen against his younger brother, Robert "Buckeye Bob" Momsen, who was a starter for Ohio State.[8] The game was played in a blizzard, with weather conditions so inclement that Michigan punted on first down for its first two plays from scrimmage, after concluding that the best strategy was to keep the slick ball on the other side of the field and in the hands of Ohio State.[12] The Buckeyes scored when Vic Janowicz kicked a field goal after Robert Momsen recovered a blocked Wolverine kick. With 47 seconds remaining in the first half, Tony Momsen blocked a Janowicz punt and fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The Wolverines won by a final score of 9-3. Momsen, who scored the game's only touchdown was remembered as "the hero of a brilliant forward wall."[13] Bob Momsen later recalled, "Two brothers got more publicity for playing in a terrible football game than anyone ever deserves."[14]

The win over Ohio State sent Michigan to the 1951 Rose Bowl against California. In the lead-up to the Rose Bowl, the Los Angeles Times gave credit to linement Roger Zatkoff and Momsen for leading Michigan's defense: "Zatkoff and Tony Momsen, the other backer-upper in Michigan's usual six-man line defense, are the main reasons why Michigan topped the Big Ten in throttling opponents."[15]

Professional football[edit]

Momsen was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of the 1951 NFL Draft. He signed with the Rams in July 1951,[16] but he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 1951 NFL season started. Momsen appeared in 11 games, all as a backup for the 1951 Steelers. In August 1952, Momsen was traded to the Washington Redskins.[17] Momsen appeared in two games for the 1952 Redskins before being released on October 7, 1952.[18]

In 1953, Momsen played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Western Interprovincial Football League. In 1954, Momsen was in the Toronto Argonauts organization. He quit the Argonauts in August 1954 after being told he would play for the Argonauts' farm team.[19]

Later years[edit]

After retiring from football, Momsen worked as a cement contractor and built customized golf clubs. He lived in Sunrise, Florida for the last 25 years of his life.[1] In March 1994, he died at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, due to complications following hip replacement surgery.[1] Three weeks after Momsen's death, Libbey High School announced that Momsen would be included among the initial inductess into the Libbey High School Hall of Fame.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Anton "Tony" Momsen, Jr.". Toledo Blade. 1994-03-08. 
  2. ^ "What They Have To Say About Stars: A. P. Selections Standout Performers During 1944 Campaign". Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio. 1944-12-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Libbey To Induct 24 Into New Hall". Toledo Blade. 1994-03-31. 
  4. ^ "Key Michigan Players Prepare For Purdue Game On Training Table: Yerges May Get Into Game, But Hardly Teninga; Momsen Looks Good At Center; Crisler Tries Replacements". The News-Palladium (AP story). 1945-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Michigan Center Substitute Has Dream Come True: Tony Momsen Ready To Start in Game Against Purdue 11". Owosso Argus-Press. 1945-11-13. 
  6. ^ "1945 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. 
  7. ^ a b "1945 VETERAN AIDS MICHIGAN'S DEFENSE PLANS". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1949-09-02. 
  8. ^ a b "Brothers Opponents In Ohio-Michigan Contest". Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio (UP story). 1950-11-22. 
  9. ^ "Momsen Scores Twice For Grills: Ex-Michigan Player Does Well In Fed Tilt". Toledo Blade. 1947-10-06. 
  10. ^ "1949 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. 
  11. ^ "1950 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. 
  12. ^ "The Ohio State - University of Michigan 'Snow Bowl' Game of 1950". 
  13. ^ "Wolverines Top Ohio State, 9-3, in Great Battle: Blocked Kick Gives Wolves Winning Touchdown (UP story)". Wisconsin State Journal. 1950-11-26. 
  14. ^ Tim May (1998-11-20). "MOMSEN BROTHERS SPARKLE IN SNOW BOWL 1950 MICHIGAN - 9; OHIO STATE – 3". Columbus Dispatch. 
  15. ^ Al Wolf (1950-12-22). "Sportraits". Los Angeles Times. 
  16. ^ "Tony Momsen Signed By Los Angeles Rams". Ironwood Daily Globe. 1951-07-10. 
  17. ^ Jack Sell (1952-08-08). "Steelers Get Big Tackle In Trade For Tony Momsen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  18. ^ "Redskins Release Momsen". The New York Times. 1952-10-07. 
  19. ^ "Argonauts Drop Two Americans". The Lethbridge Herald (CP story). 1954-08-20.