Tag Archives: Football

The Game of Football


I found this in the Tar Heel Archives and running it today.

The game of football has been my favorite go to sport since I was a kid – and I wanted to play as long as I can remember.

But I sucked.

Part of it might have been that I wasn’t good but part of THAT is that I wasn’t willing to trade getting tackled for scoring touchdowns.  I like to think, in part, that I traded my mind for my body.

That said – I can’t let my son play the game; the trade off isn’t worth it.  And earlier this year a legend of the game agreed with me:

Football great Mike Ditka says that, if he had an 8-year-old son right now, he wouldn’t let him play football. He made the remarks in an episode of HBO’s Real Sports, which will air tonight.

The Chicago Tribune has the exchange:

Ditka: “If you had an 8-year-old kid now, would you tell him you want him to play football?”

Gumbel: “I wouldn’t. Would you?”

Ditka: “Nope. That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”

The HBO piece will focus on drug use by the 1985 Chicago bears.

There have been numerous stories about the 1985 Chicago Bears, but none quite like this.

The upcoming edition of “Real Sports” (9 p.m. Tuesday, HBO) will feature a report by Bryant Gumbel that chronicles the players on that team using excessive painkillers and narcotics to overcome injuries and get back on the field. The report says that contributed to many of the former Bears players being severely debilitated nearly 30 years later.

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka even said if he had a young son today, he wouldn’t allow him to play football. Gumbel calls the ’85 Bears football’s “ultimate cautionary tale.”

Last May, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive end Richard Dent and offensive tackle Keith Van Horne were among a group of retired players who accused the league in a lawsuit of supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of more than 500 former players.

And So Is The Beginning Of The End Of The NFL

I can’t say I don’t have mixed feelings:

“A Colorado jury has awarded $11.5 million in a lawsuit originally brought against helmet maker Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches over brain injuries suffered by a teenager in 2008.” While the jury rejected the plaintiff’s claim of design defect, it accepted the theory that the helmet maker should have done more to warn of concussions. “The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for Rhett Ridolfi’s injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages.” Riddell has been hit with a wave of lawsuits from both school and professional football players.

It’s over people.

An Old Football Coach With the Most Wins in History

To say the least, there’s been a lot of attention on the Penn State football program.  Joe Pa, one of the greatest coaches in any sport, was forced out in disgrace as reports became public of wide spread child abuse in the program.

But I’m not here to talk about Joe today.  I wanna mention a guy with more wins and less attention.  His name is John Gagliardi.  And he coaches in Minnesota at St. John’s University located in Collegeville.  He’s a legend:

At the age of 22, with six years of high school coaching, Gagliardi was hired at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. In four seasons as head coach at Carroll, Gagliardi compiled a 24–6–1 record, winning three Montana Collegiate Conference championships. After the 1952 season, Gagliardi left Carroll for the Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota

Did’ja get that?  At the ripe old age of 22, John had 6 years of high school coaching under his belt.

John Gagliardi began coaching football in 1943 at the age of 16 when his high school coach was called into service during World War II. He was a player-coach his senior year of high school and continued to coach high school football while obtaining his college degree at Colorado College.

At 16 he is a player/coach in high school and continues to coach while attending college.  This guy is a stud.

He is currently the head football coach at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, a position he has held since 1953. From 1949 to 1952, he was the head football coach at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. With a career record of 483–133–11, Gagliardi has the most wins of any coach in college football history. His Saint John’s Johnnies teams have won four national titles: the NAIA National Football Championship in 1963 and 1965, and the NCAA Division III National Football Championship in 1976 and 2003. Gagliardi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. With Chris Ault, he is one of two active coaches in the Hall of Fame.

John is the winningest coach in college history.  Joe Pa sits at 409; 74 behind John.  Seventy ‘effin four.

And he’s comin’ back for more:

St. John’s coach John Gagliardi — college football’s winningest coach — has decided to return for his 60th season directing the Johnnies. St. John’s finished 6-4 thanks to a season-ending four-game winning streak that helped convince Gagliardi to return.

“For awhile there, I thought maybe I had lost it,” Gagliardi told Frank Rajkowski of the St. Cloud Times. “But we came back and started playing good football. That helped a lot.”

John is 85 years old.  He’s been coaching football for damn near 70 years.  When asked what he’d do if he gave up the game?

“I don’t know anything else,” said Gagliardi, 85. “What else should I be doing? Am I going to take a trip to Italy or go climbing the Himalayas? I don’t want to do any of those things. There are days I don’t even like going into St. Cloud.”