Football News Headlines
NOTE: The intent of the News Section is not to dwell on negative stories that are more suited to be found in the Police and Crime Section of your local newspaper, but to report and document stories that cover the entire realm of The World of Football. Chances are, you may not have seen some of these stories before.
(Obituary) May 20, 2018 – Billy Cannon, who played halfback and tight end in college and in the AFL and NFL, dies at the age of 80. Cannon played college football at LSU. In 1958, his junior season, he helped lead the Tigers to an undefeated season and a national championship. He also won the 1959 Heisman Trophy. Cannon was selected with the first overall pick in the 1960 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He signed with the Rams but also secretly signed a contract to play for the Houston Oilers of the new American Football League. Both leagues wanted the star college player and his playing future was eventually decided in court when a judge awarded Cannon to the Oilers. He played for Houston from 1960-1963 and won the first two AFL titles with the team in 1960 and 1961. He was then traded to the Oakland Raiders and played there from 1964-1969, winning a third AFL championship in 1967. He finished his playing career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970. After his playing career was over, he went to the dental school at the University of Tennessee and became a dentist. Cannon was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
(AAF) May 18, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football announced that Phoenix will be the league’s fifth team city. Rick Neuheisel will be the head coach.
(Obituary) May 16, 2018 – Andy Johnson, who played in the NFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 65. Johnson played college football at the University of Georgia where he played quarterback. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and made the switch to running back. He played for the Patriots from 1974-1982. In 1983, he signed with the Boston Breakers of the United States Football League. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
(AAF) May 16, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football announced that Salt Lake City will be the fourth team city for new league. Memphis, Atlanta and Orlando are the other cities that have been announced so far.
(Obituary) May 13, 2018 – Chuck Knox, who was a head coach in the NFL for 22 years, dies at the age of 86. Knox was an assistant coach in the NFL with the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions before becoming the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1973-1977. He was on the Jets coaching staff that won Super Bowl III. Knox was also the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1978-1982, the Seattle Seahawks from 1983-1991 and the Rams again from 1992-1994. His teams relied heavily on the running game, which is why his offense was known as “Ground Chuck.” Knox was inducted into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor in 2005.
(Obituary) May 12, 2018 – Billy Brewer, a college football coach, dies at the age of 82. Brewer played quarterback in college at Ole Miss and was an assistant coach at Division I-AA Southeastern Louisiana from 1974 to 1979. His first head coaching job was at Louisiana Tech from 1980-1981 where he guided the team to the 1982 Southland Conference title and the Division I-AA Playoffs. He went on to be the head coach at Ole Miss for 11 seasons from 1983 to 1993. He led the team to five bowl appearances, winning three bowl games. He was named the 1986 SEC Coach of the Year.
(AAF) May 4, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football announced that Memphis, TN will be the third host city for an AAF team in 2019. The new league had previously announced Orlando and Atlanta as cities where teams will be located.
(CFL) May 3, 2018 - With the first overall pick in the 2018 Canadian Football League Player Draft, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats select WR Mark Chapman from Central Michigan University. A total of 69 players were selected during the eight rounds of the draft by the nine CFL teams.
(NFL) April 28, 2018 – With the final pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (#256, a.k.a. Mr. Irrelevant) the Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Trey Quinn from SMU.
(NFL) April 26, 2018 – With the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Oklahoma.
(Obituary) April 23, 2018 – Bennie Cunningham, who played tight end in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 63. Cunningham played college football at Clemson and was selected in the first round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played for the Steelers from 1976-1985 and won two Super Bowls with the team in 1979 and 1980. After his playing career was over, he returned to Clemson and earned a Masters Degree in secondary education. He had a long career as a high school guidance counselor.
(Obituary) April 20, 2018 - Earl Bruce, a college football head coach for 19 seasons, dies at the age of 87. Bruce was on the Ohio State freshman football team in 1950 but suffered a career ending knee injury. He then became a student coach at the school after that. He was the head coach at Iowa State from 1973-1978 and the head coach at Ohio State from 1979-1987. In his nine seasons at OSU, he led the Buckeyes to a record of 81-26-1, four Big Ten titles and a national championship in 1979. Bruce then went on to be the head coach at Colorado State from 1989-1992. He also spent time coaching at the University of Tampa and Northern Iowa. He also coached professionally in the Arena Football League and was the head coach of the Cleveland Thunderbirds (1994), St. Louis Stampede (1995-1996), Iowa Barnstormers (2003) and Columbus Destroyers (2004). Bruce was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Ohio State Hall of Fame in 2004.
(Obituary) April 8, 2018 – Joe McConnell, a longtime radio play-by play announcer, dies at the age of 79. Between 1971 and 1998, McConnell spent 23 seasons in the NFL calling games for the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Oilers. He broadcast Northwestern football games in 1988 and was the voice of Purdue football for 16 seasons from 1994-2009. He also called college basketball games, NBA games and Major League Baseball games, as well as three Super Bowls. He is a member of the Indiana Broadcasters Pioneers Hall of Fame and was named the Associated Press and United Press International Play-by-Play Sportscaster of the Year five times. He was named the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year in 1981 and was the Indiana Sportscaster of the Year in 2000.
(AAF) April 7, 2018 – The new Alliance of American Football announced the location of its first team and its first head coach. The team will play in Orlando and the head coach will be former Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier, who also was a head coach in college, the NFL and the USFL.
(Obituary) April 3, 2018 – Bill Rademacher, who played both receiver and defensive back in the NFL, dies at the age of 75. Rademacher played college football at Northern Michigan University and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Jets in 1964. He played for the Jets from 1964-1968 and the Boston Patriots from 1969-1970. Rademacher was a member of the Super Bowl III team that beat the Baltimore Colts. After his NFL career, he returned to his alma mater and served as the Wildcats head coach from 1978-1982. He was also an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1983-1991. Rademacher was inducted into the Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame in 1983.
(Obituary) March 27, 2018 – David Humm, a backup quarterback in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 65. Humm played college football at Nebraska and led the team to three Top Ten ranked seasons. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played in Oakland from 1975-1979. He also played for the Buffalo Bills in 1980 and the Baltimore Colts in 1981 and 1982. He finished his playing career with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1983 and 1984. Humm won two Super Bowl rings during his playing career with the Raiders, one with Oakland in 1977 and another in Los Angeles in 1984.
(Obituary) March 27, 2018 – James “Quick” Parker, who played 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League as a defensive lineman, dies of a heart attack at the age of 60. Parker played college football at Wake Forest. He played for the Edmonton Eskimos form 1980-1983. He then played for the British Columbia Lions from 1984-1989 and in 1984, he recorded a league record 26.5 sacks in a season, a record which still stands today. He finished his playing career with the Toronto Argonauts in 1990 and 1991. His trademark was wearing a seagull feather on is helmet during games. He won four Grey Cup titles during his career, three straight with Eskimos (1980-1982) and another with the Lions (1985). He tried his hand at coaching the defensive line for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1992 and 1993 before opening a restaurant in Vancouver right across the street from the Lions stadium. Parker was inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame along with his Edmonton teammate, quarterback Warren Moon.
(Obituary) March 15, 2018 – Tom Benson, the owner of the NFL New Orleans Saints and the NBA New Orleans Pelicans, dies at the age of 90. Benson was a self-made billionaire through the banking industry and owning car dealerships. He bought the Saints in 1985 and the Pelicans in 2012. At the time, the Saints had never had a winning season since it began playing in 1967. He also owned the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League from 2004-2008. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and the Saints stadium. The Superdome was turned into a temporary shelter for those who were displaced in the wake of the hurricane. The Saints were forced to play their home games at the Alamodome in San Antonio during the 2005 season. In 2014, Benson made a $10 million donation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to help pay for renovations to Fawcett Stadium. He also donated another $1 million towards a planned retirement home for ex-players to be built near the Hall of Fame. Fawcett Stadium was renamed Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in his honor and a bronze statue of Benson was unveiled at the stadium last August. The Saints won their first Super Bowl under Benson’s ownership in February 2010 over the Indianapolis Colts.
(Obituary) March 14, 2018 - Billy Martin, who played tight end in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 75. Martin was known as The Jolly Giant because he stood six-feet, four-inches tall. He played college football at Georgia Tech and was selected in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He was also selected in the second round of the rival American Football League Draft that same year by the Kansas City Chiefs. Martin signed with the Bears and played in Chicago in 1964 and 1965. He was then selected by the Atlanta Falcons in an Expansion Draft in 1966 and played for the Falcons in 1966 and 1967. He ended his playing career with the Minnesota Vikings in 1968.
(Obituary) March 9, 2018 – Chris Gedney, who played tight end in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 47. The cause of death was not immediately known. Gedney played college football at Syracuse and was selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played for the Bears from 1993-1995 and then for the Arizona Cardinals in 1997, 1998 and 2000. After his playing career was over, he went into broadcasting. He spent time as a color analyst for Cardinals NFL games and then returned to Syracuse as the Senior Associate Athletic Director and was also part of the football broadcasts. Gedney was named to the school’s All-Century Football Team in 2002.
(Obituary) March 1, 2018 – Dorne Dibble, who played six seasons in the NFL, dies at the age of 88. Dibble played college football at Michigan State and was drafted in the third round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played offensive end and defensive back for Detroit in 1951 and 1953-1957. He did not play in 1952 because he was serving in the U.S. Air Force. He won two NFL titles while playing for the Lions in 1953 and 1957. Dibble was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
(Obituary) February 19, 2018 – Fred Carr, who played linebacker in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 71. Carr started out at the junior college level and helped lead Phoenix College to a national championship as a freshman in 1964. He then played football at Texas Western, which today as known as UTEP. He was selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and played in Green Bay from 1968-1977.
(Obituary) February 15, 2018 – Leo Cahill, a former head coach and general manager in the Canadian Football League, dies at the age of 89. Cahill played college football at the University of Illinois and played in the 1947 Rose Bowl. He started out as an assistant college football coach at Illinois and then had stops at Toledo and South Carolina. He became an assistant coach in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes in 1960. From 1967-1972 and from 1977-1978 he was the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. In 1974 and 1975 he was the general manager of the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League. Cahill also spent time as the general manager of the Argonauts from 1986-1988. He also served as a color commentator for CFL telecasts on CBC between 1981 and 1985. Cahill was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
(Obituary) February 9, 2018 – Jim Garrett, the father of Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, dies at the age of 87. Jim started out as an assistant NFL coach with thein 1970 and was the head coach of the of the World Football League in 1974. He also spent time as an assistant coach and the . Garrett served as a college football head coach at the Coast Guard Academy, Lehigh, Susquehanna and Columbia. From 1987 to 2004, Jim Garrett was a player scout for the Cowboys.
(Obituary) February 8, 2018 – Ben Agajanian, a place kicker who played in three different pro football leagues, dies at the age of 98. Agajanian played college football at New Mexico. In 1941, he lost four toes on his right foot in an industrial accident. His pro football career began in 1945 at the age of 42 when he played for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He then played for the Los Angeles Dons of the All American Football Conference in 1947 and 1948. In 1949 he played one season for the New York Giants and in 1953 he played for the Los Angeles Rams. He returned to the play for the Giants from 1954-1957. In 1960, he played for the Los Angeles Chargers of the American Football League, his third pro league. He was playing for the AFL Dallas Texans in 1961 when Vince Lombardi make a secret trade for Agajanian for come to the Green Bay Packers. At the time, the AFL and NFL were rivals and were not allowed to make trades with each other. He finished his playing career with the AFL Oakland Raiders in 1962 and the AFL San Diego Chargers in 1964. His nicknames included “Bootin’ Ben” and “The Toeless Wonder.” He is credited with being the first kicking specialist in pro football. He won two NFL titles during his career; one with the Giants in 1956 and another with the Packers in 1961.
(NFL) February 4, 2018 – The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. The game was played in Minneapolis in front of 67,612 fans.
(Obituary) February 4, 2018 – Jim Stillwagon, who played in the CFL, dies at the age of 68. Stillwagon played college football at Ohio State and was a defensive tackle. He helped lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated season in 1968 and a college football national championship. He was then selected in the fifth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, but he never played for the Packers. Instead he signed with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League played for the Argos for five seasons from 1971-1975. He was a three-time CFL All-Star and was named an All-Time Argo in 2009.
(Obituary) February 4, 2018 – Edwin Jackson, a linebacker in the NFL, dies in a car crash at the age of 26. Jackson and another person were standing next to a car on the side of the road about 4 AM when they were hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver. Jackson played college football at Georgia Southern and was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals. He then signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2016 and played in all 16 games for the Colts. Jackson was placed on Injured reserve for the entire 2017 season.
(NFL) February 3, 2018 – The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was announced. The eight new members are linebacker Robert Brazile (Houston Oilers), safety Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos), guard Jerry Kramer (Green Bay Packers), linebacker Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens), wide receiver Randy Moss (Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers), wide receiver Terrell Owens (San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals), linebacker Brian Urlacher (Chicago Bears), contributor Bobby Beathard (Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers).
(Obituary) January 20, 2018 – Jerry Keeling, a two-way player in the Canadian Football League for 15 seasons, dies at the age of 78. Keeling played college football at the University of Tulsa and signed with the Calgary Stampeders in 1961. He played quarterback and defensive back for Calgary from 1961-1972, winning a Grey Cup title with the team in 1971. He also played for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1973-1975 and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1975. He won a second Grey Cup championship in 1973 with Ottawa. As a quarterback, he completed a 109-yard touchdown pass in 1966 and on defense, he had a 102-yard fumble return in 1964. After he retired as a player, he returned to Calgary as an assistant coach in 1982 and 1983. Keeling was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and was added to the Stampeders Wall of Fame in 1990.
(Obituary) January 12, 2018 – Keith Jackson, the legendary college football broadcaster, dies at the age of 89. After spending time in the Marine Corps, Jackson attended Washington State University and received a degree in broadcast journalism in 1954. He spent 10 years at ABC station KOMO in Seattle doing news and sports before he became the sports director of ABC Radio West. He then began broadcasting college football for ABC Sports in 1966. When ABC’s “Monday Night Football” was introduced 1970, Jackson was the play-by-play broadcaster and worked alongside Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. However, he was replaced by former New York Giants star, Frank Gifford after just one season on the show. He returned to broadcasting college football games in 1971 and became the voice of college football for a generation of fans over the next 30 years. The National Sports Media Association named Jackson Sportscaster of the Year five consecutive years, from 1972 to 1976. Jackson also worked USFL games from 1983-1985. Over the years he also worked baseball, NBA and college basketball games and even auto racing. He worked 10 Summer and Winter Olympics and appeared on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports.” He is credited with being the first to refer to the Rose Bowl as “The Granddaddy of Them All” and Michigan Stadium as “The Big House.” His signature phrase was “Whoa Nelly.” His last game was the 2006 Rose Bowl. He was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009.
(College) January 8, 2018 - Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime to with the college football national championship. It was the Crimson Tide's fifth title since 2009 and its 12th since 1961.
(College/FCS) January 6, 2018 - The #2 ranked North Dakota State Bison defeated the #1 ranked James Madison Dukes 17-13 to win the national championship of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA. The Bison won their sixth national title in seven years and their 14th title overall since 1965. The Dukes were the defending DII national champions.
(Obituary) January 4, 2018 – Carmen “Carm” Cozza, the legendary coach at Yale University, dies at the age of 87. Cozza played college football at Miami (Ohio) where he played quarterback, running back and defensive back. He became the school’s freshman football coach in 1956 and move up to the varsity staff in 1961. He became an assistant coach at Yale in 1963 and the head coach there in 1965. He remained the head coach at Yale for 32 years, from 1965-1996 and posted a record of 179-119-5. He led the Bulldogs to 10 Ivy League titles and was the winningest coach in Ivy League history at the time of his retirement. After he retired, he became a special assistant to the Athletic Director at Yale as well as doing color commentary during Bulldog football game through 2016. Cozza was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.