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Facts, Stories and Accomplishments of Jim Marshall
"THE NFL'S GREATEST IRON MAN"
We have put together some facts & stories about Jim Marshall and a nice list of Jim's personal accomplishments including on and off the field. Please use this information about Jim Marshall to provide an informed request to help get Jim Marshall elected into the Hall of Fame.
# 70 Minnesota Vikings
Jim's first football experience came at East High School in Columbus, Ohio. Jim played on two undefeated teams and earned many honors including All City, All State and High School All American. Jim was chosen to play in the High School All Star game his senior year.
Jim's college experience was at Ohio State University. During Jim's college career, his teams won two National Championships and one Rose Bowl. In one game against Purdue, Jim scored all the points to win the game from his tackle position. One touchdown on an intercepted pass another on a fumble and he also kicked both extra points. The game ended with the score 14-0. Jim earned All American at OSU and is a member of the OSU Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Jim was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League but chose to play his first year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League. After one year in Canada, Jim returned to play with the Cleveland Browns and was a starter. When the Minnesota Vikings entered the NFL, Jim was traded to them just before their first game and was a starter for the next nineteen years. Jim retired after 20 NFL seasons and holds NFL records for playing 282 consecutive games, 20 consecutive seasons without missing a game, 270 consecutive games with one team, 19 consecutive seasons with one team without missing a game, 29 fumble recoveries and one wrong way run (the longest safety in Pro Football history).
Jim's career marks are as follows; 409 games (pre-season,
season, post season and pro-bowls), *1050 + tackles (league and post season
games), *133 + sacks (league and post season games). Jim was captain
of the Vikings for 17 years. His teams won 11 Divisional Championships,
1 with the Cleveland Browns and 10 with the Minnesota Vikings. He
played in 4 Super Bowls.
OFF THE FIELD
Jim has participated in a wide variety of civic and volunteer activities. In 1975, he helped create a community based program called "Christmas for Kids". He participated in establishing a transportation company for handicapped and senior citizens, owned and operated by the handicapped and senior citizens. He also has worked with many different scholarship funds to help send inner city kids to college.
Jim has worked as a volunteer for the Special Olympics and the Courage Center in Golden Valley, MN. In 1991, Jim volunteered as a Youth coordinator at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Sumner Olson Resident Council. Both were located in a Minneapolis public housing project. Jim is involved in fund raising for The Ronald McDonald House, The Children's Miracle Network and many other worthwhile organizations that support kids in need.
Jim's professional experience includes: Stock Broker (licensed by the NYSE), Real Estate Agent, Life Insurance Agent, Securities Agent (all licensed by the State of Minnesota), Viking Limousine Service (owner), National Safety Associates (sales agent), Premier Industrial Corporation (district sales manager), CBS Sports Commentator, USO (Southeast Asia), State Department, Viking Communication Corporation (owner).
As Vice President of the National Center for Housing Management, Jim was in charge of National Programs which included the administration of "The Lead Program". Its focus was seeding public housing communities with collage and professional athletes trained in housing management. Jim served on the Youth Summit Convention Committee in of 1993. The convention was held in June of 1993 in Washington D.C. This Convention was sponsored by HUD and the Justice Department. Jim has served on the Nurturing Children and Youth Vision Council for the United Way. Jim has also been appointed as a "Public Member" on the Chemical Dependency Counceling, Advisory Council by the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. He serves with other members to implement the licensure system for chemical dependency counselors in the State of Minnesota. His term expires December 31st, 2002. Jim is President of The National Football League Retired Players Association (Minnesota Chapter), elected July of 1995 and served until July 1998. On April 15, 1999 Jim received The Minneapolis Urban League's Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jim co-founded Professional Sports Linkage Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping inner-city youth realize their innate potential and find a better way of life than doing drugs to participating in gang warfare. In January of 1999, PSL changed its name to Life's Missing Link Inc. LML's goal is to continue to teach our youths the rules of "The Game of Life" and how to become happy, productive, successful members of our society. Jim is President, Director of Development and Public Relations for Life's Missing Link.
Jim has traveled and made appearances throughout the world
(Argentina, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Great Britain, Japan, Laos, Mexico,
Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam) in his quest to
raise the quality of life of youths today. He has been recognized as a
motivating public speaker by 3M, IBM, Standard Oil, Chevron, Pam Oil Company,
Pillsbury, Children's Miracle Network, Boy Scouts of America, United Way,
Muscular Dystrophy Association, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Viking Children's
Fund, YMCA, YWCA and many others. Jim has been a guest lecturer at the
University of St. Thomas Department of Entrepreneurship and West Virginia
University, health Sciences and Technology Academy.
|Sports Illustrated - Dec. 24 - 31, 1979
"A Man for 20 seasons" by Anthony Cotton
Old Indestructible, Jim Marshall of the Vikings, retires
after 302 straight games
Last Sunday in Foxboro, Mass., Jim Marshall, age 41 did what has come naturally to him on autumn Sundays for the past 19 years. He lined up at right defensive end for the start of a Minnesota Vikings game. There were no marching bands or half-time ceremonies, only a brief P.A. announcement that this time would be the last time for Jim Marshall.
The big good-bye had been said the previous Sunday in Bloomington, Minn., where Marshall was honored for his long service with the Vikings. After he rode around Metropolitan Stadium in an old red convertible, Marshall was toasted by his teammates at midfield before the game against the Buffalo Bills.
In that game Marshall sacked Quarterback Joe Ferguson twice, and he even played offensive tackle during the Vikings' final series. Minnesota won 10-3, and at the end Marshall was carried off the field by his teammates, with the game ball—the first one ever given to a Viking player by Coach Bud Grant—in his right hand and tears in his eyes.
So it really doesn't matter that the New England fans didn't fully appreciate what they were seeing. For against the Patriots, Marshall was playing his 282nd consecutive regular season game—every game after the 224th, in 1975, was an NFL iron-man record. This man had been in professional football before there was a franchise in New England. He played in Canada for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1959 after leaving Ohio State a year early and then joined the Cleveland Browns in 1960. Minnesota traded for Marshall, and beginning with the Vikings' inaugural game against the Chicago Bears in 1961, he has started in every regular and post season contest the Vikings have played—302 in all.
Marshall's record for longevity and durability may never be equaled in the NFL, where the average defensive lineman survives only 4.5 years and players other than quarterbacks don't last that long. How, then, was Marshall, who came into the league at 6'3" and 220 pounds and is leaving at 6'4" and 235 pounds, able to play pro football for 21 seasons?
"Jim would say it's the vitamins he takes or transcendental meditation or something else, but it's not true," says Fred Zamberletti, the Vikings' trainer for the past 19 years. "I've seen all that stuff come and go with him. He's just one of those people who has been blessed with a great body." Grant agrees, calling Marshall "a physiological impossibility. He just doesn't rip, bust or tear."
Marshall himself says his career endured so long because he wanted it to. "Why can't I play football until I'm 42? Only because someone my age isn't supposed to be able to. That's the mind's negative programming. The human body is the only thing we have that we can control to some degree, and the mental controls the physical. There are things we are physically capable of doing but push away from because our minds tell us to."
In his effort to "make the mind and body totally harmonious," Marshall has given a lot of thought to human behavior, and he has been able to play week after week despite the ankle sprains and concussions that might have sidelined lesser men. Twice Marshall kept his streak intact by walking out of hospitals where he was recuperating, once from pneumonia and this season from ulcers. On another occasion he played after accidentally shooting himself in the side while cleaning a shotgun.
Strangely, Marshall was regularly on the disabled list during the off season, victim of a life-style that produced any number of close calls. He is an avid sky diver, scuba diver, and snowmobiler. On one trip in the Wyoming mountains, Marshall's party was trapped in a blizzard, and the group's snowmobiles conked out. One man froze to death in the waist-high snow. Marshall and the others had to resort to burning their money to produce heat.
Throughout his career Marshall stayed out of the spotlight. In the Purple People Eaters' heyday, Alan Page and Carl Eller received most of the attention—not Marshall, not Tackle Gary Larsen. When Page left the Vikings for the Bears and Eller departed for Seattle, publicity focused on their replacements, not on Marshall.
When this season began, Marshall was used only sparingly, sometimes giving way to Randy Holloway as early as the third or fourth defensive series. Critics said Grant was succumbing to sentimentality in keeping Marshall's streak alive at Holloway's expense. Marshall was philosophical about the situation. "For the future of the team, it had to happen," he said of his benchings. "When you play, it's like you're an artist. You put the colors on the canvas and see what happens. Maybe what I'm doing now is helping mix the colors. Things will work themselves out."
While Holloway was breaking in, Marshall was called on when Minnesota found itself in crucial situations—which happened all too often this season. His performance in the tight spots earned him more and more playing time.
"All the time you're trying to refine what you do on the field, trying to fit it into the overall picture," he says. "If you do that, you can put your energy where it's needed, when it's needed, as opposed to putting your foot to the floor and burning yourself out."
By playing at his own sweet pace, Marshall avoided the trauma of the final days of Page and Eller, who were unceremoniously shipped out after what were considered poor seasons. "Sometimes you can go to a store and buy something that's very good for next to nothing because the store owners just want to get rid of it or start a new model," Marshall says. "That's their opinion, but you just hate to see something like we had severed."
What they had, according to Marshall, revolutionized football. "At our peak," he says, "we changed the game. Rules were passed to help teams adjust to us. The new holding rules, the outlawing of the head slap—that was because of the things we did. We were like a SWAT team, a strike task force—quick and agile. Apart, we were entirely different, but put us together and we clicked. It got to the point where I knew what the others were going to do the moment they started it. It was just understood."
Despite his positive achievements, Marshall is probably best remembered around the NFL as Wrong Way Marshall. In 1964 he scooped up a fumble, carried it 66 yards into the end zone and then jubilantly tossed the ball toward the stands. Trouble was, it was the wrong end zone. "I was so intent on picking the ball up and doing something with it that I wasn't even aware of what I had done until the ball had been whistled dead," Marshall recalls. "It was the perfect example of a young player using energy without thinking.
There was no such problem when Marshall made his decision to retire, a choice that pleased his wife, Anita. "I'm glad it's done," she says. "It has been fun, but inside you knew it had to end sometime. There were two ways that it could end—on top with dignity or the other way. I like the ‘on top with dignity.'"
Marshall agrees, "I always said I would play as long as I could contribute and the team needed me, and I still feel like I could play another year or two, but it's time for a change," he says. "I'm a talented individual, and now I have to let those talents take me elsewhere.
"But everything is still so fresh to me. Some people saw the game as a drudgery, but things were always changing too fast for that to be true. Strictly speaking, it's still a game of moving the ball up and down the field, but things are more sophisticated, more disciplined now than five years ago, let alone 20. Back then someone like Big Daddy Lipscomb could cross the line of scrimmage and handle the entire offensive backfield through sheer physical ability. Today's defenses are too complex for that because of the roles each player has, because of the things offenses can do. Someone like Big Daddy isn't going to happen today."
And it's doubtful that another Jim Marshall will come along tomorrow.
|Total Football - copyright Harper Collins
"The 300 Greatest Players"
Defensive End. 6-4, 235. Ohio State
Marshall played a league-record
282 consecutive games for the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings ---
302 counting his playoff appearances --- over 21 seasons, and that doesn't
count one season in 1959 with Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League
while he was waiting to become eligible for the 1960 NFL draft (he left
Ohio State a year before his class graduated).