Joseph Paul Schmidt
(born January 19, 1932) is a former American football
player and coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. His 13-year career with the National Football League
's Detroit Lions
gained him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Schmidt grew up in Pittsburgh
in the borough of Brentwood
and attended the University of Pittsburgh
, playing on the school's football team for three years from 1950–1952. His hard-nosed play and leadership were an integral part of the team during those three years, with his inspirational pre-game speech helping the Panthers upset a heavily-favored team from the University of Notre Dame
, 22–19, on October 11, 1952. One player later commented, "Hell, we were more afraid of Schmidt than Notre Dame."
Despite these attributes, Schmidt's size (6 ft, 195 lb; 1.8 m, 88 kg) worked against him in the NFL draft, when the Lions waited until the seventh round to select him. It was not until his arrival at the 1953 College All-Star Game
that the Lion coaches, who were opposing him in the contest, saw his talent on display.
Schmidt worked his way into the lineup, helping Detroit to its second straight NFL title as a rookie. By 1956, Schmidt was named a team captain, a designation he would hold for the next nine years, with his defensive skills resulting in his calling signals for the team.
The latter duty resulted in an... Read More