Now that I’ve looked at the histories of the teams coming over to play in NFL London 2017 I decided I might have a quick look at some of the teams’ more famous players through the years and introduce them to you.
I’ve not posted anything on the Arizona Cardinals for a while so thought I’d start with them. I went with one of the greatest of all time at his position, #8 Larry Wilson.
Defensive back Larry Wilson entered the league with the 2nd pick of the 7th round in the 1960 NFL draft. He was drafted by the then Chicago Cardinals with that pick and turned out to be a steal. Although he was considered to be athletic and skilful enough to play in the NFL he was also considered to be on the small side at 6′ tall and 190Ibs. During his university playing days, he was utilised on both the offense at the Running Back position and on defense at the Safety position and it was the latter position that he was drafted into the pros to play.
The then defensive coordinator, Chuck Davis, had come up with the safety blitz idea but didn’t think he had the player on his squad to best execute it. That was until the team drafted Wilson. The safety blitz play was called the “Wildcat” and Wilson was so well suited to doing it that “Wildcat” became his nickname.
During his 13-year career, Wilson was named as an All-Pro 8 times and to the Pro Bowl 8 times. He was known as a passionate player who could fire up and motivate his teammates. A fellow NFL player, Green Bays Jerry Kramer, described him as “the finest football player in the NFL”.
When Men Were Men
Larry Wilson is also famed for not only playing in an NFL game whilst wearing casts on BOTH hands due to having broken wrists but for also managing to get an interception in that game!
Despite his skill, passion and athletism Wilson is one of only a few players who played for over a decade and never played in an official playoff game.
As well as his 8 All-Pro and 8 Pro Bowl honours, Wilson was voted to the All-Decade Team for the 1960’s and 1970’s as well as to the 50th and 75th NFL Anniversary All-Time Teams. Some pretty serious recognition there and as further recognition, the Cardinals retired his #8 meaning no future Cardinals player can wear it. This is indeed a huge honour and privilege.
After his playing career, he held the roles of General Manager and Vice President for 14 years. He held both positions at the same time but stepped down as GM in 1993 whilst remaining as VP until he retired altogether in 2002.
As a player, Larry Wilson retired in 1972 and was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame at the first year of his eligibility to do so in 1978. He is still constantly placed on lists made by the sport’s media and pundits as one of the NFL’s greatest players.
Be sure to check out the rest of the site as I delve into the histories of more NFL legends and NFL teams playing in the NFL London series.