Now that the Miami Dolphins have finally gotten around to handing out numbers we now know for sure that future starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be wearing number 1 in place of 13. Number 13 is the jersey number formerly worn by Hall Of Fame Miami Dolphins quaterback Dan Marino. The number 13 is also one of three jersey number retired by the Miami Dolphins. Larry Zonka’s number 39 and Bob Griese’s number 12.
With that in mind I wanted to look at some of the other players that have worn the number 1 in the NFL who also had success. Currently, although he is at present without a team, Cam Newton also wears number one.
This is the list of players that have worn number 1 in the NFL and now hold a place in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Jim Thorpe- Thorpe as many of you may know was the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States in the Olympics. He won gold in both the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon. Both medals were later stripped from Thorpe once it was discovered that he had received money to play semi pro baseball a couple of years earlier. The Olympic committee later restored both medals in 1983 but this was unfortunately 30 years after he had passed away. Following his Olympic victories in 1912 he also added a victory in the All Around Championship of the Amateur Athletic Union. Thorpe then went on to play six seasons in MLB with the NY Giants. While still playing pro baseball he joined the Canton Bulldogs football team in 1915, helping lead them to three professional championships. He went on to play for 6 additional NFL teams.
And if that was not enough besides Thorpe being in both the College Football Hall Of Fame and the Professional Football Hall Of Fame he was a first team All-Pro in 1923, a two time consensus All American in 1911 and 1912, was named to the NFL’s 1920’s All Decade Team and named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary All Time Team.
Warren Moon- Warren Moon is a player that many more of us should be familiar with. Warren Moon, being overlooked as a quarterback by the NFL due to his race instead started his pro football career in the CFL where he was one of the most successful players ever to play in that league before eventually moving to the NFL. After 6 seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, in five of which he won the Gray Cup Championship, two of which he was awarded MVP for, he signed with the Houston Oilers. Moon spent the next 17 seasons in the NFL.
Moons accolades include not only being inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall Of Fame but was named Pac 12 Co-Player Of the Year in 1977 while playing for Washington. Besides being named two time Gray Cup MVP in the CFL he was also named the CFL Most Outstanding Player in 1983, given the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy in 1983 and is part of the Edmonton Eskimos Wall Of Honor. In the NFL he was a nine time Pro Bowl selection from 1988-1995 and 1997. He was a First Team All Pro in 1990, the NEA NFL Most Valuable Player in 1990 and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1990 as well as the AFC Player Of the Year in 1990. He earned NFL Man of the Year honors in 1989. Moon led the NFL in passing yards during 1990 and 1991 and led the league in passing touchdowns in 1990. His number 1 is retired by the now Tennessee Titans. He’s in the Titans/Oilers Ring Of Honor and won the Bart Starr Award in 1994.
Fritz Pollard- Pollard along with Bobby Marshall were the first to African American players to play in the NFL in 1920. If that’s not a huge enough accomplishment especially given the time he was also named the first African American head coach in the NFL. Pollard attended and played running back for Brown University. He was a consensus All American in 1916 and the first African American every voted to the list. When Fritz moved onto pro football he began with the Akron Pros, a team that he helped lead to the championship that same season. In 1921 he was named co-head coach of the Akron Pros but continued to hold his roster spot as a running back. From 1920 to 1926 Pollard played for six different pro teams. In addition to playing elsewhere he also served as co-coach while he was with the Milwaukee Badgers in 1922. In 1923 and 1924 he served as head coach for the Hammond Pros. Pollard along with the nine other players in the NFL at the time were removed from the NFL in 1926 and he never returned.
Pollard may have been wrongly removed from a sport that he loved but he is remembered in both the College Football Hall Of Fame and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Curly Lambeau- Some might recognize the last name as the Green Bay Packers field is named after Curly. Why, well Curly not only founded the Green Bay Packers with his friend in 1919 but he also played for the team from 1919 to 1929 while also head coaching the teams from 1919 to 1949. He later went on to head coach the Chicago Cardinals from 1950-51 and the Washington Redskins from 1952-53.
His career highlights include being a six time NFL Champion, one as a player and six as a head coach. He was voted three times Second Team All-Pro 1922-24. He’s part of the NFL’s 1920’s All Decade Team and the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He holds a place in not only the Pro Football Hall Of Fame but the Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Benny Friedman- After a successful college career at Michigan Friedman played eight season in the NFL for four different teams. He was the leading passer of his time in the NFL and is credited with changing the game and how it was played. He lead the league in passing for four consecutive years, 1932-34. Each of those season resulted in him being selected as the first team All-NFL quarterback for each one. In addition he served as head coach for the Giants during a part of the 1930 season while still playing and head coach of the Dodgers in 1932, also as a player/coach. As with many of the players above he was elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Paddy Driscoll- Driscoll Played pro football as a quarterback and a halfback from 1917 until 1926. Driscoll was the NFL’s first All-Pro quarterback and the leading scorer in the NFL in both 1923 and 1926. He led his 1925 Chicago Cardinals to the NFL Championship. The NFL later added him to their NFL 1920’s All Decade Team. As with many of the other older players on this list he also coached while playing and served as the head coach of the Chicago Cardinals from 1920-22. He coached at Marquette from 1937 to 1940 before returning to Chicago. He spent the next 28 years with the Chicago Bears, (1941-1955) as an assistant coach and then Head Coach for the (1956 to 1957) then the VP of the team (1958-1962) before ending his career with the Bears as director of the Bears’ research and planning unit until 1968.
Paddy, like most on this list resides in both the College Football Hall Of Fame and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. In addition he earned First Team All-Pro honors 6 times, Second Team All-Pro honors twice and is in the Arizona Cardinals Ring Of Honor.
Jimmy Conzelman- Conzelman entered the NFL in 1920 and played ten seasons as a quarterback, halfback, place kicker and served as a coach. While playing for the Detroit Panthers in 1925-26 he also served as a team owner and a player coach. He led the 1928 Providence Steam Roller team to the NFL Championship. After the pro’s Conzelman returned to college to coach the Washington University Bears football team leading them to conference championships in the Missouri Valley Conf. in 1934, 1035 and 1939. Jimmy then returned to the pros where he was the head coach of the Chicago Cardinals from 1940-42 and then again from 1946-48. As the head coach of Chicago he led his team to become the Western Division Champions and won the NFL Championship in 1947.
As well as being a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Jimmy was also named First Team All-Pro in 1923, Second Team All-Pro in 1925, was named to the NFL’s 1920s All-Decade Team and is in the Arizona Cardinals Ring Of Honor.
Now when you look at that list and read some of the accomplishments, even if most happened long before anyone on this site but Bill was alive I would be pleased if our new number 1 turns out to be anything close to the legends some of these guys are.
What’s your take and the take on Tua taking number 1 as his new number?
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