Hall-of-Famer Gino Marchetti, who died Monday at 92, was more than a great football player. He was, as NFL historian John Turney describes him, “a truly beloved character.”
Teammates loved him. Coaches loved him. Fans loved him.
In fact, as Turney recalls in his Pro Football Journal piece posted Tuesday, when the Baltimore Colts took the field prior to their sudden-death overtime defeat of the Giants in the 1958 league championship game, then-coach Weeb Ewbank told players to “win it for Gino."
A star defensive end for the Colts, Marchetti had broken his leg on a key third-down stop earlier and was sidelined. Nevertheless, as team captain, he insisted on sitting on the sideline to watch his teammates rather than seek medical attention in the locker room.
That was Gino Marchetti.
Marchetti was just the best of his era. He was one of the best ever, and it wasn’t close. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls and 10 All-Pro teams, including nine as a first-team choice, and was an all-decade choice. But he’s a member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team, too, and was so accomplished that Sid Gillman called him “the greatest player in football. It’s a waste of time to run around this guy’s end. It’s a lost play. You don’t bother to try it.”
Marchetti died Tuesday of pneumonia at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, Pa.
To gain more insight into what made Gino Marchetti so remarkable please read John Turney’s article that appeared in Pro Football Journal by logging on to the following attachment: