Football 101: No. 33, Gino Marchetti
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Every now and again in football history, a player comes along who designs the future. That is to say a player comes along who isn’t just different from the players before, but one who inspires everyone else to think: “Oh, THAT’S how you’re supposed to play football.”
Maybe you could call them “Fosbury Players” after Dick Fosbury, who invented a whole new way to high jump.
Gino Marchetti was such a player.
“Marchetti was beautiful,” Deacon Jones said, “He was the only perfect defensive end.”
Gino Marchetti was the first star for the Baltimore Colts. He was part of the Colts in their inaugural year of 1953; this is when John Unitas was still a sophomore at the University of Louisville. Marchetti was 26 and had already lived a lot of life. He was a machine gunner during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.
Marchetti was actually drafted by the New York Yanks, who quickly became the Dallas Texans, and only then moved to Baltimore. At 6-foot-4, 244 pounds, he seemed better suited for the offensive line, and in 1953 he played left tackle exclusively. He didn’t like it much. He wanted to make plays. He wanted to tackle people.
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