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Jim Parker (American football)

Jim Parker (American football)

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James Thomas "Jim" Parker (April 3, 1934 - July 18, 2005) was a college
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 and professional
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 player in the 1950s and '60s. He is a member of the College
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 and Professional Football Halls of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of professional football in the United States with an emphasis on the National Football League . It opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter inductees...

.

College career


Parker played his first three years of high school ball in Macon, but then moved north to play his senior season for Scott High School
Scott High School (Toledo, Ohio)
Jesup Wakeman Scott High School is a public high school located in the Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio. It is part of Toledo Public Schools. It was named for a former editor of The Toledo Blade from 1844 to 1847...

 in Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

, graduating in 1953. He was recruited to play as a guard
Guard (American football)
In American and Canadian football, a guard is a player that lines up between the center and the tackles on the offensive line of a football team....

 for the Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

 Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Ohio State Buckeyes are the intercollegiate sports teams and players of The Ohio State University, named after the state tree, the Buckeye. The Buckeyes participate in the NCAA's Division I in all sports and the Big Ten Conference in most sports...

 from 1954 to 1956, playing on both the offensive and defensive lines. Parker was known for his size, strength and quickness, and these talents, used for clearing a path for running backs, helped demonstrate the feasibility of head coach
Head coach
A head coach, senior coach or manager is a professional at training and developing athletes. They typically hold a more public profile and are paid more than other coaches...

 Woody Hayes
Woody Hayes
Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Denison University , Miami University , and Ohio State University , compiling a career college football record of 238–72–10.During his 28 seasons as the head coach of the Ohio...

' three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense—an offensive philosophy that had been questioned as suitable for big-time college football. Due in part to Parker, Hayes won his first national championship in 1954.

The next year
1955 in sports
-American football:* NFL Championship – Cleveland Browns won 38-14 over the Los Angeles Rams* Oklahoma Sooners - college football champions.-England:* First Division - Chelsea win the 1954-55 title.* FA Cup - Newcastle United beat Manchester City 3-1....

, Parker opened holes to help Hopalong Cassady win the Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

, and Parker was named as an All American by the Football Writers Association of America
Football Writers Association of America
The Football Writers Association of America is one of the organizations whose College Football All-America Team is recognized by the NCAA...

. In 1956, Parker was a unanimous All America selection and won the Outland Trophy
Outland Trophy
The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best United States college football interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America. It is named after John H. Outland. One of only a few players ever to be named All-America at two positions, Outland garnered consensus All-America honors in...

. That year Parker himself finished eighth in the Heisman vote.

Parker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame and museum devoted to college football. Located in South Bend, Indiana, it is connected to a convention center and situated in the city's renovated downtown district, two miles south of the University of Notre Dame campus. It is slated to move...

 in 1974, and was a charter inductee in Ohio State's own Varsity O Hall of Fame
Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame
The Ohio State Varsity "O" Hall of Fame is the athletic hall of fame for The Ohio State University. Its purpose is to recognize individuals who have contributed to the honor and fame of the University in the field of athletics....

 in 1977. In 1999 Parker was selected as a first-team offensive guard on the "Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

" college-football All-Century team.

NFL career


Parker was selected by the Baltimore Colts
History of the Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They play in the AFC South division of the National Football League. They have won 3 NFL championships and 2 Super Bowls....

 in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft
NFL Draft
The National Football League Draft is an annual event in which the National Football League teams select eligible college football players and it is their most common source of player recruitment. The basic design of the draft is each team is given a position in the drafting order in reverse order...

, and the eighth player selected overall. The Colts, with quarterback
Quarterback
Quarterback is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line...

 Johnny Unitas
Johnny Unitas
John Constantine Unitas , known as Johnny Unitas or "Johnny U", and nicknamed "The Golden Arm", was a professional American football player in the 1950s through the 1970s, spending the majority of his career with the Baltimore Colts. He was a record-setting quarterback, and the National Football...

, relied on a passing offense very different from the running offense of Ohio State. Nevertheless, Parker soon came to be known as the premier pass blocker in the game.

From 1957 until 1962, Parker played as an offensive tackle. He was selected to five Pro Bowl
Pro Bowl
In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League . Since the merger with the rival American Football League in 1970, it has been officially called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference against those...

 teams in those six years. In 1963 Parker moved to the offensive guard position, as a favor to his college coach Woody Hayes
Woody Hayes
Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Denison University , Miami University , and Ohio State University , compiling a career college football record of 238–72–10.During his 28 seasons as the head coach of the Ohio...

, to make room for another former Buckeye, Bob Vogel
Bob Vogel
Robert Louis Vogel is a former professional American football offensive lineman for the Baltimore Colts from 1963 to 1972. During that span he appeared in Super Bowl III and Super Bowl V for the Colts and was selected for the Pro Bowl five times. He played college football at Ohio State...

. Parker was selected to three more Pro Bowls from the guard position.

Many consider Parker to be the greatest lineman to ever play pro football. Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of professional football in the United States with an emphasis on the National Football League . It opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter inductees...

 in 1973, his first year of eligibility. He was the first full-time offensive lineman so inducted. In 1994, Parker was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
The National Football League 75th Anniversary All-Time Team was chosen by a selection committee of media and league personnel in 1994. Years served were in the NFL, unless otherwise stated.-Offense:Source:-Defense:Source:-Special teams:Source:...

. In 1999, he was ranked number 24 on The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

 list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, second among guards behind John Hannah, and third among offensive linemen behind Hannah and Anthony Munoz
Anthony Muñoz
Michael Anthony Muñoz , is a Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle who played most of his career for the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals...

, both of whom began their careers well after Parker retired.

External links