Alan Ameche

Alan Ameche (/əˈmiːtʃi/; June 1, 1933 – August 8, 1988), nicknamed "The Iron Horse", or simply "The Horse", was an American football player who played six seasons with the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and won the Heisman Trophy during his senior season in 1954. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons in the league. He is famous for scoring the winning touchdown in overtime in the 1958 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, labeled "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

With colleague and former Colts teammate Gino Marchetti, Ameche founded the Gino's Hamburgers chain.[1] He also founded the Baltimore-based Ameche's Drive-in restaurants.

Alan Ameche
refer to caption
circa 1954
No. 35
Position:Fullback
Personal information
Born:June 1, 1933
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died:August 8, 1988 (aged 55)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:Bradford (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
College:Wisconsin
NFL Draft:1955 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:4,045
Rushing average:4.2
Rushing touchdowns:40
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early life

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin as Lino Dante Amici to Italian immigrant parents who came to the United States in the late 1930s, although they returned for a year to Italy during his childhood. The family then returned to Kenosha, where he attended Kenosha High School. Ameche was a cousin of actors Don and Jim Ameche.

College career

Ameche earned All-America honors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he played linebacker as well as fullback in single-platoon days. In four years as a Badger, he gained 3,212 yards, then the NCAA record, scored 25 touchdowns, and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He played in the program's first bowl game, the 1953 Rose Bowl, as a sophomore, rushing for 133 yards on 28 carries. Ameche won the Heisman Trophy in 1954, the first player to do so in program history.[2][3][4]

Ameche is one of six Wisconsin football players to have a number retired by the program (35) and enshrined on the Camp Randall Stadium façade as of 2008: fellow Heisman winner and current career rushing record holder Ron Dayne (33), Elroy Hirsch (40), Dave Schreiner (80), Allan Schafer (83), and Pat Richter (88) are the others. Ameche was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1967, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975,[2] and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2004.

NFL career

Ameche was the third overall selection of the 1955 NFL draft and played fullback for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 until 1960. Named NFL Rookie of the Year in 1955, he was a four-time Pro Bowler (1955–58), and the only rookie named to the Associated Press All-Pro team in 1955.[5] Ameche averaged 4.2 yards per carry over his career, and held the record for rushing yards in his first three NFL games until Carnell "Cadillac" Williams passed it in 2005.

Ameche may be best remembered for his role in the 1958 NFL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium, often cited as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Ameche scored the winning touchdown for the Colts on a one-yard run with 6:45 left in overtime as the Colts beat the Giants, 23–17. It was his second touchdown of the day as he also scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run in the second quarter. His overtime touchdown was the last in championship history until Super Bowl LI, when James White scored at 3:58 of overtime as the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34–28.

Due to an Achilles tendon injury in December 1960,[6][7][8] Ameche finished a relatively short six-season NFL career with 4,045 rushing yards, 101 receptions for 733 yards and 44 touchdowns. He is one of only four players named to the National Football League 1950s All-Decade Team not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2015, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Ameche to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2015.[9]

Business career

Ameche's Drive-in was a fast-food restaurant chain based in Baltimore, Maryland founded by Alan Ameche.[10][11] Ameche's had five locations. All were located in Baltimore or the Baltimore suburbs:

The restaurants were known for "no charge" carry out service, signature "Powerhouse" hamburgers[12] ("A banquet on a bun") essentially a Big Mac (1968), about eight years ahead of time, and "Cheerleader" sandwiches (hot ham and Swiss cheese with mustard) and their onion rings.[11] The Loch Raven and Taylor location was open during the Summer of 1960. The Powerhouse sandwich was the featured item. The restaurants were typical drive-ins, with car side order boxes. Orders were delivered by a carhop who attached a tray to the lowered window. The company trademark was a Big Boy-like football player (#35) running through the uprights carrying a hamburger. The company slogan was "Meetcha at Ameche's!"[11] Ameche's restaurants were informally known by many teenaged patrons as "UM-cheez."

See also

Death

Ameche had undergone triple bypass surgery at age 46 in 1979.[1] He died of a heart attack in 1988 at age 55 at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, a few days after undergoing another heart bypass surgery, under the care of Dr. Michael DeBakey.[13] He is interred at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

References

  1. ^ a b Richman, Milton (November 30, 1982). "Alan Ameche atypical of former pro players". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. UPI. p. 22.
  2. ^ a b "Alan Ameche, who won for Colts in 1958, among 8 chosen for hall of fame". Gettysburg Times. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. February 12, 1975. p. 15.
  3. ^ Berghaus, Bob (August 9, 1988). "Ameche recalled as a great player and great person". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1C.
  4. ^ Wolf, Ron (August 11, 1988). "Ameche valued friends, not glory". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1C.
  5. ^ "Alan Ameche only rookie on pro team". Spencer Daily Reporter. Iowa. Associated Press. January 6, 1956. p. 5.
  6. ^ "Alan Ameche to quit Colts; injury cause". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. June 21, 1961. p. 1, final.
  7. ^ "'Horse' quits after 6 yrs". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. June 22, 1961. p. 1, part 2.
  8. ^ "Colts fullback Ameche retires from gridiron". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. June 22, 1961. p. 29.
  9. ^ "Professional Researchers Association Hall of Very Good Class of 2015". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  10. ^ Klein, D. (2008). The Game of Their Lives: The 1958 NFL Championship. Taylor Trade. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-58979-384-2. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Patterson, T.; Smith, D.; Remsberg, E.H.; Gibbons, M.; Berry, R. (2013). Football in Baltimore: History and Memorabilia from Colts to Ravens. Football in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. pt176. ISBN 978-1-4214-1237-5. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  12. ^ Bell, U.; Borges, R. (2017). Present at the Creation: My Life in the NFL and the Rise of America's Game. University of Nebraska Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-4962-0459-2. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  13. ^ "Alan Ameche dies". The Hour. Norwalk, Connecticut. Associated Press. August 9, 1988. p. 38.

Further reading

External links

1952 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1952 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) for the 1952 Big Ten Conference football season.

1952 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1952 Big Ten Conference football season was the 57th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Nine Conference) and was a part of the 1952 college football season.

The 1952 Wisconsin Badgers football team, under head coach Ivy Williamson, compiled a 6–3–1 record, tied for the Big Ten championship, was ranked No. 10 in the final UP poll and No. 11 in the final AP poll, and lost to USC in the 1953 Rose Bowl. Tackle Dave Suminski was the team's only first-team All-American and was selected as the team's most valuable player. Sophomore Alan Ameche was a first-team All-Big Ten player, set a Wisconsin record with 946 rushing yards, and went on to win the 1954 Heisman Trophy.

The 1952 Purdue Boilermakers football team, under head coach Stu Holcomb, was the Big Ten co-champion and ranked No. 12 in the final UP poll and No. 18 in the final AP poll. Purdue end Bernie Flowers was the Big Ten's only consensus first-team All-American in 1952 and was the first Big Ten player selected in the 1953 NFL Draft. Dale Samuels was the first Purdue quarterback to pass for over 1,000 yards in a season.

The conference's statistical leaders included Illinois quarterback Tommy O'Connell with 1,761 passing yards and 1,724 yards of total offense, Alan Ameche with 946 rushing yards, and Indiana's Gene Gedman with 54 points scored.

1952 Wisconsin Badgers football team

The 1952 Wisconsin Badgers football team represented the University of Wisconsin in the 1952 Big Ten Conference football season. The Badgers offense scored 228 points while the defense allowed 150 points.

1953 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1953 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Ten Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and the International News Service (INS) for the 1953 Big Ten Conference football season.

1953 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1953 Big Ten Conference football season was the 58th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1953 college football season.

The 1953 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Clarence Munn, won the Big Ten championship in the program's first year of participating in the Big Ten. The Spartans compiled a 9–1 record and was ranked No. 3 in the final AP and UPI polls. End Don Dohoney was a consensus first-team All-American. Halfback LeRoy Beldon was selected as the team's most valuable player.

The 1953 Illinois Fighting Illini football team, under head coach Ray Eliot, finished in second place in the Big Ten with a 7–1–1, led the conference with 25.3 points allowed per game, and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. Halfback J. C. Caroline was a consensus first-team All-American.

Minnesota quarterback Paul Giel was a consensus first-team All-American and received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the Big Ten's most valuable player for the second consecutive year.

1953 Rose Bowl

The 1953 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1953, at the end of the 1952 college football season. It was the 39th Rose Bowl Game. It was Wisconsin's first bowl game and the first Rose Bowl appearance for the Trojans since 1948. It is also the first meeting of the two football programs. USC defeated Wisconsin, 7–0.

1954 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1954 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Big Ten Conference teams for the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season.

1954 Big Ten Conference football season

The 1954 Big Ten Conference football season was the 59th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1954 college football season.

The 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, won the conference football championship, compiled a 10–0, was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll, and defeated USC in the 1955 Rose Bowl. Halfback Howard Cassady was selected as the team's most valuable player and was a consensus first-team All-American.

The 1954 Wisconsin Badgers football team, under head coach Ivy Williamson, compiled a 7–2 record and was ranked No. 9 in the final AP Poll. Fullback Alan Ameche won the 1954 Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference. Ameche broke Ollie Matson's career rushing record, finishing his tenure at Wisconsin with 3,212 rushing yards.Purdue quarterback Len Dawson led the conference with 1,464 passing yards.

1954 College Football All-America Team

The 1954 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1954. The eight selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1954 season are (1) the All-America Board (AAB), (2) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (3) the Associated Press (AP), (4) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (7) the Sporting News (SN), and (8) the United Press (UP).

Wisconsin's fullback Alan Ameche won the Heisman Trophy in 1954 as the best player in college football and was a unanimous first-team selection by all eight official selectors. Three other players were unanimous choices among the official selectors: Notre Dame's quarterback Ralph Guglielmi; Ohio State's halfback Howard "Hopalong" Cassidy; and Arkansas' guard Bud Brooks.

1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team

The 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team represented the Ohio State University in the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season. The team was led by quarterback Dave Leggett and captains John Borton and Dick Brubaker. They were the second national title team in Ohio State football history. They were coached by Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes. The Buckeyes were awarded the title by the AP Poll and represented the Big Ten Conference in the Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes finished the 1953 season with a record of 6–3. They were ranked #20 in the preseason AP Poll, but dropped out of the first in-season poll, which was issued before their season opener. However, six weeks later, the Buckeyes had risen to the top of the AP Poll. Their rise from unranked to #1 in six weeks stood as an AP Poll record for 60 years until being broken by Mississippi State in 2014. The Buckeyes defeated six ranked teams to capture their first league title under fourth year Coach Hayes.

Led by their powerful defense, the Bucks beat the #2 Wisconsin Badgers and their eventual Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche on an 88-yard interception return by Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, who won the award the following year. The Buckeye defense forced 35 turnovers during the season and allowed only two teams to score more than one touchdown

In their game against the Michigan Wolverines, the Bucks held a goal-line stand and then drove 99 yards for a touchdown. The AP Poll declared the Bucks to be number one while the UPI Coaches Poll opted for the 9–0, Pacific Coast Conference champion the UCLA Bruins. However, because of the "no repeat rule" the Bruins were locked out of the Rose Bowl leaving the Buckeyes to play second place USC.

The 1955 Rose Bowl was played during a rainstorm in poor field conditions. However, Ohio State managed to gain 304 yards and hold the Trojans to only six first downs. USC's only score came on an 86-yard punt return. The team finished 10–0 for the first time in school history.

1954 Wisconsin Badgers football team

The 1954 Wisconsin Badgers football team represented the University of Wisconsin in the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season.

1955 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1955 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 23rd in the league. They failed to improve on their previous output of 7–4–1, winning only four games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.

1958 All-Pro Team

The Associated Press (AP), Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), New York Daily News (NYDN), The Sporting News (SN), and United Press International (UPI) selected All-Pro teams comprising their selections of the best players at each position in the National Football League (NFL) during the 1958 NFL season.

1958 NFL Championship Game

The 1958 National Football League Championship Game was the 26th NFL championship game, played on December 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime. The final score was Baltimore Colts 23, New York Giants 17, and the game has since become widely known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played".It marked the beginning of the NFL's popularity surge, and eventual rise to the top of the United States sports market. A major reason was that the game was televised across the nation by NBC. Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry recorded 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. His 12 receptions set a championship record that stood for 55 years.

Ameche

Ameche is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alan Ameche (1933–1988), American football player

Don Ameche (1908–1993), American actor and voice artist

Jim Ameche (1915–1983), American radio actors

Steven Ameche, American lawyer

Gino's Hamburgers

Gino's Hamburgers was a fast-food restaurant chain founded in Baltimore, Maryland, by Baltimore Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti and running back Alan Ameche, along with their close friends Joe Campanella and Louis Fischer, in 1957. A new group of restaurants under the Gino's name involving some of the principals of the original chain was started in 2010.

Joe Campanella

Joseph Arthur Campanella (September 3, 1930 – February 15, 1967) was a professional American football player who played linebacker for six seasons for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts.

After retiring from professional football he at the encouragement of Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Baltimore Colts, pooled his money with Alan Ameche and Louis Fischer, who was Campanella’s classmate from Ohio State, and they became early investors in some restaurants. The first store, called "Ameche’s Drive-In" in Glen Burnie, Maryland featured the Powerhouse and Kingfish sandwiches served with the Special "35" Sauce. The number of stores slowly grew beyond the flagship drive inn.

In the early 1960’s Ameche, Fischer and Campanella wanted to expand so they started looking for a fourth partner. They had approached and been turned down several times by Gino Marchetti, the All Pro defensive lineman. Marchetti had decided that when he retired he would return to California to join his brothers at a gas station in Alameda, in the Bay Area.

Campanella left the group in 1963 and started his own restaurant, Rustler Steak House and later sold it after opening five stores and returned to work with his partners after less than a year. The restaurant later changed hands including Marriott Corporation selling it to Tenly Enterprises in 1973, and it was later sold in 1985 to Collins Foods.In 1966, after Don Kellett retired as General Manager of the Colts, Carroll Rosenbloom invited Joe to re-join the football team as the VP and General Manager. Although it was a career shift back into sports, Campanella decided to follow his heart and he accepted the job. One reason for the decision was that Campanella had a great deal of respect and admiration for the coach, Don Shula.[2]

Weeb Ewbank

Wilbur Charles "Weeb" Ewbank (May 6, 1907 – November 17, 1998) was an American professional football coach. He led the Baltimore Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. He is the only coach to win a championship in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL).

Ewbank grew up in Indiana and attended Miami University in Ohio, where he was a multi-sport star who led his baseball, basketball and football teams to state championships. He immediately began a coaching career after graduating, working at Ohio high schools between 1928 and 1943, when he entered the U.S. Navy during World War II. While in the military, Ewbank was an assistant to Paul Brown on a service football team at Naval Station Great Lakes outside of Chicago. Ewbank was discharged in 1945 and coached college sports for three years before reuniting with Brown as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, a professional team in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns won all four AAFC championships. They joined the NFL with the leagues merger in 1950, winning the championship that year.

Ewbank left the Browns in 1954 to become head coach of the Colts, a young NFL team that had struggled in its first season. In 1956, Ewbank brought in quarterback Johnny Unitas, who quickly became a star and helped lead a potent offense that included wide receiver Raymond Berry and fullback Alan Ameche to an NFL championship in 1958. The Colts repeated as champions in 1959, but the team's performance slipped and Ewbank was fired in 1963. He was soon picked up by the Jets, another struggling team in the AFL. While his first few years were unsuccessful, Ewbank helped build the Jets into a contender after signing quarterback Joe Namath in 1965. The Jets won the AFL championship in 1968 and went on to win Super Bowl III.

Ewbank, who was known as a mild-mannered coach who favored simple but well-executed strategies, retired after the 1973 season and settled in Oxford, Ohio. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. He died in Oxford on November 17, 1998, the 30th anniversary of the "Heidi Game".

Wisconsin Badgers football

The Wisconsin Badgers football team is a division I college football program. The Badgers have competed in the Big Ten Conference since its formation in 1896. They play their home games at Camp Randall Stadium, the fourth-oldest stadium in college football. Wisconsin is one of 26 College football programs to win 700 or more games. Wisconsin has had two Heisman Trophy winners, Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, and have had Eleven former players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. As of December 27, 2018, the Badgers have an all-time record of 705–495–53.

Alan Ameche—championships, awards, and honors

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