Louis Brian Piccolo (October 31, 1943 – June 16, 1970) was a professional American football player, a running back for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) for four years. He died at age 26 from embryonal cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of germ cell testicular cancer, first diagnosed after it had spread to his chest cavity.
Piccolo was the subject of the 1971 TV movie Brian's Song, with a remake (of the same title) TV movie filmed in 2001. He was portrayed in the original film by James Caan and by Sean Maher in the 2001 remake.
Piccolo in 1967
|Born:||October 31, 1943|
|Died:||June 16, 1970 (aged 26)|
New York City, New York
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school:||Central Catholic|
(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Piccolo was the youngest of three sons of Joseph and Irene Piccolo. The family moved south to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when Piccolo was three, due to his parents' concerns for his brother Don's health. Piccolo and his brothers were athletes, and he was a star running back on his high school football team although he considered baseball his primary sport. He graduated from the former Central Catholic High School (now St. Thomas Aquinas High School) in Fort Lauderdale in 1961.
Piccolo played college football at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; his only other scholarship offer was from Wichita State. He led the nation in rushing and scoring during his senior season in 1964, and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year, yet went unselected in the both the AFL and NFL drafts.
A season earlier in 1963, Darryl Hill of the University of Maryland was the first and only African-American football player in the ACC. According to Lee Corso, a Maryland assistant coach at that time, Wake Forest had "the worst atmosphere" of any campus the Maryland football team visited. Piccolo went over to the Maryland bench, walked Hill over to the area in front of the student section and put his arm around him, silencing the crowd.
Because he was not selected in the 1965 NFL draft or AFL draft, Piccolo tried out for the Chicago Bears as a free agent. He made the team for the 1965 season, but only on the taxi squad (known today as the practice squad), meaning he could practice but not suit up for games. In 1966, he made the main roster but his playing time was primarily on special teams. In 1967 he got more playing time backing up superstar starting tailback Gale Sayers, which increased after Sayers' knee injury in November 1968. Piccolo's biggest statistical year was 1968, during which he posted career bests with 450 yards on 123 carries (a 3.7 average), two touchdowns, and 28 receptions for 291 yards (a 10.4 average).
Players at that time were still segregated by race for hotel-room assignments. At the suggestion of the Bears' captain, the policy was changed and each player was reassigned by position, so that wide receivers would room together, quarterbacks would room together, etc. Running back was the only position on the 1969 Bears with one black and one white player, Sayers and Piccolo, respectively.
The Bears were in the midst of a 1–13 season in 1969, the worst record in their history. Piccolo had finally earned a place in the starting lineup as an undersized fullback. Their first win came in the eighth game on November 9, a 38–7 home win over struggling Pittsburgh and Piccolo opened the scoring at Wrigley Field with a 25-yard touchdown reception. The next week in Atlanta, he scored a fourth quarter touchdown on a one-yard run, and then voluntarily removed himself from the game, something he had never done, raising great concern among his teammates and coaches. Breathing while playing had become extremely difficult for him, so when the team returned to Chicago he was promptly sent for a medical examination and diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma.
Soon after initial surgery at Sloan-Kettering in New York City to remove the tumor, he underwent a second procedure in April 1970 to remove his left lung and pectoral muscle. Bothered by chest pain afterward, he was re-admitted to the hospital in early June and doctors determined the cancer had spread to other organs, particularly his liver. He died in the early morning of June 16 at the age of 26. The month before Piccolo's death, Gale Sayers was accepting the George S. Halas Award for Most Courageous Player and told the crowd that they had selected the wrong person for the award. He said, "I love Brian Piccolo, and I'd like all of you to love him, too. Tonight, when you hit your knees to pray, please ask God to love him, too."
Sayers and Dick Butkus were among the six Bears teammates who served as pallbearers at Piccolo's funeral at Christ the King Catholic Church in Chicago on June 19. He was buried at Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
The film Brian's Song, loosely based on Gale Sayers' autobiography, tells the story of the friendship between Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and their time together while playing football for the Chicago Bears, up until Piccolo's death. It first aired in 1971 on ABC on Tuesday, November 30, less than 18 months after his death, and starred James Caan as Piccolo and Billy Dee Williams as Sayers. It was such a success on television that it was later shown in theaters. A remake aired in 2001 on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney and starred Mekhi Phifer and Sean Maher.
Piccolo's biography, Brian Piccolo: A Short Season, was written by Jeannie Morris (a journalist whose husband was former Bears teammate Johnny Morris) and featured passages written by Piccolo himself for a planned autobiography.
The 1964 Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team represented Wake Forest University during the 1964 NCAA University Division football season. In its first season under head coach Bill Tate, the team compiled a 5–5 record and finished in a three-way tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).Three players received first-team All-ACC honors from the Associated Press: fullback Brian Piccolo, quarterback John Mackovic, and end Richard Cameron. Piccolo was a unanimous selection for the all-conference team, and was also selected as a first-team All-American by Football News. He set three ACC records in 1964 with 1,044 rushing yards, 111 points scored, and 17 touchdowns. Piccolo also led the nation in 1964 in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and points scored. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year, yet went unselected in the both the AFL and NFL drafts. Mackovic led the Demon Deacons with 1,340 passing yards while completing 89 of 195 passes. Cameron caught 29 passes for 410 yards.1969 Chicago Bears season
The 1969 Chicago Bears season was their 50th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 1–13 record, the worst in franchise history. This occurred despite the exploits of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. Sayers had torn the ligaments in his right knee during the 1968 season. After surgery, Sayers went through a physical rehabilitation program with the help of teammate Brian Piccolo. In 1969 Sayers led the league in rushing once again with 1,032 yards, but he lacked the speed he once had and averaged only 4.4 yards per carry. An already poor season was made even worse when running back Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer in November. He would succumb to the disease in June of the following year.2008 ICC Americas Championship Division One
The 2008 ICC Americas Championship Division One was a cricket tournament in the United States, taking place between 25 November and 30 November 2010. It gave six North and South American Associate and Affiliate members of the International Cricket Council experience of international one-day cricket.2013 ICC Americas Twenty20 Division One
The 2013 ICC Americas Twenty20 Division One is a cricket tournament that took place between 18–24 March 2013. The United States hosted the event, with all matches played at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida.Atlantic Coast Conference football individual awards
The Atlantic Coast Conference honors players and coaches upon the conclusion of each college football season with the following individual honors as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.Brian's Song
Brian's Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), a Chicago Bears football player stricken with terminal cancer after turning pro in 1965, told through his friendship with Bears teammate Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams). Piccolo's and Sayers's sharply differing temperaments and racial backgrounds made them unlikely to become as close friends as they did, including becoming the first interracial roommates in the history of the National Football League, and the film chronicles the evolution of their friendship, ending with Piccolo's death in 1970. The production was such a success on ABC that it was later shown in theaters by Columbia Pictures with a major premiere in Chicago; however, it was soon withdrawn due to a lack of business. Critics have called the movie one of the finest telefilms ever made. A 2005 readers poll taken by Entertainment Weekly ranked 'Brian's Song' seventh in its list of the top "guy-cry" films ever made.
The movie is based on Sayers' account of his friendship with Piccolo and coping with Piccolo's illness in Sayers' autobiography, I Am Third. The film was written by veteran screenwriter William Blinn, whose script, one Dallas television critic called, "highly restrained, steering clear of any overt sentimentality [yet conveying] the genuine affection the two men felt so deeply for each other."Although based on a true story, the film did include some fictional scenes. One example was when George Halas (played by Jack Warden) told Gale Sayers that he wanted to bench Brian Piccolo when he suspected that there may be a problem affecting his performance. He later learned of Brian's cancer. In reality, Jim Dooley was the head coach at that time, as Halas had retired from the position following the 1967 season.Brian's Song (2001 film)
Brian's Song is the 2001 remake of the 1971 television film Brian's Song, telling the story of Brian Piccolo (Sean Maher), a white running back who meets, clashes with and befriends fellow Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers (Mekhi Phifer). The movie was adapted from Sayers' own words in his autobiography, I am Third. The television movie, produced by Columbia TriStar Television, was first broadcast in the US on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC.
In the movie, Piccolo is a brash rookie with the Bears. Initially thinking Sayers is arrogant – when he is only quiet and a slight bit anti-social – they rub each other the wrong way from the moment they meet. The movie, taking place from 1965 to 1970, as the Civil Rights Movement grows, places great emphasis on integration, bringing up the conflict of when Brian and Gale room together for their first football season.Brian Piccolo Award
The Brian Piccolo Award is an honor that is given to players of the Chicago Bears. The award is given to one rookie and one veteran per season who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo. Piccolo was a running back for the Bears from 1966 until his untimely death from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970, at age 26.Brian Piccolo Park
Brian Piccolo Park is a sports venue located in Cooper City, Florida. The ground was opened in 1989 on 175.2-acre of land with the facilities of three soccer fields, two cricket fields, two basketball court as well as Velodrome.In 2004, the ground played host to first-class cricket when the United States cricket team played Canadian cricket team in the ICC Intercontinental Cup. Since then the ground has hosted many non-first-class cricket matches. It also served as the home ground for the Florida Thunder a Pro Cricket team in 2004. The park is also home to one of the few cycling tracks in South Florida. The park also encompasses a skateboard park.Ed O'Bradovich
Edward O'Bradovich (born May 21, 1940, in Melrose Park, Illinois) is a former American football defensive end in the NFL that was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round (91st pick) of the 1962 NFL Draft; he spent his entire ten-year career with the Bears. He attended Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois and the University of Illinois.
O'Bradovich has the rare distinction of an athlete that within the same state grew up, attended college, and enjoyed a long professional career. "OB", as he was known throughout his career, grew up in Hillside, IL, attended the University of Illinois and played his entire career for the Bears. Perhaps the singular professional career distinction was when he intercepted a short pass in the 1963 NFL Championship game and rumbled down the field on a key play for a Bears victory. Before joining the Bears, he played in the CFL for the B.C. Lions and the Calgary Stampeders.He started (year) co-hosting the Suburban Tire Post Game Show after Bears games, alongside former Bear Doug Buffone on WSCR in Chicago and lives in Palatine, IL. In May 2009, O'Bradovich and Buffone left WSCR-AM and joined Chicago Sports Webio. However, in June 2009, the founder of Chicago Sports Webio was charged with operating a Ponzi scheme, and the site was shut down. O'Bradovich and Buffone re-signed with the Score in late August 2009. O'Bradovich began broadcasting Chicago Rush Arena Football League games for Comcast SportsNet and WGN in 2010. Following his retirement, O'Bradovich has closely followed the Bears, giving the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speeches for both Dan Hampton and Mike Ditka.O'Bradovich played himself in the television movies Brian's Song, starring James Caan as Brian Piccolo, and Coach of the Year, starring Robert Conrad as former Chicago Bears player Jim Brandon.Gale Sayers
Gale Eugene Sayers (born May 30, 1943) is a former professional American football player who earned acclaim both as a halfback and return specialist in the National Football League (NFL). In a brief but highly productive NFL career, Sayers spent seven seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971, though multiple injuries effectively limited him to five seasons of play. He was known for his elusiveness and agility, and was regarded by his peers as one of the most difficult players to tackle.
Nicknamed the "Kansas Comet", Sayers played college football for the Kansas Jayhawks football team of the University of Kansas, where he compiled 4,020 all-purpose yards over three seasons and was twice recognized as a consensus All-American. In his rookie NFL season, he set a league record by scoring 22 touchdowns—including a record-tying six in one game—and gained 2,272 all-purpose yards en route to being named the NFL's Rookie of the Year. He continued this production through his first five seasons, earning four Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team All-Pro selections. A right knee injury forced Sayers to miss the final five games of the 1968 season, but he returned in 1969 to lead the NFL in rushing yards and be named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. An injury to his left knee in the 1970 preseason as well as subsequent injuries kept him sidelined for most of his final two seasons.
His friendship with Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970, inspired Sayers to write his autobiography, I Am Third, which in turn was the basis for the 1971 made-for-TV movie Brian's Song. Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34, and remains the youngest person to receive the honor. He was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team as a halfback and kick returner, the only player to occupy two positions on the team. For his achievements in college, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame the same year. His jersey number is retired by both the Bears and the University of Kansas. Following his NFL career, Sayers began a career in sports administration and business, and served as the athletic director of Southern Illinois University from 1976 to 1981.George S. Halas Courage Award
The Pro Football Writers Association George S. Halas Courage Award is given to a NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.
The award is named for Halas, a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter.
Halas represented the Bears, then known as the Decatur Staleys, at the Sept. 17, 1920 organizational meeting of the American Football Association in Canton, Ohio. One year later, the AFA became known as the National Football League.
Halas’ teams won six NFL titles in his 40 seasons as the Bears’ coach. His 318 regular-season wins and 324 total victories were long-standing NFL records until broken by Don Shula in 1993.In May 1970, the Halas Award went to Gale Sayers for his comeback from knee surgery to lead the NFL in rushing in 1969. In New York, at the Pro Football Writers Association banquet, Gale Sayers gave an emotional speech that was memorialized in the film Brian's Song. Said Sayers, "You flatter me by giving me this award, but I’ll tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas Award. I accept it tonight, but I’ll present it to Brian tomorrow. I love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him, too. And tonight, when you hit your knees, ask God to love him, too."Other notable winners of the PFWA Halas Award include Joe Namath, Steeler running back Rocky Bleier, Hall of Fame cornerback Jimmy Johnson, New York Giant cancer survivor Karl Nelson, Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and Joe Montana, Denver Broncos guard Mark Schlereth, former N.Y. Giant Kerry Collins, San Francisco 49ers Garrison Hearst and Bryant Young, Carolina coach and former linebacker Sam Mills, Dolphins running back Robert Edwards, Carolina linebacker Mark Fields, Indianapolis Colt Head Coach Tony Dungy, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft (first NFL owner and first Patriot to receive one), and former Saints safety and ALS patients' advocate, Steve Gleason.James O. Williams
James Otis "BigCat" Williams (born March 29, 1968) is a former American football player. He played for the Chicago Bears throughout his 12-year NFL career. Williams was 6'7" and 330-pounds. He has two children, Jai and Jia.
Williams was signed as a free agent by Bill Tobin after the 1991 draft. He played defensive tackle on a 0-11 team at Cheyney State. Williams worked his way into the defensive line rotation his rookie season, substituting for Steve McMichael and William Perry when needed. As a rookie, he blocked a field goal at Buffalo, picked up his first sack at Green Bay, and helped with the "push" on William Perry's game-saving field goal block against the New York Giants.
Williams played sparingly on defense in 1992 and was inactive for five straight games. The second-year tackle did not make the starting lineup following the drafting of 1991 second-rounder Chris Zorich. He was moved to offensive tackle midway through November, then to right tackle. Soon after, Williams relieved Keith Van Horne against Tampa in September, then was inactive for the final 12 games of the 1993 season.
From 1994 through his final game with the Bears in 2002, Williams started 134 games at right tackle. He missed limited action throughout those seasons and played every snap in 1995. In addition to his starting duties, Williams blocked or deflected eight field goal attempts through 2001. He was chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate after the 1998 season and voted to his first all-star game following the 2001 season, during which the Bears finished 13-3.
Williams was a team ambassador throughout his career, and was the veteran recipient of the Bears' Brian Piccolo award following the 2001 season. He appeared in an E-TV Wild on Chicago episode prior to the 2001 season.
Williams was released by Chicago on February 26, 2003.Jerry Azumah
Jerry Azumah ( ə-ZOO-mə; born September 1, 1977) is a former American football cornerback who played seven seasons for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of New Hampshire, and was selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He is currently a businessman and philanthropist.Jim Osborne (American football)
James Henry Osborne (born September 7, 1949) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League. He attended Southern University, and spent his entire 13-year career with the Chicago Bears. Osborne retired in 1984, one year shy of the Bears Super Bowl win. At the time of his retirement he lived in Olympia Fields. He won the Brian Piccolo Award from the Bears organization in 1972.List of cricket grounds in the United States
This is a list of cricket grounds in the United States. The grounds included in this list have held first-class, List-A and Twenty20 matches. Additionally, one has also hosted Twenty20 Internationals. Included in the list is St George's Cricket Club Ground, which is notable for holding the first international cricket match.Nick Roach
Nicholas Alexander Roach (born June 16, 1985) is a former American football linebacker of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He played college football at Northwestern.
Roach also played for the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders.Ron Morris (American football)
Ronald Wayne "Ron" Morris (born November 4, 1964) is a former professional American football wide receiver in the National Football League. He played six seasons for the Chicago Bears (1987–1992). In 1987, Ron Morris received the Brian Piccolo Award which is awarded to the rookie that best exemplifies the teamwork, loyalty, dedication, sense of humor, and courage of the late Brian Piccolo. In 1995, Morris was awarded $5.2 million for a lawsuit stemming from a knee injury that ended his career.Troy Auzenne
Troy Anthony Auzenne (born June 26, 1969) is a former professional American football offensive tackle in the National Football League. He played five seasons for the Chicago Bears (1992–1995) and the Indianapolis Colts (1996). He played college football at California.
|Division championships (21)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (9)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
|Athlete of the Year|
|Male Athlete of the Year|
|Female Athlete of the Year|