George William Izo (born September 20, 1937) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Lions, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame.
|No. 3, 15|
|Born:||September 20, 1937|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||218 lb (99 kg)|
|High school:||Barberton High School|
|NFL Draft:||1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2|
|AFL draft:||1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: territorial|
(by the New York Titans)
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Izo was born in Barberton, Ohio and attended Barberton High School, where he played high school football. During his junior and senior seasons he was honored as an All-American and All-State selection, and was named Player of the Year by the Akron Beacon Journal. Izo still holds the school record for the most yards per completion. He also played defensive back and caught six interceptions during his senior year.
Izo attended and played college football at the University of Notre Dame. His father, George Izo Sr., also played at Notre Dame under coach Knute Rockne. During his college career, he threw for 2,095 yards and 18 touchdowns, and led the Irish to a 20-19 upset of the University of Iowa in his next to last game.
Izo earned his varsity letter during his sophomore year, but during the off-season he sprained his ankle during initiation into the Monogram Club. He missed spring practice and did not return to the field until mid-season of his junior year. The off-season before Izo's senior year, coach Joe Kuharich decided to install a T formation offense. The week before the first game of his senior season, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. However, the Tuesday before the game he hurt his knee in practice and missed the first two games of that season (an early example of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx urban legend.) Still, that year he was named to the Coaches All-American Team, started in the Chicago College All-Star Game against the Baltimore Colts, and played in the East–West Shrine Game.
Izo played in a total of 26 games and completed 132 passes in 317 attempts for 1,791 yards, 12 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.
Izo was drafted in the first round (second overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals. He was also chosen in the 1960 American Football League Draft as a "territorial selection" by the Titans of New York (now New York Jets). To begin the draft, each of the eight AFL teams received one territorial/bonus selection to help ensure every team had a regional draw to help the financial success of each franchise. These regional picks did not occur in any order. Instead, they were unanimously agreed upon by the other teams.
Izo chose the Cardinals over the AFL, and signed his $15,000 contract at Soldier Field in Chicago during a game against the Chicago Bears game. The franchise moved to St. Louis, Missouri one month after Izo signed his contract. In 1960, he won the starting job for the Cardinals by the third game of the season. But, he re-injured the same knee that he hurt in college and underwent surgery. Izo was traded at the end of training camp in 1961.
On September 12, 1961, Izo was traded to the Washington Redskins for quarterback Ralph Guglielmi. The Redskins wanted him as a back up to Norm Snead, the Wake Forest quarterback the Redskins drafted second overall in the 1961 NFL Draft. On September 15, 1963, stepping in for Snead, he threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Mitchell, which tied a franchise and league record. Coincidentally, the first two occurrences of a 99-yard pass play featured Redskins' quarterbacks. In 1964, the Redskins traded Snead to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and after backing him up for one year, Izo asked to be traded.
In 1965, the Detroit Lions traded guard Darrell Dess to the Redskins for Izo and guard Ted Karras. During his only year in Detroit, Izo backed up Milt Plum and the Lions won six games. He was released by the Lions on September 5, 1966.
After his release from the Lions, Izo worked out for and was signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster on September 24, 1966. He played in four games during his time in Pittsburgh and was released on November 2, 1966.
After retiring from football in 1967, Izo moved to the Bahamas and participated in a business venture that built condominiums. While living there, he coached high school football at Freeport Anglican High School. He moved back to Washington, D.C. five years later and became a partner in a wholesale food company; he has worked in the food industry regularly ever since.
Starting in the late 1990s after moving to California, Izo took former NFL stars to military bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam in his role as business development manager for California Sunshine milk, which had a contract with the U.S. government. He has made tours with Billy Kilmer, Ken Stabler, Paul Hornung and Earl Morrall, among others.
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