Jim Norton (safety)

James Charles Norton (October 20, 1938 – June 12, 2007) was a professional American football player. He was an original member of the Houston Oilers of the American Football League. He played at strong safety and punter for their first nine seasons, 1960 to 1968. Norton was an AFL All-Star for three seasons and holds the league's record for career interceptions. His jersey No. 43 was the first of six retired by the Oilers / Titans franchise.[1]

Jim Norton
No. 43
Position:Safety, punter
Personal information
Born:October 20, 1938
Glendale, California
Died:June 12, 2007 (aged 68)
Garland, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Fullerton Union
(Fullerton, California)
NFL Draft:1960 / Round: 7 / Pick: 75
AFL draft:1960 / Round: 2
Pick: First Selections
(by the Dallas Texans)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:125
Punting yards:21,961
Average punt:42.1
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Born and raised in Southern California, Norton graduated from Fullerton Union High School in 1956 and played college football for head coach Skip Stahley at Idaho, alongside future pros Jerry Kramer, Wayne Walker, and Jim Prestel in the Pacific Coast Conference. Nicknamed "Flamingo," Norton played defensive back and tight end, and also punted and returned kicks for the Vandals.[2] Selected in the seventh round of in the 1960 NFL Draft (75th overall) by the Detroit Lions[3] and the Dallas Texans in the AFL's inaugural draft in 1960, he signed as an original Houston Oiler.[4]

Professional career

Although Norton intercepted only one pass in his rookie season in 1960, he went on to become the AFL's all-time interception leader.[5] In 1961, his first starting season, he snared nine passes and punted with a 40.7-yard average. In a tight defensive duel in the AFL Championship Game, his four booming punts helped Houston defeat the San Diego Chargers, 10-3, claiming their second AFL championship in as many seasons.

While nursing a slim half-game lead in the Eastern Division in Week 12 of the 1962 AFL season, Norton personally tormented Denver Broncos quarterback Frank Tripucka. He stopped three Bronco drives with interceptions as the Oilers stole a 34-17 victory and a berth in their third straight AFL Championship Game. That thriller for the 1962 AFL crown was the league's longest game, a double-overtime contest won by the Dallas Texans, 20-17.

As a defensive back, Norton was a steady tackler with a nose for the football.[6] His play earned him All-AFL honors for 1961, '62, '63, and '67, when he scored the only touchdown of his career, returning an interception 56 yards. His number 43 was the first retired by the Oilers, acknowledging his club-record 45 career interceptions,[6] which he returned for 592 yards and a touchdown, and 519 punts. The Oilers later retired the numbers of Elvin Bethea, Earl Campbell, Mike Munchak, Bruce Matthews, and Warren Moon.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Manfull, Megan (June 19, 2007). "Original Oiler Jim Norton passes away at 68". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Missildine, Harry (December 24, 1962). "Idaho grads get their kicks". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 8.
  3. ^ "1960 Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Jim Norton dies; jersey one of six retired by Oilers". ESPN. Associated Press. June 18, 2007. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  5. ^ "Norton hangs up jersey". Rome News-Tribune. (Georgia). UPI photo. April 16, 1969. p. 13.
  6. ^ a b Bishop, Jim (June 22, 2007). "Houston Oilers: the magic never faded". Victoria Advocate. (Texas). p. B1.

Additional sources

  • Miller, Jeff (2003). Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League In the Words of Those Who Lived It. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-141849-0.
  • Gruver, Ed (1997). The American Football League: A Year-By-Year History, 1960–1969. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-0399-3.

External links

1961 All-AFL Team

The 1961 American Football League All-League Team was selected after the 1961 American Football League (AFL) season by five separate entities: current AFL players, the Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), New York Daily News (NY), and The Sporting News (SN), and was published by The Sporting News. Each selector chose a first team at each position and second team at select positions.

Idaho Vandals football

The Idaho Vandals are the college football team that represents the University of Idaho and plays its home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho. Idaho is a member of the Big Sky Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The current head coach is Paul Petrino, who began his tenure in 2013.

The Idaho football program began 126 years ago in 1893, and through the 2017 season, the Vandals have an all-time record of 463–611–27 (.433). They have played in three bowl games in their history, all victories in the Humanitarian/Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise in 1998, 2009, and 2016. As a Division I-AA (FCS) program for 18 seasons (1978–1995), Idaho made the playoffs eleven times and advanced to the national semifinals twice (1988, 1993).

On April 28, 2016, university president Chuck Staben announced the football program would return to the Big Sky and FCS in 2018. This followed the Sun Belt Conference's announcement on March 1 that the associate membership of Idaho and New Mexico State for football would end after the 2017 season. Idaho is the first FBS program to voluntarily drop to FCS.

Jim Norton

Jim, Jimmy, or James Norton may refer to:

James Norton (solicitor) (1795–1862), solicitor, company director, farmer, pamphleteer and protectionist politician in colonial New South Wales

James Norton, Jr. (1824–1906), his son, politician in colonial New South Wales

James A. Norton (1843–1912), U.S. Representative from Ohio

James Norton (South Carolina politician) (1843–1920), U.S. Representative from South Carolina

James Lansdowne Norton (1869–1925), motorcycle designer, inventor and manufacturer of the Norton motorcycles

James Norton (actor) (born 1985), English actor

Jim Norton (Irish actor) (born 1938), Irish actor

Jim Norton (safety) (1938–2007), American football player for the Houston Oilers

Jim Norton (defensive lineman) (born 1942), American football player for the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons

Jim Norton (comedian) (born 1968), American comedian and actor

Jim Norton (rugby league), Australian rugby league player of the 1930s

Division championships (9)
Conference championships (1)
League championships (2)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (59)

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