Johnny Rodgers

Johnny Steven Rodgers (born July 5, 1951) is an American former gridiron football player. He played college football at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1972. Rodgers played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Montreal Alouettes and in the National Football League (NFL) with the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Johnny Rodgers
No. 20
Position:Running back, wide receiver
Personal information
Born:July 5, 1951 (age 67)
Omaha, Nebraska
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school:Omaha (NE) Tech
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 25
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Player stats at PFR

College career

Nicknamed "The Jet" for his rapid acceleration and speed on the field, Rodgers was voted high school athlete of the year as a player for Omaha's Tech High.

As a player with the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, Rodgers served as a punt return specialist, pass receiver, and running back. Rodgers broke virtually every offensive team record, was twice named to the College Football All-America Team and won the Walter Camp Award and the Heisman Trophy in 1972 for most outstanding player in college football in the United States.[1]

In his three years with the Cornhuskers, the versatile Rodgers established an all-purpose NCAA yardage record of 5,586.[1] Former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, who served as Nebraska's offensive coordinator in the early 1970s, wrote in his 1985 book More Than Winning that Rodgers had the greatest ability to return punts of any player he ever saw. Likewise, College Football News has described him as "the greatest kick returner in college football history." Rodgers returned seven punts for touchdowns (NCAA record at the time) and one kickoff for a touchdown in his college career.[1]

Rodgers was, at one time, convicted of a gas station robbery while he was a student at the University of Nebraska in 1970.[2] He is the only Heisman winner who had a then-present felony conviction before receiving the award.[3] He was pardoned by the Nebraska Board of Pardons, and his conviction was vacated, on November 14, 2013.[4] He later was charged with assault in 1985 while living in southern California.[2]

In 1971, in what has become known as college football's "Game of the Century," Rodgers returned a punt 72 yards to score the first touchdown which set the tone for his team's 35-31 victory over the University of Oklahoma Sooners. ESPN describes Rodgers' performance as "unforgettable." However, some observers consider his greatest single performance to be in the 1973 Orange Bowl when he led his team to a 40-6 victory over the University of Notre Dame. Rodgers ran for three touchdowns, caught a 50-yard pass for another touchdown, and threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to a teammate. He did all this before leaving the game with 21 minutes still to play.[1]

  • 1970: 39 carries for 219 yards with 4 TD. 39 catches for 710 yards with 7 TD.[5]
  • 1971: 40 carries for 269 yards with 2 TD. 57 catches for 956 yards with 11 TD.[6]
  • 1972: 73 carries for 348 yards with 10 TD. 58 catches for 1013 yards with 9 TD.[7]

Professional career

Although a 1973 first-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers, Rodgers signed a lucrative contract to play for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League where he was affectionately known as the "ordinary superstar" (a nickname he coined.) Always a fan favorite, Rodgers won the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award in 1973. In his four years with the Alouettes, Rodgers won the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy twice (Eastern division MVP and CFL runner-up), was either a CFL or Eastern all-star each season, and helped lead his team to a Grey Cup championship in 1974.

In 1977, Rodgers returned to the United States, signing a $925,000-plus contract with the San Diego Chargers. Hamstring injuries kept him out of the game for most of his first NFL season and the following year a freak knee injury sustained during team practice ended his career after only 17 NFL games.

Career regular season statistics

Pro Statistics Receiving Rushing Punt Returns
Year Team GP Rec Yds Y/R Lg TD # Yds Ave. Lg TD Ret Yds Ave Lg TD
1973 Montreal Alouettes 14 41 841 20.5 72 7 55 303 5.4 58 0 - - - - -
1974 Montreal Alouettes 16 60 1024 17.1 70 7 87 402 4.6 53 4 - - - - -
1975 Montreal Alouettes 15 40 849 21.2 70 8 54 293 5.4 38 2 60 912 15.2 101 2
1976 Montreal Alouettes 14 45 749 16.6 55 6 20 50 2.5 41 1 75 931 12.5 53 0
1977 San Diego Chargers 11 12 187 15.6 43 0 3 44 14.7 33 0 15 158 10.5 52 0
1978 San Diego Chargers 6 5 47 9.4 12 0 1 5 5.0 45 0 11 88 8.0 15 0
CFL Totals 59 186 3463 18.6 72 28 216 1138 5.3 58 7 135 1843 13.7 101 2


In 1999, Rodgers was selected to the Nebraska All-Century Football Team via fan poll and named to the All-Century Nebraska football team by Gannett News Service. In 2000, he was voted the University of Nebraska's "Player of the Century" by Sports Illustrated.[8] In 2002, he was named to the Athlon Sports Nebraska All-Time Team. He is one of only sixteen Cornhuskers to have his jersey retired by the team.

In 1999, Rodgers was selected as a receiver by Sports Illustrated in their "NCAA Football All-Century Team". Other receivers selected were Jerry Rice, Mike Ditka, Pat Richter, Tim Brown, Raghib Ismail, Don Hutson, Bennie Oosterbaan, Howard Twilley, Ted Kwalick, Anthony Carter, Keith Jackson and Desmond Howard. Rodgers was one of six Nebraska Cornhuskers on this All-Century Team 85 man roster; the others being Rich Glover, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Tommie Frazier and Aaron Taylor.[9]

In 1999, Rodgers was selected as a starting receiver to the Walter Camp Football Foundation College Football All Century Team. Other receivers selected were Fred Biletnikoff, Tim Brown, Bernie Oosterbaan, Larry Kelley, Raghib Ismail, Don Hutson, Howard Twilley and Keith Jackson. Rodgers was one of six Nebraska Cornhuskers selected to this 83 man roster; the others being Rimington, Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Frazier and Taylor.[10]

On the College Football News list of the 100 Greatest Players of All-Time, Johnny Rodgers was ranked #44. In 2007, he was ranked #23 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list. In 2000 Johnny Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was also voted the "Most Valuable Player" in the history of the Big Eight.

Johnny Rodgers also remains a legend north of the border in Montreal. The Alouettes honored him with a special homecoming on September 11, 2011, 35 years since he last wore a Larks uniform.[11] He was greeted with a standing ovation.[12]

Personal life

Rodgers was reported to have become a devotee of Guru Maharaj Ji, head of the Divine Light Mission, in 1974.[13]

Today, Rodgers is a businessman in Omaha, Nebraska where he operates a sports marketing company and bedding products manufacturer. He also works with his alma mater to encourage athletes who dropped out of school to return and complete their educations.[8]

Rodgers has also authored a book entitled An Era of Greatness about the University of Nebraska football team during his playing days.

In 2007 Rodgers was a brief partner in a sports bar located in midtown Omaha bearing his name. In less than one year the partnership fell apart and dueling lawsuits ensued.

Johnny is currently creating a mentoring program for children with other football and sport professionals.

In May 2014, Rodgers was hired as vice president of new business development at Rural Media Group Inc.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d "Johnny Rodgers Biography". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Rogers gets six-month sentence". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. February 26, 1987. p. C3.
  3. ^ "Scandal, The Heisman And Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers". LostLetterman. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Omaha Sports Hall of Fame - Johnny Rodgers". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  9. ^ "SI's NCAA Football All-Century Team". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  10. ^ "Walter Camp All-Century Team". Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Trailblazing Rodgers honoured by Alouettes on Montreal Alouettes website
  12. ^ Half-Time Tribute to Johnny Rodgers on Montreal Alouettes website Archived April 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Rodgers Follows Guru", Associated Press, Winnipeg Free Press, Friday, January 23, 1976

External links

1970 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 1970 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 1970 NCAA University Division football season. The team was coached by Bob Devaney and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The Huskers went 11–0–1 to win the first of two consecutive national championships.

1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska in the 1971 NCAA University Division football season. Nebraska was coached by Bob Devaney and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The Huskers were undefeated at 13–0, repeating as national champions.

1972 College Football All-America Team

The 1972 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 1972. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes six selectors as "official" for the 1972 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) which selected its team for Kodak based on a vote of the nation's coaches; (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selected by the nation's football writers; (4) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) selected based on the votes of sports writers at NEA newspapers; (5) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (6) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC).

Eight players are recognized by the NCAA as unanimous All-America selections. They are: (1) wide receiver and 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska; (2) tight end Charles Young of USC; (3) offensive tackle Jerry Sisemore of Texas; (4) offensive guard John Hannah of Alabama; (5) running back Greg Pruitt of Oklahoma; (6) defensive tackle Greg Marx of Notre Dame; (7) middle guard Rich Glover of Nebraska; and (8) defensive back Brad Van Pelt of Michigan State.

1972 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 1972 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska in the 1972 NCAA University Division football season. The team was coached by Bob Devaney, in his eleventh and final season with the Huskers, and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Nebraska, national champions in 1970 and 1971, entered the season top-ranked in the polls, with a 23-game winning streak and 33-game unbeaten streak.

1972 Orange Bowl

The 1972 Orange Bowl was played the night of January 1 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. In the final game of the 1971 college football season, the top-ranked and defending national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Eight Conference soundly defeated the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference, 38–6.

1973 CFL season

The 1973 Canadian Football League season is considered to be the 20th season in modern-day Canadian football, although it is officially the 16th Canadian Football League season.

1974 CFL season

The 1974 Canadian Football League season is considered to be the 21st season in modern-day Canadian football, although it is officially the 17th Canadian Football League season.

1975 CFL season

The 1975 Canadian Football League season is considered to be the 22nd season in modern-day Canadian football, although it is officially the 18th Canadian Football League season.

Jarvis Redwine

Jarvis John Redwine (born May 16, 1957) is a former American college and professional football player, a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for three seasons during the 1980s. Redwine played college football for the University of Nebraska, and earned All-American honors. He was selected in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Redwine played high school football at Inglewood High School. He played college football at Oregon State in 1976 and 1977, then transferred to the

University of Nebraska, where he played for head coach Tom Osborne. His first Cornhusker season's performance as a junior in 1979 earned him Osborne's endorsement as Nebraska's best chance at a Heisman Trophy winner since Johnny Rodgers in 1972. Redwine suffered a broken rib midway through his senior season in 1980 and fell back in the Heisman race, in which he finished seventh. Even so, he was the first Cornhusker to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, gaining 1,119.The Minnesota Vikings picked Redwine in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft (52nd overall), and he played for the Vikings from 1981 to 1983.

Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy

The Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy is a Canadian football award recognizing the most outstanding football player of the Quebec Student Sport Federation (RESQ)The trophy was originally presented to the player who best exemplified skill, sportsmanship, and courage in the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union. In 1973, it became the award to the Most Outstanding Player of the Canadian Football League's East Division and either the winner of this trophy or the winner of the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy from the West would go on to win the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award. The trophy was donated to the Canadian Rugby Union in 1928, to honour former Montreal player, Jeff Russel, who was killed in 1926, while repairing damaged electric lines for the Montreal Power Company. The trophy was officially retired in 1994 at the request of the Russel family.

The Terry Evanshen Trophy replaced the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy as the official trophy to be awarded to the Most Outstanding Player of the East Division.

In 2003, it was re-established for recognizing the players in the Quebec conference of U Sports football and the winner is nominated for the national Hec Crighton Trophy.

Jerry LaNoue

Gerald "Jerry" LaNoue (1912-1983) was a three-year starting quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and earned All Big Six Conference recognition in 1935, while playing for coach Dana X. Bible.

A native of Wisner, Nebraska, LaNoue wore jersey #11 throughout his Cornhusker career, and was considered the fastest Cornhusker running back of his era, and several historians have made comparisons between him and Husker legend Johnny Rodgers because of his speed and deceptive moves on the field. In starring for Nebraska, LaNoue followed his cousin (and Wisner native), Lewis H. Brown (American football), who was a starting quarterback for the Cornhuskers, as well.

Despite LaNoue's presence, the Wisner High football team had a 5-15-1 record during his playing career. Not long after LaNoue's graduation, the school dropped football.

LaNoue lettered twice for the Cornhuskers--in 1933 and 1935. Due to a broken collarbone, he did not letter in 1934.

LaNoue is also linked to Nebraska football because it was through his connections that fellow Wisner native Warren Alfson became a Cornhusker football player. Alfson ultimately earned All-America recognition in 1940. Like Alfson, LaNoue delayed entering the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for several years, as he graduated from Wisner High in 1931, making him somewhat older than his teammates and opponents.

Jet Award

The Jet Award, named in honor of 1972 Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, is awarded to the top return specialist in college football beginning with the 2011 season. Joe Adams was announced as the first winner on March 29, 2012. Beginning with the 2012 award ceremony, in addition to being given to the annual award winner, the Rodgers Award will be presented retroactively one decade at a time, starting with the 1959–1969 winners.

Johnny Rodgers (singer)

Johnny Rodgers (born John Daniel Rodgers on June 5, 1974) is a singer-songwriter, pianist, Broadway star, and recording

artist whom The New York Times described as an entertainer "[who] can't be found anywhere else" with "fused elements of Billy Joel, Peter Allen and Johnny Mercer."

Liza's at The Palace....

Liza's at the Palace.... was a concert presented by Liza Minnelli at the Palace Theatre on Broadway from December 3, 2008 through January 4, 2009. It was produced by John Scher and Metropolitan Talent Presents.

It was directed and choreographed by Ron Lewis, with vocal arrangements by Kay Thompson and Billy Stritch. Minnelli performed with four dancer-singers: Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina, and Johnny Rodgers. The concert contained songs written by Kander and Ebb, among others.

The first act included a revised version of a vaudeville tribute her mother once performed at the Palace. The second act included a "re-creation of [Kay] Thompson's celebrated nightclub act with the four Williams brothers".

Lorne Richardson

Lorne Richardson (born March 9, 1950) is a former award winning and all-star defensive back who played in the Canadian Football League from 1973 to 1977. Though his career may have been short, Richardson is considered one of the finest Canadian-born players to play defensive back ever in the CFL.A native of Moose Jaw and a graduate of University of Colorado, Richardson took the league by storm in 1973 with 7 interceptions and 152 return yards. He was a CFL All-Star and winner of the Dr. Beattie Martin Trophy for rookie of the year in the west (and was runner up to Johnny Rodgers for the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award.) He was a CFL All-Star in each of his first 4 seasons, intercepting 21 passes, and played in the classic 64th Grey Cup when the Green Riders lost in the last minute. He finished his career in 1977 with the Toronto Argonauts, playing 16 regular season and 1 playoff game, and intercepting 1 pass.

Nebraska Cornhuskers football

The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represents the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Among the 128 Division I-FBS teams, Nebraska is one of ten football programs to win 800 or more games. Nebraska has more victories against Power Five opponents than any other program, as well as the fifth most victories all-time, behind only Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, and Alabama. Two of Nebraska's national championship-winning teams, the 1971 and 1995 teams, are listed by many as the best college football teams of all time.Nebraska claims 46 conference championships and five national championships: 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997. The titles in the 1990s marked the first time that a team won three national championships in four seasons since Notre Dame in 1946–49, and one of only three instances a team has won back-to-back consensus national titles. Nebraska has won nine other national championships that the school does not claim. They are the only school with five or more national championships to not have a loss in any of their title seasons.

Nebraska has had five undefeated seasons in which they were not national champions: 1902, 1903, 1913, 1914, and 1915. Between 1912 and 1916, the Cornhuskers played 34 consecutive games without suffering a loss.Famous Cornhuskers include Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch. Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was voted the Nebraska "Player of the Century" in 1999. Rozier, who holds the all-time NCAA record for yards per carry, was likewise inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Other Cornhusker players and coaches who are Hall of Famers include: Forrest Behm, Bob Brown, Guy Chamberlin, Sam Francis, Tommie Frazier, Rich Glover, Wayne Meylan, Bobby Reynolds, Dave Rimington, George Sauer, Will Shields, Clarence Swanson, Ed Weir, Grant Wistrom, and coaches Gomer Jones, Pete Elliott, Francis Schmidt, Dana X. Bible, Bob Devaney, Biff Jones, Tom Osborne, Eddie N. Robinson and Fielding H. Yost.Since June 11, 2010 the University of Nebraska has been a member of the Big Ten Conference, previously affiliated with the Big 12. They are grouped in the Big Ten West Division, along with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

Nebraska Cornhuskers football statistical leaders

The Nebraska Cornhuskers football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Cornhuskers represent the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the NCAA's Big Ten.

Although Nebraska began competing in intercollegiate football in 1890, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1956. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1890, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002.These lists are updated through the end of the 2016 season.

Rich Glover

Richard Edward Glover (born February 6, 1950) is a former professional football player, a defensive tackle for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. He played college football at Nebraska under head coach Bob Devaney. Glover played high school football at Snyder High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. Glover recalls a time when his coach, Roy Corso, instructed each player to bring a garbage pail cover with them for after the game. When asked why, Corso responded it was for their own protection. Glover admits if it wasn't for those covers, they never would have made it past the losing team throwing rocks at the bus windows on the way out of the parking lot.

In his senior season for the Huskers in 1972, he won the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award; the second of eight Nebraska winners of the Outland Trophy and the first of five Nebraska winners of the Lombardi Award. Nebraska players have won nine Outland Trophys overall, by far the most in the nation. Oklahoma has the second most with four. As the middle guard, he was a key member of the Blackshirts as an underclassman on the 1970 and 1971 undefeated Nebraska teams that won consecutive national championships. The 1972 team was a pre-season #1 but lost their road opener to UCLA and finished 9-2-1, rising to fourth in the final AP poll, buoyed by a third consecutive Orange Bowl victory, 40-6 over Notre Dame.

Rich Glover was the second straight winner of the Outland Trophy from Nebraska, his New York Giant teammate Larry Jacobson won in 1971. He is the first of four Cornhuskers (Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and Ndamukong Suh), and one of thirteen lineman, to have won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award in their careers. Glover also finished third in the 1972 Heisman Trophy voting, won by teammate Johnny Rodgers; he was the only defensive player in the top ten.He was selected to the Nebraska All-Century Football Team and is one of sixteen Cornhuskers to have his jersey (#79) retired. Glover was selected to the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1995.

In 1999 Glover was selected as a starting defensive tackle by Sports Illustrated in their "NCAA Football All-Century Team" alongside other starting defensive tackle Bronko Nagurski. The second and third team defensive tackles were Buck Buchanan, Lee Roy Selmon, Mike Reid and Randy White. Glover was one of six Nebraska Cornhuskers on SI's All-Century Team 85 man roster; the others being Johnny Rodgers, Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Tommie Frazier, and Aaron Taylor. Glover, the oldest of the six, was the only Cornhusker defensive player selected.

Following his collegiate career, he was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft, the 69th pick overall. He played with the Giants (along with fellow Husker and Outland winner Larry Jacobson) for one season before joining the Shreveport Steamers of the World Football League in 1974. He then joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1975 before injuries ended his NFL career. He went on to become a teacher and coach in the public school system of San José, California. In 2004, he was part of the New Mexico State football coaching staff.

He is currently the assistant coach at Harrison High School. Previously he was head coach at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.Glover is a graduate of Snyder High School in Jersey City.

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