Leo Joseph Nomellini (June 19, 1924 – October 17, 2000) was a Hall of Fame American football offensive and defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and professional wrestler. He played college football for Minnesota.
|Born:||June 19, 1924|
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
|Died:||October 17, 2000 (aged 76)|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||259 lb (117 kg)|
|High school:||Crane (IL)|
|NFL Draft:||1950 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
|Service/||U.S. Marine Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Nomellini was born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, and immigrated to the United States as an infant to Minnesota, before later moving to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Crane High School. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps. It was there that in 1942, he first started playing football.
Nomellini was selected in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 1950 NFL draft, the first draft pick in the history of the San Francisco 49ers. As a professional, he appeared in 174 regular-season games and 266 games in total for his 14-year career.
While with the 49ers, he played both offensive and defensive tackle, winning All-Pro honors at both positions. He was selected to the All-NFL team six times: two years on offense and four years on defense. "He was as strong as three bulls," said 49ers teammate Joe Perry. "He'd slap you on the back and knock you twenty feet." Nomellini was named to the NFL's all-time team as a defensive tackle. In 1969, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and in 1977, the College Football Hall of Fame.
During the off-season Nomellini often wrestled professionally as Leo "The Lion" Nomellini debuting in Minnesota in 1950. For his career, he was a 10 tag team champion. He won his first tag team championship in NWA San Francisco on March 14, 1952 when he teamed Hombre Montana. The duo defeated Mike Sharpe and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) . Four months later, Nomellini and Gino Garibaldi won the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship. In April 1953, Nomellini regained the NWA Pacific Coast Tag Team Championship while teaming with Enrique Torres when they defeated Fred and Ray Atkins. Nomellini and Torres defeated the Mike and Ben Sharpe on May 6, 1953 for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). On May 11, 1954 Nomellini teamed with Rocky Brown to defeat the Sharpes and win the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version). In 1957, Nomellini, again teaming with Torres, defeated Lord James Blears and Ben Sharpe for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version).
While working for the National Wrestling Alliance, Nomellini once defeated Lou Thesz in a two-out-of-three falls match, but was not awarded the NWA World Heavyweight Championship because the first fall was a disqualification.
On May 15, 1958, Nomellini, teaming with Verne Gange defeated Mike and Doc Gallagher for the NWA World Tag Team Championship (Minneapolis version). He would win the title again on July 14, 1959 while teaming with Butch Levy and defeated Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff. He would win it for the last time on July 19, 1960, once again teaming with Gagne and defeating Stan Kowalski and Tiny Mills.
The 1947 All-Big Nine Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Nine Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and the International News Service (INS) for the 1947 Big Nine Conference football season. The top vote getters in the AP voting by conference coaches were Leo Nomellini, Bob Chappuis, and Bump Elliott, each receiving 16 of 18 possible points.1947 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team
The 1947 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represented the University of Minnesota in the 1947 Big Nine Conference football season. In their 13th year under head coach Bernie Bierman, the Golden Gophers compiled a 6–3 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 174 to 127.Guard Leo Nomellini was named All-Big Ten. Guard Larry Olsonoski was awarded the Team MVP Award.Total attendance for the season was 289,612, which averaged to 57,922. The season high for attendance was against Purdue.1948 All-Big Nine Conference football team
The 1948 All-Big Nine Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Nine Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and the International News Service (INS) for the 1948 Big Nine Conference football season. Players selected as first-team honorees by the AP, UP and INS are displayed in bold.
Michigan compiled a 9–0 record, won both the Big Nine Conference and national football championships, and had four players who were selected as consensus first-team All-Big Nine players. Michigan's consensus first-team honorees were quarterback Pete Elliott, end Dick Rifenburg, tackle Alvin Wistert, guard Dominic Tomasi.
Other players receiving first-team honors from at least two of the three major selectors were Indiana halfback George Taliaferro, Purdue halfback Harry Szulborski, Northwestern fullback Art Murakowski, Minnesota end Bud Grant, Minnesota guard Leo Nomellini, and Northwestern center Alex Sarkisian.1948 Big Nine Conference football season
The 1948 Big Nine Conference football season was the 53rd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1948 college football season.
The 1948 Big Nine champion was Michigan. The Wolverines compiled a 9–0 record, shut out five of nine opponents, led the conference in both scoring offense (28.0 points per game) and scoring defense (4.9 points allowed per game), and were ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll. The 1948 season was Michigan's second straight undefeated, untied season. The Wolverines entered the 1948 season with a 14-game winning streak dating back to October 1946 and extended the streak to 23 games. End Dick Rifenburg and tackle Alvin Wistert were consensus first-team All-Americans. Guard Dominic Tomasi was selected as the team's most valuable player.
Northwestern finished in second place with an 8–2 record and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. Under conference rules preventing the same team from returning to the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons, Northwestern received the conference's bid to play in the 1949 Rose Bowl where the Wildcats defeated the California Golden Bears, 20–14. Northwestern fullback Art Murakowski won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the conference's most valuable player.
Minnesota finished in third place with a 7–2 and was ranked No. 16 in the final AP Poll. Minnesota was led by Bernie Bierman in his 14th year as head coach and by tackle Leo Nomellini who was a consensus first-team All-American.1948 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team
The 1948 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represented the University of Minnesota in the 1948 Big Nine Conference football season. In their 14th year under head coach Bernie Bierman, the Golden Gophers compiled a 7–2 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 203 to 94.Guard Leo Nomellini was named All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press (AP), Collier's Weekly/Grantland Rice, The Sporting News, INS, Look Magazine, Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association. Nomellini and end Bud Grant were also named All-Big Ten.Halfback Everette Faunce was awarded the Team MVP Award.Total attendance for the season was 308,556, which averaged to 61,711. The season high for attendance was against Purdue.1949 All-Big Nine Conference football team
The 1949 All-Big Nine Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Nine Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and the International News Service (INS) for the 1949 Big Nine Conference football season.1949 Big Nine Conference football season
The 1949 Big Nine Conference football season was the 54th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1949 college football season.
Ohio State and Michigan tied for the 1949 Big Ten championship. Ohio State, under head coach Wes Fesler, compiled a 7–1–2 record and was ranked No. 6 in the final AP Poll. The Buckeyes defeated California in the 1950 Rose Bowl by a 17–14 score. Center Jack Lininger was selected as the team's most valuable player.
Michigan, under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, compiled a 6–2–1 record and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. The Wolverines had a 25-game win streak broken with a loss to Army on October 8, 1949. Halfback Dick Kempthorn was selected as the team's most valuable player, and tackle Alvin Wistert was a consensus first-team All-American.
Minnesota, under head coach Bernie Bierman, finished in third place, compiled a 7–2 record, led the conference in both scoring offense (25.7 points per game) and scoring defense (8.9 points allowed per game), and was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Bud Grant and John Lundin were selected as the team's most valuable players. Tackle Leo Nomellini and center Clayton Tonnemaker were both consensus first-team All-Americans.1949 College Football All-America Team
The 1949 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 1949. The eight selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1949 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the All-America Board, (4) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (5) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and (8) the Sporting News.1949 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team
The 1949 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represented the University of Minnesota in the 1949 Big Nine Conference football season. In their 15th year under head coach Bernie Bierman, the Golden Gophers compiled a 7–2 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 231 to 80.Tackle Leo Nomellini was named an All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press (AP), Look Magazine, and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Center Clayton Tonnemaker was named an All-American by Walter Camp Football Foundation, AP, Collier's/Grantland Rice, Look Magazine, Football Writers Association of America and the AFCA. Nomellini, Tonnemaker and end Bud Grant were named All-Big Ten first team.Bud Grant was awarded the Team MVP Award.Total attendance for the season was 305,200, which averaged to 61,040. The season high for attendance was against Wisconsin.1950 San Francisco 49ers season
The 1950 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's first season in the NFL, after playing the previous four years in the All-America Football Conference, which folded after the 1949 season. The 49ers, Baltimore Colts, and Cleveland Browns all joined the NFL from the AAFC.
San Francisco's first NFL game was at Kezar Stadium on September 17 against the New York Yanks, as the 49ers fell short, losing by a score of 21–17. They started the season 0–5 before recording their first NFL victory in a 28–27 victory over the Detroit Lions at home. The Niners played better after the 0–5 start, went 3–4 in their remaining 7 games to finish the season 3–9, and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Quarterback Frankie Albert completed 50.7% of his passes, while throwing for 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Running back Joe Perry rushed for a team-high 647 yards and 5 touchdowns, while wide receiver Alyn Beals caught 22 passes for 315 yards, and 3 touchdowns.1953 All-Pro Team
The 1953 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1953 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, the Associated Press (AP) (based on voting among 48 member paper sports writers and AP staffers), the United Press (UP), and the New York Daily News.1954 San Francisco 49ers season
The 1954 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's fifth season in the National Football League (NFL), and it was coming off a 9–3–0 record in 1953, finishing one game behind the Detroit Lions for a spot in the championship game.
The 49ers would get off to a strong start, beginning the season with a 4–0–1 record, as they were trying to finish on top of the conference for the 1st time in team history. The Niners would lose their next 2 games against the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams by close scores, however, they still found themselves in the playoff race as no team was running away with the conference. The 4–2–1 Niners had a huge game against the 5–1–0 Detroit Lions, which was a must-win game for San Francisco. The Lions though had other ideas, demolishing the 49ers 48–7, as they fell to a 4–3–1 record. San Francisco would finish the season with 3 wins in their final 4 games, and finished the year in 3rd place with a 7–4–1 record.
Offensively, Y. A. Tittle had another strong season, throwing for 2,205 yards and 9 touchdowns, while completing 57.6% of his passes. Billy Wilson led the club with 60 receptions and 830 yards and 5 touchdowns. San Francisco's ground attack was overwhelming. Joe Perry rushed for an NFL high 1,049 yards, and John Johnson rushed for 681 yards (2nd highest total in the NFL) and a team high 9 touchdowns. Hugh McElhenny was leading the team with 8.0 yards per carry until he separated his shoulder on October 31 against the Chicago Bears.
Joe Perry (FB), Bruno Banducci (G) and Leo Nomellini (DT) made the Associated Press All-Pro team. Hugh McElhenny (HB), Billy Wilson (E), and Bob St. Clair (T) made the second squad.1962 All-Pro Team
The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team in 1962. Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.American Wrestling Association
The American Wrestling Association (AWA) was an American professional wrestling promotion based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that ran from 1960 to 1991. It was owned and founded by Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo. The territory was originally part of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), becoming an independent territory in the late 1950s.Enrique Torres
Enrique Torres (July 25, 1922 – September 10, 2007) was a Mexican-American professional wrestler, the oldest three Torres brothers in wrestling, and a major star in the late 1940s and 1950s.List of San Francisco 49ers first-round draft picks
The San Francisco 49ers entered professional football in 1946 as a member of the All-America Football Conference. The team joined the NFL along with the Cleveland Browns and the original Baltimore Colts in 1950. The 49ers' first draft selection in the NFL was Leo Nomellini, a defensive tackle from the University of Minnesota; the team's most recent pick was Mike McGlinchey, an offensive tackle from Notre Dame at number 9.
Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in inverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first, and the second worst picking second and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades.
The 49ers have selected the No. 1 overall pick three times: Harry Babcock in 1953, Dave Parks in 1964, and most recently, Alex Smith in 2005. In its first three years as an NFL team, the 49ers picked three consecutive future Hall of Famers in the first round: Leo Nomellini, Y. A. Tittle, and Hugh McElhenny; since then, the team has picked four more future Hall of Famers in the first round (Jimmy Johnson, Lance Alworth, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice), making it seven in total. However, Lance Alworth elected to sign with the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League instead of the 49ers of the NFL, and never played for San Francisco.List of San Francisco 49ers head coaches
There have been 19 head coaches in the history of the San Francisco 49ers professional football franchise. The San Francisco 49ers franchise was formed in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) before joining the National Football League (NFL) in 1950 after the AAFC merger with the NFL. Buck Shaw became the first head coach of the 49ers in 1946, serving for nine seasons—four in the AAFC and five in the NFL. He coached a number of future College and Pro Football Hall of Famers, such as Frankie Albert, Joe Perry, Leo Nomellini, Y. A. Tittle, Bob St. Clair and Hugh McElhenny.In terms of tenure, Bill Walsh has coached more games (152) and more complete seasons (10) than any other head coach in 49ers franchise history. He led the 49ers to playoff appearances in seven seasons, three of which led to the Super Bowl championship, in 1981, 1984 and 1988. Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Charles Haley, Ronnie Lott, Johnny Davis, Roger Craig, Fred Dean and Steve Young are among the players Walsh has coached in his career.Four 49ers coaches—Dick Nolan, Bill Walsh, George Seifert, and Jim Harbaugh—have been named coach of the year by at least one major news organization. Walsh, Jack Christiansen and Mike Singletary are the only 49ers coaches currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Walsh was selected for his coaching contributions. Singletary and Christiansen were voted into the Hall of Fame primarily for their defensive play. Four times in 49ers history has there been an "interim" head coach. Three games into the 1963 season, coach Red Hickey resigned and was replaced by Jack Christiansen. Christiansen coached the 49ers to a 2–9 record in the remainder of the season and came back to coach the team for four more years. In 1978, Pete McCulley was fired after coaching the 49ers to a 1–8 record. He was replaced by offensive coordinator Fred O'Connor, who was himself fired after leading the 49ers to one win in their final seven games. After a 2–5 start to the 2008 season, Mike Nolan was fired and replaced by Mike Singletary, who finished the season 5–4 and became the official head coach following that season. After a 5–10 start to the 2010 season, Mike Singletary was fired and replaced by Jim Tomsula for the final 49ers game of the 2010 season. Stanford University head coach Jim Harbaugh succeeded Tomsula as head coach in January 2011, and led the franchise to the NFC Championship Game, where the 49ers lost in overtime to the New York Giants. The following season, the 49ers reached Super Bowl XLVII, where they faced off against the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Jim's older brother John Harbaugh. The 49ers trailed by as many as 22 points during the game, but ultimately lost 34–31 to the Ravens; the 49ers losing a Super Bowl for the first time.NWA World Tag Team Championship (Minneapolis version)
From January 8, 1957, through August 1960 the NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club promoted the Minneapolis version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship as the main professional wrestling championship for tag teams on their shows held in and around Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) from its formation in 1948, but left the group in 1960 to help form the American Wrestling Association (AWA). The NWA Board of Directors allowed each member, referred to as a NWA territory, to create and control its own individual "NWA World Tag Team Championship" to be defended within its territory. At one point in 1957, no less than 13 different versions of the NWA World Tag Team Championship were recognized across the United States.[Championships] As with all professional wrestling championships, this championship was not contested for in competitive matches, but in matches with predetermined outcomes to maintain the illusion that professional wrestling is a competitive sport.Records indicate that brothers Al and Tiny Mills were recognized as NWA World Tag Team Champions in Minnesota in June 1953, as they lost the championship to Tony Baillargeon and Pat O'Connor on June 20, 1953. The records did not indicate how the Mills brothers won the championship, nor is it clear what happened after Baillargeon and O'Connor won the championship. Records of an active NWA World Tag Team Championship in the Minneapolis area do not indicate new champions until January 8, 1957, when The Kalmikoffs (Ivan and Karol Kalmikoff) defeated Fritz Von Erich and Karl Von Schober in the finals of a tournament to win the championship. In 1960 the Minneapolis promotion left the NWA to found the AWA, which meant that the last holders of the NWA championship, Murder Inc. (Stan Kowalski and Tiny Mills), became the first AWA World Tag Team Champions as all NWA-branded championships were abandoned.The Kalmikoffs held the championship a total of four times, the record both for teams and for Ivan and Karol Kalmikoffs as individuals. Verne Gagne shares the record of four championship reigns, with three different partners: Leo Nomellini, Bronco Nagurski, and Butch Levy. Due to lack of details surrounding various championship changes, it is uncertain which team had the shortest reign; Herb and Seymore Freeman's reign of seven days is the shortest confirmed reign, but the possibility exists that another team had a shorter reign. The last reign was also the longest reign, as Murder Inc. held the championship for 193 days before being awarded the AWA World Tag Team Championship.NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version)
The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) member NWA San Francisco promoted a professional wrestling tag team championship under the name NWA World Tag Team Championship from 1950 until 1961 in and around their local territory until it closed. When San Francisco based Big Time Wrestling became a member of the NWA in 1968 they began promoting their version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship as part of their shows until the championship was abandoned in 1979. The NWA rules allowed each individual member to promote a championship under that name, which meant there were several NWA World Tag Team Championships promoted across North America at some point between 1950 and 1982, with two different versions being promoted in San Francisco, although not at the same time. At one point in 1957 no less than 13 different versions of the NWA World Tag Team Championship were recognized across the United States.[Championships] At least 21 different regional branches of the NWA World Tag Team Championship have identified as being active at some point between 1950 and 1991. In 1992 the NWA Board of Directors sanctioned one main NWA World Tag Team Championship under their control. As it is a professional wrestling championship, it is not won via legitimate competition; it is instead won via a scripted ending to a match or on occasion awarded to a wrestler because of a storyline.Ray Eckert and Hard Boiled Haggerty are recognized as the first holders of the NWA San Francisco version of the championship, said to have defeated the team of Ron Etchison and Larry Moquin, although no direct record of the match has been found; it was only mentioned on television. Due to gaps in documentation from the era not all championship changes have been record with specific dates, only the general period of time that they happened. Due to this it is impossible to say which team held the championship for the shortest period of time although it is unlikely to be shorter than the one-day reign of Mike and Ben Sharpe from January 9 to 10, 1958. The Sharpe Brothers' eighth reign lasted at least 131 days, the longest known reign of any champions. The Sharpe Brothers also hold the record for most reigns, a total of 18, 15 more than any other team. In 1957 the San Francisco version of the championship was one of thirteen NWA World Tag Team Championships being promoted in the United States throughout the NWA territories.[Championships] The NWA: San Francisco version of the championship was abandoned in when promoter Joe Malcevicz closed his promotion in 1962.In 1961 Roy Shire started a rival wrestling promotion in San Francisco called Big Time Wrestling, in direct competition with NWA: San Francisco. Shires' promotion created its own World Tag Team Championship in 1961, with Guy and Joe Brunetti as its first champions. Initially Shire was associated with the American Wrestling Alliance, but in 1968 he became a member of the NWA. At that point the Big Time Wrestling tag team championship was given the NWA suffix. Big Time Wrestling abandoned the tag team championship in 1979 and two years later the promotion closed. While it is possible that there were shorter reigns, the seven-day reign of the Great Mephisto and Kinji Shibuya in April 1973 is the shortest documented title reign. The Blonde Bombers's (Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson) reign that started in April 1965 was the longest reign on record, a total of 623 days.
Leo Nomellini—awards and honors