Walt Patulski

Walter George Patulski (born February 3, 1950) is a former American football defensive end at the University of Notre Dame and the National Football League.

Walt Patulski
No. 85, 74
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born:February 3, 1950 (age 69)
Fulton, New York
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:259 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school:Christian Brothers Academy
(DeWitt, New York)
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

High school

Patulski was a star athlete at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, New York, where he was a three-year letterman in football, basketball, and track and field. In his senior season in 1967, the 6-foot-5 fullback scored 140 points and led the Brothers to a 7–1 record. He was All-City in football and basketball. A High School All-American, he received over 60 scholarship offers to play football.[1]

In 1991, Patulski was voted to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame for his activities as a high school athlete.[2]

College career

At the University of Notre Dame, Patulski was converted into a defensive end. He was an All-American in 1971, and he won the 1971 Lombardi Award, which is given to college football's best lineman. A Fighting Irish captain, he finished ninth in that year's Heisman Trophy balloting. Selected the Nation's Lineman of the Year by UPI and Gridiron Magazine in 1971. Patulski was named to Football News sophomore All-America squad in 1969 and was an honorable mention All-American in 1970.[3]

Started every game in his collegiate career, and totaled 186 tackles, 40 for losses; broke up 10 passes; recovered five fumbles and returned one blocked punt 12 yards. In his final football season at Notre Dame, 1971, he was the team defensive MVP. Patulski made 74 tackles, 22 more than his total for the 1970 season. Seventeen of those stops resulted losses for the opposing team. Patulski also broke up six passes, recovered one fumble.[4] The 1969-1971 Irish rushing defenses and total defenses were ranked in the nation's top six all three years and its scoring defense was in the top ten in 1970 and 1971 and compiled a record of 25–4–1 over those three seasons while Patulski was a starter.[5]

He was awarded the game ball for his performance in the Irish initial 1971 contest against Northwestern and was acclaimed as national lineman of the week following the North Carolina game. His play versus Michigan State prompted the head coach Duffy Dougherty to hail him as Notre Dame's "finest defender".

Patulski was later named to Notre Dame's All-Century team. He played in the 1971 Cotton Bowl Classic and the Hula Bowl. In the Hula Bowl he won the Defensive Lineman of the Game award. In the summer of 1972, Patulski played in the College All-Star game, in Chicago, IL.[6] Patulski was lauded by one team as "(T)he best we've seen for many years." All but unstoppable on the pass rush, he dazzled the experts with his "amazing agility and lateral mobility."[7]

Professional career

Patulski was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the first overall pick of the 1972 NFL Draft. He was the last Notre Dame player to be drafted #1 overall. His size and speed were among the reasons he was highly touted: At 6'6" and 250 pounds, he could run the 40 in 4.9 seconds.

As a rookie, Patulski led the Bills with five sacks. In 1973 the Bills improved to a 9-5 record after going 4-9-1 in his rookie season of 1972, he recorded seven sacks, which was second on the team and was voted AP NFL Defensive Player of the Week November 28, 1973, after Week 11. In 1974, the Bills recorded another 9-5 record and made the playoffs for the first time in eight years as he recorded 5.5 sacks. The Bills were 8-6 during his third season, but did not advance to the AFC playoffs. He recorded four sacks, a career low, however, two came in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals offensive line, who gave up only eight sacks in 1975. He lined up against St. Louis all-pro and Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Dan Dierdorf.[8] Patulski played four years (1972–1975) with the Bills, and then he was traded to the Cardinals for a second-round draft pick, and played one year with the St. Louis Cardinals (1977). He then suffered career-ending knee injury.

The Bills considered Patulski expendable when they acquired Sherman White from the Cincinnati Bengals, who was selected second overall in the 1972 draft out of California.

Patulski's career was considered unsuccessful. In fact, ESPN ranked him as the 27th biggest draft bust of all-time on April 18, 2008.[9]


Walt is a recipient of the Key to Syracuse (New York) for his distinguished community service. He served for six years as Commissioner of the Syracuse Board of Education, and has also been a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He has also recently been guest speaker at the National Football Foundation.

Appointed later elected, Commissioner of Education, Syracuse School District, 1980.

To be honored June 19, 2014 with his induction into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in Troy, Michigan.

Patulski has two daughters, Wallis and Emily. Wallis is a graduate of George Washington University. Emily graduated from Boston University where she majored in psychology.[10][11]

In September 2016, Bills coach Rex Ryan used Patulski's name as an alias when he posed as a reporter for The Buffalo News at a press conference for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The practical joke led the News to commission a guest column from the real Patulski following the Bills' win over the Patriots on October 2.[12] The News then profiled Patulski a month later, in which his relatively disappointing career was largely blamed on two factors: he was in an unusually weak draft class, and his quiet personality clashed with the style of Bills coach Lou Saban. Patulski never spoke to Saban again after his football career ended, despite the opportunities to do so.[13]


  1. ^ Syracuse Hall Of Fame.com
  2. ^ ibid
  3. ^ University of Notre Dame website
  4. ^ ibid
  5. ^ Notre Dame Media Guide
  6. ^ Walt Patulski bio
  7. ^ Time magazine website
  8. ^ Felser, Larry (November 24, 1994). "'75 Bills Showed Uncanny Appetite On Thanksgiving". Buffalo News.
  9. ^ ESPN.com
  10. ^ Buffalo Bills.com
  11. ^ Walt Patulski Homepage
  12. ^ Patulski, Walt (October 2, 2016). Bills have the leadership to make things happen. The Buffalo News. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Graham, Tim (November 19, 2016). After 40 years in the NFL darkness, Walt Patulski explains how it all went wrong. The Buffalo News. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
1969 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1969 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1969 NCAA University Division football season. The Fighting Irish were led by sixth-year head coach Ara Parseghian and played their home games on campus at Notre Dame Stadium.

After 44 seasons without postseason play (1925–1968), the school ended its self-imposed bowl hiatus. With an 8–1–1 regular season record, the Irish were led on the field by junior quarterback Joe Theismann. They met top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on New Year's Day, but lost 21–17 when the Longhorns scored a late touchdown.

1970 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1970 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1970 NCAA University Division football season.

1971 College Football All-America Team

The 1971 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 1971. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1971 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (2) the Associated Press (AP), (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (4) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), and (5) the United Press International (UPI).Nine players are recognized by the NCAA as unanimous All-America selections. They are: quarterback and 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan of Auburn; running backs Ed Marinaro of Cornell and Greg Pruitt of Oklahoma; receiver Terry Beasley of Auburn; tackle Jerry Sisemore of Texas; guard Royce Smith of Georgia; defensive end Walt Patulski of Notre Dame; linebacker Mike Taylor of Michigan; and defensive back Bobby Majors of Tennessee.

1971 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1971 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1971 NCAA University Division football season.

Prior to their concluding game at LSU, #7 Notre Dame (8–1) announced that they would not play in a bowl game this season.

1972 Buffalo Bills season

The 1972 Buffalo Bills season was the 13th season for the club and its third in the National Football League. It was also their last season at War Memorial Stadium which had been their home field since the franchise started in 1960.

1972 NFL season

The 1972 NFL season was the 53rd regular season of the National Football League. The Miami Dolphins became the first (and to date the only) NFL team to finish a championship season undefeated and untied when they beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

1972 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1972 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 40th in the league. They failed to improve on their previous output of 6–7–1, winning only two games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the twelfth consecutive season.

Both of the Eagles' victories were one-point decisions on the road vs. AFC teams, 21-20 over the Kansas City Chiefs and 18-17 over the Houston Oilers. The meeting with the Chiefs was the last until 1992, and Kansas City did not come to Philadelphia until 1998.

Following the disastrous season, the third with three wins or fewer since 1968, general manager Pete Retzlaff resigned, and coach Ed Khayat was fired by owner Leonard Tose.

1974 Buffalo Bills season

The 1974 Buffalo Bills season was the 15th season for the club in pro football and fifth in the National Football League (NFL). Buffalo made the NFL playoffs for the first time, and reached the postseason for the first time in eight seasons. In the playoffs, they lost to the eventual champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 32-14 in Pittsburgh. This was O.J. Simpson's only playoff game of his career, as the Bills did not have another playoff team with him on the team. Simpson would be traded to the 49ers in 1978, but the 49ers did not make the playoffs that season nor the 1979 season, Simpson's final season in the NFL. In the game, Simpson would only rush for 49 yards on 11 carries and did not score a touchdown. He did, however, catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Ferguson late in the 3rd quarter.

Buffalo debuted their new uniforms and helmets in 1974, replacing the red "standing buffalo" with the "streaking bison." The look first shown to a national audience on the first Monday Night Football game of the season, in a dramatic 21–20 victory over Oakland.Star running back O.J. Simpson, coming off consecutive rushing titles, did not lead the league in 1974, but did cross the 1,000-yard barrier despite a sore knee.Buffalo's defense was far more stout than it had been in previous years, as it gave up 3,489 yards in 1974, fifth-fewest in the NFL. The Bills' 1,611 passing yards allowed were the third-best in the league.The 1974 Bills have the odd distinction of being the last team to go a full game without completing a pass, in Week Three of the season against the New York Jets. Despite this, they still managed to defeat the Jets, behind 223 combined Buffalo rushing yards—as well as only 2 completions by Jets quarterback Joe Namath in 18 attempts.

1975 Buffalo Bills season

The 1975 Buffalo Bills season was the 16th season for the club, and their 6th in the National Football League.

1976 Buffalo Bills season

The 1976 Buffalo Bills season was the 17th season for the club and its seventh in the National Football League.

Buffalo's season was troubled from the start, as the team was in a contract dispute with star running back O.J. Simpson. Simpson had been demanding a trade, before finally agreeing to a three-year, $2.5 million contract.The Bills started the season 2–2, before losing their final ten games of the season. Quarterback Joe Ferguson only started the first seven games before being sidelined for the season with a back injury. Backup quarterback Gary Marangi started Buffalo's final seven games, all losses.

Fullback Jim Braxton injured his knee in the Bills' season opener and was lost for the season. Simpson still led the NFL in rushing in 1976, even without Braxton's blocking.Bills head coach Lou Saban resigned after the fifth game of the season, with the Bills struggling at 2–3. Offensive line coach Jim Ringo took over, but would not win a game for the rest of the year.

The lowest point of the season was when O.J. Simpson was ejected from a game for getting into a fight with New England Patriots defensive end Mel Lunsford. Lunsford was also ejected from the game as well. Neither player was fined or suspended by the league.

1977 St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) season

The 1977 St. Louis Cardinals season was the franchise’s 56th year with the National Football League and the 17th season in St. Louis. This was the final season in St Louis for head coach Don Coryell who began coaching the San Diego Chargers the following year.

Fulton, Oswego County, New York

There is also a Town of Fulton in Schoharie County, and a Fulton County in New York.Fulton is a small city in the western part of Oswego County, New York. The population was 11,896 as of the 2010 census. The city is named after Robert Fulton, the inventor of the steamboat.

Hula Bowl

The Hula Bowl was an independently administered post-season invitational college football game held annually in Hawaii from 1947 to 2008, usually in January. The game was last played at Aloha Stadium in the Halawa district of Honolulu. At one point the longest-running sporting event in Hawaii, it had been considered a premier venue to launch professional careers in the National Football League (NFL).

Jerry Tagge

Jerry Lee Tagge (born April 12, 1950) is a former American football player. He played college football as quarterback at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to consecutive national championships in 1970 and 1971. Tagge played professionally with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1972 to 1974, the San Antonio Wings of the World Football League (WFL) in 1975, and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 1977 to 1979.

Joe Yonto

Joe Yonto (August 2, 1925 – August 4, 2008) was an American football player and coach, serving most of his career at the University of Notre Dame. He served under three national championship coaches (Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz) during his career.

A native of Orrville, Ohio, Yonto played fullback as sophomore (1945) and guard as junior (1946) under coach Frank Leahy at Notre Dame. As a senior prior to his 1948 graduation, he served as an assistant freshman team coach after a leg injury ended his playing career. He went on to coach high school football for 16 years at numerous schools, including seven years at Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles, Illinois.

In 1964 he returned to the University of Notre Dame as defensive line coach under incoming head coach Parseghian, and held that role throughout Parseghian's 11 seasons, as well as six more (1975–80) under Devine, the last four as defensive coordinator. During that period, he was a part of three Notre Dame national championship staffs (1966, 1973 and 1977) and he coached a dozen All-America defensive linemen. That list included Alan Page, Kevin Hardy, Mike McCoy, Walt Patulski, Mike Kadish, Mike Fanning, Steve Niehaus and Ross Browner—all of whom went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Browner won the Lombardi, Outland and Maxwell Awards, and Patulski also won the Lombardi.

On 12 occasions, Yonto′s defensive line ranked among the top 10 teams in the country in terms of rushing defense. Eight of those Irish teams gave up less than 100 rushing yards per game, and the 1974 Notre Dame Fighting Irish ranked first nationally in both rushing defense and total defense (195.2 yards per game). During the Gerry Faust years (1981–85), Yonto served as a special assistant to athletic director Gene Corrigan while handling administrative duties in a wide variety of football areas. Then, he returned to serve as defensive line coach in 1986 and 1987 under Lou Holtz.

Yonto spent three more years as a special assistant to athletic director Dick Rosenthal from 1988 to 1991. After his retirement, Yonto represented the University and athletics department at a variety of events.

List of Buffalo Bills first-round draft picks

The Buffalo Bills are an American football franchise based in Orchard Park, New York. They are members of the American Football Conference (AFC) East division in the National Football League (NFL).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. The NFL Draft, as a whole, gives the advantage to the teams that did poorly the previous season. The 30 teams that did not make the Super Bowl are ranked in order so the team with the worst record picks first and the team with the best record pick last. The two exceptions to this inverse order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion selects 32nd overall, and the Super Bowl loser selects 31st overall. If the franchise so chooses, they may trade their draft picks for any combination of draft picks, players, and money.

Lombardi Award

The Lombardi Award is awarded by the Lombardi Foundation annually to the best college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, as well as leadership, character, and resiliency. From 1970 until 2016 the award was presented by Rotary International specifically to a lineman or linebacker. The Lombardi Award program was approved by the Rotary International club in Houston in 1970 shortly after the death of famed National Football League coach Vince Lombardi. The committee outlined the criteria for eligibility for the award, which remained in place until 2016: A player should be a down lineman on either offense or defense or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball.The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all NCAA Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country, and former winners and finalists of the Lombardi Award. The total number of voters is approximately 500. Ohio State University holds the record for most Lombardi awards with six. Orlando Pace, the only two-time winner (1995 and 1996), is the most recent offensive lineman to be honored.

The main part of the trophy used to be a block of granite, paying homage to Lombardi's college days at Fordham University as an offensive lineman when his offensive line was referred to as the "Seven Blocks of Granite". A new trophy designed by Texas sculptor Edd Hayes replaced the original block of granite.

Sherman White (American football)

Sherman Eugene White (born October 6, 1948) is a former American football defensive lineman who played in the National Football League between 1972 and 1983. He was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the second overall pick in the 1972 NFL Draft out of the University of California, Berkeley. After playing four seasons with the Bengals, the Buffalo Bills acquired White to replace the person whom the Bills had selected first overall in the same draft: Walt Patulski, who was mired in a squabble with Bills head coach Lou Saban. White went on to play eight seasons with the Bills before retiring.

UPI Lineman of the Year

The United Press International Lineman of the Year award was given annually by United Press International (UPI) to the lineman of the year in college football. With the demise of UPI in 1997, the award was discontinued. Offensive and defensive linemen were eligible, including offensive ends, with one, Howard Twilley, winning in 1965. Like all UPI college awards at the time, it was based on the votes of NCAA coaches. Ross Browner of Notre Dame was the only two-time winner.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.