The Los Angeles Rams drafted Andy Robustelli, an end from tiny Arnold College, in the nineteenth round of the 1951 National Football League Draft. A long shot to make the team as an offensive end since the Rams already had such stars as Tom Fears and Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, Robustelli responded in the only way he knew how – to go all out to make good at what was available to him, the defensive unit.
History will record that Andy became one of the finest defensive ends in pro football history, playing five years with the Rams and then nine years with the New York Giants. He was a regular for the Rams’ 1951 championship team, and the one game he missed that season was the only one he missed in 14 NFL seasons.
After five outstanding seasons in Los Angeles, the Rams dealt him to the Giants for a first-round draft pick. Andy performed even better in New York, and is credited with molding together the 1956 Giants team that won the NFL championship.
A natural leader as well as an outstanding player, Robustelli was a big factor in the Giants on-field success. He stayed with the New York team for nine seasons, the last three as a player-coach. Robustelli was not big for a modern-day defensive end, weighing only 230 pounds, but was clearly one of the finest pass rushers the game has seen.
He was named All-Pro seven times and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. In 1962 the Maxwell Club selected Robustelli as the NFL’s outstanding player, an honor that up until then was generally reserved for an offensive player. The honor was indicative of the high regard that fans, teammates and opponents all held for the future Hall of Fame defensive end.