Groman donates bronzed shoes

07/21/2004

The Pro Football Hall of Fame had a special visitor to the museum on Thursday (Feb. 19). Bill Groman, who still owns the pro record for receiving yards as a rookie, passed through Canton on Thursday.

He presented the Hall with his bronzed shoes - the very ones he wore during his first season with the Houston Oilers in 1960. Groman tore up the American Football League that season as he recorded 72 catches for a rookie record 1,473 yards, and 12 touchdowns.

The yardage total has stood for 44 years but has been seriously challenged during that time.  In fact, the mark nearly fell this past season when Arizona Cardinals rookie sensation Anquan Boldin caught 101 passes for 1,377 yards.  

Groman told Hall of Fame officials that he hadn't been aware of the record until Randy Moss was closing in on it in 1998 and someone sent him an article that mentioned the rookie mark he had set in 1960.

Groman also donated a beautifully drawn piece of cartoon art. The artwork features Groman and his teammate Charley Hennigan.  The receiving duo added tremendous offensive firepower to the dominant Oilers teams of the early 1960s.

Groman played six seasons in the AFL with the Oilers (1960-62), Denver Broncos (1963), and Buffalo Bills (1964-65). He hauled in 174 career passes for 3,481 yards for a 20-yard-per-catch average and scored 36 touchdowns.

Groman (center) presented his bronzed shoes and cartoon art to the Hall.  Joining him from the Hall of Fame are Joe Horrigan, vice-president communications/exhibits (right), and Jason Aikens, collections curator (left).

 
Year
Player
Team
Yards

1960
Bill Groman
Houston Oilers
1,473
2003
Anquan Boldin
Arizona Cardinals
1,377
1998
Randy Moss
Minnesota Vikings
1,313
1952
Billy Howton
Green Bay Packers
1,231
1996
Terry Glenn
New England Patriots
1,132

Bill Groman
Houston Oilers

1986
Bill Brooks
Indianapolis Colts
1,131

PHOTO GALLERY: Recent artifacts added to Hall's collection

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