Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphin great was honored as a “Hometown Hall of Famer™” by Allstate Insurance and the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at Stow-Munroe Falls High School in Stow, Ohio, on Monday, Nov. 25.
Csonka was welcomed into the school’s gymnasium through an inflatable Bulldog, the school’s mascot, as he made his way through a tunnel formed by the Stow football team. Stow-Munroe Falls High School principal Chris DiMauro greeted attendees before showing a highlight video of Csonka’s storied career.
Following the video, Allstate Regional Marketing Manager Sara Sage took to the podium to share Allstate’s excitement in being a part of the Hometown Hall of Famers™ program. “On behalf of Allstate and all our agents in the area, I am thrilled to join in this celebration of greatness and pride at Stow-Munroe Falls High School as we honor the great here today,” Sage said.
Csonka’s former high school teammate Ron Marhofer presented him with his special plaque. Marhofer shared stories of growing up in Stow with Csonka and how everyone questioned if the “country boy” was tough enough to play football. “We quickly learned the country boy was plenty tough to play with us,” Marhofer joked.
After Csonka unveiled the plaque, he took a few minutes to talk to the audience about his path to the Hall of Fame. Being from the Akron-Canton area, Csonka was able to see the groundbreaking for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He told students the story of how he skipped school that day to sneak in to the ceremony. He noted how he was able to see so many successful NFL players that day, and how that moment served as an inspiration for him for the future. “You have a great chance here, being Stow Bulldogs,” Csonka told the students.
Additional speakers included Brock Richards of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises. “I am pleased and honored that chose Stow-Munroe Falls High School to receive this piece of Pro Football Hall of Fame history,” Richards said.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Stow.
A fullback from Syracuse University, Csonka was the first round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 1968 NFL Draft. He provided the major force in the Dolphins’ offense when the team was dominating the National Football League in the 1970s. Csonka led the Dolphins to three Super Bowl appearances, including contributing to an NFL record 2,960 yards in the 1972 undefeated season.
The Super Bowl VIII MVP jumped to the World Football League and then later signed with the New York Giants as a free agent in 1976 and played there for three seasons before returning to Miami for a final season in 1979. During his 11-year career, Csonka recorded 8,081 yards rushing and added 820 yards on 106 pass receptions. He earned All-AFC honors four times and was named All-Pro in 1971, 1972 and 1973. He was selected to five straight Pro Bowls and the Miami Dolphins have retired his No. 39.
Csonka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
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