College Days: Bob Griese

College Days: Bob Griese

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Each week throughout the 2013 season, Profootballhof.com recaps the college days of a pro football legend.

Bob Griese
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1990

Pro Football Hall of Fame passer Bob Griese was an all-around athlete at Rex Mundi High School in Evansville, Ind. where he excelled in both football and baseball. As a senior, he hit .330, and had a pitching record of 17-0 (prophetic of another perfect record to come in 1972) and led his team to the national finals. Many pro scouts lobbied for Griese to join the big leagues but he wanted to play football and accepted an offer from Purdue. There was one problem. Griese was a terrible passer. He arrived on campus with a side-arm delivery whose throws often wobbled.
Bob is one of three Hall of Famers to play at Purdue. Len Dawson, Hank Stram and Rod Woodson are the others. 
“Bob just couldn’t throw a good ball. He got rid of it quick, but it didn’t spiral very well,” stated Boilermaker assistant Bob DeMoss. “We finally got it worked out between his freshman and sophomore seasons.”

With his newly refined skills, Griese was a do-everything player. He could pass the ball, run the ball, punt the ball, and kick field goals and extra points. In the team’s first game of the 1964 season, the sophomore Griese ran for two TDs and kicked a 36-yard field goal to score every point in the team’s 17-0 (there’s that number again) victory over Ohio University.

Griese would go on to lead the Boilermakers to three consecutive winning seasons (1964-66) and established himself as one of the finest quarterbacks in college football. He led Purdue in passing, punting, and field goals three times (1964-66), and twice lead the team in points (1965 and ’66).

In 1965, Griese threw for a then-school-record 1,719 yards as the Boilermakers finished 7-2-1. Those accomplishments earned Griese consensus All-America honors.

In his senior season, Griese set personal highs in passing yards (1,888) and touchdown passes (12) en route to being named a consensus All-American for the second time. With an 8-2 regular-season record, Purdue earned a spot in the Rose Bowl against USC. In that game, Griese completed 10 of 18 passes for 139 yards and kicked two extra points as the Boilermakers won 14-13. Griese's accomplishments did not go unnoticed as he finished second to Steve Spurrier of Florida for the 1966 Heisman Trophy.

The Miami Dolphins were looking for a quarterback heading into the 1967 draft. With the fourth overall pick, they had their eyes focused on Spurrier. A draft day trade, however, moved the QB-hungry San Francisco 49ers into the number three overall spot. The 49ers nabbed Spurrier and the Dolphins settled on Griese.

It was a blessing in disguise. Griese enjoyed an excellent rookie season with 2,005 yards and 15 touchdowns passing and would go on to lead the Dolphins to three AFC championships and victories in Super Bowls VII and VIII. Not to mention, he played a key role in his team’s perfect 17-0 season in 1972 when he returned from injury to lead Miami to victories in the AFC championship and Super Bowl VII to cap the history-making season.

Bob’s HOF Bio>>> Back to news