Bob Zeman

Last updated
Bob Zeman
Bob Zeman 1961.jpg
No. 34, 46
Position: Defensive back
Personal information
Born:(1937-02-22)February 22, 1937
Geneva, Illinois
Died:May 3, 2019(2019-05-03) (aged 82)
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: Wheaton (IL)
College: Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 1959  / Round: 10 / Pick: 119
AFL draft: 1960  / Round: 2 Pick: 1 (by the Los Angeles Chargers)
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at  ·  PFR

Edward Robert Zeman [1] (February 22, 1937 – May 3, 2019) [2] was an American football defensive back who played six seasons in the American Football League from 1960 to 1966.


Playing career

Early years

Zeman attended Wheaton Warrenville South High School in Wheaton, Illinois, the home town as legendary collegiate and professional running back Red Grange. [3] Also himself originally a running back, Zeman managed to break several of the "Galloping Ghost's" high school records. [3] He was later inducted into its Hall of Fame. [4]

Wisconsin Badgers

Zeman played on both sides of the ball at Wisconsin. [5] However, he never eclipsed 600 yards of rushing, [6] playing mostly defense. After playing in the Rose Bowl his senior year, Zeman met with executives in Los Angeles. [7]

Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers

Zeman was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 1960 AFL draft. [7] Zeman was part of a stellar defense nicknamed the "Seven Pirates" — a squad which intercepted an AFL record 49 passes during the 1961 season. [3]

Denver Broncos

In his first season with the Denver Broncos, Zeman garnered a Pro Bowl selection on the strength of six interceptions; one was returned for a touchdown. [8]

Second stint with San Diego

Zeman injured his knee at the end of the 1966 season tackling Mike Garrett. He never returned to professional football. [9]

Coaching history

College coaching

A couple years after retiring as a player, Zeman started to coach at the college level. His first stop was Northwestern, where he coached defensive backs in 1968 and 1969. [10] He then went and coached at his alma mater Wisconsin in 1970. [11]

Professional coaching

He then coached for the Oakland Raiders between 1971 and 1977, and won Super Bowl XI with the team. [12] Zeman then coached with a team he had played for, the Denver Broncos, between 1978 and 1982. [13] He spent the following year as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. [14] His later stops included the Los Angeles Rams, scouting for some teams, and stints with Mike Holmgren in both San Francisco and Seattle.


In 2017 Zeman, along with other players from the inaugural year, presented the Chargers organization with a signed ball for its move back to the city of Los Angeles. [15]

See also

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  1. "Bob Zeman". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  3. 1 2 3 "AFL All Stars," Sports All Stars 1963 Pro Football. New York: Maco Publishing, 1963; pg. 68.
  4. "Tigers found a group in a class by themselves -- Daily Herald". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  6. "Bob Zeman College Stats | College Football at". College Football at Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  7. 1 2 "Bob Zeman – August 21, 2003 | Tales from the AFL". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  8. "Bob Zeman Stats |". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  9. Dwyre, Bill (2013-02-02). "Big holes in the NFL safety net for former players like Bob Zeman". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  10. Telander, Rick (2014-12-17). Like a Rose: Life Lessons from a Training Camp with Hank Stram and the Kansas City Chiefs. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN   9781613217573.
  11. "The University of Wisconsin Collection: Wisconsin football facts for 1970 and athletic review of 1969-70 school year: 1970 Wisconsin football facts and University of Wisconsin athletic review 1969-1970". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  12. "Super Bowl XI Rosters & Coaching Staffs". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  13. "Bob Zeman".
  14. "Bob Zeman Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks |". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  15. DiGiovanna, Mike. "Chargers make cornerback Jason Verrett rest his injured left knee, which is still not 100%". Retrieved 2017-09-18.