Robert Mitinger

Last updated

Bob Mitinger
Born:February 13, 1940
Greensburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died:September 27, 2004(2004-09-27) (aged 64)
State College, Pennsylvania, United States
Career information
Position(s) Defensive end, Linebacker
Uniform number 86
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight235 lb (107 kg)
College Penn State
High school Greensburg-Salem (PA)
AFL draft 1962 / Round: 5 / Pick: 7
Drafted by San Diego Chargers
NFL draft 1962 / Round: 3 / Pick: 29
Drafted by Washington Redskins
Career history
As coach
1967 Army (freshmen)
As player
1962–1964 San Diego Chargers
1966 San Diego Chargers
1968 San Diego Chargers
Career highlights and awards
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg U.S. Army
Years of service1966–1967

Robert Bray Mitinger (February 13, 1940 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania – September 25, 2004 in State College, Pennsylvania) was a professional football player, attorney and civic leader.

Greensburg, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Greensburg is a city in and the county seat of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States, and a part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The city lies within the Laurel Highlands and the ecoregion of the Western Allegheny Plateau. The city is named after Nathanael Greene, a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. The population was 14,892 at the 2010 census.

State College, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

State College is a home rule municipality in Centre County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.


Professional career

Although drafted in the third-round by the National Football League's Washington Redskins, the 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 235 lb., Mitinger chose instead to sign with the San Diego Chargers of the upstart American Football League.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Washington Redskins American football team based in the Washington, D.C. area

The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively.

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

He was named the 1962 Chargers' team Rookie of the Year.

A rookie is a person in the first year of activity in a sport, or someone new to a profession, training, or activity such as a rookie police officer, rookie pilot, or a recruit.

He played 42 games at linebacker for the Chargers for seven seasons (1962–1964, 1966, 1968), including their 51–10 rout of the Boston Patriots at Balboa Stadium in the 1963 AFL championship, the high point of the team's 44-year history.

Linebacker Defensive position in American football

A linebacker is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line". Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance".

Balboa Stadium

Balboa Stadium is a football and soccer stadium on the West Coast of the United States, located in San Diego, California. Just east of San Diego High School, the original stadium was built 105 years ago in 1914 as part of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition, also in Balboa Park, with a capacity of 15,000. A horseshoe design that opened to the south, it was designed by the Quayle Brothers architectural firm and originally called City Stadium.

For its first nine seasons, 1960 through 1968, the American Football League determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions.

Mitinger's pro career was interrupted by a stint in the United States Army from 1966 to 1967. Stationed at West Point, New York, he coached the Army freshman football team. In 1968, he returned to the Chargers for his final season.

West Point, New York CDP in New York, United States

West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River in New York, West Point was identified by General George Washington as the most important strategic position in America during the American Revolution. Until January 1778, West Point was not occupied by the military. On January 27, 1778, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and his brigade crossed the ice on the Hudson River and climbed to the plain on West Point and from that day to the present, West Point has been occupied by the United States Army. It comprises approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is commonly called "West Point".

United States Military Academy U.S. Armys federal service academy in West Point, New York

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the five U.S. service academies.


At Penn State, Mitinger was a two-way All-American player—the consummate 60-minute man, playing tight end and defensive end for Nittany Lions head coach, Rip Engle. He was part of the Penn State team that upset No. 10-ranked Alabama in the 1959 Liberty Bowl—the school's first bowl victory.

An All-America team is a hypothetical American sports team composed of outstanding amateur players. These players are broadly considered by media and other relevant commentators as the best players in a particular sport, of a specific season, for each team position.

Tight end Position in American football

The tight end (TE) is a position in American football, arena football, and formerly Canadian football, on the offense. The tight end is often seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are usually lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be effective blockers. On the other hand, unlike offensive linemen, they are eligible receivers adept enough to warrant a defense's attention when running pass patterns.

Defensive end Defensive position in the sport of American and Canadian football

Defensive end (DE) is a defensive position in the sport of American and Canadian football.

He also helped Penn State to victories over Oregon in the 1960 Liberty Bowl and No. 13-ranked Georgia Tech (30–15) in the 1961 Gator Bowl and was selected to compete in the 1962 Hula Bowl.

After Penn State defeated Cal 30–15 in 1962, Cal coach Marv Levy called Mitinger "the best college football player in the United States."

Mitinger was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Penn State, class of 1962.

High school

Mitinger attended Greensburg-Salem High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

After football

In 1966, Mitinger earned a law degree at the University of San Diego, which he attended in the AFL off-season, and for the 1968 and 1969 seasons worked with the players' union (the AFL Players Association) as their attorney. In 1970, he returned to State College, Pennsylvania where he practiced law for 30 years, starting his own law firm in 1984. He was also an instructor of business and real estate law at Penn State University from 1971 to 1994.


Mitinger lost his AFL championship ring while attending law school. In 1999, a Chula Vista, California man discovered the ring in his deceased mother's jewelry box and placed an ad on eBay, seeking to contact Mitinger. His mother had been a member of the law school's maintenance staff and had found the ring in the drain of the school's swimming pool. The appearance of the ring on the auction site led to the eventual return of the ring. "It renews my faith in humanity", Mitinger told The San Diego Union-Tribune .

He died September 27, 2004 at the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania from complications from stomach cancer. He was 64.

The Robert B. Mitinger Award, named in his honor, is presented to Penn State Nittany Lions football players who personify courage, character and social responsibility. It was first awarded in 2004.

See also

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