Seven Blocks of Granite

Last updated

The Seven Blocks of Granite were the Fordham University football team's offensive line under head coach "Sleepy" Jim Crowley and line coach Frank Leahy. The individuals identified among the Seven Blocks of Granite were Leo Paquin, Johnny Druze, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ed Franco, Al Babartsky, Mike Kochel, Harry Jacunski, Natty Pierce and Vince Lombardi. The nickname was also commonly used to referred to the Fordham lines of the 1929, 1930, [1] and 1937 teams, but it is the 1936 line which is today the best known of these lines. [2]

The Seven Blocks of Granite Monument at Fordham University Seven Blocks of Granite Mounument 2009.JPG
The Seven Blocks of Granite Monument at Fordham University

In the 1930s, Fordham University was a college football power, as they were consistently a nationally ranked team. In 1936, school publicist Timothy Cohane needed a nickname to spur recognition of his Fordham Rams, who were undefeated halfway through the season and on the verge of possibly their best season ever. The strength of the Fordham team was its offensive line of seven men: one center, two guards, two tackles and two ends. In his columns, American sportswriter Grantland Rice had already written "The Fordham Wall Still Stands" in honor of the team and its early season success, but a catchy nickname was still needed—something to rival Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen. The year before Cohane tried using the "Seven Samsons" to highlight the squad's offensive linemen, but it never caught on. Cohane then tried the "Seven Blocks of Granite".

In its final two games the 1936 team was tied by an inferior University of Georgia team and beaten by a lowly NYU team—ending their hopes of a Rose Bowl appearance. [3] The line was not as good as some of the previous lines at Fordham, or the 1937 team which went 7-0-1. However, the 1936 team and the Seven Blocks of Granite became college football immortals.

Associated with the name, the Rotary Club's Lombardi Award is awarded annually to the best college football lineman or linebacker. The main part of the trophy, awarded to a down lineman on either side of the ball or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball, is a block of granite, giving homage to Lombardi's college days as a lineman. [4]

Related Research Articles

Vince Lombardi American football player, coach, and executive

Vincent Thomas Lombardi was an American football coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total NFL Championships in seven years, in addition to winning the first two Super Bowls at the conclusion of the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons.

Lombardi Award

The Lombardi Award is awarded by the Lombardi Foundation annually to the best college football player, regardless of position, based on performance, as well as leadership, character, and resiliency. From 1970 until 2016 the award was presented by Rotary International specifically to a lineman or linebacker. The Lombardi Award program was approved by the Rotary International club in Houston in 1970 shortly after the death of famed National Football League coach Vince Lombardi. The committee outlined the criteria for eligibility for the award, which remained in place until 2016: A player should be a down lineman on either offense or defense or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball.

Orlando Pace professional football player

Orlando Lamar Pace is a former professional American football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons. He played college football for Ohio State University, and was twice recognized as a unanimous All-American. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, first overall in the 1997 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Rams for 12 years. Pace started all 16 regular season games eight times in his pro career, and blocked for three straight AP NFL MVPs.

Alex Wojciechowicz American football player

Alexander Francis "Wojie" Wojciechowicz was an American football player from 1935 to 1950. He was a two-way player who played at center on offense and at linebacker on defense. He has been inducted into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, was a founder and the first president of the NFL Alumni Association, and was the third player to receive the Order of the Leather Helmet.

Jim Crowley American football player and coach

James Harold "Sleepy Jim" Crowley was an American football player and coach. He gained fame as one-fourth of the University of Notre Dame's legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield where he played halfback from 1922 to 1924.

Student Body Right is a simple running play in American football known as a sweep right, in which the tailback runs toward the right end of his offensive line at the snap of the ball and receives a pitch from his quarterback before reaching the line of scrimmage, while his fullback, offensive tackle, and end move from the left side pull to the same side in order to serve as lead blockers for the ball carrier. The inverse play is known as Student Body Left.

Ed Franco American football player and coach

Edmondo Guido Armando "Ed" Franco was a professional American football player. He earned fame as one of the legendary Seven Blocks of Granite and played professionally for the Boston Yanks. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

4–3 defense American football defensive formation

In American football, a 4–3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It is called a "base defense" because it is the default defensive alignment used on "base downs". However, defenses will readily switch to other defensive alignments as circumstances change. Alternatively, some defenses use a 3–4 defense.

The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.

Fordham Rams football

The Fordham Rams football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Fordham University located in the U.S. state of New York. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Patriot League. Fordham's first football team was fielded in 1882. The team plays its home games at the 7,000 seat Coffey Field in Bronx, New York. The Rams are coached by former Yale offensive coordinator Joe Conlin, distant relative to the late Ed Conlin, Fordham's all-time leading scorer in basketball who later played seven seasons in the NBA.

John Francis Druze was an American football player and coach.

Leo Paquin was an American football player. He played end for Fordham University as part of the 1936 line known as the "Seven Blocks of Granite". After graduating from Fordham, he eschewed a professional football career in favor of a 40-year career as a high school football coach and teacher.

The 1947 Fordham Rams football team was an American football team that represented Fordham University as an independent during the 1947 college football season. In its second season under head coach Ed Danowski, the team compiled a 1–6–1 record and was outscored opponents by a total of 245 to Rams offense scored 44.

The 1949 Fordham Rams football team represented Fordham University during the 1949 college football season. The Army Cadets hosted Vince Lombardi's former team, the Fordham Rams at Michie Stadium. One of the members of the Rams was Vince's brother, Joe Lombardi, who transferred to the school after Lombardi left. Tim Cohane, writer of Look magazine was a Fordham alumnus, and a friend of Army coach Earl Blaik. He pressured both teams to play each other. Cohane felt the game would help Fordham rise to national prominence. Herb Seidell, the Fordham captain, lost a tooth in the game. Several fights ensued and the media named the match, the Donnybrook on the Hudson. There were multiple penalties for unnecessary roughness.

The 1949 Army Cadets football team represented the United States Military Academy in the 1949 college football season. The Cadets scored 354 points, while the defense allowed only 68 points. Arnold Galiffa was the starting quarterback, ahead of Earl Blaik's son, Bob. Johnny Trent was the team captain. The Cadets won the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy as the best college team in the East. At season’s end, Red Blaik confessed that he thoughts of retiring.

<i>Lombardi</i> (film) 2010 television film

Lombardi is a 2010 documentary film surrounding Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi produced by NFL Films and HBO. The documentary is one of three productions detailing Lombardi, along with a Broadway theatre and ESPN feature film. Besides focusing on his coaching career with the Green Bay Packers, it also details his playing days at Fordham University and being part of the Seven Blocks of Granite offensive line, along with being a high school coach and teacher at Englewood, New Jersey's St. Cecilia High School. Among the people interviewed are Lombardi's children and Hall of Famers Sam Huff, Frank Gifford, Bart Starr and Sonny Jurgensen. HBO found many of the clips in the documentary at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The documentary was aired at Lambeau Field on November 18, the Pro Football Hall of Fame on November 27, and the College Football Hall of Fame on December 1 before airing on HBO on December 11.

Miami 4–3 defense Defensive formation in American football made famous by coach Jimmy Johnson

The Miami 4–3, also called the 4–3 slide, is a scheme closely associated with the Jimmy Johnson-led Miami Hurricanes, and taken by Johnson to the Dallas Cowboys. Built around Jimmy Johnson's notion of "upfield pressure", it is a penetrating, swarming defense, with a "get there firstest with the mostest" mentality. The focus is to cause opponents to make mistakes, even if the defense might give up a big gain or two. Compared to older 4–3 defenses, such as Tom Landry's 4–3 inside, the defensive line assignments are simpler. Linemen don't read then react, they act then read. Linebackers fill the gaps the linemen leave behind, ignoring gaps away from the play. Coverages are simple, and the playbook small and easy to learn.

The 1936 Fordham Rams football team represented Fordham University during the 1936 college football season. Led by fourth-year head coach Jim Crowley, the Rams' offense scored 128 over eight games, while the defense allowed no more than seven points in any game, and shut out three teams, including second-ranked Pittsburgh.

The Packers sweep, also known as the Lombardi sweep, is an American football play popularized by Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. The Packers sweep is based on the sweep, a football play that involves a back taking a handoff and running parallel to the line of scrimmage before turning upfield behind lead blockers. The play became noteworthy due to its extensive use by the Packers in the 1960s, when the team won five National Football League (NFL) Championships, as well as the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi used the play as the foundation on which the rest of the team's offensive game plan was built. The dominance of the play, as well as the sustained success of Lombardi's teams in the 1960s, solidified the Packers sweep's reputation as one of the most famous football plays in history.


  1. Thomas Jr., Robert McG. John M. Cannella, 88, Judge in Federal Court for 31 Years, The New York Times , 4 November 1996.
  2. Captain of Fordham's 'Seven Blocks of Granite' dies, ESPN, 29 December 2005, retrieved 29 December 2008.
  3. Goldstein, Richard. "Al Bart, 87, a Member of Fordham's Seven Blocks of Granite", The New York Times, 4 January 2003, retrieved 29 December 2008.
  4. "Michigan's Woodley wins Lombardi Award". USA Today. Associated Press. December 6, 2006. Retrieved July 16, 2017.

Further reading