Tom Watkins (American football)

Last updated
Tom Watkins
No. 22, 23
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born:(1937-10-23)October 23, 1937
West Memphis, Arkansas
Died: October 29, 2011(2011-10-29) (aged 74)
Detroit, Michigan
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
College: Iowa State
NFL Draft: 1960  / Round: 15 / Pick: 177
AFL draft: 1961  / Round: 8 / Pick: 57
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 1,791
Average: 3.8
Touchdowns: 17
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Tom Watkins (October 23, 1937 October 29, 2011) was an American football running back in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 15th round of the 1960 NFL Draft. He played college football at Iowa State. [1]

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, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored 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.

Running back position in American and Canadian football

A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

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 in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

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Watkins also played for the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers. He was inducted into Iowa State's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. [2]

Detroit Lions National Football League franchise in Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) North division. The team plays its home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.

Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC.

According to George Plimpton's best-selling book "Paper Lion" Watkins, graduated from Iowa State University in 1961, was one of the best running backs in Cyclone history. A member of the famed 1959 "Dirty Thirty" team, Watkins ranked second in the nation in rushing that season and earned All-America honors the following year in 1960. He played seven seasons in the NFL, leading the league in punt return yardage as a Lion in 1963 and 1964. He was inducted into ISU's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tom lived the last 30+ years of his life living in Detroit, Michigan where he was a philanthropist and mentor for many youth in the Metro Detroit area.

Professional career

Tom Watkins was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the NFL in 1959. Watkins was traded to the Detroit Lions three years later. With the Lions, Watkins made his impact as a return specialist. [3] In a game against the 49ers in 1963, Watkins returned a punt for 90 yards, setting a team record that would remain unbroken until Desmond Howard returned one for 95 yards in a 2000 game against the New Orleans Saints.

Desmond Howard All-American college football player, professional football player, wide receiver, Heisman Trophy winner

Desmond Kevin Howard is a former National Football League (NFL) player. Howard was known mostly as a return specialist but also played wide receiver. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN.

Watkins played in just one game for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968, but did not record a stat.

After his playing career was over, Watkins lived in Detroit, becoming the head coach of Detroit Chadsey High School's football team. He retired after 35 years as head coach in 2006. [4]

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