Gino Marchetti was born on January 2, 1926 in Smithers, West Virginia, and is widely considered to be one of the best defensive ends to ever play in the NFL. Marchetti’s post high-school career began a bit differently than most football players’ typically do, as he enlisted in the Army and was a machine gunner in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. When he came home after the war, Marchetti went to Modesto Junior College for one year before he was able to continue on his pursuit of a football career, heading to the University of San Francisco to play the game he loved. His role on the team helped lead them to an undefeated season in 1951, and earned Marchetti an invitation to the East vs. West Shrine Game Hall of Fame.
Marchetti then entered his name into the 1952 draft, where he was selected by the New York Yanks (changed to the Dallas Texans in his rookie season) with the 14th pick in the second round. After this, the Texans then became the Baltimore Colts in 1953, and he went on to play 13 season with this Colts team. He was moved from defensive end to offensive tackle in 1954, much to the dismay of Marchetti; but was fortunately moved back to defensive end in 1955, a year when he made it to his first ever NFL Pro-Bowl. From that point on, Marchetti was known as one of the best all around defensive ends in the NFL, and a player who could both shut down the run and also rush the passer incredibly well. Marchetti went on to help lead the Colts to two NFL Championships in 1958 and 1959.
Marchetti had some incredible accomplishments, as he was an 11 time Pro-Bowler, he made First-team All-Pro nine times, and Second-team All-Pro once, and also earned the greatest recognition of all as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. Marchetti also made it into two other Hall of Fame’s as well, when he was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (1985), and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Marchetti was such a force during his career in the NFL, that coaches would make public statements saying that running the ball on the side of the field that he was on, was essentially a waste of time – as he would stop anything that would come in his direction.