James Lawrence Marshall is a retired American football player who played defensive end for the Cleveland Browns (1960) and the Minnesota Vikings (1961–1979)….who was a member of the Vikings’ famous “Purple People Eaters”….a defensice line that consisted of Marshall (DE), Alan Page (DT), Gary Larsen(DT), and Carl Eller (DE),…a force down in the trenches that dominated opposing offensive lines….much like the Rams “Fearsome Foursome”…the Cowboys “Doomsday Defense” and the Steelers “Steel Curtain”…..back in the day.
Marshall played college football at Ohio State University….which he left before his senior year to play professional football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League….subsequently being drafted in the 4th round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns….who he played the 1960 season for before being traded along with five other players….including fellow defensive lineman Paul Dickson….to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for two draft picks in the 1961 NFL Draft. He then played from 1961 to 1979 with the Vikings and finished with a then-record 282 consecutive games played starting for the Vikings….an NFL record since surpassed by QB Brett Favre.
Jim Marshall played in Pro Bowls after the 1968 and 1969 NFL seasons…and retired with an NFL record of having recovered 30 fumbles….as hye was the final player from Minnesota’s initial expansion team of 1961 to retire. The Vikings credit Marshall with 127 career quarterback sacks….second most in Viking history behind fellow Purple People EatorCarl Eller. He is one of 11 players to have played in all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances in the 1970’s.
Jim Marshall was involved in what is considered by many in the sports community to be the most embarrassing moment in NFL history….as on October 25, 1964, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers….Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards the wrong way into his own end zone…..while thinking that he had scored a touchdown for the Vikings….he threw the ball away in celebration….with the ball landing out of bounds…which resulted in a safety for the 49ers. According to Marshall, when he approached Vikings head coach Norm Van Brocklin after the game….The Dutchman said, “Jim, you did the most interesting thing in this game today.”….and fortunately for Marshall…..despite the gaffe….the Vikings won the game 27–22….interestingly enough with the final margin of victory being provided by a Carl Eller touchdown return of a fumble caused by a Marshall sack. Marshall later received a letter from Roy Riegels….who infamous for a wrong-way run in the 1929 Rose Bowl, stating, “Welcome to the club”. At the time of Jim Marshall’s retirement….he owned the career records for most consecutive starts (270) and games played (282)….and NFL Films thought so highly of this player that they produced this wonderful footage of Jim Marshall’s career.