1950s1960sFootballNew York GiantsNFLNFL FilmsNFL Hall of Fame

NFL – Hardest Hits Hardest Hitters – NY Giants Sam Huff


Robert Lee “Sam” Huff (born October 4, 1934) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.  Huff was drafted in the third round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.  In training camp….head coach Jim Lee Howell was having a hard time coming up with a position for Huff….so he left camp but was stopped at the airport by assistant coach Vince Lombardi….who coaxed him back to camp….where then defensive coordinator Tom Landry came up with the new 4–3 defensive scheme that he thought would fit Huff perfectly.  The Giants switched him from the line to middle linebacker behind Ray Beck…..for Huff liked the position because he could keep his head up….and use his superb peripheral vision to see the whole field.  On October 7, 1956 in a game against the Chicago Cardinals….Beck was injured and Huff was put into his first professional game…..where he then helped the Giants win five consecutive games….as they finished with an 8–3–1 record….which gave them the Eastern Conference title.  New York went on to win the 1956 NFL Championship Game….and Huff became the first rookie middle linebacker to start an NFL championship game.


In 1958, the Giants again won the East and Huff played in the 1958 NFL Championship Game….which became widely known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played”….as it was the first ever National Football League (NFL) game to go into sudden death overtime….with the final score being Baltimore Colts 23…. New York Giants 17.  In 1959, Huff and the Giants again went to the NFL Championship Game….which ended in a 31–16 loss to the Colts.  Also that year, Huff became the first NFL player to be featured on the cover of Time magazine on November 30, 1959.  He almost passed up the magazine appearance….demanding money to be interviewed….but relented when Time agreed to give him the cover portrait.  Huff was also the subject of an October 31, 1960 CBS television special, “The Violent World of Sam Huff”…..which was broadcast as an episode of the Walter Cronkite hosted anthology series The Twentieth Century. The network wired Huff for sound in practice and in an exhibition game.


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