One of my favorite things about football is all the tough and crazy guys that have played the game over the years.
One of the more amazing tough and crazy guys over those years was Tim Rossovich of USC.
Rossovich was a first team All American in 1967, the very first year I started watching the game. Rossovich was one of the USC players that sacked UCLA’s Gary Beban to end the first Game of the Century that I wrote about in 18 Saturdays. The Trojans were loaded with talent in those years and they won the national championship during Rossovich’s senior season. You can read about that Game of the Century here: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/18-saturdays/
Tim Rossovich was one of 5 Southern Cal Trojans drafted in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft and he played for seven years for the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Diego Chargers, and the Houston Oilers. In between his NFL days with the Chargers and the Oilers, Rossovich played for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League. He did make the Pro Bowl in the 1969 season so he was at least fairly successful as a professional football player.
Oddly, for some reason the NFL did not keep up with tackles and sacks back in those days so it’s difficult to say exactly just how good of a player Rossovich was in the NFL. I can’t even imagine why the NFL or even the NCAA did not keep up with defensive stats in those years. I suppose I am showing my nerdness at this point, but the number of sacks a defensive lineman had in a career is interesting and important stuff. In spite of all that, Rossovich was credited with 3 career interceptions.
Tim Rossovich was a Parade All American out of St Francis High School in Mountain View, California and signed with USC. Freshmen were not allowed to play varsity football in those days, so Rossovich was a 3 year letterman from 1965 to 1967 and clearly good enough to make All American in his senior season.
At USC, Tim Rossovich was roommates with future super star Actor, Tom Selleck.
He is also the much older brother of actor Rick Rossovich. After football, Rossovich got a lot of tough guy roles in movies and a lot of them reflected on his reputation as a crazy, scary former NFL star. He had regular roles in television shows like the A Team, The Fall Guy, and MacGyver. Plus, of course, in the series with his old college roommate, Magnum PI and it’s star Tom Selleck. Rossovich played football at 6-4, 250 and kept most of that size as an actor and with his crazed looking face he made a good and frightening TV show and movie villain.
Probably most stories about Rossovich eating glass or setting himself on fire were more than likely only stories. But, he was one of the early day NFL crazies like Mike Ditka, Dick Butkus, and the Mad Stork Ted Hendrix. He was one of the eccentric characters like Herschel Walker, Chad Ochocinco, Joe Don Looney and several other interesting players. These guys were were a little more than interesting, they were the lure of the game that kept bringing people back. These guys might have been considered nuts. But, they were not criminals like a lot of today’s kids. Just some fun loving guys that went on panty raids and other kinds of mischievousness that people still talk about years later.
The game of football has always been more interesting because of the Tim Rossovich kind of guys that have always played it.