My ears perked up on Sunday night as I sat at home watching the New York Giants football game. I had gone to the Giants website so my wife and I could watch the halftime ceremony announcing the team's Ring of Honor at their new stadium. What caught my attention was that one of the names being inducted to the team's Ring of Honor was Al Blozis.
It's not often that you watch a National Football League game and hear mention of a former Georgetown standout. Sure, Paul Tagliabue was the commissioner of the league for a long-time, but the mention of Blozis' name got me thinking to the yester-year of Georgetown football, so I did some digging.
I knew of Al Blozis. If you work in the athletics department at Georgetown for any amount of time, you'll know at least something about Blozis. Part of that is because there is a big display in the hallway leading up to the second floor of McDonough Arena dedicated to Blozis,
Blozis is widely considered as the greatest athlete ever - EVER - on the Hilltop. He was a standout football player from 1939-41, but also excelled in track & field. In the 1940 indoor season, he finished year by breaking the world indoor mark in three different events - first in the 16-pound ball, then in the 12-pound ball and finally in the 8-pound ball, a new record by more than eight feet. Throughout his track & field career, Blozis broke meet shot put records in 23 of the 26 events he participated. On the football field, Blozis developed into an All-American tackle. He was part of a team that won 23-straight games between 1938-40 and played in the 1941 Orange Bowl.
What I didn't know about Blozis was that after a standout career at Georgetown, he was selected by the New York Giants and played two years before entering the military. He developed into an All-Pro at tackle and was later named to the All-Decade team in 1949.
The professional career for Blozis was cut short because of World War II. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 28th infantry division. He died in action in January 1945 at the age of 26.
"Blozis' premature death robbed football of a standout player, track and field of a virtually certain Olympic gold medalist, and Georgetown of a devoted alumnus. If it is any indication, he received just recognition of his talent while alive. Most notable is a UPI award selecting Al Blozis one of the three outstanding athletes of 1941. If you were wondering, the other two were Ben Hogan and Joe Louis." (Excerpted from The HOYA and its 1981-1982 series "Great Moments In Georgetown Sports", by Bill Ferraro. Mr. Ferraro graduated from Georgetown with an A.B. in American Studies in 1982 and received his Ph.D. from Brown University. He is presently a researcher at the University of Virginia.)
The career and life of Al Blozis were amazing. A neat lesson learned during a Sunday night football game.