Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another look: Jeff Richardson

Greater Johnstown High School's Jeff Richardson played in two of football's most famous games.

As a lineman for Michigan State, which was coached by Northern Cambria's Duffy Daugherty at the time,  from 1964-66, Richardson played in what was dubbed "The Game of the Century" when Michigan State and Notre Dame met in 1966.

Johnstown's Jeff Richardson
The Spartans were 9-0, the defending national champions and ranked second in the country.

The Fighting Irish were 8-0 and ranked first.

The game was played at Spartan Stadium on Nov. 19 and ended in a controversial 10-10 tie. Both teams claimed national championships in different polls.

Richardson went from the Spartans. where he was an All-American defensive lineman, to the NFL, where he played with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins in the late 1960s.

The Jets were led by another western Pennsylvania product in Joe Namath, who is from Beaver Falls.

And Richardson was with the Jets when Namath boldly predicted that the upstart franchise from the oft-maligned American Football League defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Richardson played football at Johnstown for coach Blackie Mihalic and had scholarship offers from just about everywhere. His final three choices were Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue.

Richardson also wrestled at Johnstown and he compiled a 52-3 record with one state championship and one runner-up finish.

He continued the sport at Michigan State. There, he was part of a national championship team, a Big Ten champion and an All-American.

Richardson was inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

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