April 14, 2024
Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox dead at 80

The football world today is celebrating the life and career of Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox, who died Wednesday at age 80.The soccer planet currently is celebrating the life and job of DAVE WILCOX, an outside the house linebacker recognized as “The Intimidator” for his toughness, tackling ferocity and means to neutralize opponents’ functioning and passing attacks about 11 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Elected as a member of the Pro Soccer Hall of Fame’s Course of 2000 immediately after a 21-12 months wait, Wilcox died Wednesday at age 80. He not long ago had gone through coronary heart surgery.

“While Dave Wilcox was a nicknamed ‘The Intimidator’ for his aggressive fashion of play, he was a variety, humble and gracious male in all other factors of lifetime,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said on discovering the news.

“He transformed the exterior linebacker placement – one of the lots of feats that earned him a without end residence in Canton.

“Our feelings and prayers are with Dave’s spouse, Merle, and their overall family. We will preserve his legacy for generations to appear.”

Numerous contemporaries regarded as Wilcox the best exterior linebacker of their period.

“I’ve obtained to say Dave Wilcox … performed the situation as properly as anybody who’s ever played the placement,” stated Joe Kapp, who faced Wilcox more than 4 seasons as quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

“Wilcox has the measurement to regulate the restricted stop and the velocity to keep with the backs,” said Dick Nolan, the 49ers’ head mentor for 7 seasons of Wilcox’s professional career. “And he is the greatest open up-discipline tackler I have at any time seen.”

Dick Stanfel, who followed his Corridor of Fame participating in profession by coaching for 40 a long time, which includes five with Nolan, said just: “As much as I’m involved, Dave is the greatest outside the house linebacker I have at any time found in pro football.”

John Brodie, the 17-year quarterback for the 49ers who played 10 seasons with Wilcox, concurred. “I believe he is the greatest outside the house linebacker that has ever performed the match – by a extensive way,” he instructed NFL Movies.

Tackling type acquired “The Intimidator” this writeup from longtime Bay Spot columnist Dave Newhouse: “Wilcox hit fullbacks and limited finishes like a misplaced steer wrestler, grabbing them at the prime of the two arms, or by the shirt, and flinging them to the floor. A Dave Wilcox tackle starts off at the shoulders and hurts all the way down.”

Wilcox’s tackling prowess and method arrived from a mixture of strength and a overall body that highlighted unusually extensive and muscular arms.

“I applied to say that his triceps went from his earlobe to his wrists. He merely manhandled blockers,” explained Mike Giddings, a member of Nolan’s personnel in San Francisco and Wilcox’s presenter for Enshrinement.

“Dave Wilcox dominated people,” Brodie claimed. “I could discover a piece of movie every single week in which he’d take a male and carry him over and lay him on a pile. Now who did that with a 265-pound gentleman? And he under no circumstances understood he was carrying out these things.”

Wilcox arrived by that power the outdated-fashioned way: by rising up and working on a family members farm in jap Oregon.

Born Sept. 29, 1942 in Ontario, Ore., Wilcox gained 9 varsity letters in large faculty – three each individual in soccer, baseball and basketball – and was a two-way conclusion for Vale Union (Ore.) on two point out championship soccer teams.

His college or university vocation commenced at Boise Junior Faculty (now Boise Point out University), where by he was named to the NJCAA All-The united states Team and was credited with blocking eight kicks in a person season. He then performed at the University of Oregon, the place he was a teammate of Hall of Famer MEL RENFRO.

When the Ducks desired somebody to move in at guard in Wilcox’s senior time, he stuffed that hole in the offensive line on a crew that posted an 8-3 history capped with a 21-14 victory about SMU in the 1963 Sun Bowl.

But it was at defensive conclusion that Wilcox drew the interest of professional scouts. He was the very first defensive lineman in Hula Bowl background to make Fantastic Lineman honors, and he also performed in the Coaches’ All-America Bowl and the Faculty All-Star Recreation.

The 49ers chosen him with the first decide of the 3rd spherical (29th total variety) in the historic 1964 NFL Draft that sent 11 guys to the Pro Soccer Hall of Fame. The Houston Oilers also selected him, with the AFL’s 46th all round pick.

Fast contributor

Wilcox’s massive split in the pros came when two teammates, each linebackers, had been hurt in back again-to-back again weeks early in his rookie season – the first with a knee injuries and the next when he sustained burns to his pores and skin because a groundskeeper lined the discipline with lime in its place of chalk.

Wilcox stepped into the starting lineup at remaining outdoors linebacker as the 49ers conquer the Chicago Bears, 31-21, in just one of the couple of group highlights that year. He played all 14 game titles his rookie calendar year – as he would every time besides a single in his career — and recorded an interception and a fumble restoration.

By his 2nd year, Wilcox was a whole-time starter. And by his third – 1966, when he was picked to his to start with Pro Bowl – he was making a reputation for himself, notably as a menace versus opposing tight ends. 

“All the man did was get the outside the house linebacker posture and make it additional crucial than the tight finish,” Giddings said in his presentation speech. “Our difficult strong protection, Mel Phillips, the DB coach for Miami below coaches (DON) SHULA, (JIMMY) JOHNSON and now (Dave) Wannstedt, added: ‘This man extra five decades to my job, simply because the restricted ends only hardly ever got off the line of scrimmage.’ “

“If you talk to any restricted finish, he was the meanest, most ornery male that at any time performed the match,” Brodie claimed.

Corridor of Famer JOHN MACKEY thought so, indicating Wilcox “was powerful, he was good and he was rapid. And I preferred his angle: ‘When you strike me, you get strike back again.’”

Wilcox summed it up succinctly: “What I do finest is not enable folks block me. I just despise to be blocked.”

He also hated trespassers.

“Defensively, I experienced an spot. And I did not like people in that location,” Wilcox explained to NFL Films. “So when I prepared to play the video game, it was to hold most people out of that spot. Nobody was likely to operate in my place no one was going to go in my region. This was my location, and no one was welcome there – except me.”

49ers start ascension

With Wilcox helping the 49ers forge a major-10 protection, results enhanced. The group ended a 13-calendar year postseason drought with a 10-3-1 report in 1970 successful the NFC West that period and the two that adopted.

Each individual time, on the other hand, the 49ers fell to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, together with again-to-again losses in the NFC Championship Activity that denied San Francisco and Wilcox a spot in Super Bowls V and VI.

Right before 1 of those game titles, Hall of Fame Mentor TOM LANDRY was requested, “How do you attack that hard 49er defense?” He replied, “The very first factor you do is to figure out what to do away from their remaining exterior linebacker.”

Giddings recalled a certain play in which Wilcox jammed the limited close at the line then shadowed an opposing halfback approximately 50 percent the length of the subject and knocked down a move.

“Forty yards downfield, knocks down a move with just one of the excellent open up-subject performs these eyes have at any time seen,” he reported. “That closed the scouting reports. You just cannot run at him. You simply cannot pass on him. So just stay absent from him.”

Although several opponents chose to attack the other facet of the subject, Wilcox relished the problem when the perform arrived his way.

“Wilcox was the type of guy who thrived on force. He would want you to arrive to his facet,” reported Roman Gabriel, the 16-calendar year quarterback who faced Wilcox twice a period in their NFC West battles. “‘Don’t run absent from me if it’s third-and-1. Occur to my side. Obstacle the best.’”

Extended hold out for Enshrinement

Wilcox was selected to the Professional Bowl every period from 1968 to 1973 and was a 1st-staff AP All-Professional in 1971 and 1972. He skipped only just one game in 11 seasons.

The creator of “Inside Pro Football” utilised an informal poll of NFL coaches, gamers and scouts for his reserve. It named Wilcox as one of the 12 hardest males in the Countrywide Soccer League.

“Wilcox has earned a league-extensive standing as a ‘hitter,’” the author wrote. “He does not push or pull and shove. He hits persons with tricky hammer blows that send them reeling. Tight finishes who operate styles throughout the discipline are pet targets of the San Francisco defensive star. Far more than when Dave has almost decapitated an unwary limited stop. Now most of them glimpse for him right before they begin throughout the middle.”

Wilcox mentioned in response to identical reviews: “When no just one completes a pass on your aspect or operates your hole, that gives you a greater feeling than what somebody suggests about you in a ebook.”

Next each and every period, San Francisco coaches would amount their gamers based mostly upon their general performance. The standard rating for a linebacker was 750. Wilcox’s rating in 1973 was an amazing 1,306. 

That year, he recorded 104 solo tackles, compelled four fumbles, intercepted two passes and produced 13 tackles for reduction. The NFL Players Association named Wilcox its 1973 Linebacker of the 12 months.

Even with all the accolades, Wilcox was not elected to the Pro Football Corridor of Fame right until going into the Seniors category in 2000.

As one NFL observer put it: “No one particular played better or was forgotten a lot quicker than Dave Wilcox.”

In his presentation, Giddings reported he asked DICK BUTKUS, “What do you imagine of the qualifications for this year’s Senior inductee for Canton?” He mentioned the Corridor of Fame center linebacker replied, “Name me a far better just one.”

Like quite a few who waited many years to access Canton, Wilcox stated he “never stayed up at night” imagining about it, but he also by no means doubted himself.

“I really do not want to sound like I’m bragging at all, but no one ever ran to our side,” he claimed in an job interview. “If they ran, they would in no way make quite a few yards. It all type of arrived back to this: This is my place. It is sort of like you are king of the hill, and nobody’s likely to knock you off of it.”

Wilcox’s track record as a fierce outdoors linebacker who could intimidate opponents and pressure them to change their gameplan will be preserved forever at the Pro Football Corridor of Fame in Canton, Ohio.