Gino Marchetti

Considered the best defensive end of the NFL’s first 50 years

Gino Marchetti was born January 2, 1926, in Kayford, West Virginia and became known as one of pro football’s best defensive linemen and a vicious pass rusher.

After serving in the army during World War II, Marchetti formed a semi-pro football team in Antioch, California. He attended both Modesto Junior College and the University of California before being selected by the New York Yanks in the second round of the 1952 NFL draft.

The Yanks folded a year later, after briefly becoming the Dallas Texans, and Marchetti relocated to the Baltimore Colts in 1953, where he stayed for the balance of his career.

During his time with the Colts, Marchetti was selected for 11 straight Pro Bowls, a record at the time, although he missed one game due to injury. In 1957, he was named All-Pro for the first of seven years. The following year, he was selected as player of the year by the Associated Press after the Colts took the championship.

Although he officially retired in 1964, Marchetti returned to the Colts in 1966 for four games. (The team had been depleted by injuries.) In 1969, a poll of sports writers named Gino Marchetti the best defensive end in the NFL’s first 50 years.

Marchetti was elected to the National Football Hall of Fame in 1972 and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.