Sidney “Sid” Gillman (October 26, 1911 – January 3, 2003) was a football player, coach, executive, and innovator. Gillman’s insistence on stretching the football field by throwing deep downfield passes, instead of short passes to running backs or wide receivers at the sides of the line of scrimmage, was instrumental in making football into the modern game that it is today.
Gillman played football as an end at Ohio State University from 1931 to 1933. He played professionally for one season in 1936 with the Cleveland Rams of the 1936 American Football League. After serving as an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1938 to 1940, Gillman was the head football coach at Miami University from 1944 to 1947 and at the University of Cincinnati from 1949 to 1954, compiling a career college football record of 81–19–2. He then moved to the ranks of professional football, where he headed the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams (1955–1959), the American Football League’s Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers (1960–1969), and the NFL’s Chargers (1971), and Houston Oilers (1973–1974), amassing a career record of 123–104–7 in the National Football League and the American Football League. Gillman’s 1963 San Diego Chargers won the AFL Championship. Gillman was inducted as a coach into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 — the sole coach in the history of American football to have earned both honors.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gillman played college football at Ohio State University under legendary coach Francis Schmidt, forming the basis of his offense. He was a team captain and All-Big Ten Conference end in 1933.
Always deeply interested in the game, while working as a movie theater usher, he removed football segments from newsreels that the theater would show, so that he could take them home and study them on a projector he had bought. This dedication to filmed football plays that made Gillman the first coach to study game footage, something that all coaches do today.
Gillman played one year in the American Football League (1936) for the Cleveland Rams, then became an assistant coach at Denison University, Ohio State University, and was an assistant coach to Earl Blaik of Army, then head coach at Miami University and at the University of Cincinnati. His record over 10 years as a college head coach were 81–19–2.
He returned to professional football as a head coach with the Los Angeles Rams, leading the team to the NFL’s championship game, and then moved to the American Football League (1960–1969), where he coached the Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers to five Western Division titles and one league championship in the first six years of the league’s existence.
As the first coach of the Chargers, Gillman gave the team a mercurial personality that matched his own. He had much to do with the American Football League being able to establish itself. Gillman was a thorough professional, and in order to compete with him, his peers had to learn pro ways. They learned, and the American Football League became the genesis of modern professional football.
Through Gillman’s tenure as head coach, the Chargers went 87–57–6 and won five AFL Western Division titles. In 1963 they captured the only league championship the club ever won by outscoring the Boston Patriots, 51–10, in the American Football League championship game in Balboa Stadium. That game was a measure of Gillman’s genius.
Gillman approached then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1963 with the idea of having the champions of the AFL and the NFL play a single final game, but his idea was not implemented until the Super Bowl game was played in 1967.
Following his tenure with San Diego, he coached the Houston Oilers for two years from 1973 to 1974, helping bring the club out of the funk it had been in for many seasons prior, and closer to playoff contention. He later served as a consultant for both Dick Vermeil’s Philadelphia Eagles and the United States Football League’s Los Angeles Express.
In July 1983, at age 71, Gillman came out of retirement after an offer from Bill Tatham, Sr. and Bill Tatham, Jr., owners of the United States Football League expansion team the Oklahoma Outlaws. Gillman agreed to serve as Director of Operations and signed quarterback Doug Williams, who later led the Washington Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XXII. Although Gillman signed a roster of players to play for the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based franchise, he was fired by Tatham six months later in a dispute over finances.
Elisha Nelson “Eli” Manning (born January 3, 1981) is a quarterback for the New York Giants is the son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and the younger brother of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning played college football at the University of Mississippi after attending prep school at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and immediately traded to the New York Giants, who in return gave up a package highlighted by fourth overall selection Philip Rivers. Manning holds Giants franchise records for most passing yards, touchdown passes and completed passes in a career, and the NFL record for most fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a season. He led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, defeating the New England Patriots in both games. Manning was also named Most Valuable Player in each Super Bowl, becoming one of five quarterbacks in history to have been given this honor twice. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 4,900 yards and win the Super Bowl in the same season.
During his years with the Rebels at Ole Miss, Manning set or tied 45 single-game, season, and career records. His career numbers include 10,119 passing yards (fifth on the SEC career list), 81 touchdown passes (third on the SEC career list), and a passer rating of 137.7 (tied for sixth on the SEC career list). He led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and a 31-28 SBC Cotton Bowl Classic victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2003. He was invited to play in the 2004 Senior Bowl, but chose not to play. As his senior year came to a close, Manning won many awards including the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award, the Sporting News Radio Socrates Award, and the SEC Most Valuable Player Award. He was also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, finishing third in the voting after winning quarterback Jason White of the University of Oklahoma and University of Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Manning graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in marketing and a GPA of 3.44