Joe Jackson Gibbs is a retired American football coach, NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series team owner, former NHRA team owner. He was the 26th head coach in the history of the Washington Redskins. Known for his work ethic, Gibbs constructed what Steve Sabol has called, "The most diverse dynasty in NFL history", building championship teams from players who had mediocre to average performance while playing for other NFL teams. During his first stint in the National Football League, he led the Redskins to eight playoff appearances, four NFC Championship titles, three Super Bowl titles over 12 seasons. Gibbs is the only head coach to have won Super Bowls with three different starting quarterbacks. After retiring at the end of the 1992 season, he switched focus to NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing, which has won four NASCAR Cup Series championships under his ownership. On January 7, 2004, Gibbs came out of retirement to rejoin the Redskins as head coach and team president, signing a five-year, $28.5 million contract.
On January 8, 2008, Gibbs announced his final retirement from coaching. He remained with the Redskins organization as "Special Advisor" to the team owner Daniel Snyder. Born in Mocksville, North Carolina, Gibbs is the son of Winnie Era Gibbs. Joe graduated from Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe Springs, California, in 1959 where he was the star quarterback. Gibbs attended Cerritos Junior College and San Diego State University, coached by Don Coryell. Gibbs graduated from SDSU in 1964 and earned a master's degree in 1966. Gibbs began his career with a stint as offensive line coach at San Diego State under Coryell, he held the same position under Bill Peterson at Florida State before serving under John McKay at Southern California and Frank Broyles at Arkansas. Gibbs advanced to the National Football League, hired as the offensive backfield coach for the St. Louis Cardinals by head coach Don Coryell. After a season as offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under McKay, Gibbs rejoined Coryell with the San Diego Chargers.
As the offensive coordinator for San Diego, Gibbs spearheaded the successful "Air Coryell" offense. Using a sophisticated passing attack, the Chargers and quarterback Dan Fouts set multiple offensive records during Gibbs' two seasons there. Remarkably, the Chargers averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game during their 1980 season. After 17 years of coaching as an assistant, in 1981 Gibbs was offered a job as the head coach of the Washington Redskins by Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. After firing then-head coach Jack Pardee, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke was on the lookout for candidates; when general manager Bobby Beathard pointed out the forty-year-old San Diego assistant coach, who had a keen eye for spotting leadership and an ability to teach, saw Gibbs' potential during an interview and hired him. Gibbs' first season with the Redskins started inauspiciously when the team lost their first five games. Cooke famously expressed confidence in Gibbs, declaring that the team would finish 8-8.
The losses and Cooke's confidence served as a catalyst, the newly motivated team improved and reached an 8-8 record in 1981. Gibbs' second season with the Redskins realized the dreams of the entire Redskins fanbase: an NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl victory. In a strike-shortened season, the team advanced through the playoffs and won Super Bowl XVII by beating the Miami Dolphins 27–17, avenging Washington's loss to Miami in Super Bowl VII; the following season, Gibbs' surprising success continued with a 14–2 regular season record and a win against the Los Angeles Rams 51–7 at home, in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Redskins once again won an NFC Championship, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 24–21 on a last-second field goal, advancing to Super Bowl XVIII; the Redskins were installed as a 2-point favorite by Nevada books going into the game, but were soundly defeated by the Los Angeles Raiders 38–9. The 1984 Redskins won the NFC East with an 11–5 record and hosted a home playoff game against the Chicago Bears but lost 23–19.
Gibbs coached the 1985 Redskins to a 10–6 regular season record and missed the playoffs. During the season Joe Theismann broke his leg during a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, but the Redskins still won the game with Jay Schroeder at quarterback. In 1986, Gibbs coached the team to a 12–4 regular season record and defeated the Los Angeles Rams 19–7 in the wild card playoffs upset the defending champion Chicago Bears 27–13 in the divisional round, on the road, to get back to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants; the Giants would win 17–0. It was to be Gibbs' only NFC championship game loss; the 1987 Redskins made the playoffs and again defeated the Chicago Bears 21–17 on the road in the divisional round beat the Minnesota Vikings 17–10 at home in the NFC Championship Game at Super Bowl XXII, they rode the arm of quarterback Doug Williams to blow out the Denver Broncos 42–10. Four years the Redskins won their first 11 games before finishing the season 14–2, cruised through the playoffs with home victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions.
In Super Bowl XXVI, the Redskins were up 24–0 on the Buffalo Bills just sixteen seconds into the third quarter, 37–10 with over eleven minutes to go when Gibbs pulled most of his starters. The Bills would score two cosmetic touchdowns for a final score of 37–24; the victory gave Gibbs and the team their third Super Bowl titl
Jay Michael Gruden is an American football coach and former quarterback, the current head coach of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. During his time in the Arena Football League, he won four ArenaBowls as a player and two more as a head coach, he is the younger brother of Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Of Croatian descent, Gruden was born in Tiffin and was raised a Roman Catholic, he attended George D. Chamberlain High School in Tampa, where he played quarterback for the Chamberlain Chiefs high school football team under head coach Billy Turner. Gruden attended the University of Louisville, where he was a four-year letterman at Louisville Cardinals football team, he finished his collegiate career with 7,024 passing yards, completing 572 of 1049 passes for 44 touchdowns. All four stats still rank in the top five in Cardinals history, he ranks in Louisville's top 10 for yards per completion, passing attempts in a season, completions in a season. He ranks eighth in career completion percentage, seventh in career passing efficiency, ninth in average yards per game for the Cardinals.
Gruden threw for over 300 yards in a game six times at Louisville. As a senior, Gruden led the team to an 8 -- their first winning season in 10 years. Gruden played two seasons in the World League of American Football, he spent 3 seasons of time in the NFL and CFL on practice squads. Gruden won four ArenaBowl titles as the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League, he was named the league's MVP in 1992. After stepping off the field to coach, Gruden returned to the field in 2002 as a member of the Orlando Predators. 1992: League MVP & First Team All-Arena 1993: ArenaBowl VII MVP 1993: All-Star Game MVP 1995: First Team All-Arena 1996: AFL's 10th Anniversary Team 1999: AFL Hall of Fame & All-ArenaBowl Team 2001: Second Team 15th Team Anniversary 2006: Ranked fourth on the AFL's list of greatest players Gruden began his coaching career as the offensive coordinator for the AFL's Nashville Kats in 1997. In 1998, he became head coach of the main rival of the Storm. With Orlando, he won ArenaBowl titles in 1998 and 2000.
He came out of retirement and resumed playing in 2002, this time for the Predators, but retired again and returned to head coaching when his replacement, Fran Papasedero, died after the 2003 season. Gruden has an overall AFL head coaching record of 93–61, including a mark of 11–7 in the playoffs. From 2002 to 2008, he served as an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the National Football League under his brother, head coach Jon Gruden, earning a Super Bowl ring for the Bucs' win in Super Bowl XXXVII, he left the team. In 2009, while the Predators were on hiatus during the bankruptcy reorganization of the AFL, he was selected to be head coach Jim Haslett's offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League; as part of his contract, he was not permitted to remain head coach of the Predators. Instead, former Orlando quarterback Pat O'Hara, who led the team to its two ArenaBowl titles when Gruden was head coach, was hired in his place. On February 20, 2010, Gruden was named head coach of the Tuskers following Haslett's departure to join Mike Shanahan's staff with the NFL's Washington Redskins.
On February 3, 2011, Gruden was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. On January 13, 2012, Gruden signed a three-year extension with the Bengals at the position after being asked to interview for at least three NFL head coaching jobs. In January 2013, Gruden was interviewed by the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers for their vacant head coaching positions. Gruden’s offense helped lead the Bengals to three straight Wild Card playoff appearances, including the AFC North title in 2013. On January 9, 2014, Gruden was hired as the new head coach of the Washington Redskins, succeeding Mike Shanahan. Since Gruden was a sought after coach, Redskins owner Dan Snyder gave him a guaranteed, 5-year contract worth $20 million. In the 2015 season, Gruden led the Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2012; the Redskins would go on a 4-game winning streak to finish the season, win the NFC East with a 9–7 record. However, the Redskins lost to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round 35–18, ending their season.
In 2016 the Redskins finished. This marked the first time the Redskins posted back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-1997. On March 4, 2017, the Redskins signed Gruden to a 2-year contact extension. Gruden's father, Jim, a long-time college and NFL assistant coach, was a former regional scout for the San Francisco 49ers, his brother Jon is the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. His other brother, James, is a radiologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center. Washington Redskins bio AFL player bio AFL coach bio
George Allen (American football coach)
George Herbert Allen was an American football coach in the National Football League and the United States Football League. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, he is the father of the Republican politician George Allen who served as Governor and U. S. Senator from Virginia. Born in Nelson County, Allen was the son of Loretta M. and Earl Raymond Allen, recorded in the 1920 and 1930 U. S. census records for Michigan as working as a chauffeur to a private family. He earned varsity letters in football and basketball at Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Allen went to Alma College in Michigan and at Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he was sent as an officer trainee in the U. S. Navy's World War II V-12 program, he graduated with a B. S. in education from Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he earned his master's degree in physical education in 1947.
Allen was the head football coach at Morningside College in Iowa. The Morningside team was called the Chiefs at that time, he held that position for three seasons, from 1948 through 1950. His coaching record at Morningside was 16–11–2. Allen was the head football coach at Whittier College in Whittier, California for six seasons, where he was 32–22–5 from 1951 through 1956, he was the head baseball coach there from 1952 to 1957. Allen joined the Los Angeles Rams staff under fellow Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman. Allen was dismissed after one season, after several months residing in Los Angeles out of football, he was brought to Chicago during the 1958 season by George Halas, founding owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears; the original purpose of Allen's hiring was to scout the Rams, whom the Bears would play twice during the season. Allen's thoroughness and attention to detail so impressed Halas that he earned a full-time position on the coaching staff. During the latter stages of the 1962 season Allen replaced veteran Clark Shaughnessy as Halas' top defensive assistant, a post equivalent to that of defensive coordinator today.
His defensive schemes and tactics—and his strong motivational skills—helped make the Bears' unit one of the stingiest of its era. Allen's presence had a formative effect on such future Hall of Fame players as linebacker Bill George and end Doug Atkins during their most productive years. By 1963, in his first full season in charge of the Bears' defense, Allen's innovative strategies helped the Bears yield a league-low 144 total points, 62 fewer than any other team, earn an 11–1–2 record, a half game better than the two-time defending league champion Green Bay Packers and allowed the Bears to host the NFL championship game. Following their 14–10 victory over the New York Giants on December 29 at frigid Wrigley Field, the Bears' players awarded Allen the honor of the "game ball." NBC's post-game locker-room television coverage infamously captured Bears players singing "Hooray for George, hooray at last. Allen's was the most common name to be suggested as a replacement for Halas should the grand old man of the league decide to step down.
Jeff Davis's biography Papa Bear states that Halas informally told Allen in 1964 and 1965 that he would name him as head coach. But in 1965, after a 9–5 Bears finish that earned the iron-willed Halas NFL Coach of the Year honors, Allen decided to look elsewhere to fulfill his head-coaching ambitions. Halas stayed on as head coach through the 1967 season. In January 1966, Allen reached an agreement with owner Dan Reeves of the Los Angeles Rams to replace Harland Svare as head coach, he faced a legal battle with Halas, who claimed that Allen's leaving was in breach of his Bears contract. The Bears' owner did win his case in a Chicago court but allowed Allen to leave, saying he initiated the lawsuit to make a point about the validity of contracts. Halas would not be so magnanimous in an NFL meeting soon after. Upon hearing this, Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi joked to Reeves, "Sounds like you've got yourself a hell of a coach." The Rams had only notched one winning season since 1956, for much of that time been dwelling in or just above the NFL's basement.
The team boasted considerable talent at several positions, most notably on the defensive line. Allen brought his well-known motivational skills to Los Angeles, his twice-daily rigorous training-camp practices took players by surprise, he revealed the philosophy that he would be known for throughout his NFL career—acquiring veteran players for draft picks to fill specific roles. His motto was "the future is now." He emphasized the role of special teams as integral to team success. He revamped the Rams' secondary with trades and installed quarterback Roman Gabriel relegated to the bench, as his starter. Allen vaulted the Rams from a 4–10 record in 1965 to 8–6 in his first year—the team's first winning season si
Bill Austin (American football, born 1928)
William Lee Austin was an American football player and coach in the National Football League. He played as a lineman for the New York Giants for seven seasons and was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins in 1970. Born in San Pedro, Austin was raised in Oregon and graduated from Woodburn High School, south of Portland, he played college football at Oregon State College in Corvallis, earning All-Coast honors as a tackle in 1948 and played in the 1949 East–West Shrine Game. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Selected in the thirteenth round of the 1949 NFL draft with the 126th overall pick, Austin played seven seasons with the Giants, including the 1956 title year, he missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons due to military service in the U. S. Army, stationed in San Francisco and Tokyo, he retired after the 1957 season. Austin began his coaching career at Wichita University for a season in 1958 joined first-year head coach Vince Lombardi as offensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers in 1959.
Lombardi was the offensive coordinator of the Giants for the previous five seasons, including the 1956 championship year. Austin coached in Green Bay for six seasons, mentoring pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, hall of famers Forrest Gregg and Jim Ringo; the Packers played in the NFL championship game for three consecutive seasons, with wins in 1961 and 1962. Seeking a warmer climate for his wife's health, Austin left Green Bay after the 1964 season for the Los Angeles Rams for a season as an assistant became head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers at age 37 in January 1966, with a recommendation by Lombardi, he failed to produce a winning season in three seasons, finishing 11–28–3, was fired after the 1968 season, succeeded by Chuck Noll. Austin rejoined Lombardi in Washington as an assistant in 1969 took over as interim head coach when Lombardi died of cancer before the 1970 season on September 3. Dismissed by telephone after that 6–8 season, he returned to his role as an assistant coach in the NFL for the remainder of his career, including a stint as offensive line coach for the Giants in the early 1980s.
Austin was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, retired to Las Vegas in 1985. He died at age 84 at his home in Las Vegas in 2013. Note: Tie games were not counted in the standings until 1972. Career statistics and player information from NFL.com · Pro-Football-Reference · Bill Austin at Find a Grave
Terrance Joseph "Terry" Robiskie is an American football coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League and former player, the wide receivers coach of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. He has served as an assistant coach for the Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Raiders. Robiskie was born in New Orleans and was raised in Lucy, Louisiana, a city 25 miles west of New Orleans, he attended Second Ward High School in Edgard, where he was a star quarterback. After high school, he went to Louisiana State University, where he was converted to a running back for LSU's football team. During his senior year, in 1976, he was a first-team All-SEC running back, he was the first LSU running back to run for over 200 yards in a single game, gaining 214 yards in 30 attempts against Rice University in 1976. He was the first LSU running back to run for over 1,000 yards in a season, the first LSU running back to run for over 2,500 yards in a career.
Robiskie was drafted in the eighth round by the Oakland Raiders. He spent five years in the NFL as a running back with the Raiders and the Miami Dolphins, while playing for acclaimed coaches John Madden, Tom Flores, Don Shula, he was a role player, gaining only 553 yards for 5 touchdowns in five seasons before injury forced his retirement. Robiskie entered the coaching profession with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1982 as the assistant running backs coach where he tutored Marcus Allen to two Pro Bowls and two 1,000-yard seasons. Robiskie was the assistant special teams coach for the Raiders from 1985–87, he tutored tight ends in 1988. Robiskie was the offensive coordinator for the Raiders from 1989-93. In 1990, the Raiders ranked 9th in the NFL with 126.8 yards rushing per game and quarterback Jay Schroeder ranked 6th in the NFL with a 90.8 QB rating. In 1992, the Raiders ranked 11th in the NFL with 112.1 yards rushing. In 1993, Oakland ranked 5th in the NFL in passing and 13th in total offense as Robiskie helped quarterback Jeff Hostetler pass for 3,242 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Robiskie’s 12 years with the Raiders included seven playoff stints, four division titles, a 38-9 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. Robiskie spent the next seven years with the Washington Redskins as an offensive assistant coaching receivers, he began the 2000 season as passing game coordinator in Washington and helped the Redskins rank fifth in the NFC in total offense and passing. He helped running back Stephen Davis total 1,318 yards and 11 touchdowns on 332 attempts, including five 100-yard outings, he concluded the 2000 season as the Redskins head coach for the final three games of the regular season following the departure of Norv Turner. Robiskie’s record as head coach was 1-2, including a 20-3 win over Arizona on December 24. Robiskie joined the Browns in 2001 as wide receivers coach and held that role through 2003. In 2004, he was named offensive coordinator, but late in the season was named interim head coach replacing Butch Davis, who resigned under fire for producing the lowest offensive yards, lowest points scored, most turnovers in the league.
His record was 1-4 in the interim role. Robiskie interviewed as permanent head coach. Robiskie openly campaigned to remain as an assistant due to the fact that he garnered no attention from any teams and was named wide receivers coach in February 2005. Robiskie was fired in January 2007. Shortly after being fired by the Browns, Robiskie was hired as an assistant coach for the Miami Dolphins, his new assignment with the Dolphins was wide receivers coach. Robiskie was on the same Washington Redskins staff as former Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron from 1994 to 1996. On January 26, 2008, Robiskie was hired by the Atlanta Falcons to be their wide receivers coach, he served in that capacity for eight seasons and was considered influential in the development of homegrown stars Julio Jones and Roddy White into legitimate offensive targets for Matt Ryan. Robiskie's contract with the Falcons was not renewed after the 2015 season. On January 18, 2016, Robiskie was hired by the Tennessee Titans as the team's offensive coordinator.
His contract with the Titans wasn't renewed following the 2017 season. On February 14, 2018, Robiskie was hired by the Buffalo Bills as the team's wide receivers coach, he was fired after one season on January 2, 2019. * – Interim head coach Robiskie and his wife, have 3 sons, Brian and Kyle. Brian was a wide receiver and Andrew was a center. Pro-football-reference.com profile
Thrall is a city in Williamson County, United States. The population was 710 at the 2000 census, 839 at the 2010 census. By 2011, the population had grown to 898; the name Thrall was chosen by the community to honor the Rev. Homer S. Thrall, a Methodist minister and historian much admired by local settlers and residents. Thrall was founded in 1876. Thrall is located at 30°35′19″N 97°17′55″W, about 35 miles northeast of Austin. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.4 square miles, all of it land. It is located in Williamson county; as of the census of 2000, there were 710 people, 255 households, 189 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,746.8 people per square mile. There were 264 housing units at an average density of 649.5/sq mi. The racial makeup of the city was 70.00% White, 8.59% African American, 1.41% Native American, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 18.03% from other races, 1.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.92% of the population.
There were 255 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 25.5% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.28. In the city, the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males. The median income for a household in the city was $34,205, the median income for a family was $36,845. Males had a median income of $28,897 versus $17,813 for females; the per capita income for the city was $13,807. About 12.4% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 21.5% of those age 65 or over.
The city of Thrall is served by the Thrall Independent School District and home to the Thrall High School Tigers. On September 9 and 10, 1921, the remnants of a hurricane moved over Williamson County; the center of the storm became stationary over Thrall, dropping a storm total of 39.7 inches of rain in 36 hours. Eighty-seven people drowned in and near Taylor, 93 in Williamson County. Thrall rainfall was 23.4 inches during 6 hours, 31.8 in. during 12 hours, 36.4 in. during 18 hours. This storm caused the most deadly floods with a total of 215 fatalities. Thrall from the Handbook of Texas Online
Otto Everett Graham Jr. was an American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League. Graham is regarded by critics as one of the most dominant players of his era, having taken the Browns to league championship games every year between 1946 and 1955, winning seven of them. With Graham at quarterback, the Browns posted a record of 114 wins, 20 losses, four ties, including a 9–3 win–loss record in the playoffs. While most of Graham's statistical records have been surpassed in the modern era, he still holds the NFL record for career average yards gained per pass attempt, with 8.98. He holds the record for the highest career winning percentage for an NFL starting quarterback, at 0.826. Long-time New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, a friend of Graham's, once called him "as great of a quarterback as there was."Graham grew up in Waukegan, the son of music teachers. He entered Northwestern University in 1940 on a basketball scholarship, but football soon became his main sport.
After a brief stint in the military at the end of World War II, Graham played for the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League, winning the 1945–46 championship. Paul Brown, Cleveland's coach, signed Graham to play for the Browns. Graham's 1946 NBL and AAFC titles made him the first of only two people on to have won championships in two of the four major North American sports. After he retired from playing football in 1955, Graham coached college teams in the College All-Star Game and became head football coach at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. After seven years at the academy, he spent three unsuccessful seasons as head coach of the Washington Redskins. Following his resignation, he returned to the Coast Guard Academy, where he served as athletic director until his retirement in 1984, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. Born in Waukegan, Graham's first interest growing up was music. Encouraged by his parents, both of whom were music teachers, he took up several instruments: the piano, violin and French horn.
Graham excelled in athletics, attended Northwestern University on a basketball scholarship in 1940. There he continued to study music. Graham did not take up football until his sophomore year, when Northwestern coach Pappy Waldorf saw him throwing in an intramural game and invited him to practice with the team. Northwestern's coaches were impressed with his running and passing, Waldorf convinced him to sign up. Although football became Graham's primary sport, he played baseball and continued on the basketball team; as a senior, he was named a first-team basketball All-American, part of a squad selected by news outlets comprising the best players at each position. Graham's first game for the Northwestern Wildcats football team was on October 4, 1941, when he caught a Kansas State punt and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown, he passed for two more touchdowns in the 51 -- 3 victory. After scoring another pair of touchdowns in a win against Wisconsin, Graham passed to his wide receivers for two touchdowns in a victory over the Ohio State, coached by Paul Brown, the team's only loss of the 1941 season.
Northwestern ended the year with an 11th-place showing in the AP Poll of the best college teams in the country. As America's involvement in World War II intensified after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Graham signed up for service alongside many fellow student-athletes, entering the U. S. Coast Guard, he was able to stay at Northwestern. The Wildcats struggled in 1942. Graham still had 89 completions, setting a single-season passing record in the Big Ten Conference, a division of major college teams from the Midwestern United States; the following year Graham and some of his teammates enlisted in the military but continued to play for Northwestern. Enlistees from other schools enrolled at Northwestern, where the U. S. Navy had a training station; the 1943 season was a strong one for Northwestern. The team beat Ohio State, the defending national champions, a good military team at Great Lakes Naval Station; the Wildcats lost to Notre Dame and Michigan and finished the season with an 8–2 record and a ninth-place ranking in the AP Poll.
Graham set another Big Ten passing record, was named the conference's Most Valuable Player, received All-American honors and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting. By the end of his college career, he held a Big Ten Conference record for passing yards with 2,132. Graham's career at Northwestern ended in February 1944, when he moved to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, in the Navy's V-5 cadet program, a pilot training course, he played basketball for Colgate before moving to North Carolina Pre-Flight in 1944, where he played on the Cloudbusters football team under coaches Glenn Killinger and Bear Bryant. Impressed by Graham's performances in Northwestern's wins over the Ohio State in 1941 and 1943, Paul Brown came and offered him a contract worth $7,500 per year in 1945 to play for a professional team he was coaching in Cleveland in the new All-America Football Conference. Graham would not receive his salary until he started playing and Brown added a monthly stipend of $250 until the end of the war.
It was a large amount of money at the time. "All I asked was, where do I sign?" Graham said later. "Some of the other navy men said I was rooting for the war to last forever." Graham was drafted by the National Football League's Det