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Gino Marchetti (1926–2019), legendary Baltimore Colts defensive end

by Kirk Fox

Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti put fear into opposing quarterbacks as the leader of the Baltimore Colts defense.

Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti put fear into opposing quarterbacks as the leader of the Baltimore Colts defense. He played his rookie season for the Dallas Texans and the rest of his career for the Colts. He led the Colts to two NFL championship titles, was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary all-time team. Known for his toughness in playing through injuries, he retired at the age of 40. Marchetti served in World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He and Colts running back Alan Ameche started the fast food chain, Gino’s Hamburgers, which was sold in 1982, becoming part of the Roy Rogers chain.

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Died: Monday, April 29, 2019. (Who else died on April 29?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 93 from pneumonia.

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The secret to his success on the field:  “At the line of scrimmage, I never watched the ball. I’d watch the three guys opposite me. If the guard left a split second before the tackle did, I was off. You could tell the play from the way they leaned, or the way they put their knuckles down.” —Marchetti told the Baltimore Sun in 2006

What they said about him: “He revolutionized the way you play that position in the NFL. Prior to Gino, the attitude [of pass rushers] was to try to physically overpower the offensive tackle. Gino showed that with good instincts and a lightning quickness, he could get around his man without really engaging him. The offensive tackle’s uniform never got very dirty, but the quarterback’s sure did.” —Former Colts coach Don Shula

“You’ll never know the sleepless nights I had when Green Bay was getting ready to play Baltimore.” —Forrest Gregg, the Packers’ Hall of Fame offensive tackle, who passed away earlier this month

“For 11 years, I thought the Colts were going to trade me and I was afraid I’d have to play against Gino — so I watched him real close. I never saw anybody beat him, really.” – Colts Hall of Fame lineman Jim Parker (1934 – 2005)

“Rest in peace, Gino Marchetti. The son of immigrants—and a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge against the Nazis—Marchetti was one of the greatest to play the game, Gino was a player who helped turn the nation’s attention toward the ‘new sport’ on television.” —Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on Twitter

Full obituary: Baltimore Sun

Related lives:

  • Forrest Gregg (1933–2019), legendary Green Bay Packers offensive lineman
  • Edwin Jackson (1991–2018), Indianapolis Colts linebacker
  • John Thierry (1971–2017), Chicago Bears defensive end


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