Slater Robinson McNair FAMU Rattlers Godfather vs. Gunslinger Ambassadors
Jackie Slater: NFL's Iron Man
Jackie Slater played in the Southwestern Athletic Conference All-Star Game three times, and in his senior year at Jackson State, he was named to the Pittsburgh Courier Black College Football All-American First Team as an Offensive Lineman. Slater was invited to play in the perennial College All-Star Football Classic, which pitted the best of college football senior players against the National Football League champions. Jackie was a third round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in the ‘76 NFL Draft. He played in 259 consecutive games from 1976 o 1995, setting a record for an offensive lineman.
The seven-time Pro Bowl/three-time First Team All-NFC tackle anchored the Rams offensive line that open holes for seven 1000-yard rushers:
Eric Dickerson, Charles White, Greg Bell, Cleveland Gary, Jerome Bettis.
In 1983, Jackie Slater helped Dickerson set a rookie rushing record of 1808 yards.
He was inducted into the Jackson State, SWAC and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Slater set NFL record with 259 consecutive games played (1976-1995)
Eddie Robinson Caps Off Legacy with No. 408
Legendary head coach Eddie Robinson enjoyed one of the finest coaching careers in sports history and was one of the greatest leaders the game ever saw.
His success embodied a pivotal times in the evolution of Black college football. Robinson spent 56 years (1941-1997) at Grambling State University and made unprecedented moves by taking his teams on the road to big city stadiums and helped introduce Black College football to the world.
In his 56 year career, he had 45 winning seasons, including winning or sharing 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and nine black college football national championships.
More than 200 of his players went on to play in the American Football League, CFL, and NFL. Robinson coached three Pro Football Hall of Fame players.
He won his 408th game on October 11, 1997 (26-13 over Mississippi Valley) and became the winning-est coach in the history of college football.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Freshman McNair Breaks Out vs. Grambling
McNair won the 1994 Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He was a 3-time All Pro and the 2003 NFL MVP
Grambling State opened the 1991 SWAC season against Alcorn State.
And in the very first snap in the opening series, the Tigers knocked the Braves starting quarterback out of the game. The powerful Tigers, picked to win the conference title, had to feel their chances bolstered and started to feel confident of a certain win.
Coach Robinson peered across the field at the tall, gangly youngster coming off the Braves bench.
If anyone was wondering if the kid could handle the pressure in his very first action in the rough and rugged SWAC, he promptly went out and led Alcorn State to a thrilling upset of the Tigers, 27-22.
And the rest is history. For the next four years, Steve McNair lit up the football world with his knack for thrilling comebacks. Armed with a powerful arm and rushing prowess, he was a perennial All-American for three years and named National Player of the Year in his senior year.
He solidified his career with a spectacular game on October 22, 1994 with a 22-yard scamper against rival Southern University which capped a 41-37 comeback. In the fourth quarter with 2:15 seconds left in the game, he hit his brother Tim McNair with a short pass…then tossed a 52-yard bomb to wide receiver Robert Hinton to the Jaguars one-yard line.
With just 10 seconds to play, Steve broke off a on-yard run, breaking tackles on his way to seal the victory.
He finished the game with 567 passing yards.
In his last regular game vs. Jackson State, Steve topped that when he threw for 557 yards in a 52-34 romp. His career TDs was a conference and school record. He set NCAA all-time Career Passing with 13, 487 yards.
McNair was the 1995 first round pick of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and went on to lead them to five NFL playoffs and was runner up in Super Bowl XXXIV.
The Rattlers Pulled the Upset of the '70s
Rudy Hubbard stepped into the shadow of the great Jake Gaither at Florida A&M in 1974. Hubbard’s impact was felt right away as the went 30-5 from 1977-79. He led the Rattlers to two undefeated (1-0) seasons and reaped the 1977 NCAA 1-AA National title with a 12-1 record.
FAMU suffered through critical injuries to key players after jumping out to a 5-0 start. They came into the season with a boatload of veterans with championship pedigree including (three-time all-America
defensive lineman Tyrone McGriff (future College Hall of Fame member). The Rattlers were ranked no. 1 in Division 1-AA at the start of the season. The fourth victory in their 5-game winning streak came in Week four when the University of Miami came into Doak Campbell Stadium. Like most Division I teams, they must have had an air of confidence about playing a smaller, less known team.
The Hurricanes quickly found themselves battling for respect as the Rattlers shut down the potent ‘Canes’ attack for four quarters, using a hard-hitting defense and a wide open option ground game orchestrated almost perfectly by quarterback Sammy Knight. With halfback Melvin McFadden and Archie Jones leading the rushing, they kept the ’Canes’ off balance all day. Knight led the bruising rushing attack with 100 yards. With the game tied at 113-13, kicker Vince Coleman booted a 34-yard field goal and staked FAMU to a 16-13 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Rattlers stingy defense saved the day, shutting down Miami’s futile surge to the 10-yard line. They held for three furious attempts and forced a game-tying field goal try that missed wide.
Rattlers Outstanding Leaders: QB Sammy Knight, WR Bobby Hawkins, WR Archie Jones, TB Frank Middleton
RB Melvin McFadden, OT Charles Goodson, RB Clarence Hawkins, RB Mike Solomon, OC Lewis Kiser, LB Frank Marion, NT Oliver Harrell
Head coach Rudy Hubbard
DE Tyrone McGriff
America's First Football Ambassadors:
Grambling State vs. Morgan State in Japan
QB Doug Williams
WR Sammy White
WR Dwight Scales
On September 24, 1976, the Tigers and Bears met on neutral ground – albeit foreign ground when they debuted the American college football game in Tokyo, Japan that was dubbed the “Tokyo Bowl.”
They were selected to celebrate the US Bicentennial with the gridiron exhibition. An added treat was the flamboyant band of Grambling who gave the Japanese a taste of a Saturday afternoon at a Black college game.
The Tigers, led by future Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson was coming off two season opening losses to Alcorn State and Temple, and Morgan State had won their opener 23-6 over Virginia State. Still, the annual match-up incited such anticipation because of the setting and the privilege to be the first American college team to play outside the Western Hemisphere. (The truth was, the game had been introduced to the Japanese by the American military when they would play “intramural” games after the end of World War II.) Grambling broke their losing streak by trouncing Morgan State, 42-16. They would finish the season with at 8-3-0 while the Bears had a 6-4-0 ending.
Head coach Henry Lattimore
Grambling State Head Coach
DE Elvis Franks