Dave Robinson (American football)

Dave Robinson (American football)
Dave Robinson
Date of birth: May 3, 1941 (1941-05-03) (age 70)
Place of birth: Mount Holly Township, New Jersey
Career information
Position(s): Linebacker
College: Penn State
AFL Draft: 1963 / Round: 3 / Pick: 17
(by the San Diego Chargers)
NFL Draft: 1963 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
 As player:
Green Bay Packers
Washington Redskins
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1966, 1967, 1969
Awards: 1967 Pro Bowl MVP
Honors: AP, NEA and UPI 1st Team All-Pro (1967)

NEA and UPI 1st Team All-Pro (1968)
AP and PFWA 2nd Team All-Pro (1968)
NEA, Pro Football Weekly, The Sporting News and UPI 1st Team All-Pro (1969)
PFWA 2nd Team All-Pro (1969)
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team

Playing stats at NFL.com
College Football Hall of Fame

Richard David Robinson (born May 3, 1941) is a former professional American football player in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins.


Early life

Robinson, the youngest child of Leslie Robinson and his wife Mary Gaines, lived exclusively in Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey for all of the first 18 years of his life.[1][2] Robinson is a 1959 graduate of Moorestown High School and a member of three unbeaten NJSIAA championship teams:[3][4]

  • 1957 South Jersey Group III championship football team, with a record of 9-0,
  • 1958 State Group III championship basketball team, with a record of 22-0,
  • 1959 State Group III championship basketball team, with a record of 22-0.

College career

From 1960 to 1962, Robinson played end on offense and defense for Penn State University. The team's record was 24-8 under the guidance of head coach Rip Engle and assistant coach Joe Paterno. Robinson's honors in 1962 included: All-America status, College Player of the Year from the Newark Athletic Club, and College Lineman of the Year from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.[5]

Robinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. He was a Gator Bowl MVP and was inducted into the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.[6]

Robinson earned his degree in Civil Engineering at Penn State University.[7]

Professional career

Robinson was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 1963 NFL Draft and by the San Diego Chargers in the third round of the AFL Draft of the same year. He was also drafted by the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. Originally, he did not think he would end up playing in Green Bay. The Chargers had a financial package of $38,000 for Robinson but ran out of money and were going to trade his AFL rights to the Buffalo Bills. Robinson's fiancé (and future wife) Elaine had been to Buffalo and knew how cold it was there, but had never been to Green Bay.[8] Robinson would later recall that she didn't join him there until his second year in the NFL.

The Packers decided to move Robinson from defensive end to linebacker. After backing up incumbent Dan Currie during his rookie season, Robinson became the starting left side linebacker for the Packers and remained in that role with the team through 1972. Alongside the immortal MLB Ray Nitschke and Pro Bowler Lee Roy Caffey, the three formed one of the best starting units of linebackers in NFL history. Robinson was not only adept at defending the run but also against the pass. He intercepted 21 passes as a Packer, including five in 1966, which tied cornerback Bob Jeter for the team lead. Robinson played on two Super Bowl Championship teams, and won a total of three NFL Titles with the Packers (1965, 1966, 1967). During that time, he developed a reputation as a big-game player.[9] Perhaps the most notable example came in the 1966 NFL Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. On a fourth down play from the Packer two-yard-line, Robinson pressured Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith into a desperation pass that was intercepted by safety Tom Brown in the end zone, preserving a 34-27 victory by the Packers. Despite this, Vince Lombardi, the future Hall of Fame head coach of the Packers, was not pleased that Robinson had freelanced on the play and gave him the coach's lowest grade possible, a minus two. However, Lombardi would later privately praise Robinson for making the game-winning play.[8]

“Trying to pass over Robinson, with his arms and reaction, is like trying to pass over the Empire State Building.”[9]
Jack Christiansen

After Lombardi's retirement as Packers' head coach following Super Bowl II, the aging team went into a period of decline under new coach (and former defensive coordinator) Phil Bengston. Individually, Robinson continued to shine. He was named 1st Team All-Pro by the NEA and UPI in 1968. In 1969, he was again named 1st Team All-Pro by the NEA and UPI and was also chosen for the 1st Team's of the New York Daily News, PFW and The Sporting News. Robinson suffered a setback during the 1970 season when he tore his Achilles tendon, but was ready for the start of the 1971 season. By then, Bengston had been replaced as Packers' head coach by Dan Devine. Robinson did not get along with Devine and would later state that, while he felt that Vince Lombardi was the best coach he ever played for, Devine was his worst coach at any level: high school, college or pros. Although the team rebounded from a 4-8-2 record in Devine's first season to finish 10-4 and win the NFC Central Divisional title, the 1972 season would be Robinson's last in a Packers uniform.

Robinson then finished his career with the Washington Redskins from 1973–1974, playing under another future Hall of Fame head coach in George Allen. He later stated that he was fine with the trade to the Redskins because there was no way that he would play for Devine anymore.[8] Robinson continued his high level of play in D.C., intercepting four passes during his first season with the Redskins. On October 14, 1973, Robinson returned one of those four interceptions 28 yards for the only touchdown of his career during a 21-3 Redskins win over the New York Giants. Robinson retired from the NFL in August 1975. He finished his career with 27 interceptions for return yardage totaling 449 and the one aforementioned touchdown. He also recovered 12 fumbles. Robinson was named to three Pro Bowls in 1966, 1967, and 1969 and was selected for one of the linebacker spots on the NFL's all-decade team for the 1960s.

Post NFL Activities

Robinson has pursued many different endeavors since retiring as an NFL player. During his career, he had worked in the off-season as an engineer at Campbell's Soup in Camden, New Jersey through 1967 and then for Schlitz Brewery in Milwaukee.[8] He then worked full time with Schlitz upon his retirement from pro football. In April 1984, he started his own beer distributorship in Akron, Ohio until semi-retiring in 2001. He then worked in sales for an artificial turf company before officially retiring in 2006.[8] Robinson has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[10]

Robinson and Royce Boyles co-authored The Lombardi legacy: thirty people who were touched by greatness. In 2009, the second edition of the book was published by Goose Creek Publishers.

In addition to being a member of the College Football and Gator Bowl Halls of Fame, Robinson was also inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in February 1982.[8] As of yet, he has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ Picken, Barbara and Gail Greenberg (1972), Mount Laurel: a centennial history, p. 36: "Dave Robinson at the Hula Bowl which honored him as a Penn State senior in the late 1950s. Robinson was an All-American at Penn State and became a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers. He is the son of Mrs. Mary Robinson."
  2. ^ Carison, Chuck (2004). Game of my life: 25 stories of Packers football. Sports Publishing ISBN 1582618143, p.122: "Hometown: Mount Laurel, New Jersey"
  3. ^ Offord, Jeff. "Last unbeaten Moorestown team looks back", Burlington County Times, December 2, 2007. Accessed September 21, 2011. "And when you play for a football team that finishes 9-0 and wins the South Jersey Group 3 championship, the memories are rich.... Robinson ended up getting a football scholarship from Penn State, where he played under Rip Engle and Joe Paterno. He later played for Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers, being named to three Pro Bowls and starting on two Super Bowl championship teams."
  4. ^ South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame "DAVE ROBINSON One of the finest all-around athletes ever produced in South Jersey. The Moorestown High graduate was a standout in football, track and basketball in high school. He was a dominant inside player for Hall of Fame coach Pete Monska on teams that went unbeaten and won State Group 3 championships in 1958 and 1959. He was a steady scorer for the Quakers but his main contribution was his outstanding rebounding and defensive ability. In college he opted for football where he was a two-way player at Penn State under fabled coach Rip Engle. He earned All-American honors at Penn State and in 1997 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was a first round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers and became an integral member of Vince Lombardi's teams that captured the 1965 NFL championship and Super Bowls I and II. He was named All Pro three times from 1963 to 1972." Accessed September 21, 2011.
  5. ^ College Football Hall of Fame
  6. ^ Gator Bowl Association
  7. ^ Dave Robinson
  8. ^ a b c d e f "An Unsung Hero". JSOnline.com - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/64174112.html. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  9. ^ a b Riddell Presents: The Gridiron's Greatest Linebackers
  10. ^ profootballhalloffame.com


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