Stumbling through some six-man football research last week, I found something interesting.
It took me a moment to fit the pieces together.
The center of this omission centers on mid-to-late-1950s six-man football in Wyoming (don’t all the greatest debates start here?). More specifically, it has to do with Lingle’s Jerry Hill, and his tie to another NFL great, Jack Pardee.
Well, as we in Wyoming know, Pardee isn’t alone.
Hill was, of course, a star at the University of Wyoming (he was voted by fans as the school’s best player of the 20th century) before playing in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts for nearly a decade, including appearances in two Super Bowls. He has long been revered in Wyoming for his gridiron exploits in Laramie and Maryland… but his start in Goshen County has been obscured by the passage of time.
Conversely, Hill doesn’t get much credit for his six-man high school experiences in Lingle. In fact, Googling Jerry Hill’s name in combination with the terms “six-man” or “6-man” turns up nothing about what Hill did for the Lingle Doggers back in the late 1950s.
Why does Pardee get the credit and not Hill? Well, I’m sure that has something to do with tradition. Six-man football is quite the tradition in Texas, where Pardee played in high school and college; in Wyoming, the fall traditions are more closely tied to the brown and gold team in Laramie and to killing things. Hopefully, though, this little blog post keeps Pardee from taking ALL of the credit for six-man success in the NFL.
Not that Pardee would, of course. It’s just that for a long time Hill hasn’t had his due in leading the charge for six-man players’ NFL aspirations.