Where have all the Bobs gone?
There used to be some great football players named Bob. There was Bob Griese, former great quarterback at Purdue and for the Miami Dolphins. There was “Bullet” Bob Hayes, the Olympic sprinter who later starred as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. And our own Bob Johnson, a center that was so good at the University of Tennessee, and later for the Cincinnati Bengals, that he is enshrined in both the hall of fames for college football and pro football.
Quiz: Can you think of a football player today that goes by the name of Bob? Well, according to Jon Bois at SB Nation, Bob Sanders is the only one left. The lone Bobber is a safety with the San Diego Chargers. In fact, Bob Sanders is the only Bob that is playing in major American sports — the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and NCAA football and basketball.
And when you dig down a bit, Bob Sanders really isn’t a Bob. His real given name, Demond, was difficult for some to pronounce, so his mother started calling the little Sanders ‘Bob’, and it stuck.
According to Mr. Bois, nearly two thousand men named “Bob” have played in American major sports. We are not talking about those who were named Robert and preferred not to be referred to as Bob. We’re talking about those who for whatever reason, with whatever given name, went by the name of Bob.
The article at SB Nation is a good read — complete with graphs showing the number of Bobs vs. time. Where have all the Bobs gone? We’re not sure. As Mr. Bois writes,
The Bobs arrived, didn’t like what they saw, and left. Maybe they’re off in another land, playing a sport superior to any of ours, with a ball that kicks straight and never bounces off the post. I hope they’re enjoying themselves, wherever they are.
I wonder what Bob(by) Dodd would have to say about all this? Was General Neyland ever called Bob by anybody? Who was your favorite Bob?