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Remembering Ron Johnson

November 13, 2018

One would not know it reading the New York Giants website today nor gazing at their “Ring of Honor,” but one of their best players ever, Ron Johnson passed away at age 71.

Many Giants fans rank their near miss 1970 season ahead of some of the Supe winning seasons and Ron Johnson’s brilliance that season, led the way.

He was a star at Michigan University, where in 1968, he set a single game rushing record, that still stands, with over 340 yards vs Wisconsin.

“My” Cleveland Browns drafted him and I recall a “Strat-O-Matic” football card of him, but after “we” traded him to the Giants.

The Browns also traded the even greater Paul Warfield, setting the stage for Miami Dolphins’ greatness and causing my best friend, Michael Santasieri, to refer to Browns’ owner Art Modell, as “The Santa Claus of the NFL.”

Though I was not a Giants’ fan, my memories of their 1970 and 1972 seasons are cherished ones.

Ron Johnson, more than anyone, stood out in those two seasons.

In ’72 while Johnson ran great in those “radio only” home games, with a real announcer, (in fact the best ever for radio/football–Marty Glickman) Marty who always appreciated excellence, whether from his team or the opposition, lauded the efforts of such stars as Denver’s Floyd Little and Washington’s Larry Brown.

He talked of Larry Brown evoking memories of the great Jim Brown, a player Ron Johnson grew up idolizing.

Meanwhile Johnson dazzled us when the Giants had the ball.

Finally there was November 15, 1970 -Doug Ingber was 10 years old and in a Connecticut hotel room with his dad, watching Washington at the Giants in Yankee Stadium. 22 years later, Doug a superb editor with D.C. Video edited my tribute show to an appreciative Marty Glickman, which aired on the day of his last broadcast.

“Stone,” through all the combined mental illness and events, has recounted that day, that game he attended as a 13 year old with his father “D.R.” as arguably, the best in his life.

There was perspective from the tragic plane crash of the Marshall football team the night before and the excitement when as he said “had there been a roof on Yankee Stadium, it would have blown off,” such was the noise when Ron Johnson, holding the ball aloft (no cell phones, no cell phone “celebrations” then) crossed the Washington goal for “the go ahead to stay,” final score. Down (33-14), the Giants won (35-33).

I was home, radio only but with Marty. As the game was headed for its thrilling climax, Marty suggested to those in the radio audience that were driving to “pull over to the side of the road.” Yankees’ head Mike Burke actually did so and told Marty so.

If I do nothing else with my tangents, I try to delve into what happened, unlike so much of the sports media, that for example, still cites one play without placing said play, in perspective.

I conclude my tribute to Ron Johnson, with Ethan “Stone’s” recollection of his father wanting to beat the traffic after Ron scored.

Yet Sonny (Jurgensen) and “Wash” did not give up, (they watched from the lower stands before leaving) nor should we.

Ron Johnson was a great, as good, I say better talent wise and at his best, than any Giants’ runner. Now he runs above and Doug, “Stone” Marty Glickman (up there with him) and I remember!


Sadly, in reading about Ron Johnson of the Giants and Michigan–I learned that Ron Johnson, a defensive back on 2 consecutive Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl winners (’78 and ’79), teams in my book in a close “contest,” the best teams I ever saw play, had also passed away in this year 2018.


Click below for a brief recollection of Ron Johnson–Steelers

Former Steelers defensive back Ron Johnson dies at 62




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