On MLK Day, a remembrance of Emlen TunnellJanuary 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Posted in Football | 2 Comments
Tags: Bill Pennington, Emlen Tunnell, NY Giants, Vince Lombardi
Emlen Tunnel was so great that when Vince Lombardi left New York to be the head coach at Green Bay, he traded for him even though he was at the end of his career. For Giant fans who began when I did, back in the almost golden fifties, his name is both legend and front of mind when great Giants are discussed. I thought I knew a lot about him, but I know so much more since yesterday’s column, Emlen Tunnel, the Giant’s Greatest Packer by Bill Pennington in the Sunday Times. I did not know, for example, of his heroism in World War Two.
Tunnell was the first Black on the Giants and it was the then young Wellington Mara who met him when he hitch-hiked to training camp looking for a try-out. He became instantly a star and is still the greatest defensive back in the Giant’s history. But he was so much more, as you’ll read, than just a great player. When things could have broken bad, in relations between teammates and the outside world, because he was who he was, they broke well – very well. Lombardi knew what he was doing.