Football Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Sports Art Miracle Image

Minnesota Vikings Miracle

Football season is getting close so I thought you would like to see, probably, one of my favorite plays of all time was the Minnesota Miracle pass from the Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Stefon Diggs last season that saved the Minnesota Vikings season and crushed the New Orleans Saints and moved the Vikings into the NFC Championship Game.

As some of you know I am a sports artist who has created artwork for a number of sports stadiums and arenas, including the Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium.  Sometimes a sports play comes along that needs to be painted just for the joy of recreating a scene or action.  So here is my interpretation of the great "Seven Heaven" football catch.

Seven Heaven Play

The football play, "seven heaven" is a deep corner route and if the quarterback, in this case, Case Keenum hits the wide receiver, in this case it’s Stefon Diggs, then something heavenly happens.   And in this particular case, one of the greatest plays of all time.  The football play, if you would llike to watch it again, is  here:  

link to a video of the play

.  

Here’s a quick rundown of how the play went down.  There was 10 seconds showing on the clock and it was 3

rd

and 10 .  The Vikings were at their own 39 yard line.  Stefon Diggs runs the seven heaven route, catches the pass, the cornerback misses the tackle (I’m not giving his name as he has had enough hassle about his missed play) and Diggs scores.  It was the first  fourth-quarter, walk-off touchdown in NFL playoff history.  As an aside here is an interesting comment about the

walk-off touchdown.

The football image was painted by sports artist John Robertson and is 6 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Sports Art Danny Amendola New England Patriots

Danny Amendola New England Patriots

My daughter and granddaughters live in New England so it seems appropriate that I paint one of the plays from the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars AFC Championship Game.  My sports art painting is my interpretation of the pass reception and touchdown thrown by New England
Patriots Tom Brady to wide-receiver Danny Amendola.  The touchdown gave the New England Patriots the go-ahead points against the Jacksonville Jaguars that ultimately decided the AFC Championship Game – and leads up to the SuperBowl.  This will give the Patriots number 10 visit to the Superbowl.  And all of this came by the on 9-yard touchdown pass Tom Brady threw to Danny Amendola

 Superbowl Bound

 This is the third time in four seasons that the NFC Champions New England Patriots are going to the Superbowl.   If you do not remember, last year in Superbowl 51 the New England Patriots were trailing 28 to 3 behind the AFC Atlanta Falcons.  In the largest comeback in the history of the NFL Superbowl, and in overtime, the Patriots, lead by the great quarterback, Tom Brady, they won the game 34 to 28.

Danny Amendola said about the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and gave them the win for this years boost into the Superbowl 52,  "It means a lot. We worked so hard for this."  Amendola, made a strong contribution to the win by catching seven passes for 84 yards.


To follow my sports art work like my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/anartistlife/

Green Bay Packers Painting For Lambeau Field Art Collection

About the Green Bay Packers Art Colletion

The painting of a Green Bay Packers football play, in this case a sweep against the Rams,  was created by sports artist John Robertson for the remodel of the suites area of Lambeau Field, the football stadium for the Green Bay Packers.
The new remodel of the suites and club level using art was installed in July 2017.   The painting is approximately 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on stretched canvas.  The rest of Jopn Robertson’s sports  artwork (eight pieces) is displayed on the suite and club levels of Lambeau Field, which means it is not available to other fans on a regular basis.

It was a very special night with my wife a few months ago at the Green Bay Packers Art Collection opening at Lambeau Field.  Great celebration and opportunity to tour the stadium and see the eight pieces installed. The enthusiasm and warmth of all the Packer fans involved, from everyone working the event to president of the organization, Mark Murphy, was extraordinary!

For those of you who have not visited Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I highly recommend a visit.  First of all, Green Bay is an enthusiastic town for football.  Everywhere there are references to the Packers: restaurants, bars, clubs, businesses all interested in the great game of Packers football.  The stadium itself is just beautiful with a retro look that gives it the feel of old time football.  It has been around for 61 years and yet they maintain it with great care making it a truly fabulous place to watch a game.  In 1999 Sports Illustrated named it as one of the top 10 places to watch a sporting event.  And I can’t imagine it not being still considered one of the best places to see a football game.  I did have an opportunity to see a game a number of years ago which is one of my great memories of seeing a sporting event.  They run tours of the stadium which you will see the history in the art displayed throughout the venue. 

Original sports paintings are available from my studio or on commission.

Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Case Keenum running back Todd Gurley Painting Art

Rams Quarterback Case Keenum


The start of this Los Angeles Rams season looks like will lead off with Case Keenum number 17 at quarterback.  Keenum, has made a career as backup but has worked hard to hold off the inevitable future of Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.  Keenum did a good job last year of taking
away Nick Foles job who was later released.

Back when I was a kid my dad used to take me to the LA Rams games in the Los Angeles Coliseum back in the late forties and early fifties.  At the time I remember there were two quarterbacks fighting for starting quarterback position; NormVan Brocklin who signed with the Rams out of the draft  and joined the Rams who already had a star quarterback, Bob Waterfield. So beginning in 1950, the Rams coach Joe Stydahar solved his problem by platooning Waterfield and Van Brocklin.  Later on, In a few more years they brought in Bill Wade.  So I was fortunate to see all of them play in Los Angeles.  Saw other great LA Rams players also - the great end Tom Fears and the fun running back, "Crazy Legs" Hirsh. 

While I mentioned the fabulous nickname of "Crazy Legs"  I should also mention my favorite football nickname of all time.  Los Angeles Rams defensive back Dick "Night Train" Lane.   "Night Train" Lane had gotten the nickname after taking the night trains to away games because of his fear of flying.  Lane had the record for most interceptions in an NFL season (14), a record that has stood for over 60 years. He went from an undrafted football player, who worked in a factory but was good enough to be later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Running Back Todd Gurley


The other player in the LA Rams painting art is running back Todd Gurley. As the NFL football season starts  The Topps Company announced that Todd Gurley, is the cover athlete for the Topps
NFL HUDDLE® 2017 app.  And we all know why he was selected - because he is the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.  That is why.

Gurley had an absolutely great first season and will try to live up to the great Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson who in his second season ran for over 2,000 yards.  That is almost a "Mission Impossible" but hopefully his offensive line will help him with the goal.


About the  Sports Art painting by sports artists John Robertson



The Case Keenum, Todd Gurley NFL football art painting is to honor these two players, one who has had a great beginning and another who has worked hard in his years to become a starting quarterback.  I hope they both have a great season.  The painting is  4 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins Painting Art

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins


Although Dan Marino was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL he never one a championship.  (But in 1984 he did lead the Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl, where the club lost to the San Francisco 49ers led Joe Montana win of  38-16).  For example Marino was first rookie to start at quarterback in
the Pro Bowl. That rookie year Marino threw for 20 touchdowns, led the Dolphins to a 12-4 record, and became the NFL's Rookie of the Year.  That's not a bad start for a quarterback who had five other quarterbacks in that year's draft taken before he was drafted.
 
At the time one of the greatest years any quarterback has had in the NFL was by Dan Marino.  In that 1984 Super Bowl season he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, both single season records at the time, while also setting new NFL marks for completions with 362.  A quote from Dan Marino and his career says it best, " I just try to be myself, whatever that is. I don't think about how I'll be remembered. I just want to be consistent over a long period of time. That's what the great players do."

It is always interesting to hear what a quarterback has to say about his coach and how he may feel, as a quarterback, about his leadership role.  Marino said this about one of his games.  "We're not running the ball again until we get ahead. Shula was calling the plays, but I told them, 'I don't care what he calls. We're throwing every pass from now until we get the lead.' To Shula's credit, he always gave
me that option. "

Tim Ruddy Number 61 Miami Dolphins Offensive Center


Also in the painting is Tim Ruddy a six foot three inch center who was drafted in 1994.  When listing the all time top one hundred players for the Miami Dolphins Tim Ruddy comes out around number thirty -two.  He spent 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins and started 140 games.

Howie Long Defensive End Oakland Raiders


The other image in the painting is of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long who played in the Super Bowl XVIII with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984. He was an 8-time Pro Bowler and one-time Defensive Player of the Year in his career.  He recorded 91.5 career sacks and became an NFL sportscaster after retirement.

Sports Art Painting by Sports Artists John Robertson


The painting is three feet by six feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. 

NFL Football Offensive Linemen sports artists John Robertson

NFL Offensive Linemen The "Big Boys" of Football


The offensive linemen plays one of three positions, center, guard or tackle, and usually the biggest players on the team.  I can't think of anything more intimidating in football, or in  most sports, than to have an offensive lineman out in front of a running back.  His job is to make space for the runner.
   Visualize a wedge, snow plow train barreling down deep, snow covered railroad tracks.  And with speed and power this huge wedge plow on the front of the iron, diesel engine throws the snow hundreds of feet off the tracks.

Most offensive linemen are just anonymous monsters, part of this wall of other brutes.  But there are some that have stood out in the NFL.  Some had great nicknames like, " Smash-Mouth" or "Night-Train" or "The Jordon Spreader".  

Gene Upshaw Oakland Raiders


There was Gene Upshaw, Oakland Raiders and a Hall ­of ­Famer.  He played 15 seasons at guard between 1967 and 1981. Upshaw started 207 out of 217 career games and was named to seven Pro Bowls. Upshaw was also a two­-time Super Bowl champion­­ with rings in 1977 and 1981.

 Art Shell Oakland Raiders


 Another great Raider offensive linemen was Art Shell.  At his playing size of 6’5″ and 265 pounds, Shell would  drop his hips and use pounding leverage to clear space for running backs or put up a shield and protect his quarterbacks.

Forrest Gregg Green Bay Packers


One of my favorites is Forrest Gregg of the old Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers.  Lombardi said Gregg was greatest player that he ever coached. As a Packer, Gregg brought back five championships to the Green Bay “Frozen Tundra.” In the twilight of his career, he won Super Bowl VI with the Dallas Cowboys.  Gregg played in a then-record 188 straight games between 1956 and 1971. Gregg made nine trips to the Pro Bowl and seven appearances on the First­-Team All­-Pro list.

Anthony Muñoz Cincinnati Bengals


 And who some considered the best offensive lineman of all time is Anthony Muñoz - left tackle, Cincinnati Bengals.  He was the "real deal"  with size, strength, athleticism, and technique.  He played at six feet six inches and weighted two-hundred and seventy-eight pounds. He could create an alleyway that a truck could drive through - or "wall off " a blitzing linebacker.  Munoz played in nine Pro Bowls between 1976 and 1985 and named lead guard on the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All­-Time Team.

About Sports Artists John Robertson Painting



The Lineman painting is approximately 48 inches by 70 inches, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  (That means no stretcher bars or frame)  It hangs like a tapestry or banner.

Receiver Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings Receiver Making Catch Painting

Over the years the Minnesota Vikings have had some of the great receivers in the NFL - players like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Steve Jordan, Anthony Carter, Jake Reed, Ahmad Rashad, etc. etc. etc. So when I went to paint this receiver for the new Minnesota Vikings, US Bank Stadium Art Collection
there was not one particular player I used as a model.  It would be too hard to single out one player for an individual painting.

What I wanted to represent was the flying aspect of a hero or warrior of the Vikings.  The Vikings had the best of the best warriors, and for so many years the Minnesota Vikings have had some great receiver players.  Like the gathering of the very best Viking warriors, the Minnesota Vikings, over the years, have gathered great receivers to play along-side each other. And this painting is a tribute to them.

Valhalla Suites Receiver Painting


The Minnesota Vikings have hung the painting in the Valhalla Suites area of the US Bank Stadium.  The painting is hung to the lobby area and the stairway entrance as you descend to the Valhalla Suites.  Here is a description of the suites from the Vikings website:  Located 17 rows from the field
and between the 20 yard lines members will have access to the private Owner’s and Medtronic Clubs featuring elite all-inclusive food and beverages. Suites range between 24-32 tickets and come with VIP parking, other event access, away game trips and much more.

Only 17 rows off the field
Private Medtronic Club Access
All-inclusive Food and Beverages
Situated between the 30 yard lines
Highest End Suite furniture and finishes in the building
12-24 tickets per Suite
Only 12 Suites at this level

About the Vikings Painting by Sports Artist John Robertson


The receiver painting is four feet by eight feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. 

Sports Artist John Robertson US Bank Stadium Art Collection

US Bank Stadium Art Collection


Like myself Jim Marshall created work for the Minnesota Vikings US Bank Art Collection. The photograph is of me, sports artist John Robertson, with Jim Marshall, defensive lineman, for theMinneapolis, Minnesota.   I met Jim at the art opening for the US Bank stadium a week ago.
Minnesota Vikings  from nineteen sixty one to nineteen seventy nine (1961 - 1979)) In the photo he had just had autographed a page from a book that has one of my paintings of the famous "Purple People Eaters" .  They were the great front four linemen for the Vikings. "The Purple People Eaters" included; Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.  The painting commission hangs in the new Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium in in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   I met Jim at the art opening for the US Bank stadium.

Jim Marshall Art


Jim Marshall created from the nickname he gave himself "silver eagle".  He liked to draw an eagle on his football uniform that “became synonymous with the Viking legend,Marshall, and he began to fashion his own version of the symbol. His creation was a “silver eagle”.  
” according to the Vikings press release.  Jim Marshall said he was inspired by the Odin’s raven on the flags on medieval Vikings’ long ships. The bird’s ferocity held meaning for

It was really exciting for me to meet Jim Marshall as I was, and still am a big fan of the Vikings.  My wife is from Minnesota and I have been going back with her at least once or twice a year since we have been together.  Marshall is a few years older than me so we are contemporaries.  He is a big, big man standing six foot four and two hundred and forty five pounds. 

John Robertson "Purple People Eaters"About the painting


Sports Artist John Robertson's painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites in the US Bank stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play. This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area. 

Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller

Vikings Carl Eller Autograph


The photograph is of me, sports artist John Robertson with Carl Eller, autographing a page from a book that has one of my paintings of the famous "Purple People Eaters" .  They were the great front four linemen for the Vikings. "The Purple People Eaters" included; Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.  The painting commission hangs in the new Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium in Minnesota 


It was really exciting for me to meet Carl Eller as I was, and still am a big fan of the Vikings.  My wife is from Minnesota and I have been going back with her at least once or twice a year since we have been together.  Eller is only a year older than me so we are contemporaries.  He is a big, big man standing six foot six and thick as a big tree.  What is interesting about him is that he makes ceramic art.  His bowls are beautiful and he created some pieces for the US Bank, Minnesota  Vikings art collection.  Here is a link to his facebook page that shows some of his work.  https://www.facebook.com/Carl-Eller-Studios-140010289424137/ 

 About Carl Eller

 Carl Eller was one of the defensive ends who played with the Minnesota Vikings from 1968 through 1979.  Starting in 1968, Eller's fifth campaign, Minnesota won 10 Central Division titles in the next 11 seasons. The Vikings won the 1969 NFL championship and NFC crowns in 1973, 1974, and 1976 and Eller was one of 11 Vikings to play in all four of their Super Bowls, all losses.

He was selected to play in six Pro Bowls (1968–1971, 1973, and 1974). After being traded with an eighth round pick to Seattle Seahawks for defensive tackle Steve Niehaus, Eller played his final season in 1979 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he ran his career total to 225 games. In his career, "Moose" only missed three games and started 209 out of the 225 he played.

About the painting

The painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites in the US Bank stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play. This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area.  

Purple People Eaters Minnesota Vikings US Bank Stadium

Purple People Eaters Painting

 One of my pieces (artist John Robertson) In the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is The "Purple People Eaters" which shows the legendary linemen Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.   The painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting
is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites.  This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area. 

What was fun about the opening is meeting Carl Eller and Jim Marshall who autographed the photograph art book featuring the stadium's artists.  We also had a chance to meet the great Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant. 

Minnesota Vikings Stadium


We went to the art collection opening at the new  U.S. Bank Stadium where the NFL Minnesota Vikings will be playing their football games starting this 2016 2017 football season.  The stadium has a museum-quality art collection.  Both my wife and I have pieces of art in this collection.

U.S. Bank Stadium has some unique features in comparison to other NFL stadiums, It has the largest transparent roof in the nation and five 95-feet high pivoting glass doors that will open to a nearly three-acre plaza and the Minneapolis downtown skyline. While the stadium’s roof will be fixed, the transparent 200,000 square feet of glass throughout the building will give fans an outdoor feel in a climate-controlled environment. The stadium seats are just 41 feet from the sideline. Seven levels in the stadium and it has two of the largest and highest-quality HD video boards in the NFL that are located in both the east and west end zones.

About the US Bank Minnesota Vikings Stadium Art Collection


To see a short video of some of the collection you can go to : http://www.usbankstadium.com/about-the-stadium/art-collection/  You will see two of my paintings in the video.  What is an interesting side comment is that my name is not listed on the collection artist's list although my paintings are in the stadium. 

One of my large scale football paintings on the jumbotron at the new Minnesota Vikings' US Bank Stadium where several pieces of my work are installed
stadium.  My understanding is that only a couple of artists that were not from Minnesota were included in the collection - me being one of them.  This was intentional as the other artists not from Minnesota were also left off the list.  My wife, Lynn Hanson was included (see photograph above with our paintings shown together in the Gold Lobby to the Norsemen suites) as she is from Minnesota and her sister lives about an hour from downtown Minneapolis

Football Linemen Painting Art NFL

Football Linemen Painting

 In football linemen get little glory but the real football battles are fought there, as they say, "in the trenches" My favorite linesmen’s were from the "old school" Green Bay Packers. During late summer of 1963 I spent a couple of weeks in Green Bay and had the opportunity to watch the Packers daily
practice. In those days the practices were open and we could actually sit on the player’s bench and talk with them.

 My Favorite Linemen

 My two favorite players were Frederick "Fuzzy" Thurston and Jerry Kramer. They were key member of the Packers' offensive line during the team's glory years from 1959 through 1967, when they won five NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls. Kramer was an All-Pro five times, and a member of the NFL's 50th anniversary team in 1969. Thurston was named to the 1961 and 1962 All-Pro teams. Kramer , 6'3", 250 lb. right guard, (and "Fuzzy" (Fuzzy was at left guard) were an integral part of the famous "Packer Sweep", a signature play in which both guards rapidly pull out from their positions on the line and lead-block for the running back going around the end.
"Fuzzy" is famous for his quote in response to a sportswriter's question asked of him how he prepared for the famous Ice Bowl game (where the game-time temperature was 15 degrees below zero). Thurston's response was "about 10 vodkas."


This photo gives you a sense of the actual size of the painting.  Painting of football linemen by sports artist John Robertson is approximately  88" x 60" (approx. 7 1/2 feet by 5 feet)

Football Painting Payton Manning Quarterback Denver Broncos Art

 “Payton Manning  24” x 30” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL/AFC West.  Image is Denver Broncos Payton Manning.  Newsprint attached to 1 ½”  stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.
  1. As five-time league MVP, Payton Manning played quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons from 1998 to 2011.  He now plays for the Denver Broncos had one of the greatest seasons of his career in 2013.  It will be interesting to see if he can duplicate his success that he had last year - he is thirty-eight years old.  He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and an elder brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Payton is about the most competitive player to play the game.  As Adam Meadows said, (who played with Manning with the Colts,) "He lives, eats, breathes, smokes, snorts, chews football. ... "He's just a machine. That's all he wants to do."  Meadows was one of Manning's linemen for a few years as a Colt.  They had a close relationship of one that a quarterback would have with his linemen.  But one time Payton wanted to have Meadows around and talk about plays and watch game films.  Meadows ' wife was having their second baby and he needed to leave for the baby's birth.   Manning wanted to know why they couldn't have babies in the offseason. 

What I always like about watching Payton Manning quarterbacking is when he comes to the line and is checking out the defense - the glancing around, the pointing of the finger, etc.  Dan Patrick in an interview with Payton Manning asked about his eye contact with defensive players. 

"Patrick: Do you make eye contact with the defense? Is there a player you look at?

Manning: I check the middle linebacker, kind of come with that eye on him because you can see if he's cheating one way or the other. And then I'll find the two safeties.

D Patrick: But you'll look at them.

Manning: Yeah, I'll look at their eyes as opposed to their jersey numbers and it's like a second of staring. My first year, I didn't really do it quite as much. I was kind of scared they might, like, tell me to quit looking at them. But now I've gotten to the point where I look at them. Especially if they're a young player, I think it might make them a little bit uneasy."

All that review of films is what makes Manning the great quarterback that he is.  This philosophy can be applied to anyone who wants to be successful in their field - constant review and analysis of your previous actions and decisions.   Manning says,   "If you ever feel like that's not important -- like, 'Hey, I don't need to watch last season; I know what we did; I know what I did wrong' -- no, you don't know," Manning said. "You need to watch it. Watch the bad plays. It's not fun to watch bad plays, to sit there and say, 'That's a bad decision' and 'That's a really bad decision' and 'Horrible read.' ... No matter how old you are, you need to go into that prepared to be constructively criticized and learn how to grow out of the mistakes every year."

One of my favorite lines that Payton Manning reportedly said according to writer Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated was prior to a Super Bowl a few years ago.  The Colts had banned hotel-room visits from relatives and friends the week before the game. Manning said during a team meeting, "I don't want any crying kids next to me while I'm trying to study,"

 If you are a football nerd and want some great insightful information and detail (more than any normal fan would want to know) in how Manning has run an offense here is a great article about it by Chris B. Brown ..." a return to the simplicity of Peyton Manning..."

Football painting Gail Sayers running back Chicago Bears

“Gail Sayers”  10” x 14” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old newsprint,) Gail Sayers considered one of the great players with the Chicago Bears.  Newsprint attached to stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Gail Sayers said, “"give me 18 inches of daylight that's all I  need", which meant that all the offensive line had to do was to open up a small hole in the defensive line for him of 18 inches and he could squeeze and zig-zag through for some good yardage.  Mike Ditka, who played for Chicago and later coached the Chicago Bears for 11 years and New Orleans Saints for three years said of Sayers, “if you’re talking about making people miss and cutting back, nobody was ever better than him.”  Dick Butkus, the great linebacker who played with Sayers (and one of my all time favorite players) said of Sayers “He had a great ability to come at you and then…he’s gone.  He was something to play with.  I’m just glad he was on our team.”

Gail also known as "The Kansas Comet" was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s. He played college football for the University of Kansas, and was twice recognized as an All-American. He was a first-round pick in the 1965 NFL Draft, and played his entire pro career for the NFL's Chicago Bears.  Selected to the Pro Bowl four times (1965, 1966, 1967 and 1969) and five times in consecutive All-Pro (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969), he is part of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1977. His number 40 was retired by the franchise of the Chicago Bears. It is also part of the NFL team of the 1960s and the team's 75th anniversary of the NFL. His friendship with fellow Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo was the basis for the 1971 movie Brian's Song. During his seventh season in Chicago, Sayers suffered a career-ending knee injury. He retired from the sport in 1972

George Halas,was the iconic founder and owner of the National Football League's Chicago Bears.  Halas didn`t believe in starting rookies, but with Gail he felt a little different and Sayers delivered.  In his first heavy pre-season action, he raced 77 yards on a punt return, 93 yards on a kickoff return, and then startled everyone with a 25-yard scoring pass against the Los Angeles Rams. –Sayers' records include most touchdowns in a rookie season,  (22 in 1965).  Also in Sayers record book he had the most touchdowns in a game (6, tied with Nevers and Jones), highest career kickoff return average (30.56), and most return touchdowns in a game. 

Gail Sayers said, “There's no way I would have made the Hall of Fame or set any of the records I did by myself. No matter how many yards I gained, whether it was three or 300, someone had to be there to make the block.

Here is a portion of Gail SayersHall of Fame speech, July 30, 1977, that I like best, “God gave me a great gift and I had a lot of help developing for this occasion. Reaching this point, however, is not as important as striving to get here. This is true in all professions and all of life's activities. There are doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, plumbers all who strive to do their very best with their abilities. We hear a lot today about how the American people have lost their dedication to excellence. I don't believe that is true. Each  of us excels at different things, sometimes in areas that are only a hobby, more often in our life vocation. The most important thing, however, is to strive to do our very best. Nothing is more of a waste than unrealized potential. Sometimes failure to use one's talents to the fullest is often the fault of the individual. Nothing could be more tragic. I am sure many of you have been to a Special Olympics and if you have, I am sure you have felt the same exhilaration I have felt in watching young people with disabilities strive as hard as they can in various events. The sense of satisfaction they get from striving is to them much more important than where they finish in the competition. As Robert Rawlings said, 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp'. It is describing to reach a goal that is important and if you should reach that goal, set new goals and strive for them.” 

A Friend In Deed.  While at his first training camp, Sayers met fellow running back Brian Piccolo. The two became close friends and were the first racially mixed roommates in the history of the Bears. After cancer brought Piccolo’s life to an untimely end, Sayers’ book documenting their friendship became the basis for the TV movie "Brian's Song" starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. The film won the 1972 Golden Globe Award as the Best Film Made for Television and spawned a cult following that has persisted for almost three decades, and even resulted in a remake by Disney and ABC-TV in 2001.

After all is said and done about Gail Sayers, this is my favorite quote of his, ""Football is a very short-term proposition. Football really prepares you for nothing. The only thing I got out of football was the ability to work hard, and that's it."

Football painting, Deon Sanders Star Cornerback Dallas Cowboys San Francisco 49ers

Deon Sanders painting  12" x 16" ink and acrylic.  The background is newsprint (from old Sporting News, newspaper about baseball) attached to the canvas board.  The paper is then distressed to give it a old and beat-up, used look.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005.  Sanders Played for a variety of NFL football teams and used both # 21 and #37.   He was sometimes called "Neon Dion" because of his flashy style on the field and in his personal dress code. Sanders once said, "I never wear the same shoe twice." As a continuation of his thoughts about being flashy he said, "“If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.” 

Sanders played football primarily at cornerback, but also as a kick returner, punt returner and occasionally as a running back or wide receiver.  Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back and Sanders' teammate from 1995-99 said about him,  "You don't get to this level by not performing. A lot of guys play the game, but when you start looking at his performance and what he's been able to accomplish in the period of time that he played, you know he shut down one side of the football field. That says a lot about an athlete and a player.

He played for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens, winning the Super Bowl with both the 49ers and the Cowboys.  Sanders was a perennial All-Pro and one of the most feared pass defenders to ever play the game.   While at Dallas - Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager said of Deon Sanders,  "I think he could be, and you can make a good argument, the best to have played the position. I think it's noteworthy of the impact he made. At one time he had the most touchdowns per touching the ball of anybody in the National Football League. When he got his hands on it, if anybody could, he could take it to the house. I think that's pretty interesting and that's why we made him a receiver when he was here. That's why we started using him on punt returns when he was here as well, just because of his entire career."

Here is what I think is the best part of Deon Sanders'  Hall of Fame enshrinement speech of Aug 7, 2011.   Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005:

"This game, this game, this game. And I went at this game and attacked this game because I made a promise that I needed this game to fulfill.

I made a promise when I was seven years old to this young woman at the age of 27. She was working two jobs just to see if ends could see one another because they never met. And she was slaving over pots and pans on that precise day. I can remember, it was a little high chair right by the kitchen. In the kitchen there was a high chair right by the stove that she was cooking.

And I said, mama, because I was tired of seeing her go to work and come home all tired. I said I'm going to be rich one day. Mama, “I'm going to make a lot of money, and you will never have to work another day of your life.” My mama said “that's fine, but until then you get that lawnmower and go out there and cut that grass.”

14 years later, that's why you can't give up on your dream, your promise, because 14 years later, this dream, this promise came. That I was able to allow my mama to go into a job and say I'm not doing it anymore. My son has blessed me.

But there is something inside of me, mama, that I never told you. That I never could admit, and I'm going to share it with all of you, because now we're family. I played for a youth team called the Fort Myers Rebels and they blessed me. They took me all over the country to expose me to things, to expose you to things.

Everybody on their team, their parents owned something. Their parents were doctors or lawyers or the chief of police. It was that type of organization. Me and one of my friends were the only African American kids on that team. It was a very affluent team, and I was ashamed of my mama because my mama worked in the hospital. She cleaned up the hospital, and I was ashamed of my mama who sacrificed, who loved me, who protected me, who gave me everything. I want to make sure I was best dressed in school and I had everything that was laid that came out. I had it first.

I was ashamed of my mama because one of my friends in high school, he saw her in a hospital one night pushing a cart, and he came back and he clowned me, he ridiculed me and he mocked me because of my mama.

So I made a pledge to myself that I don't care what it takes, I don't care what it may take, I'm not going to do anything illegal, but my mama would never have to work another day of her life."