Rosenbloom, Carroll : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Rosenbloom, Carroll

Rosenbloom was the owner of the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams (he swapped teams in 1972). Carroll was beloved in Baltimore and was named the city's Man of the Year in 1960 after the Colts won back-to-back NFL Championships.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 5, 1907 - d. April 2, 1979

Career Highlights:
A member of the Jewish fraterntiy ZBT while at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1920s, Rosenbloom played halfback for the Quakers in 1928-1929. Rosenbloom returned to football in the early 1950s as majority owner of the Baltimore Colts. After losing the original Colts team in 1951 (the owner folded the team), the city of Baltimore petitioned the NFL for another club. When Commissioner Bert Bell challenged the city to sell 15,000 tickets in six weeks, Baltimore sold the required number in a little more than four weeks. In January 1953, the NFL awarded the city of Baltimore the Dallas Texans franchise (originally the New York Yankees), with Rosenbloom as the principal owner.

Adopting the nickname, the Colts, Rosenbloom was devoted to making the team a winner. He hired Weeb Eubank as head coach in 1954, added Hall of Fame players Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Art Donovan, and the great Johnny Unitas in the mid-1950s, and made the Colts one of the best teams in football. The franchise had its first winning season in 1957 (it was also the first winning season for any Baltimore team), and did not have another losing season under Rosenbloom's ownership. The Colts won the NFL Championship in 1958 (called The Greatest Game Ever Played), repeated in 1959, and appeared in two Super Bowls; losing Super Bowl III in 1969 to Joe Namath and the New York Jets, and winning Super Bowl V in 1971.

In 1966, Rosenbloom was a member of the NFL Executive Committee which completed the merger between the NFL and its rival, the American Football League. Six years later, Carroll was involved in an historic swapping of teams with Los Angeles Rams owner Robert Irsay (Irsay did not have the same connection with Baltimore that Rosenbloom did and moved the Colts to Indianapolis in the 1980s). With Rosenbloom in charge of the Rams, the team immediately improved and became one of the NFC's best teams in the 1970s. During the decade, the Rams won seven NFC West Division titles, played in five Conference championship games, and one Super Bowl. The Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award is given annually to the Rams' rookie of the year.

In April 1979, Rosenbloom tragically drowned while swimming in the surf behind his Florida home. A known gambler, some people suspected foul play, but it was officially ruled an accident. Regardless, football had lost an influential owner who had winning teams for 20 of 26 seasons. He had built successful franchises in two cities as the Colts won three championships, and the Rams went to the Super Bowl the year after his death (they would not return to the Super Bowl for two decades). Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis said of Rosenbloom at a funeral service, "Among the great people in my world...Carroll Rosenbloom was the giant. It will never be over with me. Come autumn, and the roar of the crowd, I'll always think of him."

Origin:
Virginia



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References:
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)


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