Newman, Ed : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Newman, Ed

Edward Kenneth Newman

Newman was an All-Pro guard with the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. Newman, who played in two Super Bowls and four Pro Bowls, achieved all this after he survived cancer surgery in 1975, and had a knee operation in 1978 (he had another one in 1982). A third knee surgery ended his career in 1985. One of his teammates on the Dolphins from 1980-1983 was linebacker Steve Shull.

The ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Heavyweight Wrestling Champion while at Duke University in 1970 and 1971, Newman also served as the football team's co-captain in 1972. Newman is a member of the Duke Athletic Hall of Fame, the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (in Commack, New York), and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. At his induction into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Newman spoke of the importance of Judaism in his life. He related the Biblical story of Benjamin, a Jewish athlete living in Greece who could only participate in the Olympics if he underwent an operation to reverse his circumcision. Benjamin did so and thus broke his covenant with God. Newman said at the induction, "This was a tragedy to me, this dilemma...We [he and his family] talked I [could] avoid the dilemma of Benjamin...I [didn't] want to give up my Judaism." Newman's father advised him that his athletic ability was fleeting, but could be used to build a reputation and legacy after his playing days had ended. This Newman did, becoming a lawyer and then a judge in Florida's County Court system in Miami, always remaining a proud Jew.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 4, 1951

Career Highlights:
Newman was a terrific two-sport star at Duke, lettering three times in football and wrestling. In 1971, Duke had a record of 6-5 (2-3, third in ACC) and Newman was named All-ACC and All-America as an offensive lineman. The following year, he was named All-ACC as a defensive lineman as Duke was 5-6 (3-3, fourth in ACC).

In 1973, Ed was drafted in the 6th round (156th overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Draft. He arrived the year after Miami had its perfect season (17-0) but despite the chance to play for the Super Bowl champs, Newman did not feel overly fortunate. He said, "I came to the Dolphins not knowing who these stellar Miami Dolphins were, other than they were the World, I wasn't overwhelmed by their reputation, but I was concerned (that) they must be some talented ballplayers...if I'm going to make this club, I wonder if there's a spot for me here." Newman did make the team that season, and although he did not win a starting job, he appeared in 11 games, including the Super Bowl, where the Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7.

Over the next few seasons, the Dolphins began losing their star players to trades and retirement and the team went through some lean years. They continued to make the playoffs, but could not get past the first round. Newman, however, steadily improved and finally won a permanent starting job at guard in 1979. From that time on, he never relinquished the starting spot.

In 1982, the Dolphins had a record of 7-2 (strike-shortened season) and won their first playoff game in nine years, eventually reaching the Super Bowl. Newman, however, did not play in the game because of a knee injury suffered late in the season (it broke a string of 56 straight starts) and the Dolphins lost to the Washington Redskins, 27-17.

The following year, Newman was back in top form blocking for Dolphins rookie quarterback Dan Marino. That season, the Dolphins had a record of 12-4, but lost in the playoffs. In 1983, Newman, Marino, and the Dolphins (14-2) returned to the Super Bowl, this time losing, 38-16, to the San Francisco 49ers.

Following the 1984 season, Newman retired due to another knee injury, having played in 167 career NFL games. Ed was a three-time All-Pro and was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls (1981-1984).

Woodbury, New York

Career Dates:
Newman played at the Duke University, then played guard in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins from 1973-1984.

Physical description:
6'2", 245 pounds

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Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)