For those who know only a little about both football and music, when they hear the name Jim Ringo, they may think, “Yeah, I know who that is! He was the drummer for the Beatles!”
Football fans may know (and Green Bay Packers enthusiasts in particular probably know) that James Stephen Ringo was actually an NFL Hall of Fame and 10-time Pro Bowl center.
It should not have to be noted, perhaps, that Ringo did snap, or “hike” the ball to Starr on numerous occasions (Bart Starr, that is, not Ringo Starr). But I did note it, anyway, as you may have noticed.
Time to get serious – I just heard Foghorn Leghorn’s voice urging me to “Pay attention, boy, I say Pay Attention!”
Alrighty, then: The first 11 of Ringo’s 15 NFL seasons were spent with the Green Bay Packers.
Ringo subsequently spent two decades as a coach, both offensive line and offensive coordinator, and even served as head coach, but none of this was with the Packers, so I won’t dwell further on those portions of Ringo’s football life.
Jim Ringo began his career with the Packers in 1953 after being taken with the 79th pick in that year’s draft. Today the 79th pick is taken in the first half of the third round, but in 1953 there were only 12 teams in the NFL, so Ringo wasn’t selected until the second half of the seventh round.
At a “mere” 211 pounds at the time he was drafted, some worried that Ringo was too “light in the pants” to play effectively on the line. Despite that concern, Ringo overcame his relative svelteness with athleticism. His quickness was a perfect fit for the Packers signature play, the sweep, which had linemen pull laterally at the snap of the ball to form a wall of blockers for running backs such as Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor.
Besides being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, Ringo was also selected for the virtual all-decade team of the 1960s as well as to the Hall of Fame of both teams for which he suited up (the Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles).
Ringo was born in northeastern New Jersey, in Orange, which is a little bigger than Orange, Texas, the furthest-east city in the Lone Star State. Orange, New Jersey is also twice as populous as Dingle, England, where Richard “Ringo” Starkey (“Starr”) was born.
Ringo died just prior to his 76th birthday in Virginia in 2007 following a short illness. He is buried in his New Jersey hometown.