View Full Version : Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen dies at 69

03-11-2010, 01:18 PM

This June 22, 2001, file photo shows Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor Merlin By DOUG ALDEN, AP Sports Writer Doug Alden, Ap Sports

SALT LAKE CITY Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor Merlin Olsen has died. He was 69.

Utah State University assistant athletic media relations director Zach Fisher says Olsen died Wednesday night at a Los Angeles hospital.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.

Olsen was an All-American at Utah State and a first-round draft pick of the Los Angles Rams in 1962.

The burley giant from northern Utah joined Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier on the Rams' storied "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line known for either stopping or knocking backward whatever offenses it faced. The Rams set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968.

Olsen was rookie of the year for the Rams in 1962 and is still the Rams' all-time leader in career tackles with 915. He was named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, a string that started his rookie year.

Olsen was also an established television actor with a role on "Little House on the Prairie," then starring in his own series, "Father Murphy," from 1981 to 1983 and the short-lived "Aaron's Way" in 1988.

Olsen was a consensus All-American at Utah State and won the 1961 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman. The Rams drafted Olsen third overall in 1962 and he spent the next 15 years with the team before retiring in 1976.

Utah State honored Olsen in December by naming the football field at Romney Stadium "Merlin Olsen Field." Because of his illness, Olsen's alma mater didn't want to wait until football season and made the announcement during halftime of a basketball game.

Olsen was well enough to attend, but did not speak at the event. He stood and smiled as he waved to fans during a standing ovation and chants of "Merlin Olsen!" and "Aggie Legend!"

Utah State is also planning a statue of Olsen at the southeast corner of the stadium.

The Rams also honored Olsen during a game Dec. 20, with a video tribute narrated by Dick Enberg, Olsen's longtime broadcast partner. Olsen did not attend because of his health. His name was already part of the Ring of Fame inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis along with other franchise standouts.

He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974, and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

03-11-2010, 01:39 PM
One of the 4 or 5 best Defensive LINEMEN (Yes, I see now that I wrote END. Please note the edit. Was trying to place emphasis on him not only being one of the best Tackles ever, but the best ever on the D-Line. In fact, I'd only place Jones, Lilly and Marchetti ahead of him and I think he's On par with Reggie WHite and Joe Greene.) to ever put on a football Uniform. A recognition he shares with his teammate Deacon Jones.

STL better pull out all stops this year to recognize this legend.

That includes the fans who Live In Mo.

Olsen was a RAM and the repect goes beyond the City or State.

He will certainly be missed by this lifer.


03-11-2010, 03:47 PM
I belong to the 49er Nation & the Rams & The Cowboys have always been our sworn, hated, enemies.

BUT ... You had to respect the Fearsome Foursome & foremost among them was Deacon Jones & Merlin Olsen. Damn! Those guys could play ... If they were playing today they would still be Pro Bowlers.

R.I.P. Merlin Olsen


03-11-2010, 05:14 PM
Always loved Merlin. One of the greatest defensive tackles ever. A monster. Who'd have thought his old nemisis Conrad Dobler would have outlived him(remember that famous headstone from "Father Murphy"?)?

Putting up with Shannon Doherty on the set of the show earns him another purple heart with me.

Rock on Merlin.:)

03-11-2010, 05:15 PM
Merlin Olsen
( Vic Stein )

Merlin Olsen, shown in the 1960s, played 15 seasons as a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. The St. Louis Rams have confirmed news of Olsen's death.

03-12-2010, 01:48 PM
St. Louis still looks at the Rams as though they came to be in 1995.

No historical appreciation or respect.


03-12-2010, 03:13 PM
I used to be a big fan of the Rams, I remember going to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum to see them play in the early '50's, couple of bucks would get us in, seen all the great players of that era play...

They lost me when they moved to Orange County....

When they move to St. Louie I could care less....

03-12-2010, 04:14 PM

Same way as if St. Louis Fans could care less about the Now Arizona Cardinals. The Team left their city, so screw them.

But when a team comes to your city and it does have a long storied history and tradition, I would think one would want to embrace that. Rather than try and ignore that it ever existed it ever happened.

That is what I see with St. Louis fans.


03-12-2010, 04:38 PM
Incredible warrior on the field & a class act off it. also a standup guy w/ race relations in a crucial era in our culture. His vocal support, comradery & off field friendship with his great teammates on the line during that era in its own important way made the bridge of race in sports in that period easier to pass thru.... RIP