At the time of writing this the American public is waiting 42 days, 5 hours, and 30 minutes until the start of the 2014 NFL Football season. As our area San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders embark on another year of big hits and Hail Mary’s, we reminisce over Players of Toothless Past.
According to whatclinic.com every year of play an athlete has a 10% chance of a dental injury. The rise in use of mouthguards and better helmets has significantly reduced dental injuries in the football world.
Jack Lambert. Hailed as “the premier linebacker of his era” back in the 1950s, Lambert was the starting middle linebacker for four Super Bowl-winning teams. He boasts an 11-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lambert’s four upper front teeth were missing as a result of a sports-related injury in high school. Lambert was remembered “partially” because he didn’t wear his partial during games. His toothless grimace became an iconic image in football.
Source: Tony Tomsic/Contributor/NFL/Getty Images
Bob St. Clair. Displaying unbelievable toughness, this 49ers Half of Famer was a part of the “Million Dollar Backfield” in the 1950s and played with the team for 11 years. He was infamous for being a trickster, using mind games to block kicks and punts, St. Clair blocked a kick with his face and lost five teeth as a result. “I went over to the sideline and they shoved cotton in my mouth and until it got so bad I had to take Novocain in my mouth, but I kept playing,” said St. Clair.
Larry Wilson. As a free safety for the St. Louis Cardinals, Wilson was great at defending passes in the 1960s. Wilson was so great at blitzing he kept many passes from ever happening. It is said that he had lost most of his teeth at one point and that the organization feared he wouldn’t make big hits anymore. However, Wilson continued and in 1978 was inducted into the Hall of Fame as “the toughest player in the game.”
Vince Lombardi. While at Fordham University Lombardi was the right guard on the football team’s offensive front line nicknamed the “Seven Blocks of Granite.” In 1936 during a game against Pitt Lombardi suffered a severe cut inside his teeth when he had several teeth knocked out. He was taken out of the game until he was called in for a defensive play that sustained the 0-0 tie. He went on to become arguably one of the greatest coaches of all time.
With the popularity of dental implants these guys and others like them are likely not going without teeth for long.
Interested in dental implants? You can read our other related blogs here: https://bestsacramentodentist.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/dental-implants-chew-with-confidence/