Connect with us

Sports

Andy Reid stayed the course in Chiefs' Super Bowl win, now numbers among all-time greats

Published

on

Andy Reid stayed the course in Chiefs' Super Bowl win, now numbers among all-time greats

LAS VEGAS — Andy Reid ran up to Chris Jones, the defensive cornerstone of his three Super Bowl-winning teams.

Jones was sprawled out on the field, physically spent and reveling in that new dynasty feeling after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Reid joined Jones on the grass, getting on his hands and vigorously shaking his player’s shoulder pads.

“What do you think, huh?” Reid shouted to Jones as the confetti fell around them. Reid lowered his face closer to Jones, then repeated for effect. “What do you think?!”

This childlike glee was a rare showing of emotion for the Chiefs’ veteran head coach. Reid’s bushy eyebrows and mustache and small, round glasses give him a distinct look and also have the effect of obscuring his true feelings.

“He never shows no emotion,” cornerback L’Jarius Sneed said after the game. “He’s like a snake, ah! Coming to get you. That’s what I love about him, like a little rattlesnake.”

Rattlesnake Reid sank his fangs into the Niners on Sunday in Las Vegas, as receiver Mecole Hardman scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. It was the debut of new overtime playoff rules inspired by the Chiefs’ 2021 overtime playoff win over the Bills. Kansas City didn’t win the toss this time, but the Chiefs still couldn’t be stopped.

The 25-22 win is Reid’s third Super Bowl in his fifth try. He’s now the fifth head coach to win at least three, in the company of Bill Belichick (six), Chuck Noll (four), Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs (three), and the seventh coach to win it all in back-to-back years.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” Reid said in his postgame press conference. “Back-to-back is rare air for this football team and this organization. I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do. I know how hard the season was, the ups and downs of the season.”

GO DEEPER

Advertisement

The stuff of dynasties: This Chiefs championship built on defense and perseverance

Reid’s Chiefs were a little more definitive in their summation of the season — and of their coach.

“Dynasty, I think we did all the qualifications for it,” receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling said in the postgame locker room. “If he’s not the best, he’s one of the best to ever do this.”

“Check the stats, check the numbers,” Sneed said. “He’s legendary.”

“He’s one of the greatest guys in football, and this just makes him one of the greatest coaches,” said Chiefs assistant running backs coach Porter Ellett. “Now it’s becoming harder to argue against him being in the top two or three ever.”

Advertisement

“He was already a Hall of Fame coach before tonight,” said Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. “But adding that third Super Bowl trophy in five years, I think really solidifies his status as one of the best of all time.”

“I wouldn’t want to play for another coach,” center Creed Humphrey said. “He’s the best coach in the game right now.”


Reid’s three Super Bowl titles put him in rare company, and he’s not done yet. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

At halftime, with Kansas City down 10-3, Reid didn’t panic. The offense was stalling. Mahomes was constantly under pressure, sacked twice, and running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled away the Chiefs’ most promising drive. But Reid’s message to players and staff was the same: Keep going.

“When you’re in the Super Bowl and you’re down by seven points, it feels like 20,” Reid said. “And so, you kind of just calm it down — we’re right there, we’re getting the ball to start the second half and everybody just hang with each other — and good things can happen.”

“When you’re down 10 in a big game like this, a lot of coaches can not handle it well and start throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks,” Humphrey said. “But he stuck to the game plan. And he had a great game plan for us. He did a great job, a masterful coaching job.”

Advertisement

“As good as he is as a coach, he never changes,” offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “He stays the course. He’s a leader of men and he’s a hell of a teacher. And he doesn’t just teach his players, he teaches his coaches how to be good leaders. And then you stick together and you go make things happen.”

The two players who scored touchdowns for Kansas City on Sunday present direct evidence of that stick-together quality that coaches say makes Reid special. Valdes-Scantling, who scored the first touchdown on Sunday, struggled with costly drops throughout the season. Hardman returned to the Chiefs in a trade after being cast off by the Jets midseason and struggled this postseason, notably fumbling out of the end zone in Buffalo, before scoring the game-winner.

“Coach Reid is one of those guys that stays the course no matter what,” Valdes-Scantling said. “We’re all here for a reason and we all make plays, and we all have the special skill set that we have, and him being able to continue that and stay the course with us has been good.”

Ellett is in his seventh season on Kansas City’s staff. He injured his right arm in an accident when he was 4 years old and later had it amputated. He never played football and wound up getting connected to Reid when a job as Reid’s assistant opened up. Reid has since taught him how to be a coach.

“He never gives up on a guy,” Ellett said. “He puts a lot of faith in people. And if you reward the faith, then he keeps trusting you. I mean, I’m a good example of that. People aren’t hiring one-armed football coaches who didn’t play football.”

Advertisement

Because he’s 65 years old, there’s been growing speculation about Reid’s future. How much longer will he coach? How many more rings will this budding dynasty acquire? When asked after Sunday’s win if he would be back coaching Kansas City next season, Reid was nonchalant: “Yeah, I haven’t had time to think about it, but yeah, sure.”

Chiefs players aren’t listening to any of that noise.

“He’s got a lot left in the tank,” Humphrey said.

“We won two Super Bowls back to back,” Valdez-Scantling said. “We’re trying to go for another one.”

Plus, the boss is confident Reid is sticking around for a while longer.

Advertisement

“I know Andy is energized and loving what he’s doing,” Hunt said. “I certainly expect him to be back next year to defend our title.”

(Photo: Timothy A. Clary/ AFP via Getty Images)

Sports

WWE star Randy Orton touts Cody Rhodes' rise to top of pro wrestling

Published

on

WWE star Randy Orton touts Cody Rhodes' rise to top of pro wrestling

Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus get unlimited access to thousands of articles, videos and more with your free account!

Please enter a valid email address.

By entering your email, you are agreeing to Fox News Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive. To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided.

Before Cody Rhodes was on a collision course with Roman Reigns, The Rock and the rest of The Bloodline faction, he was just trying to make a name for himself in WWE like anyone else.

The famous wrestling name of “Rhodes” carried as much weight as it could early in his career. He had a leg up on the competition when he entered Ohio Valley Wrestling because his father, the late great Dusty Rhodes, had trained him since he was 12. He enhanced his skills in the territory before he moved up to the main roster in 2007. Toward the end of 2008, he was in a faction with superstar Randy Orton.

Advertisement

Ted DiBiase Jr., Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes appear during the WWE Monday Night Raw show, Aug. 24, 2009, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Orton, whose career will be profiled in the A&E series “Biography: WWE Legends” on Sunday, led The Legacy with Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. The two-year run in the group included a tag team championship with DiBiase, but the group would split in 2010.

Orton told Fox News Digital in a recent interview he didn’t necessarily see the possibility of Rhodes becoming the transcendent superstar he is today while the two teamed up in the late 2000s.

“I definitely saw potential, but to say I saw the potential of what he [is] now, I don’t know that if in 2007 or whenever he came on the roster, I don’t know if I looked at a young Cody Rhodes and thought he’s going to beat the s— out of Brock Lesnar 15 years from now,” he said. “I don’t think I could call that one. But like last summer, he had a run of three or so matches with Brock where, I mean, he has just come so far.”

Advertisement

Rhodes left WWE in 2016 and hit the independent circuit hard. He appeared in Ring of Honor, TNA Wrestling, New-Japan Pro Wrestling and later helped form All Elite Wrestling.

In 2022, his time with AEW came to an end. He stunned the crowd at WrestleMania 38 when he challenged Seth Rollins and beat him. Aside from a torn pectoral injury, Rhodes was catapulted into superstardom.

Cody Rhodes yells in delight

Cody Rhodes (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

WWE STAR RANDY ORTON SAYS HE WASN’T READY TO BE YOUNGEST CHAMPION AT 24, TALKS DOCUSERIES EPISODE

“And what he did for the business when he left and what he did for us talent in offering a competition, and I don’t know if I call it competition now, but for a hot second there, Cody was buzzing because he got these guys together, got a ragtag group of guys together and got a TV deal and was drawing eyes from all over the world with this product,” Orton said. “And the fact that he came back to us, I think, kind of shows you where the obvious No. 1 place to be is if you’re a pro wrestler.”

Rhodes is now due to headline WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia and potentially finish his story and win the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship.

Advertisement

WWE teased for a few weeks that, after winning the Royal Rumble for the second straight time, Rhodes would challenge Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Rock even came back to try to insert himself into the WrestleMania main event against Rhodes. The WWE Universe, instead, clamored for Rhodes to finish the story.

Orton said that support underscored just how popular and important Rhodes is in the company and in the industry.

“I love that he’s come back home. I love that he’s a part of the locker room,” he said. “I love when I see him talking to other young talent and the role that he’s in now as, like, a top guy. And if not just a top guy, possibly in a short amount of time, the top guy.”

Cody Rhodes in 2023

Cody Rhodes arrives at the red-carpet premiere of the Peacock original WWE documentary “American Nightmare: Becoming Cody Rhodes” on July 18, 2023, in Sandy Springs, Georgia. (WWE via Getty Images)

“I mean, think about it like this: There’s a lot of fans out there that would rather see Cody finish his story than to see arguably the biggest superstar in the world right now compete at WrestleMania. They prefer seeing Cody, and that is huge. There’s no one else on the roster that could take that position from Cody, not even The Rock.”

Advertisement

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

Continue Reading

Sports

Prep sports roundup: Birmingham to face El Camino Real for City Division I boys soccer title

Published

on

Prep sports roundup: Birmingham to face El Camino Real for City Division I boys soccer title

It’s happening again. One of the best sports rivalries in the City Section — Birmingham versus El Camino Real in boys soccer — will be showcased for the second consecutive season in the City Section Division I championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Valley College.

Birmingham took care of business on Wednesday, defeating Fremont 5-0 in the semifinals. Damian Lopez contributed two goals. El Camino Real players attended the game. Many of the players know each other. Birmingham standout junior Steven Ramos plays on the same club team with several El Camino Real players.

“It’s going to be an exciting game,” Ramos said. “On the field, no friends. Outside the field, we’re close.”

Ramos is one of the best players in the City Section. Only a junior, his versatility playing defense and scoring goals makes him a marked man. He has seven goals and contributed a decisive corner kicker early against Fremont that was headed in by Lopez for a 1-0 lead.

Advertisement

Birmingham has reached the final under first-year coach Gus Villalobos, who was part of the El Camino Real rivalry as a player.

“Can’t get any better than that,” he said of facing El Camino Real for the third time this season. The two schools split their league meetings.

Girls soccer

El Camino Real 2, Granada Hills 0: The reigning City Section player of the year, Sharon Alcocer, scored two goals to help El Camino Real advance to Friday’s Division I girls’ final at 7 p.m. at Valley College.

Cleveland 2, Palisades 2: The Cavaliers advance to the City final on penalty kicks, with Natalie Grant getting the winning score.

Baseball

Westlake 3, El Camino Real 1: The Warriors (5-0) won the championship game of the Easton tournament behind left-hander Dylan Volantis, who struck out 11 in six innings with no walks. He had 10 strikeouts last week against Birmingham. Kaden Youmans came on in the seventh for the save. Nolan Johnson had three hits.

Advertisement

Arlington 7, Long Beach Millikan 5: The Lions are 3-0. Andrew Magallanez had two hits and two RBIs.

Harvard-Westlake 5, JSerra 0: Duncan Marsten threw five scoreless innings with five strikeouts and Bryce Rainer followed with two scoreless innings with five strikeouts to lead the Wolverines. Rainer also had two hits.

Hart 5, St. Francis 2: Michael Hogen had two hits for the Indians (3-2).

Corona Centennial 5, Barstow 0: Michael Nonis hit a three-run home run for the Huskies.

Corona Santiago 5, Charter Oak 4: Andres Zamaro broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI single in the sixth inning. He finished with two hits for Santiago.

Advertisement

Orange Lutheran 3, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 0: The Lancers (4-0) broke through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single from Josiah Hartshorn and two-run single from Nate Savoie to hand a defeat to Levi Sterling. Three Orange Lutheran pitchers combined for the shutout.

Softball

Norco 8, Yucaipa 1: Tamryn Shorter homered in the first at-bat of the first game of the season for the Cougars. She finished with two hits and two RBIs.

Continue Reading

Sports

Man on a mission: NFL great Alan Page's quest for justice in football and beyond

Published

on

Man on a mission: NFL great Alan Page's quest for justice in football and beyond

MINNEAPOLIS — A few times each month, Alan Page visits Justice Page Middle School, one of two schools named in his honor.

As the first African American to become a Minnesota Supreme Court justice and the first African American elected to a statewide office, Page goes to inspire students. In their upturned faces and wide eyes, he sees opportunity. He is there to show them possibilities that might have never occurred to them and to encourage hopes and dreams.

He does not go to sign autographs. But the requests always come for the former Vikings defensive tackle.

There was a time when Page, as a pillar of the Purple People Eaters, routinely turned down autograph requests. “It made me nuts,” he says. “All the people who wanted a little piece of you.”

He couldn’t figure out why anyone wanted his autograph. What is an autograph, anyway? And what had he done by being a football player to merit being put on a pedestal? He struggled to understand the overinflated value of football in culture.

Advertisement

From time to time, he acquiesced to a request. And he noticed the reaction. It started him thinking.

“What else could I do that would give somebody that kind of joy?” he wondered. “I figured maybe it could be one of my tools to make the world a better place.”

And so at Justice Page Middle School, the kids line up, a stream of them. And Page signs.

He writes his name on day planners, notebooks, phone cases, backpacks and on and on.

There are smiles and gratitude. There is joy.

Advertisement

One signature at a time, Alan Page makes the world a better place.

GO DEEPER

NFL 100: At No. 32, Alan Page a significant difference-maker on the field and off it


A consensus All-American who played on an undefeated national championship team at Notre Dame, Page was chosen by the Vikings with the 15th pick of the 1967 NFL Draft.

At the end of his first training camp, the players threw a party. Jim Marshall, then a veteran defensive end and team leader, placed a beer on the table in front of Page.

Advertisement

“Chug,” he said.

Page didn’t drink alcohol then and doesn’t now. He told Marshall no. This was the tradition, Marshall countered. All rookies were required to chug beer. Page refused again. Marshall tried to persuade him, telling him he needed to go along to stay on good terms with his teammates. Page was steadfast. Marshall relented and told him he could chug Cokes instead. Page wouldn’t do that either. The atmosphere grew tense. Marshall told him either he had to drink or leave.

Page walked out, the first of many hard stands he took in his professional life.

Page would earn acceptance with his play. As a rookie, he tackled the quarterback for losses 8 1/2 times (sacks were not yet a statistic) to lead the Vikings. The following year, he began a run of nine straight Pro Bowl appearances. In his fifth season, he was voted the NFL’s most valuable player, which only one other defensive player has won.

His success was remarkable. How he attained it more so.

Advertisement

Page didn’t do things the way others did.

He didn’t always take the rush lane he was supposed to take. He followed his instincts, which were beneficial more often than not. Freelancing usually doesn’t sit well with coaches, but Page got away with it because he kept making plays.

Other defensive tackles of the day wore pounds of pads and fortified their joints with rolls of tape. Page wore shoulder pads less bulky than those in some suit jackets and a flimsy T-shirt under his jersey — nothing more. For the first six or so years of his career, he never taped his joints. Multiple ankle sprains eventually led him to tape his ankles.


Alan Page helped the Vikings reach four Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XI against Ken Stabler and the Oakland Raiders. (Focus on Sport / Getty Images)

All about quickness, Page was one of the first players to watch the ball at the snap instead of the blocker in front of him. It’s one of the reasons he always appeared to be the first player moving when a play began.

Sometimes, it resulted in Page being flagged for being offside. It happened in a 1971 game against the Lions. Page maintained he did not commit a penalty, and let the officials know about it. Then on the next play, he was penalized for the same infraction. Page protested verbally, then with his play. He made two tackles for losses, sacked the quarterback and blocked a punt, recovering the ball for a safety.

Advertisement

“It didn’t matter why they called what they did,” Page says. “They were simply wrong. And it had me wired to the ball, literally.”

It wasn’t about football. It was about justice.

“He stood up for what he believed,” Marshall says. “He had, and still has, a mindset of justice. And just as important, a will to pursue justice.”

Page became the Vikings’ union representative in 1970 and two years later was elected to the NFLPA’s executive committee, becoming one of the faces in the fight for free agency. In 1974, he was a leader in a five-week strike, picketing outside Northwestern’s Dyche Stadium, where college all-stars were practicing for a game against the Dolphins. He carried a sign that read “PEOPLE, NOT PROPERTY.”

The following year, labor unrest continued and Patriots players led a movement to strike for the final preseason game. Five NFL teams and one player struck. Without a single teammate beside him, Page walked out for one day.

Advertisement

The Rozelle Rule stated that a player with an expiring contract could not sign with another team without compensation. Page was an original plaintiff in the lawsuit that challenged the rule. In 1976, the Rozelle Rule was ruled an antitrust violation, which paved the way for free agency.

Players also had to bargain for the right to wear beards. When the NFL finally allowed it, Page became the first on his team to grow one, which he maintains to this day. A beard, he said, never would have occurred to him if someone had not told him he couldn’t have one.

In those days, Page drove a 1971 Dodge Charger Super Bee with a 383 cubic inch V-8. The color was “Plum Crazy,” with the word FREEDOM in large, gold capital letters on the side.

“We were still in the middle of the civil rights struggle,” Page says. “We were talking about freedom as football players. The spirit of the message was fitting.”

Head coach Bud Grant might not have thought so. Page and Grant often found themselves on opposing ends of a viewpoint. Page says he didn’t have much of a relationship with his coach, but Grant claimed he talked more with Page than any other player because Page questioned so many things.

Advertisement

Grant once fined Page $50 for being late to a meeting. Page filed a grievance with the union. Then he filed another, alleging Grant had not given the team the required time off during the week.

“Alan could talk all day to beat a $50 fine,” Grant said, according to the Bill McGrane book, “All Rise: The Remarkable Journey of Alan Page.”

In 1975, Page competed in ABC’s “Superteams” competition with teammates in Honolulu. In the mornings, he and his wife, Diane, walked on the beach. The morning walk became a habit. Then it morphed into a morning run, which became a shared passion between husband and wife.

Dancers don’t power lift and defensive tackles don’t run. It’s just the way it is. But Page didn’t care. He ran and ran and ran, eventually participating in eight marathons, including a 62-mile ultramarathon.

“I wasn’t trying to make some point other than, ‘This is who I am, and I can live with the consequences of that,’” he says.

Advertisement

Page’s initial NFL playing weight was 270. It dropped to about 245 in the mid-1970s. And then, when he committed to running, he weighed as little as 220.

It became a source of contention with Grant, and it didn’t help that the Vikings’ defensive scheme had changed, requiring defensive linemen to take on blockers. Six games into the 1978 season, Page, then 33, didn’t have a sack.

On Oct. 11, the headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune read, “Vikings fire a legend, waive Alan Page.” The night before, a teammate had shown up at his house with his belongings in a box.

“Alan can no longer meet the standard he set for himself,” Grant said then. “He just can’t make the plays anymore.” The coach also said Page was not strong enough to rush the passer and had to be taken out in short-yardage situations.

Defensive end Carl Eller was quoted as saying, “I think there’s a lot behind this besides the way Alan is playing.”

Advertisement

Alan Page, No. 82, thrived with the Bears after the Vikings released him. (Focus on Sport / Getty Images)

Just one team claimed Page, the team that knew him best. Jim Finks, who drafted Page as the general manager of the Vikings, had become the general manager of the Bears. Neill Armstrong had gone from defensive coordinator of the Vikings to head coach of the Bears. After coaching the defensive line in Minnesota, Buddy Ryan was the defensive coordinator in Chicago.

Page was embraced in Chicago to the point he once said the best part of his career was the three and a half years he spent on the Bears. His contentment showed in his production. Playing at 220 pounds, Page had 11 1/2 sacks in 10 games in his first season with the team. In 58 games as a Bear, he led the team with 40 sacks. He also blocked 12 kicks (he had 28 in his career).

By 1981, Page was bored with football — not the games, but everything else around them. And football always seemed to be a means to something more, anyway. By then, he had started 215 games in a row, having never missed a game to injury, and had 148 1/2 sacks (including those that were unofficial), still the most ever by a defensive tackle. Grant called him the greatest defensive player he ever saw.

Before Page left, he had one more imprint to leave. It was obvious that Bears owner George Halas intended to replace Armstrong at the end of 1981, Page’s last season. At Page’s suggestion, Bears safety Gary Fencik wrote a letter to Halas asking that Ryan be retained by the new coach. The letter was signed by 21 defensive players, including Page. Halas subsequently hired Mike Ditka as head coach with the understanding Ryan would be his defensive coordinator.

Page walked away from the game after setting the table for the great Bears teams of the 1980s, while also making it possible for the Vikings to play in four Super Bowls between 1969 and 1976 and leading the fight for players to gain free agency.

Advertisement
go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Peppers, Hester, Johnson headline 2024 Pro Football HOF class


Page was about 8 when he bought a toy car at a five-and-dime store in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. He threw away the receipt and took the car into another nearby five and dime. As he left the second store, he was stopped and accused of stealing the toy car.

“What stuck with me from that day was being accused and not being believed,” he says. “The unfairness of it.”

In the same time frame of his life, Page remembers more unfairness and how it was dealt with. In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the Supreme Court said segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. The following year, there was the lynching of Emmett Till and the protest of Rosa Parks.

Even at the age of 8, Page read the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Canton Repository every day. He still can visualize the headlines and photographs about the Brown decision, which moved him so much he believes it directed his path.

Advertisement

His father, Howard Sr., owned a bar with a gambling parlor in the back, as well as a record store. His mom, Georgiana, carried a flame for justice before her death at 42 when Alan was 13. The family, which included Alan’s older sisters Marvel and Twila and his older brother Howard Jr., had daily discussions about current events like the Brown ruling.

“You have to remember in 1954 if you were Black, you understood that, even as an 8-year-old, you were considered ‘the other,’” he says. “You were considered ‘less than.’”

He watched “Perry Mason.” He heard racial epithets from passing cars. He saw signs like “Coloreds Only.”

Before Page was in fifth grade, he decided to become a lawyer.


Alan Page at the Minnesota Attorney General’s office in St. Paul in December 1991. He was sworn in as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice just over a year later. (Jerry Holt / Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Who he is now is who he was then. That isn’t to say he has not evolved through life’s seasons, but there always has been this light in him.

Advertisement

“My dad always said (Alan) was different than the rest of us,” says Marvel, who is five years older. “He did everything he was supposed to do. He was always good.”

In 1978, Page received his law degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1979, while still playing football, he started working as a lawyer for Lindquist & Vennum, which specialized in employee labor issues. He later joined the attorney general’s office, representing state agencies in employment litigation, and eventually became assistant attorney general.

After 14 years as a lawyer, he set his sights on a Supreme Court seat. His first attempt to run, in 1990, was blocked by Governor Rudy Perpich, who was intent on appointing a candidate of his choosing. His second attempt was met with similar resistance when Governor Arne Carlson tried to thwart Page by extending the term of a sitting judge. Page subsequently sued Carlson and won the right to run.

During the campaign, there were blocks below the knees, as there often are in politics. Page was accused of being a legal lightweight and capitalizing on his fame, but he won with 62 percent of the vote. Wearing a purple bow tie — his collection of bow ties is in the hundreds — Page was sworn in as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice on Jan. 4, 1993.

Page was re-elected three times and spent 22 years on the court before stepping down at the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2015. Unsurprisingly, he often presented dissenting opinions.

Advertisement

For much of what he accomplished, he credits Diane, who died in 2018 after 45 years of marriage.

“She inspired me,” Page says. “She taught me things and influenced me a great deal. I’m not sure I would have been in the position to be able to become a Supreme Court Justice without her.”

At his initial swearing-in, Diane arranged for a group of fourth graders to attend.

At Page’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, he didn’t talk about football. He spoke of education and explained his commitment to improving the educational system. The year of his induction, he and Diane started the Page Education Foundation to reward Page Scholarships to students of color and then required the recipients to mentor younger children. He says the foundation has awarded nearly 9,000 scholarships and taken in approximately $16 million in grants.

“Education is a tool that overcomes poverty,” he says. “The more education, the less likely someone will find themselves in a position like George Floyd found himself in. To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., people who have hope want to build. And education gives hope because it empowers.”

Advertisement

For much of what he accomplished, Alan Page credits his wife, Diane, who died in 2018 after 45 years of marriage. “She inspired me,” Page says. (Jerry Holt / Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Early in their relationship, Diane began collecting African American paintings, sculptures and artifacts of slavery and segregation. Page has more than a thousand pieces now, including a branding iron and a Ku Klux Klan robe, and has shared them publicly in various exhibits. Some of the art decorates the home they purchased 51 years ago that he still lives in.

In 2018, Page was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Trump. Page thought about turning down the award, considered the highest honor that can be given to a civilian. Page had been publicly critical of the Trump administration for “playing to people’s racial insecurities” by failing to reject the support of white supremacy groups and using racially coded language. He has other issues with Trump as well. “The way he treats people and talks about people, it’s just a bad example,” says Page, who speaks slowly, pauses often, and is comfortable with silence. “It’s manifested itself in the way we as a people are starting to treat one another.”

Ultimately, though, he saw the honor as recognition for the impact he and Diane tried to make, so he accepted the medal in a ceremony that also honored Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth and Antonin Scalia.

“I couldn’t think of someone better to represent the team, Minnesota and Black people,” says former Viking John Randle, who continued the Vikings’ tradition of great defensive tackles.

In “All Rise,” the late Notre Dame president Theodore M. Hesburgh called Page a “beacon to young people of color,” and said, “He is what they can be.”

Advertisement

These days, Page writes children’s books with daughter Kamie Page, one of his four kids. They already have published four, the most notable of which, “Alan and His Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky,” is about a boy who connects with Page after asking about the mangled little finger on his left hand. The pinky is the only telltale sign that he was somebody before he was “Grandpa,” “Justice Page” and “Counselor.”

His presence is so peaceful that it’s difficult to imagine that Page was once known for slamming opponents to the ground.

Page, 78, doesn’t revel in past glories. Invitations to football reunions and Hall of Fame functions usually are respectfully declined. He doesn’t watch much football, though the Vikings usually entice him to attend a game every season.

When he played, he rankled coaches by refusing to lift weights. Now, he lifts three times a week. He does Pilates, too, and walks four or five miles every morning, bringing a fanny pack full of dog treats for “the regulars” who look for him.

Page understands there are grand ways to make a difference. And there are modest ways.

Advertisement

With grandchildren Amelia, Theo, Otis and Esther, Page plays board games, cooks and bakes, goes to the mall and eats ice cream. He sometimes reads the books they are reading so they can discuss them. They compare Wordle and Spelling Bee experiences.

When the kids need a dropoff or pickup, he plays the role of “Gruber” — Grandpa Uber. Those precious drives are opportunities to talk about their world, his world, our world.

And so, one car ride at a time, Alan Page makes the world a better place.

The Football 100
The Football 100

The story of the greatest players in NFL history. In 100 riveting profiles, top football writers justify their selections and uncover the history of the NFL in the process.

Advertisement

The story of the greatest players in NFL history.

BuyBuy The Football 100

(Top photo: Dan Pompei / The Athletic)

Continue Reading

Trending