Ronnie Lott revolutionized TWO football positions the only way he knew how, by crushing his opponents with devastating tackles. Long considered the prototype safety and corner back, Lott used his skill to help the San Fransisco 49ers win four Super Bowls and firmly establish himself as arguably the best defensive player to roam the secondary. The Hall of Famer also counts a National Championship with USC, 10 Pro Bowls, a place in the NFL’s 80’s and 90’s All-Decade teams, and named the 11th best player to ever play in the league. But for most men, Ronnie Lott is remembered for mutilating his own hand for the only thing that matters, the love of the game.
While playing the Dallas Cowboys Lott’s pinky was crushed after tackling 250 pound fullback Timmy Newton. This meant that if Lott had a bone graft surgically implanted his recovery would make him miss the beginning of the 1986 season. Because San Fransisco was a perennial title contender at the time Lott opted to remove the mangled pinky instead of missing the vital part of the 1986 schedule. This manliest of manly actions put Lott in rare air along with Jack Youngblood who played the entire 1979 playoffs, including Super Bowl XIV, with a fractured left fibula. Aron Ralston who amputated his own arm after 127 hours of being trapped under a boulder and Dwayne Wade for bruising his labia after taking a charge from Steve Nash.
Ronnie Lott played as part of the last generation of selfless warriors that thought football should be played as violently as humanly possible. From FirstandMonday and all those fans that enjoy watching safeties wearing numbers in the 40’s, Happy Birthday Ronnie Lott!