Feb 18, 2009

The Passing of a Giants Legend : Brad Van Pelt (1951-2009)

On Tuesday morning former Giant legend Brad Van Pelt passed away of an apparent heart attack. His body was found by his fiancee at his apartment in Owosso, Michigan. He was 57 years old.

Brad Van Pelt was born April 5th, 1951 in Owosso, Michigan. He was a two time All American at Michigan State and voted “Player of the Year” in his 1972 senior year. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. The Giants drafted him in the second round of the 1973 draft. Second round because he was offered a baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and many believed he was going to take it. He wore #10 in college and was suppose to take a higher number in the NFL due to league rules, but because he was also the teams back up kicker, he was allowed the low number.
Unfortunately the Giants only had only one winning season in Van Pelts playing days. He still managed to go to five straight Pro Bowls (1976-1980) and was voted the Giants “Player of the Decade” for the seventies. In those years of Giants turmoil Van Pelt called 4 Stadiums his home; Yankee Stadium, (1972) The Yale Bowl (1973-1974) Shea Stadium (1975) & the new Giants Stadium in 1976.
The 1981 Giants line backers are considered one of the best units in NFL history. Van Pelt along with team mates Harry Carson, Brian Kelly & rookie Lawrence Taylor, were known as “The Crunch Bunch” and led the team to their first Playoff berth in 18 seasons. After Bill Parcells drafted Carl Banks in 1983 Van Pelt left and signed on with the Raiders. After two seasons he finished his career in Cleveland in 1986.

In a 14 year career Van Pelt played in 184 regular season games, had 20 interceptions and 24 1/2 sacks.

Upon news of his death, two of his former team mates made statements: George Martin: "He was one of the main reasons why the Giants always had a signature defense. He will be fondly remembered and he will be missed, His impact on our lives was greater as a person than it was as a ballplayer."

Harry Carson: "He was a classic teammate who was always there for you. That's the thing I will remember more than anything else was his friendship and the times we spent together after football. "

Van Pelt at Giants Stadium in 2007 with former team mates Harry Carson & Lawrence Taylor

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

REST IN PEACE DEAR BRAD, WE REMEMBER YOU FOREVER!! YOU WAS AND ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT LB OF THE "BIG BLUE"...
THE "GREATEST 10" IS NOW IN THE HEAVEN. SEE YOU, GOOD MAN!!