Looking At Players Born On New Year’s Day

Happy New Year Everyone!

As you recover from the New Year’s Eve festivities, we at IQFB.com are going to take a look at the many former pro football players born on New Year’s Day. There are indeed some unique football facts related to these gentlemen.

-Doak Walker, the Hall of Fame halfback of the early 1950s Detroit Lions, holds the record for most touchdown passes thrown by anyone born on January 1st. During his NFL career he threw two touchdown passes. His career 75 yards passing is also a record for players born on New Year’s Day.

-When it comes to receiving statistics put up by players who were born on New Year’s Day, the player holding the record for the most touchdown receptions is two time Pro-Bowler and lontime Chicago Bears receiver Dick Gordon who racked up 36 receiving TDs during his ten year career. At 93 yards, Gordon also holds the record for longest career reception by a player born on January 1st.

-David Hill who played tight end from 1976 to 1987 for both the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams put up more career receiving yards, with 4,212, than any other player born on New Year’s Day.

-When we look at rushing statistics, Hall of Famer Doak Walker is back at the top of a couple of categories for players born on January 1st. He scored more touchdowns (12), carried the ball more times (309), and ran for more yards (1,520) than any other player born on New Year’s Day.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who played from 1989 to 1999, holds the record for most Pro Bowl appearances by a player born on the first day of the year. During his eleven year career, he made the Pro Bowl nine times.

-The longest run from scrimmage by a player born on New Year’s Day is 54 yards and was done by wide receiver Billy Parks in 1971 during his rookie season with the San Diego Chargers.

-Andy Heck, an offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and Washington Redskins from 1989 to 2000 played in more NFL games (185) than any other player born on New Year’s Day.

Current players in the NFL who were born on New Year’s Day:
Steve Johnson – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
Jon Corto – Linebacker – Buffalo Bills
Alex Hall – Defensive End – Cleveland Browns
William Gay – Defensive Back – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ray Edwards – Defensive End – Minnesota Vikings
Stephen Tulloch – Linebacker – Tennessee Titans

Other notable players born on New Year’s Day
Andy Heck – Offensive Line
Lance Smith – Offensive Line
Bob Brudzinski – Linebacker
David Hill – Tight End
Derrick Thomas – Linebacker
Marlin McKeever – Linebacker/Tight End
Irv Eatman – Offensive Tackle
Kevin Mitchell – Linebacker
Harry Galbreath – Offensive Line
Frank Minnifield – Defensive Back
Dick Gordon – Wide Receiver
Pierce Holt – Defensive Line
Carl Birdsong – Punter
Doak Walker – Halfback/Defensive Back
Justin Armour – Wide Receiver
Chet Brooks – Defensive Back


  1. Has any nfl foobball player ever skiped college fooball?

  2. Mark says:

    While it is rare in modern times because of NFL rules regarding players having to wait three years following their high school graduation before being able to join the league, it is possible for players to skip college and still play in the NFL. A player could not attend college and play in another league like the CFL or Arena Football, depending on what that league’s age requirements are, but this would be a little chosen route to take to the NFL.

    In the past there have been players that have played in the league and not gone to college like Eric Swann of the Arizona Cardinals who played semi-pro football before joining the league. Disney made a movie about Vince Papale who played for the Philadelphia Eagles as a walk-on in the late 1970s. Otis Sistrunk made the Pro Bowl in 1974 as an Oakland Raiders defensive lineman. Sistrunk contributed to Raiders Super Bowl victories as well and he had never gone to college, he played semi-pro football in the late 1960s, similar to Eric Swann, when he was noticed by NFL scouts.

  3. Mark says:

    Oh, another exception is kickers and punters. Many kickers and punters come from Europe, Latin America and even Australia. While some may attend college in their home countries, few play American football while there.

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