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Paul Hornung: All-Time Irish Hero

Updated: Dec 13, 2020


By: Phil Houk of Fighting Irish Preview

“Never get married in the morning, because you never know who you might meet that night.” -Paul Hornung



Paul Hornung, “The Golden Boy” passed away on November 13, 2020 at the age of 84. Hornung cut a wide and at times glamourous swath through life. And as a quarterback at Notre Dame he accomplished the near impossible: he won the Heisman trophy in 1956 having played on a team that went 2-8.


A native of Louisville, he came from a humble background. “Humble” however would not define his life. Hornung was always confident in his abilities and he proved himself over and over during his long life in the public eye.


As a player he was blessed with extraordinary physical skills and was known for his versatility, extreme versatility. In his Heisman year he finished 2nd in the nation in total offense and was responsible for more than half of Notre Dame’s yards gained that season. He led the Irish in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns, punting, and place kicking. And in the single platoon era, he also led the Irish defense in passes broken up and was second on the team in tackles and Interceptions. Oh, and for good measure in the off season he once averaged 6 points per game on the basketball team.


Hornung was the first pick overall in the 1957 NFL draft and went on to a stellar pro career with the Green Bay Packers. With the Packers he teamed up with another legend, Vince Lombardi. He played halfback and handled the placekicking. During his career he won four league championships including the first Super Bowl, and numerous all-Pro and MVP honors. In 1959, 1960 and 1961 he led the NFL in scoring.


After retiring Hornung went into broadcasting and for years he teamed up with Lindsay Nelson on the Sunday morning replay. Later he teamed up with Tony Roberts on the Notre Dame radio network.


Paul Hornung is the only player in history to win the Heisman trophy, be picked as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, win the NFL MVP award and to be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame.


For an awesome lifetime of achievement, Paul Hornung is an All-time Irish Hero. May he rest in peace.

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