This season marks 80 years since Ridge Riley ’32 debuted The Football Letter as a way to keep far-flung Penn State alumni up to date with the week-to-week results of the Nittany Lion football team. It also marks a much more modest anniversary: Five years ago this week, we launched the online presence you’re reading now, expanding the Football Letter brand for the social media age.
While John Black ’62 gears up for his 43rd season as editor of the Football Letter, we thought it might be a good time to share some highlights from the blog. Here’s our pick of our five favorite stories from the past five years.
The Legends of ’94
Our epic, five-part oral history of the unbeaten 1994 Nittany Lions features exclusive interviews with Kerry Collins ’94, Ki-Jana Carter ’95, Bobby Engram ’95, Jeff Hartings ’95, Tom Bradley ’78, Fran Ganter ’71, and many others. A fun and revealing look back at arguably the greatest offense in college football history. Continue reading
As he starts his 40th season in charge of The Football Letter, we look back at the time John Black starred on the field in Penn State’s biggest rivalry.
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It was a legendary performance made all the more impressive given the injury that almost kept him out of action.
According to the pregame write-up in the Nov. 25, 1958 issue of The Daily Collegian, quarterback “Joltin’ Johnny” Black suffered—and we warn you, this is difficult reading—an “acute hangnail on the third finger of his throwing hand.” Continue reading
News today that the Nittany Lions will face the Wolverines in the first-ever Big Ten night game at Michigan Stadium reminded us of another game at the Big House, 20 years ago this fall. Continue reading
Photo by Steve Manuel
“The cheers and excitement in that final post-game locker room were as loud and jubilant as any in Beaver Stadium history, because these loyal, dedicated Penn Staters had competed for something more important than a bowl game or conference title. They had competed for the honor of their team and their university.” Continue reading
It was a matchup between traditional powers with huge fan bases and top-20 rankings. And it wasn’t even on live TV. Continue reading
Penn State’s 1998 Homecoming weekend was nearly perfect: sunny, unseasonably warm, and victorious on the football field.
The opponent was Purdue, led by a sophomore QB named Drew Brees, Continue reading
Allen Robinson’s stunning displays in recent weeks have Penn State fans wondering where he ranks among the best receivers in program history. A look back at the Nittany Lions’ first meeting with Minnesota—20 years ago this fall—reminds us that in any such conversation, Bobby Engram’s name must be prominently included. Continue reading