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Sports Then and Now



Remembering Andy Griffith’s Football Story 27

Posted on July 03, 2012 by Dean Hybl

While Andy Griffith, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86, was best known as America’s favorite sheriff, he actually first made a name for himself in 1953 telling the story “What It Was, Was Football.”

Featuring his country accent that would become the staple of his most famous characters Andy Taylor and Ben Matlock, Griffith (listed on the original recording as Deacon Andy Griffith) spends five minutes describing a college football game as stumbled upon by a naive country preacher who attended the game by accident and is completely puzzled by the action.

Released in 1953, the record sold more than 800,000 copies and led to Griffith’s first appearance as a guest star on The Ed Sullivan Show. It remains one of the best selling comedy records of all-time.

As we celebrate the life and career of our favorite sheriff, we also remember his great humor and description of America’s favorite pastime.

Enjoy this special look at football by one of America’s great actors.

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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