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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

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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