Goodbye, Mad Dog

Mike “Mad Dog” Curtis, star linebacker for the Baltimore Colts in the 1960s and 1970s, died yesterday at the age of 77. He was universally admired by Colts fans for his intensity. Bart Starr supposedly made the remark, “Curtis is scarier than [Dick] Butkus.”

Curtis was the last player selected in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft, which actually took place in late November of 1964. At first, he was used as an offensive player, a fullback. After being switched to linebacker in his second season Curtis blossomed, being named first-team All-Pro twice as well as being named to four Pro Bowls in an era when players seldom skipped the game.

His interception near the end of Super Bowl V set up the Colts’ game-winning field goal. He is probably better known for clobbering a fan who ran on to the field during a TV timeout in the Colts-Dolphins game in Baltimore in 1971. That happened to be the second NFL game I attended. I can’t say I remember much about the incident. From a picture of Mike Curtis:


See the source image


“Far off I hear the rolling, roaring cheers.

They come to me from many yesterdays,

From record deeds that cross the fading years,

And light the landscape with their brilliant plays,

Great stars that knew their days in fame’s bright sun.

I hear them trampling to oblivion.”

– Grantland Rice


“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne


The headlines are filled with stories about executives taking pay cuts so other employees can retain their jobs. Former New York Yankee, Hall-of-Famer and current Miami Marlins’ CEO Derek Jeter is forgoing his entire salary during the coronavirus pandemic.

When I was a consultant to major league baseball teams I suggested, and my clients implemented, a clause in my contracts where half of my retainer would be deferred without interest in the event of a work stoppage. The entire deferred amount would have to be paid within 30 days of the resumption of play or “normal activities.”

I suggested that clause to protect my business in the event of a strike or lockout. Union leadership wanted the players to strike in 2002, and the negotiations became acrimonious, until good sense prevailed. The players demanded their leadership make a deal because they would not strike so soon after 9/11. Like the vast majority of the population, a virus bringing the world to a virtual halt was not on my radar. I guess it would have applied, though.




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2 thoughts on “Goodbye, Mad Dog

  1. I got a picture signed by Mike Curtis at The Ed Block awards about 20 years ago. It was the photo where Roman Gabriel’s helmet is facing the wrong direction, courtesy of Mad Dog. We talked for about five minutes and I told him he should have won the MVP of Super Bowl 5, not the Cowboys Chuck Howley. I’ve had the privilege of chatting with many of my boyhood heroes. I’m pleased to say I have never been disappointed.


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