I was linked to a pretty fascinating story this morning. It was an article in the Guardian about a man named Mike Walker, a bricklayer from Yorkshire and a football player for local team Carnforth Rangers, and how he came to play in the NFL.
Walker was the winner of an offbeat competition called Superfoot. In a September 1972 article about the radio show Sports Huddle, Sports Illustrated tells the story of the creation of the competition and Walker’s win:
One of the show’s more successful undertakings was the discovery of Superfoot, a project that started as a joke and became an international manhunt. It began early last year when the Huddlers wished out loud that the Patriots would go look somewhere for a field-goal kicker. They wouldn’t, of course, said the three, because they were “too cheap” to scout for the talent the other clubs had. England, with all its side-wheeling soccer types, was obviously the place to look, so the Huddle called BOAC to ask if a Patriot scout and some footballs could fly to London in the baggage compartment of a plane. Saves money, don’t you know? BOAC turned the Huddle down, but then reconsidered. Soon the airline, WBZ radio and TV, the Patriots, the Huddle and the LondonDaily Mirror underwrote a quest for Superfoot in England, the winner to get $1,000 and a tryout with the team.
More than 1,600 Britons entered the contest, the finals of which were held in Oxfordshire on May 15. Andelman, McCarthy and Witkin were on hand, having blitzed through customs wearing football helmets. The winner was Mike Walker, then 21, a 6-foot, 178-pound bricklayer from Carnforth, Lancashire who, in three consecutive attempts, booted two 55-yard field goals through wind and rain. Up to 185 pounds, Superfoot has been competing against Charlie Gogolak for the kicker’s job with the Patriots this summer.
For the full story, see The Guardian