All college football programs believe they have what it takes to be cool. And let’s face it, many schools are cool, but there are some that earn more cool points than others. One such school is Florida State, and the Seminoles have some cool trivia in their football history. Here are three Florida State facts every fan should know.
FSU has a cool, albeit, brief college football history. Fred Biletnikoff got married under the goal posts at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Marching Chiefs band invented the tomahawk chop. And there is the sod cemetery at the stadium that boasts a piece of the opponents’ field where the Noles earned big victories.
While those things certainly are cool, here are three things about Florida State football that every Seminole fan should know:
The Heisman Coincidences
Florida State players have earned three Heisman Trophies since the program’s inception: Charlie Ward won in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000, and Jameis Winston in 2013. Hoisting the trophy is not the only thing these former Seminoles have in common, however.
Sure, each was a quarterback. And yes, each player’s surname begin with a “W”. But there is more. None of the three are actually from the state of Florida. Ward is from nearby Thomasville, Ga., while Weinke came to FSU from St. Paul, Minn., and Winston hails from Birmingham, Ala.
Also, each of them was a two-sport star. Ward never played in the NFL, but he did have an 11-year career in the NBA with the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets. Weinke played six years in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization, making it all the way to the Triple-A level before returning to football. And Winston was an ace closer on the FSU baseball team during his time in Tallahassee.
Moreover, two of those players are now coaches. Ward coaches basketball at Tallahassee’s Florida High School, while Weinke is the running backs’ coach at the University of Tennessee. You could say that Winston is following in their footsteps as “coach” on the field as the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
From Tallahassee to Tinseltown
Normally, one thinks of athletes from schools like UCLA or Southern California becoming actors, but FSU has held its own on the screen, three time zones from Hollywood.
Former Seminole center Robert Urich starred in television’s “SWAT” and “Spenser for Hire,” as well as appearing on the silver screen in “Turk 182” and “Ice Pirates.” He went into acting after fellow former Seminole Burt Reynolds persuaded him to give it a try.
Reynolds, known as “Buddy” during his days at Florida State, was a running back until he suffered a career-ending knee injury. He went on to star in the TV series, Dan August, before starring in such feature films as “The Longest Yard,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” and the ironically titled, “Gator.”
A teammate of Reynolds at Florida State also went on to fame in television. Former FSU quarterback Lee Corso is one of college football’s most-loved personalities from his role on ESPN’s “GameDay.”
A Cool Play and a Legendary Celebration
In 1988, Florida State traveled to Death Valley to take on Clemson, tying the game 21-21 with just over a minute to play. As the time clock winded down, the Seminoles lined up to punt. But then head coach Bobby Bowden had a trick up his sleeve. The snap went to up man Leroy Butler who put the ball between his legs and faked a handoff to a teammate. Butler raced up the left sideline to the Tigers’ 4-yard line to set up the game winning field goal. The play has gone down in college football history as the “Puntrooski.”
Butler also played another pivotal role in football history, this time in the NFL. While a member of the Green Bay Packers, Butler’s impromptu touchdown celebration became a staple of pro football.
In 1993, the Los Angeles Raiders visited Green Bay and during the game, Raiders quarterback Vince Evans completed a short pass to Ricky Evans. Butler made the tackle and the ball came loose and was picked up by Green Bay’s Reggie White. As White was being tackled, he lateraled the ball back to Butler who ran into the end zone for a touchdown. This is when history occurred.
Instead of spiking the ball as most players did, Butler decided to celebrate with the Green Bay fans. He ran to the end zone bleachers and jumped into the crowd to the fans’ delight. In that moment, the “Lambeau Leap” was born, courtesy of former Florida State Seminole Leroy Butler.
Florida State has won three national titles and had three Heisman Trophy winners. But these three bits of information might be the coolest trio of trivia in Seminole history.
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