1. Archive

Angelo watches the times change

Campus protests. Hippies. Richard Nixon in the White House. Make love, not war. The Graduate. Burned draft cards. LSD and "groovy."

Those were some days, and director of player personnel Jerry Angelo remembers them well. He remembers the late '60s fondly. He remembers a cultural renaissance that not only gripped the nation's colleges but drifted onto its playing field.

He remembers how much the charismatic personality of Joe Namath, who guaranteed a Jets win over the Colts in Super Bowl III and delivered it, help establish the new American Football League and helped symbolize a shift in society's willingness to buck the trend.

"That was 1969. That was life. That was the time of the Vietnam War," Angelo said. "Life was being on campus and going from getting a crew cut and wearing corduroy pants and wingtips to bell-bottoms and long hair. I saw the whole thing, the campus unrest. What we saw was a tremendous revolution. We were in the eye of the storm."

At the time, Angelo was a defensive tackle at Miami University of Ohio, playing for Bo Schembechler. The game, he said, provided him with needed discipline.

"The values and the morality changed in this country," Angelo said. "It was a tremendous happening, almost like a reshaping of the earth, certainly of the Western world. And here I am, a football player. Football brought you more regimen and discipline in the light of a completely undisciplined movement."

Q: ERROR-How has the game changed?

A: I would say back then, football was really revered. Times have changed drastically, and with the times change, I think kids don't grow up as fanatical about the game as we did. You would never see a guy quit a football team, or you would never see a guy not take it right to the end. You don't see that as much today. It's not a bad thing.

Q: ERROR-Back in the late '60s, outside of football, how did you see your life unfolding?

A: What I would have liked to have done, if I didn't do football, was get into the education. I would have really liked to have been a principal, and that would have been where I was headed. I was in secondary administration. I got a masters (degree) in that, and I had taken some hours toward a doctorate degree, and I really enjoyed it. I think that it's important to give back. Back then . . . you could see that times were changing and that the kids were the ones most vulnerable. They needed the guidance. When I say that the '60s movement changed things, I mean everything changed. The family structure changed dramatically."

Q: ERROR-What words of wisdom would you have for the Jerry Angelo of 1969?

A: I would tell myself to explore your options. I think that football is a little bit of a cult, at least for those of us in it. Guys always have asked me, "How do you get into this job?" They always admire people in football, and that's a good thing, but I always half-teasingly, half-seriously say, "I was cursed with it."