Cardless Starters of the Lombardi Era: Johnny Symank

Defensive back Johnny Symank was a bit undersized, listed at 5’11” and 180 pounds, but was a fierce competitor of whom Vince Lombardi said in Run to Daylight, “There is no actor in Symank. He is serious and intense, and in a game, he’d just as soon break your leg as not. He has made it in this league because he gets a great deal more out of himself than his ability and size justify, and I wish I could say this about all the rest of them.”

Symank played some at cornerback, but was primarily a left safety who loved to hit. When Johnny Unitas was forced to miss two games with three broken ribs and a punctured lung in 1958, it was because Symank had landed on his back hard in game six. He started for the 1961 champs, but lost his starting position in 1962 when Herb Adderley took over at left corner and bumped Hank Gremminger back to safety. After one season on the bench and one with the Cardinals, Symank spent nearly 25 years as a coach in the pros and college.

1951tjsymank  1957tjsymank3

1958tjsymank2  1959tjsymank

1960tjsymank  1961tjsymank

1961fjsymank  1962tjsymank2

1951 Topps-style and 1957 Topps-style custom cards are colorized.

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