Fred Cox
No. 14
Personal information
Born:(1938-12-11)December 11, 1938
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Died:November 20, 2019(2019-11-20) (aged 80)
Monticello, Minnesota
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Monongahela
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
NFL Draft:1961 / Round: 8 / Pick: 110
AFL Draft:1961 / Round: 28 / Pick: 221
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Field goals:282 / 455 (62%)
Extra points:519 / 539 (96.3%)
Player stats at · PFR

Frederick William Cox (December 11, 1938 – November 20, 2019)[1][2] was an American professional football player who was a kicker for 15 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Minnesota Vikings. After playing college football for Pittsburgh, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the eighth round of the 1961 NFL Draft and by the New York Titans in the 28th round of the 1961 AFL Draft. He was also the inventor of the Nerf football.

Early life

Cox was raised in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, outside Pittsburgh. His parents owned and operated a small grocery store, which is still in operation by his brother's family after four generations.


Cox played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 8th round of the 1961 NFL Draft and the New York Titans in the 28th round of the AFL Draft that same year. He never ended up playing for either team.

Professional career

Cox is the Vikings' all-time leader in scoring (1,365 points) and field goals (282). He is also one of 11 Vikings players to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances during the 1970s.

In his first season, he kicked 12 out of 24 field goals, the longest being 46 yards while also serving as a punter, kicking 70 of them for 2,707 yards (a 38.7 yard average). He did not have a field goal percentage lower than his first year rate until his last season. He led the NFL in scoring in 1969 with 121 points and again in 1970 with 125 and was named first team All-Pro both years. He was also named NFC first team All-Pro in 1971 with 91 points scored. He topped 100 points four times (1964-65, 1969-70) while having at least 90 in three other seasons (1971-73), with a top 10 finish in points scored ten times. In the playoffs, he was 11 of 18 on field goals and 38 for 40 on extra points in 18 games. The most he scored in those games was nine, which he did three times (the 1969 title game and the first two rounds of the 1973 playoffs). In those Super Bowls, he went 0 for 2 on field goals while making 4 of 5 on extra points. [3] In 1970, he was the NFC kicker in the Pro Bowl game.

At the time of his retirement, Cox was the NFL's second all-time leading scorer (with 1,365 points) behind George Blanda.


Cox was first married to Elayne Darrall Cox. Their four children are Darryl Cox, Susan Cox Biasco, Fred A. Cox, and Kim Ok-soon. He was later married to Bonnie Hope Cox.

Following his NFL career Cox became a licensed chiropractor in 1972 after receiving his degree in the practice from Northwestern Health Sciences University.[4] His annual chiropractic earnings of about $100,000 were, Cox said, about double what he made as a football player.[5] Cox maintained his professional practice in Buffalo, Minnesota.[citation needed]

In 1972, he invented a soft football, which later became the Nerf football after he sold the idea to Parker Brothers.[6][7] Tens of millions of Nerf football have been sold, first for Parker Brothers and then for Hasbro, which acquired it in 1991, bringing Cox and his partners decades of generous royalties.[8]


  1. ^ "Fred Cox, leading scorer in Vikings history and inventor of Nerf football, dies at 80".
  2. ^ Sandomir, Richard (November 22, 2019). "Fred Cox, Vikings Kicker and an Inventor of Nerf Football, Dies at 80". Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "Fred Cox Playoffs Game Log".
  4. ^ "Late Vikings kicker Fred Cox: 'Nobody's going to live forever and nobody's going to live more than I did.'". November 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Hagerty, James R. (November 28, 2019). "Fred Cox, a Minnesota Viking, Made His Fortune With a Toy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "Ex-Vikings kicker Fred Cox, inventor of Nerf football, dies at 80". November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Smyde, Joe (October 4, 1989). "Fred Cox not kicking; Nerf football sales keeping him for life". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  8. ^ "Fred Cox, Vikings Kicker and an Inventor of Nerf Football, Dies at 80". November 27, 2019.