Jim Marshall
No. 80, 70
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1937-12-30) December 30, 1937 (age 86)
Wilsonville, Kentucky, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:248 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:East
(Columbus, Ohio)
College:Ohio State (1956–1958)
NFL Draft:1960 / Round: 4 / Pick: 44
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL records
  • Most consecutive games played with one team: 270 (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Most consecutive starts by a defensive player: 270 (289 including playoffs)
Career NFL statistics
Fumble recoveries:30
Interception return yards:30
Defensive touchdowns:1
Games played:282
Games started:277
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

James Lawrence Marshall (born December 30, 1937) is an American former professional football defensive end who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at Ohio State, before leaving to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 1960 NFL Draft.

Marshall recovered an NFL record 29 opponents' fumbles, including his 1964 "wrong-way run", a play in which he recovered a fumble and returned it 66 yards in the wrong direction into his own end zone, where he threw the ball out of bounds, resulting in a safety for the San Francisco 49ers.[1] He owns the career records for most consecutive starts (270) and most games played (282) by a defensive player.

Early life

Marshall was born in Wilsonville, in Boyle County, Kentucky.[2]

Football career

Marshall played college football at Ohio State. He left school before his senior year, and played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was then traded to the Cleveland Browns in an NFL–CFL transaction, being swapped for Bob Ptacek. Marshall played the 1960 season with the Browns before being traded along with five other players (including fellow defensive lineman Paul Dickson) to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for two draft picks in the 1962 NFL Draft.[3] He played from 1961 to 1979 with the Vikings and finished with a then-record 282 consecutive games played (since surpassed by punter Jeff Feagles).[4] Marshall started 270 consecutive games while playing for the Vikings, an NFL record since surpassed by Brett Favre.[5]

Marshall played in the Pro Bowl in 1968 and 1969. He recovered 30 fumbles during his career, an NFL record. He was a member of the Vikings' famous "Purple People Eaters" (which consisted of Marshall (DE), Alan Page (DT), Gary Larsen (DT), and Carl Eller (DE)), and was the final player from Minnesota's initial expansion team of 1961 to retire. Marshall had 127 career quarterback sacks as a Viking, second-most in team history behind Eller.[6] At the time of his retirement in 1979, Marshall had played in every game in Vikings history.

Marshall is one of 11 players to have played in all four of the Vikings' Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s.


Marshall's No. 70 has been retired by the Vikings and he is a member of the team's Ring of Honor. In 2004, Marshall was named to the Professional Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's second HOVG class.[7] Marshall was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, but was not elected. In 2008, NFL Network named Marshall the second-best player not in the Hall of Fame on their NFL Top 10 program, behind only Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer; Kramer would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. In 2023 and 2024, he was listed as a semifinalist for the senior nominees, but failed to advance to the final 12.

The Wrong Way Run

Marshall recovers the fumble (1), before running in the wrong direction (2). In the aftermath of the 49ers' safety, opposing tackle Bruce Bosley (No. 77) congratulates Marshall on the play, (3) as he quickly realizes what has happened. (4)

During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, Marshall's most infamous moment took place. Marshall was playing in a game against the San Francisco 49ers on October 25, 1964.

After recovering an offensive fumble, Marshall ran 66 yards the wrong way into his team's own end zone.[8][9] After completing the run, thinking that he had scored a touchdown for the Vikings, Marshall then pitched the ball in celebration, and the ball landed out of bounds, resulting in a safety for the 49ers. According to Marshall, when he approached Vikings head coach Norm Van Brocklin afterwards, Van Brocklin said, "Jim, you did the most interesting thing in this game today."[10] Despite the gaffe, the Vikings won the game 27–22, thanks to a forced fumble by Marshall, which Eller returned for a touchdown.

Marshall later received a letter from Roy Riegels, infamous for a wrong-way run in the 1929 Rose Bowl, stating, "Welcome to the club."[11] In 2019, Marshall's miscue was ranked No. 54 among the NFL's 100 Greatest Plays.[12]

NFL records

Personal life

Marshall resides in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.[13] He has been married twice: firstly to Anita[14] (with whom he has two daughters) and then a second time, to Susan.[13] In September 2009, when quarterback Brett Favre was set to surpass Marshall's record of consecutive games started, he could not attend the game as it coincided with his wedding anniversary. A few days later, Marshall visited the Vikings' practice facilities to congratulate Favre in person.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "Jim Marshall – "NFL'S GREATEST IRON MAN"". Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  2. ^ "» Ex-Viking to be inducted into Ky Pro Football Hall of Fame What's Up? With Merlene". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  3. ^ "Original Viking Paul Dickson dies". Star Tribune.
  4. ^ Jeff Feagles Giants Player Bio
  5. ^ NFL.com: Vikings QB Favre 'grateful' after his NFL-record 271st start in a row
  6. ^ "Vikings: Ring of Honor". Archived from the original on September 18, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  7. ^ "Hall of Very Good". Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  8. ^ Rolfe, John (August 2, 2006). "NFL's most embarrassing moments". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  9. ^ "This Day in NFL History: Jim Marshall runs the wrong way". NFL.com. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Hambrick, David Z. (February 23, 2016). "The Psychology of the Breathtakingly Stupid Mistake". Scientific American. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  11. ^ Marshall's claim during his appearance on I've Got A Secret following the incident.
  12. ^ "NFL 100 Greatest Plays - No. 54: Jim Marshall's Wrong Way Run". NFL.com. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Cash, Rana. "Vikings great Jim Marshall's Pro Football Hall of Fame bid denied yet again". Star Tribune.
  14. ^ Cotton, Anthony (December 24, 1979). "A MAN FOR 20 SEASONS". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  15. ^ "Former Viking Marshall congratulates Favre on iron-man record". NFL.com. September 25, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2023.