Lou Michaels
refer to caption
Michaels with the Rams in 1959
No. 55, 83, 79, 75
Position:Placekicker, defensive end
Personal information
Born:(1935-09-28)September 28, 1935
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Died:January 19, 2016(2016-01-19) (aged 80)
Swoyersville, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:243 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High school:Swoyersville (PA)[1]
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Career highlights and awards

Louis Andrew "Lou" Michaels (originally Majka) (September 28, 1935 – January 19, 2016) was an American football player who was a standout defensive lineman for the University of Kentucky Wildcats from 1955 to 1957. After Kentucky's victory over archrival Tennessee in 1957, Michaels has been quoted saying, "Nothing sucks like a Big Orange." Michaels played professionally for 14 years, 1958–71, with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). He also played placekicker, and was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1962 and 1963 seasons. In 1962, Michaels led the league in field goals made. He finished his career with a 54.8% field goal percentage and 955 points.

By 1969 he was almost exclusively a placekicker for the Colts but after a season in which he was successful on less than half his field goal attempts and struggled especially with longer kicks, rookie Jim O'Brien won the Colts placekicking job in the 1970 preseason and Michaels was waived.[2][3] After sitting out the 1970 season he tried out with the Packers in their 1971 training camp and won their place kicking job.[4][5] After playing the first 10 games of the Packers' season he was placed on the taxi squad and rookie Tim Webster replaced him for the last 4 games of the season.[6] After being listed behind Webster and rookie Chester Marcol on the Packers' preseason depth chart in 1972, Michaels did not report the Packers' training camp and the team waived him.[7][8]

Michaels was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. His brother, Walt Michaels, also played in the NFL.

Michaels died January 19, 2016, from pancreatic cancer.[9]

Personal life

Michaels was born to a Polish family, son of a coal miner from Swoyersville, Pennsylvania. The family's surname is originally Majka, but was anglicized to Michaels in school.[10]


  1. ^ Bennett, Steve (December 10, 2012). "Swoyersville Football 1951". The Citizens' Voice. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Tanton, Bill (September 10, 1970). "It'll happen to me, says Colts' O'Brien". Evening Sun. p. F1. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Rookie O'Brien to do Hosses' place kicking". Daily Times. September 10, 1970. p. 20. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Veteran Michaels starts career as Packers' kicker". La Crosse Tribune. September 22, 1971. p. 33. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Harris, Larry (October 7, 1971). "Mean old Lou just wasn't through". Charlotte News. p. 15A. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Pack's Devine needs lots of gifts from Santa". La Crosse Tribune. December 21, 1971. p. 25. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Rams' QB picture collapses". Evening Sun. July 18, 1972. p. C10. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Nutcracker sour for Pack rookies". Ironwood Daily Globe. July 19, 1972. p. 11. Retrieved 2022-09-05 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Bennett, Steve (January 19, 2016). "Local football legend Lou Michaels dies". The Citizens' Voice. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "NPASHF | Walt Michaels".