Phil Villapiano
Phil Villapiano (20960113189) (cropped).jpg
No. 41
Personal information
Born: (1949-02-26) February 26, 1949 (age 73)
Long Branch, New Jersey
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Ocean Township
College:Bowling Green
NFL Draft:1971 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Philip James Villapiano (born February 26, 1949) is a former American football linebacker who played 13 seasons in the National Football League (NFL).

Early life

Villapiano played high school football at both Asbury Park High School and Ocean Township High School in Monmouth County, New Jersey. He played college football at Bowling Green State University, and while there was selected as Mid-America Conference Player of the Year.[1][2]


Known for his coverage and long time friendship to Steelers Hall of Fame inductee Franco Harris in one of the top plays in the history of the NFL, in 1972, a play known as the “Immaculate Reception.”

One of the fastest linebackers of his era, Phil specialized in making big plays - none bigger than his momentum changing goal-line tackle against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, where he forced the fumble that was recovered by Willie Hall.[3] Villapiano was the linebacker assigned to cover Franco Harris during the Immaculate Reception on December 23, 1972.[4]

In March 2018, Villapiano was inducted into the Reese's Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. The next month Phil was voted as the Jersey Shore's Greatest Sports Personality Winner. Phil Villapiano was also selected as a 2019 Senior Class candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Phil has three children; Andrea, Phil, and Michael. Michael was a quarterback at Brown University.[5] Phil's wife, Susan, died of breast cancer on November 22, 2016.[6]

His nephew Joe Villapiano is a college football coach and has been the offensive coordinator at Cornell University since 2017.

Activities after playing career

In January 2018, Phil was recognized as a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Later, in March 2018, Phil was named to the Hall of Fame for the College Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. Later in the summer of 2018, Phil was named as the greatest sports personality for the Jersey Shore in a month long contest that included some of the most prolific names in New Jersey's outstanding sports history. As a 2019 Senior Class candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Villapiano has achieved acknowledgement as a solid finalist and is considered a strong candidate for future induction.

In March 2018, Villapiano joined with former NFL stars Harry Carson and Nick Buoniconti to support a parent initiative called Flag Football Under 14, which recommends no tackle football below that age out of a concern for the brain health of the young players. He said, "At some point, those of us who have had success in this game must speak up to protect both football players and the future of the game, and supporting 'Flag Football Under 14' is our best way to do that."[7]

Phil was inducted into the Italian Hall of Fame and is a candidate for induction into the NJ State Hall of Fame.

The Villapiano Fan Club consists of members all across the country run by his family and close friends, are always hosting events during Raiders season.

Phil has also been actively involved in many philanthropic causes such as Save the Jersey Shore post Hurricane Sandy, an executive in the Jimmy V foundation, and numerous programs in his local community of Rumson, NJ and at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Bowling Green State University Football, Villapiano and nine other former BGSU football players were inducted into the university's Cast of Honor, recognizing the "Best of the Best" by hanging their names and numbers in Doyt L. Perry Stadium.


  1. ^ Phil Villapiano, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2007-12-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), database Football. Accessed December 15, 2007.
  2. ^ Harvin, Al. "An Offseason Game; New Jersey Sports", The New York Times, January 12, 1973. Accessed November 16, 2008. "Some of the other Jersey residents on the team, according to Davis, are Bob Tucker, the New York Giants' tight end from Lincroft; Phil Villapiano, Oakland Raider linebacker from Ocean Township, and Ron Johnson, Giant running back, now a resident of Fort Lee."
  3. ^ Izenberg, Jerry (February 4, 2017). "One Raiders star walked the walk with the gift of his Super Bowl ring". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ Bouchette, Ed (September 23, 2012). "Phil Villapiano: No whining from him". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  5. ^ "#17: Michael Villapiano". Brown University Athletics. 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Villapiano, Susan Penrod". November 25, 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  7. ^ Former NFLers call for end to tackle football for kids, CNN, Nadia Kounang, March 1, 2018.