77 Bruce Armstrong - A four-year letterwinner for the Cardinals from 1983-86... became one of the most dominating and intimidating offensive lineman in the history of the school... began his career at U of L as a tight end, Armstrong recorded 33 receptions in his fi rst two seasons at U of L... moved to offensive tackle where he anchored the Cardinals line for the next two seasons... did not allow a sack over his fi nal 18 games as a collegian... appeared in the 1986 Senior Bowl and was named U of L's most outstanding lineman following his senior season... was drafted with the 23rd pick of the first round by the New England Patriots in 1987 to begin an association that continued for 15 seasons.
11 Jeff Brohm - Another in a long line of great Cardinal quarterbacks... played for the Cardinals from 1990-93... threw for 5,451 yards and 38 touchdowns in his career, which still stands in the top 10 all-time... named the MVP of the 1993 Liberty Bowl... threw for a career-high 2,626 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior in 1993... voted the team MVP in 1992 and 1993... played seven years in the National Football League... started his career with San Diego in 1994... also played for NFL teams in Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Denver.
34 Ray Buchanan - Endeared himself to all Louisville fans as "Big Play" Ray... made the switch from wide receiver to defensive back... two-time collegiate All-American and NFL Pro Bowl selection... jumped on the scene as a sophomore in 1990, piling up 59 tackles and three interceptions in helping the Cardinals to the 1990 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl (including a key fi eld goal block against Memphis to preserve the bowl bid)... made his mark on the national stage as the Defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl with fi ve tackles, a fumble recovery and a recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone as Louisville drilled Alabama 34-7... named a Playboy All-American as he compiled 108 tackles and set a then-school record for interceptions with eight...was drafted in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts... traded to the Atlanta Falcons, where he played in Super Bowl XXXIII.
55 Doug Buffone - Standout on both sides of the football during his career with the Cardinals, playing offensive center and linebacker from 1962-65... remains the Cardinals' No. 3 all-time tackler with 479, just nine stops behind the program's all-time leader Mark Sander ('87-90)... one of only four players to lead U of L in tackles for three consecutive seasons... selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1966 NFL Draft and the eighth round of the AFL by the San Diego Chargers... went on to play 15 seasons at linebacker for the Bears, retiring in 1980 as the all-time leader in games played for the legendary organization.
42 Ernie Green - Rushed for more than 1,500 yards in his career as a Louisville Cardinal... led U of L in rushing during two of his four seasons and was a versatile player out of the backfi eld catching passes... also excelled on the baseball diamond spurning contract offers to remain on the gridiron...was selected in the 14th round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the reigning world champion Green Bay Packers... sold to the Cleveland Browns where he would make a name for himself as one of the league's top fullbacks... saw limited action as a rookie in 1962... entered the Cleveland backfi eld alongside the legendary Jim Brown... earned a pair of Pro Bowl appearances following the 1966 and 1967 season and was also a member of the Browns' World Championship team in 1964... gained 3,204 yards in his six-year NFL career.
50 Tom Jackson - Spent three seasons as a linebacker for the Cardinals leading the team in tackles all three campaigns... earned All-Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors in 1970 and 1972... native of Cleveland, Ohio... played all three seasons under the watchful eye of the colorful Lee Corso as the Cards posted a 23-7-2 mark in Jackson's three seasons as an active player... was selected in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos... played 14 seasons in the NFL.. would wear the Orange and Blue playing in 191 games overall and starting 179... voted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 1992... earned three trips to the Pro Bowl and was twice named first-team All-Pro... was recognized by his teammates a franchise record six times as Denver's most inspirational player prior to his retirement in 1986... retired fi fth on the Broncos' all-time sacks list with 44 and was tied for the franchise lead in interceptions by a linebacker with 20.
75 Joe Jacoby - Three-year letter winner as an offensive tackle... was a a prep All-American in both football and basketball from Louisville Western High School... helped Nathan Poole become one of just 11 Cardinals to rush for over 1,000 yards with 1,394 yards... became a team captain as a senior... was snubbed in the NFL draft before signing a free agent contract with the NFL's Washington Redskins... was a founding member of the famous "Hogs" offensive line which is considered among the best front fives in football history... helped lead the Redskins to Super Bowl appearances in 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1992, three of which produced an NFL championship... most memorable moment was being the lead blocker on Redskins running back John Riggins famous touchdown run which iced Washington's Super Bowl XVII victory over the Miami Dolphins in 1983.. was a Pro Bowl selection for four consecutive years (1983-1986).
26 Lenny Lyles - A trailblazer in the integration of the Louisville Cardinals football program... was an outstanding player on both sides of the football from 1954-57... four-year starter for the Cardinals and totaled 2,786 yards on the ground... scored a school record 42 touchdowns in his storied career including 18 in 1957 to set a single season record which stood for more than 40 years... school's second all-time scoring leader with 300 points in his storied career... known as the "Fastest Man in Football" in '57... became the first Cardinal to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season... his 1,207 yards not only earned him Little All-America acclaim but led all of college football in 1957... selected in the fi rst round of the '58 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, where he teamed with Johnny Unitas... returned to the Colts in '61 and played his fi nal eight season in Baltimore... had the honor of playing in the 1958 NFL Championship Game which ended in sudden-death with the Colts defeating the New York Giants, 23-17.
56 Otto Knop - A four-year letterwinner at linebacker and center from 1949-1952... earned honorable mention Associated Press Little All-America honors as a sophomore and United Press International All- America his junior year... was U of L team captain and a Collier's Little All-America fi rst team selection... was inducted into the U of L Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979 in its second induction class, and was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994... most memorable highlight was a fumble recovery that led to the tying touchdown in a stunning 13-13 deadlock at heavily favored Miami (FL) in 1950... lettered in football, basketball, swimming and track at local St. Xavier High School... played on the Boling Air Force Base gridiron team in 1954 and 1955, captaining the '55 national service championship team.
13 Sam Madison - Four-time letterwinner with the Cardinals from 1993-96... remembered as one of the top defensive backs in the school's history... ne of the top athletes ever to play at U of L... ranks second all-time in school history with 16 career picks... also led U of L with 44 career pass breakups, record that has stood since 1996... best season was in 1995 when Madison led the Cardinals with seven interceptions and earned third team All-America accolades... was tabbed as one of the top 15 players in the county and was tabbed a preseason Playboy All-American in 1996... was a key performer for the Cardinals as Louisville went 9-3 and defeated Michigan State in the Liberty Bowl... second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.
1 Frank Minnifield - Four-time letterwinner with the Cardinals from 1979-82... excelled as a defensive back and kick returner... walked on at U of L... quickly received the scholarship recruiters failed to give him coming out of Lexington's Henry Clay High... completed his collegiate career as one of the Cards' three captains for the 1982 campaign... intercepted seven passes including a career-best three during his sophomore campaign of 1980... led U of L in kickoff returns in 1981 with a 30.4 yard average and topped the Cards in punt returns with a 15-yard average... began his professional career as a member of the Chicago Blitz in the United States Football League... signed as a free agent by the Cleveland Browns... went on to a nine-year career with the franchise before his retirement in 1992... made four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1987-90 and was a three-time all-NFL choice by AP.
72 Roman Oben - One of the best offensive linemen in the history of the school... played for the Cardinals from 1992-95 and is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in school history... was a fi rst team All-American in 1994 by the Gannett News and was also voted to the Football News and Sporting News All-American squads as a junior... didn't allow a sack duringthe 1994 season... lettered in track and fi eld... earned bachelor's degree in economics from Louisville and master's degree in public administration from Fairleigh Dickinson Uni- versity in May 2001... was a third round pick by the New York Giants in the 1995 draft...also played two seasons for the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers... begins his fourth season with San Diego... has played in 139 career games.
7 Chris Redman - Closed his career as the N C A A all-time leader in passes attempted and completed ...was one of just three Division I-A signalcallers to throw for more than 12,000 yards in a career... Parade Na- tional High School Player of the Year at nearby Male High... finished his Cardinal career completing 1,031 of 1,679 passes for 12,541 yards and 84 touchdowns... first-team All-Conference USA selection and the league's Offensive Player of the Year in 1999... also added the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award to his mantle... junior campaign of 1998 rewrote the U of L and C-USA record books...passed for 4,042 yards and 29 scores despite playing in just 10 regular season games... his 44-of-56, 592-yard afternoon against East Carolina was the nation's top single game passing performance in 1998...was the first Cardinal QB to lead his team to back-to-back bowl appearances.
1 Howard Stevens - One of the best running backs in the history of the school... despite playing just two seasons, Stevens ranks fourth in school history with 2,723 yards and recorded 25 touchdowns (which places him sixth all-time)... also stands four all-time with 509 career rushing attempts... holds the school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,429 yards in 1971...fi nished fourth in the nation in rushing also ran for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1972...guiided the Cardinals to a Missouri Valley Conference Championship in 1972... was drafted in the 16th round by the New Orleans Saints in the 1973 NFL Draft.
99 Ted Washington - One of the dominating defensive players in the history of the school... played for the Cardinals from 1987-90... recorded 298 tackles and 14 sacks during his career... earned Honorable Mention All-America and All- Metro Conference accolades in 1988 after recording a career- high 88 tackles... finished fi fth on the team in tackles as a freshman... was drafted by the San Francisco 49'ers as the 25th pick in the fi rst round... went on to enjoy a 17-year career in the NFL.
50 Otis Wilson - Three-time letterman for the Cardinals... fierce competitor and sure-handed tackler... dominating defender and one of the school's all-time leading tacklers... Co-captain of the 1979 team... referred to by head coach Vince Gibson as one of the best players he ever coached... fi nished his career as the school's second all-time leading tackler with 484 tackles... recorded 175 stops in 1977, which is the third-best total in school history... named the Defensive Most Valuable Player in the 1977 Independence Bowl... first team All-American selection in 1979... registered 152 stops in 1979 and 157 duringthe 1978 campaign... was a first round pick of the Chicago Bears, the sixth player in school history to garner first round status in the NFL Draft... played eight years for the Bears from 1980-87, including a 1986 World Championship.
Dwayne Woodruff - A three-time letterman for the Cardinals... opened his career as a reserve running back and wide receiver from New Richmond, Ohio but was moved to the secondary by then-head coach Vince Gibson following his sophomore campaign... collected 161 tackles while intercepting three passes and recovering three fumbles... accounted for 97 total tackles in 1977 as the Cardinals advanced to the Independence Bowl... was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of the 1979 National Football League Draft... spent 11 of the next 12 seasons as a member of the Steelers earning a victory in Super Bowl XIV as a rookie for the Steeler dynasty... his 37 career interceptions still ranks fi fth all-time in the Steel Curtain record books while his three interception returns for touchdowns is the third-most in Pittsburgh history... was named the team's most valuable player following the 1992... topped the team with five interceptions... led the Steelers in picks during fi ve different campaigns - 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989.
16 Johnny Unitas (Retired) - Five games into Johnny Unitas' freshman season (Unitas was allowed to play as a freshman because U of L didn't belong to the NCAA), head coach Frank Camp knew he had something unique.Tossed in against St. Bonaventure when U of L was trailing 19-0, Unitas completed 11 consecutive passes, three for TDs, in a steady rain and helped put the Cards in front 21-19.
But the Cards couldn't stop St. Bonaventure from kicking a last-ditch field goal and U of L lost 22-21. Despite the loss, nothing could detract from Unitas' astonishing performance.
With Unitas leading the way, U of L went on to win its next four games, including a 35-28 victory over Houston. Louisville was a 19-point underdog against the Cougars.
One of the greatest plays of Unitas' career took place in that game when the Cardinals were leading 28-21 and had the ball on their own eight-yard line in the fourth quarter.
After two unsuccessful running plays, Unitas dropped back into his own end-zone, sidestepped two defenders and threw a pass to Babe Ray who scored a 92-yard TD.
In the next day's Louisville Courier-Journal, reporter Jimmy Brown wrote: "If Coach Frank Camp is smart, he'll take Unitas, enclose him in a cellophane bag and put him away with the Cardinals' uniforms for safekeeping over the winter.
In his sophomore season, Unitas completed 77 of his 154 passes and threw 12 TDs. U of L went 3-8 that year. At Florida State, Unitas had one of his best games, completing 17 of 22 passes in a 41-14 victory. U of L, though, almost fumbled away Johnny Unitas after his sophomore season. After an administrative hassle which saw 15 players dismissed from school, leaving the Cardinal roster empty, Unitas thought about leaving and transferring to Indiana. But Unitas decided against leaving the Cardinals when he was reminded that Indiana shunned him earlier in his career.
Unitas now holds just a few records at U of L, most of them eclipsed by quarterbacks John Madeya, Ed Rubbert, Browning Nagle, Jeff Brohm, Marty Lowe, Chris Redman, Dave Ragone and Stefan LeFors. Unitas fi nished his career completing 247 of 502 passes for 2,912 yards and 27 touchdowns.
The rest of Unitas' story is well documented. He left Louisville when he was the ninth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955 and was cut by them in a numbers game. The Steelers had four quarterbacks; they only needed three. Unitas was the odd man out. Unitas took a job with a Pittsburgh tiling company following the cut and then he latched on with the Bloomfi eld Rams, a semi-pro team. He made six dollars a game. But Unitas didn't linger long in the bush league. The Colts got wind of him and invited him for a tryout. He made the team - signing for $7,000 - and the Steelers made history for one of the biggest blunders of all time. Unitas was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1979 and his record 47-consecutive game touchdown passes is a record compared to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.
Sid Luckman once said: "Johnny Unitas is the greatest quarterback ever to play the game - better than me, better than Sammy Baugh..."