If I had a little money to spare I’d buy this film reel lithographed print of Walter Payton pulling down Matt Suhey’s shorts.
I’ve always thought it was one of the funniest sport pictures I’ve ever seen partly because it’s just funny (I’ve always wondered what happened to Suhey’s shorts when the ball was snapped) and partly because it makes Walter Payton more human.
Mike Ditka called Payton the best overall football player to ever play the game. The argument will go on forever about whether he was the greatest running back, mostly because he sits behind Emmit Smith, second in all-time rushing yards with 16,726. He still holds the records for consecutive starts in a regular season by a running back (170), most games in a career with 100 or more rushing yards (77), and most all-purpose yards in a career (21,803), and the most touchdown passes by a non-quarterback (8).
No matter how hard he played the game, no matter how hard he trained, Payton liked to have fun. Sometimes in practice he would stop in the middle of a play to dance with one of the linebackers. At least once, while lying at the bottom of a pile-up he reached out to untie an officials shoes.
In 1987 I was living in Cary, IL, a little town northwest of South Barrington where Payton lived. I was driving home from a Bears game when I saw a car coming flying up behind me. I moved to the right hand lane to let the ‘crazy driver’ go past in his Porsche, but as he went by I managed to look into the car. The driver looked like Payton, but I doubted that because the game had just ended less than hour before. I wouldn’t have been so doubtful if I had known then that Payton loved fast cars and that he was pulled over more than 50 times for speeding in Chicago). Nevertheless, I knew the driver was Payton when I watched the car speed down the highway and exit at Barrington road. That was about as close as I ever got to him.
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