Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Remembering Sam Huff


Washington Post | Obituary

Another throwback post, inspired by the passing of NFL great Sam Huff on November 13th at 87. He played - famously - for the NY Giants and Washington Redskins in the 1950s and 60s. 


Long before the Panthers, the Washington Football Team (formerly the Washington Redskins) was this region’s favorite team, especially in the northern tier of NC.


And rightfully so. From 1982 to 1991, under legendary head coach Joe Gibbs, a NC native, Washington appeared in the postseason seven times, captured four conference titles and played in four Super Bowls, wining three of them. 


The team’s renowned radio crew of “Sonny, Sam & Frank” - Sonny Jurgensen (from Wilmington and Duke), Sam Huff and Frank Herzog called the games.


Capitol Radio Networks had built a regional satellite network in the 1980s and we provided that service for the Redskins broadcasts in the late 80s/early 90s, working originally with DC flagship station WMAL and later with WTEM. We grew the network to over 100 stations in the mid-Atlantic states. 


The football broadcasts connected us to Sam Huff, but we got to know him through his avocation, horse racing and breeding. Sam and his partner Carol Holden operated Sporting Life Stables in northern Virginia, and Capitol assisted them with the launch of a weekly radio show called Trackside. It aired for 28 years until 2016.


Sam’s day job was VP with Marriott. He was a celebrity rainmaker, persuading sports teams to use their hotels. He was a great salesman - disarmingly intense!


I recall a dinner at the Angus Barn where I asked him to do a commercial for an advertiser. He readily agreed…for $2500. That was major money in the early 90’s. My jaw dropped. Sam smiled and simply tapped his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. Message delivered. Value established. (Like I said, disarmingly intense.)

~  ~  ~ 

Read about Sam’s equestrian pursuits and his inspiring life that began in the WVA coal fields, a football career that included a Time magazine cover, and his later years that unfortunately ended with dementia.

Before the Panthers 1995 premier,
the Redskins had a huge following in NC