|Position:||Running back, Quarterback|
June 14, 1939 |
|NFL Draft:||1961 / Round: 1 / Pick 7|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Player stats at PFR|
Thomas Roland Matte (born June 14, 1939), nicknamed the "Garbage Can", is a former American football player who played quarterback in college and primarily running back in the National Football League (NFL) in the 1960s and 1970s and earned a Super Bowl Ring. He attended Shaw High School in East Cleveland and is an Eagle Scout. Matte was an All-American back at Ohio State University.
Matte played quarterback but was more known for his rushing skills than passing prowess.
Matte's 12-year pro career was spent with the Baltimore Colts where he posted career stats of 4,646 rushing yards, 249 receptions for 2,869 yards, 1,367 yards returning kickoffs, and 57 touchdowns (45 rushing, 12 receiving). Late in the 1965 season, Matte also memorably filled in as an emergency quarterback when Colts QBs Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo went down with season-ending injuries in consecutive home losses to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, respectively. For the Colts' regular-season finale (a 20-17 win) against the Los Angeles Rams and the following weekend's one-game playoff at Green Bay (a 13-10 overtime loss), Colts head coach Don Shula put a list of plays on a wristband that Matte wore. The wristband is now on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Later in his career, Matte was immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated, scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon in the NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns, January 5, 1969.
Matte played in Super Bowl III in 1969 when the Colts were famously upset by Joe Namath and the New York Jets. Matte played well, rushing for 116 yards and catching two passes for thirty yards, while setting the record for highest per-carry rushing average in a Super Bowl game: 10.5 (116 yards in only 11 carries) which still stands today. He also broke a long run of 58 yards (a record at the time). The play ended when he was caught by Jets defensive player (and ex-Colt) Johnny Sample which led to an altercation between the two. However, Matte did commit a fumble on the first series of the second half which continued the Colts frustration in the game.
Matte was injured in the first game of the 1970 season against San Diego and therefore did not play when the Colts returned to Super Bowl V at the end of that season and beat the Dallas Cowboys. Still he was part of the team and so he was awarded a Super Bowl ring.
Matte was selected to the 1968 and 1969 Pro Bowl teams.
Matte briefly was a color analyst on CBS coverage of football games. From 1996-2005, Matte teamed with Baltimore sportscaster Scott Garceau in broadcasting Baltimore Ravens games on local radio. He also pursues local business interests and is in demand as a celebrity endorser.
Matte is working on a project that focuses on aiding retired players. He is part of a team that created a new to market NFL collectible in which a portion of the proceeds go to the Player Care Foundation. Keepr Media.
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