Today's Tidbit... Ozzie Simmons, Ronald Reagan, and Floyd of Rosedale
Shortly before the 1934 season started, Ozzie Simmons of Ft Worth jumped on a freight train with his brother Don and three friends, headed North, hoping to play football at Iowa. Arriving in Iowa City, they met coach Ossie Solem, who had heard of Simmons through an alum that encouraged Simmons to attend Iowa.
The Simmons brothers were the only Black players on Iowa's team for the next few years, with Ozzie frequently targeted by opponents due to his skin color and talent. Named All-Big Ten as a sophomore and junior, he was an All-American back as a senior while Iowa radio announcer Ronald Reagan told his exploits.
Ill-treated in 1934 at Minnesota, tensions were high before the 1935 game in Iowa City. The state governors wagered a hog on the game's outcome to lighten the mood. A Hawkeye win led to Iowa's governor buying a hog from Rosedale Farms, naming it Floyd after Minnesota's governor. In response, Minnesota's governor ordered the casting of a bronze hog, and the Floyd of Rosedale trophy has been awarded to the winner of the Minnesota-Iowa game ever since.
Unable to play in the segregated NFL, Ozzie Simmons played one year for the Patterson Panthers in New Jersey and then worked in education in Chicago for the remainder of his career.
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