Syracuse Football Top 25 Players of All-Time: No. 14 Jim Ringo

Syracuse football, Jim Ringo (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
Syracuse football, Jim Ringo (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /

Syracuse Football has had a long history of success. We look back at some of the best players to play at Syracuse University. Up next, No. 14: Jim Ringo.

Former Syracuse Football player Jim Ringo was a small guy for an offensive lineman/center, but boy did he have one of the biggest impacts of any center to ever play the game. Though not much is written about his time at Syracuse, he did play for Coach Ben Schwartzwalder’s team from 1950-1952 which went 17-12, according to During that time he was one of Syracuse’s greatest blocking centers ever.

After playing all four years at Syracuse, Ringo had no professional football hopes. In fact, according to, he was surprised to get a telegram saying he had been drafted by the Green Packers with the 80th overall pick in the 7th Round of the 1953 NFL Draft.

When he reported to training camp before the season started, Ringo thought he would not make the team as he was the smallest of seven men fighting to win the starting center position. Standing just 6’1 and weighing a measly 211 pounds he was very light for the position by NFL standards. Knowing all this, Ringo decided to go home and leave the team.

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As the story would go though, when he arrived home his family did not welcome him. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ringo said his family told him, “They didn’t want a quitter. They said you should at least try” and sent him back to camp. When he returned to camp, he earned his spot back and made the team. He would go on to play for them for 11 seasons, starting most of them during that span and doing so to much success.

In his first two seasons, the Packers struggled mightily, but not because of Ringo. Ringo was selected to the Pro Bowl All-Star game in both seasons in 1957 and 1958. When Vince Lombardi was hired to be head coach in 1959, the Packers immediately turned things around. Within a year or two the Packers Dynasty would begin; establishing Ringo’s legacy with multiple consecutive NFL Championship appearances (Super Bowl did not exist until 1967) in 1960, 1961, and 1962.

The Packers would lose the first of those three NFL championships in 1960 to the Philadelphia Eagles by the score of 17-13, but would win the next two NFL championships in ’61 and ’62 over the New York Giants. He would end up being a team captain for the Packers for eight seasons, according to After the 1964 season, Ringo would be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles where he would play another couple of seasons before retiring.

In his 15 seasons, he spent 11 of them with the Packers and four with the Eagles. He would make the Pro Bowl 10 times, be named to the All-League team seven times, and play in 182 consecutive games (1954-1967), an NFL record at that time. Overall, in his NFL career, he played in 187 career games, starting 186 of them, according to He would also go on to be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1974, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

Former Syracuse Football Offensive lineman and Green Bay Packer Jim Ringo #51
Former Syracuse Football Offensive lineman and Green Bay Packer Jim Ringo #51 does some blocking for #31 Jim Taylor. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /

After his playing days ended, Ringo turned to coaching where he would continue to succeed. He would coach in the NFL for the next 19 seasons (1969-1988) in various roles with the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Los Angeles Rams. Most of those roles were either as offensive coordinator or coach of the offensive line; which makes sense considering his prior playing experience.

The highest position he ever made it to in the NFL was when he was named Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1976. Unfortunately, it did not go well, as he coached the team to a 0-9 record in 1976 and 3-11 record in 1977, according to That would not stop him from continuing to coach though as he would coach in the NFL for another 11 years.

Next. Syracuse Football Still Reigns Elite In Pro Football Hall Of Fame. dark

Though his Syracuse career is often overshadowed by his illustrious NFL career, it just goes to show why you should never give up, and keep chasing your dreams. Even though Ringo was small for a center/offensive lineman, much like Justin Pugh (also on this list) and barely over 200 pounds most of his career, he outplayed his size with heart. Sometimes that’s all it takes to be considered amongst the best of all-time.