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Edit: Thanks for all the wonderful questions, which I loved reading and answering. I'm going to stop responding at this point thank you once again.

Comments: 875 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

jkw1210209 karma

How did you feel when they moved the team?

How did you feel when you stole the browns from me :(?

TomMatte41247 karma

HAHAHAHA. We were happy to get rid of Bob Irsay. It took us a while to convince Art Modell to move the Browns to Baltimore. And I was particularly happy because I got to the commentary for the Ravens.

edit: I'm sorry for all the enemies I have made in Cleveland now, but Art was my friend, and I stand by him.

jkw121065 karma

Man you just crushed Cleveland in so many ways..... Good health to ya and thanks for your time.

Any chance you could post a pic holding a sign saying sorry Cleveland? HAHAHA

TomMatte4195 karma

Cleveland is my home town, and I grew up playing HS ball there and went to Ohio State to play college ball. The city of Cleveland did not respond to the needs of Art Modell, the Cleveland stadium was in dire need and the city didn't respond to Modell.

TheWiseG176 karma

Did you ever hear of any bounty talk or talk of purposefully hurting other players during your playing days?

TomMatte41397 karma

Mhmm Yes. No other comment.

NovaScotty106 karma

Who's your favorite current running back?

TomMatte41272 karma

Probably Ray Rice. I think he is the most versatile running back in the league, but there are a lot of RB's that are similar. I really like the kid.

whadidup218 karma

Now for the unbiased favorite RB?

TomMatte41303 karma

Adrian Peterson, the way he came back from knee surgery is impressive.

jhartwell102 karma

What was it like to play emergency QB? How did the team react?

TomMatte41150 karma

It was a challenge, being a running back and last man standing as a player that had any experience at QB in college. I was sort of forced into and didn't have a any choice. it was the biggest challenge for me in my football career.

grizzledroughrider6985 karma

Joe Flacco always seems to generate a ton of criticism. What is your honest opinion on Joe and do you think the elite title will ever be in Joe's future?

TomMatte41133 karma

yes I think he will be considered Elite sometime in the future. He (Joe) is an non emotional player, he started every game in his career and has a great arm. I have all the respect for him as player and a person.

brawltimore77 karma

How do you feel about Indy fans laying claim to Baltimore Colts players as part of Indy's football legacy?

TomMatte41257 karma

That upsets me. When I go to the hall of fame, and see my wrist band and I am called an Indianapolis colt...That is not right. That part belongs to Baltimore.

CobaltEdge73 karma

Would running backs from the 60's (in their prime) stand a chance against modern defensive lines?

Also, would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?

TomMatte41163 karma

Yes, today's running backs are bigger, stronger, and faster....but the guys from back in the day would still be competitive.

1 horse sized duck.

legstrong61 karma

You have quite an impressive list of achievements, but what do you personally consider your greatest accomplishment during your football career?

TomMatte41146 karma

When the NFL Films came out with 10 most versatile players that have ever played in the NFL, and I ended up at number 10.

TomMatte4187 karma

Playing QB was the biggest challenge and most fun.

ugatz58 karma

What is your opinion of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms commentary on CBS? I personally miss your color commentary.

TomMatte4194 karma

They are both good, and Simms particularly has good insight as he is a former QB. I miss my color commentary too. They changed radio stations, and Scott Garceau and I lost out.

freemarket2757 karma

Any concussions effects on you? Should teens not play on high school football teams due to the danger of concussion?

TomMatte4189 karma

I feel that the NFL has made a concerted effort in improving the helmets and equipment these days to make the game safer, as opposed to my days. Commissioner Goodell is a making a really big effort to improve the safety in the NFL, and that will filter down to the peewee leagues.

checky8353 karma

About Ray Lewis...have you guys ever commented on one his tackles by saying "Holy shit! You killed that man!", or are you guts afraid of the repercussions?

TomMatte41170 karma

We are told to keep our act clean, but there was many time I wanted to say, "he knocked the shit out of him!"

Wolfkin1152 karma

Have you noticed any health problems or issues that were likely caused during your days playing in the NFL?

TomMatte41108 karma

You could say that, I've had 20 different surgeries, not all related to football. Mostly to the knees, ankles and just your Back is screwed up. You learn how to live with it however.

TomMatte41160 karma

Even after all of this, I wouldn't trade the experience of playing in the National Football League.

garrick22452 karma

I've always wanted to ask the older greats this... just how good was Jim Brown (or Johnny Unitas or other greats)?

TomMatte41101 karma

Jim Brown was probably the best overall Rb that I have ever seen. Power, and speed he had it all, but he wasn't the greatest receiver. THe most versatile of RB's in my day was probably Lenny moore.

PureDarkness9350 karma

What is the worst hit you've ever received?

TomMatte41111 karma

I think it was this game, where I had a pass over the middle and I knew was going to get slammed. I think it was Butkus, the ball popped out and I landed on the ground, but the ball landed back in my lap.

Junkz44 karma

Why do you think that Football is almost only popular in America?

And do you ever believe that it can as big in other country's?

  • A guy outside the us

TomMatte4168 karma

Good question. I had the opportunity to play in France back in 71, to introduce France to American Football. It was very well received and the players association did that. It was for the purpose of raising money for the AMerican hospital in Paris, it was very well received and today the NFL is playing games England, and I think they are sending teams during preseason to play in other european countries.

Soccer is their sport, but I think they like the aggresiveness of American football. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the NFL would expand to other countries.

legstrong43 karma

What is one aspect of the game from your playing days that you wish still existed today?

TomMatte4188 karma

Another good question. Defensive players have limitation now that they didn't back then. The league has made it more of a offensive game. Offensive lineman are allowed to hold more, and bump coverage is called as illegal contact a lot more.

badbeanies35 karma

As a player for an organization which has switched cities after your retirement, do you find your loyalties remain stronger for the Colts organization or the city of Baltimore?

Going into Superbowl III against the Jets, did Joe Namath's guarantee affect your preparation for the game?

TomMatte4196 karma

My allegiance is to the city of Baltimore and their fans. Being a broadcaster for the Ravens for the first 10 or so years, solidified my position. Art Modell was a great friend.

Joe had a big mouth, and he still does. On that day, Joe didn't win that game....I have to give credit to Weeb Ewbank for great coaching. Namath had nothing to lose by saying what he did, they were underdogs. But that game solidified the NFL merger, and also gave credit to the AFL.

kevo777732 karma

In your opinion, what was Johnny Unitas's best attribute?

edit: grammar

TomMatte4163 karma

His best attribute was the 2 minute offense, he could move the team faster down the field better than the other qb's in the league, In my opinion.

mcfattykins30 karma

Who's your favorite running back of all time? Mines eddy george

TomMatte4149 karma

Eddie George was a buck-eye, and a good one. My favorite would probably was Hugh Edward McElhenny.

hebleb27 karma

  1. Most memorable moment playing in the NFL?

  2. You played in Super Bowl III! What were your feelings towards the AFL leading up to and after the merger and that game?

TomMatte4149 karma

The baltimore colts probably had the biggest impact in the making of the NFL, in the merger between the AFL and the NFL. The 58 championship game really put NFL as a premier sport in the country, and the 68 superbowl which we lost to the Jets made the merger the possible, and eminently the success of the two leagues joining together.

deejaykarl22 karma

What do you think about the amount of money players are making today compared to when you played?

TomMatte4161 karma

What we did as players was we were the makers of the game and also brought about the popularity of the game. Today's players are the benefactors of that.

TheBP20 karma

it seems more and more like NFL stars are getting paid ridiculous sums of money to play a little bit of ball. How do you feel about that? Do you feel that they work harder for their money than you did for yours?

Also, do you feel like your years of playing has left you with any type of long term damage, physically or otherwise?

TomMatte4154 karma

No they don't work harder any harder then we did. I'm upset with my mother for having 40 years too early. I would love to have made the amount of money that these kids are making today.

I'm trying to promote the retired players with the NFL Keepr Card because the revenues go towards the player care foundation to take care of the older guys like me.

Infidelio20 karma

How do you feel about Cris Collinsworth? I personally cannot stand him as a person or a commentator. I would like to get a good feel from a fellow player and commentator.

TomMatte4154 karma

I think Chris is pretty objective, he knows the game and I feel he does a pretty good job. I'm sorry you feel that way.

[deleted]19 karma


TomMatte4185 karma

I think the game is same. The only change is that the athletes of today are bigger, stronger, and faster because of the conditioning that they go through. It's a full time job now to be a football player. Back in my day, as soon as the season was over....I had a another job to go to in Black & Decker.

yourdadsbff20 karma

Back in my day, as soon as the season was over....I had a another job to go to in Black & Decker.

See now this blows my mind. You won a goddamn Super Bowl yet you had another job! Did the guys at Black & Decker know who you were? Did they ask for your autograph and stuff, or was it strictly professional? What did you do at Black & Decker?

Thank you for doing this AMA, btw!

TomMatte4142 karma

Ohh Yea, I worked in a sales position and did a lot of traveling. Also helped design some of the tools that helped on moon mission.

AsmoDeus_G19 karma

Who was the toughest defender you ever played against at any level?


TomMatte4143 karma

Dick Butkus.

killyourflesh19 karma

If you had to play for one team this year. Who would you choose from if you could only play for the Jaguars or the Rams?

TomMatte4178 karma

Jax Jags because it's nice and warm.

badbiig18 karma

Has being an Eagle Scout helped you anyway throughout your lifetime? I just got mine myself.

TomMatte4127 karma

I made the Eagle Scout, Hall of Fame. It played a very important role in my life. The two things that made me who I am are the Boy Scouts, and the YMCA. Being in downtown Cleveland (ghetto) they were very helpful for me.

MisterHandy18 karma

Hi, Tom. I grew up in Baltimore when Scott Garceau was at channel 2 with John Saunders. You and Scott were the best team and I was very disappointed to see you go. Gerry Sandusky and Stan White are very good, too, but you two were the best and I miss you guys.

Do you or him (or both of you) ever get to do play by play anymore?

Also, you are one of a dying breed...athletes that remain connected to the city they played for after their playing days are over. Did you have any connection to the city before you played for the Colts? What made you want to stay in Baltimore?

TomMatte4120 karma

Garceau and I will be broadcasting the turkey bowl on thanksgiving morning, and it's a lot of fun to see the kids play. I always felt that if you play for a team in that city, you have a responsibility to give back to that community.

Talpostal16 karma

Hi Tom,

I'm a Michigan fan. Did you have much interaction with Bo Schembechler while he was at Ohio State? What was he like? What was his relationship with Woody like?

TomMatte4117 karma

Bo Schembechler was the coach that I reported to under Hayes. Bo was a good friend, all through my professional career and he left to Miami of Ohio, and convinced my brother, Bruce to play there, Where he became an all American QB.

Bo, always a class act. From Miami he went to Michigan and it became one of the biggest rivalries.

realged1314 karma

Who is the better QB, Unitas or Manning?

TomMatte4131 karma

I'm a little biased towards Unitas, but I have a great deal of respect for Peyton.

notreallybillmurray11 karma

He's talking about Eli

TomMatte4128 karma

Eli's not that bad, but he's in a whole different class. Also Archie is a friend of mine.

BeastModeYouBeezy14 karma

If you could play for one current head coach who would it be?

Who has the coolest looking uniforms right now? Coolest back when you played?

Best/worse announcer duo right now?

TomMatte4120 karma

Pittsburgh Steelers was the ugliest, especially the Bumble-bees. The Los Angles Rams helmets were really cool. I was a big Browns fan, so I'm attached to those uniforms.

cgoettler14 karma

How do you feel playing for Woody Hayes at Ohio State helped shape you as a football player and a man?

TomMatte4117 karma

Woody was a tough coach to play for. He expected a great deal out of you, but he made sure he took care of his athletes and got them degrees. I was fortunate to have him as a coach, I became a bigger friend of his after leaving Ohio state.

PantsOfChocolate10 karma

Oh man, I don't think you will see this but I just want to thank you for doing this. My dad died this year and was a die hard colts fan, actually quit watching football for years when you guys left. He has a ball signed by the entire 1970 super bowl team and he worked at johnny unitas' bowling alley so he could get through college. I actually made my first account ever just to post this because it means alot that you did this. Damn thanks for the good memories man. Go Ravens!

TomMatte418 karma

Thanks for that comment. Fans like your dad are special to all the players, we appreciate their feelings towards the colts. We used to visit the bowling lanes all the time during the off-season.

Veritium10 karma

What are your feelings about the short life expectancies of NFL players? Have you seen a lot of your friends from the team pass on earlier than you would expect?

TomMatte4144 karma

At the end of my career, the NFL pension people told us our life expectancy was 54-56 years of age. I then took my pension earlier because I thought my life expectancy was short, and I wish I didn't do that.

I have seen my friends die a lot earlier then I would have wished.

spurrier4589 karma

What happened on the flea flicker at the end of the first half in Super Bowl III?

TomMatte4115 karma

Earl Morral did not see Jimmy standing in the endzone waving his arms. He said Jimmy's uniform blended in with the Bands unifrom. He threw it short and it was intercepted.

realitycheack9 karma

I grew up playing sports and the locker rooms always got kinda crazy. My question is at the professional level does the locker room still contain this kind of atmosphere or is it all seriousness?

TomMatte4165 karma

Our locker room had a bit of fun also. Everyone would play pranks on each other. I didn't like snakes, and every day they would put a snake in my locker to scare me. One time I shot a rabbit and put it on top of pipes in the locker room. And one of the players was tying his shoes when it fell on him, I fell down laughing.

absurdlycalmone8 karma

How is working as a professional athlete? What is the work/life balance, do you eat and breath football? Does your coach call you during your personal time? Do you spend an inordinate amount of time with your teammates? Or are you able to maintain a discrete life separate from your career?

TomMatte4119 karma

You could maintain a personal life with friends, that are not football guys. But there is always the camaraderie with the you teammates, especially during Training Camp. Camp was the part when all you did was eat/breathe and live football.

My wife is one of the biggest fans of me. She watches film and listens to sports radio more than me. I think she was part of the team just as much as me.

ar15guy8 karma

What do you think about the incorporation of NCAA overtime rules and do you think something needs to change in order to ultimately prevent a tie from happening like we saw last week?

TomMatte4113 karma

WE had a number of ties back in the day. I think the playoff rules are pretty good, and I don't think it matters too much during regular season.

PhilSeven8 karma

Did anyone ever tell Johnny U to try a new haircut?

TomMatte416 karma

No, nobody told him. He let it grow long at the end, but he always had that crew cut.

pressthenekey7 karma

Do you feel the NFL is doing everything in its power to protect the players or that they're still just "going through the motions"? I'm glad to hear the Irsay's couldn't ruin your love of football, thanks for helping a team I love.

TomMatte4113 karma

I think commissioner Goodell and his senior adviser Joe Browne have done a tremendous job on focusing on the injury, and equipment issues.

Shootsbrah5 karma

What do you think you might have done I you could not have played sports professionally as a career? Let's say due to an injury during highschool or something of that nature

TomMatte418 karma

If I wouldn't have been drafted, I had majored in real estate. I most likely would have been a real estate marketeer or something else. You always have to fall back on your education, if you play sports.

ixcuincle5 karma

Do you miss the radio side with Scott Garceau? I miss listening to you two on the radio during Ravens games.

TomMatte4112 karma

Yes I do, working with Garceau, one of my best friends, has always been fun and challenging. We worked with together over 20 some years.

eric-neg5 karma

What is your proudest accomplishment off the field?
Does anyone help you with your social media? You seem pretty hip to what the kids are into these days.

TomMatte414 karma

Both my son and grandson are really into technology, and I am the dinosaur in the family....and this is all a new experience for me.

The program I am doing now to help the player association using the NFL keepr is my biggest accomplishment. I always felt that players need to give back to their communities, and I think I have done a lot of this.

Trailer_Park_Ricky3 karma

Who is your favorite teammate?

TomMatte413 karma

Dan Sullivan, played guard for us.

not4urbrains3 karma

At this point in the season, who are your picks for the Super Bowl?

edit: plural

TomMatte413 karma

Thats a toughie. I like the Texans, and also the Ravens chances.

sweetbabyginger3 karma

What are your thoughts on gays in professional sports? Statistics say 1 out of 10 people are gay... yet there is no male professional athlete in the 4 major US sports that is out. Is it just a taboo? Would he be ridiculed and fired? What are your thoughts?

TomMatte417 karma

I think that if there are Gay players out there, they would keep it too themselves. I know that there were gay players in the NFL when I played, and the kept low profile.