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Björn Nittmo
No. 3, 5     
Kicker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1966-07-26) July 26, 1966 (age 53)
Place of birth: Lomma, Sweden
Career information
College: Appalachian State
Undrafted in 1989
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* New York Giants ( 1989)
Career highlights and awards
* All-World League (1991)
FG Made     60
FG Att     162
PAT Made     273
PAT Att     298
Tackles     17
Stats at ArenaFan.com

Björn Arne Nittmo (born July 26, 1966, in Lomma, Sweden) is a retired American football placekicker, being the only Swedish-born player ever to complete as much as a full season in the National Football League.

Football careerEdit

The left-footed Nittmo, famous for his very long kickoffs, came to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student at Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Alabama.[1] After high school, he played college football at Appalachian State University (1985–1988), where he also was the all-time leading scorer with 277 points. In 2003, he was named to the university's 75th Anniversary Football Team.[2]

Nittmo was the first Swedish-born player to play a full season in the NFL, when he played for the New York Giants in 1989.[3] He also tried to make the Kansas City Chiefs' roster the following year but was cut, then the following year was hired by the Buffalo Bills as a potential replacement for Scott Norwood after his infamous wide-right kick in Super Bowl XXV (the Bills nonetheless decided to keep Norwood for one more season instead).

Nittmo's career included time with the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football (this league later became NFL Europe), the Cleveland Thunderbolts, Arizona Rattlers, and Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, as well as the Shreveport Pirates of the Canadian Football League. In 2005, Nittmo was invited to the Ottawa Renegades' training camp, but was cut prior to the start of the season.[4]

In popular cultureEdit

Nittmo appeared on Late Night with David Letterman a few times during his stint with the New York Giants. Letterman seemed to be obsessed with the kicker's name and even coined a new catchphrase to both celebrate and mock him; "Who do you think you are, Bjorn Nittmo?"[5] Nittmo's celebrity continued when, in 1999, he appeared as the kicker in the football movie Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday.[6] Nittmo later starred in a 2015 mini-documentary, NITTMO, about his life, to inspire the Swedish youth to follow their dreams and study abroad.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Nittmo has been estranged from his ex-wife, Mary Lois Nittmo, and his four children (three daughters and a son), for over a decade. He suffered severe brain damage from a hit he sustained in a 1997 preseason contest. Such was the extent of the damage from that and other hits sustained on kickoffs that his ex-wife got rid of football within the family household, refusing to watch any games on television or let his son play the game.[8] In 2017, as part of a meeting arranged by The Buffalo News, Mary Lois went to Björn's home in Arizona, where he explained his absence and behavior; he stated that he mainly lives alone and is self-employed for his children's safety, that the short-term memory loss has been a hindrance to his employability, and that attempts to treat his condition have so far not succeeded.[9] In April 2017, ESPN's SC Featured anthology recounted Nittmo's story.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jacobson, Steve (November 21, 1989). "GIANTS' SWEDISH KICKER HAS A BALL, BUT NOT A WORRY". The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1989/11/21/giants-swedish-kicker-has-a-ball-but-not-a-worry/c140431c-ccd5-451a-9d82-688809f47867/. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  2. "ASU Announces 75th Anniversary Football Team". 2003. http://www.appstatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=1540651.
  3. Willis, George (January 7, 1990). "Giants Seek to Eliminate Costly Errors". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-01-07/sports/sp-235_1_recent-games/1.
  4. "Final cuts today". June 18, 2005. https://www.cfl.ca/2005/06/18/final_cuts_today/. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  5. "Late Night With David Letterman Season 8 Episode 162". January 11, 1990. http://www.tv.com/shows/late-night-with-david-letterman/show-1249-194583/.
  6. "Any Given Sunday (1999) - Full Cast & Crew". https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146838/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  7. "NFL Legend Bjorn Nittmo Kicks US Study In To the Path of Swedish Students". 2015. https://lbbonline.com/news/nfl-legend-bjorn-nittmo-kicks-us-study-in-to-the-path-of-swedish-students/. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  8. Graham, Tim (September 1, 2016). "Who do you think you are? Bjorn Nittmo?". The Buffalo News. http://projects.buffalonews.com/long-reads/bjorn-nittmo/index.html.
  9. Graham, Tim (January 27, 2017). "Finding Nittmo: Answers, finally, from the NFL kicker who disappeared". The Buffalo News. http://buffalonews.com/2017/01/27/finding-nittmo/.
  10. Hall, Andy (April 21, 2017). "SC Featured looks for elusive former NFL placekicker". http://www.espnfrontrow.com/2017/04/espns-journalism-showcase-april-21-2017/. Retrieved April 24, 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • "Finding Nittmo". ESPN. April 23, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCsyA2y47Hs. Retrieved April 24, 2017. "He was once the must unlikely media star of the late 80's... a left footed Swedish kicker for the NY Giants who even appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. How could he ever have known that years of kicking a football in America would bring him love and family and fame... and then take it all away."
  • "NITTMO". US Embassy Sweden & Fulbright Sweden. August 4, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrHVxYR40ws. Retrieved April 24, 2017. "This is the story about the unsung hero Bjorn Nittmo – a forgotten Swedish sports star and former NFL kicker who crossed the Atlantic for high school studies and to chase his dreams. And now he wants to encourage the youth of Sweden to walk the same path."

External linksEdit

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