Bob Topp
Topp in 1953
No. 87     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1932-04-22)April 22, 1932
Place of birth: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Date of death: April 4, 2017(2017-04-04) (aged 84)[citation needed]
Place of death: Saugatuck, Michigan
Career information
College: Michigan
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
*Univ. of Michigan 1952–1953
Career highlights and awards
Receiving yards (college)     390
Receiving yards (NFL)     90
Touchdowns (NFL)     3
Stats at

Eugene Robert Topp (April 22, 1932 in Kalamazoo, Michigan – April 4, 2017[citation needed]) was an American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan from 1952 to 1953 under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan. In 1953, he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference end by both the Associated Press and the United Press. He played professional football for the New York Giants in 1954 and 1956.

Early yearsEdit

Topp was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a star basketball player for Kalamazoo Central High School teams that won two state championships.[1]

University of MichiganEdit

Topp enrolled at the University of Michigan where he played freshman and junior varsity football. As a junior, he qualified for the varsity and played a total of 56 minutes during the nine-game season for the 1952 team. In those games, he caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.[1][2] Topp did not start any games for the 1952 team.[3]

As a senior, he impressed the coaching staff in spring practice and won the starting spot at left end.[1] Topp was a starter at the end position for the 1953 season, starting eight games at left end and one at right end.[4] He blocked punts that led to Michigan touchdowns in the first two games of the 1953 season against Washington and Tulane.[1] His longest gain was a 66-yard touchdown catch against Penn on October 31, 1953.[2][5] Against Iowa on October 10, 1953, he caught 7 passes for 111 yards.[2][6] He was only the second Michigan receiver to accumulate 100 receiving yards in a single game; Lowell Perry first accomplished the feat in 1951.[2]

At the end of the 1953 season, Topp was selected by both the Associated Press and the United Press as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player.[7][8]

In two seasons with the Wolverines' varsity, Topp caught 28 passes for 390 yards (13.9 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.[2]

Professional footballEdit

File:Bob Topp (1953).png

Topp was drafted by the New York Giants in the 13th round (148th overall pick) of the 1954 NFL Draft.[9] He signed with the Giants in February 1954,[10] and played in six games for the team during the 1954 NFL season. He had six receptions for 90 yards and three touchdowns in 1954.[9]

After the 1954 season, Topp was inducted into the United States Air Force and missed the 1955 season. In March 1956, the Giants signed Topp to a contract for the 1956 season.[11] In October 1956, the Giants upset the Cleveland Browns, 21-9, after intercepting the radio signals being used by the Browns to relay plays from the bench to a small receiver inside the quarterback's helmet. There was no rule prohibiting the practice at the time, and Giants' general manager Ray Walsh boasted to the press about their success. Walsh told the press that Topp was on the bench with a receiving set listening to the signals coming from the Browns' bench. Topp was able to hear the signals more clearly than the Browns' quarterback and relayed them to assistant coach Tom Landry, who then relayed them to the defensive unit on the field.[12][13][14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "BOB TOPP MOVES INTO END BERTH FOR MICHIGAN". Chicago Daily Tribune. October 7, 1953.,+1953&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune&desc=BOB+TOPP+MOVES+INTO+END+BERTH+FOR+MICHIGAN&pqatl=google.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12.
  3. "1952 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  4. "1953 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  5. "Wolves Claw Quakers, 24-14". The Milwaukee Sentinel. November 1, 1953.,4092150&dq=bob-topp&hl=en.
  6. "Michigan Scores Twice in Second Half to Vanquish Iowa in Big Ten Opener; WOLVERINES TRIP HAWKEYES, 14-13". The New York Times. October 11, 1953.
  7. "Badgers' Ameche, Paul Giel Again Named to All-Big Ten". Racine Journal-Times (AP story). November 24, 1953.("At the other end is Michigan's Bob Topp, the conference's pass-catching champion.")
  8. "Illinois Places Caroline, Smid On All-Star Team". The Daily Register (UP story). November 23, 1953.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Bob Topp".
  10. "Signs With Giants". Record-Eagle (UP story). February 24, 1954.("End Bob Topp of Michigan was under contract today to play for the New York Giants of the National Football League.")
  11. "Giants' Eleven Signs MacAfee and Topp". The New York Times. April 1, 1956.
  12. "Giants Intercepted Browns' Radio Signal to Quarterback in Downing Bitter Rivals". The Milwaukee Journal. October 16, 1956.,3356361&dq=bob-topp&hl=en.
  13. "Giants Tune In Browns' Signals". Chicago Daily Tribune. October 16, 1956.,+1956&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune&desc=Giants+Tune+In+Browns'+Signals&pqatl=google.
  14. Briordy, William J. (October 16, 1956). "GIANTS' RECEIVER SCORES ON BENCH; Interception of Browns' Radio Signals Aided Victory". The New York Times.
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