American Football Database
Jackie Simpson
No. 41, 47     
Defensive back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1934-04-02) April 2, 1934 (age 88)
Place of birth: Miami, Florida
High School: Miami Edison Senior High School
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) Weight: 183 lb (83 kg)
Career information
College: University of Florida
NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 4 / Pick: 44
Debuted in 1958 for the Baltimore Colts
Last played in 1962 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Career history
* Baltimore Colts ( 1958 1960)
Career highlights and awards
* Third-team All-SEC (1954, 1955)
Career NFL statistics as of 1962
Games played     45
Interceptions     2
Fumble recoveries     1
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

John Marlin Simpson (born April 2, 1934) is a former American college and professional football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Simpson played college football for the University of Florida, and then played professionally for the Baltimore Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL.

Early years

Simpson was born in Miami, Florida in 1934,[1] and grew up in an apartment complex on the Miami bayfront.[2] He attended Miami Edison Senior High School in Miami,[3] and he was a standout high school football halfback for the Edison Raiders.[2]

College career

Simpson received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played both halfback and defensive back for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team from 1953 to 1956.[4] Simpson was a third-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1954 and 1955, and a second-team All-SEC selection in 1956.[4] Memorably, he had two touchdowns including a 100-yard interception return in a 20–14 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 1955,[5] which remains the longest interception return for a touchdown in SEC history.[4] Several weeks later, he had a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Gators' 18–14 win against the LSU Tigers, again providing the margin of victory.[6] As a halfback on offense, he finished his college career with an average of 6.3 rushing yards per carry—still one of the three best career averages in Gators history.[4] Woodruff ranked him as the Gators' best defensive back and one of their three best running backs of the 1950s.[7]

Simpson was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2001.[8][9]

Professional career

The Baltimore Colts selected Simpson in the fourth round (forty-fourth pick overall) of the 1957 NFL Draft.[10] He signed with the Colts for $7,800 per season and a $1,000 signing bonus,[2] and played three seasons for the Colts.[11] Before he could report to the Colts' training camp, however, he first had to report for twenty-one months of U.S. Army infantry and paratrooper training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[2] After completing his military service obligations, Simpson was activated for the final two games of the 1958 season and became a starting defensive back and periodic kick returner for the Baltimore Colts' 1958 and 1959 NFL championship teams of coach Weeb Ewbank.[2]

The Colts traded Simpson to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Billy Ray Smith after the 1960 season,[2] and he played his final two professional seasons for the Steelers in 1961 and 1962.[3] During his five-season NFL career, Simpson played in forty-five regular season games, and recorded two interceptions.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1, Players, Jackie M. Simpson. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 John Steadman, "Ex-Simpson glad obit was dead wrong," The Baltimore Sun (February 1, 1995). Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1, Players, Jackie Simpson. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 96, 98, 138, 146, 150, 154, 158, 185 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  5. Associated Press, "Florida Turns Back Mississippi State in Southeastern Conference Opener; Simpson Big Gun In 20–14 Triumph," The New York Times, p. S4 (September 18, 1955). Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  6. Associated Press, "2 Long Runs Help Florida Top L.S.U.," The New York Times, P. S12 (October 16, 1955). Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  7. Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama, pp. 210–211 (1974).
  8. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  9. "Nine Former Gators Enshrined into the Hall of Fame," (April 6, 2001). Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  10. Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1957 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  11. National Football League, Historical Players, Jack Simpson. Retrieved July 6, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.