Paul Naumoff
No. 58, 50     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1945-07-03)July 3, 1945
Place of birth: Columbus, Ohio
Date of death: August 17, 2018(2018-08-17) (aged 73)
Place of death: Lenoir City, Tennessee
Career information
College: Tennessee
NFL Draft: 1967 / Round: 3 / Pick: 60
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Detroit Lions (19671978)
Career highlights and awards
* Consensus first-team All-American (1966)
Stats at

Paul Peter Naumoff (July 3, 1945 – August 17, 2018[1]) was an American football player. He played college football at the University of Tennessee from 1964 to 1966 and was selected as a consensus first-team All-American at the linebacker position in 1966. He played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) as a linebacker for the Detroit Lions from 1967 to 1978. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season and was named the Lions' defensive most valuable player in 1975. He once played in 142 consecutive games for the Lions and missed only two games in 12 years with the club.

Early yearsEdit

Naumoff was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1945, and attended Eastmoor Academy there.[2] He was the son of Macedonian immigrants.[3]

College footballEdit

Naumoff enrolled at the University of Tennessee and played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers football team under coach Doug Dickey from 1964 to 1966. He began as an offensive player in 1964 but was moved to defense in 1965. As a defensive end, he helped lead the 1965 Tennessee team to an 8–1–2 record, a #7 ranking in the final AP Poll, and a victory over Tulsa in the 1965 Bluebonnet Bowl.[4]

In 1966, Naumoff moved to linebacker after one of the team's starting linebackers, Tom Fisher, died in an automobile accident.[5] He helped lead the 1966 Tennessee team to an 8-3 record. He was awarded the game ball after the 1966 Gator Bowl. Naumoff made a "jolting tackle" of Larry Csonka late in the game to preserve Tennessee's 18-12 victory over Syracuse.[6]

At the end of the 1966 season, Naumoff was selected as a consensus first-team linebacker on the 1966 College Football All-America Team.[7] He also played in the 1967 Chicago College All-Star Game and the 1967 Senior Bowl.[4] Naumoff received a bachelor's degree of education in 1967.[4]

Professional footballEdit

Naumoff was selected by the Detroit Lions in the third round, 60th overall pick, of the 1967 NFL Draft. He played 12 years for the Lions from 1967 to 1978.[2] He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season.[2] In 1975, Naumoff had two interceptions and was voted by his teammates as the Lions' defensive most valuable player.[8] Naumoff once played in 142 consecutive games for the Lions and missed only two games in 12 years with the club. In July 1979, at age 33, Naumoff announced his retirement as a player, citing a foot injury that had required two surgeries and posed the risk of permanent damage.[9] At the time of his retirement, Naumoff had appeared in 168 games for the Lions, more than any other players in franchise history other than Wayne Walker and Dick LeBeau.[9][10]

Later yearsEdit

After retiring from the NFL, Naumoff opened a beer distributorship in Tennessee.[11]


  1. Mattingly, Tom (August 18, 2018). "UT Vols: Paul Naumoff, co-captain of 1966 Tennessee team, dies at 73". The News Sentinel (Knox News). Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Paul Naumoff". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  3. Steve Williams (October 12, 2015). "Admiring grandson says it's cool to have a NFL great in family". The Knoxville Focus.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Hall of Fame Candidate Capsule: Paul Naumoff". National Football Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Paul Naumoff". University of Tennessee. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. "Vols Give Game Ball To Linebacker Naumoff". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: p. 2G. January 1, 1967.
  7. "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections". National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 7. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  8. Jack Saylor (December 23, 1975). "3 Lions Are Standouts in Up-and-Down '75 Season". Detroit Free Press: p. 2C.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Curt Sylvester (July 19, 1979). "Lions' Naumoff retires". Detroit Free Press: pp. 1D, 9D.
  10. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  11. Jack Saylor (December 31, 1979). "Beer seller Naumoff: Lions brewed own troubles". Detroit Free Press: p. 2C.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.