American Football Database
Pettis Norman
Date of birth: (1939-01-04) January 4, 1939 (age 83)
Place of birth: Lincolnton, Georgia
Career information
Position(s): Tight end
College: Johnson C. Smith
AFL Draft: 1962 / Round: 16 / Pick: 123
(By the Dallas Texans)
 As player:
Dallas Cowboys
San Diego Chargers
Playing stats at

Pettis Burch Norman (born January 4, 1939 in Lincolnton, Georgia[1]) is a former professional American football tight end in the National Football League from 1962-1973 for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers.

College career

He is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. The university's annual award given to the school's most outstanding student-athlete is named after him.[2]

He was going to enlist in the Air Force until he received a football scholarship by then coach Eddie McGirt, sight unseen, without ever having seen him play.

Through hard work and discipline he became an all-conference tight end.

In 1977, he was inducted into the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

He was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the sixteenth round of the 1962 AFL Draft, but opted to play for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys instead.

Norman became a fulltime in 1963, and manned the Cowboys tight end position for nearly a decade, helping start the franchise's legacy of great tight ends that includes: Mike Ditka, Billy Joe Dupree, Jackie Smith, Doug Cosbie, Jay Novacek and Jason Witten.

During his career, he was known for his toughness and his blocking.

When Mike Ditka joined the Cowboys in 1969 after having been a 4 time All-Pro tight end with the Chicago Bears, he remained the starter, but split time with Ditka to provide great blocking along the offensive line.

He started Super Bowl V for the Cowboys at tight end, which was a loss to the Baltimore Colts.

The sports announcer Jack Buck during his two-year stint covering the Cowboys, famously referred to him on the air as Norman Pettis. Prompting Blackie Sherrod a sportswriter in Dallas, to write: "Dallas fans are tired of Pettis Norman constantly being referred to as Norman Pettis by broadcaster Buck Jack".

San Diego Chargers

Norman became part of the “Bambi” trade in May 1971, that brought Hall of Famer Lance Alworth to the Cowboys, for his final two seasons (1971, and 1972).

His first season with the San Diego Chargers, he had a career high 27 catches and 358 yards.

He played with the Chargers until he retired after the 1973 season because of a degenerative knee condition, having played 12 years and 162 games, caught 183 passes for 2,492 yards and 15 touchdowns.