American Football Database
Rob Lytle
Lytle scores a Michigan touchdown, 1974
No. 25, 41     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-11-12)November 12, 1954
Place of birth: Fremont, Ohio
Date of death: November 20, 2010(2010-11-20) (aged 56)
Place of death: Fremont, Ohio
Career information
College: Michigan
NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Denver Broncos ( 1977 1983)
Career highlights and awards
* Consensus first-team All-American (1976)
Games     87
Rushing yards     1,451
Touchdowns     14
Stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

Robert William "Rob" Lytle (November 12, 1954 – November 20, 2010) was an American football player.[1]

Lytle played college football at the University of Michigan from 1973 to 1976. A running back, he broke Michigan's career record with 3,317 rushing yards and was selected as a consensus first-team All-American in 1976. He was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

Lytle played professionally for the Denver Broncos of National Football League (NFL) from 1977 to 1983. In seven seasons, Lytle compiled 1,451 rushing yards and 562 receiving yards.

Early years

Born and raised in Fremont, Ohio, where his family had operated a clothing store for several generations,[2] Lytle graduated from its Ross High School in 1973.[3]

University of Michigan

Lytle enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1973 and played college football as a tailback and fullback for Bo Schembechler's Michigan Wolverines football teams from 1973 to 1976.[4]

As a sophomore in 1974, Lytle was the Wolverines' second leading rusher with 802 yards on 140 carries for an average of 5.7 yards per carry.[5] In 1975, he started at fullback in all 12 games,[6] and was the again the team's second leading rusher with 1,030 yards on 193 carries (average: 5.3 yards).[5]

In his senior season in 1976, Lytle started nine games at fullback and three at tailback for the Big Ten championship team which finished the season at 10–2 and ranked third in the final AP Poll.[7] He led the team with 1,469 rushing yards on 221 carries and 14 rushing touchdowns.[5] A consensus first-team All-American,[8][9] Lytle was third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, behind winner Tony Dorsett and Ricky Bell.[10][11]

During three years as a regular player at Michigan, Lytle set the school's career record with 3,307 rushing yards. It was broken five years later by Butch Woolfolk, and he now ranks eighth in rushing yards.[12] Lytle was involved in two games in which Michigan had three rushers accumulate 100 yards,[13] and he was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.[14]

Professional football

Lytle was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round (45th overall pick) of the 1977 NFL Draft.[3] He spent seven seasons in the NFL with the Broncos and rushed for 1,451 yards, caught 61 passes for 562 yards, returned six kickoffs for 99 yards, and scored 14 touchdowns (12 rushing and two receiving).[3] At the end of his rookie season, he scored Denver's sole touchdown in Super Bowl XII. Lytle holds the distinction of being the first to score a touchdown in both a Rose Bowl and a Super Bowl.

Later years

Lytle suffered a heart attack and died at Fremont Memorial Hospital in Fremont, Ohio on November 20, 2010. He is survived by his wife Tracy Lytle, his son Kelly Lytle, his daughter Erin Lytle Tober, his granddaughter Audrey and his father William Lytle.[15][16][17][18][19] An autopsy of his brain revealed “moderate to severe” symptoms of the neurodegenerative disease Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).[20][21]

Footage of Lytle with the Denver Broncos was used in the 1988 film Everybody's All-American.


  1. "Ex-Broncos RB Rob Lytle dies at 56". ESPN. November 21, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  2. Stellino, Vito (December 30, 1976). "Lytle talks big – on field". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: p. 11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Rob Lytle". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  4. "All-Time Football Roster Database". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2015.(to retrieve information for a particular season, go to "Games & Totals by Season" and select the year for which statistics are to be retrieved)
  6. "1975 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  7. "1976 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  8. "Lytle, Brudzinski named All-Americas". Toledo Blade. Associated Press ((Ohio)): p. 58. December 2, 1976.
  9. "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections". National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 7. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  10. "Dorsett thinks he should have won two straight Heismans". Toledo Blade. Associated Press ((Ohio)): p. 38. December 1, 1976.
  11. "Dorsett awes own mates". Pittsburgh Press: p. 69. December 1, 1976.
  12. "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". Regents of the University of Michigan. 2003. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  13. "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. (The two games are: October 18, 1975 vs. Northwestern - Huckleby [157], Lytle [105], Bell [100]; September 18, 1976 vs. Stanford - Huckleby [157], Davis [116], Lytle [100])
  14. Mark Snyder (January 9, 2015). "Former U-M RB Lytle elected to College Football HOF". Detroit Free Press.
  15. "U-M All-American Rob Lytle dies at 56".
  16. "Rob Lytle, All-American Back, Dies at 56". The New York Times. November 21, 2010.
  17. "Michigan All-American Rob Lytle dies at 56". The Detroit News. November 21, 2010.
  18. "ROB LYTLE, 1954-2010: Fremont native was All-American". Toledo Blade. November 21, 2010.
  19. Mike Klis (November 21, 2010). "Lytle a super rookie with '77 Broncos: Former teammates are stunned to hear about the death of "a great guy" and tough runner". Denver Post.
  20. Frei, Terry (May 26, 2015). "CTE "warning signs" existed before former Broncos RB Rob Lytle's death in 2010". Denver Post. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  21. [citation needed]

External links