Roger Zatkoff
Roger Zatkoff.png
Zatkoff in 1952
No. 74, 57     
Linebacker, defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1931-03-25) March 25, 1931 (age 89)
Place of birth: Hamtramck, Michigan
Career information
College: Michigan
NFL Draft: 1953 / Round: 5 / Pick: 55
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Green Bay Packers (19531956)
Career highlights and awards
* First-team All-Big Ten (1951, 1952)
  • First-team All-Pro (1954, 1955)
  • Pro Bowl (1954, 1955, 1956)
Games played     72
Interceptions     4
Fumble recoveries     8
Stats at

Roger Zatkoff (born March 25, 1931) is a former American football player and businessman.

A native of Hamtramck, Michigan, Zatkoff played college football for the University of Michigan from 1950 to 1952 and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player in both 1951 and 1952. He later played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Green Bay Packers from 1953 to 1956 and for the Detroit Lions in 1957 and 1958. He was selected as an All-Pro player by in 1954 (UP first team, AP second team), 1955 (AP and TSN first team), 1956 (NEA second team). He was also a member of the 1957 Detroit Lions team that won the NFL championship.

After retiring from football, Zatkoff operated a manufacturing supply company based in the Detroit area. The company became the largest independent distributor of seals in North America.

Early yearsEdit

Zatkoff was born in Hamtramck, Michigan, in 1931.[1] He played at the fullback position at Hamtramck High School.[2]

University of MichiganEdit

Zatkoff enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1949 and played college football for Bennie Oosterbaan's Michigan Wolverines football teams from 1950 to 1952.[3] As a freshman, he was awarded the Meyer Morton Award as the freshman player showing the most promise.[4] He started nine games at linebacker for the 1950 Michigan Wolverines football team that defeated Ohio State in the famous Snow Bowl game, won the Big ten championship, and defeated the University of California in the 1951 Rose Bowl.[4] He started all nine games at linebacker for the 1951 Wolverines,[5] and he was selected by the Associated Press as a first-team linebacker on the 1951 All-Big Ten Conference football team.[6] As a senior in 1952, he started all nine games for Michigan at the linebacker position and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player by both the Associated Press and United Press.[7][8][9]

Zatkoff was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1985.[10]

Professional footballEdit

Roger Zatkoff (1950)

Zatkoff (No. 70) in 1950

Zatkoff was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round (55th overall pick) of the 1953 NFL Draft.[1] He played linebacker for the Packers and appeared in 48 games from 1953 to 1956.[1] The Packers ranked in the NFL's lower tier while Zatkoff was with them, finishing 2–9–1 in 1953, 4–8 in 1954, 6–6 in 1955, and 4–8 in 1956. Despite the Packers' woes, Zatkoff earned a reputation as one of the best linebackers in the NFL in the mid-1950 and was selected as an All-Pro player by in 1954 (UP first team, AP second team), 1955 (AP and TSN first team), 1956 (NEA second team).[1]

In April 1957, the Packers traded Zatkoff and Bobby Garrett to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for six players, including Babe Parilli.[11] Zatkoff announced that, for family and business reasons, he would retire rather than play for the Browns.[12][13] The Browns tried to trade Zatkoff to the Los Angeles Rams, but Zatkoff refused to join the Rams, and the deal was called off.[14] In September 1957, the Browns finally traded Zatkoff to the Detroit Lions, the team Zatkoff preferred, in exchange for Lew Carpenter, the Lions' leading rusher in 1954 and 1955, and a future draft pick.[15]

He was a starting player on the 1957 Detroit Lions team that won the NFL championship.[16] He also appeared in all 12 games for the Lions in 1958.[1]

In March 1959, Zatkoff announced that he was retiring from football to focus on business.[2]

Later yearsEdit

In 1959, Zatkoff formed a company known as Zatkoff Seals & Packings, a supplier to manufacturing companies in the Detroit and Toledo areas. The company grew to eight locations in three states and became "the largest independent distributor of seals in North America."[17] Other companies include Zatkoff Properties, Ltd., and the Roger Zatkoff Company.

Roger Zatkoff AwardEdit

Since 1991, the University of Michigan has presented the Roger Zatkoff Award to the Michigan Wolverines football team's best linebacker at the end of each season. The past winners are listed below.[18]

Year Player Year Player Year Player
1991 Erick Anderson 2000 Victor Hobson 2009 Stevie Brown
1992 Steve Morrison 2001 Larry Foote 2010 Jonas Mouton
1993 Gannon Dudlar 2002 Victor Hobson 2011 Kenny Demens
1994 Steve Morrison 2003 Lawrence Reid 2012 Jake Ryan
1995 Jarrett Irons 2004 Roy Manning 2013 Jake Ryan
1996 Jarrett Irons 2005 David Harris 2014 Jake Ryan
1997 Sam Sword 2006 David Harris 2015 Desmond Morgan
1998 Sam Sword 2007 Chris Graham 2016 Ben Gedeon
1999 Ian Gold 2008 Obi Ezeh 2017 Devin Bush Jr.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Roger Zatkoff profile".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lyall Smith (March 25, 1959). "Zatkoff Quits the Lions to Tackle Customers". Detroit Free Press: p. 29. open access
  3. "Michigan Football Roster Database". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "1950 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  5. "1951 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  6. "Coaches Select All-Big Ten Team". The Ludington Daily News. November 26, 1951.,4039615.
  7. "1952 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  8. "3 Badgers on AP All Big Ten Team". The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin: p. 19. November 24, 1952.
  9. Ed Sainsbury (November 26, 1952). "Michigan, Badgers Each Land Trio On All-Big Ten Squad". Nevada State Journal: p. 11.
  10. "Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  11. "Brown-Packer Deal Involves Bobby Garrett". The Record Argus (PA): p. 10. April 19, 1957. open access
  12. "Paul Brown After Zatkoff's Name On Cleveland Contract". Marysville (OH) Journal-Tribune: p. 7. May 10, 1957. open access
  13. "Zatkoff Tells Browns He's Not Playing". The Sandusky (OH) Register: p. 20. June 5, 1957. open access
  14. "Zatkoff Balks; Rams, Browns Call Off Deal". Detroit Free Press: p. 37. September 4, 1957. open access
  15. George Puscas (September 6, 1957). "Squeeze Play Gets Zatkoff 'Home' To Lions". Detroit Free Press: p. 41. open access
  16. "1957 Detroit Lions".
  17. "About Zatkoff". Zatkoff Seals & Packings. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  18. "Michigan Football Roger Zatkoff Award". University of Michigan. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
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