Spoiler Alert - Big Ten Icons Top 4

Submitted by dmoo4u on January 31st, 2011 at 5:19 PM

The Big Ten Icons website didn't do a very good job of locking down their images for the top 4, thus through some easy snooping I was able to identify the top 4 Big Ten Icons. Below is the list of names, as well as the 'Locker Picture' for each.. hosted on the big ten icons website.

#1 – Red Grange (http://www.bigtenicons.com/images/icons1-50/i1.jpg)

#2 – Magic Johnson (http://www.bigtenicons.com/images/icons1-50/i2.jpg)

#3 – Jesse Owens (http://www.bigtenicons.com/images/icons1-50/i3.jpg)

#4 – Archie Griffin (http://www.bigtenicons.com/images/icons1-50/i4.jpg)


The Swiss Wolverine

January 31st, 2011 at 5:54 PM ^

There are doubts on whether the snub actually happened and if it had anything to do with Jesse's skin color.
<br>Nonetheless, the media at the time and now history took possession of this moment and made it into a symbol.
<br>That said I would also rank him ahead of Magic. He was one of the first nationally famous sportsman of any kind.


January 31st, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

I've read that it was actually FDR who snubbed Owens after his victory - and that Owens, far from feeling mistreated by Hitler,  was surprised at the hospitality he received in Berlin.  That doesn't make for nearly as heartwarming a story as the popular version, though.  

Regardless, Owens was the Usain Bolt of his day.  Maybe even more than that.


January 31st, 2011 at 7:53 PM ^

never even knew these things were being questioned.   regardless of whether he felt snubbed by hitler or not, hitler apparently wasn't a fan.

"Each of the German victories, and there were a surprising number of these, made him happy, but he was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens. People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, Hitler said with a shrug; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future games.[12]"

I'd like to say FDR had more important things than the Olympics on his mind.


January 31st, 2011 at 8:17 PM ^

I'm sure Hitler was not happy to see him win, but the story has been massively distorted in order to make our country look a lot better.

FDR wasn't too busy to congratulate a number of white American athletes after the Olympics, but he ignored all African-American athletes, Owens included.  No president offered him any kind of recognition until 1955, when Eisenhower gave him some honorific title.  Moreover, while Owens was a huge celebrity in Europe, he was unable to cash in at all on his Olympic accomplishments in the U.S., and was in financial trouble for many years.  

Owens's views on the whole thing were pretty unambiguous:  "Hitler didn't snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram."


That our society could have treated him worse than Nazi Germany did obviously makes many people uncomfortable, but we shouldn't whitewash our own past.  



January 31st, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

If BTN is strictly following their own guidelines, consideration is only based on what was accomplished in college, not after. Jesse Owen's last competition as a Buckeye was before the 1936 Olympics. Sadly, he was ruled academically ineligible to compete the following school year. Everything Magic Johnson did regarding HIV activism was, needless to say, after his MSU days.


January 31st, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

But I'm a little upset Woodson wasn't in the top 10. I don't think people truly understand that he is the ONLY player in college football history to win the heisman trophy on the defensive side of the ball. He touched the ball 12 times on offense all year, that's it. I know a lot of people do understand this but apparently none of them were involved in putting this list together.


February 1st, 2011 at 1:56 AM ^

Grange's breakout game, the one that caused Grantland Rice to make him a legend, was against Michigan.  Pwens' breakout performance, before the Olympics, was in Ann Arbor.  And Johnson and Griffin were just general pains in the ass to all Wolverine fans.  

I think I'll go see if the surgery channel has prostate surgery during those shows; it would be about as enjoyable.


January 31st, 2011 at 5:54 PM ^

Those definitely are the four, but I'd be surprised if Owens weren't #1.  I mean, the male Athlete of the Year is named for him.  Maybe they're throwing a little curveball.


January 31st, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

BTN is a joke. How is Fielding Yost not in the top 10? Was he even included in the countdown? The guy was humble and that is why no one outside of Michigan really knows about him. The fact that they also didn't include anyone from U of Chicago, notably Coach Stagg shows this BIG TEN ICONS deal is a joke.

M go Bru

January 31st, 2011 at 6:21 PM ^

I've always felt that he was waaaaay  too overated.  I know he won 2 heismans. But he owed his yardage to his offensive line and the dominant era of the Big 2 / Little 8. That's why he wasn't worth a shit in the pros.


January 31st, 2011 at 6:42 PM ^

I know it's just for athletes, but let's face it, any list of Big Ten icons that doesn't include Bo or Woody isn't complete. The modern Big Ten as a media entity is based on the M-OSU football rivalry from 1969 on and the problem is that we haven't come up with anything more enduring since then. For all of Magic Johnson's exploits (college and pro, which isn't considered by BTN) and Archie Griffin and Steve Alford and Drew Brees and Ron Dayne and whoever else, other conferences, namely the SEC in football, have much more to say in the modern era than the Big Ten. We should've swallowed up Pitt and UConn and maybe Maryland and expanded our advertising reach to make a bigger statement. At least we were the first to come up with a conference TV network.

Mr. Robot

January 31st, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

Owens and Grange, definitely top 5 material. Magic and Archie? Not so much. Definitely top 20, and maybe top 10, but at the very least Harmon should be ahead of those two.

If I recall correctly from the commercials, this thing is SUPPOSE to be ONLY about what they did in school and completely disregard what happened afterward. Harmon regularly played all 60 minutes and  was awesome at literally every position. Archie was good, which is why he won two Heismans, but having that extra piece of hardware doesn't make him as awesome as Harmon. Of course, if you discount what they did after college, Owens is actually a tough sell too. He was still an awesome athlete, but probably nobody would know or care had it not been for his Olympic rampage.

Honestly, I could make the case that Harmon is better than Grange, too. Grange is known for the day he had against us, but people tend to conveniently ignore the fact that his senior year, Yost was back on the sidelines and shut him down hard. That's still debatable though, and I understand why Grange could still get the nod. If you consider what happened after college, that gives Grange an athletic boost too, but Harmon never really got a chance in the pros due to his injuries from WWII.

Zone Left

January 31st, 2011 at 8:37 PM ^

There have been tens of thousands of athletes, so nitpicking the order of the top 20 is being pretty rough on the selectors. To me, the only remotely questionable one is Magic, but only because he didn't finish his career out at State. Griffin essentially won player of the year in college twice(!), Grange was a living legend who helped create pro football, and Owens was seriously awesome and the only known athlete to seriously piss of Hitler. It's a good list.


January 31st, 2011 at 8:13 PM ^

Forget the Olympics and all those medals (did I just say that?!). Jesse Owens set 4 world records in well under an hour in Ann Arbor at the B10 Track and Field Championships. That is an accomplishment which stands alone. If he'd been hit by a meteor on the way back to Columbus that day Jesse Owens would still rank among the top three B10 icons.


Section 1

January 31st, 2011 at 8:38 PM ^

After just two years of collegiate basketball.

I am astonished if Jesse Owens is not Number 1.

Personally, my top five would have been Owens, Grange, Griffin, Harmon and Mark Spitz.

And yeah since it is "Big Ten Legends" (not "Big Ten Athletes) I'm not quite sure why there'd be no place for coaches; but those are the rules so whatever...

The real injustice in the 50 names is that Bump Elliott was not included.  Bump was a Big Ten legend in every imaginable way.  Read his Wikipedia entry if you don't understand my view on this.  And best of all, there is this little-known story about Bump Elliott.  He was of course a Silver Football winner; a Conference MVP, on a National Championship team, before becoming one of the very few people in history to play for, and coach, winning Rose Bowl teams.  Coach of Michigan.  Athletic Director at Iowa.  The guy who hired Dan Gable, and Hayden Fry.  Bump Elliott is a living legend.

But I love this story -- when Bump was a senior, they let him play basketball (I think he got letters in football, baseball and golf.  He was an all-world freak of an athlete.)  Some school -- Indiana, Purdue, I forget -- had an incredibly hot shooter.  Best in the Big Ten.  They put Bump on him, to just shadow him and stop that one guy from scoring.  And that's what Bump did.  When the teams went for a timeout, Bump walked away from the Michigan huddle and stood as close to his guy, by the other team's bench, as the refs would allow.  Bump was all over the guy.  The guy couldn't handle it; he was totally rattled, and made about 10 points all night.


January 31st, 2011 at 11:19 PM ^

I think another injustice of not making the top 50 is Bennie Oosterbaan.  If you want to talk about a Michigan man, he was the Michigan man. 

Conference batting title, conference scoring title in both football and basketball.  First-team all-american in two different sports, as well as conference champion in two different sports.  He was also a scholar-athlete with 9 total varsity letters.  That seems like a pretty good accomplishment in the Big Ten Conference.


January 31st, 2011 at 8:46 PM ^

"I was interviewing George Halas and I asked him who is the greatest running back you ever saw. And he said, 'That would be Red Grange.' And I asked him if Grange was playing today, how many yards do you think he'd gain. And he said, 'About 750, maybe 800 yards.' And I said, 'Well, 800 yards is just okay.' He sat up in his chair and he said, 'Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old.' "

Chris Berman on ESPN's SportsCentury show

steve sharik

January 31st, 2011 at 9:50 PM ^

...Keith Jackson makes an explicit point about how the athletes were only considered on the merits of their collegiate exploits.

So can someone explain to me why a guy who left after two years is #2 all-time?

Based on collegiate accomplishments alone, AC, Desmond, and Woodson all belong ahead of Magic.