One of the least-known but most compelling stories in NFL history happened 37 years ago today.
Chiefs running back Joe Delaney died on June 29, 1983. He died trying to save three drowning boys. He tried to save three drowning boys even though he couldn’t swim.
We mention the story every year, for a couple of reasons. (This year, we’ve mentioned Joe a couple of times.) First, the moment I learned that Delaney had died remains seared in my memory, a realization while reading the local newspaper over a bowl of cereal just a few weeks after graduating high school. Second, every time we mention Joe Delaney’s story, I hear from multiple readers who had never heard of Joe Delaney.
Every NFL fan should know about Joe Delaney. Everyone in America should know about Joe Delaney.
This year, his message of extreme selflessness carries even more weight than usual. Every year, his story must be remembered and told, in the hopes of inspiring those who hadn’t previously heard of Joe Delaney.