Sept. 12, 2008
The ceremony to retire Longhorn greats Tommy Nobis' No. 60 and Bobby Layne's No. 22 has been rescheduled to once again coincide with the Texas-Arkansas football game. The event was originally scheduled for this weekend's game, but when it was postponed to the 27th, UT officials were forced to reschedule with Nobis and Layne's son, Alan, who will represent his father, as well. Bobby Layne passed away in 1986.
Texas will honor the two during a halftime ceremony on the field. Longhorn two-time consensus All-American OT Jerry Sisemore will also be recognized as a member of the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame during a pre-game tribute. A member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and Longhorn Hall of Honor, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
"The University of Texas stands for a lot more than just football, but I know how important football is there, and we have had a lot of great teams and great players," Nobis said. "When I think of all of the people who have walked onto that field, to be pulled out and recognized as one of the best is really special for me and my family."
Nobis was the 1965 Outland Trophy and Maxwell Award winner as a senior, a two-time All-American, made the All-Southwest Conference team three years and was the only sophomore starter on the Longhorns' 1963 National Championship team. He also finished seventh in the Heisman voting in 1965, the only defensive player ranked among the top 10. As a junior, he registered one of the most famous tackles in Orange Bowl history, when he led his teammates on a fourth-and-inches stop of Joe Namath at the goal line to preserve UT's 21-17 victory against No. 1 Alabama. Incredibly, Nobis played a part in Longhorn victories over two of college football's greatest players and future NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks, as he also helped UT's defense defeat Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach and No. 2 Navy (28-6) in the 1964 Cotton Bowl to secure the 1963 title.
Nobis, who appeared on the covers of Life, Sports Illustrated and Time magazines during his Longhorn career, averaged nearly 20 tackles per game at UT and was often the primary blocker for TD runs on teams that were ranked No. 1 in the nation at some point during each of his three years. He also is tied for the UT single-season interceptions by a linebacker record with four (1965) and is third on the career list with eight. Nobis went on to a successful 10-year career with the Atlanta Falcons, earning Pro Bowl honors five times and NFL Rookie of the Year in 1966. He was named to the NFL's All-1960s team and was selected to the Football News' all-time All-America team. Nobis posted 294 tackles as a rookie in 1966, a Falcon season record that still stands today.
Now a member of the front office of the Falcons, Nobis was a first-round draft choice of the team in 1966 (the first player ever drafted by the expansion Falcons) and was elected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1976 and the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1981. A member of the Texas and Georgia State High School Halls of Fame, he joined fellow Longhorn Ricky Williams on the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-Century Team in 2000 and was selected to Sports Illustrated's All Century Team (1869-1969). Nobis is a member of the Falcons' Ring of Honor and his number 60 was the first number retired by the team.
A two-sport star at Texas, Bobby Layne finished his UT career with then school records 3,145 yards passing, 25 TD passes on 210 completions and 400 attempts, while also pitching for the baseball team. Layne finished sixth in the Heisman voting in 1947 and eighth in 1946. Layne's career passing yards and passing TD marks stood as the UT record for nearly 40 years, while his 28-6 record as a starter was the best in school history until Vince Young surpassed it with his 30-2 mark from 2003-05. He was the Outstanding Back of the Longhorns' 1948 Sugar Bowl victory against No. 6 Alabama as a senior and was one of the first inductees into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame based on his incredible performance in the 1946 Classic win against Missouri. In the 40-27 victory, Layne accounted for every point, scoring four touchdowns, kicking four extra points and passing for the other two touchdowns. Layne's 28 points scored in that game stood as the Longhorn record for more than 30 years before Ricky Williams broke it in 1997.
As a pitcher in baseball, Layne posted a 40-7 career record (tied for fourth on the UT all-time wins list), including a 28-0 mark in Southwest Conference play. His 10.78 strikeouts per nine innings rank third on the UT all-time list while his 386 career strikeouts are tied for fourth. The third overall pick of the 1948 pro football draft, his 15-year professional career included leading the Detroit Lions to three league titles and twice being named the all-league quarterback (Detroit and Pittsburgh). The Lions won divisional crowns in 1952, 1953 and 1954, and NFL titles in 1952 and 1953. In both title game victories, Layne and the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns. In the 1953 game, Layne enjoyed his greatest and most famous contest. The Browns held a 16-10 advantage with 4:10 left to play. Layne coolly directed the team on an 80-yard TD drive that, combined with Doak Walker's extra point kick, gave the Lions a 17-16 win.
Layne, who also played in six Pro Bowls, led the league in passing in 1950 and 1951. He finished his career with 26,768 passing yards and 196 TDs while rushing for 2,451 yards and 25 scores. Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1967 and elected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1963, Sports Illustrated named Layne the "Toughest Quarterback who ever lived" in 1995.
Sisemore was a three-year letterwinner, a two-time consensus All-American (1971-72) and a team captain during one of the best three-year periods in the history of Texas football. In his three seasons, the Longhorns posted a 28-5 (.848) overall record, lost only one game in Southwest Conference play, won three consecutive league championships and played in three straight Cotton Bowls. As a sophomore, he helped lead UT to a 10-1 record and UT's third National Championship in school history. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder also played in numerous all-star games following his outstanding career, including the Senior Bowl and Coaches All-America Game in 1973.
Sisemore was selected in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles with the third overall pick. He remained with the team for the duration of his 12-year career and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1980, '82). Sisemore appeared in the postseason four times and was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1980 and into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2007.