High school playoffs have ended, bowl season is over, and the NFL playoff picture, which now excludes my hometown Texans, grows clearer by the game.
In the midst of this football bonanza, I got to wondering: How do the states stack up across all levels of football?
So I looked to my favorite source, ESPN editors to rank the states and District of Columbia at each level, then combined those rankings for an overall number.
The rankings you see below connect to a further description of each state. They aren’t, however, the final word. But of course me and the fellas have gone over this list over drinks and football countless times, so it’s time to put it in writing from the “experts”.
Without further waiting, here are the rankings, which I’m very pleased with of course…
No. 4 pro | No. 1 college | No. 1 high school: The Lone Star State has 10 DI teams, six Heismans*, six national titles**, three AFL titles***, five Super Bowl wins and 24 pro Hall of Famers****. For all of the Cowboys’ accomplishments, Sunday games sometimes are the third priority of fans in Texas. Note that Lamar Hunt took his Texans to Kansas City, Mo., and renamed them the Chiefs, and Bud Adams moved his Oilers to Tennessee. Still, the star burnished by players such as quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, coaches Jimmie Johnson and Tom Landry, running backs Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, and exec Tex Schramm shines brightly. “America’s Team” has been to eight Super Bowls. Even Houston is back in business with the latest Texans.
Texas runs over, through and past the competition with no better example than running back Earl Campbell, who was born in Tyler, won a Heisman for the Longhorns and built his Hall of Fame credentials with the Oilers. The Horns hooked three national titles under coach Darrell Royal (184 wins) and another in 2005 with quarterback Vince Young and coach Mack Brown. Texas A&M calls for the 12th man advantage with Yell Practice. Plenty of NFL greats got their start at Texas colleges, including quarterback Sammy Baugh (TCU), cornerback Darrell Green (Texas A&I), defensive tackle “Mean Joe” Greene (North Texas) and halfback Doak Walker (SMU).
Texas football reigns supreme. Anyone who has ever spent a Friday night in the state can’t help but be in awe. Stadiums and weight rooms are as impressive as the teams. Any doubters should pick up the book “Friday Night Lights” (not the show, not the movie, but the book).
No. 2 pro | No. 3 college | No. 2 high school: The Golden State has seven DI teams, nine Heismans, eight national titles, one NFL title, one AFL title, eight Super Bowl wins and 15 pro Hall of Famers.
No. 3 pro | No. 2 college | No. 3 high school: The Sunshine State has seven DI teams, six Heismans, eight national titles, three Super Bowl wins and seven pro Hall of Famers.
No. 1 pro | No. 7 college | No. 6 high school: The Keystone State has three DI teams, two Heismans, four national titles, four NFL titles, five Super Bowl wins and 26 pro Hall of Famers.
No. 5 pro | No. 4 college | No. 5 high school: The Buckeye State has eight DI teams, seven Heismans, seven national titles, nine NFL titles and 21 pro Hall of Famers.
No. 9 pro | No. 11 college | No. 4 high school: The Peach State has two DI teams, three Heismans and three national titles.
No. 13 pro | No. 6 college | No. 10 high school: The Great Lakes State has five DI teams, three Heismans, five national titles, four NFL titles and four pro Hall of Famers.
No. 18 pro | No. 5 college | No. 7 high school: The Pelican State has five DI teams, one Heisman, two national titles and five pro Hall of Famers.
No. 7 pro | No. 23 college | No. 13 high school: The Garden State has one DI team, one Heisman and five pro Hall of Famers.
No. 10 pro | No. 13 college | No. 25 high school: The Badger State has one DI team, two Heismans, nine NFL titles, three Super Bowl wins and eight pro Hall of Famers.
No. 14 pro | No. 22 college | No. 11 high school: The Prairie State has three DI teams, one Heisman, 10 NFL titles, one Super Bowl win and 16 pro Hall of Famers.
No. 23 pro | No. 10 college | No. 9 high school: The Heart of Dixie has four DI teams, two Heismans, eight national titles and four pro Hall of Famers.
No. 22 pro | No. 14 college | No. 8 high school: Old Dominion has two DI teams and seven pro Hall of Famers.
No. 17 pro | No. 21 college | No. 14 high school: The Tar Heel State has five DI teams and five pro Hall of Famers.
No. 8 pro | No. 29 college | No. 28 high school: The Show Me State has one DI team, two Super Bowl wins and four pro Hall of Famers.
*Heisman counts are for trophies won by a player attending college in the given state.
***NFL and AFL titles don’t include those won after Super Bowl play began in 1966.
****pro Hall of Famers are based on birthplace.