A Look Back: Tim Green Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

Tim Green is considered one of the greatest defensive players to ever play for the Orange. Today, 20+ years since he was a member of the Syracuse University team, he still holds several school records. His legend lives on through his record setting 45.5 career sacks and 341 career tackles by a down lineman. In fact, no Syracuse player since Tim Green has come within 60 tackles of the latter record. Unsurprisingly, each of his final three years at Syracuse, he led the team in sacks.

A highlight that demonstrates the importance of his career was their 1984 game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On September 29, the top-ranked team came to Syracuse to face off against the Orange at the Carrier Dome. Coming back from a second-half deficit, Green was able to make two big sacks and a fumble recovery, allowing the Orange to pull the upset by a score of 17–9. This win was the only victory by Syracuse University over a team sporting the highest ranking in the country.

Before he joined SU, Tim Green was also a state heavyweight wrestling championship in 1981 at Liverpool High School. On their football team, Green was a first team all-state pick and considered one of the finest football linemen in Onondaga League history. In 1982, he was selected as the Upstate New York Player of the Year.

Tim was voted Syracuse University Football’s Most Valuable Player in 1985 and in the same year was awarded co-player of the year in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Green graduated SU as a consensus All-American. Academically, he was named CoSIDA Academic All-American (twice), National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, and co-Valedictorian of his graduating class.

He went on to join the NFL on the Atlanta Falcons, who selected him with the 17th overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft. There, Green tallied 24 sacks in eight seasons, retiring from pro football in 1994.

Syracuse University had not seen the last of Tim Green, though. He returned after retiring from the NFL to earn his law degree the following year.

Since then, Green has become a prolific author of suspense novels, children’s books, and non-fiction, with several books making The New York Times bestseller’s list. He has devoted years to traveling around the country speaking to children about the importance of reading and fiction, and inspired youth in every town he visits to go after their dreams.

Tim Green also spent 11 years as an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He was a legal commentator for ABC’s Good Morning America, and he hosted FOX Sports’ Emmy-nominated program, NFL Total Access.

In 2001, Tim Green was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Here is a summary of Tim Green’s accomplishments throughout his football career:

1978–1982: Liverpool High School varsity football and varsity wrestling

  • Named High School All-American
  • Selected as the Upstate New York Player of the Year

1982–1985: Syracuse University Football

  • Member of “Four Wheel Drive” defense line
  • Helped SU defeat No. 1-ranked Nebraska
  • Syracuse All-Century Team
  • 1984: 1984 All-American
  • 1985: Consensus All-American
  • Set record for most sacks in a season (15), most sacks in a game (4), and most sacks in a career (45.5)
  • 1985: Voted SU’s Most Valuable Player (Bill Horr Award)
  • 1985: Team co-captain and co-player of the year in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC)

1986–1994: Atlanta Falcons

  • Drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons where he played linebacker and defensive end
  • Led the Falcons in sacks 1989–1990
  • Topped 100 tackle mark
  • 1989–1991: led the Falcons with 37 QB pressures, six sacks, four forced fumbles, and made 121 tackles (1990).

1994: Retired from the NFL

2001: Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2001

Today, Tim Green resides in Skaneateles, NY with his wife, Illyssa, and their five children.


Originally published at Tim Green’s Football blog.