Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about football and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the football urban legends featured so far.
FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: A paternity test was done on George Gipp – almost seventy-seven years after he died!
George Gipp was one of the early legends of Notre Dame football, becoming just the second consensus first All-American in Football from the school in 1920, his senior year.
Gipp played for the Notre Dame Varsity for four years between 1916-1920 (his years 21-25), and held many records for decades, including the all-time rushing record, which he held for nearly sixty years!
Gipp played multiple positions for the Fighting Irish, including quarterback, halfback (his main position) and even punter!
He tragically died of a streptococcal throat infection in December of his Senior year (days after leading the Irish to a victory).
Years later, Notre Dame Coach Knute Rockne immortalized Gipp with a motivational speech he gave his team (trailing at halftime as underdogs against an undefeated Army team in 1928) that told them of Gipp’s last words to him:
I’ve got to go, Rock. It’s all right. I’m not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.
“Win one for the Gipper!” became a memorable slogan, especially when it was immortalized in the 1940 film, Knute Rocke: All-American (with future United States President Ronald Reagan playing Gipp).
While Gipp was an All-American boy on the field, he also might have been a bit busy off the field, as well, and was actually subject to a paternity test involving a pregnant 18-year-old high school student.
That’s normal enough, except for WHEN the paternity test took place – in 2007!!
In 2007, Gipp’s body was exhumed to do DNA testing to see if he WAS, indeed, the father of a baby who was born within days of Gipp’s death (and who also passed on in 2006).
There was not a match, Gipp was not discovered to be a father seventy-six years after he died.
The legend is…
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