Isiah RobertsonFootball Player
Rosenwald H.S./Southern University/NFL
Before he became one of the National Football League’s most feared defenders of the 1970s, Isiah Robertson, nicknamed “Playmaker” for his knack for making big plays, could be found on the playgrounds and high school fields in and around New Orleans.
Robertson would sign a scholarship with Southern University, where he became the school’s first College Division All-America selection as a senior in 1970. In his college career, he had 11 interceptions, including a length-of-the-field return for a game-winning touchdown against Grambling with seconds left to play.
From there, he was the 10th overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, and was immediately placed in the starting lineup.
Robertson was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1971 and earned the first of his six Pro Bowl selections.
After starting 12 of 14 games as a rookie, Robertson would start every game for the next six years at right linebacker. From 1973 through 1977, he made five consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and helped the Rams reach the NFC Championship Game three straight seasons. Robertson also earned first-team All-Pro honors in 1973 and 1976.
His five straight Pro Bowl trips all came with Chuck Knox as head coach of the Rams. When Knox left after the 1977 season to become head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Robertson became a part-time starter under Ray Malavasi the following year. After the 1978 season, Robertson was reunited with Knox in a trade to the Bills.
For the final four seasons of his career in Buffalo, Robertson started 57 consecutive games at outside linebacker and helped the Bills make back-to-back trips to the playoffs in 1980-81.
Robertson had 25 career interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries and four touchdowns during his career. Tackles and sacks were not kept officially in that era.
When he wasn’t on the field, Robertson was involved with Special Olympics, coaching Little League baseball and Junior All-American football and held football schools for underprivileged children in southern California.
His career accomplishments have already earned Robertson induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the Southern University Sports Hall of Fame.
After his playing career ended, Robertson established the House of Isaiah, a long-term drug and alcohol recovery program for men, located in Texas. He has lectured to thousands all over the United States and Canada with his dynamic platform message: “Run to Win!”
Story submitted by Lenny Vangilder of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.