1987 Lombardi Award Winner
Chris Spielman is in the Ohio State records book for a number of reasons. He led the Buckeyes in total tackles in 1986 and 1987 and he is Ohio State’s all-time leader in solo tackles. He also holds the OSU record for most total tackles in a game. A three-time All-Big Ten choice and a two-time All-American, Spielman concluded his brilliant career in 1987 by winning the Lombardi Award.
But it was not so much what he did as the way he did it. Intense and competitive almost beyond description, Spielman played every down of every game as if the national championship were on the line. Few players have ever been as focused when they stepped onto the playing field.
Spielman was a three-year starter and would have been a four-year regular were it not for two sprained ankles that greatly limited his playing time as a freshman. Still, he collected 546 career tackles, a total that places him third on the all-time OSU list behind Marcus Marek (572) and Tom Cousineau (569).
Spielman’s tackle total includes a school-record 283 solo stops. The Massillon, Ohio, native had his best year in 1986 as a junior, recording 205 total stops, including an OSU record 105 solos. His best game that year was a school record-tying 29 total tackles against Michigan.
Spielman’s Ohio State teams won two Big Ten titles. He played in the Rose and Cotton bowls and was defensive MVP in the latter as a senior.
Upon leaving Ohio State, Spielman became recognized as one of the NFL’s top players after finishing his 12-year career in 1999 with the Cleveland Browns.
Those people who claim “You can’t measure heart,” never saw Spielman play.