Cannon

Billy Cannon runs for an 89 yard LSU touch-down

On October 31, 1959, one of college footballs premier teams, the LSU Tigers, won a closely contested game with an amazing punt return by a Heisman trophy winner named Billy Cannon.

I was introduced to the Louisiana culture as a child, since my mother and her family for five generations were a part of it. This story over at ESPN is pure Louisiana culture if it is anything. But it is much more: it is the culture of the South and the place sports, especially football, plays in that culture. The folk heroes are more often than not, the football stars.

But Billy Cannon’s story-about a young married football star who seemed to have it all, after spending eleven years in the NFL, returned home to take up his life as a Dentist, and fell from grace. He was found guilty of counterfeiting $100 bills and sent to prison.

The Redemption of Billy Cannon is an excellent article that fully explains every factor in this story to the depth of infamy after the pinnacle of fame and the long road back to finding a place of honor in the State of Louisiana and beyond at age 72. No, you won’t find any mention of religion or religious faith in this story- it’s not that kind of redemption. I would rather call it a great example of redemption American vintage cultural style.

Be sure to read the whole story and watch the video of Cannon’s famous punt return at The Redemption of Billy Cannon. Thank you Wright Thompson and ESPN for the memory and the lesson on the American football culture.

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