Birmingham native Johnny Musso was a favorite of many Alabama fans. He was a two time All-American (1970 & ’71) and finished 4th in the 1971 Heisman Trophy voting. He was named Player of the Year by football News, the Touchdown Club of Atlanta, and the Miami Touchdown Club. Though Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa borrowed the nickname, Musso was known to all as the original “Italian Stallion”, He twice led the SEC in rushing and was All-SEC in 1970 & ’71.He won the American Football Coaches Association Ernie Davis Award in 1972. He holds or set many Alabama and SEC rushing and scoring records.
Musso was drafted by the Chicago Bears of the NFL, but chose to sign with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL. He played 3 seasons for the BC Lions before signing with Birmingham. He returned to his home and was an integral part of the Vulcans’ offense rushing for 681 yards and 4 TDs, as well as catching 6 passes for 50 yards and one score. A knee injury nagged Musso throughout the second half of the abbreviated ’75 season. But Musso remained a fan favorite of Vulcans fans, then and now
After the WFL folded Musso signed with the Chicago Bears and played in the ’75, ’76, & ’77 seasons, rushing for 365 yards & 6 TDs. In 1978 Musso spent time on the injured reserve before finally retiring due to the knee injuries.
Musso was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.