Film Shows How 'Meanest Man in Football' Trades Alcohol, Violence for Peace in God
By Tyler O'Neil , CP Contributor John Bramlett's alcohol-fueled anger got him kicked out of pro-baseball, caused him to abuse his wife and two sons, and even landed him in jail. But he became a Christian and 40 years later his story, which has reportedly inspired thousands of people, will be preserved in an upcoming documentary.
"To say 'I saw a miracle happen before my eyes,' is an understatement," Andy Bramlett, son of John "The Bull" Bramlett and project manager of the documentary "Taming the Bull," told the Christian Post in a Tuesday interview. His father had tried drugs, alcohol, and women, but he finally found peace in Jesus Christ.
John Bramlett had always been aggressive, Andy said. In high school football, he overcame the disadvantage of small size with forceful tackling. When the Dallas Cowboys rejected him because he was too small, the athlete turned to baseball.
But the same belligerence that suited him in football destroyed his baseball career. The son narrated how, on a day off from spring training, his father went out to a bar with his friends. After a particularly bloody fight in which he "nearly killed" a complete stranger, the St. Louis Cardinals "kicked him out of baseball, banned him for life."
After this rejection, however, Bramlett received a call from his old college coach in Memphis, offering a spot on the Denver Broncos. "He quit drinking, quit smoking, quit running around on my mom," got his weight up to 200 pounds, and joined the NFL, Andy recalled. In 1965, he was named runner-up American Football League "Rookie of the Year," behind Joe Namath.
Making an appearance at the Pro Bowl with both the Broncos and the Miami Dolphins, "The Bull" was named Most Valuable Player for the New England Patriots in 1970. Refusing to play for the Green Bay Packers, and after a final season with the Atlanta Falcons, he retired from football in 1972. Andy explained that teams quickly traded his father because his mean habits made him unreliable. This tendency also earned him the negative moniker "Meanest Man in Football."
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