NCAA

Joe Biden Was Once a Solid Football Player and Led His Team To an Improbable Undefeated Season

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has been many things throughout his life. He served as a lawyer for a short time and then became one of the youngest senators in U.S. history at the age of 30. After 36 years in the Senate, he became the vice president of the United States in 2008 and served two terms alongside President Barack Obama. But did you know that Joe Biden was also once a very good athlete? Biden was a fantastic high school football player in the state of Delaware and even played a little college football.

So we figured on the day that he’s looking to unseat Donald Trump and become President of the United States that we’d take a quick look back on the football career of Joe Biden.

Sports helped Joe Biden gain confidence

For those unaware, Joe Biden has had an issue with stuttering since he was a child. Upon his arrival at Archmere Academy, the prep school he attended in Claymont, Delaware, he was given the nickname “Dash” and it wasn’t because of his athletic quickness. No, it represented the “dashes” he would have to insert in multi-syllable words when speaking. To put it another way, it was a nickname mocking his stutter. Teenagers can be cruel, can’t they?

But Biden used sports to help him gain confidence, as he wrote in his 2007 memoir, “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics.”

“As much as I lacked confidence in my ability to communicate verbally, I always had confidence in my athletic ability. Sports were as natural to me as speaking was unnatural. And sports turned out to be my ticket to acceptance — and more. I wasn’t easily intimidated in a game, so even when I stuttered, I was always the kid who said, ‘Give me the ball.’”

Joe Biden

Joe Biden was a fantastic high school football player

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Joe Biden played multiple sports while enrolled at Archmere but he excelled most on the football field as a halfback and wide receiver. His coach, E. John Walsh, once told the New York Times that Biden “was one of the best pass receivers I had in 16 years as a coach.”

Walsh took over as head coach at Archmere in 1960 when Biden was a senior. The team hadn’t won more than two games in a dozen years and things weren’t looking much better that season as Walsh actually had to recruit players from the lunch line because only 18 kids showed up to play in training camp. But the team shocked everyone by winning the conference title with a perfect 8-0 record and Joe Biden was one of the big reasons why.

Records obtained by the Daily Pennsylvanian show that Biden scored four touchdowns in Archmere’s four conference games, the most of anyone on the team. The former vice president also scored six times in the team’s four non-conference matchups, giving him 60 points on the season, one of the highest totals in the state of Delaware. A few of Biden’s touchdowns can be seen in the video above, which was posted by his quarterback at Archmere, Bill Peterman.

When Walsh was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, Joe Biden was on hand for the ceremony and he’s also hosted numerous reunions for his undefeated squad.

He played freshman football at the University of Delaware

Joe Biden
Joe Biden | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s college football career at the University of Delaware gets a little controversial. On a campaign stop at Ohio University in 2012, he claimed that the last time that he was in Athens was for a Delaware vs. Ohio football game in 1963 (he would’ve been a junior then), which Delaware won by a score of 29-12.

The score is correct but shortly after Biden’s stop in Athens, the Huffington Post was told by the university’s sports information department that Biden never played varsity football. He did, however, play freshman football for the Fightin’ Blue Hens, which adds up given the fact that up until 1972, the NCAA didn’t allow freshmen to play varsity sports.

Perhaps Biden was at that game in 1963 as a fan or traveling with the team. He said in his memoir that he stopped playing football as a freshman because he wasn’t doing so well academically and that his parents essentially forced him to quit.

However, he also wrote that he did join the varsity squad after two years off but never played a snap as he chose love over football. He’d met Neilia Hunter, who became his first wife, and had to choose between spending his weekends in Syracuse, where she was in school and where he later attended law school, or on the gridiron. Biden chose her and the two married in 1966. She and the couple’s one-year-old daughter, Amy, were tragically killed in a car accident in 1972.