Howie Long is a former NFL player who had a legendary hall of fame career. He is most famous for playing on the Oakland Raiders. After his career, he went on take acting roles and headed to the booth as a football analyst and commentator.
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Howard Matthew Moses "Howie" Long was born January 6, 1960 in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Howie’s mother worked as an assistant at her company. Howie was born with a football player’s genes as his father was also a local team football player. However, Howie never played football until he reached the age of 15.
Long was born into a Roman Catholic family. However, his childhood was not ideal as his parents filed for divorce when he was just 10 years old. Due to the broken nature of his home, Howie ended up being raised primarily by his elder sister.
Long first gained a reputation for his athletic ability during his time attending Milford High School in his home state of Massachusetts. He was known for being an all-around athlete, and despite not having played football until he turned 15, Long lettered three years in a row and was named to the Scholastic Coach All-America team when he was a senior.
College Football Career
Howie’s prowess on the field earned him a scholarship from Villanova University, where he also received his degree in Communications in 1981. Long quickly developed a reputation as a defensive powerhouse. During his first year, Long started every game and racked up an impressive 99 tackles. As a sophomore, Long led the Villanova defense in sacks with 5 and added another 78 tackles to his record.
The next season in 1979, Long missed three games due to a thigh injury and ended the season with only 46 tackles. In his final year there, Long again led the team in sacks with 4 and capped off his college career with another 84 tackles. He started out playing as a tight end but was moved to the defensive line. He earned All-East honors and was an honorable mention All-American by his senior year. Long also played in the Blue-Gray Football Classic during this time.
Pro Football Career
Immediately after college, Long joined the Oakland Raiders as a second round draft pick. He would go on to play for the Raiders for his entire 13 year NFL career, wearing the jersey number 75. He continued his dominant performance as a defensive end for the Raiders.
During his career, he notched an impressive 91.5 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions. He won numerous accolades during this time including being voted as the NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year, the NFLPA AFC Defensive Lineman of the Year, NEA's co-NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Seagrams' Seven Crown NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Miller Lite NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Long was also selected for the Pro Bowl 8 total times. However, his crowning achievement occurred in 1983, when the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII, dominating the Washington Redskins in convincing fashion.
Watching His Son Rise
The family tradition of football has been passed on as two of Howie’s three sons, Chris and Kyle also play professionally in the NFL. When the Fox network broadcasted Super Bowl LI, Howie Long was asked to appear on the pregame, halftime and postgame shows as a commentator and analyst. It wasn’t just the championship game for the NFL, it was also a unique opportunity for Howie to watch his son, Chris play for the New England Patriots.
As a broadcaster, Howie has to try to remain objective which gives him the hard task of balancing his role as a father with his role as a sports commentator, “I’m a dad first, no question, Now, that being said, I have a job to do. I’m prepared to do my job and talk about all aspects of the game, defense and offense and special teams, coaching, history, and give my opinions both in pregame at halftime and postgame. I’ll be professional, but certainly I’ll be watching the game as a dad.”
A year before the big game, Chris was released from his former team, the St. Louis Rams. As a free agent, he had many teams to choose from including the two teams competing in the championship game. He spoke with his father about who to choose but in the end Howie said he made his own choice, “He made the decision on his own. He asked for my input and I gave it to him. But Chris is someone who makes informed decisions and generally chooses wisely.”
Chris ended up making the right choice and had no regrets about choosing the elite team. He even said that he would’ve played on the team for free, “We’ve won 16 as a team this year and now we’re in the Super Bowl. This opportunity here is what I had in mind. It was my first experience in free agency and this is what I had in mind. Even when you’re playing for a struggling team, you convince yourself that you have a chance for something like this. When you get here [to New England], you don’t have to convince yourself because we really do have a chance every year here. Why? Because we have the greatest coach of all time and the greatest quarterback of all time.”
In 1982, Long married his wife Diane Addonizio with whom he now has 3 sons. His eldest son Christopher Howard was born in 1985 and currently plays for the NFL as a defensive end, taking directly after Howie himself. His second son, Kyle, also followed in his footsteps and plays for the Chicago Bears as a guard.
His third son, Howie Jr., could also have had a career in the NFL as he too possessed Long’s impressive athletic build and prowess, which is why many were shocked when Howie Jr. decided to pursue lacrosse rather than football while in college. There is no doubt that that Long family is full of strong athletes.
Last Modified: Apr 6, 2020