Zambiasi 'Dogs SEC Legend

   Bumped into one of the great Georgia Bulldog players, at the SEC Championship Game festivities. He still looks like he could jump tall buildings and get ball carriers to the ground. And it was great to see him being honored and recognized as a SEC Legend. Ben Zambiasi was one of those players that made it hard to focus anyone else. 
   Ben was a LB from 1974-77, which was a time when I was zeroed in watching Georgia football, as a high school player. Zambiasi was fun to watch. One of those LBs that was all over the field. My first impression was that he was tremendously fit. In great shape, at 225 and 6'2", he could run and chase all day. His athleticism was unmatched at the LB position. He would fight off a block, leap over the pile and run down the speedy back trying to bounce the play outside. And #44 was relentless. Brought it every play. I'm sure many of his opponents found him intimidating. One of those competitors that you admired, for the way he played the game. 
   Somehow Ben was able to combine two qualities that don't often go together, for a LB; he was tough, but looked good playing the game. He had that long, black hair, a menacing look and the game to back it up. And Erk's scheme turned him loose. 
   The Georgia media guide shows that Ben Zambiasi had more tackles (467) than any Bulldog, who has ever put on the uniform. His single season high was 173 in 1977, my senior year in high school. I watched in awe for most of those. 
   As I spoke with him at the SEC Championship game, it was easy to see that he was taken back by this honor. His wife and daughter made the trip down from Canada, where he settled down, after his record-setting Canadian Football League days concluded. They were all smiles too. The two of us were the only Bulldogs in the building, with all those Auburn and South Carolina fans. And it was nice to be able to share in this with him.
   Ben Zambiasi was a big-time player. In fact, he's a Georgia legend.
  

 

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  • 8/4/2011 9:52 AM Dennis wrote:
    I went to high school with Ben, H. H Arnold HS, in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Department of Defense overseas school system were terrific schools, and had a very active sports system.

    On our football team, Ben was amazing. Easily the biggest, strongest, fastest, and meanest player I have ever seen. MANY, MANY times, we would hear a BOOM!, and we would say, "Ben just blew somebody up!". This just didn't happen occasionally, it happen several times a day. Football pads make a special sound when someone gets levelled...more of a CRACK! than a thud. Ben could get that CRACK! sound more than any player I have ever seen. I still think he would have been an excellent NFL player. He had the drive, ability, skills and motivation, clearly.
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    1. 11/25/2011 7:54 AM Anonymous wrote:
      I am born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. Ben Zambiasi and the other great Hamilton Tigercats of the day were my introduction to football. WOW! It almost seemed like a magical time with Ben leading this inpenetrable force against opponent's offences, including the likes of one Warren Moon, all the while the Tigercat Offence weilding their magic with QB's named Dieter Brock, and Tom Clements at the helm. I am a life long fan of football of any league but nothing, not to this very day, compares with the football played at that time with Ben. It was awesome! Almost magical.
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