Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Is This 6-11, 500-Pound Dude From Central Pennsylvania The Largest Football Player Ever?

Illustration for article titled Is This 6-11, 500-Pound Dude From Central Pennsylvania The Largest Football Player Ever?

Aaron Gibson, the former Lions, Cowboys, and Bears offensive tackle, was the heaviest player to ever play in the NFL: He weighed 410 pounds. Richard Sligh, a defensive tackle who played one season for the Raiders while they were still in the AFL, was the tallest man ever to play the sport.

John "House" Taylor, who plays on the defensive line for the Central Penn Piranha, a Gridiron Developmental Football League team based in Enola, Penn., is an inch shorter than Sligh and 90 pounds heavier than Gibson. He's huge.

But the Piranha don't use House the way most teams use defensive tackles. Or the way most teams use football players, really. WHP-TV explains:

"House" has a simple job on defense — take up space. An offense can't block, what an offense can't see. "If they can't see the linebackers, they don't where they coming from, the offensive linemen," said Ron Kerr, the owner and head coach of the Piranha. "He has to be double-teamed. He's too big not to be."
In fact, he spends most games on the sidelines, waiting for his number to be called; the Piranha primarily uses Taylor in short-yardage situations, when the other teams needs to pick up only a few, tough yards.


He's a six-foot-11, 500-pound decoy, basically. That's kind of a bummer, but not as much of a bummer as his age—35—which means he'll likely never see a better league, unless Dan Snyder wises up and realizes the Redskins would be much more watchable and no less competitive with players like Taylor on the team.

We do, however, have one suggestion for Taylor. In the late '90s, back when tech stocks went only one direction and times were high, my father owned a minor-league football team in Connecticut. I'll spare you much of what I do remember, but I'll add that I don't remember much. My salient memory is of a big, bald offensive and defensive lineman who complained once about the blistery rugburn he got on his arm from the cheap turf at the West Haven High field. But I don't remember him because of his size or his rash. I remember him because he had one name: Sparky. That was what was listed on the team roster, and it was what was on the back of his jersey (if the jerseys had names, which, again, I can't remember). No one ever heard anything about a real name.

That's where House, the big man, comes in. Just go by House. None of this "John Taylor" stuff. Maybe you'll have to pay royalties to Fox someday, but that'll be a sign that you've made it.


Meet 'House:' the largest football player of all-time [WHP-TV, h/t PolkPanther]

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