We thought we’d share this bit of trivia for the Mark Harmon/NCIS fans waiting for the beginning of Season eleven on September 24th. Many know that Mark Harmon was the starting quarterback for UCLA in 1972/73. Some may know that his father Tom Harmon was the Heisman Trophy winner while quarterback at the University of Michigan in 1940. This past Saturday, school officials unretired Tom Harmon’s number 98 football jersey so it could be worn by the U of M quarterback during the game against Notre Dame. Mark Harmon was present at the pregame ceremony, during which he said, “I think my father would be proud. He’d be embarrassed, but he’d be proud. He’d be embarrassed because he was a humble man, and he thought no one did it alone.”
Tom Harmon was selected in the 1941 football draft by the Chicago Bears, but elected to sign with the New York Americans. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corp when the war started and flew a P-38. Tom Harmon’s plane was shot down over Japanese-occupied China by the Japanese during a dog fight and he was injured upon bailing out. He was rescued by anti-Japanese Chinese guerrillas. This former football star was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. His professional football career resumed after he returned from the war, but his injuries impacted his game.
During his last college game against Ohio State, he lead the Wolverines to a 40 to 0 victory and received a standing ovation. He lead the nation in scoring in 1939 and 1940, a record that’s never been surpassed. Now you know the rest of the story about “Grandpa Gibbs.”