Gino Marchetti is a retired National Football League (NFL) player who played for the Dallas Texans (1952) and the Baltimore Colts (1953-1966). He was voted “the greatest defensive end in pro football history” by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. Marchetti won his first of two NFL championships in the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Colts and the Giants, which is often referred to as “The Greatest Game Ever Played” in NFL history. In 1959, Marchetti founded Gino’s Hamburgers. Gino’s became a successful East Coast regional fast food chain and had 313 company-owned locations when it was sold to Marriott in 1982, which converted many of the restaurants to Roy Rogers. In 2010, Marchetti revived the Gino’s name with Gino’s Burgers & Chicken, which first opened in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Born in the historic coal-mining town of Smithers, West Virginia on January 2, 1927, Gino Marchetti is my first cousin, twice removed. Now 86 years old, he is the most famous member of my extended Italian-American family.