One might find it hard to believe that a small-town Wisconsin kid could be come an All-Pro NFL linebacker – in Miami no less! – but that is exactly what John Offerdahl did. Offerdahl received just one Division I offer following high school, a partial scholarship to Western Michigan University. It didn’t take long for the partial to become a full scholarship, nor did it take long for Offerdahl to become a four-year starter, team leader, three-time All-MAC player, and second-team All American. It was his performance in the 1986 Senior Bowl, however, that truly peaked the interest of NFL scouts as Offerdahl’s goal line stops against Heisman Trophy-winning folk hero Bo Jackson helped him earn the game’s Defensive MVP award. Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins were impressed enough to use their first selection in the NFL draft on Offerdahl and he did not disappoint. In his rookie season, Offerdahl was selected to the Pro Bowl, named a second-team All Pro, and shared NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Pro Bowl became a second home for Offerdahl as Shula’s defensive captain was named to the all star game in each of his first five seasons. When he wasn’t knocking down running backs, Offerdahl tackled the restaurant industry, building Offerdahl’s Bagel Gourmet into a 10-store mini empire and eventually selling the business to what would become Einstein Bros. Five years after the sale, he re-entered the restaurant industry opening what is now called Offerdahl’s Off the Grill.
In The Tank, John vividly details his head-on meetings with Bo Jackson, shares how he handled an epic Don Shula expletive-filled rant, explains how a contract hold out also may have helped prepare him for the restaurant business, and discusses how his desire for, and receptiveness to, good coaching has shaped his life in many ways.
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