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April 24, 2017 Happy Birthday John Rowser!

Posted on April 24, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates a Happy Birthday wish for a Wolverine named John Rowser. John Felix Rowser was born on this day in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up to be an excellent high school athlete at Detroit Eastern High School in Detroit, Michigan. He starred in football from 1959 to 1962. After graduation, he chose to accept a scholarship offer to play football for Bump Elliott’s Michigan Wolverines.

John Rowser is listed on the 1962 Michigan Football Roster as a halfback. He didn’t play as a freshman because nobody played as a freshman in the Sixties. Mike spent his first year learning the Bump Elliott football system and working hard in the classroom.

Rowser made the varsity in 1963. However, he didn’t start any games. John did play enough to earn a letter. He saw action as a halfback in 1963. He caught 4 passes for 24-yards and ran the ball 11 times for 40-yards. Rowser also returned one punt for 14-yards that season. Michigan finished with a final record of 3 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie. As bad luck would have it, John did not play, or letter, on the 1964 team that won the Big Ten Championship.

John Rowser returned to play on the 1965 team that was primed to make another run for the Big Ten title. Unfortunately, a big mid-season slump of four straight losses, put them in a bad spot. The Wolverines snapped the losing streak with two straight wins, but ended the year on a low note with two consecutive losses. Michigan finished the 1965 season with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses. The posted 2 victories and 5 defeats in conference play and ended up in a tie for seventh place. Rowser, who played mostly on defense, earned his second varsity letter for Michigan in 1965. He did carry the ball 13 times for 42-yards, but his future was not at running back.

John Rowser Michigan Football 1966 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

John Rowser (#43) is shown here with the seniors on the 1966 Michigan Football team. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

The 1966 season turned out better for John Rowser and Michigan, but it was not a championship campaign. The Wolverines won 6 and lost 4. They finished with a record of 4-3-0 in the conference which tied them for third place. John started all ten games at cornerback. He earned his third varsity letter in 1966. He became a solid performer in Michigan’s defensive backfield. John recorded 15 solo tackles and assisted on 16 more for a total of 31. He also forced a fumble and recovered 2 more. John also recorded 3 Pass Breakups and snagged 1 interception in his final season at Michigan.

John Rowser had a solid career at Michigan. Although he didn’t earn any team or conference awards, he was good enough to get drafted and enjoy a ten year NFL career. Here are some “firsts” that connect John Rowser to Michigan football:

·         John Rowser played in the first, and only, game in Michigan football history against SMU on September 28, 1963. The Wolverines defeated the Mustangs that day by a score of 27-16.

·         Rowser played in the first ever game against North Carolina on September 18, 1965. The Wolverines lost by a score of 7-21.

·         John Rowser became the first Wolverine to win a Super Bowl ring in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II.

John Rowser had a solid career at Michigan where he became an excellent defensive back. He enjoyed a successful ten-year career in the National Football League before he hung up his cleats. So, today is a great day to appreciate the contributions of John Rowser to the great history of Michigan Football. I hope he has a very happy birthday on his special day! Go Blue!




  • Alan Knaus says:

    John Rowser was (I believe) on the UM freshman basketball team and he could dunk!

    • Hi Alan,

      Thanks for the comment. The only other thing I saw about John in the Media Guide was a mention about track. Apparently, he was quite an athlete! Thanks for reading. Today, I wrote about the passing of Jim Mandich. GO Blue!

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