Today’s post celebrates a Happy Birthday wish for a Wolverine named John Rowser. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, 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. Rowser starred in football from 1959 to 1962. After graduation, Rowser chose to accept a scholarship offer to play football for Bump Elliott’s Michigan Wolverines.
(John Rowser (#43) is shown above with the 1966 Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is seated in the first row – second man from the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
John F. 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. He didn’t start any games, but he played enough to earn a letter. John saw action as a halfback in 1963. John caught 4 passes for 24-yards and ran the ball 11 times for 40-yards. He 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. They 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.
The 1966 season turned out better for 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. Rowser became a solid performer in Michigan’s defensive backfield. He recorded 15 solo tackles and assisted on 16 more for a total of 31. John F. Rowser also forced a fumble and recovered 2 more. He also recorded 3 Pass Breakups and snagged 1 interception in his final season at Michigan.
Yes, 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. 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.
Today is a great day to appreciate the contributions of John Rowser to the great history of Michigan Football. I hope that John F. Rowser has a very happy birthday! Go Blue!
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