They call Purdue “The Cradle of Quarterbacks,” and given that the school has produced names like Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, and yes, the immortal Gary Danielson, it seems like an appropriate nickname.
However, when the current group of Boilermakers takes the field on Saturday against Notre Dame, the school will honor someone honor one of its most famous alums, but someone who not only never played quarterback at the school, he never played football at all.
Who is this man of mystery? None other than Neil Armstrong.
In case you’re wondering, yes, we’re talking about that Neil Armstrong.
The first man to walk on the moon and who also preached the famous saying “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for man-kind,” was a Purdue alum, having graduated the school in 1955 with a degree Aeronautical Engineering (as Matt Hinton from Eye on College Football pointed out earlier today, ironically, Armstrong also graduated from USC with a Masters in Aerospace Engineering in 1970… one year after he landed on the moon).
Regardless, Armstrong passed away in late-August after complications from heart surgery, and this week, the school elected to honor one of its most famous alums. The picture above will be used as a decal on the back of all their player’s helmets when the team takes the field again Saturday against Notre Dame, the school announced via their Facebook page earlier this week.
Frankly, this seems like an incredibly classy move for the university.
Now granted, many would be quick to say that the football field is no place to honor someone, especially someone who had nothing to do with a school’s football program.
Frankly, I couldn’t disagree more.
Whether we like it or not, the school’s football team is the biggest national platform they have, and itheir games on Saturdays essentially turn into three hour infomercials for the university. For Purdue, the easiest way to honor Armstrong and all his incredible achievements is to do something associated with the football team.
And yes, Armstrong does in fact need to be honored.
In our society these days, we are way too quick to everyone a “hero,” only in Armstrong’s case, the word does fit. In every sense of the word, he was one of the most important people in the history of our country, and someone who kids will be reading about in history books for years to come.
Armstrong deserves this honor. Credit the university for finding a way to commemorate him appropriately.