Today is the first Sunday in NFL history without Sid Hartman on the planet.
The legendary columnist passed away peacefully while with family on Oct. 18. The news was announced by his son, Chad Hartman, on Twitter while the Vikings were hosting the Falcons.
Congratulatory words poured in for Hartman in March when he turned 100 on the 15th, just as the sports world and American life as most knew it was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. A birthday luncheon full of "close personal friends" was canceled.
Restrictions and guidelines implemented led to a virtual environment for the NFL Draft and limited visits to Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. Otherwise Hartman would have kept on working the beat in person.
Even though in-person interactions stopped, Hartman continued his vocation. His final column that featured fellow Minnesota hero, receiver Adam Thielen, was published last Sunday.
Tributes have rolled in on multiple types of media platforms with condolences expressed from coast-to-coast and memories shared with the lamentation that there will never be another Sid Hartman.
The native of North Minneapolis overcame numerous obstacles during his youth and worked his way up the newspaper industry. He was an instrumental influencer long before Instagram, helping bring big-league sports to the Twin Cities and earning first-name fame.
In honor of Hartman's indelible mark on Minnesota's sportscape, we gathered 100 tributes that combine interviews and posts on social media to pay tribute to Sid.
1. BUD GRANT on WCCO with Dave Lee and Mike Max on Oct. 18, 2020:
"There are a lot of stories about Sid, and they're all positive. They're all good. I've said it many times, and we'll repeat it: Of all the people in this world, Sid had more integrity than anybody I've ever known. He was my very best friend. He would never betray a confidence, and that's why he had so many friends in the sports world. They all could trust Sid. And he never said anything blind, he never put anybody on the spot. He had a way of writing, you bought it, but he never took anybody to task that I know of. He was my best friend, and I loved him dearly."
Grant respected and loved Hartman so much that the stoic coach asked the journalist to present him for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994:
"When it came down to it, he was the only person that I could think of that had meant more to my life, growing up at the University of Minnesota, than my close, personal friend Sid."
2. RANDY MOSS
3. FRAN TARKENTON
Tarkenton, who was drafted in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft in December 1960, recalled meeting Hartman on his first trip to Minnesota in February 1961:
"It's like 10-below-zero, and we come down at Wold-Chamberlain Field (now known as MSP) off a Northwest Airlines flight from Atlanta to here, and down at the bottom of the steps was Sir Sidney Hartman. I had never heard of him, didn't know who he was. He had his trusty microphone and out in the 10-below-zero, he gave my first interview. Sid Hartman is as important to the Minnesota Vikings as anybody from Bud Grant, Fran Tarkenton, Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Carl Eller, Adrian Peterson. He's just as big of a part of it as any of us."
4. BRIAN ROBISON
5. CHAD GREENWAY
6. JAKE REED
7. KEVIN McDERMOTT
8. ROBERT SMITH
9. RICH GANNON
10. MATT BIRK
11. TOMMY KRAMER
12. CORDARRELLE PATTERSON
13. AHMAD RASHAD
Rashad's first career as an NFL receiver took off when he signed with Minnesota in 1976 and said Hartman made a strong initial impression:
"Sid was as much a part of the Vikings as anybody. He was Minnesota. When I first got to the team, he was one of the first people I met. You read his column every day. There was nothing he didn't miss, and he was one of these guys that knew everybody. I met George Steinbrenner with him. George Steinbrenner would come hang out with Sid. He was kind of a throwback. He carried that little recorder everywhere he went, and no one else was doing that. He was a staunch, real reporter, and there was nobody quite like him in the country.
Rashad said Hartman helped his second career by providing tips and encouragement:
"When I started doing television in Minnesota, he was always a person that would come over and inspire me, you know, ask me what I was trying to do, where I wanted to go with this. 'Maybe you should do a little of this or that.' He was just a wonderful, wonderful man. He was just great. There's so many great things to say about him. After I left Minnesota, I was working for NBC and I was doing Wimbledon. I was there with Johnny Carson. There was one day I wasn't going to go, and Sid called me and told me his son was in town and would like to go to Wimbledon, so I left him tickets, and I think he ended up sitting with Johnny Carson. Sid never let me forget that. Every time I saw him for a year or 20 years later, he would thank me for that.
"There are certain people in your life that have a certain importance that really leaves a mark on your life, and when you look back at it, you realize how fortunate I was to have had someone like Sid Hartman in my life."
14. CARL ELLER
"The thing that I remember the most about Sid is that he was always around. He was a standard ... it was kind of like if Sid said it, that's the way it was. His word was Gospel. He was definitely the Minnesota sports person. He really had the trust from the public. He was the guy they wanted to hear from.
"Sid was truly dedicated and took all of it seriously. You could always count on him to get something, a scoop. People relied on Sid. Sid could get the story when there was a story to be had.
15. JIM MARSHALL
"Sid and I had a lot of fun together. Since I've been here, Sid's been a part of the Minnesota Vikings. He was a lot of fun. You could tease him and see that you were being successful at teasing him.
"I was always the jokester around Sid. I told him one time, 'You're not allowed in our locker room anymore, Sid, because we've heard you've been going out and talking about' - it was just something we made up. Sid would say, 'I never did that. I would never do anything like that.' That would be the impetus that we needed to keep on. It was a lot of fun.
"After a few times of him being around and seeing how he worked with the coaches, we began to notice him and accept him."
16. MARCUS SHERELS
"It was always fun seeing Sid around. When I was with the Gophers and Vikings, he would always ask me about my brother and how we were doing before any sports-related questions. Sid was and always be a legend, and he will be missed greatly."
17. VIKINGS OWNERS MARK AND ZYGI WILF:
"Our hearts are broken with the news of Sid Hartman's passing. It is nearly impossible to put into words what Sid meant to the sports world and to Minnesota. He was an iconic sports figure, a tenacious reporter and a tireless advocate for his beloved state. His doggedness and work ethic were unmatched, but it was Sid's ability to nurture relationships that truly set him apart. He was a confidant and a loyal friend to countless athletes and coaches across the country.
"The impact Sid had on collegiate and professional sports can never be replicated and will never be forgotten. His presence and his personality were constants during the Vikings first 60 seasons. Sid welcomed our family to town in 2005, and we will always appreciate his support for us as owners and for the Vikings franchise. Our prayers are with the entire Hartman family."
18. MIKE ZIMMER
"A couple of my favorite [memories] are when myself and Bud [Grant] were able to go to lunch with him for his birthday. Things like that. Being able to see him in the press conference walk right up to the front and ask the question. He couldn't hear, so he's always outdueling everybody for the question. But he always saw the good in everybody."
19. ADAM THIELEN
20. KIRK COUSINS
"I'm so grateful that I got to meet him and I got to know him. What a life he lived, what a legacy he left, and I'll be praying for their family in the days ahead."
21. KYLE RUDOLPH
22. DALVIN COOK
23. RICK SPIELMAN
"Sid was such an iconic sports figure, not only here in the state of Minnesota but nationally as well, and listening to all of the stories, hearing Sid, I don't believe that the Minnesota sports landscape as we know it today would be the same if it wasn't for Sid Hartman and everything he contributed."
24. ROB BRZEZINSKI
MINNESOTA SPORTS FIGURES
25. P.J. FLECK
26. RICHARD PITINO
27. LINDSAY WHALEN
28. BOBBY BELL
The North Carolina native achieved greatness with the Gophers, helping the University of Minnesota win the national championship in 1960 and bringing home the Outland Trophy in 1962.
The Vikings drafted Bell in 1963, but so did the Chiefs in the AFL, and Bell opted to sign with Kansas City.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer helped the Chiefs win Super Bowl IV against the Vikings and maintained his relationship with Hartman, which he recently described to Vahe Gregorian of The Kansas City Star.
"Sid Hartman was like a dad, away from home," Bell said. "He was kind of like a dad. A lot of people don't know that."
One such symbolic moment resonated more than any other for Bell.
Before the 1961 Rose Bowl, Bell went out for a walk on his own in Pasadena. He stood in front of a ritzy clothes store, gazing in and thinking about how he didn't even realize he had grown up poor before he left Shelby.
Soon, Hartman happened by, saying "Bell, what are you doing?"
"I said, 'Man, Sid, look at that sweater in there,'" said Bell, figuring he couldn't even enter such a pricey place. " 'Do you think one of these days I'll be able to go in there and buy one of these things?'"
Hartman looked at Bell and said, "Come on." He took him inside, with Bell puzzled and protesting he had no money. Then Hartman bought him that V-necked white sweater that he doubted he could ever afford.
Nearly 60 years later, Bell still has that sweater. And he treasures it as a reminder of a gesture of kindness and respect - and testament to a beautiful relationship that came of an improbable start.
29. TOMMY OLSON
30. BEN UTECHT
31. MIKE HOHENSEE
32. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
33. RYAN SAUNDERS
34. TREVOR MBAKWE
35. DAVE ST. PETER
36. ROCCO BALDELLI:
37. BERT BLYLEVEN
38. GLEN PERKINS
39. KENT HRBEK
40. JOHAN SANTANA
41. LOU NANNE
42. MIKE MODANO
43. JOE WEIPERT
44. CHIP SCOGGINS
45. MARK CRAIG
46. JON KRAWCZYNSKI
47. MICHAEL RAND
48. PATRICK REUSSE
49. PAUL ALLEN
50. LORI STURDEVANT
51. MARK ROSEN
52. JOE SCHMIT
53. JUDD ZULGAD
54. CARLOS GONZALEZ
55. DAVE SCHWARTZ
56. RANDY SHAVER
57. DARREN WOLFSON
58. LINDSEY PETERSON
59. RICH TSONG-TAATARII
60. JASON DeRUSHA
61. MICHELE TAFOYA
62. ED WERDER
63. SETH WICKERSHAM
64. BOB RYAN
65. TOM PELISSERO
66. PETER KING
67. PETER GAMMONS
68. JAMIE HERSCH
69. BOB RATHBUN
70. JERRY BONKOWSKI
71. PAUL DOTTINO
72. DAVID ALDRIDGE
73. MASTER TESFATSION
OTHER 'CLOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS'
74. FRANK RAGNOW
75. JOHN FEINSTEIN
76. LARRY FITZGERALD
77. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR
78. GOV. TIM WALZ
79. BLAKE CASHMAN
80. BLAKE WHEELER
81. STEVE RUSHIN
82. JEFF MUNNEKE
83. TOM CHORSKE:
84. LEO FERRIS TRIBUTE ACCOUNT
85. STEVE MULHOLLAND
86. PAUL OSTBY
87. TIM McGUIRE
88. JOE BUCK during Chiefs-Bills on Oct. 19:
"The sports world lost a great one. We salute the life and times of Sid Hartman, American sports journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the WCCO 830-AM radio station. For seven decades, Hartman was considered the radio and print voice of Minnesota sports. ... Over 20,000 career bylines, and journalism, like in life, is about relationships. Nobody had better relationships in the sports world than the now late, great Sid Hartman who passed away at the age of 100.
89. AL MICHAELS during Rams-49ers on Oct. 18:
"We've all known him for many, many years. ... The thing about Minnesota, you go in there, and you'd always see Sid, no matter what it was, baseball, football, basketball, hockey. He always had great things to tell you, great things to say and worked until the very, very end. A terrific man, a man about town."
90. SCOTT VAN PELT during SportsCenter on Oct. 18:
"It would be impossible in an on-camera lead-in to find the words to do justice to a man who was still using them so skillfully and professionally at 100. ... There are a million stories: him running the Lakers, look that one up, his friendship with the legend Bud Grant, but my favorite, because it's just fun to just picture him meeting Prince, was Sid meeting Prince. As Kevin Seifert described the story, one of those Super Bowl pressers in Miami where Prince was playing the halftime, this impossibly crowded press conference, 'Hey Prince! Hey Prince!' Everything stops, the crowd parts, Prince turns around and says, 'Hello Mr. Hartman, how are you?' "
91. DAN KELLEY
92. JESSE MOLNAU
93. JILL ANDERSON
94. ALAN GERGEN
95. JON LURIE
96. JAMES DANIELSON
97. PEG HAWS
98. HILLARY THOMPSON
99. JASON SCHERSCHLIGT
100. DR. ANDREW OLSON
Lastly, here is an image posted by CHAD HARTMAN that speaks to the love shared between him and his father.
The 100 Tributes were compiled by Eric Smith, Lindsey Young and Craig Peters.
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