James Marsalis

2012 Inductees
Year Honored:
Tennessee State University
Kansas City Chiefs


When most people think of rings, they think of wedding rings or engagement rings; maybe even a school ring. If you’re a football player, however, there is only one ring in the entire universe – a Super Bowl ring!

Tennessee State University graduate James Marsalis earned the most coveted of all gridiron jewelry as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970. A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Marsalis’ magnificent defensive play as cornerback was one of the major reasons for Kansas City winning the American Football League title and then upsetting the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl.

It was Marsalis’ interception of a Joe Namath pass in the end zone in the fading minutes that killed the New York Jets chances of meeting Oakland in the AFL playoff. Extremely quick on his feet, fast and tough, Marsalis was selected by Kansas City as its number-one choice in the 1969 draft, and he was the only rookie to be a regular starter on either the AFL or NFL champions. Ferocious on the gridiron, Jim is a perfect gentleman off the field. And on his hand, he proudly wears a beautiful gold ring!

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