NFL Football Hall of Fame Player
Safety, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins
September 4, 2019
The city of Flint has produced more world class athletes than any city of comparable size in the United States over the last century. That's an incredible statement! The argument is rarely about whether or not Flint is the undisputed per capita champion of producing athletic talent. It's more likely to be about who the greatest athlete was. And THAT'S a guaranteed argument starter!
How do you judge it? Is it based on their performance while in a Flint area high school? Does it count if they were born here but grew up somewhere else to play their game, and vice versa? Is it college results? What about professional sports or efforts on the world stage? What about championships won, and personal accolades achieved? Is it about mythic stories? How do you compare different athletes from different eras? All of those are designed to help create one helluva debate!
However, there might be one athlete who can transcend the noise. That athlete is Paul Krause. Consider these absolutely ridiculous credentials:
Now THATS a helluva argument that Krause is the greatest Flint area athlete of all time!
His high school exploits are certainly worthy of being considered the best ever. His college career was stellar and his near appearance as a pre-Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders two sport professional star is extremely unique. His NFL career is obviously one of the best among all men who ever played the game of football. He is also the only Flint area athlete to hold a major professional sports record of any type or was inducted in to a major professional sports Hall of Fame.
The only knock on any part of his career is that he played his high school days at a small school and not one of the big city schools (although they tried mightily to recruit him he wanted to play with his neighborhood buddies), and that he never won a Super Bowl. That said, no one who saw him play in high school believed he wouldn't have been a major four sport star in the city of Flint schools, and his college career proved that. As for the 0 for 4 record in the Super Bowl, that's a team record not a 'Krause record' and really, how many NFL players can even say that they played in a single Super Bowl, let alone four?
Despite all of this, Krause's name is sometimes left off of these "Greatest of All Time" lists - particularly by younger folks who have never heard of his exploits. Again, this is likely part and parcel of his era, not being a former City School star, not having gone to Michigan or Michigan State, and playing his entire NFL career outside of Michigan, and in an era where TV didn't televise Viking games until they were in the playoffs or playing the Lions. That said, when The Flint Journal published their greatest Flint athletes list of the last century in 2000 (selected by veteran reporters who had watched other contenders play) the consensus "Greatest Ever" was Paul Krause.
Regardless, any true Flint sports historian knows of his exploits. The reality is that by almost any measure Paul Krause was, and is, a true Flint sports legend. The argument will rage on about "The All Time Greatest" moniker, which is what makes it fun! But wherever you rank him on your list, you're going to love my conversation with him on this weeks episode of Fish and The Flint Chronicles!