Dirk Rozich Wins “Super Bowl III” Mural Competition

More than 30 local artists applied for the $40,000 commission to create the artwork and paint the Super Bowl III mural on the side of the Cultural Center for the Arts (1001 Market Avenue North). The Selection Committee has picked Dirk Rozich as the winner, and awarded five other local artists $500 prizes for their very creative concepts: Tim Carmany, Judi Krew, Tommy Morgan, Su Nimon, and Scot Phillips. The ELEVEN is a public art project of ArtsinStark and The Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrating the greatest moments in professional football history. Four of the ELEVEN moments have been completed to date: The Birth (sculpture), The Draft (sculpture), The Merger (Sculpture), and The Reintegration (Mural). Super Bowl III will be the fifth moment of the series. It celebrates the year (1968) that Joe Namath, star quarterback of the AFL’s New York Jets, predicted victory over the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts and — in one of the greatest upsets in sports history — did exactly that 16 – 7. The plan is to unveil the Super Bowl III mural on Friday, August 4 during the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Festival. The sponsors of the Super Bowl III mural are: The Deuble Foundation, The Hoover Foundation, Stark Community Foundation, and The Timken Foundation.

Dirk Rozich is one of the most popular mural artists in Northeast Ohio. He has a B.F.A. in Illustration from the Columbus College of Art and Design. His life-size murals typically take several months to complete and allow the public to experience a mural in the making. Rozich welcomes any passerby to stop and share in the experience. Rozich wants the mural to capture the Jets’ epic overcoming of the Colts’ superior team in 1969, and Joe Namath’s historical quote that guaranteed that win. The mural will be in full color and will appear to stand away from the wall’s surface. “Namath’s larger-than-life demeanor is at the core of this mural,” says Rozich, “because against all odds, he led his outmatched team to an indisputable victory.”

The members of the Selection Committee were: Max Barton, Sally Morse Dale, Max Deuble, Chuck Hoover, Joe Horrigan, Jack McWhorter, Ron Ponder, and Mark Samolczyk.

BACKGROUND – The NFL will be 100 years old in 2020. ArtsinStark’s goal is to have all 11 moments installed in time for that big celebration. Here are the eleven moments with a short description of each.

1. Birth of the NFL, 1920. On September 17, representatives of the league’s ten charter teams, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, meet in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay’s automobile dealership, and create the NFL. (On August 1, 2014 Michael Clapper unveiled his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture.)

2. Red Grange turns Pro, 1925. The Chicago Bears sign college superstar halfback Harold “Red” Grange and he becomes pro football’s first big gate attraction.

3. The NFL Draft, 1936. NFL Commissioner Bert Bell’s idea of teams selecting college players by inverse order, based on how they finished the prior season, changes the future of clubs overnight. (On August 7, 2015 Gail Folwell unveiled her bronze sculpture.)

4. Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946. The Los Angeles Rams sign Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, the Cleveland Browns sign Marion Motely and Bill Willis, and the doors of professional football open for African Americans. (Paul Collins created the painting. Both the painting and the mural were unveiled on August 5, 2016.)

5. 1958 NFL Championship Game. In what has been called the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts come back to beat the New York Giants in first “sudden death” NFL championship

6. Formation of the American Football League, 1959. The AFL is formed and for ten seasons expands into new markets, creates opportunities, and brings tremendous innovation to the game.

7. Pete Rozelle named NFL Commissioner, 1960. Rozelle begins his 29-year career during which he makes pro football America’s most popular sport, gets the first league-wide TV contract, negotiates the NFL/AFL merger, and transforms the Super Bowl into an international extravaganza.

8. AFL/NFL Merger, 1966. The costly battle between two rival leagues for players and markets ends with the June 8, 1966 announcement of the AFL-NFL merger. (David Griggs unveiled his granite and steel sculpture on June 23, 2016 in front the YMCA downtown.)

9. The Ice Bowl, 1967. In frigid conditions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve, Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21 – 17, cementing the legacy of coach Vince Lombardi and the 1960 Green Bay Packers.

10. Super Bowl III, 1968. Joe Namath, star quarterback of the AFL’s New York Jets, predicts victory over the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts and — in one of the greatest upsets in sports history — does exactly that 16 – 7. (Dirk Rozich will unveil his mural on the side of Cultural Center for the Arts in August 2017.)

11. Monday Night Football, 1970. The phenomenal success of NFL games telecast during prime time on a weeknight begins on September 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns face the New York Jets in ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football debut.