ESPN’s award winning documentary series “30 for 30″ will tell the story of former Chiefs running back Joe Delaney in an upcoming episode.
According to Doug Ireland, an ESPN film crew was at Delaney’s alma mater, Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana, to interview some of his former college teammates and coaches. Production of the short film will be led by Grant Curtis, whose resume includes producing the “Spiderman” trilogy and the 2013 film “Oz The Great And Powerful”.
Delaney was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He was a small back out of a small college, so very few people had heard of him when he entered the league. That all changed his rookie year, when he gained national attention for his blazing speed and exciting style of play.
While starting only eight games, Delaney rushed for 1,121 yards and three touchdowns. His most memorable play game against the Denver Broncos in Arrowhead, where he broke an 82 yard run for a touchdown in a Chiefs victory. He was elected to the Pro Bowl and won AFC Rookie of the Year.
However, Delaney would not have a long-lived NFL career. In June 1983, Delaney was spending the offseason in Louisiana when he saw three young children struggling to swim in a water hole.
Delaney, who did not know how to swim, dove in to save them. Delaney died in the hole along with one of the children. Another child later died in the emergency room, while the third lived.
Delaney was added to the Chief’s ‘Ring of Honor’ in 2004, and while his number is technically not retired, no one has worn the number #37 since his death.
For a more detailed look at the life and death of Joe Delaney, check out the video below made by the Chiefs organization with interviews from former Chiefs teammates and coaches.