Rob Lytle, an All-American running back at Michigan who scored a
touchdown in the 1978 Super Bowl as a Denver Broncos rookie, has
died. He was 56.
He had a heart attack Saturday night in Fremont, Ohio, Memorial
Hospital spokeswoman Chasity O’Neill said Sunday. Lytle had been
taken by ambulance to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack,
”I knew he had some issues with a stroke a while back, but I
don’t know if that was related,” former Michigan teammate Rick
Leach said. ”I do know he was a special guy, who was a mentor to
me. He was one of the toughest guys I ever played with and one of
the best leaders, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us by playing
fullback at times.”
Lytle was drafted by the Broncos in the second round in 1977. He
scored on a 1-yard run in Denver’s 27-10 loss to Dallas in the
Super Bowl. He played seven seasons with the Broncos and scored 14
times in the regular season.
”Rob was a teammate and an incredibly terrific guy,” Michigan
athletic director Dave Brandon said. ”When I heard the news this
morning, I was sickened by it. It’s a sad day because we’ve lost
someone who was a great example of a Michigan man.”
Lytle finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy – behind
Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett and USC’s Ricky Bell – in 1976 when he
was the Big Ten’s MVP and an All-American.
He helped the Wolverines win three Big Ten titles and ran for
3,317 yards – the highest total in school history at the time – and
scored 26 touchdowns. For the Broncos, he had 1,451 yards rushing
and 562 yards receiving.
Lytle grew up in Ross, Ohio, and graduated from Fremont Ross
High School. He worked for Old Fort Banking Company as a vice
president in Fremont.