Larry Thomas Hobson
Born: November 10, 1939 (Colfax, Indiana)
Died: June 19, 2014 (South Lake Tahoe, California)
Larry Hobson was an American-born tackle who played for the expansion Quebec Rifles of the United Football League in 1964.
The Rifles, who wore a fleur-de-lys symbol on their helmet, were the first professional team to play American football in Canada. The Rifles played out of Delormier Stadium in east-end Montreal, better known as the home park of the Montreal Royals baseball club.
Coached by retired quarterback great Sam (The Rifle) Etcheverry, from whom their took their name, the Rifles went 5-9 in their only season in Montreal with the minor-league UFL. A late-season home game against the Toledo Tornadoes ended in 24-14 Montreal victory, a triumph witnessed by only 1,500 spectators. Hobson acquitted himself well, winning notice from the Montreal Gazette for leaving “plenty of bruises on Toledo’s ball carriers with a first-class effort.”
The 5-foot-11, 245-pound Hobson was signed after playing guard and linebacker for the Wichita State Shockers in Kansas. (In 1970, 31 Shocker players, coaches, administrators, and boosters, including some family members, were killed in a plane crash in Colorado on the way to game in Utah.) He earlier attended Paris (Tex.) Junior College and served in the U.S. Army. The Washington Redskins expressed interest in him, though he went unpicked in the NFL draft.
After the 1964 season, the Rifles moved to Toronto as part of the Continental Football League. Hobson returned to the U.S., where he later founded Great American Transport, a trucking company based in Fresno, Calif.