Saturday, January 21, 2012

Byron Donzis, inventor of the football flak jacket, dies at 79

It may not seem that significant to the average fan, but the football flak jacket revolutionized the game of football because it protected the QB and other players' ribs.

It's inventor, Byron Donzis, passed away last Sunday, January 15.  He is well known for having snuck into Dan Pastorini's hospital room, the Houston Oiler QB with three busted ribs,  in 1978 to demonstrate the flak by having someone hit him repeated with a baseball bat for the ailing QB.  Days later Pastorini suited up with the flak jacket and led his team to the playoffs.

Mr. Donzis had no regrets about his unorthodox demonstration in the quarterback’s hospital room. “People will consider you off the wall. If that bothers you don’t be an innovator,” he told the Dallas Morning News in 1994. “That’s part of the badge you wear.”
His obituaries in the Washington Post and the New York Times are here and here.