By Dave Ruden
NORWALK — Lee Krost had his first flirtation with the NFL 50 years ago. He was a semi-professional player with the Richmond Vikings when he was given a tryout by the Baltimore Colts.
Only one thing stood in his way.
“They had this young little skinny guy. His name was Unitas,” said Krost with a smile, referring to Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas.
Now, a half decade later, Krost in a way is trying to get back to the NFL.
Not bad for a 74-year-old quarterback.
Krost, a Norwalk resident who just completed his second decade playing in what is now the Stamford YMCA Flag Football League, is one of 10 finalists in the NFL’s “Together We Make Football” campaign. His three-minute video was chosen from among thousands of submissions from people telling their stories of why they love football.
The top five vote-getters will win a trip for three to a five-day Super Bowl extravaganza, including tickets, private tours and the chance to attend league parties and get field access to the game on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium.
Krost and football have been intertwined.
Krost played high school football growing up in Richmond, then for Randolph Macon College. After his semi-pro days were finished, he moved up to this area and has been a fixture in flag football leagues.
Krost is no novelty act. He just completed his second season with the team his sons (and receivers) John and Brian named Leegion, which won the regular-season title before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
I’m still throwing the hell out of the ball,” Krost said with a smile. “I’ve lost a little distance, a little accuracy. But when you throw five or six touchdowns in a game, something must be working.”
Most opponents are already aware of the league’s septuagenarian slinger, but Krost said there were two new teams this season and he is still amused by the reaction from players for the first time seeing him step onto the field.
“They are thinking look at this old man out here,” Krost said. “Who is this guy, where is his wheelchair? Then I go out and throw a few touchdowns and it changes. I know everyone now.”
To compensate for decreased mobility, Krost said he just drops back a little farther than other quarterbacks.
Krost, who said the next-oldest player in the league is exactly half his age, had his own advertising and sales promotion business. He retired and then bought and flipped distressed properties. Antiquing remains a passion.
But his love for football has never dimmed.
Asked how he remains so productive, Krost said, “I’ve done it all my life. When I’m in Florida I play tennis for four hours and golf for four hours. I work out every morning. I feel 30. I look 90 but feel 30. It is more a mental attitude than physical. The thing is if you feel old in your mind, you are going to be old. If you feel young, you will be young.”
Krost’s film was submitted to the contest by another son, Lucas, who has his own production company, without his father’s knowledge.
“I didn’t know about it until Luke called and said “we are in this thing,’ ” Krost said. “I said ‘What thing?’ ”
Krost is amused by the local attention the contest has received, as family and friends have mounted a campaign to get votes before the Dec. 23 deadline. Though MetLife is a short ride from his home, Krost is hoping to get to the Super Bowl and have another avenue to share football with his sons.
But even if his second attempt to get to the NFL comes up short, Krost said opposing teams should not expect him to announce his retirement from the sport any time soon.
“No way,” Krost said. “I enjoy the hell out of it. I get to play with my sons. I’ve been throwing to them since they were little in the backyard. I can still get the job done.”
To vote for Lee Krost and see the edited version of the submitted video, click here. The original video is below.