Fred Cox, a decorated kicker for the Minnesota Vikings and the man who invented the Nerf football, died on Wednesday at the age of 80. With the Vikings, Cox played in every game across 15 seasons, from 1963-1977, and is the team’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,365 points. “He had a great brain and was a great thinker,” former NFL star Fran Tarkenton told Vikings.com. “He was an intellect that I spent every morning with before we played a game. I spent more time with him than any other player. Fred was a special, special human being who will be missed.” In 1972, Cox and his entrepreneur partner, John Mattox, devised a way to put foam inside of a full-size football, to stave off leg injuries in kids, and successfully brought it to toy company Parker Brothers. “The weight was right,” Cox told Vikings.com several years ago. “When you threw it, it flew like a football.” After retiring, Cox also became a chiropractor.
The Ringgold community is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of alumnus Fred Cox yesterday at the age of 80. He was one of our most distinguished graduates and even better man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family! pic.twitter.com/yQ2xDGvWCN
— Ringgold Athletics (@RinggoldRams) November 21, 2019
We are saddened by the passing of legendary @Vikings kicker Fred Cox.
The NERF football he invented will forever be apart of our childhood memories. pic.twitter.com/vbLmJr6wke
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) November 21, 2019