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Lance Rentzel
Wide receiver
Jersey #(s)
Born October 14, 1943 (1943-10-14) (age 66)
Flushing, New York
Career information
Year(s) 19651974
NFL Draft 1965 / Round: 2 / Pick: 23
AFL Draft 1965 / Round: 6 / Pick: 48
(By the Buffalo Bills)
College Oklahoma
Professional teams
Career stats
Receptions 268
Receiving yards 4826
Touchdowns 42
Stats at
Career highlights and awards
  • No notable achievements

Thomas Lance Rentzel (born October 14, 1943 in Flushing, New York) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams from 1965 to 1974.

After attending and playing college football at the University of Oklahoma, he was drafted in the second round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Vikings. The prime of his career was spent with the Cowboys, with whom he played in the "Ice Bowl," scoring a fourth quarter, go-ahead touchdown, and Super Bowl V. Over nine NFL seasons, he accumulated 4,826 yards receiving, 196 yards rushing, and 1,000 yards returning punts and kickoffs. He also had a perfect passer rating, by virtue of his lone pass attempt being completed for a 58-yard touchdown.

Rentzel was briefly married to singer/actress Joey Heatherton. They were separated in 1970, shortly after he was arrested for exposing himself to a ten-year-old. Four years earlier he had a similar incident at a playground, but was charged with disorderly conduct in exchange for promising to have psychiatric treatment.[1] Prior to the 1971 season, the Cowboys, self-conscious of upholding its clean-cut, all-American image, traded Rentzel to the Rams for Billy Truax and Wendell Tucker.[2]

Rentzel was one of three men credited with inspiring the eccentricities that surround Media Day at the Super Bowl. Then-SPORT magazine editor Dick Schaap, fed up with the grandiose and self-important nature of the NFL's championship match, hired Rentzel and teammate Fred Dryer to cover Super Bowl IX. Donning costumes inspired by The Front Page, "Cubby O'Switzer" (Rentzel) and "Scoops Brannigan" (Dryer) peppered players and coaches from both the Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers with questions that ranged from clichéd to downright absurd.[3][4] This wasn't Rentzel's first association with SPORT magazine; he was the subject of a lengthy feature article written by author Gary Cartwright in the October 1972 issue.

In 1972, he authored a book about his professional football experiences and personal life entitled When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong was named after the wide receiver.[5]

Today, Rentzel lives in Dallas, Texas, after living for several years in the Washington, D.C. area.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Cowboys Deal Rentzel, Acquire Alworth," The Washington Post, Thursday, May 20, 1971.
  3. ^ Penner, Mike. "Dick Schaap, 67; Sports Journalist" (obituary), Los Angeles Times, Saturday, December 22, 2001.
  4. ^ Green, Jerry. "New Orleans Provides Wild Super Bowl Weeks," The Detroit News, Sunday, January 1, 2006.
  5. ^ 50 Plus One Greatest Sports Heroes of All Times: North American Edition By Paul J. Christopher, Alicia Marie Smith, pg 31


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