The Michigan Daily: You received a lot of Academic All-American and Academic All-Big Ten awards. How did you balance football and school? Was it a struggle?
Ed Muransky: As a freshman, it was very difficult, in that you had two to three times the football time you were used to in high school. Not only did you have the practice time, but you had the meeting time, you had the other workout time. Really, it was six-and-a-half days a week, five or six hours a day with training table and study table and everything else. Study table helped, but you were pushed for time. From my standpoint, it was the first time being away from home, trying to shuffle the schedules. I think a lot of the freshmen feel the same way. You’re shuffling school, you’re shuffling things socially. Eight o’clock classes and everything. The first semester of my freshman year, it was very tough. I was in the pharmacy school. The Doctor of Pharmacy program at the time was a five-year program. But as a freshman, I was taking the same prerequisite courses that the pre-med and pre-dental students were taking. I had a 10 o’clock inorganic chemistry class, a lecture from 10 to 12. I went to the first day of class on a Monday, sat in the front row on the left. It was very interesting, because I loved chemistry. I sat next to this young lady who knew what she was doing. We would talk a little bit. She was a freshman from Kalamazoo. Wednesday comes. Tuesday night, as a freshman, I found out I was traveling to Notre Dame. I think they only brought 50 people, so it was a big deal for me. Wednesday, at the end of class, I told her, “I’ll be back late Saturday. Is there any way I could get your number to call you Sunday to get the notes from Friday since we’re having a quiz on Monday?” She looked at me and said, “If you can’t make it to class, maybe you should drop the class.” At that point, I said to myself, “You’re not at Cardinal Mooney (High School) anymore.”
TMD: Going back to your playing days, it’s been said that your eating habits are legendary. Can you talk about the “Beef Bowl” your freshman year?
EM: That was my freshman year, and Bo was sitting around the corner, so he didn’t see what was going on. I think Bubba Paris ate with me all the way through (prime rib) number six and couldn’t do any more (each prime rib weighed two pounds). I ate two more, and when I was done and all the cameras were there interviewing me, Bo came around the corner and was upset. And the next day, he took it out on me, making me run all the plays and running afterwards. When I flew out there as a junior, the plane didn’t even land yet in L.A., and he sat with me and said, “When we go to Lawry’s, you’re sitting with me.” We had a good laugh about it.
TMD: There was a limit set after you ate 16 pounds?
EM: For a period of time. I understand the limit is now back off, but for a period of time, I guess some people had complained, “Why are these Big Ten and Pac-10 players making gluttons of themselves?” But it was a tradition for years and years that whoever ate the most beef had the best chance (to win the Rose Bowl). There was a big rivalry back and forth between the Big Ten and Pac-10.
TMD: Do you have any idea what the limit was?
EM: I think for a while it might’ve been two or three (prime rib dinners). I think it’s back off now, though.
TMD: What about the swagger that your teams had at Michigan? You won a ton of games (37 in four years). Did you know that other teams couldn’t stop you?
EM: Yeah, and I try to coach that even today when I help the offensive linemen, that there are a lot of things that are important. From (offensive line coach) Jerry Hanlon’s standpoint, footwork (was critical). And it used to take time and time again on footwork, and where your hands were on every block. At the end of the day, the third piece of it was the tenacity and the heart. And to make sure that you did everything you could to stay on the block. And from our standpoint, with some of the offensive lines, my senior year, we had ultimately five All-Americans on the offensive line. There was nobody lined up across from us that we couldn’t block. And there were various times in the Michigan State games, I can remember, and in the Minnesota games and Indiana games, against people that I knew very well. Especially in the Michigan State games, living in Ann Arbor and having friends in East Lansing. After a couple plays, it would be third-and-three, and (guard) Kurt Becker and I would be telling the guy across from us that it’s coming right there, but there was nothing he could do about it. And he couldn’t. There was nothing he could do about it. We had such a mental edge on everybody we played. We had such great running backs behind us, with Butch Woolfork and Stanley Edwards, and to be playing tackle to tackle with the tight ends we played with, Norm Betts and Doug Marsh. We were just very, very lucky to be in that position. But that was the metal-hard aspect of the game for me. And everybody treated it differently. I wasn’t a dirty player. I didn’t punch. But from our standpoint, we had confidence. We could just look in their eyes and say, “It’s coming again.”
TMD: Did you have any idea that you were in the movie “The Big Chill?”
EM: I am in “The Big Chill.” I was in the theater watching it, not knowing what was going to happen. It was kind of interesting with all of (the characters) watching (the 1980 Michigan-Michigan State game). It was pretty cool. Watching (quarterback) John Wangler go back was pretty cool. For a split-second as they’re going back, I’m thinking to myself, “Oh my God, I pray to God I’m not holding or I missed a block for a sack or something on the big screen pass.” But it was a good block, and it was a fun moment. Any time I hear “The Big Chill,” it’s good memories.
TMD: Did you hear a lot about your cameo in the movie from your friends when it came out?
EM: I did. Obviously, as an offensive lineman, I look at plays differently than the average bear. You know, when people go to pro games now, they look where the quarterback is throwing. I’m watching the offensive line. It’s in my blood, with all the film I’ve watched. So obviously, I wasn’t really watching what Wangler was doing on the screen. I looked right to the linemen. So that was interesting. That junior year was Bo Schembechler’s first bowl victory ever. (Schembechler was 0-7 in bowl games prior.) That was the ’81 Rose Bowl.
TMD: What was it like to win the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984?
EM: To just get into the playoffs, this was my second year in the league. I was living in an apartment with a couple other guys that made the team with me. Most of the people had families in Oakland. We were living in L.A. in temporary apartments. And we make it into the playoffs. We win the first game. And we had to leave the apartments because our time was up on Jan. 1. Now we move into a hotel, and we win the second game. Then we’re in the AFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. And then you win that game, and all of a sudden the veterans ask you, “Are you guys using all your tickets? You’ve got 20 tickets for your family. Face value is $75, we’ll give you $100 a ticket.” It was like a whirlwind. Before we knew what hit us, we went to Tampa, and as a 22- or 23-year-old, you thought you’d seen everything at the Rose Bowl. And then you have two weeks of hype like you’ve never seen. You had friends coming out of the woodwork for tickets. Trying to logistically get your family down there. Who’s renting this? How’s my mom getting down here? Are they driving? What’s happening here? So for a week, you worked from California. We flew in on a Sunday night, and believe me, come Saturday night, you were so ready for the game. Everybody talked at the time. It was a big deal because offensive linemen weren’t making what they make today. That year, I made $77,000, which was a pretty decent contract at the time. But if you won the Super Bowl, you won $64,000. So it wasn’t peanuts. I remember walking off the field after that, thinking to myself, “I have a Super Bowl ring for the rest of my life.”
TMD: What was your most memorable moment at Michigan?
EM: The most surreal moment of my life was my freshman year, being on the field, in the end zone getting warmed up, and seeing the Michigan helmets, the Ohio State helmets warming up on the other side. And at the 50-yard line, talking, were Bo and Woody. That picture is in my mind. That is the beginning of the modern-day Michigan, as everybody remembers it. They were both responsible for it. There are all the great memories of the Brown Jug and the Michigan State rivalry, (but) obviously coming from Ohio, that’s what you played for. That’s a picture that’s in my mind forever. What a lucky son-of-a-gun I am, to be on that field to see it.