Pro Football Player
“I’ve always thought Grant played harder than anybody else I’ve ever played with or played against.”
-NFL player Kyle Vanden Bosch
Grant Wistrom is one of the biggest forces and best players in pro football of the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is a dominating presence on the field, which gives inspiration to small-town athletes across the state. He graduated from football powerhouse Webb City before making Missouri football fans proud when he became a star with the St. Louis Rams. He forever endeared himself to Missourians when he led the Rams to a Super Bowl title.
THE EARLY YEARS
Grant Wistrom was born on July 3, 1976, and grew up in the southwest corner of the state in Webb City. He was the middle child of three boys, which meant plenty of rough play and impromptu football games around the house growing up. As Grant continued growing, he refined his on-the-field performance and began getting attention from major colleges across the country. He was a first-team All-American selection by several major sports organizations while leading Webb City High School to two state championships. He settled on a college with a great football tradition and a history of elevating players into the NFL.
RISE TO FAME
Grant entered the University of Nebraska with high expectations from everyone surrounding college football. He won a starting role during his sophomore year and made an instant impact on Cornhusker football. Over the next three years he made numerous All-American and All-Conference teams, was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and led Nebraska to the National Championship in 1994, 1995, and 1997. It was no wonder that practically every pro team wanted him for their defensive line. His home state team won the battle and drafted him in the first round with the sixth overall pick. He had finally achieved his goal of playing in the NFL, and Missouri football fans were thrilled to see a local boy make it big.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
The Rams were in a rebuilding year during his first year with the team in 1998, so they chose Wistrom to be one of the foundations. He made his presence known the very first year in the NFL as he played in thirteen games and was named the Rams Defensive Rookie of the Year by his teammates and coaches.
The second year of his pro career was one for the history books. Nineteen ninety-nine was a year that Missouri sports fans will remember forever as the St. Louis Rams marched their way to an amazing Super Bowl XXXIV victory. Wistrom was again a major force on defense, starting every game and being selected to the All-Madden team by John Madden. He had now achieved something very few athletes will ever achieve: winning a state title, a college national championship, and an NFL championship.
After an amazing six seasons with the Rams, he became a free agent. Grant expressed his desire to stay in St. Louis, but much to the disappointment of Missouri sports fans, the southwest Missouri all-star signed a contract with the Seahawks and headed to Seattle. After two years in Seattle, he retired from the NFL and moved back to southwest Missouri to work as a football coach at Parkview High School in Springfield.
*Grant became a part owner in the Springfield Spirit junior hockey team in Springfield in 2001.
*His two brothers also played college football.
*His mother wrote a book: Mrs. Wistrom’s ABCs: What I Learned Raising Three All-Americans.
*His Grant Wistrom Foundation provides a scholarship program for a Webb City High School football player each year.