Edward Kenneth Newman born on June 4, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Syosset and Woodbury, New York. He played high school football and wrestled for Syosset High School.
He enrolled at Duke University in 1969 on an athletic scholarship. He twice earned All-Conference honors in football as an offensive lineman and defensive lineman and won the ACC heavyweight wrestling championship twice. He made the football All-America team in 1971. In 1973, Newman graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
Big for his day at 6'2" and 245 pounds, Newman was drafted in the 6th-round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, a team that had just won the 1972 Super Bowl completing a perfect season when it won all 17 games. The team already had two All-Pro guards, Larry Little and Bob Kuechenberg, so Newman was a long shot to make the team. He did, but the first four seasons he mainly played on special teams, only becoming a starting guard in his seventh year. He subsequently played in two Super Bowls – the 1982 loss to the Washington Redskins and the 1984 loss in his final game to the San Francisco 49ers.
Newman was named to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 1981-1984. Blogger MIAMISOUTHPAW noted that Newman was known for his technique. “He was a master at using leverage and beating bigger defensive lineman at the point of attack.”
When asked how he prepared for a goal-line stand, he said, “You gotta suck it up from the kishkes.”
According to David Hyde, Newman was one of the first Dolphins to work out with weights. “Fellow guard Bob Kuechenberg remembers once setting the team bench press record at 485 pounds during testing at the start of training camp. ‘That lasted about 10 minutes,’ Kuechenberg said. Newman then lifted 510 pounds.
During the offseason, Newman took classes at the University of Miami Law School and volunteered as an assistant wrestling coach at Florida International University. He also spearheaded a community drive for blood donations on behalf of the South Florida Blood Service. This and other charitable efforts resulted in the renaming of Northwest 17th Street in Miami “Ed Newman Street.”
Newman always knew that he wanted a career outside football. He recalled some coaches telling him instead of studying law on the team plane, he should be studying the playbook, but he told Hyde, “I can't imagine some kid saying, ‘Poppa, what’d you do with your life?’ and the guy answering, ‘I was an All-Pro football player, and then I golfed for 50 years.’”
Newman’s career was marred by injuries and a bout with thyroid cancer. During the preseason in 1985, he suffered his third serious knee injury and reluctantly retired from football after failing to reach terms on a new contract.
He graduated from University of Miami law school in 1987 and practiced law as a litigation attorney for seven years. He was elected to the bench in 1995 and, as of 2020, was still serving as a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge.
“The feeling I used to get running out in the Orange Bowl between the cheerleaders as the crowd cheered my introduction is the same feeling I get now when the bailiff says, ‘All rise,’ and I walk in the courtroom,” he told Hyde.
Newman married his wife Cathy in 1977. They have two daughters – Stephani and Holly Newman.
Newman was inducted into the Duke Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Dolphins Walk of Fame in 2014 and was listed as one of the top 50 players in the first 50 years of the franchise by the Miami Dolphins.
Sources: “Ed Newman,” Wikipedia;
“Miami's Newman Quits,” New York Times, (July 20, 1986);
Dave Hyde, “Dolphins: Judge Ed Newman another success story,” Sun Sentinel, (June 28, 2009);
Kyle Crabbs, “We are ‘Ed Newman’ days away from Miami Dolphins football,” Dolphins Wire, (July 6, 2019);
MIAMISOUTHPAW, “Ghosts of the Orange Bowl: Ed Newman,” Blogger, (August 25, 2009).
Email from Ed Newman.
Photos courtesy of Ed Newman.