The NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter is proud to announce Len Rohde as our Alumnus of the Month for October!
Len Rohde (born Leonard Emil Rohde) was an offensive tackle who played fifteen seasons from 1960 – 1974 for the San Francisco 49ers. He helped the 49ers win the NFC West Division from 1970–72 and he was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season. Rohde played college football at Utah State University and joined the 49ers as a fifth round draft pick.
The 49ers offense he played with led the NFL in points scored in 1965 and 1970 and the NFC in 1972. The 49ers offense also led the NFL in yards gained in 1965 and the NFC in 1970. The 49ers also led the NFL in yards passing in 1965 and 1969 and the NFC in 1970 and 1972.
“Making the club was the big accomplishment and a big challenge I would say. When you’re trying to break in, you’re just hoping you’re there when the final cut is made,” Rohde said. “The goal when I came to San Francisco was to get through the first practice and then the next day.” Once he made the roster, Rohde dedicated himself annually to improving his play on the field as well as helping the 49ers climb up the NFC Western Division.
During his career, Rohde played in 208 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history. “It’s one of those things that just creeps up on you and you don’t realize,” Rohde said of his streak. “You don’t set out to do something like that, you take things one at a time and all of a sudden you realize you’ve got a string going. And then you hope you can hang on.”
Besides his record-setting streak, Rohde says he’s also proud of an achievement that he and his fellow offensive linemen achieved. “We allowed eight sacks in an entire season and that was an NFL record,” said Rohde. “The record earned us the nickname, ‘The Protectors,’ and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of when I look back on my career.”
Following his playing days, Rohde became active as an owner in the restaurant business.
‘I got in the business with some partners,” Rohde said. “At one point we owned nine Burger Kings and six Applebee’s. That was a challenge and it was fun.”
Now retired, Rohde enjoys helping out every year with the NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter’s golf tournament to raise money for kids, and spending time with his wife, son and four grandchildren.