Before he was a hero on the streets of New York City as Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Organized Crime, Christopher Meloni was already a hero in his hometown.
Meloni was the starting quarterback of St. Stephen’s School in Alexandria, Virginia, a town just outside of Washington, D.C. His aspirations of acting success were still very much down the road. Instead, his focus was on the gridiron.
In an interview with the Washingtonian in 2016, Meloni dived deep into all things Alexandria and his upbringing. For folks who lived in the area in the late 1970s, the 1978 football team is one of legend.
The legacy of the Saints’ team can be summed up in one word: undefeated. And who else but Law & Order: Organized Crime star Christopher Meloni to be quarterbacking the team?
When asked about being in the school’s hall of fame, he responded:
“The whole ’78 team is [in the school’s hall of fame,]” Meloni said. “I spoke for the team at the induction ceremony. The opening sentence of my speech was ‘It begins with the sound: the unmistakable click-clack of cleats on the asphalt as you make your way to the field.’ And it ended with ‘The long shadows of November, as the weather turns cold and you end practice in the dark.’ I liked it. I was very proud of that. That moment it time meant a lot to me. I knew I was going to be quarterback that season, but to be a captain and to go undefeated? That’s all I wanted. And I remember, once that happened, thinking: ‘I literally can do anything I put my mind to.’ That’s how I felt. That’s how deeply that season affected me.”
It’s the dream every young athlete wants to live out.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Star Christopher Meloni Details Memories from Football
The Law & Order: Organized Crime star went on to discuss the ins and outs of his early days in the interview. Of course, he had to open up about his favorite moments.
But for Meloni, it’s not just one memory, it’s many. But there is still one game that stands out among the rest.
“My God, I remember every game vividly,” Meloni said. “The same team beat us my sophomore and junior years. So then we go back down to their place again, senior year. Friday-night lights in the drizzle, and we promptly fall behind 13 to nothing. I remember thinking, “Wait, wait, wait—this isn’t how this is written.” Almost as if the score was a mistake. We wound up beating them 41–21, and I’ll never forget the look on my coach’s face. Sleepy Thompson was a legendary guy in the area. I think he coached for almost 50 years.”
Obviously, Meloni wasn’t someone that rested on his laurels. The future Law & Order: Organized Crime star would head out west to the University of Colorado to study acting. Years of grinding and small parts later, he eventually became the beloved Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime.