Art Murakowski

Arthur Raymond "Art" Murakowski (March 15, 1925 – September 13, 1985) was an American football player. He played fullback for the Northwestern University football team from 1946 to 1949. He was selected as a first-team All-American and won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy in 1948 as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference. He played professional football for the Detroit Lions in 1951 and served as an Indiana state legislator and civil servant from 1954 to 1985.

Art Murakowski
No. 35
Position:Fullback, linebacker, halfback
Personal information
Born:March 15, 1925
East Chicago, Indiana
Died:September 13, 1985 (aged 60)
Hammond, Indiana
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
NFL Draft:1950 / Round: 3 / Pick: 31
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:12
Games started:0
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Murakowski was born in East Chicago, Indiana, in 1925. He attended East Chicago's Washington High School where he won four varsity letters in football and was selected as an Indiana all-state fullback. He also won a letter in track and field as a shot putter.[1] Murakowski played on a Washington High School team that also featured future Northwestern teammates Alex Sarkisian and Ed Nemeth. The Los Angeles Times described Murakowski's high school play as follows: "Virtually as big then as now Murakowski was one of those battering-ram, interference-follow me fullbacks in high school. It must have been some fearsome!"[1]

Military service

Murakowski graduated from high school during World War II and served 32 months in the U.S. Navy. He played football for Tony Hinkle on the Great Lakes Naval Training Station team in 1944 before being assigned to sea duty. He served for 18 months as a fireman first class on a destroyer mine layer that participated in the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Off Okinawa, a Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into the ship's superstructure, killing 19 crew members.[1][2] Murakowski was unharmed in the attack and later recalled, "I felt a little funny. I was below handling five inch ammunition."[2]


1946 season

In 1946, Murakowski was discharged from the Navy and enrolled at Northwestern University. As a freshman, he won a varsity letter for Pappy Waldorf's Wildcats football team.

1947 season

In 1947, Northwestern's new coach Bob Voigts moved Murakowski to the right halfback, but the experiment was not successful and Murakowski was returned to the fullback position.[1] He was the leading ground gainer and scorer for the 1947 Wildcats and was selected as the team's most valuable player.[1][3]

1948 season

Murakowski won his greatest acclaim as a junior in 1948. For the second consecutive year, he was Northwestern's starting fullback and its leading ground gainer and scorer.[3] The Chicago Daily Tribune called him the "key" to the Wildcats' offense

As long as the Wildcats retain the services of Art Murakowski, line smasher extraordinary, their full backing worries will be practically non-existent. ... It's no secret Northwestern's attack centers around the power plunges and sweeps of Mr. Murakowski. He's been the key to the offense since 1946 and last year [1948] he reached his peak performance as he gained 622 yards in 119 carries for a 5.2 average.[3]

In addition to playing offense in 1948, he also played on defense as a right halfback. He had game-saving tackles against Ohio State and Wisconsin that helped the Wildcats win a berth in the 1949 Rose Bowl.[3] Murakowski noted at the time, "It's tough for the guys on the bench, but when you're playing you want to keep on playing -- and defense is just as interesting as offense."[1] Northwestern coach Voigts in late 1948 praised Murakowski for adapting to the defensive assignment

He has terrific speed. We started using him on defense midway in the season and he adapted to that very quickly. He's as good a defensive back as there is in the conference, being exceptionally fine on trap plays. His speed makes him very good on end sweeps.[2]

One of the highlights of the 1948 season for Murakowski was his 91-yard touchdown run after intercepting a pass against Notre Dame. In a post-season poll by the Associated Press, Murakowski's interception return tied with Bobby Stuart's 103-yard kickoff return for Army as the most spectactular play of the 1948 season.[4]

At the end of the 1948 football season, Murakowski was selected as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.[5] In selecting him as an All-American, the Associated Press wrote: "Art Murakowski, Northwestern's 195-pound fullback, played a prominent part in the success of the Wildcats. He excelled both on offense and defense."[2]

Murakowski also won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy in 1948 as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference. The Silver Football award was based on voting by the conference's football coaches, Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth L. Wilson and the Chicago Tribune's sports editor and football writer.[6][7]

1949 Rose Bowl

The 1948 Northwestern Wildcats finished in second place in the Big Ten Conference, but conference rules prevented conference champion Michigan from playing in consecutive Rose Bowl games. Accordingly, the Wildcats were invited to play in the 1949 Rose Bowl against the University of California. Northwestern won the game 20-14 on the strength of a controversial touchdown scored by Murakowski in the second quarter. Murakowski fumbled the ball as he ran into the endzone from the one-yard line, and field judge Jay Berwanger ruled that the ball crossed the goal line before the fumble, thus allowing the touchdown to stand.[8] Photographs published the next day by the Los Angeles Times showed the ball having left Murakowski's arms while his feet were still short of the goal line. The Times reported: "The Times picture clearly shows that Murakowski's feet still are on the field of play and that he has lost the ball. If his was the case, Cal's recovery of the fumble made it Cal's ball on the 20-yard line."[9] The Associated Press article featured the headline, "Did Murakowski Score or Didn't He?" and noted, "Photographs show clearly that Murakowski fumbled about a yard out when he scored the Wildcat's second touchdown in Saturday's Rose Bowl game."[10] Murakowski said at the time, "I was sure I was across. There was only a yard to go on the play and I was over. Somebody tackled me from behind and pulled me back. That's when I fumbled."[10] California fans protested the "phantom touchdown" and continued decades later to insist that the Rose Bowl committee should put an asterisk in the record book next to the game's final score, because of the disputed touchdown.[11]

1949 season

As a senior in 1949, Murakowski shared the starting fullback position with Gaspar Perricone.[12] In September, he ran for a 30-yard touchdown against Purdue.[13] for 20-6 Victory And in early November, Murakowski scored Northwestern's only touchdown against Wisconsin on a 79-yard punt return. The Racine Journal Times described the return as follows: "As he made the catch Murakowski bobbled the ball a bit. Then getting the thing tucked away under his arm he set out for the sidelines. At the 30 Wisconsin tacklers appeared to have him pinned against the sideline, but he slipped through and after another 10 yards was out in front with only Christensen having a chance to pursue him."[14] He was honored at the end of the 1949 season by being selected to play for the East team in the East-West Shrine Game.[15] Murakowski helped lead the East team to 28-6 win and tied for the most yards gained in the 1949 Shrine Game with 108 yards on 21 carries.[16]

Professional football

Murakowski was selected by the Detroit Lions in the third round (31st overall pick) in the 1950 NFL Draft. He did not sign a contract with the Lions in 1950 and did not play professional football that year. He signed with the Lions in January 1951 and was the first player signed by the Lions' new coach Buddy Parker.[17] Murakowski appeared in all 12 games for the 1951 Detroit Lions, mostly as a linebacker on defense.[18]

In March 1952, the Lions traded Murakowski and Bob Momsen to the Chicago Cardinals for veteran quarterback Jim Hardy.[19] Although the Chicago Tribune reports that Murakowski played for the Chicago Cardinals,[20] he apparently did not play in any regular season games for the team.[21]

Government service

After retiring as a football player, Murakowski worked for 31 years for county and local government in Lake County and North Township, Indiana.[20][22] He was the chief clerk in the county assessor's office from 1954 to 1968.[22][23] In 1968, he took a position as a supervisor in the assessor's office of North Township.[22] He was also elected as a Democrat to several terms in the Indiana House of Representatives starting in 1964 and continuing into the 1970s.[20]

Family and death

Murakowski died in 1985 at age 60 at his home in Hammond, Indiana. He was survived by his wife, Lucille Murakowski, three sons, and three daughters.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Al Wolf (1948-12-27). "Quiet Man Off Field: Murakowski Starred as Prep". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b c d "Justice, Walker Top AP's All-America: Stuart, Murakowski Round Out Backfield". St. Petersburg Times. 1948-12-02.
  3. ^ a b c d "N.U. Offensives Built Around Murakowski". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1949-09-04.
  4. ^ "Murakowski, Stuart Made Plays of Year". The Milwaukee Journal (AP wire story). 1948-12-16.
  5. ^ Ted Smits (1948-12-01). "Bear Guard on A.P.A.A. Eleven". Long Beach Press-Telegram.
  6. ^ "Wildcat's Murakowski 'Most Valuable' In Big 9". The Miami News. 1948-12-19.
  7. ^ "Murakowski Is Named Most Valuable Player". The Deseret News. 1948-12-17.
  8. ^ "Berwanger Completely Satisfied Murakowski Crossed Goal Line". The Milwaukee Journal. 1949-01-07.
  9. ^ "Touchdown Fumble Stirs Argument". Los Angeles Times. 1949-01-02.
  10. ^ a b "Did Murakowski Score or Didn't He?". St. Petersburg Times (AP wire story). 1949-01-03.
  11. ^ William Weinbaum (Fall 2008). "Return of the '49ers: The story behind the 1948 football team's memorable march to Rose Bowl victory". Northwestern Magazine.
  12. ^ "Murakowski Demoted". The Terre Haute Star. 1949-10-19.
  13. ^ "Wildcats Roar in 3rd Quarter". Waterloo Sunday Courier. 1949-09-15.
  14. ^ "Badgers Beat Cats 14-6 To Stay in Big Ten Race". Racine Journal Times. 1949-11-07.
  15. ^ "Top Grid Stars Named To Meet in Shrine Tilt". Pacific Stars and Stripes. 1949-12-01.
  16. ^ "WEST MANHANDLED BY EAST, 28 TO 6". Oakland Tribune. 1950-01-01.
  17. ^ "Art Murakowski Signs with Lions". The Pittsburgh Press (UP wire story). 1951-01-21.
  18. ^ "Art Murakowski profile". Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  19. ^ "Grid Cardinals Trade Jim Hardy To Detroit". Reading Eagle. 1952-03-30.
  20. ^ a b c d Kenan Heise (1985-09-15). "ART MURAKOWSKI, 60, NU FOOTBALL STAR IN '40S". Chicago Tribune.
  21. ^ "1952 Chicago Cardinals".
  22. ^ a b c "Pers Gets Supervisor". The Times (Hammond, IN). 1968-09-29.
  23. ^ "State Representatives". The Hammond Times. 1966-11-06.

1925 (MCMXXV)

was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1925th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 925th year of the 2nd millennium, the 25th year of the 20th century, and the 6th year of the 1920s decade.

1947 Big Nine Conference football season

The 1947 Big Nine Conference football season was the 52nd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1947 college football season.

The 1947 Big Ten champion was Michigan. The Wolverines compiled a perfect 10–0 record, outscored its opponents by a combined total of 394 to 53, and defeated the USC Trojans by a score of 49 to 0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game.

Michigan halfback Bob Chappuis led the conference with 1,395 yards of total offense, which was also the fourth best in the country. Chappuis also finished second in the voting for the 1947 Heisman Trophy, trailing Johnny Lujack by a tally of 742 votes to 555 votes, with both finishing ahead of Doak Walker and Bobby Layne.Wisconsin finished in second place in the conference, led by sophomore halfback Jug Girard. Girard, a triple-threat man who also returned two punts for touchdowns, was the first conference player selected in the 1948 NFL Draft, being chosen by the Green Bay Packers with the seventh pick in the first round.

1947 Northwestern Wildcats football team

The 1947 Northwestern Wildcats team was an American football team that represented Northwestern University during the 1947 Big Nine Conference football season. In its first year under head coach Bob Voigts, the team compiled a 3–6 record (2–4 against Big Nine Conference opponents),finished in eighth place in the Big Ten Conference, and outscored opponents by a total of 197 to 129.No Northwestern players were named to the 1947 All-Big Nine Conference football teams.

1948 All-Big Nine Conference football team

The 1948 All-Big Nine Conference football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Big Nine Conference teams selected by the Associated Press (AP), United Press (UP) and the International News Service (INS) for the 1948 Big Nine Conference football season. Players selected as first-team honorees by the AP, UP and INS are displayed in bold.

Michigan compiled a 9–0 record, won both the Big Nine Conference and national football championships, and had four players who were selected as consensus first-team All-Big Nine players. Michigan's consensus first-team honorees were quarterback Pete Elliott, end Dick Rifenburg, tackle Alvin Wistert, guard Dominic Tomasi.

Other players receiving first-team honors from at least two of the three major selectors were Indiana halfback George Taliaferro, Purdue halfback Harry Szulborski, Northwestern fullback Art Murakowski, Minnesota end Bud Grant, Minnesota guard Leo Nomellini, and Northwestern center Alex Sarkisian.

1948 Big Nine Conference football season

The 1948 Big Nine Conference football season was the 53rd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1948 college football season.

The 1948 Big Nine champion was Michigan. The Wolverines compiled a 9–0 record, shut out five of nine opponents, led the conference in both scoring offense (28.0 points per game) and scoring defense (4.9 points allowed per game), and were ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll. The 1948 season was Michigan's second straight undefeated, untied season. The Wolverines entered the 1948 season with a 14-game winning streak dating back to October 1946 and extended the streak to 23 games. End Dick Rifenburg and tackle Alvin Wistert were consensus first-team All-Americans. Guard Dominic Tomasi was selected as the team's most valuable player.

Northwestern finished in second place with an 8–2 record and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. Under conference rules preventing the same team from returning to the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons, Northwestern received the conference's bid to play in the 1949 Rose Bowl where the Wildcats defeated the California Golden Bears, 20–14. Northwestern fullback Art Murakowski won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the conference's most valuable player.

Minnesota finished in third place with a 7–2 and was ranked No. 16 in the final AP Poll. Minnesota was led by Bernie Bierman in his 14th year as head coach and by tackle Leo Nomellini who was a consensus first-team All-American.

1948 College Football All-America Team

The 1948 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1948. The seven selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1948 season are (1) the Associated Press, (2) the United Press, (3) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), (4) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) and (7) The Sporting News.

SMU quarterback Doak Walker and Penn center Chuck Bednarik were the only players unanimously named by all seven official selectors as first-team All-Americans. Walker also won the 1948 Heisman Trophy.

1948 Northwestern Wildcats football team

The 1948 Northwestern Wildcats football team represented Northwestern University in the 1948 Big Nine Conference football season. The Wildcats won their first Rose Bowl in school history.

1949 Big Nine Conference football season

The 1949 Big Nine Conference football season was the 54th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1949 college football season.

Ohio State and Michigan tied for the 1949 Big Ten championship. Ohio State, under head coach Wes Fesler, compiled a 7–1–2 record and was ranked No. 6 in the final AP Poll. The Buckeyes defeated California in the 1950 Rose Bowl by a 17–14 score. Center Jack Lininger was selected as the team's most valuable player.

Michigan, under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, compiled a 6–2–1 record and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. The Wolverines had a 25-game win streak broken with a loss to Army on October 8, 1949. Halfback Dick Kempthorn was selected as the team's most valuable player, and tackle Alvin Wistert was a consensus first-team All-American.

Minnesota, under head coach Bernie Bierman, finished in third place, compiled a 7–2 record, led the conference in both scoring offense (25.7 points per game) and scoring defense (8.9 points allowed per game), and was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Bud Grant and John Lundin were selected as the team's most valuable players. Tackle Leo Nomellini and center Clayton Tonnemaker were both consensus first-team All-Americans.

1949 Rose Bowl

The 1949 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game. It was the 35th Rose Bowl Game, and the third since the Big Nine Conference and Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) agreed to an exclusive agreement to match their conference champions. The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the California Golden Bears 20–14. Northwestern halfback Frank Aschenbrenner was named the Rose Bowl Player of the Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively. The Wildcats were underdogs going into the game but pulled off an upset. Until the 2013 Gator Bowl, this was the only bowl game win in the history of Northwestern Wildcats football program.

1950 NFL Draft

The 1950 National Football League Draft was held January 20–21, 1950, at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.

Art (given name)

Art is a Celtic masculine given name, meaning "bear", thus figuratively "champion".

Chicago Tribune Silver Football

The Chicago Tribune Silver Football is awarded by the Chicago Tribune to the college football player determined to be the best player from the Big Ten Conference. The award has been presented annually since 1924, when Red Grange of Illinois was the award's first recipient.The winner of the Silver Football is determined by a vote of Big Ten head football coaches. Each coach submits a two-player ballot with a first and second choice, and coaches cannot vote for players on their own team. The first-place vote receives two points and the second-place vote receives one point.Coaches and media of the Big Ten also make annual selections for additional individual honors.

Jimmie Cain

James McEvilly Cain (September 5, 1912 - August 26, 2007) was an American football player and official.

Growing up in Oklahoma, Cain moved to the State of Washington to play college football for Jimmy Phelan, coach of the Washington Huskies. Cain played at all three backfield positions for the Huskies from 1934 to 1936 and was selected by Liberty magazine and Pathé News as a first-team halfback on the 1936 College Football All-America Team. Cain was selected by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round (56th overall pick) of the 1937 NFL Draft.Cain later worked as a Pac-10 football official, serving as referee in two Rose Bowl games and 14 East–West Shrine Games. As referee of the 1949 Rose Bowl, he overruled another official and ruled that Northwestern's Art Murakowski had not fumbled until after crossing the goal line; the controversial call gave Northwestern the winning margin in its 20-14 victory over California.Cain was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and has also been inducted into the University of Washington Athletic Hall of Fame. He died in 2007 at age 94 in Rancho Mirage, California.

List of Northwestern Wildcats in the NFL Draft

This is a list of Northwestern Wildcats football players in the NFL Draft.

List of people from Hammond, Indiana

The following is a list of people from Hammond, Indiana. Only people of notability should be listed.

Robert K. Abbett - artist, illustrator

R.J.Q. Adams - historian

Norman C. Anderson - Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly

Michael Badnarik - Libertarian Party 2004 presidential candidate

Gerald R. Beaman - U.S. Navy admiral

Dodie Bellamy - author

Stephan Bonnar - UFC fighter

Kathleen Burke - actress

Darrel Chaney - baseball player

Jack Chevigny - football player, coach, lawyer, and United States Marine Corps officer

Denny Clanton - soccer player

Bartlett Cormack - playwright and screenwriter

Irv Cross, NFL player and commentator

Alberta Darling - Wisconsin politician

Jon Deak - contrabassist

Jon DeGuilio - judge

John H. Eastwood - US Army Air Corps chaplain, World War II

Hal Faverty - NFL player

Danelle Folta - actress, model, Playboy April 1995 Playmate of the month

Maxx Frank - gospel singer

Dory Funk - professional wrestler fighting under both his real name and as "The Outlaw"

Terry Funk - professional wrestler and actor

George Groves - professional football player

Wally Hess - football player

Khari Jones - player in Canadian Football League, television commentator

Jeremy Jordan - actor, singer

Bruce Konopka - baseball player

Ken Kremer - football player

Jim Lewis - Disney and Wal-Mart executive

Bob Livingstone - football player

Thomas McDermott, Jr. - mayor

Monica Maxwell - basketball player, played in Women's National Basketball Association

Roy McPipe - basketball player, drafted by NBA in '73 and '74, played with ABA's Utah Stars in 1975

Carl Frederick Mengeling - Bishop of Lansing 1996-2008

Joseph F. Meyer - horticulturist, herbalist, founder of the Indiana Botanic Gardens

Phil Montgomery - Wisconsin politician

Billy Muffett - baseball player

Art Murakowski - football player

Samuel Panayotovich - Illinois politician

Merle Pertile - model, Playboy Playmate, January 1962

Charles B. Pierce - filmmaker

Fritz Pollard - first black NFL head coach for now-defunct Hammond Pros, member of Pro Football Hall of Fame

Alvah Curtis Roebuck - founded Sears, Roebuck and Company

Mike D. Rogers - Alabama politician

Aaron Rosand - violin soloist

Jordan Schafer - baseball player

Ryan Schau - football player

Mike Sember - baseball player

Scott Sheldon - baseball player

Jean Shepherd - born Chicago, raised in Hammond, TV and radio personality, best known as writer and narrator of film A Christmas Story (1983)

Bobby Skafish - Chicago radio personality

Chips Sobek - basketball player, coach and official

Glenn Michael Souther - US Navy defector to Soviet Union

Miguel Torres - UFC fighter

Jimmy Valiant - professional wrestler

Lois V Vierk - music composer of post-minimalist and totalist schools

David Wilkerson - minister, evangelist and writer

Joe Winkler - football player

Doc Young - Hammond physician, one of the founders of the National Football League

DJ Rashad - notable footwork DJ/producer.

Northwestern Wildcats football

The Northwestern Wildcats football team, representing Northwestern University, is an NCAA Division I college football team and member of the Big Ten Conference, with evidence of organization in 1876. The mascot is the Wildcat, a term coined by a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1924, after reporting on a football game where the players appeared as "a wall of purple wildcats". Northwestern achieved an all-time high rank of No. 1 during the 1936 and 1962 seasons, then plummeted to extended levels of futility from the mid-1970s to 1994. Recently, under Pat Fitzgerald's leadership, the Wildcats have become a well-rounded team capable of competing with top teams across the country.

The Wildcats have won three Big Ten championships or co-championships since 1995, and have been "bowl eligible" (a status that requires at least a .500 regular-season record) in six out of the last seven seasons.

Northwestern consistently ranks among the national leaders in graduation rate among football teams, having received the AFCA Academic Achievement Award four times since 2002. Despite the stricter academic standards, Northwestern has produced many notable athletes, such as former first-round draft picks Luis Castillo and Napoleon Harris, as well as former Denver Broncos starter and current Minnesota Vikings backup quarterback Trevor Siemian.

The Wildcats have played their home games at Ryan Field (formerly Dyche Stadium) in Evanston, Illinois, since 1926.

Washington High School (East Chicago, Indiana)

Washington High School was a public high school in East Chicago, Indiana, which opened in 1898 but closed in 1986. Washington High School merged with Roosevelt High School to become East Chicago Central High School, known in the area as "Central."

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