Bill Boedeker

William Henry Boedeker, Jr. (March 7, 1924 – March 21, 2014) was a halfback in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League who played for the Chicago Rockets, the Cleveland Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers.

A graduate of North Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Boedeker entered the U.S. Army after high school but was sent to train at DePaul University in Chicago. At DePaul, he played basketball on successful teams with George Mikan before serving in World War II. When Boedeker returned from the service, he signed in 1946 to play football for the Rockets. He was traded to Cleveland in 1947 and spent three seasons there. The Browns won the AAFC championship each of those years. Boedeker was then sent to the Packers and the Eagles in 1950. He retired after the season.

Bill Boedeker
Bill Boedeker
No. 21, 31, 99
Personal information
Born:March 7, 1924
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died:March 21, 2014 (aged 90)
Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:192 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school:Fort Wayne (IN) North Side
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing att-yards:173-741
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early life and college

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Boedeker grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and attended the city's North Side High School.[1] He enlisted in the United States Army immediately after graduating from high school in 1942 and was sent to a military program at DePaul University in Chicago.[2] At DePaul he played on several successful basketball teams alongside George Mikan, including a freshman team that won 17 of 18 games in the 1942–1943 season.[1][2] Boedeker was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart during World War II.[3]

Professional football career

Returning after three years of service, Boedeker planned to return to DePaul to play basketball, but was first given a tryout to play for the Chicago Rockets in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946.[1][2] He had not played football in college and had a piece of shrapnel in his leg from the war, but a DePaul coach recommended him to the Rockets nevertheless.[1][4] Boedeker made the team, making him the first person from Fort Wayne to play professional football.[4] He stayed in Chicago for one year before being traded to the AAFC's Cleveland Browns for end John Harrington and tackle Jim Daniell.[5]

Boedeker played as a halfback in Cleveland as part of a rushing attack that featured Marion Motley and Edgar Jones.[1] He was also a kick returner. Paul Brown, the head coach of the Browns, called him "one of the most reckless runners who ever played for us and a terror when he ran back kicks".[1] Cleveland finished the 1947 season with a 12–1–1 record with Boedeker in the backfield and beat the New York Yankees in the AAFC championship game.[6] The team finished the 1948 season with a perfect record, winning all of its games and another championship.[7] A third championship followed in 1949, but the AAFC dissolved after the season and the Browns were absorbed into the more established National Football League (NFL).[8] Boedeker continued his college studies at Kalamazoo College between seasons with the Browns.[9]

Boedeker's reckless running style earned him praise but also caused frequent injury. Brown said in 1949 that it was not carelessness but a "special kind of talent".[2] Boedeker moved in 1950 to the NFL's Green Bay Packers and later in the season was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles.[10] He left football after the season.[11]

Later life

Boedeker earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a degree in engineering from DePaul. He settled in Fort Wayne after his football career.[12] He worked in the 1950s as a sales director at Capehart-Farnsworth Corporation.[12] In the 1960s, he was an executive at a television distribution firm in Fort Wayne.[13] He died two weeks after his 90th birthday in March 2014.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Piascik 2007, p. 71.
  2. ^ a b c d Sauerbrei, Harold (August 7, 1949). "Boedeker Isn't Reckless Runner". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 3C.
  3. ^ King, Steve. "Browns have military history". Cleveland Browns. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Readers sound off on Top 26 athletes". Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. August 9, 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Sauerbrei, Harold (August 28, 1947). "Boedeker Is Good Man At Returning Kickoffs". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Bowling Green, O. p. 17.
  6. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 81.
  7. ^ Piascik 2007, p. 121.
  8. ^ Piascik 2007, pp. 141, 146.
  9. ^ Cobbledick, Gordon (December 23, 1947). "Plain Dealing". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 14.
  10. ^ "Eagle Back Inducted". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Philadelphia. Associated Press. December 5, 1950. p. 25.
  11. ^ "Bill Boedeker NFL Football Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Boedeker Is Given Promotion by Firm". Cleveland Plain Dealer. December 7, 1952. p. 3C.
  13. ^ Hickey, William (November 19, 1965). "This Sporting Life". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 40.
  14. ^ "WILLIAM H. BOEDEKER Jr". The News-Sentinel. Ogden Newspapers. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2014-03-24.


  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-571-6.

External links

1946 AAFC season

The 1946 AAFC season was the first season of the All-America Football Conference, a new professional league established to challenge the market dominance of the established National Football League. The league included eight teams, broken up into Eastern and Western divisions, which played a 14-game official schedule, culminating in a league championship game.

The season is significant for its shattering of the color line in the ranks of professional American football, when black athletes Marion Motley and Bill Willis took to the field for the AAFC's Cleveland Browns on September 9, 1946. Both of these stars would later be voted to membership in the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

1947 Cleveland Browns season

The 1947 Cleveland Browns season was the team's second in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Coached by Paul Brown, Cleveland finished with a 12–1–1 win–loss–tie record, winning the western division and the AAFC championship for the second straight year. As in 1946, quarterback Otto Graham led an offensive attack that featured fullback Marion Motley and ends Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie.

After a number of coaching changes and roster moves in the offseason, including signing punter Horace Gillom and fullback Tony Adamle, the Browns began with a 30–14 win over the Buffalo Bills, the first of a string of five victories. The team lost its only game of the season to the Los Angeles Dons in October. Five more wins followed before a come-from-behind tie in November with the New York Yankees, the team Cleveland defeated in the 1946 AAFC championship. The Browns won their last two games, including a 42–0 shutout against the Baltimore Colts in the finale, to set up a championship game rematch with the Yankees in December. Cleveland beat the Yankees 14–3 in New York on an icy field to win its second championship in a row.

Graham was named the AAFC's most valuable player after leading the league in passing yards, with 2,753, and passing touchdowns, with 25. Speedie led the league in receiving, and several other Cleveland players were named to sportswriters' All-Pro lists. Brown was named the league's coach of the year by Pro Football Illustrated. The Browns played all their home games in Cleveland Stadium, attracting an average crowd of 55,848, the best home attendance record in both the AAFC and the competing National Football League (NFL).

1948 Cleveland Browns season

The 1948 Cleveland Browns season was the team's third in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). After winning the AAFC crown in 1946 and 1947, the league's first two years of existence, the Browns repeated as champions in 1948 and had a perfect season, winning all of their games.

The season began with a number of roster moves, including the addition of linebacker Alex Agase and halfbacks Ara Parseghian and Dub Jones. Following training camp and two preseason games, the Browns began the regular season with a win against the Buffalo Bills. Led by quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and ends Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, the Browns followed with a string of victories leading up to a November matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams had perfect records to that point, the 49ers relying heavily on the offensive production of quarterback Frankie Albert and end Alyn Beals to win their first 10 games. The Browns beat the 49ers 14–7, and followed two weeks later with another narrow victory over San Francisco, their closest competition in the AAFC in 1948.

By the end of the season, the Browns had a perfect 14–0 record and led the league's Western Division, setting up a championship-game matchup with the Bills, who had won a playoff to take the Eastern Division. Cleveland beat Buffalo 49–7 in December to win the championship and preserve its unbeaten record. After the season, Graham, Motley and Speedie were included in many news organizations' All-Pro teams, alongside several other teammates. Graham was named the co-Most Valuable Player of the league alongside Albert. Browns games were televised for the first time in 1948.

The season is recognized as perfect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although the National Football League (NFL), which absorbed the Browns when the AAFC dissolved in 1949, does not recognize it. Ohio senator Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2008 asking the league to officially recognize AAFC team statistics, including the perfect season. The 2007 New England Patriots were vying to complete a 19–0 season at the time and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to register a perfect record.

In the 2017 NFL season, the Browns went 0-16, becoming the first team in NFL history to have a imperfect season and a perfect season.

1949 Cleveland Browns season

The 1949 Cleveland Browns season was the team's fourth and final season in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns finished the regular season with a 9–1–2 win–loss–tie record and beat the San Francisco 49ers to win their fourth straight league championship. In the season's sixth game on October 9, 1949, the 49ers stopped the Browns' professional football record unbeaten streak after 29 games. The streak started two years before on October 19, 1947, and included two league championship games and two ties.

Cleveland made numerous roster moves before the season, adding tackle Derrell Palmer, linebacker Tommy Thompson and defensive back Warren Lahr, all of whom remained with the team for many years afterward. It was clear even before the season began, however, that the AAFC was struggling and might not survive beyond the 1949 season. The regular season was shortened to 12 games and a new system where the top four teams would participate in a two-week playoff was put into place.

The Browns began the season with a tie against the Buffalo Bills, but won their next four games. Following their loss to the 49ers in the sixth game of the season, the Browns won all but one of their remaining regular-season games, another tie with the Bills. The team finished atop the AAFC standings and faced the Bills in a league semifinal that they won, 31–21. The Browns then beat the 49ers in the championship game, shortly after AAFC and National Football League (NFL) owners agreed to a deal where the Browns, 49ers and Baltimore Colts would merge into the NFL starting in 1950 and the rest of the AAFC teams would cease to exist.

Browns players including quarterback Otto Graham, end Mac Speedie and linebacker Lou Saban were named to sportswriters' All-Pro lists after the season, while head coach Paul Brown was named AAFC coach of the year by Sporting News. Graham led the league in passing for the third time in a row, while Speedie was the league leader in yards and receptions. Fullback Marion Motley was the AAFC's all-time leading rusher. While the Browns were successful in the AAFC, winning all four of its championships, many people doubted that they could match up against NFL teams. Cleveland went on to win the 1950 NFL championship.

1950 Green Bay Packers season

The 1950 Green Bay Packers season was their 32nd season overall and their 30th season in the National Football League. The club posted a 3–9 record under first-year head coach Gene Ronzani for a fifth-place finish in the National Conference.

1950 NFL Draft

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

1950 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1950 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 18th in the league. The team failed to improve on their previous output of 11–1, winning only six games. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

Bob Cowan

Robert George Cowan (January 2, 1923 – January 20, 2004) was an American football halfback who played three seasons in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) between 1947 and 1949. Cowan played for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts.

Cowan was a standout track and football athlete at his Fort Wayne, Indiana high school. He attended Indiana University and starred as a halfback for two years, interrupted by service in the Army Air Force during World War II. Cowan joined the Browns in 1947, when the team won the AAFC championship. Cleveland won all of its games in 1948 and beat the Buffalo Bills in the championship game. Cowan was sent to the Colts for the 1949 season, but he was slowed by a knee injury and left the game a year later. He became a high school principal in Fort Wayne after his playing career.


Bodeker may refer to:

ST Bodeker or Empire Mead, an Empire ship


Bödeker, Böddecker, Bödecker, Boedecker, Boeddecker or Boedecker is a German surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bill Boedeker (1924–2014), American football player

Friedrich Bödeker (1867–1937), German botanist

Philipp Friedrich Böddecker (1607–1683), German court organist and composer

Ralf Bödeker (born 1958), German footballer

Stephan Bodecker (1384–1459), 37th Bishop of Brandenburg and a Christian Hebraist

Sybille Bödecker (born 1948), German slalom canoeist

History of sports in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne, Indiana, is home to three minor league sports teams. These include the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League, and the Fort Wayne TinCaps of baseball's Midwest League.

Fort Wayne has also been home to three former professional sports teams. These include the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons (now in Detroit), the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (an early predecessor to the current MLB).

Intercollegiate sports in the city include Purdue Fort Wayne in the NCAA Division I Summit League as well as NAIA schools Indiana Tech and University of Saint Francis.

Jim Daniell

James Lachlan "Big Jim" Daniell (April 10, 1918 – December 13, 1983) was an American football offensive tackle and defensive tackle, a World War II veteran, and a steel company executive. He played two years in the National Football League (NFL) and All-America Football Conference (AAFC).

Daniell played high school football for Mt. Lebanon High School and The Kiski School in Pennsylvania. After graduating, he attended Ohio State University and played college football for the Ohio State Buckyes between 1938 and 1941. He was selected in the 12th round of the 1942 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, but delayed a professional career to work for his family's steel business and serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Daniell was deployed in the Pacific theater and fought in the Battle of Okinawa. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and was awarded numerous service stars for his role in combat.

After the war, Daniell played for the Bears in part of the 1945 season before joining the AAFC's Cleveland Browns the following year, serving as the team's first captain. While the Browns reached the AAFC championship in 1946, Daniell was kicked off the team before the title game by head coach Paul Brown when he was arrested following a confrontation with Cleveland police. Daniell left football after the season and became a steel company executive in Pennsylvania. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977. He was elected to the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in 2013.

John Harrington (American football)

John Patrick Harrington (April 15, 1921 – January 8, 1992) was a professional American football end and defensive end who played two seasons for the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Rockets in the All-America Football Conference. Harrington attended Marquette University and became the football team's captain in 1942. He joined the military in 1944 and played for Air Force teams in 1944 and 1945. He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1945 but instead signed with the Browns before the team's inaugural season in 1946. Harrington played in one season for the Browns before he was traded to the Rockets in 1947.

Ken Carpenter (gridiron football)

Kenneth Leroy Carpenter (February 26, 1926 – January 28, 2011) was an American football halfback who played for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League (NFL) the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the Denver Broncos in the American Football League (AFL) in the 1950s and 1960. Following his playing career, Carpenter coached during the 1960s in the CFL, NFL and a variety of smaller leagues in the United States.

Carpenter was from Oregon and became a standout at Oregon State University, where he played between 1946 and 1949. The Browns selected him in the first round of the 1950 draft, making him their first selection since joining the league. Carpenter played with for the Browns between 1950 and 1953, a span during which the team won one NFL championship and played in three more. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1951. Carpenter jumped to the CFL in 1954, quickly becoming a star rusher and receiver for the Roughriders. He led the Western Interprovincial Football Union in scoring in 1955 and won the division's most valuable player award. He was named a divisional all-star in 1955, 1956 and 1958.

Carpenter was named head coach of the Roughriders in 1960, but was not successful in that role. He then returned to playing, spending part of the 1960 season with the Denver Broncos of the new American Football League. A series of jobs coaching teams in the United Football League, the Continental Football League and Atlantic Coast Football League followed, interrupted by one year as an assistant for the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1968. After retiring from football, Carpenter worked as the head of recreation at the Indiana Department of Correction. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and into Oregon State's hall of fame in 1991.

List of DePaul University alumni

This is a list of notable alumni of DePaul University in Chicago.

List of people from Fort Wayne, Indiana

The following is a list of notable natives, residents, or former residents of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

March 21

March 21 is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 285 days remain until the end of the year.

In astrology, the day of the equinox is the first full day of the sign of Aries. It is also the traditional first day of the astrological year. In the 21st century, the equinox usually occurs on March 19 or 20; it occurred on March 21 only in 2003 and 2007. The next year in which the equinox occurs on March 21 will be 2102.

March 7

March 7 is the 66th day of the year (67th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 299 days remain until the end of the year.

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