Charles Louis Trippi (born December 14, 1921) is a former American football player. He played professionally for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) from 1947 to 1955. Although primarily a running back, his versatility allowed him to fill a multitude of roles over his career, including quarterback, defensive back, punter, and return specialist. A "quintuple-threat", Trippi was adept at running, catching, passing, punting, and defense.
Trippi attended the University of Georgia, where he played college football for the Georgia Bulldogs from 1942 to 1946, with an interlude in 1944 while serving in the military during World War II. As a sophomore, he guided Georgia to victory in the 1943 Rose Bowl and was named the game's most valuable player. As a senior in 1946, he won the Maxwell Award as the nation's most outstanding college football player, was named the Southeastern Conference's player of the year, and earned unanimous first-team All-America recognition.
Drafted first overall by the Cardinals as a "future pick" in the 1945 NFL Draft, Trippi was also pursued by the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) as well as multiple professional baseball teams. He ultimately signed a record $100,000 contract with the Cardinals. As a rookie, Trippi led Chicago's "Million Dollar Backfield" to victory in the 1947 NFL Championship Game. By the time he retired he had compiled the most yards of total offense by a player in NFL history. Trippi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
Trippi c. 1948
|No. 62, 2|
|Born:||December 14, 1921|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||186 lb (84 kg)|
|High school:||Pittston Area (PA)|
|NFL Draft:||1945 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 1955|
Charles Louis Trippi was born to an Italian immigrant father on December 14, 1921, in Pittston, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining community. Seeking to avoid the dangers of a life mining coal like his father, Trippi turned to sports. He began his football career as a tailback for the Red and White of Pittston High school panthers which in 1967 became Pittston Area patriots with the merger of Avoca,Dupont and Duryea schools. He also played semi-professional baseball while in high school.
Considered undersized at 160 pounds, Trippi was turned down by four colleges before being recruited to play for the University of Georgia by Georgia alum Harold "War Eagle" Ketron. He was given a scholarship and played for the Georgia Bulldogs football varsity team from 1942 to 1946, with an interlude in 1944 due to World War II. As a sophomore in 1942, he played alongside that season's Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich. That year, Trippi and Sinkwich led Georgia to a 75–0 win over rival Florida, a game in which Trippi threw a touchdown pass to end George Poschner, scored two rushing touchdowns, and on defense returned an interception for a touchdown. Georgia finished the season with a record of 11–1 and was named the consensus national champion. Trippi then guided Georgia to a 9–0 victory over UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl, in which he carried 27 times for 115 yards and also handled passing and punting duties. He was retroactively named the game's most valuable player when the award was created in 1953.
Trippi's college career was interrupted by World War II, causing him to miss the 1944 season and all but six games in 1945. He played for the 1944 Third Air Force Gremlins football team and was selected as a first-team back on the Associated Press' 1944 Service All-America team. While in the service in 1945, he was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League as a future pick; per an agreement with Cardinals owner Charles Bidwill, Trippi was allowed to return to Georgia after his time in the military.
Despite missing Georgia's first five games of the 1945 season, Trippi was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference back by both the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). He threw a 54-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown in Georgia's 20–6 win over Tulsa in the Oil Bowl on New Years Day. In 1946, Trippi led Georgia to its first undefeated season. Against rival Georgia Tech in the final game of that year, Trippi compiled 544 combined yards rushing, passing, and returning kicks, and scored three touchdowns in Georgia's 35–7 victory. Georgia then defeated North Carolina 20–10 in the Sugar Bowl, where Trippi carried 14 times for 54 yards and threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to end Dan Edwards. After the season, Trippi was given the Maxwell Award as the most outstanding college player in the nation, the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy as the nation's best back, and was a unanimous choice for the All-America team. He finished as runner-up in Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Glenn Davis of Army.
Due to relaxed regulations during WWII years, Trippi holds the unusual distinction of participating in the Chicago College All-Star Game a record five times: twice with Georgia, twice in the military, and once with the Cardinals. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the game in 1945. It was at the Chicago College All-Star Game that Bidwell decided he would draft Trippi first overall, as "Card-Pitt" was winless in 1944 and in need of a play-maker. "He said, 'I'm gonna get ya,'" Trippi recalled. "He wanted me to play for him, and I said, 'All you've got to do is draft me and I'm ready.'"
In addition to football, Trippi was highly sought-after for his baseball skills. As a senior on Georgia's baseball team in 1946, he recorded a batting average of .475 and hit 11 home runs in 30 games while playing as a shortstop and outfielder. In 1947, Trippi played one season of minor league baseball with the Southern Association's Atlanta Crackers. He recorded a batting average of .334 through 106 games while drawing large crowds. Multiple Major League Baseball teams attempted to sign him, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Boston Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies, but those deals fell through when he joined the NFL. Between NFL seasons in 1948 and 1949, Trippi served as Georgia's baseball coach, compiling a 34–18 win–loss record.
Trippi was a major part in the battling between the NFL and All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The 26-year-old rookie had plenty of leverage as a star commodity, and so weighed his options: the Cardinals and the AAFC's New York Yankees. The Yankees were sure they had signed Trippi to a joint deal that included a contract with the Yankees of MLB, but Cardinals owner Charles Bidwill signed Trippi to a four-year contract worth an unprecedented $100,000 along with a first-year bonus of $25,000. The contract was considered the most lucrative in pro football history. Trippi felt the NFL was more established and stable, and Bidwill had offered him job security.
Trippi's addition completed Bidwill's "Dream Backfield". Although Bidwill did not live to see it, Trippi became the game breaker in a talented corps that included Paul Christman, Pat Harder, Marshall Goldberg and, later, Elmer Angsman. Trippi served a multitude of roles for the Cardinals as a rookie: in 11 games, he rushed 83 times for 401 yards, caught 23 passes for 240 yards, averaged 43.4 yards on 13 punts, returned eight punts for 181 yards and 15 kickoffs for 321 yards, and on defense returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown. The Cardinals compiled nine wins and three losses and faced the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1947 NFL Championship Game, which the Cardinals won 28–21 largely due to a spectacular all-around performance by Trippi. Playing on an icy field in Chicago, Trippi wore basketball shoes for better traction and totaled 206 yards, including 102 yards with two punt returns. He scored touchdowns on a 44-yard run and a 75-yard punt return. During the punt return, he twice escaped an encirclement of tacklers and fell to his knees near midfield before cutting to the outside and sprinting for the score. Trippi was named to the 1947 All-Pro second team backfield by the United Press.
Trippi led the NFL in all-purpose yards in both 1948 and 1949, compiling 1,485 and 1,552 respectively. His 5.4 rushing yards per carry in 1948 also led the league, as did his two punt return touchdowns. He had a 45-yard punt return touchdown against the Green Bay Packers and later returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Trippi was a first-team All-Pro selection for 1948 by the AP, UPI, New York Daily News, and The Sporting News, among others. The Cardinals returned to the championship game in 1948, and this time were shutout by the Eagles for a 7–0 loss. Trippi was held to nine carries for only 26 yards during the game, which was played in a heavy snowstorm. Trippi saw heavy use as a receiver in 1949; in addition to rushing for 554 yards, he led the Cardinals in receptions (32) and receiving touchdowns (six) and was second on the team with 412 receiving yards.
After playing as a left halfback for his first four seasons, Trippi switched to quarterback during 1951 and 1952. On December 15, 1951, on frozen turf in Wrigley Field, Trippi completed nine passes for 106 yards and carried 11 times for 145 yards, accounting for three touchdowns as the Cardinals defeated the Bears 24–14. Following the 1952 season, he was invited to the Pro Bowl as a backup quarterback for the American Conference. Trippi moved back to offensive halfback for one season and again was invited to the Pro Bowl. He then switched over to play defense in 1954, recording three pass interceptions as a defensive back. He also became the Cardinals' primary punter for 1953 and 1954, and had a career punting average of over 40 yards per punt. His career essentially ended in the 1955 preseason when he was tackled by John Henry Johnson of the San Francisco 49ers, which left Trippi with a smashed nose, a concussion, and a protruding bone behind his eye that gave him double vision. He appeared in only five games that season and did not record any statistics on offense. Trippi retired on December 13, 1955, a day before his 33rd birthday. At the time, his 6,053 yards of total offense (3,506 rushing, 2,547 passing, and 1,321 receiving) was the most by a player in NFL history, and he had compiled the fourth-most all-purpose yards of any player (7,148).
After he ended his playing career, Trippi served as an assistant coach with the Cardinals from 1957 to 1965, mostly coaching the offensive backfield. He later took up a business in real estate. Trippi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959; the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1965; and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1968. He is the only player in the Pro Hall of Fame to have accumulated at least 1,000 yards each receiving, passing, and rushing. In 2007, he was ranked 20th on ESPN's list of the top 25 players in college football history. The football stadium at Pittston Area High School is named Charley Trippi Stadium in his honor. In 1969, Trippi was named to the NFL's 1940s All-Decade Team, compiled to honor the best players of the decade. As of 2018, Trippi is the oldest living member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the oldest living No. 1 NFL draft pick.
The 1943 Greensboro Tech-Hawks football team represented the Greensboro Army Air Forces Basic Training Center No. 10 during the 1943 college football season. Charley Trippi, who was later inducted into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, starred for the team. The team compiled a perfect 4–0 record and was unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon. Captain Ralph Erickson was the team's head coach.1943 Rose Bowl
The 1943 Rose Bowl game, played on January 1, 1943, was the 29th Rose Bowl game. The University of Georgia Bulldogs defeated the UCLA Bruins 9-0. The game returned to the Rose Bowl stadium after being played at Duke Stadium the year before. Charley Trippi of Georgia was named the Rose Bowl Player of the Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.After the 1942 Allied victory in the Battle of Midway and the end of the Japanese offensives in the Pacific Theater during 1942, it was deemed that the West Coast was no longer vulnerable to attack, and the Rose Bowl game continued on in the Rose Bowl Stadium. Few Georgia fans were able to make the trip because of travel restrictions. There were a large number of military servicemen in attendance. The Tournament of Roses parade itself still was not held due to the war. Due to the number of American servicemen stationed in Australia, the game was broadcast live on Australian radio.1944 All-Service football team
The 1944 All-Service football team is composed of American football players who were selected as by various organizations and writers as the best football players at their respective positions who were serving in the military and playing on military service football teams in 1944.1944 Second Air Force Superbombers football team
The 1944 Second Air Force Superbombers football team represented the Second Air Force during the 1944 college football season. The team, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, compiled a 10–4–1 record, outscored opponents by a total of 513 to 76, and was ranked No. 20 in the final AP Poll.The team played many of the other leading service teams, losing to Randolph Field (No. 3 in the final AP Poll), Iowa Pre-Flight (No. 6), and Norman NAS (No. 14), and a Third Air Force team led by Charley Trippi. The Superbombers also played to a tie against March Field (No. 10).
Major William B. "Red" Reese, who coached football and basketball at Eastern Washington College before the war, was the team's head coach. Notable players on the 1944 Second Air Force squad included Glenn Dobbs, Bill Sewell, Don Fambrough, Nick Susoeff, Ray Evans, John Harrington, Johnny Strzykalski, and Visco Grgich.1944 Third Air Force Gremlins football team
The 1944 Third Air Force Gremlins football team represented the Third Air Force during the 1944 college football season. The team compiled a 7–3 record. The Third Air Force was part of the United States Army Air Forces and was based in 1944 at Morris Field in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The team played a 10-game schedule against other military service teams and defeated the Second Air Force team that was ranked No. 20 in the final 1944 AP Poll. Its three losses were against teams ranked in the top 20 in the final poll: Randolph Field (No. 3); Great Lakes (No. 17); and Fort Pierce (No. 18).
J. Quinn Decker, who coached at Centre College before the war, was the team's head coach. The team's key players included backs Charley Trippi (left halfback), Ernie Bonelli (right halfback), Bob Kennedy (fullback), and Frank Gnup (quarterback), and linemen Art Brandau (center), Walt Barnes, and Jack Karwales. Trippi was named as a first-team player on the Associated Press' 1944 Service All-America team.1945 All-SEC football team
The 1945 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1945 college football season. Alabama won the conference title.1945 NFL Draft
The 1945 National Football League Draft was held on April 8, 1945, at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, New York.1946 All-SEC football team
The 1946 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1946 college football season. Georgia and Tennessee shared the conference title.1946 College Football All-America Team
The 1946 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 1946. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1946 season are (1) the All-America Board (AAB), (2) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), published by Look magazine, (3) the Associated Press (AP), (4) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (5) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), (6) the International News Service (INS), (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (8) the Sporting News (SN), and (9) the United Press (UP).1946 Oil Bowl
The 1946 Oil Bowl was a college football postseason bowl game featuring the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the first Oil Bowl since 1944.1947 Chicago Cardinals season
The 1947 Chicago Cardinals season was the franchise's 28th season in the National Football League. The Cardinals have won their second NFL championship against the Philadelphia Eagles. The team was led by its "Million Dollar Backfield" of Elmer Angsman, Charley Trippi, Paul Christman, and Pat Harder. As of the end of 2018, this is the team's last league championship. This championship drought is currently the longest active one in American professional sports. Until the 2018 season 71 years later, this also marked the last time the Cardinals beat the Green Bay Packers on the road.1947 Sugar Bowl
The 1947 Sugar Bowl was played between the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the ninth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Georgia won 20–10.
In the second quarter, North Carolina scored on a four-yard Walt Pupa touchdown run to take a 7–0 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Georgia scored on a 4-yard touchdown run by John Rauch to tie the game at 7. North Carolina's Fox kicked a 27-yard field goal as North Carolina led 10–7. Georgia scored on a 67-yard touchdown pass from Charley Trippi to Dan Edwards to take a 13–10 lead. In the fourth quarter, Rauch scored on a 13-yard touchdown to seal the Georgia victory 20–10.1948 Chicago Cardinals season
The 1948 Chicago Cardinals season was the 29th season in franchise history. The Cardinals won the Western division on the final weekend at Wrigley Field over the cross-town Bears, and appeared in the NFL championship game for the second consecutive year. The defending champions lost 7–0 to the Eagles in a snowstorm in Philadelphia. It was their final postseason appearance as a Chicago team; they relocated southwest to St. Louis in 1960.
The Cardinals scored 395 points (32.9 per game) in 1948, the most in the ten-team NFL, and the second most all-time in a 12-game season. They also led the league in offensive yards, yards per play, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The team's plus-169 point-differential remains the best in franchise history.
The 1948 NFL season produced more points-per-game per team than any other season, and according to Cold Hard Football Facts:
"Jimmy Conzelman's Chicago Cardinals were the best of the bunch. They led the NFL in scoring that year (32.9 [points-per-game]) and they produced what was probably the greatest four-week stretch of offense in pro football history. From October 17 to November 7, the 1948 Cardinals beat the Giants 63–35; the Boston Yanks, 49–27; the L.A. Rams 27–22; and the Lions, 56–20. That's a four-week average of 48.8 [points-per-game] for those of you keeping score at home.
"Yes, turnovers were common in 1948, so maybe that fact made life easier for offense. The Cardinals, for example, picked off 23 passes in 12 games. But they scored just two defensive touchdowns all year, while adding four on special teams. Mostly, they ripped off touchdowns, a remarkable 47 on offense. They kicked a mere eight field goals.
"Mostly, the offense was virtually unstoppable and it didn't settle often for the cheap, soccer-style field goals that pad offensive team totals today."
The Cardinals had three players in the top six in rushing in 1948: halfbacks Charley Trippi (690 yards), and Elmer Angsman (638), and fullback/linebacker/placekicker Pat Harder (554). Harder led the league in scoring in 1948, with 110 points (6 rushing touchdowns, 7 field goals, and 53 extra points). He was named the league's MVP by United Press International.
This was the Cardinals' last playoff game until 1974, although they did win the third place Playoff Bowl in Miami over Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in January 1965. The Cardinals' next appearance in an NFL championship game was sixty years later in Super Bowl XLIII in January 2009.Elmer Angsman
Elmer Joseph Angsman Jr. (December 11, 1925 – April 11, 2002) was an American football running back in the NFL.
He was born on the south side of Chicago in 1925, the son of Elmer and Helen Angsman. Elmer attended Mount Carmel High School and also starred for Notre Dame in college from 1943 to 1945(playing on the 1943 National Championship team 1943 college football season and the College All-Star team that defeated the world champion Cleveland Rams.), played 7 seasons in the NFL, all with the Chicago Cardinals. After graduating from Notre Dame in three years with a degree in journalism, Angsman was the youngest player ever drafted to play in the NFL at the age of 20 with the 16th overall pick of the 1946 draft. Angsman was part of Charles Bidwill’s "Dream Backfield". Although Bidwill did not live to see it, the talented corps that included Charley Trippi, Paul Christman, Pat Harder, and Angsman went on to achieve great success. In the 1947 NFL championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Angsman scored twice on runs of 70 yards each. The final touchdown, a run up the middle like the first against Eagle coach Greasy Neale's famed 5-2-4 defense, put the game out of reach. Angsman finished the game with 10 carries for 159 yards. His 15.9 yard per carry average is still an NFL post-season record (10 carries or more). The 1947 title was the Cardinal franchise's last championship. Don Paul, a former defensive back for the Cardinals and later the Cleveland Browns, once said "He was...A straight ahead north and south runner who would just as soon leave cleat marks on your balls as run around you."
Angsman and the Cardinals never reclaimed the glory of the 1947 championship season. In 1948, Angsman led the Cardinals in rushing, with 412 yards and 7 touchdowns, and the Cards edged the Chicago Bears for the West Conference title. They met the Eagles once again in the 1948 NFL Championship Game title game now referred to as "The Blizzard Bowl". The field was covered by snow and the entire game was played in a storm. The Cardinals running attack was greatly hampered and the Eagles star Steve Van Buren was the only player who could run effectively in the conditions. Angsman mustered only 33 yards on 10 carries. Only 5 passes were completed by both teams combined. Van Buren's 5 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the only scoring as the Eagles won their first championship, 7-0.
The Cardinals' visionary coach, Jimmy Conzelman, quit after the 1948 season and the Cardinals drifted into mediocrity. Angsman had his best season in 1949 with 674 yards rushing on 125 carries and 6 touchdowns. He, Pat Harder, and Charlie Trippi shared running duties and combined for 1,674 yards and 16 touchdowns that year (in comparison, Steve Van Buren set the NFL single season rushing record in 1949 with 1146 yards). However, the future of NFL success lay in dynamic passing attacks such as that possessed by the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. Angsman's production fell off significantly in 1950 and 1951, with 363 and 380 yards, respectively, and an average under 3.5 yards per carry. By 1952, with stunning rookie halfback Ollie Matson joining the club, Angsman was relegated to a seldom-used backup role. He retired after the 1952 season at age 27. He finished with career statistics of 683 carries, 2908 yards (4.3 avg), and 27 touchdowns. He caught 41 passes for 654 yards and 5 touchdowns. Angsman was selected to the first ever Pro Bowl 1951 Pro Bowl in 1950.
After his NFL career, Angsman was a color commentator beginning in 1958 with CBS Radio CBS Radio, later ABC American Football League on ABC and finishing with NBC List of NFL on NBC announcers in 1972. Angsman called college and pro games most notably the 1968 Sugar Bowl and several Orange Bowl games. He is a member of the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. Angsman owned various companies after commentating finding success in paper manufacturing and eventually retiring to Juno Beach, Florida. In April 2002, Elmer Angsman died of a heart attack while playing golf with lifelong friends.
He is survived by wife-Diane Angsman, son-John Angsman, grandchildren- Jim Angsman, Jeff Angsman, Jackie Angsman, Jay Angsman, Joe AngsmanGary Keithley
Gary Keithley (born January 11, 1951) is a former professional American football quarterback in the National Football League. Playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, he had a 0.0 passer rating in each of his first two career starts, the only quarterback in NFL history to do this in back-to-back games. He was the backup quarterback of the BC Lions in 1977 and 1978.List of Arizona Cardinals starting quarterbacks
These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Cardinals.Million Dollar Backfield (Chicago Cardinals)
The Million Dollar Backfield was a National Football League (NFL) offensive backfield of the Chicago Cardinals in 1947 after an unprecedented amount of money by Cardinals owner Charles Bidwill lured several of the day's top players to the team. The Million Dollar backfield was also referred to separately as the Dream Backfield by Bidwill.National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit institution honoring exceptional U.S. athletes of Italian descent. In 1977 George Randazzo created the Italian American Boxing Hall of Fame. This was as a means for raising money for local Catholic youth programs. After a successful year and dinner honoring 23 former Italian American boxing champions, Randazzo created the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. The original location was in Elmwood Park, Illinois. The first induction ceremony honored Lou Ambers, Eddie Arcaro, Charley Trippi, Gino Marchetti, Dom DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio, and Vince Lombardi. Since its founding in 1978, more than 230 Italian Americans have been inducted into this hall of fame.
A 44,000-square-foot (4,000 m²) building for the Hall of Fame and museum is on Taylor Street in the heart of Chicago's "Little Italy".Virgil Eikenberg
Charles Virgil Eikenberg (February 22, 1924 – January 30, 1987) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Cardinals. He played college football for the Louisville Cardinals and Rice Owls.
Charley Trippi—awards, championships, and honors