Chuck Bednarik

Charles Philip Bednarik (May 1, 1925 – March 21, 2015), nicknamed Concrete Charlie, was a professional American football player, known as one of the most devastating tacklers in the history of football and the last full-time two-way player in the National Football League (NFL). A Slovak American from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, Bednarik played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 through 1962 and, upon retirement, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, his first year of eligibility.

Chuck Bednarik
ChuckBednarik1952Bowman
No. 60
Position:Linebacker, center
Personal information
Born:May 1, 1925
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Died:March 21, 2015 (aged 89)
Richland, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:233 lb (106 kg)
Career information
High school:Bethlehem (PA) Liberty
College:Pennsylvania
NFL Draft:1949 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:169
Interceptions:20
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR
Chuck Bednarik
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branchU.S. Army Air Forces seal U.S. Army Air Forces
Years of service1942–1946
RankStaff Sergeant
UnitEighth Air Force
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life, military service and college career

Bednarik's parents emigrated in 1920 from Široké, a village in eastern Slovakia, for work, settling in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and working for Bethlehem Steel. Their son Charles was born in 1925. He attended school at SS. Cyril & Methodius in Bethlehem, which was a Slovak parochial school with Slovak the language of instruction.

Bednarik began playing football in Bethlehem. He played for Bethlehem's Liberty High School.

Following his graduation from high school, he entered the United States Army Air Forces and served as a B-24 waist-gunner with the Eighth Air Force. Bednarik flew on 30 combat missions over Germany, for which he was awarded the Air Medal and four Oak Leaf Clusters, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and four Battle Stars.[1]

Bednarik subsequently attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he was a 60-minute man, excelling as both center and linebacker, as well as occasional punter. He was a three-time All-American, and was elected a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, as were two of his teammates on the 1947 squad—tackle George Savitsky and tailback Tony Minisi—and his coach, George Munger. At Penn, he also was third in Heisman Trophy voting in 1948 and won the Maxwell Award that year.[2] In 1969, he was voted by a panel of sportswriters, coaches and hall of fame players as "The Greatest Center of All-Time."

Professional football career

Bednarik was the first player drafted in the 1949 NFL Draft, by the Philadelphia Eagles, starring on both offense (as a center) and defense (as a linebacker). He was a member of the Eagles' NFL Championship teams in 1949 and 1960. In the final play of the 1960 NFL Championship Game, Bednarik, the last Eagle between Green Bay's Jim Taylor and the end zone, tackled Taylor at the Eagles' eight yard line, and remained atop Taylor as the final seconds ticked off the clock, ensuring the Packers could not run another play and preserving a 17–13 Eagles victory.[3]

In 1960, Bednarik knocked Frank Gifford of the New York Giants out of football for over 18 months, with one of the most famous tackles in NFL history.[4] Bednarik had a famous quarrel with Chuck Noll, who once, as a player for the Cleveland Browns, smashed him in the face during a fourth-down punting play.

Bednarik proved extremely durable, missing just three games in his 14 seasons. He was named All-Pro eight times, and was the last of the NFL's "Sixty-Minute Men," players who played both offense and defense on a regular basis.

Bednarik's nickname, "Concrete Charlie," originated from his off-season career as a concrete salesman for the Warner Company, not (contrary to popular belief) from his reputation as a ferocious tackler. Nonetheless, sportswriter Hugh Brown of The Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia, credited with bestowing the nickname, remarked that Bednarik "is as hard as the concrete he sells."

Bednarik served as an analyst on the HBO program Inside The NFL for its inaugural season in 1977–78.

In 1999, he was ranked number 54 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. This made him the highest-ranking player to have spent his entire career with the Eagles, the highest-ranking offensive center and the eighth-ranked linebacker in all of professional football.

In 2010, Bednarik was ranked number 35 on the NFL Network's "The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players". Ranked one spot ahead of Bednarik at #34 was Deion Sanders, a player for whom Bednarik has held open contempt in regards to being a two-way player. Bednarik was not the highest placed Eagle on the NFL Network's list. That distinction was held by Reggie White at number 7.

Opinions on current NFL players

Bednarik was an outspoken, even bitter critic of modern NFL players for playing on only one side of the ball, calling them "pussyfoots", noting that they "suck air after five plays" and that they "couldn't tackle my wife Emma". He even criticized Troy Brown of the New England Patriots and Deion Sanders of the Dallas Cowboys, two players who also have played both offense and defense. Bednarik noted that Brown and Sanders saw time at both wide receiver and cornerback, positions that did not require as much contact as he endured while playing both center and linebacker.[5]

Relationship with the Eagles

Bednarik's former Eagles number, 60, has been retired by the Eagles in honor of his achievements with the team and is one of only eight numbers retired in the history of the franchise.[6]

When the Eagles established their Honor Roll in 1987, Bednarik was one of the first class of inductees. He attended reunions for the 25th anniversary of the 1960 NFL Championship team in 1985 and the 40th anniversary of the 1948–49 NFL Championship team in 1988 (though he had not played for the 1948 team), held in pregame ceremonies at Veterans Stadium.

Bednarik quarreled with current Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie in 1996. Lurie refused to buy 100 copies of Bednarik's new book for $15 each for the entire team, as that was against NFL rules, and that grudge carried over into the Eagles' Super Bowl appearance in 2005, when he openly rooted against his former team.[7][8] He was a consistent critic of several league issues, including his pension, today's salaries, and one-way players.

During Eagles training camp in the summer of 2006, Bednarik and the Eagles reconciled, seemingly ending the feud between Bednarik and Lurie. At the same time, however, Bednarik made disparaging remarks regarding Reggie White, leading to a somewhat lukewarm reception of the reconciliation by Eagles' fans. In the edition of August 4 of Allentown's Morning Call newspaper, however, it was reported that Bednarik apologized, stating he had been confused, and meant to make the statement about former Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens.[9]

Health and death

On March 26, 2011, Bednarik was reportedly taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem. Hospital spokesmen stated that he was "in serious condition", but did not give any further details. The next day, however, it was announced that he was doing fine and had no pre-existing medical conditions. His son-in-law stated that he had passed out from shortness of breath and low blood pressure, but did not suffer a heart attack or anything related and was expected to make a full recovery.

In his last years, Bednarik resided in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley. His great-nephew, Adam Bednarik, played quarterback at West Virginia University.[10]

Bednarik died at 4:23 a.m. on March 21, 2015 after having fallen ill the previous day. He was 89.[11] Although the Philadelphia Eagles released a statement saying he died after a "brief illness", Bednarik's eldest daughter, Charlene Thomas, disputed that claim. She said he had Alzheimer's disease, had been suffering from dementia for years, and that football-related injuries played a role in his decline.[12]

See also

  • Chuck Bednarik Award (awarded annually in Bednarik's honor to the best collegiate defensive player.)

References

  1. ^ "Football and America: World War II," Professional Football Hall of Fame.
  2. ^ Chuck Bednarik at the College Football Hall of Fame
  3. ^ Longman, Jere. "Eagles’ 1960 Victory Was an N.F.L. Turning Point", The New York Times, January 6, 2011. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  4. ^ Fox Sports. "Chuck Bednarik's legendary hit on Frank Gifford". FOX Sports. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Bowen, Les (no date). Philadelphia Eagles, (MVP Books; ISBN 1610597427), pp. 36-37.
  6. ^ Chuck Bednarik career highlights, Pro Football Hall of Fame
  7. ^ "Bednarik still angry over 1996 meeting - NFL - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bednarik is rooting against the Eagles - The San Diego Union-Tribune". utsandiego.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Jones, Gordie (August 4, 2006). "Bednarik: I meant T.O., not Reggie". The Morning Call. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Adam Bednarik, profile page at WVU Sports official page.
  11. ^ "Eagles Legend Chuck Bednarik Passes At Age 89". cbslocal.com. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Olanoff, Lynn (March 21, 2015). "Chuck Bednarik's daughter: Football-related injuries led to dementia and death". The Express-Times.

External links

1947 Penn Quakers football team

The 1947 Penn Quakers football team was an American football team that represented the University of Pennsylvania during the 1947 college football season. In its tenth season under head coach George Munger, the team compiled a 7–0–1 record, outscored opponents by a total of 219 to 35, and was ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll. The team's lone setback was a 7–7 tie with Army.Munger was Penn's head coach for 16 years; he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1976. In addition, three players from the 1947 team were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame: center/linebacker Chuck Bednarik; tackle George Savitsky; and halfback Skip Minisi. Bednarik was a consensus first-team All-American; he also finished seventh in the 1947 voting for the Heisman Trophy.

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.

1954 Pro Bowl

The 1954 Pro Bowl was the National Football League's (NFL) fourth annual all-star game which featured the league's outstanding performers from the 1953 season. The game was played on January 17, 1954, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California in front of 44,214 fans. The East squad defeated the West by a score of 20–9.The West team was led by the Detroit Lions' Buddy Parker while Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns coached the East squad. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik was named the game's outstanding player.

1960 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles season was their 28th in the National Football League, and culminated in the Eagles' defeat of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL championship game to win their third league title. The victory over the Packers was also the first and only playoff defeat of the great Vince Lombardi's coaching career. The 1960 season was the Eagles' first postseason appearance since their last NFL championship season of 1949. It was their only postseason appearance in the 28 seasons from 1950 to 1977, and their last NFL title until their victory in Super Bowl LII, 57 years later.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been awarded annually since 1993 to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the membership of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to be the best defensively in the National Collegiate Athletic Association; the award is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the FWAA. The award is named for Bronko Nagurski, who played football for the University of Minnesota and the Chicago Bears.

Chuck Bednarik Award

The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the defensive player in college football as judged by the Maxwell Football Club to be the best in the United States. The award is named for Chuck Bednarik, a former college and professional American football player. Voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA head college football coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club, and sportswriters and sportscasters from across the country. The Maxwell Club is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the presentations are held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Club members are given voting privileges for the award.

Daniel Connor (disambiguation)

Daniel Connor may refer to:

Dan Connor (American football) (born 1985), 2007 Chuck Bednarik Award winner

Dan Connor (footballer) (born 1981), Irish football goalkeeper who played for Hereford United

Daniel Connor (1831–1898), convict transported to Western Australia in the 19th century

George Savitsky

George Michael Savitsky (July 30, 1924 – September 4, 2012) was an American football offensive tackle in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Born in New York City, Savitsky grew up in Camden, New Jersey and played football at Camden High School where he was captain of the undefeated squad in 1942.He played college football at the University of Pennsylvania where he excelled as both an offensive and defensive tackle, and became the only four-year All American of the 20th century. At Penn, he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa. During the summers of his college years, the versatile Savitsky taught swimming and diving at the Flanders Hotel pools in Ocean City, NJ. He was drafted by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 1947 NFL Draft.

Savitsky was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

Savitsky, at 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and 252 pounds (114 kg), is considered one of best two-way tackles in the history of college football. While at Penn, he helped to mentor fellow college All-Americans Tony Minisi and college and pro football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik. Due to the low pay scale in the NFL in the late 1940s, he retired from pro football and entered dental school; thereafter he enjoyed a long and successful career as a dentist in southern New Jersey. For years, Savitsky was a member of the "Mungermen," a group of former Penn players under Hall-of-Fame coach George Munger who gathered periodically on game days.

A resident of Ocean City, New Jersey, he died of pneumonia in Somers Point, New Jersey in 2012 at the age of 88.

Jeremiah Trotter

Jeremiah Trotter (born January 20, 1977) is a former American football linebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played college football at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Trotter is one of just four linebackers in Eagles history to earn four or more Pro Bowl invitations, joining Chuck Bednarik, Maxie Baughan and Bill Bergey in that select group. Trotter has also been a member of the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Josh Allen (linebacker)

Joshua Allen (born July 13, 1997) is an American football linebacker. He most recently played college football for the Kentucky Wildcats. In his senior year at Kentucky, he won the Chuck Bednarik Award, awarded to the top defensive player in college football, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the best defensive player in the NCAA, and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

List of Philadelphia Eagles first-round draft picks

The Philadelphia Eagles, a professional American football team based in Philadelphia, joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1933 as a replacement team for the Frankford Yellow Jackets, after the Yellow Jackets went bankrupt and ceased operations. After the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the Eagles were moved to the current NFC East division. Every April, each NFL franchise adds new players to its roster through a collegiate draft at the "NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in inverse order based on their previous season's records, with the worst record picking first, the second-worst picking second, and so on. Two exceptions to this order are made for teams that played in the previous Super Bowl: the Super Bowl champion picks last (32nd), and the Super Bowl loser picks next to last (31st). Teams often trade their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or combinations thereof; thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from its assigned pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in a particular round.The Eagles' first selection as an NFL team was Jay Berwanger, a running back from University of Chicago. The Eagles have selected number one overall three times, including Berwanger in 1936, Sam Francis in 1937, and Chuck Bednarik in 1949, second overall five times, and third overall three times. Three eventual Hall of Famers have been selected by the Eagles: Steve Van Buren, Bednarik, and Bob Brown. The team's most recent first-round choice was Derek Barnett, a defensive end from The University of Tennessee.

Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Ngwa Suh ( in-DAH-mə-kin SOO, born January 6, 1987) is an American football nose tackle who is a free agent of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Detroit Lions second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nebraska, where he earned All-American honors.

As a college senior, Suh became one of the most decorated players in college football history. He won numerous awards including the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, and Outland Trophy, and was recognized as a unanimous All-American.Suh is recognized as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. In 2015, Suh was named the 24th best player in the NFL, while being the sixth highest ranked defensive player. He has won numerous awards and accolades, having been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year, while being selected to four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons, and having been named an All Pro six times. Four times to the All Pro First team, including his rookie year, and twice to the All Pro Second team. In 2015, Suh became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, having signed a six-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, worth in excess of $114 million, with nearly $60 million fully guaranteed; he was released after just three seasons. However, Suh has been criticized for his aggressive style of play and lack of sportsmanship. He has been fined eight times through 2014 for a total of $255,375 by the NFL, with seven for player-safety violations, and suspended once (for two games), resulting in the loss of an additional $165,294 in pay.

Penn Quakers football

The Penn Quakers football team is the college football team at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penn Quakers have competed in the Ivy League since its inaugural season of 1956, and are currently a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Penn has played in 1,364 football games, the most of any school in any division. Penn plays its home games at historic Franklin Field, the oldest football stadium in the US. All Penn games are broadcast on WNTP or WFIL radio.

Quentin Groves

Quentin Dominic Groves (July 5, 1984 – October 15, 2016) was an American football linebacker. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft and played college football at Auburn. He also played for the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills.

Groves was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award, watchlists for the 2007 college football season. Groves was a sack specialist at Auburn and finished tied for the Auburn career sack record at 26.

Scooby Wright

Philip Anthony "Scooby" Wright III (born August 28, 1994) is an American football linebacker who is currently a player for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). He played college football at Arizona.

Teddy Lehman

Teddy Lehman (born November 18, 1981) is an American former college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He played college football for the University of Oklahoma, and was twice recognized as a consensus All-American. The Detroit Lions chose him in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he also played for the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League (UFL).

Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Devine Mathieu (; born May 13, 1992) is an American football safety for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Louisiana State University (LSU). In college he developed a reputation for causing turnovers, setting a Southeastern Conference (SEC) record with 11 career forced fumbles and earning the nickname "Honey Badger". In his sophomore season, he was recognized as a consensus All-American, won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Mathieu was dismissed from the LSU football program after that season due to a violation of team rules.

After spending a year out of football in 2012, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, reuniting him in the defensive backfield with former college teammate Patrick Peterson. As a rookie he was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. In 2015, he was invited to the Pro Bowl and earned first-team All-Pro honors. He has also played for the Houston Texans.

Willie Galimore

Willie "The Wisp" Galimore (March 30, 1935 – July 27, 1964) was an American football running back for the Chicago Bears from 1957–1963. He attended Florida A&M University, working with the legendary coach Jake Gaither. Galimore is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Galimore possessed incredible speed and lateral movement; many of the opposing players of the time stated that they believed Galimore could run side-to-side down the field just as fast as most men could in a straight line. His running style could be said to most resemble the style of Billy Sims or perhaps Terrell Davis, but faster.

In a documentary short by NFL Films on Galimore, it was said that he was probably the last great find before NFL scouting became sophisticated. Bears assistant coach Phil Handler, while scouting for talent in Florida, received a tip about Galimore's prowess as a halfback, and the Bears subsequently drafted him in the 5th round of the 1956 NFL draft. Galimore's peers (including Chuck Bednarik and Doug Atkins) referred to Galimore as one of the best runners they ever faced.

Galimore was killed in an automobile accident on July 27, 1964 in Rensselaer, Indiana at the age of 29 with teammate Bo Farrington. His number 28 has been retired by the Bears.His son, Ron Galimore, was the first Black U.S. Olympic gymnast.

Willie Galimore's last visit to his hometown of St. Augustine, Florida came just weeks before his death, and he participated in the St. Augustine movement during the Civil Rights Movement, becoming the first Black person who was able to register as a guest at the previously all-white Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge (where the arrest of the 72-year-old mother of the governor of Massachusetts for trying to be served in a racially integrated group had made national headlines a few months before). Galimore's civil rights activism is honored with a Freedom Trail marker at his home at 57 Chapin Street in St. Augustine. His widow, Mrs. Audrey Galimore, took part in the dedication of the marker on July 2, 2007. A community center in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood of the city also bears Galimore's name, and he is depicted on a historical mural painted by schoolchildren on Washington Street.

Chuck Bednarik—awards, championships, and honors

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