Rudy Bukich

Rudolph Andrew Bukich (September 15, 1930 – February 29, 2016) was an American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League from 1953 to 1968. Known as "Rudy the Rifle" for his uncommon arm strength, he tied an NFL record with 13 consecutive pass completions in the 1964 season. One year later, he was the second-leading passer in the league.[1] He played college football at the University of Southern California, after transferring from the University of Iowa.[2]

Rudy Bukich
refer to caption
Bukich with Bears in 1967
No. 10, 14
Personal information
Born:September 15, 1930
St. Louis, Missouri
Died:February 29, 2016 (aged 85)
San Diego, California
Career information
High school:St. Louis (MO) Roosevelt
College:USC (& Iowa)
NFL Draft:1953 / Round: 2 / Pick: 25
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Pro (1965)
Career NFL statistics
QB Rating:66.6
Player stats at
Rudy Bukich
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUS Department of the Army Seal.png U.S. Army
Years of service1954–1956
Battles/warsCold War

High school career

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Bukich was the son of Croatian immigrants. He was starting quarterback in his senior year at Roosevelt High School, a team that did not win a game. Bukich played one game as wingback when Roosevelt tried to upset eventual league champions Cleveland by attempting to surprise them by playing the single wing.

College career

Bukich earned a football scholarship to the University of Iowa in Iowa City as a wingback, and transferred to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. During his senior year in 1952, USC played in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. After the Trojans' primary passer, All-American halfback Jim Sears, was sidelined early in the first quarter with a broken leg,[3] Bukich came in and conducted a drive, completing all but two of his passes, that resulted in the only score of the game, and USC defeated Wisconsin, 7–0.[4] Bukich was selected as the Most Valuable Player in the game, and after his career, he was inducted into the USC Trojan Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (2004).

Professional career

Bukich was selected in the second round of the 1953 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He later played for the Washington Redskins,[5][6] Chicago Bears, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He missed the 1954 and 1955 seasons while serving in the U.S. Army.[2]

Bukich's greatest performances were during his second stint with the Bears in the 1960s. He was a reserve quarterback with the Bears in 1963 when they won the NFL championship (Bill Wade was the starter throughout the season). Bukich replaced Wade during Week Four against the Baltimore Colts after Wade completed just 5 of 21 passes. Bukich played the remainder of the game, completing 6 of 7 passes with a touchdown pass to Ronnie Bull, which was the deciding margin of victory.[7][8]

Post-playing career

After his playing days, Bukich was a real estate developer in southern California.[2] In his later years, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and he died at age 85 in San Diego in 2016.[9] He was buried at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-USC quarterback Rudy Bukich, 1953 Rose Bowl MVP, dies". USC Trojans Athletics. March 1, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Myers, Bob (January 2, 1953). "USC beats Wisconsin in 37th Rose Bowl, 7-0". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. 14.
  4. ^ Ward, Arch (January 2, 1953). "U.S.C. pass in 3d defeats Wisconsin, 7-0". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, sec. 3.
  5. ^ "Bears grab 'Skins QB on waivers". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 20, 1958. p. 19.
  6. ^ "Irked Redskin flays club's lust for gold". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. November 20, 1958. p. 1, sec. 6.
  7. ^ Rollow, Cooper (October 7, 1963). "Bears make it 4 in row; rally to beats Colts, 10-3". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, sec. 3.
  8. ^ Coppock, Chet (October 4, 2013). "1963 season: Bears defeat Colts 10-3 at Wrigley". Chicago Bears. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  9. ^ Biggs, Brad (March 1, 2016). "Former Chicago Bears' QB Rudy Bukich, 85, dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 4, 2017.

External links

1953 Rose Bowl

The 1953 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1953, at the end of the 1952 college football season. It was the 39th Rose Bowl Game. It was Wisconsin's first bowl game and the first Rose Bowl appearance for the Trojans since 1948. It is also the first meeting of the two football programs. USC defeated Wisconsin, 7–0.

1965 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of National Football League (American football) players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team in 1965. Players from the first and second teams are listed, with players from the first team in bold, where applicable.

1965 Chicago Bears season

The 1965 Chicago Bears season was their 46th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted a 9–5 record, earning them a third-place finish in the NFL Western Conference. The club improved over the dismal 5–9 record of the previous season.

They started the season 0–3, but thanks to rookies Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, the team won 9 of the last 11 games. Sayers had a magnificent rookie season, and in one game against the San Francisco 49ers at Chicago's Wrigley Field on December 12, he scored six touchdowns in a 61–20 Bears win, the first time the Bears scored 61 points in a regular season game. Sayers would set an NFL rookie record with 22 touchdowns in one season. The six-touchdown performance tied an NFL record and set a new Bears record.The 1965 Bears draft class was named No. 8 on NFL Top 10 draft classes.

Bob Williams (quarterback)

Robert Allen Williams (January 2, 1930 – May 26, 2016) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).

Buzz Warren

Buist Lamb "Buzz" Warren (1916–1986) was an American football player who played one season in the National Football League (NFL) in 1945. He coached high school football many years.

Dick Flanagan

Richard E. Flanagan (October 31, 1927 in Sidney, Ohio – September 27, 1997) was a National Football League center who played eight seasons. He also played RB in college and his first year with the Bears, LB until his last 2 years in the game, and OG also.

Ed Brown (quarterback)

Charles Edward Brown (October 26, 1928 – August 2, 2007) was an American football quarterback and punter in the National Football League.

Ed Matesic

Edward J. Matesic (1907–1988) was an American football player for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also went by the first name of Dick, Lefty, and Richard. Led the University of Pittsburgh in interceptions in 1931. In 1931 only the statistics of yards and touchdowns were recorded and not the number of interceptions. In 1931 Ed had 91 yards and one touchdown on interceptions. Then played HB/TB in the pros. Was the Pittsburgh Pirates starting quarterback in 1936. Pirates later became the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his pro career threw for 1,412 yards and 8 touchdowns, ran for 377 yards and one touchdown, caught 4 passes for 51 yards and one touchdown.

Joey Sternaman

Joseph Theodore Sternaman (February 1, 1900 – March 10, 1988) was a professional American football player, born in Springfield, Illinois, who played quarterback for nine seasons for the Chicago Bears and Duluth Kelleys. At 5'6" and 135 pounds he was called "the strongest little man I ever met" by sportswriter Grantland Rice. He played quarterback during the years Red Grange starred with the Bears. In 1926, he was the quarterback, head coach, and owner of the Chicago Bulls of the first American Football League. Joey was also the brother of Chicago Bears co-owner Dutch Sternaman.

Johnny Clement

John Louis "Johnny" Clement (October 31, 1919 - December 11, 1969) was an American football player. As of 2008, he is the only Pittsburgh Steelers player to wear 0. He was also an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

Johnny Gildea

John Thomas "Johnny" Gildea (March 9, 1910 – November 20, 1979) was an American football quarterback, punter and halfback who played four seasons in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants.

Kent Nix

Alvin Kent Nix (born March 12, 1944 in Corpus Christi, Texas) is a former professional American football quarterback in the National Football League. Nix played football collegiately at Texas Christian University (TCU). He is the son of Emery Nix, New York Giants quarterback who played for the New York Giants in 1943 and 1946.

List of Chicago Bears starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Bears.

List of Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.

Max Fiske (American football)

Max Joseph Fiske (September 27, 1913 – March 15, 1973) was an American football player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, now the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 1977, he was inducted into the Roseland Pullman Sports Hall of Fame.

Noah Mullins

Noah Walker Mullins (May 23, 1918 – October 31, 1998) was an American football running back, quarterback and defensive back in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears and New York Giants. He played college football for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Pard Pearce

Walter Irving "Pard" Pearce (October 23, 1896 – May 24, 1974) was a professional American football player who played quarterback for six seasons for the Decatur Staleys, the Chicago Staleys, the Chicago Bears, the Kenosha Maroons, and the Providence Steam Roller. Pearce was the first starting quarterback for the Bears in team history.

Ron C. Smith

Ronald Christopher Smith (born June 27, 1942 in Richmond, Virginia) is a retired American football quarterback who spent one season with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He played 9 games for the Steelers in 1966, and 1 for the Los Angeles Rams in 1965.

Steve Bradley (American football)

Steven Carl Bradley (born July 16, 1963) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears. He played college football for the Indiana Hoosiers.

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