Zeke Bratkowski

Edmund Raymond "Zeke" Bratkowski (born October 20, 1931) is a former American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League for fourteen seasons with the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, and Green Bay Packers.[1]

He was an All-American at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later was an assistant coach in the NFL for over two decades. He is the father of former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.[2]

Zeke Bratkowski
refer to caption
Bratkowski in June 2008.
No. 12
Personal information
Born:October 20, 1931 (age 87)
Danville, Illinois
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Danville (IL) Schlarman
NFL Draft:1953 / Round: 2 / Pick: 17
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts:1,484
Pass completions:762
Passing yards:10,345
QB Rating:54.3
Player stats at NFL.com

Early years

Born and raised in Danville, Illinois, Bratkowski played high school football at Schlarman Academy in Danville and graduated in 1949. He came to national prominence in his sophomore season in at Georgia in 1951,[3] and was twice the SEC passing leader under head coach Wally Butts. During his three-year career with the Bulldogs, he completed 360 passes for 4,863 yards.

Bratkowski was considered one of college football's greatest quarterbacks of his day and was the NCAA's all-time leading passer until 1961. Today, he still ranks sixth on Georgia's list of career passing leaders. Bratkowski also led the NCAA in punting his senior year in 1953 with a 42.6 yard average. He was selected for the North–South All-Star Game in Miami, Florida in December, and led the South to a 20–0 victory.[4]

Playing career

Bratkowski was selected 17th overall in the second round of the 1953 NFL draft[5] by the Chicago Bears as a "future choice" after his redshirt junior season,[6] then played his fifth-year senior season at Georgia in 1953.[7] He joined the Bears as a rookie in 1954.[7] He started the first game of the season with a 64-yard touchdown pass, but was benched after completing just one of his next eleven passes with four interceptions.[8] After George Blanda was lost for the season with a separated shoulder in mid-November,[9] Bratkowski entered the game and threw three more interceptions in the loss. However, he started and won the last four games of the season, despite ten interceptions in those games for a franchise rookie record 17 on the season.[10]

Bratkowski then served in the U.S. Air Force for two years, missing the 1955 and 1956 seasons.[11] He returned in 1957 and shared time at quarterback with Ed Brown,[12] and played five seasons in Chicago, through 1960. As of 2019, his seven interceptions in an October 2, 1960 loss to Baltimore remains a franchise record.

Bratkowski was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in March 1961,[13][14] and played in Los Angeles for 2½ seasons before being signed in October 1963 by Vince Lombardi for the $100 waiver fee to become the "super sub" to Bart Starr.[6][15][16] In Green Bay, Bratkowski was nicknamed "Uncle Zekie", and became an ideal backup and spot starter during the Lombardi championship era.[1][17][18] In a 15-year NFL career, he passed for 10,345 yards and 65 touchdowns.

In the Western Conference playoff game versus the Baltimore Colts in 1965, Bratkowski relieved the injured Starr early in the game and led the Packers to a 13–10 overtime victory on December 26 at Lambeau Field.[19][20][21] The Packers went on to win the NFL championship game against the Cleveland Browns on January 2, 1966.[22][23][24] This was the first of three consecutive NFL titles for the Packers, unprecedented in the playoff era (since 1933), and yet to be repeated.

After coaching under Phil Bengtson in 1969 and 1970, Bratkowski came out of retirement to play again for the Packers in 1971 under first-year head coach Dan Devine,[1] and appeared in six games, with one start. The following year, Bratkowski became an assistant coach for the Chicago Bears, a position he would hold for three seasons (1972-74); in 1973, the Bears activated Zeke as an emergency back-up quarterback for eight games, but he did not actually appear in any of them.

A superbly conditioned athlete, Bratkowski was an early advocate of aerobic training for pro football players.

Coaching career

After his playing career, Bratkowski became quarterback coach/offensive coordinator for Chicago, Baltimore / Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and New York Jets. He was also a quarterbacks coach with Cleveland and the Jets and worked two stints as a Green Bay assistant as well as the Baltimore Ravens.

While Bratkowski was coaching the Chicago Bears quarterbacks during the 1973 season, head coach Abe Gibron abruptly promoted him to offensive coordinator, then pressed him into service as a back-up quarterback (see above).

Halls of Fame

Bratkowski was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1989. He was elected to the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He was inducted into the University of Georgia's Circle of Honor in 2006,[25] and was the first member of his high school's hall of fame in 1974.[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Bratkowski finally on top after career as super-sub". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. UPI. September 5, 1971. p. 6C.
  2. ^ Mulligan, Kevin (December 12, 1992). "For Bratkowskis, it's relative". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "Bratkowski threatens SEC passing records". Florence times. Alabama. Associated Press. November 16, 1951. p. 13.
  4. ^ "Bratkowski paces South victory, 20-0". Milwaukee Journal. United Press. December 26, 1953. p. 10.
  5. ^ Prell, Edward (January 23, 1953). "Bears pick 'sleeper' as no. 1 in draft". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
  6. ^ a b Hollow, Cooper (October 30, 1963). "Packers get Bratkowski from Rams as insurance". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, section 3.
  7. ^ a b "Chicago Bears happy; sign Bratkowski". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. February 9, 1954. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions - September 26th, 1954". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  9. ^ Strickler, George (November 15, 1954). "Cards lose; Browns crush Bears, 39-10". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 4.
  10. ^ "Bratkowski to enter Air Force next month". Ocala Star-Banner. Florida. Associated Press. December 21, 1954. p. 8.
  11. ^ "Bratkowski led Eglin fliers defeat Seminole frosh, 25-13". Florida Flambeau. Tallahassee. Florida State University Students. October 16, 1956. p. 3.
  12. ^ "Bratkowski gets coaching job". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. February 13, 1969. p. 4C.
  13. ^ "Zeke Bratkowski is sent to Rams". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. March 15, 1961. p. 19.
  14. ^ "Bears trade Bratkowski to L.A. Rams". Chicago Tribune. March 15, 1961. p. 1, part 4.
  15. ^ Johnson, Chuck (October 30, 1963). "Packers get Rams' Bratkowski as insurance at quarterback". Milwaukee Journal. p. 21, part 2.
  16. ^ "Packers buy Bratkowski". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. October 30, 1963. p. 11D.
  17. ^ Murray, Jim (December 20, 1966). "Nothing upsets relief specialist Zeke Bratkowski". Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. (Los Angeles Times). p. 13.
  18. ^ Wolf, Ron (September 19, 1985). "Bratkowski cherishes days with Packers". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, part 3.
  19. ^ "Packers win, 13 to 10, for NFL Western title". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 27, 1965. p. 1, part 1.
  20. ^ Lea, Bud (December 27, 1965). "Chandler 'kicks' Packers to title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  21. ^ Strickler, George (December 27, 1965). "Packers win, 13-10, in 'sudden death'". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
  22. ^ Strickler, George (January 3, 1966). "Green Bay wins N.F.L. crown, 23 to 12". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
  23. ^ Lea, Bud (January 3, 1966). "Packers blast Browns for title". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  24. ^ Hand, John (January 3, 1966). "Green Bay's ball-control tactics beat Browns for title, 23-12". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. p. 18.
  25. ^ "Circle of Honor". University of Georgia Athletics. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  26. ^ "Hall of Fame". Danville, Illinois: Schlarman Academy. Retrieved February 29, 2016.

External links

1963 Green Bay Packers season

The 1963 Green Bay Packers season was their 45th season overall and their 43rd season in the National Football League. The two-time defending NFL champions posted an 11–2–1 record under fifth-year head coach Vince Lombardi for a second-place finish in the Western Conference, a half game back.

Both losses were inflicted by the Chicago Bears (11–1–2), the NFL champions in 1963, as the indefinite suspension of halfback Paul Hornung was too much for Green Bay to overcome. The Packers had won the previous five regular season games with rival Chicago, but scored just ten points total in the two games in 1963, and needed only a tie in one of them to advance to the championship game. (The tie at Detroit on Thanksgiving did not impact the Packers' title chances; ties were omitted from the winning percentage calculation until 1972.) Chicago's only loss was at last place San Francisco in October and they tied Pittsburgh and Minnesota in consecutive weeks after their second defeat of the Packers.

Quarterback Bart Starr suffered a hairline fracture in his passing hand at St. Louis on October 20. Up 23–0 in the third quarter, Starr couldn't find an open receiver on third down and took off on a run that gained 15 yards, tackled with a late hit out of bounds by Cardinal cornerback Jimmy "Iron Claw" Hill, who was ejected. Second-string quarterback John Roach filled in for the rest of the game, a 30–7 win in 85 °F (30 °C) heat, and the next four starts. Zeke Bratkowski was acquired in late October, waived by the Rams, and saw some action, too. Starr returned a month later, in week eleven on November 24 against San Francisco in Milwaukee, a week after the second loss to Chicago.Following their regular season finale, a 21–17 win at San Francisco on Saturday, Green Bay needed Detroit to defeat the Bears at Wrigley Field on Sunday. The game's progress was updated to the Packers during their flight home; Chicago's 24–14 win ended Green Bay's bid for an unprecedented third consecutive championship game win, which came four years later in 1967.

In the third place Playoff Bowl in Miami three weeks later on January 5, the Packers overwhelmed the Cleveland Browns, 40–23. Green Bay led 28–10 at halftime and extended it to 38–10 in the fourth quarter.This was the eleventh and final season for hall of fame center Jim Ringo as a Packer. In May 1964, he and reserve fullback Earl Gros were traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for linebacker Lee Roy Caffey and a first round draft choice. Ringo played four years with the Eagles and then went into coaching; the draft pick was used to select halfback Donny Anderson as a "future" pick in the 1965 NFL Draft.

Hall of fame halfback Hornung did not play this season, suspended in April by commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons.

1966 Green Bay Packers season

The 1966 Green Bay Packers season was their 48th season overall and their 46th in the National Football League. The defending NFL champions had a league-best regular season record of 12–2, led by eighth-year head coach Vince Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr, in his eleventh NFL season.

The Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL championship game, the Packers' second consecutive NFL title, fourth under Lombardi, and tenth for the franchise. Two weeks later, the Packers recorded a 35–10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the inaugural AFL-NFL Championship Game, retroactively known as Super Bowl I.

Quarterback Starr was named the league's most valuable player (MVP) in 1966. Said Cold Hard Football Facts about Starr's 1966 season, "Starr, always underappreciated, was at his classic assassin-like best in 1966, his lone MVP season. He led the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating, while his 4.7-to-1 [touchdown-to-interception] ratio remains one of the very best in history. Starr, as always, cranked out great performances when he absolutely had to: the 1966 Packers, for example, were the worst rushing team in football, with a meager average of 3.5 [yards-per-attempt] on the ground, despite the reputation Lombardi's Packers still carry with them today as a dominant running team." Cold Hard Football Facts also notes that 1966 Packers had the best passer rating differential (offensive passer rating minus opponents passer rating), +56.0, in the Super Bowl Era.

In 2007, the 1966 Packers were ranked as the 6th greatest Super Bowl champions on the NFL Network's documentary series America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions.

1968 Green Bay Packers season

The 1968 Green Bay Packers season was their 50th season overall and the 48th season in the National Football League. The club posted a 6–7–1 record under first-year head coach Phil Bengston, earning them a third-place finish in the Central Division of the Western Conference. It was also the Packers' first losing season since 1958.

Bob Bratkowski

Robert Bratkowski (born December 2, 1955) is a former American football coach. He is the son of former NFL quarterback Zeke Bratkowski. Bratkowski played his college football for Washington State, as a wide receiver from 1975 to 1977.

Bob Monnett

Robert C. Monnett (February 27, 1910 – August 2, 1978) was a professional American football player who played halfback for six seasons for the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1973.


Bratkowski (Polish pronunciation: [bratˈkɔfski]; feminine: Bratkowska; plural: Bratkowscy) is a Polish-language surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Bob Bratkowski (born 1955), American football coach and former player, son of Zeke Bratkowski

Zeke Bratkowski (born 1931), American retired football player who played in the National Football League, father of Bob Bratkowski

Charley Brock

Charles Jacob "Charley" Brock (March 15, 1916 – May 25, 1987) was an American football center and linebacker.

Charlie Mathys

Charles Peter "Charlie" Mathys (June 20, 1897 – January 18, 1983) was an American professional football player. He played running back for one season (1920-1921) for the Hammond Pros and Quarterback, Kicker, and Punt Returner for five seasons (1922-1926) for the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League.

Dennis Claridge

Dennis Bert Claridge (August 18, 1941 – May 1, 2018) was an American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at the University of Nebraska under head coaches Bill Jennings and Bob Devaney, and later attended its dental school.Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Claridge played high school football in Minnesota at Robbinsdale, a suburb northwest of Minneapolis. As a senior in college in 1963, he led Nebraska to an undefeated season in the Big Eight Conference, a 9–1 regular season, and a victory over Auburn in the Orange Bowl.

Selected in third round of the 1963 NFL draft as a junior eligible, Claridge stayed in college and joined the Packers in 1964. He was a member of the NFL championship team in 1965, playing behind Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr and Zeke Bratkowski under head coach Vince Lombardi. Claridge was selected in the 1966 expansion draft by the Falcons. Green Bay was interested in reacquiring him for the 1967 season, but he left the NFL after three seasons to complete dental school.Claridge later worked as an orthodontist in Lincoln, Nebraska. He died in 2018 of bladder cancer at the age of 76.

Don Horn

Donald Glenn Horn (born March 9, 1945) is a former American football player, a quarterback in the National Football League for eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and San Diego Chargers.

Ed Brown (quarterback)

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

Gerry Ellis

Gerry Ellis (born November 12, 1957

in Columbia, Missouri) is a former professional American football player who played running back for seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers.

Irv Comp

Irving Henry Comp Jr. (May 17, 1919 - July 11, 1989) was an American football player. He played his entire seven-year National Football League (NFL) career with the Green Bay Packers and was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1986. Comp holds the record for the packers most interceptions in a season of 10 in 1943.

Born in the Bay View section of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Comp had sight in only one eye. He attended college and played college football at Benedictine College, then known as St. Benedict's College. He graduated in 1942, and became a member of the Ravens Hall of Fame in 1988.Comp was drafted in the third round with the 23rd pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1943 NFL Draft.

Jack Concannon

John Joseph "Jack" Concannon, Jr. (February 25, 1943 – November 28, 2005) was an American football player. He played professionally as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions.

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 Green Bay Packers starting quarterbacks

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) and are the third-oldest franchise in the National Football League (NFL). The club was founded in 1919 by coach, player, and future Hall of Fame inductee Curly Lambeau and sports and telegraph editor George Whitney Calhoun. The Packers competed against local teams for two seasons before entering the NFL in 1921.

The Packers have had 46 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise. The Packers' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Curly Lambeau, Tony Canadeo, Arnie Herber, Bart Starr and Brett Favre. The team's first starting quarterback was Norm Barry, while the longest serving was Brett Favre. The Packers' starting quarterback for the 2018 season was Aaron Rodgers, who was playing in his 14th season in the NFL.

They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Packers.

List of Los Angeles Rams starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. The Rams were formerly known as the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Rams. The players are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Rams.

Lynn Dickey

Clifford Lynn Dickey (born October 19, 1949) is a retired National Football League quarterback, who played for the Houston Oilers and the Green Bay Packers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Red Dunn

Joseph Aloysius "Red" Dunn (June 21, 1901 – January 15, 1957) was a professional American football player who played running back and was an exceptional punter for eight seasons for the Milwaukee Badgers, Chicago Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1976. He is the grandfather of former quarterback Jason Gesser.

Nicknamed "Red" for the color of his hair, Dunn possessed an equally colorful personality. He earned five letters competing in football, basketball and baseball at Marquette Academy. Dunn later attended Marquette University, earning All-America honors while leading the Golden Avalanche in 1922 and 1923 to a 17–0–1 record. While a Packer, he served as Curly Lambeau's "field general" for the 1929, 1930, and 1931 NFL Champions.

After this playing days Dunn moved to coaching, assisting Frank Murray and Paddy Driscoll at Marquette from 1932 to 1940. Dunn is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.

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