Wednesday, March 25, 2015

To Absent Friends - Chuck Bednarik

Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik died this past week at the age of 89.

Bednarik spent his entire pro career with the Philadelphia Eagles, and is remembered as the last of the "sixty minute men", a guy who played on both offense and defense for an entire game.  

In the 1960 NFL Championship game, Bednarik played 58 minutes, on offense and defense, and with time running out, Bednarik tackled Jim Taylor as he was headed to the end zone for what would have been the winning touchdown.  This preserved the win and the championship for the Eagles, and it was the only post season game that a Vince Lombardi coached team ever lost.

Bednarik is also remembered for one particular hit that he made on Frank Gifford in a key game against the Giants in that 1960 Championship season.  Gifford was knocked unconscious on the play and missed not only the rest of the 1960 season, but all of the 1961 season as well.  This picture taken right after the play...

...made it seem that Bednarik was celebrating the injury, when, in fact, he was not.  Gifford, himself, and most of his Giants teammates absolved Bednarik of any type of "cheap shot" antics after the play, but the picture remains one of the most famous ones in football history, typifying the toughness of an era long gone.

Sympathies to all you Eagles fans who may be reading this, and RIP Chuck Bednarik.

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