GEORGE MCAFEE

GEORGE MCAFEE

Class of 1966
Halfback >>> 6-0, 178
(Duke)
1940-1941, 1945-1950 Chicago Bears

George Anderson McAfee. . .Phenomenal two-way star, a long-distance scoring threat on any play. . .Scored 234 points, gained 5,313 combined net yards, intercepted 25 passes in eight seasons. . . NFL punt return champ, 1948. . . Held career punt return average record - 12.78 yards. . . Left-handed passer, kicker. . .Pioneered use of low-cut shoes . . .All-NFL, 1941. . .Navy service came at peak of career. . . Born March 13, 1918, in Corbin, Kentucky. . .Died March 4, 2009, at age of 90.

Halfback George McAfee at 6-0 and 178 pounds did not have the physique of the average pro football player, even in the 1940’s when he starred for the Chicago Bears. Even Bears founder and coach George Halas, who signed the the Duke All-America after he was the No.2 overall pick in the 1940 draft, wondered if he had made the right decision.

From the start, however, McAfee established himself as an explosive game breaker, the kind of back that was a threat to go all the way every time he had the ball. In his first exhibition game, George returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown with just seconds remaining to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the 1940 regular-season opener, he ran back a kickoff 93 yards and threw a touchdown pass in a 41-10 Bears victory over arch-rival Green Bay.

In the historic 73-0 rout of the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game, McAfee contributed a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown. Eventually, to be compared to McAfee by Halas was considered the highest compliment.

McAfee's pro career was not particularly long – limited to just eight years before and after World War II service. While his career statistics are not overwhelming, they do show that he did just about everything a player could do with a football. He was a breakaway runner, a dangerous pass receiver, and one of history’s best kick-return specialists as evidenced by his record-breaking 12.78-yard average on 112 punt returns.

George also played defense and recorded 25 interceptions during his career. George, whether running wide or up the middle, either as a pass receiver or a decoy, was known as "One-Play McAfee," and a constant headache to the opposition. McAfee also pioneered the use of low-cut shoes, which he believed improved his speed and elusiveness.

Year
Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1940 Chicago Bears
10
47
253
5.4
2
7
117
16.7
0
1941 Chicago Bears
11
65
474
7.3
6
7
144
20.6
3
1945 Chicago Bears
3
16
139
8.7
3
3
85
28.3
1
1946 Chicago Bears
3
14
53
3.8
0
10
137
13.7
3
1947 Chicago Bears
12
63
209
3.3
3
32
492
15.4
1
1948 Chicago Bears
12
92
392
4.3
5
17
227
13.4
2
1949 Chicago Bears
12
42
161
3.8
3
9
157
17.4
1
1950 Chicago Bears
12
2
4
2.0
0
0
0
0.0
0
Career Total
75
341
1685
4.9
22
85
1359
16.0
11
   
Year
Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
Int
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1940 Chicago Bears
10
0
0
0.0
0
4
50
12.5
0
1941 Chicago Bears
11
5
158
31.6
1
6
78
13.0
0
1945 Chicago Bears
3
1
8
8.0
0
1
13
13.0
0
1946 Chicago Bears
3
1
24
24.0
0
3
18
6.0
0
1947 Chicago Bears
12
18
261
14.5
0
1
49
49.0
0
1948 Chicago Bears
12
30
417
13.9
1
2
35
17.5
0
1949 Chicago Bears
12
24
279
11.6
0
6
76
12.7
1
1950 Chicago Bears
12
33
284
8.6
0
2
31
15.5
0
Career Total
75
112
1431
12.8
2
25
350
14.0
1
Additional Career Statistics: Passing: 22-6-94, 3 TD, 1 Int; Kickoff Returns: 18-488, 2 TD; Punting: 39-1432

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