Behind the Bronze: Sonny Jurgensen

11/10/2010

Two-hundred-sixty bronze busts reside in the Hall of Fame Gallery inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. They "immortalize" the greatest players, coaches, and contributors that this game has produced.

Sonny Jurgensen

Sonny Jurgensen was an exceptional passer during his career that spanned from 1957 to 1974 with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. In all, he won three passing titles, aired it out for 400 yards or more in five games, and threw for 300 or more yards 25 times. Jurgensen finished his career with an 82.625 passer rating. He was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 1983. | Sonny's HOF Bio>>>

Behind the Bronze Series:

Jack Ham>>>
Joe DeLamielleure>>>
Charlie Sanders>>>
Dave Wilcox>>>
Randall McDaniel>>>
Jack Youngblood>>>
Willie Lanier>>>
Mel Blount>>>


Hobbies:
Golf. I play a lot of golf but at my age it's getting sneaky short and I'm playing less and less.

Last Book You Read: I'm reading Matterhorn right now. I do a lot of reading, a lot of Daniel Silver, Grisham, that type of stuff.

Favorite Movie: My granddaughter's got me watching Sound of Music every time I visit her. She's only four!

Favorite Food: Italian.

Favorite Current NFL Player: You know, being an old rag-arm you like to watch quarterbacks operate and their efficiency, how they apply themselves to the game and their passion for the game. So, you'd have to say it's Peyton (Manning).

Favorite Athlete in Another Sport: It was Michael Jordan for a long time because he was from my hometown.

Favorite NFL Team as a Child: Redskins

First Job: I worked for the Coca Cola Company. I worked during the summertime in high school and delivered Coca Cola to the beaches. During the Fourth of July Weekend, we'd push 1,200 cases of Coca Cola up and down the boardwalk.

Favorite NFL Stadium During Your Career: Yankee Stadium was very special.

One Person Who Influenced You Most: I guess my mother and father did more than anyone else. As far as coaches, my high school coach Leon Brogden was a big influence on me as far as teaching me the fundamentals. He was a great coach because he was a three-sport coach. I played baseball, basketball, and football for him.

Did you have any pre-game rituals/superstitions? No, not really. I didn't go to the pre-game meal so I'd just have a baloney sandwich or something in the locker room with the equipment man.

Was there a reason for choosing No. 9? I had 18 at Duke and I just got half of it!

Watch: Sonny Jurgensen recalls his most memorable game.

Toughest Opponent: It's difficult to pick one out of all of them. I think it had to do with teams that you played and defenses that you faced as a quarterback trying to move the football on them. Obviously, the "Steel Curtain" was very good because of the talent they had defensively. The New York Giants were the same way in my career, also the Cowboys.

Most Influential Coach: Lombardi. Out of the nine head coaches in my 18 years, he was by far the one. He was an offensive coach. I hadn't had him a week and to me it was very understandable why Green Bay was successful. He was the only coach of the nine who simplified the game of football. Every other coach had a tendency to complicate things, get a lot of verbiage of calling plays and how to read defenses. His system was by far the simplest and the most successful. It was fun to play the game and Bart Starr had told me that I was going to love this guy, and he was right. Paul Hornung said that and Max McGee said, they all did.

What makes you most proud about your Hall of Fame career: Just to have the opportunity. I think you just have to be fortunate to be in the right situation at the right time. Of course, you have to do your part.

How would you spend time during the offseason? I had to work. We didn't make any money. I did construction work; I worked for a sporting goods store. I threw 32 touchdown passes in '61 and was making $14,000.

When did you realize you had a Hall of Fame career? I did not ever realize that. I just played the game.

Did you consider anyone other than Edward Bennett Williams as your presenter? No. I felt he was the reason I ended up in Washington and he was a very special person in my life.

If you could do your Enshrinement Speech over today, what would you change? I'd probably talk more about the people who helped me. I think everyone tries to do that. But, you try to simplify it and put it into as few words as possible.

Your greatest accomplishment outside of football: I am a grandfather of eight. I've been married 43 years, being a good father, and being a good person. That's what it's about for me.

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