Pro Football Hall of Fame end Pete Pihos died this morning at the age of 87.
Pihos, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 1970, starred for nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1947 to 1955. He was a key component of the Eagles teams that captured back-to-back NFL titles in 1948 and 1949. His game-winning touchdown catch sealed the Eagles’ win in the ’49 championship game.
Noted as one of the premier pass-catching ends of his era Pihos also excelled on defense. In fact, he was one of the first and remains among the few players in NFL history to earn all-league acclaim on offense and defense. He was named All-NFL six times in his nine seasons including once at defensive end in 1952.
“On behalf of his fellow Hall of Famers, the Hall’s Board of Trustees and staff, I share our condolences to Donna and the Pihos family,” stated Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry. “Pete’s contributions on the football field earned him his place among the greatest football players of all-time. Although he is most remembered as a great receiver, the fact is that he also excelled on defense for a good portion of his career. His legacy shall forever be preserved here in Canton.”
Originally drafted as a future pick out of Indiana in the fifth round of the 1945 NFL Draft, Pihos joined the Eagles in 1947. His contribution to the squad paid immediate dividends as Philadelphia captured its first ever division title during his rookie season. In a playoff that year against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, it was Pihos’ blocked punt that set up the game’s first score en route to an Eagles’ 21-0 shutout. Despite losing in the NFL title game, more success followed as the Eagles claimed the consecutive titles in each of the two following seasons.
He hauled in 176 catches during his first five seasons. Then in 1952, with injuries decimating the Eagles defense, Pihos was moved to defense full-time where he earned All-NFL acclaim. He returned to the offensive side of the ball one season later and finished his NFL career in spectacular fashion by leading the league in receiving in each of his final three years. He hauled in a career-high 63 catches for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1953 followed by 60 and 62 receptions in 1954 and 1955 respectively.
In all, Pihos had 373 receptions for 5,619 yards and 63 touchdowns during his career.
More from Profootballhof.com:
Photo Gallery: Pete Pihos, Class of 1970
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Audio: Pete Pihos' Enshrinement speech