Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
"I always used my strength in football. I liked to meet guys head-on when I was carrying the ball. Then I’d drop my shoulder, and catch him with that, and then brush him off with my arm. It worked -most of the time.”
(Minnesota)...6'2'', 226...Bronislaw Nagurski. . .Joined Bears after legendary college career at Minnesota. . .Became pro football's symbol of power, ruggedness. . . A bulldozing runner on offense, a bone-crushing linebacker on defense. . . Gained 4031 yards in 9 seasons . . .All-NFL, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937. . .His two TD passes clinched Bears' 1933 title win. . .Helped 1943 Bears to NFL crown after five-year retirement. . .Born November 3, 1908, in Rainy River, Ontario. . .Died January 7, 1990, at age of 81.
Chicago Bears fullback Bronko Nagurski was the symbol of power football during the 1930s. His performances took on legendary proportions. Many eyewitness observers insisted that for sheer brutal line-smashing, no one came close to Nagurski.
Never fancy, he just ran straight ahead, over and through the opposition. Although he is best remembered for his bull-like running, he had no peer as a blocker and his tackling was as effective as any the game has seen. He was the complete player.
At the University of Minnesota he played four positions and was named All-America at both fullback and tackle. With the Bears, his defensive play was as awesome as his offensive ball carrying.
The jump pass, in which he would fake a plunge, then step back a yard or two, jump and lob a pass to a waiting receiver was devastating. His jump pass to Red Grange was responsible for the key touchdown in the Bears’ 1932 victory over Portsmouth for the league title.
The next year, in the National Football League’s first official championship game, Bronko passed for two touchdowns, including the game-winning score. When Nagurski couldn’t get a raise to $6,500 in 1938, Nagurski retired to become a professional wrestler.
But in 1943, when the demands of World War II left the Bears short of manpower, he rejoined the team as a tackle. Late in the season, with Chicago trailing in a must-win game, he went back to the fullback position. The 35-year old Nagurski’s line plunges keyed a drive to the tying touchdown and then set up the winning score. A week later, in the 1943 NFL title game against the Washington Redskins, Bronko, - who was named a first- or second-team All-NFL in seven of his first eight seasons – ended his career by scoring the touchdown that put the Bears ahead to stay.
Bronko Nagurski Enshrinement Speech 1963
Presenter: Don Miller
Mr. Master of Ceremony, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen. It's indeed a pleasure for me to take a small part in presenting this great honor to Bronko Nagurski. Nagurski is no mere name. It's an international way of saying football. Bronko Nagurski, born just over the Canadian border of Ukrainian immigrants. Bronko Nagurski who became unanimous All-American among the worshipping Scandinavian of Minnesota. Bronko Nagurski in any language means tower of strength on defense, power on offense. Bronko Nagurski is the only name in all history to appear on the honored list for both backfield man and lineman. Bronko Nagurski was named all- pro at fullback and at tackle. Bronko Nagurski is a cause of the Bears awesome nickname, Monsters of the Midway. He gained miles on attack and didn't budge an inch on defense. Bronko Nagurski was on four World Championship teams. For the fourth he climbed out of six years retirement and gleamed as brightly as ever. Bronko Nagurski inspired this one sentence scout report from Steve Owens - He runs his own interference. Bronko Nagurski.
Thank you, Don. Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests. In the past I've been asked many times if I wouldn’t like to return to football. Well I could tell you right now if I had to face what I’ve got sitting behind me nothing could ever get me off the farm. I’ve had a lot of thrills in my life, but I can say sincerely that, to be so honored here today and with this fine group, this is a thrill of all thrills, and I want to thank all you people and all the writers who made this possible. Thank you.