Charley Trippi Chicago Cardinals

"In those days the more things a player did, the more pay he could demand. I could run, kick, pass and catch and that made me a valuable property.”

In 1946, Charley Trippi, a two-time All-America from the University of Georgia, was a key figure in the inter-league battling between the new AII-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the National Football League.

The AAFC's New York Yankees were so sure they had signed him to a contract that they called a press conference in New York to announce the happy news. But while the New York newsmen gathered, Chicago Cardinals owner Charles W. Bidwill Sr. announced in Chicago he had signed Trippi to a four-year contract worth $100,000. For those days, the size of the contract was stunning news and a big breakthrough in the inter-league war.

Trippi's acquisition completed Bidwill’s quest for a "Dream Backfield." Although Bidwill did not live to see it, Charley became the game breaker in a talented corps that included Paul Christman, Pat Harder, Marshall Goldberg and, later, Elmer Angsman.

Never was Trippi more magnificent than in the 1947 NFL Championship Game when the Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-21. Playing on an icy field in Chicago, Charley wore basketball shoes for better traction and totaled 206 yards, including 102 yards on two punt returns. He scored touchdowns on a 44-yard run and a 75-yard punt return.

Trippi could and would do anything on a football field. He played as a left halfback for four seasons before switching to quarterback for two years. Charley then moved back to offensive halfback for one campaign before changing almost exclusively to the defensive unit in 1954 and 1955. He also was the Cardinals' punter and he excelled on the punt and kickoff return teams.

Due to relaxed regulations during the war years, Charley played in five College All-Star classics, two while at Georgia, two while in the service and a fifth as a Cardinal in 1948.