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"If I could relive my life it would be in those times. The Eagle teams I played on were like family, particularly that 1960 championship team.”
(Pennsylvania)...6'3'', 233...Charles Philip Bednarik ... Two-time Pennsylvania All-American ... Eagles' bonus draft choice, 1949 ... NFL's last "iron man" star ... Rugged, durable, bulldozing blocker, bone-jarring tackler ... Missed only three games in 14 years ... Nine times All-NFL ... Played in eight Pro Bowls, MVP in 1954 game ... Named NFL's all-time center, 1969 ... Played 58 minutes, made game-saving tackle, 1960 NFL title game ... Born May 1, 1925, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Died March 21, 2015, at age of 89.
No National Football League player in the 1950s was immune to bone-jarring contact with the Philadelphia Eagles' Chuck Bednarik because the 233-pounder played on both the offensive and defensive units long after the two-way player had largely faded from the scene.
Bednarik didn’t really get into football until he returned from World War II (after a 30-mission tour as a B-24 waist gunner with the Army Air Corps that saw him win the Air Medal). He showed up unheralded at the University of Pennsylvania, where he went on to win All-America honors as a center his last two seasons.
Chuck was selected first overall in the 1949 NFL Draft as the Eagles' bonus draft choice and earned a starter’s spot as a center on offense and linebacker on defense. As an offensive center, big Chuck was a bulldozing blocker, both on rushing and passing plays. On defense, he was a true scientist in his field and the kind of tackler who could literally stop even the finest enemy runners "on a dime."
In 1950, Bednarik received All-NFL recognition as a center. Although he frequently played both offense and defense right up through the 1956 season, it was as a bone-jarring linebacker that he drew the most attention. He was named All-NFL as a linebacker 1951 through 1957 and again in 1960.
His athletic abilities and inspirational play was particularly evident in 1960 when injuries forced the Eagles to ask their 12-year veteran to again play both sides of the line. The 35-year-old was sensational. He finished the campaign with a 58-minute performance, capped by a game-saving tackle in the Eagles' NFL championship victory over Green Bay. With just seconds remaining, the Packers' Jim Taylor appeared to be heading for a winning touchdown until the last Eagle in his path, Bednarik, bear-hugged him to the ground as time ran out.
1949 NFL – Philadelphia Eagles 14, Los Angeles Rams 0
Bednarik played in this game. No other statistical data is available.
1960 NFL – Philadelphia Eagles 17, Green Bay Packers 13
Bednarik started the game at center. No other statistical data is available.
All-NFL: 1950 (APC, NYLB), 1951 LB (AP, UPI, NY), 1952 LB (AP, UPI), 1953 LB (AP, NY), 1954 LB (AP, UPI, SN, NY), 1955 LB (UPI, NE), 1956 LB (UPI, NEA, NY), 1957 LB (NY), 1960 LB (AP, UPI, NY)
All-NFL Second Team: 1953 LB (UPI), 1955 LB (AP, NY), 1956 LB (AP), 1957 LB (AP, UPI, NEA), 1960C (NY), 1961 C (UPI)
All-Eastern Conference: 1954 LB (PB), 1957 LB (SN), 1960 LB (SN), 1961 LB (SN)
(8) – 1951 C, 1952 C, 1953 C, 1954 C, LB, 1955 C, 1957 LB, 1958 LB, 1961 LB
(at time of his retirement following 1962 season)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Seasons – 14
• 1950s All-Decade Team C
• NFL 50th Anniversary Team C
• NFL 75th Anniversary All-Two-Way Team
Full Name: Charles Philip Bednarik
Birthdate: May 1, 1925
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
High School: Bethlehem (PA) Catholic; Liberty (Bethlehem, PA)
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 5, 1967
Presenter: Earle "Greasy" Neale, Bednarik's coach with the Eagles
Other Members of Class of 1967: Charles Bidwill, Paul Brown, Bobby Layne, Dan Reeves, Ken Strong, Joe Stydahar, Emlen Tunnell
Pro Career: 14 Seasons, 169 games
Drafted: 1st round (1st player overall) in 1949 by Philadelphia Eagles
Uniform Number: 60
Earle “Greasy” Neale (presenter):