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(San Francisco)...6'3'', 236...Drafted in 2nd round by Lions, 1951 … Injured preparing for college All-Star game and missed entire season … Detroit advanced to NFL championship game first three years Stanfel played … Won back-to-back titles, 1952-53 … Named team MVP in 1953 championship season, rare honor for offensive lineman … Named All-NFL five times in seven seasons … Four Pro Bowls … Retired in prime to pursue coaching career … Born July 20, 1927 in San Francisco, California … Died June 22, 2015 at the age of 87.
The Detroit Lions used their second-round pick in the 1951 NFL Draft on University of San Francisco guard Dick Stanfel. The move proved to be a wise one as Stanfel became the anchor of a dominant Lions team of that era.
Stanfel suffered a knee injury while preparing to play in the College All-Star game before joining the Lions. The injury sidelined him for the entire 1951 season. He took the field the following year and quickly established himself as one of the team leaders. The Lions advanced to the NFL championship game in the first three seasons in which Stanfel played. Detroit won back-to-back world titles in 1952 and 1953.
Despite playing on the offensive line where a player did not receive much fanfare, Stanfel's teammates clearly recognized his importance to the club. He was lauded with the team's Most Valuable Player honor for the Lions' 1953 championship season as voted on by the players. It was an award rarely bestowed to an offensive lineman.
After four seasons in Detroit, he was traded to the Washington Redskins as part of a blockbuster four-team deal. In Washington, he was reunited with his college coach and mentor Joe Kuharich who was the Redskins head coach at the time. Stanfel played three seasons in Washington and continued to be regarded among the NFL's elite players. Then, while performing at the top of his game, Stanfel retired at age 31 to pursue a coaching career. He followed Kuharich to Notre Dame where he accepted a job as an assistant coach before embarking on lengthy coaching career in the NFL.
Stanfel earned first-team All-Pro honors in five of his seven seasons including all three years he played for the Redskins. In addition, Stanfel was voted to four Pro Bowls during his career. His impact as a player was noted during the 1954 season when he was voted to the Pro Bowl despite the fact that he missed considerable playing time due to injury.
Stanfel was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s.
Additional Career Statistics: Kickoff Returns: 1-4
1952 NFL – Detroit Lions 17, Cleveland Browns 7
Stanfel did not play in this game.
1953 NFL – Detroit Lions 17, Cleveland Browns 16
Stanfel started at right guard in this game.
1954 NFL – Cleveland Browns 56, Detroit Lions 10
Stanfel played but did not start in this game.
All-NFL: 1953 (AP, UPI, NY) • 1954 (AP, UPI, NY) • 1956 (AP, UPI, NEA) • 1957 (AP, UPI, NEA, NY) • 1958 (AP, UPI, NEA, NY)
All-NFL Second Team: 1954 (SN) • 1956 (NY)
All-Eastern Conference: 1956 (SN) • 1957 (SN) • 1958 (SN)
(4) – 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959
Awards and Honors
• 1950s All-Decade Team
Full Name: Richard Anthony Stanfel
Birthdate: July 20, 1927
Birthplace: San Francisco, California
High School: Commerce San Francisco (CA)
Pro Career: 7 seasons, 73 games
Drafted: 2nd round (19th player overall) in 1951 by Detroit Lions
Uniform Number: 63 (60)