Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
(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)
Dick Stanfel Enshrinement Speech 2016
Presenter Marv Levy
I have spoken with several great Hall of Famers from that era, they all told me that he was the greatest offensive lineman ever. That was their opinion and I’ve never seen anybody execute better than he did with such enthusiasm in such a love of the game.
Offensive Linemen didn’t get that much credit in those day. Dick was really well respected by the people
who played against him.
Right guard number 63 Dick Stanfel.
The Lions drafted Dick Stanfel out of the University of San Francisco in the second round in 1951 when he was 23 after a military stint delayed the beginning of his college career.
He had been an outstanding player during the 1950s with the Detroit Lions. He was the only offensive lineman who was selected as the MVP of a championship team in 1953.
The tough as nails Stanfel anchored the Lions offensive line at right guard on two championship Lions teams in four seasons. His toughness so inspired his presenter Marv Levy that he eventually hired him as a coach at the University of California in 1963.
I know he’s been an excellent player; I knew other coaches who knew him, they all spoke so highly of him, that I wanted an interview of the man and certainly did. His work ethic was certainly fantastic, but this guy was a great athlete as well. Once they hired him as the coach at the University of California; sometimes, he would demonstrate to our players without a helmet, without shoulder pads how to rap an outside linebacker. He not only blew them away; he blew me away watching. He was fantastic.
After four seasons in Detroit, Stanfel was traded to the Washington Redskins as part of a blockbuster four team deal. Stanfel played three seasons in Washington and remarkably earned first-team all-pro honors in each of those final three seasons.
When I got the Bears job, Dick was coaching there with the Bears and I had an opportunity to do whatever I wanted to do. I could have brought in other people, but he was the first guy I made sure we kept. Dick was special and he related to his players. They loved him, but he got the best out him and he made them understand, teaching football can sometimes be complicated, but he never got too complicated. Here’s the guy you gotta block. Block him.
Dick Stanfel beyond his great teaching ability, his great playing ability was a person of high character, great family guy, great sense of humor. He was fun to be around. I can go on and on. Yes, he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Stanfel was named an all-pro five times. The definition of elite at a position he revolutionized.
We don’t play the game or coach the game initially to be in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame is a reward that’s given to us afterwards. Dick Stanfel has earned that reward. He should be in the National Football League Hall of Fame. There’s no question about it, my opinion.
Seven years, six of those the only one he didn’t go to the Pro Bowl he was injured so badly that he couldn’t go all-pro all those seven years. Been selected as the guard of the decade in the 1950s and I’ll take it a step further than that, I think he’s the guard of the century. A guy who was a great teacher, a guy of high character a great individual. He was a credit to the game; his bust belongs here in Canton. I am honored to present Dick Stanfel for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.