Mike Pyle (American football)

Last updated
Mike Pyle
Born:(1939-07-18)July 18, 1939
Keokuk, Iowa
Died:July 29, 2015(2015-07-29) (aged 76)
Highland Park, Illinois
Career information
Position(s) Center
College Yale
High school Winnetka (IL) New Trier
NFL draft 1961 / Round: 7 / Pick: 89
Career history
As player
1961–1969 Chicago Bears 1963 Championship captain
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls 1

Michael Johnson Pyle (July 18, 1939 – July 29, 2015) was an American football center who played nine seasons between 1961 and 1969 for the Chicago Bears. In 2019 he was selected as one of the 100 greatest Bears of All-Time.

Contents

Background

Pyle was born in 1939 to William Palmer Pyle, an executive with Kraft Foods and Cathryn Johnson Pyle in Keokuk, Iowa. He has two brothers: William Palmer Pyle Jr. (who played offensive guard at Michigan State University and with the Baltimore Colts, the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders) and Harlen Pyle. His grand-nephews are Joey and Nick Bosa.

Pyle attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where he wrestled and threw the discus and shot put in addition to playing football. He was an Illinois state wrestling champion in 1957 in the heavyweight division. He also won a state championship in 1957 for his efforts with the discus and set a state record on his way to winning the shot put title, as well.

He graduated in 1957 from New Trier and went on to Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He was an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs and captained the undefeated, co-Lambert Trophy winner 1960 team. The 1960 team was ranked 14th in the final AP college football poll and 18th in the final UPI college football poll. [1]

Chicago Bears

1961 Chicago Bears offensive line in action. "Bears Workout at Soldier Field for Armed Forces game Friday." 8X10A 1961 Chicago Bears o-line practice 1.jpg
1961 Chicago Bears offensive line in action. "Bears Workout at Soldier Field for Armed Forces game Friday."

Pyle played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1961 through 1969 where he played for George Halas. In 1963, he earned a Pro Bowl berth and served as the Bears offensive team captain from 1963, their championship season, through his retirement. He was named to the Sporting News First-team - All Conference and the UPI Second-team - All NFL in 1963 and to the New York Daily News All NFL team in 1965.

Broadcast career

After his retirement in 1969, Pyle was a broadcaster for WGN radio, where he was the Bears pre and post game program host, as well as the host of a Sunday sports talk show. He later co-hosted the "Mike Ditka Show" when Ditka coached the Bears.

In 1974, he served as color commentator on the broadcasts of the WFL's Chicago Fire on WJJD. [2]

Post career health problems

Several years after retiring from the NFL, Pyle began to experience symptoms of dementia. His condition eventually worsened, and his family was forced to put him into a full-time assisted living facility. Pyle went to Silverado, a national chain that has an arrangement with the NFL to treat all former players with at least three years of service — and dementia — free of charge.

‘‘We have treated about 20 NFL players — we have about a dozen right now,’’ Loren Shook, the president and CEO of Silverado Senior Living, says. ‘‘This is under the ‘88 Plan’ with the NFL.’’

The 88 Plan is a brain trauma program named for Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, whose number was 88. Mackey was in a near vegetative state from chronic traumatic encephalopathy by the time he died in 2011. [3] Pyle died on July 29, 2015, from a brain hemorrhage. [4] [5]

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References

  1. "Archived copy". www.collegefootballpoll.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. radio broadcast of WFL game Philadelphia Bell vs. Chicago Fire; August 14, 1974; WJJD
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2014-03-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Goldstein, Richard (31 July 2015). "Mike Pyle, Captain of 9-0 Yale Team and Champion Bears in '63, Dies at 76". The New York Times.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2015-08-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)