|Born:||November 21, 1916|
Brooklyn, New York
|Died:||July 5, 1998 81) (aged|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||197 lb (89 kg)|
|High school:|| Erasmus Hall |
(Brooklyn, New York)
|NFL Draft:||1939 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2|
|As a player:|
|As a coach:|
|As an administrator:|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com|
|Service/||U.S. Merchant Marine|
|Years of service||1943–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Sidney Luckman (November 21, 1916 – July 5, 1998) was an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1939 through 1950. During his 12 seasons with the Bears he led them to four NFL championships (1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946).
Sportswriter Ira Berkow wrote that Luckman was "the first great T-formation quarterback", and he is considered the greatest long-range passer of his time.He was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1943. Luckman was also a 3× NFL All-Star (1940–1942), 5× First-team All-Pro (1941–1944, 1947), 2× Second-Team All-Pro (1940, 1946), 3× NFL passing yards leader (1943, 1945, and 1946), 3× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1943, 1945, and 1946), 3× NFL passer rating leader (1941, 1943, and 1946), named to the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team, had his Chicago Bears No. 42 retired, and tied the NFL record of 7 touchdown passes in a game.
Luckman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965, and in 1988 he was declared a joint winner of the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award.Following his retirement from playing, Luckman continued his association with football by tutoring college coaches, focusing on the passing aspect of the game.
Luckman was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, Meyer and Ethel Druckman Luckman.His father sparked his interest in football at age eight, by giving him a football to play with. He and his parents lived first in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and then in a residence near Prospect Park in Flatbush, in Brooklyn, and it was here as a youngster that Sid first started throwing a football.
He played both baseball and football for Erasmus Hall High School, with his football skills impressing recruiters from about 40 colleges. Playing quarterback, he led the Erasmus Hall High School football team to two all-city championships.
Luckman chose Columbia University after meeting Lions coach Lou Little during a Columbia/Navy game at the university's Baker Field athletic facility.Luckman was not admitted to Columbia College; instead, he attended the New College for the Education of Teachers, an undergraduate school which was within Teachers College at Columbia. He competed on the football team from 1936 until the New College closed in 1939, at which point he transferred to Columbia College. Coach Little had a problem getting good high school athletes because of the entrance requirements at Columbia, and Columbia didn’t have any physical education undergraduate program so when New College was started, Lou Little was happy because they had a P. E. Department. In fact, the 1936 varsity football squad had five other New College students; Hubert Schulze, Edward Stanzyk, Oscar Bonom, Harry Ream, and Antoni Mareski.
At Columbia, Luckman was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Keen to remain in Columbia to stay close to his family, he took on jobs such as dishwashing, babysitting, and messenger delivery around the campus. of 376 passes for 2,413 yards and 20 touchdowns and finished third in the 1938 Heisman Trophy voting, behind Davey O'Brien and Marshall Goldberg.At Columbia, as a part of the football team, he completed 180
Hearing of Sid Luckman's exploits as a single-wing tailback at Columbia University, Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas believed Luckman had the ability to become an effective T-formation quarterback, and traveled to New York to watch him play. Halas then convinced the Pittsburgh Pirates (later the Steelers) to draft Luckman second overall and then trade him to the Bears, because he was interested in using Luckman's skills to help him restructure the offensive side of the game. 99,900 today), which Luckman immediately signed. At that time both at the college and pro levels, offenses were a drab scrum of running the ball with only occasional passes. In what was then the predominant single-wing formation, the quarterback was primarily a blocking back and rarely touched the ball. Most passing was done by the tailback, and then usually only on third down with long yardage to go. Halas and his coaches, primarily Clark Shaughnessy, invented a rather complex scheme building on the traditional T-formation, but needed the right quarterback to run it properly.However, despite his successes at Columbia University, Luckman initially declined any further interest in pro football, instead preferring to work for his father-in-law's trucking company. Halas went to work on convincing him otherwise. After gaining an invitation to Luckman's tiny apartment for a dinner which Luckman's wife Estelle prepared, Halas produced a contract for $5,500 ($
Upon starting with Halas, Luckman mastered an offense that revolutionized football and became the basis of most modern professional offenses.Eventually, Luckman tutored college coaches across the Big Ten, Notre Dame and West Point in the intricacies of the passing game.
In 1940, during his second season with the Bears, Luckman took over the offense and led the Bears to the title game against Sammy Baugh and the Washington Redskins. The Redskins had beaten the Bears, 7–3, during the regular season. Using the "man-in-motion" innovation to great advantage, the Bears destroyed the Redskins, 73–0, stated to be "the most one-sided game in the history of the sport". yards in the rout.Luckman passed only six times, with four completions and 102
From 1940 to 1946, the Bears displayed their dominance in the game, playing in five NFL championship games, winning four, and posted a 54–17–3 regular-season record. In 1942, the Bears posted a perfect 11–0 record and outscored their opponents, 376–84, however, they lost the championship game to the Redskins. Although the T-formation had been used many years before Luckman joined the Chicago Bears, he was central to Chicago's successful use of this style of play because of his game-sense and versatility. Perfecting Halas' complex offensive scheme of fakes, men in motion, and quick-hitting runs, Luckman added the dimension of accurate downfield throwing. He was instrumental in his team's record-setting 73–0 win over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL championship game. Sportscaster Jimmy Cannon once said in reference to Luckman's years at Columbia, "You had to be there to realize how great Sid was." Luckman later became a sought-after tutor and instructor for universities wishing to install the T-formation as an offense.
In 1943, as soon as the season had ended, Luckman volunteered as an ensign with the U. S. Merchant Marine. He was stationed stateside and while he could not practice with the team, he did receive permission to play for the Bears on game days during the following seasons. He returned again to the Bears, as a full-time occupation, in 1946 and led them to a fifth NFL championship.
During his career, Luckman completed 51.8% of his passes for 14,686 yards and 137 touchdowns with 132 interceptions. He averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, second all-time only to Otto Graham (9.0), and also has a career touchdown rate (percentage of pass attempts that result in touchdowns) of 7.9 percent.
In 1943, Luckman completed 110 of 202 passes for 2194 yards and 28 touchdowns. His 13.9% touchdown rate that year is the best ever in a single-season, while his 10.9 yards per attempt is second all-time. During one game that year, Luckman threw for 443 yards and seven touchdowns, still tied for the most passing touchdowns in one game; it was also the first 400-yard passing game in NFL history. His 28 touchdown passes in 1943 (in only 10 games) was a record that lasted until 1959, a 12-game season.
Luckman led the NFL in yards per attempt an NFL record seven times, including a record five consecutive years from 1939 to 1943, and led the NFL in passing yards three times. Luckman was a five-time All-NFL selection, was named the National Football League's Most Valuable Player Award in 1943, and led the "Monsters of the Midway" to championships in 1940, 1941, 1943, and 1946. Despite the fact that his career ended in 1950, Luckman still owns several Bears' passing records, including:
|Led the league|
Upon retiring as a player, Luckman remained with the Bears as a vice president.In 1954, he became the team's quarterbacks coach on a part-time basis, a position he held through the 1960s.
After departing the NFL, he went to work for Cel-U-Craft, a Chicago-based manufacturer of cellophane products, eventually becoming its president.The company was a part of the Rapid American Corporation of which he also obtained shares. In 1969, Rapid American was the subject of an Internal Revenue Service investigation over the payment of these shares and dividends, a case that Luckman and his wife appealed.
Luckman's wife, Estelle Morgolin, died of cancer in 1981, and he underwent a triple heart bypass operation the following year. Luckman eventually retired to Aventura, Florida, where he died on July 5, 1998, at the age of 81. He was survived by a son, Bob, and two daughters, Gale and Ellen.
George Stanley Halas Sr., nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was an American professional football player, coach, and team owner. He was the founder and owner of the National Football League's Chicago Bears, and served as his own head coach on four occasions. He was also lesser-known as a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees.
Samuel Adrian Baugh was an American professional football player and coach. During his college and professional careers, he most notably played quarterback, but also played as a defensive back and punter. He played college football for the Horned Frogs at Texas Christian University, where he was a two-time All-American. He then played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins from 1937 to 1952. After his playing career, he served as a college coach for Hardin–Simmons University before coaching professionally for the New York Titans and the Houston Oilers.
George Anderson McAfee was a professional American football player. He played halfback and defensive back for the Chicago Bears from 1940 to 1941 and 1945 to 1950. As an undergraduate at Duke University, McAfee starred in baseball and track and field as well as college football. McAfee was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As of 2018, he still holds the NFL record for punt return average in a career.
Arnold Charles Herber was a professional quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
Robert Stanton Waterfield was an American football player and coach and motion picture actor and producer. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins and Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. His No. 7 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952.
In American football, a T formation is a formation used by the offensive team in which three running backs line up in a row about five yards behind the quarterback, forming the shape of a "T".
Kenneth William Kavanaugh was an American football player, coach, and scout. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago Bears as an end from 1940 to 1950, except for three seasons during which he served in World War II. He led the league in receiving touchdowns twice, and is a member of the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team. He is the Bears' all-time leader in receiving touchdowns, with 50.
James Warren Benton was an American football player. He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) with the Cleveland / Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears between 1938 and 1947. Benton was the first NFL receiver to gain more than 300 yards in a game, a record that stood for 40 years. He was selected for the National Football League 1940s All-Decade Team.
William Thomas Osmanski, nicknamed "Bullet" Bill, was an American football player and coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and in 1977 he was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.
The 1942 National Football League Championship Game was the tenth title game of the National Football League (NFL), played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 13, with a sellout capacity attendance of 36,006.
Raymond Albert Nolting was an American football halfback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL), as well as a college football head coach. He played college football at the University of Cincinnati, before spending six seasons with the Bears. He rushed for over 2,000 yards, and had over 500 receiving yards before retiring in 1943. He was a member of Chicago Bears NFL Championship teams in 1940, 1941 and 1943 and selected to the Pro Bowl twice. In the 1940 Bears' 73–0 rout of the Washington Redskins, Nolting rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a Sammy Baugh pass. From 1945 to 1948, he coached at Cincinnati, where he compiled a 23–15–1 record.
The 1943 National Football League Championship Game was the 11th annual title game of the National Football League (NFL), held at Wrigley Field in Chicago on December 26 with an attendance of 34,320.
The 1963 Chicago Bears season was their 44th regular season and 12th post-season appearance in the National Football League. The team finished with an 11–1–2 record to gain their first Western Conference championship since 1956, and the berth to host the NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants (11–3–0).
The 1943 season was the Chicago Bears' 24th in the National Football League. The team failed to match on their 11–0 record from 1942 and finished at 8–1–1, under temporary co-coaches Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos. On the way to winning the Western Division, the Bears were, yet again, denied a chance at an undefeated season by the defending champion Redskins in Washington. The Bears had their revenge in the NFL title game and defeated the Redskins at Wrigley Field to claim their sixth league title. It was their third championship in four years, establishing themselves as the pro football dynasty of the early 1940s.
In the 1944 season of the NFL, the Chicago Bears ended the season with six wins, three losses and one tied match. The team was co-coached by Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos with Paddy Driscoll as the assistant coach. They placed equal second with Detroit and only behind Green Bay in the NFL West Division. The Bears totalled the second highest tally of points scored and the sixth fewest points conceded. The Bears were unable to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1939 and were unsuccessful in not claiming their fourth title of the 1940s. Playing from their home stadium of Wrigley Field, the Bears had to deal with many players leaving the league to serve in World War II.
The 1939 Chicago Bears season was their 20th regular season completed in the National Football League. They finished second in the Western Division with an 8–3 record. The Bears started the season well, winning 4 of their first 5 games. However, two mid-season losses to New York and Detroit cost them the Division to Green Bay. The Packers went on to win the NFL championship.
Donald John Kindt, Sr. was an American defensive back and halfback who played nine seasons from 1947 to 1955 for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League. Kindt played college football for the University of Wisconsin Badgers primarily as a halfback from 1943–1946, missing the 1944 and half of the 1945 season because of World War II. He was the starting halfback for the Badgers for most of his college career.
Ruey Young Bussey was a professional American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). Bussey was killed in action during World War II. He was the only Bears player to die in the war.
The 1940 National Football League Championship Game, sometimes referred to simply as 73–0, was the eighth title game of the National Football League (NFL), played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 8, with a sellout capacity attendance of 36,034.