Tommy Thompson (quarterback)

Last updated
Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson - 1948 Bowman.jpg
Thompson on a 1948 Bowman football card
No. 10, 11
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Born:August 15, 1918
Hutchinson, Kansas
Died:April 21, 1989(1989-04-21) (aged 70)
Calico Rock, Arkansas
Career information
High school: Fort Worth (TX) Paschal
College: Tulsa
Undrafted: 1940
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passer rating:66.5
Player stats at  ·  PFR

Thomas Pryor Thompson (August 15, 1918 – April 22, 1989) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League and Canadian Football League.


Early life and education

Born in Hutchinson, Kansas, Thompson graduated from R. L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas, and played college football at the University of Tulsa. He was blind in one eye, from a childhood incident, but nevertheless served in the U.S. Army for two years during World War II, which put his professional career on hold. [1]

Professional career

Stats for Thompson's career in terms of wins and losses were not measured until his last year in 1950, although he is reported to have made 46 starts with 99 total game appearances. After a forgettable season to start his career in 1940 with Pittsburgh, he ended up playing with cross-town team Philadelphia. [2] The first two seasons spent with Philadelphia were miserable, as the Eagles won two games each, and he was an off-and-on starter. [2] Upon his return to the Eagles in 1945, the fortunes of the team had improved, as they won at least six games and finished at least third in each year, buoyed by Thompson and Steve Van Buren, who would eventually be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. [3] In the three year run for the Eagles to three straight NFL championship appearances from 1947 to 1949, Thompson would throw for 57 total touchdowns while Van Buren would run for 34 touchdowns.

In 1947 and 1948, he would lead the league in passer rating, and his 25 touchdowns in the latter year was a league high. He was just the second quarterback to lead the league in consecutive years in the category (after Ed Danowski) and just the four to lead the league multiple times (after Danoswki, Sid Luckman, and Sammy Baugh). In 1947, the Eagles won eight of twelve games and wound up tied with Pittsburgh in the division. Having to play a tiebreaker game to determine who would play in the NFL Championship Game, Thompson was the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Thompson went 11-of-17 for 131 yards for two touchdowns. His 15-yard score to Steve Van Buren in the first quarter proved to be the winning score as the Eagles went on to shut out the Steelers 21-0. [4] For the 1947 NFL Championship Game, there was no primary starter at quarterback on either team, although Thompson did play. Facing the Chicago Cardinals, he threw 27-of-44 passes for 297 yards for one touchdown and three interceptions. The game was mostly even-matched in passing and rushing, but the Cardinals started with a 14-0 lead by the time the Eagles ended up getting on the board and after that they traded scores as the Cardinals held on to win 28-21 after hanging on to the ball for the last five minutes. [5]

The following year, he helped lead the Eagles to another division crown. On December 19, in the 1948 NFL Championship Game, he would partake in one of the most famous weather games, as snow rained down on Shibe Park that made running an even more important commodity, as each team combined for over 300 yards on the ground to just 42 passing. Facing the Cardinals once again, he went 2-of-12 for 7 yards and two interceptions while running for 50 yards on 11 carries. [6] However, Steve Van Buren would win the game on a touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles the one and only score needed to win Philadelphia's first championship, with Thompson and Van Buren each getting credit from coach Greasy Neale for the win. [7] [8] In 1949, the Eagles were even better, losing just one game as Thompson and the team would make it to a third consecutive NFL Championship Game. Facing the upstart Los Angeles Rams in a slew of mud, he threw for 5-of-9 for 68 yards with one touchdown and one interception. [6] His 31 yard touchdown to Pete Pihos in the second quarter was both the longest pass he threw all day and the winning score, as the Eagles shut out the Rams 14-0. [9]

Thompson closed his career in 1950 with a 6-6 record, having thrown for 1,608 yards with 11 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. [10] One highlight included him becoming the fourth quarterback to ever throw for 10,000 yards in a career. For context, he finished fourth in passing yards all-time, behind players such as Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, and Otto Graham, all of whom are inducted into the Hall of Fame. In the seven decades that have followed since Thompson retired, he moved from 4th to 193rd, a reflection of the growing trend in passing. [11] Thompson is one of four eligible inactive NFL quarterbacks with multiple championships who were not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with Jim Plunkett, Tobin Rote, and Jack Kemp. [12] Ray Didinger of CSNPhilly ranked him in the Top 5 all-time Eagles quarterbacks, citing his contribution to the championship teams.

In 1953, Thompson made a brief return to football by playing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers while serving as their backfield coach. He only played 3 games with them. [13]

Coaching career

Thompson would serve as an assistant coach on three different teams from 1953 to 1957, serving as backfield coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1953 and for the Chicago Cardinals in 1955. He moved to assistant coaching with the Calgary Stampeders for the 1956-58 seasons. [14] [15] [16]

Later life and death

Thompson battled brain cancer for over a year and died in 1989 in Calico Rock, Arkansas. [17] [18]

In 2012, Thompson was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. [19]

Career statistics

Won the NFL championship
Led the league
BoldCareer high
Regular season
YearTeamGPGSW–LCompAttPctYdsY/AY/GTDInt Rate SckAttYdsY/AY/GTDFum
1940 PIT 112 [lower-alpha 1] 92832.11455.213.21322.8 [lower-alpha 1] 40391.03.500
1941 PHI 115 [lower-alpha 1] 8616253.19595.987.281451.4 [lower-alpha 1] 54−20.0−0.200
1942 PHI 1110 [lower-alpha 1] 9520346.81,4106.9128.281650.3 [lower-alpha 1] 92−32−0.3−2.912
1945 PHI 8 [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 1] 152853.61465.218.30238.7 [lower-alpha 1] 8−13−1.6−1.603
1946 PHI 103 [lower-alpha 1] 5710355.37457.274.56961.3 [lower-alpha 1] 34−116−3.4−11.608
1947 PHI 121 [lower-alpha 1] 10620152.71,6808.4140.0161576.3 [lower-alpha 1] 23522.34.326
1948 PHI 124 [lower-alpha 1] 14124657.31,9658.0163.8251198.4 [lower-alpha 1] 12463.83.810
1949 PHI 129 [lower-alpha 1] 11621454.21,7278.1143.9161184.4 [lower-alpha 1] 15171.11.424
1950 PHI 12126−610723944.81,6086.7134.0112244.4 [lower-alpha 1] 15342.32.803
Career99466−67321,42451.410,3857.3104.99110366.5 [lower-alpha 1] 293250.10.3624
Source: [20]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 This stat was not available for the respective season, according to Pro-Football-Reference

Related Research Articles

Tommy Kramer American football quarterback

Thomas Francis Kramer is an American former professional football player who was a quarterback in the NFL from 1977 to 1990. He played collegiately at Rice University and was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft after being named MVP of the 1977 Senior Bowl. He was inducted with the 2012 class into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Randall Cunningham American football quarterback

Randall Wade Cunningham Sr. is a former American football quarterback and punter who played in the National Football League (NFL) in the NFL for 16 seasons, primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles. A four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro, Cunningham is also known for his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is the younger brother of former college and professional football player Sam Cunningham and the father of Randall Cunningham II and world champion high jumper Vashti Cunningham.

Sonny Jurgensen American football quarterback

Christian Adolph Jurgensen III, known better as Sonny Jurgensen, is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

Carson Palmer American football quarterback

Carson Hilton Palmer is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons, primarily with the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals. Palmer played college football at USC where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2002.

Ron Jaworski

Ronald Vincent Jaworski is a former American football quarterback. He was also an NFL analyst on ESPN. He is the CEO of Ron Jaworski Golf Management, Inc., based out of Blackwood, New Jersey, and manages golf courses in southern New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He also owned part interest in the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, where he also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the league. Jaworski was nicknamed "Jaws" by Philadelphia 76ers player Doug Collins prior to Super Bowl XV.

Steve Van Buren Honduran-American football player

Stephen Wood Van Buren was a Honduran-American professional football player who was a halfback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) from 1944 to 1951. Regarded as a powerful and punishing runner with excellent speed, through eight NFL seasons he won four league rushing titles, including three straight from 1947 to 1949. At a time when teams played 12 games a year, he was the first NFL player to rush for over ten touchdowns in a season—a feat he accomplished three times—and the first to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. When he retired, he held the NFL career records for rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.

Brian Dawkins American football safety

Brian Patrick Dawkins Sr. is a former American football safety who played 16 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football at Clemson and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft, of which he was a member for 13 seasons. In his last three seasons, he played for the Denver Broncos. Dawkins was nicknamed "Weapon X" after the codename of the Marvel Comics character Wolverine for his reputation of relentless aggression on the field.

Bob Waterfield American football player and coach

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.

Charley Trippi American football player

Charles Louis Trippi is a former American football player. He played professionally for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) from 1947 to 1955. Although primarily a running back, his versatility allowed him to fill a multitude of roles over his career, including quarterback, defensive back, punter, and return specialist. A "quintuple-threat", Trippi was adept at running, catching, passing, punting, and defense.

Greasy Neale American baseball player

Alfred Earle "Greasy" Neale was an American football and baseball player and coach.

Norm Snead American football quarterback

Norman Bailey Snead is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers. He played college football for Wake Forest University and was drafted in the first round of the 1961 NFL Draft.

Elmer Angsman American football player

Elmer Joseph Angsman Jr. was an American football running back in the NFL.

1960 NFL Championship Game

The 1960 National Football League Championship Game was the 28th NFL title game. The game was played on Monday, December 26, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sam Bradford American football quarterback

Samuel Jacob Bradford is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons, most notably with the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. Bradford attended Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, where he starred in football, basketball and golf. As a senior quarterback in 2005, he threw for 2,029 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. Bradford was not highly recruited coming out of high school, but he did receive a scholarship offer from the University of Oklahoma, which he accepted. After a redshirt season in 2006, Bradford threw for 3,121 yards and 36 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. In 2008, Bradford became only the second sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy as he led the highest-scoring offense in NCAA history, passing for 4,720 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He again led the nation in passing and also added five rushing touchdowns as the Sooners went 12-1 and advanced to the BCS national title game.

Edward Frank Danowski was an American football player who played quarterback and halfback in the National Football League (NFL). He grew up in Aquebogue, his father, Anton, was a Polish immigrant.

Red Cochran

John Thurman "Red" Cochran Jr. was an American football cornerback and later an assistant coach and scout in the National Football League. He played college football at Wake Forest University.

The 1949 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 17th season in the National Football League. The Eagles won their second-consecutive NFL championship.

The 1948 Philadelphia Eagles season was the franchise's 16th season in the National Football League (NFL). The Eagles repeated as Eastern Division champions and returned to the NFL Championship game, this time defeating the Chicago Cardinals to win their first NFL title.

Carson Wentz American football quarterback

Carson James Wentz is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where he won five NCAA FCS national championships. He was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the second overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the highest selection ever for an FCS player. In his first year with the Eagles, Wentz set multiple NFL and team rookie records, including most pass attempts and completions by a rookie.

Jalen Hurts American football quarterback

Jalen Alexander Hurts is an American football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama and Oklahoma and was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2010-08-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. 1 2 Mangels, Dave (2015-07-02). "The Best Eagles I Never Saw: Tommy Thompson". Bleeding Green Nation. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  3. "Steve Van Buren | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  4. "Divisional Round - Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers - December 21st, 1947".
  5. "Championship - Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Cardinals - December 28th, 1947".
  6. 1 2 "Tommy Thompson Career Game Log". Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  7. "Thompson key to Eagles' win". Lewiston Daily Sun. Maine. Associated Press. December 20, 1948. p. 12.
  8. "Championship - Chicago Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles - December 19th, 1948".
  9. "Championship - Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams - December 18th, 1949".
  10. "Tommy Thompson is the greatest Eagles player to wear No. 11". Philadelphia Eagles. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  11. "NFL Career Passing Yards Leaders Through 1950".
  12. Anderson, Dave (February 6, 2010). "It's about the quarterbacks, and it always has been". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  13. "Tommy Thompson Stats - Pro Football Archives". Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  14. "Tommy Thompson Coaching Record - Pro Football Archives".
  15. "Tommy Thompson Statistics on".
  16. "Big time football parade in full swing this weekend". Ottawa Citizen. Canada. Canadian Press. August 29, 1953. p. 42.
  17. "Tommy Thompson, 72; Led Eagles to 2 Titles (Published 1989)". April 22, 1989 via
  18. "Tommy Thompson, champion quarterback". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Florida. April 23, 1989. p. 7C.
  19. Fitzpatrick, Frank. "Eagles great Tommy Thompson finally makes Phila. Sports Hall of Fame".
  20. "Tommy Thompson Stats". Pro-Football-Reference. Sports-Reference . Retrieved February 22, 2018.