The last of the 60-minute men, he was a stalwart at both linebacker and center for the 1960 NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles and a three-year All-American from the University of Pennsylvania playing on both sides of the ball. Certainly, when the Maxwell Football Club decided to have an award for College Defensive Player of the Year, the first name to come to mind for this award was Charles Philip (Chuck) Bednarik.
Chuck Bednarik, truly, one of football’s outstanding players of all time, now retired after fourteen notable years in the most demanding of all sports—professional football—is a Special Sales Representative for the Warner Company and is respected as highly in the business world as he was in the National Football League.
As long as there is the game of football, the name Chuck Bednarik will be remembered and spoken of in glowing terms for his tremendous feats with the Philadelphia Eagles for whom he starred his entire pro career. Nicknamed "Concrete Charley" when he first joined the Warner Company as a salesman, the name was more than appropriate. The indestructible Bednarik saw action in 253 games, missing ONLY THREE in his fourteen seasons as a top linebacker and center in the NFL. His longevity record is even more remarkable when it is considered he missed two of the games as a rookie in 1949 before he had a chance to establish himself.
Bednarik played in 169 out of a possible 172 league games. The combined total of 256 includes championship and preseason battles.
Eight years an All-Pro and eight times in the Pro Bowl Game, Bednarik leaves numerous records for others to match but perhaps his greatest achievement, and one that may never be equaled, was the most incredible two way performance that drove the Eagles to the world championship in 1960, the second title team for Bednarik.
The 253-pound always-superbly-conditioned Bednarik played both ways (center and linebacker), totaling 394.5 minutes including 52.5 at Cleveland and 51.25 versus the Giants at Franklin Field. Then he topped it off by hitting his all time peak of fifty-eight out of sixty in the title game with Green Bay. And not only that, he made the game-saving tackle in the dying seconds.
This remarkable physical specimen has won many honors during his storied collegiate and professional football career. Included are awards by the Maxwell Club, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Sporting Writers, and the Helms Foundation. Also he was the Catholic Player of the Year as a Pennsylvania Senior; won the John Wanamaker Award as Philadelphia’s Outstanding Athlete of 1960 and in December 1962 was named the Lineman of the Decade.
Bednarik was elected to the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame in 1962; elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967; elected to College Football Hall of Fame in 1969; elected to the All-Time 50 Year NFL Team in 1970 and was selected by the NFL to the 75th Anniversary Two-Way Team.
After leaving high school in his native Bethlehem, PA, Iron Man Bednarik spent two and a half years in World War II in the European theater of operations. He was a waist gunner for more than fifty aerial missions, covering himself with glory and battle stars.
Bednarik, who was born on May 1, 1925, is married to his childhood sweetheart, Emma, and makes his home in Coopersburg, PA. His is the father of five beautiful daughters.