The Best Eagle of All-Time - Chuck Bednarik: A Legend Not To Be Forgotten

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood "PE", fellow BGNers! The inspiration for this FanPost came from a recent "The Linc" posting where JasonB brought to my attention that Fox Sports is taking a poll on who fans think is the "all-time best franchise player" for each one of the 32 NFL teams.

Fox Sports lists the following players as the candidates for this award:

Chuck Bednarik

Brian Dawkins

Steve Van Buren

Reggie White

Donovan McNabb

I wanted to take the time to discuss who I voted for and why I think that player is the all-time best franchise player in Eagles history. More after the jump...

The all-time best franchise player in Philadelphia Eagles football history is none other than the living legend himself: Charles Philip Bednarik (more commonly known as "Chuck" or "Concrete Charlie"). Now, before I start to explain why I think he is the best, I want to tell you that I am not old enough to have ever seen Chuck play. I feel I have watched enough videos and read enough information about him to make this judgment accurate, however. I also want to say that there are a number of other worthy candidates for this title (such as the ones Fox Sports have in their list). In this FanPost, I will attempt to present you with knowledge that will hopefully make you appreciate the kind of truly great player Bednarik was.

For a basic background on Chuck, let’s start here at his Wikipedia page.

Let’s take a moment to just glance over his accomplishments:

• 8× Pro Bowl selection (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960)

• 10× All-Pro selection (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961)

• NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

• NFL 1950s All-Decade Team

• 1953 Pro Bowl MVP

• 1948 Maxwell Award

• Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll

• Philadelphia Eagles #60 Retired

• "Chuck Bednarik Award" named after him awarded to the best defensive collegiate football player in the NCAA each year

• Voted #4 on NFLN’s "Top 10 most versatile players list"

• Voted #35 on NFLN’s "Top 100 players of all-time"

• Played 58.5 minutes out of the 60 minutes of the 1960 Championship Game the Eagles won and made the game saving tackle

Also worth nothing is his Pro Football Hall of Fame profile and here are some more facts about Chuck.

The following are a number of videos I found while researching more about Chuck. There are some overlapping parts in some, but I promise you they are all worth the watch. (And it’s not like you have anything better to do, you know, because of the lockout and all.) After each of these videos, I’ll post my opinion of how these indicate Chuck’s true greatness. Grab your popcorn, folks!


Chuck Bednarik video (via HailDoomSWAT)

The fact that Chuck came up from a background like he did is admirable to me because it’s very symbolic of the idea of "The American Dream". He came from a hard-working, blue-collar family and replicated that lifestyle in his play. It also amazes me that he went off to war at the young age of 18 and survived over 30 missions before coming back home and deciding to enter another world of violence: the NFL.

"And I remember one time somebody said to me ‘What do you want to be most remembered for?’ And I said that ‘I was a guy that came from poor people, made it big, got all the adulations and all the awards you can get that any athlete ever got, but I never forgot my friends and my roots and I want to be back home with them."

Wow. This quote amazes me because it shows how truly humble and grateful that Chuck was for his opportunity in the NFL. This type of action also really speaks out about how pure his character was.

"You gotta play with that killer instinct, man. You gotta hate that guy across from you. Then after the game, tell him what a nice guy he is… shake his hand. Especially if you win. Right? (chuckle)"

As we see here, Chuck was the ultimate role model for other players in the game. Go out and be the toughest SOB you can out there, because when the game is being played, you have to do everything you can to win. But when the game is over, he says that the players need to leave it on the field and be respectful human beings to one another. This is a prime example of his appreciation of the game, along with another example of his high character and lively personality.


Brian Billick talks about Chuck

"Chuck Bednarik, I think, exemplifies the personality of the Philadelphia Eagles." A simple, yet very true, statement. If you haven’t noticed yet, Chuck is the ultimate blue-collar, hard-working guy that represents the kind of fans Philadelphia had and still has to do this day. This makes Chuck’s greatness timeless


Chuck Bednarik - Last of the 60 Minute Men.mp4 (via ghost2dapost)

You know that somebody’s out there to get you, and boy you’re going to defend yourself, and now you just turn killer. And of course as the game progresses and in the heat of the battle you’re getting hit, and then suddenly all you think of is… is that kill… kill.

This is the way you go after them: you’re frothing from the mouth, and you say "Get ‘em! Get ‘em!"

When you watch this man talk about football, you really have to love the passion he speaks with. When you watch his body language during these quotes, you can’t help but notice the intensified passion he has. He’s displaying the tough as nails mindset he has, and you can just his love of the game he played. You can also see how he struck fear into his opponents.

The Hit on Frank Gifford: The moment you’ve all been waiting for. This is the play that everyone associates Concrete Charlie with. This hit isn’t just significant because it was a big hit at a crucial time in the game that was being played… This kind of hit set a precedent for years to come. Here was Frank Gifford, the NFL’s glamor boy, running open in the field. Gifford represents the glitz and glam of New York. Now, here comes Chuck Bednarik, who represents the people of Philadelphia, the blue-collar, hard-working tough-as-nails son-of-a-bitch to knock the glamor boy out and show him who’s really boss. This hit was so devastating that it caused Gifford to miss a whole year of football the following season! Also, some of the players on the field that day thought he had literally killed Gifford. Then came Chuck’s infamous quote:


It’s truly an amazing hit and a moment that holds much significance in Eagles history


NFLN names Chuck as #4 most versatile player of all time.

This video shows you how incredibly versatile Chuck was. He played both C and LB, which are two very demanding positions in football. (He also played some time at Punter). It also shows us that he was a very critical player in the 1960 championship, in which he played 135 out of the 138 plays in that game. Not only did Chuck play OFTEN, but he played considerably awesome, too.

And you get into that sort of a cannibalistic feeling all you wanna do is go out there and, like I say you just wanna KILL somebody, "I wanna get ‘em, I gonna kill ‘em" not mean[ing] you wanna put ‘em in the ground after [the game], but you just wanna KILL a guy."

Pros like myself played football – not for money or glory – but for the simplest reason: the love of the game.

Again, these are not just meaningless words. Through his actions and lifestyle, you can see that Chuck truly loved the game, and was not just motivated by money. I think the modern NFL is filled with too many players today that ONLY care about money, or care about money before the game first. To each his own, I suppose, but Chuck’s true love of the game is something that I really respect. Chuck brings up a good point when he talks about the "glamor boys" of today’s game. These DIVAS , such as Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, etc. make a lot more money than he did in his time (Chuck’s salary maxed at $22,000 in his day, which is worth about $158,532.26 now due to inflation), and he played a lot more than they did.


NFLN names Chuck as #35 best player of all time

This video recaps a lot of parts of the previous videos. It’s worth noting, as the video states, that the Eagles, led by Chuck, were the only team EVER to beat the legendary Vince Lombardi in the playoffs.

For all of these reasons, Chuck Bednarik is not only the greatest Eagles player of all time, but in mind, he’s also a true American hero. If you still disagree with me and think that he isn’t the best player in Eagles history, I respect your opinion.I do hope that you at least either came to appreciate Chuck a little more, or learned something new about him, though.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Your friendly neighborhood Eagles fan, PE.