Charley Trippi, a man whose NFL accomplishments will almost certainly never be replicated, died Wednesday, his alma mater Georgia announced. He was 100 years old.
Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959 and the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1968, Trippi was among football’s brightest stars of the pre-Super Bowl era. To say he was versatile was an understatement – he saw time as a quarterback, halfback, defensive back, punter and kick returner in the pros.
Trippi won a national championship in Georgia in 1942 and SEC Player of the Year honors in 1946, with a hiatus in between due to his service in World War II.
Also a legitimate MLB prospect during his time with the Bulldogs, Trippi ultimately chose football over baseball when he was selected first overall in the 1945 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals (known today as as the Arizona Cardinals). According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cardinals owner Charles Bidwell lured the star to a four-year, $100,000 deal, the biggest deal football had ever seen to that point.
Trippi saw immediate importance as a rookie in what was called the “Million Dollar Backfield”, as evidenced by an absurd stat line in 1947 of 401 rushing yards, 240 receiving yards, 49 passing yards, 321 punt return yards, 141 punt return yards and 59 interception yards. It was a different game back then.
That rookie season culminated in a star-making game in the 1947 NFL Championship Game, when Trippi scored a 44-yard touchdown and a 75-yard punt return.
Trippi led the NFL in all-purpose yards, a stat essentially built for him, in each of the next two seasons while handling some punting duties. His stardom continued into his thirties, making Pro Bowls in 1952 and 1953, before retiring in 1955.
At the time, Trippi was the NFL’s all-time leader in total yards per player and remains the only Pro Football Hall of Famer with at least 1,000 passing, rushing and receiving yards. . He was later named to the 1940s NFL All-Decade Team and remains one of only four players to have his Georgia number retired.
#Charley #Trippi #NFL #Hall #Famer #passing #rushing #receiving #yards #dies