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Collected 71 jobs from last couple of days

2020.08.18 12:03 remote-enthusiast Collected 71 jobs from last couple of days

Hello friends! These are the open remote positions I've found that were published today. See you tomorrow! Bleep blop 🤖
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2017.10.16 18:42 ZappaOMatic Bears History: The 1943 team lost their head coach to World War II, nearly merged with the Cardinals, was under investigation by a government agency, brought a legendary fullback out of retirement (to play tackle), had a record-breaking quarterback who joined the military, and won the championship

This post can be considered a spin-off of one that I posted in the summer about Bears players who served in World War II. In one of the paragraphs, I discussed the Bears' 1943 season, which I felt was an interesting-enough story of its own that could be discussed in its own post.
The early 1940s were a period of success for the Bears. Despite the onset and eventual progress of World War II, the team won three championships in five years from 1940 to 1945, including a four-year stretch of Championship Game appearances, forming a wartime dynasty in the NFL.
In the middle of that success, the Bears endured a certain chaotic season, one that went from offseason turmoil to regular season domination – thanks to their record-breaking quarterback and the return of a legendary fullback – to a championship. This is the story of the 1943 Bears.
World War II Sparks A Merger War
By 1943, World War II was already in full swing for four years, but the United States had joined just over a year ago. With the American war machine coming to life, enlistment rates – both from volunteers and the draft – rose. 44 NFL players joined the military in 1942, though the number of NFL-related personnel bloated to 1,354 by war's end. The Cleveland Rams lost so many players, including owner Dan Reeves, to the point where they were forced to shut down for the 1943 season. To combat the diminishing numbers, the NFL allowed for free substitution of players, which resulted in an influx in two-way players, though roster sizes were reduced from 33 to 25.
The Bears, who were coming off an 11–0 regular season in 1942, lost half their roster to the military, including star running back George McAfee, Pro Football Hall of Fame linemen Danny Fortmann and Joe Stydahar, and Bears all-time receptions leader Ken Kavanaugh. Bears ownegeneral mangehead coach George Halas returned to the Navy five games into the 1942 season, making 1943 the first full season since 1921 in which he was not a player, coach, or general manger for the team. To take his place, Ralph Brizzolara, a close friend of Halas and a minority owner in the team, became the interim President and GM. Former Bears players-turned-assistants Heartley "Hunk" Anderson and Luke Johnsos, who served as co-head coaches for the remainder of 1942, retained their roles for 1943. The two coaches were polar opposites in personality and philosophy: Johnsos was a quiet offensive-minded coach who preferred to work in the press box and relay his play calls to assistant Paddy Driscoll on the sidelines, while the more energetic Anderson served as the defensive coordinator on the sidelines. Despite their differences, the two were friends and rarely bickered.
In June, the NFL arranged an owners' meeting in a Chicago hotel, for which Halas was granted leave from his wartime job at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma to attend; there, each team announced their plans for the upcoming season. The Pittsburgh Steelers' Art Rooney and Philadelphia Eagles' Harry Thayer declared their intentions to merge, as did Halas and the Chicago Cardinals' Charles Bidwill.
While the two Chicago teams were rivals, Halas and Bidwill were close friends. Before becoming owner of the Cardinals, Bidwill was the Bears' secretary; he even owned a 16% stake in the Bears, buying it in 1931 to keep creditors from taking the team.
In terms of logistics, the Chicago merger was more practical than that of the Eagles/Steelers for obvious reasons (being based in the same city). On the other hand, it would not have been a fair merger for both parties, as it would have been a combination of one of the NFL's top teams (and one that had not lost as many players to the war compared to other teams) and a team that was floundering at the bottom of the standings (the Cardinals went 3–8 and, along with the 0–11 Lions, were the only teams to not score at least 100 total points in 1942). To further add to their woes, the Cardinals lost star quarterback Bud Schwenk to the Navy. Despite the competition disparity, Halas was willing to make the merger happen out of support for his friend.
While the Chicago and Pennsylvania teams were willing to follow through with the mergers and stated their interest in doing so at the meeting, the other owners were not as thrilled. Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, along with Curly Lambeau (Green Bay), Dennis Shea (Brooklyn) and Fred Mandel (Detroit), quickly opposed both mergers. Marshall argued the mergers were an "easy out" for the merging teams trying to resolve their roster problems, rather than rebuilding on their own like what the other teams were doing.
The Marshall-led group added that if such mergers were to go through, at least one team from each of the merged parties would need to allocate their players to every team in the league (which, ironically, would make the mergers pointless in the first place). For example, if the Bears and Cardinals successfully merged, either one of the two teams would have to disperse the leftovers of their original roster to the others. Every team in the Marshall union (along with the Giants) voted in favor of the roster dispersal, while Thayer and Rooney voted against (Halas and Bidwill abstained).
Upon the meeting's adjournment for 90 minutes, Rooney and fellow Steelers co-owner Bert Bell requested that Halas and Bidwill withdraw their merger proposal, hoping that doing so would increase the possibility of the Pennsylvania merger going through; Rooney and Bell also pleaded their case to Giants owner Jack Mara, who – despite voting for the roster dispersal – was not as against the mergers as Marshall and the others. Commissioner Elmer Layden also supported the Eagles/Steelers merger, believing it would be of benefit for the NFL.
Halas and Bidwill eventually agreed to kill the Chicago combine, with a 5–4 vote finally deciding to merge the Eagles and Steelers to form the Steagles, while the previously-voted-for dispersal ruling was overturned. The Cardinals would eventually get their merger a year later, doing so with the Steelers to form Card-Pitt.
With the merger now dead, the Bears were left on their own with trying to fill their roster. Chicago looked to the shuttered Rams for players, where the team picked up running back Dante Magnani and end Jim Benton.
"What a pleasure," Magnani remarked. "I now get to play with the Bears instead of against them. I don't get beat up anymore."
The War Manpower Commission Investigation
In September, with the season opener just weeks away, the Bears caught the attention of the War Manpower Commission (WMC), which was unhappy with the number of Bears players (five in particular) abruptly leaving their offseason war jobs to join their team for the season. The WMC, wanting to keep the war machine moving, required as many men as possible to have jobs in the war plants; because of this, the commission felt NFL teams were just a part-time employer, with the players' primary occupations in the war industry and football being just a secondary profession. In order to keep playing without punishment, the WMC ordered the players to provide their certificates of availability, which all NFL players were to maintain when returning to their teams from the factories. However, if they did not produce such documents, they would be forced to return to work "in essential industries."
To add to the situation, if the result of the investigation went against them, it would have affected the entire NFL as every player would be rendered ineligible to play, instead having to work full-time elsewhere (especially as most teams like the Steagles and many baseball clubs already required players to work in war plants or maintain jobs during the offseason). Some, like New York Herald Tribune writer Arthur E. Patterson, described the case as potentially hurting professional sports as a whole; in one article, he wrote that "if these men were frozen to their war jobs, there just wouldn't be any baseball in 1944."
Brizzolara felt there was nothing wrong with the team, and Johnsos and Anderson even had jobs of their own in addition to their coaching duties. Layden, on the other hand, was worried about the investigation and allowed the WMC to search league documents and offices for inspection.
"The league clubs have always cooperated in the war effort," Layden stated. "If there were any irregularities, we would want to know about them too and they will be corrected. The war comes first."
Three days before the season opener against the Packers, Brizzolara met with the WMC, where WMC regional director William Spencer eventually agreed that the five players in question would be allowed to play football. At the same time, to avoid a public relations disaster, the Bears announced four players would be enlisting: running backs Bill Geyer and Bill Osmanski, tackle Bill Steinkemper, and defensive end John Siegal, all but Siegal joining the Marines. On October 16, Spencer reported the five players who were under earlier investigation had professional football listed as their "primary occupation" on their certificates, declaring themselves as full-time football players.
Return of the Bronk
Bronko Nagurski is remembered as one of the greatest Bears players of the early era. In eight years with the team, the Canadian-born star from Minnesota established himself as a force to be reckoned with, a product of his large size and dominating running style. He helped lead the Bears to two league championships before his retirement in 1937, becoming a star professional wrestler.
During the 1943 offseason, Halas was annoyed at the result of the 1942 Championship Game in which the 11–0 Bears saw their perfect season hopes come to a grinding halt at the hands of the Redskins, losing 14–6. While in the Pacific, Halas looked for ways to avenge the loss when an idea came to mind: bring in Nagurski, whom he often talked about in front of the younger players. As nice as it would be to have youth on the roster, it would not hurt to have someone like the Bronk come back.
Three months before the start of the season, Halas submitted a telegram to Anderson: "SIGN NAGURSKI AND PAY FIVE GRAND STOP." The message was analyzed by Naval intelligence, who tried to figure out if "NAGURSKI" was a Japanese spy, before it went through.
Anderson later contacted Nagurski, hoping to bring the star out of retirement. Nagurski was reluctant and for good reason: the 35-year old had been long removed from the sport and was worried about his physical condition. In fact, he had attempted to enlist in the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor two years prior, only to be turned down for medical problems. Furthermore, the Great Depression and sketchy world of professional wrestling had taken a toll on his financial status. Eventually, he agreed, but only on two conditions: that he may play tackle, a position he had played in college at Minnesota, and if he was paid $5,000.
The Bronk had returned... much to the dismay of his new teammates' bodies. In Training Camp, many of Nagurski's hits led to injuries, ranging from broken noses to even a fractured clavicle. At one point, George Musso was to block Nagurski, but he relented and asked Anderson to find someone else. The 45-year old Anderson, a former guard, decided to line up against Nagurski with the hope of proving to his players that despite his age, he was still tough. Instead, Nagurski blasted him at the breastbone and knocked him out. Trainer Andy Lotshaw quickly scrambled to Anderson's aid with smelling salts; upon recovering, Anderson yelled, "Tell that son of a bitch that I can still whip his ass. But not today."
Yes, the Bronk had truly returned.
Sid Luckman: The Merchant Marine Quarterback
When talking about the greatest quarterbacks in Bears history, not a lot of names come up. In the modern era, Jim McMahon and Jay Cutler would be the obvious answers, while if the decades prior to the Super Bowl were included, Sid Luckman would be an easy pick.
Luckman, who was the second-overall pick in the 1939 NFL Draft by the Bears (courtesy of a trade with the Steelers that sent end Edgar "Eggs" Manske to Pittsburgh before Manske returned to Chicago after just one season), entered the 1943 season with a new offensive philosophy courtesy of Johnsos and Anderson. At the time, football had been a predominantly rushing-based game, especially proven by the Bears' successful T-formation offense. For the 1943 season, Johnsos and Anderson adopted a more passing-heavy offense, one that was derided by critics who believed the Bears had "turned sissy" by "subordinating their running game to an aerial attack."
For a sissy team, the Bears' passing game tore apart opposing defenses. Over the course of the 11-game season, Luckman completed 110 of 202 passes for 2,194 yards (an average of 219.4 yards per game), 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions for a whopping 107.5 passer rating, over 20 points greater than the second-highest rating that year (81 by Irv Comp of the Packers). The rating elevated an otherwise measly 41.9 league average to 48.4. Removing Luckman from the equation, if one was to take the average rating of eligible passers (as determined by Pro-Football-Reference), they would get about 53.47; add Luckman in and the average becomes 60.23, meaning Luckman singlehandedly raised the average rating of the league's top passers by 6.76 points.
His 10.9 passing yards per attempt, 19.9 yards per completion, and 13.9 touchdown percentage stand as NFL records to this day. In a 56–7 blowout victory against the Giants, he became the first player in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes. Luckman also played defense, recording four interceptions. He was named NFL MVP and was awarded the Joe F. Carr Trophy for his season.
"Luckman was essentially the player who first fulfilled the position of quarterback as we know it today: the player expected to handle every snap and attempt almost every pass," ColdHardFootballFacts.com wrote. "He was also the first to put up modern-looking numbers. When you consider Luckman's numbers in 1943, consider that the league-wide passer rating that year was a meager 48.5."
"Hell, his 28 TDs, 12 INTs and 107.5 passer rating would be downright impressive in today's game, let alone back in the virtual Stone Age of the NFL. His 10.9 YPA, meanwhile, is simply mind blowing in any era. The Bears scored 30.3 PPG in 1943. Again, great in any era."
While the year was a massive success for Luckman, he announced he would be enlisting in the Merchant Marines following season's end. He would remain with the team through the 1944 and 1945 seasons, though he was unable to practice due to military obligations. In 1944, he joined the Normandy invasion as a transport tanker, assisting in delivering troops to the beaches.
The Season
The Bears kicked off the 1943 season on September 26, taking on the rival Packers in Green Bay, whose fans filled City Stadium to a record 23,649. While the Packers lost league-leading passer Cecil Isbell to the war, they still had two-time MVP Don Hutson on their roster. Luckman began his dominating season by scoring the Bears' first points of the year on an eight-yard touchdown pass to Geyer. The Packers responded with two touchdowns before the Bears answered in kind, with a late touchdown by Hutson tying the game at 21 apiece. Neither team was able to score again and began the year 0–0–1. A week later, the Bears took down the Lions 27–21 thanks to a hat trick of TD passes by Luckman. Luckman added to the strong start by throwing two TDs in week three against the Bears' former merger partner Cardinals.
Speaking of mergers, the Steagles were next on the schedule, but even the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh combine was no match for the Bears. Although the Steagles struck first on a 60-yard touchdown, the Bears rattled off 42 unanswered points en route to a 48–21 victory. A 33–21 win over the winless Brooklyn Dodgers followed, with a turnover-laden 35–14 victory against the Lions taking place in week six (four interceptions were thrown by Detroit quarterbacks, while the Bears lost four fumbles and Luckman threw a pick).
November 7 saw a rematch between the Bears and Packers. While Green Bay scored first, Chicago scored three times on 66- and 21-yard touchdown passes from Luckman, who added with a one-yard touchdown run. Against the New York Giants on Sid Luckman Day, its namesake had his finest game as he passed for 433 yards, seven touchdown passes, and just one interception. Jim Benton and Hampton Pool each caught two of Luckman's TD passes, while George Wilson, Connie Mack Berry, and Harry Clarke each had one. Clarke and New York's Carl Kinscherf scored the only rushing touchdowns of the game as the Bears left the Polo Grounds with a 56–7 rout.
In Washington, a battle of lossless teams took place as the 7–0–1 Bears battled the 5–0–1 Redskins. Despite odds of a Bears victory being set at 4/1 and the Redskins missing quarterback Sammy Baugh due to injury, Washington scored first on a Statue of Liberty play by Wilbur Moore, followed by touchdown passes from Baugh and George Cafego. Luckman could only throw a late touchdown pass to McLean as the Bears suffered their first defeat of the season 21–7.
Agitated by the loss, the Bears took on the 0–9 Cardinals in the final game of the season. The Cardinals had been in a state of disaster for much of the year: head coach Jimmy Conzelman left the team prior to the start of the season; running back Marshall Goldberg broke his leg and was ruled out for the season ender; and some players on the team were really enlisted sailors from the nearby Great Lakes Naval Training Station, playing under fake identities. Knowing the Navy's stance against enlisted men playing in the NFL, Anderson tipped off the station commanders, who intervened in the situation. As a result, the Cardinals were left with just 18 players for the game against the Bears' 30. The odds looked so lopsided that bookmakers set the Bears at 23.5-point favorites.
Sounds like the makings of a trap game, does it not? Worried about such a game, Johnsos, Anderson, and Driscoll strategized about how to attack the Cardinals, during which they considered playing Nagurski at fullback, especially as he had taken reps at the position during practice. Anderson was skeptical of the idea due to Nagurski's body and the likelihood of the Cardinals quickly shutting him down, but kept it tabbed. Instead of having him play fullback for the entire game, they would place him in at the opportune time. To add to the predicament, the following day, three writers from Chicago newspapers approached Anderson about the report. As the Bears coaches had agreed to keep it secret, they knew a Cardinals insider had leaked the news. Anderson denied the "rumors," claiming Nagurski had been playing fullback due to injuries to the offense, and even added he had needed oxygen after practice had concluded. "The Bronk ain't no ball carrier anymore."
On gameday, Luckman was concerned about his upset stomach, but decided to play. As it turned out, the Cardinals were ready to turn the regular season finale into a trap game; by the end of the third quarter, the Bears trailed 24–14. Needing a spark, the Bears finally decided to substitute Nagurski in at fullback, much to the disbelief of fans in the stands. The Cardinals quickly caught on and prepared to stack the line of scrimmage, awaiting the aging star.
"[I]n all the years that I watched him Luckman called only one stupid play, and this was that play," Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman wrote in an article for Sports Illustrated. "Because everyone knew the ball was going to Nagurski, everyone was ready for it, particularly the Cardinals. He should have tried a pass, old Sidney, or a halfback around the end—anything but the obvious. But no. The ball was snapped, and he turned and he gave it to the Bronk, and no hole opened. So there he was, Nagurski with the ball, Nagurski at the line of scrimmage, with only the Cardinals for company. They met him, caught him, lifted him high in the air."
"Furious, I looked away. [...] I looked back on the field, and he had gained four yards."
"I wasn't quite sure how, but evidently his weight had been too much and the Cardinals had fallen backward, carrying him with them as they dropped, tangled, to the ground. Nagurski finally stood up and shook himself once before rejoining the huddle. It was second and six. That wasn't so bad. You couldn't complain about second and six."
Nagurski's play pushed the Bears downfield, slowly chipping away at the Cardinals defense. By the conclusion of the drive, Nagurski was in the end zone after scoring on a one-yard run. From there, Luckman threw two more touchdown passes (he had four that day) as the Bears triumphed 35–24 and sealed the winless season for the Cardinals. Nagurski ended his day with 16 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears ended the regular season with an 8–1–1 record, which led the league. Offensively, the Bears led the NFL in points (303), points per game (30.3), total yards (3,961), yards per play (6.1), and first downs (161). On defense, only the Redskins allowed fewer points all season with 137 against the Bears' 157.
The Championship Game
For the December 26 Championship Game at Wrigley (color program), the Bears sought to avenge their regular season defeat against the Redskins and return the favor for the 1942 Championship Game, one in which Luckman completed just 5 of 12 passes for two yards and two picks.
As a result of the league's scheduling, the Bears' season ender took place two weeks before the Redskins', while the Redskins were also fresh off a 28–0 shutout of the Giants in the previous week's Eastern Division title game. This meant the Bears had not played anyone in 28 days; to pass the time, Nagurski worked on the family farm in Minnesota, while Luckman continued preparing for military service. Both teams faced concerns of their own: while the Bears had not played in nearly a month and were likely to be rusty, the Redskins were marred by injuries, especially to their receiving corps.
In spite of this, a battle of the league's top quarterbacks was expected; while Luckman dominated the statlines, Baugh led every other passing category not owned by Luckman, including attempts, completions, and completion percentage. Baugh also led the league in punting average (45.9 yards) and interceptions (11). However, Redskins head coach Dutch Bergman later announced Cafego would be the starter instead of Baugh, raising speculation about whether Baugh was injured, though Bergman stated he felt the Bears defensive line was physically inferior to his team's, which suggested a run-based attack. Nevertheless, the news resulted in the Bears being ten-point favorites among Chicago bookies and 12/7.5 favorites among others, much to Anderson's surprise considering the two teams' last meetings.
Much pregame hype was directed at Luckman, whom many believed would be playing his final NFL game before joining the Merchant Marines, and his head coaches, who wanted to prove they could win a title without Halas. Before the game, Halas, along with Kavanaugh and former Bears Red Grange, George Trafton, and Carl Brumbaugh, joined the team in the locker room. Although the mood was light-hearted, Anderson felt it was too upbeat and distracting for his players, comparing it to a "night out with the boys," and decided to kick everyone out.
As expected, Baugh was not the starter, though was a punter in the first quarter. A literal battle between the league's top quarterbacks flared as Luckman returned Baugh's punt, escaping Redskin pressure before only Baugh was in Luckman's way. Baugh dived at Luckman, whose knee collided with the Washington QB's head and concussed him. This kept Baugh off the field for the remainder of the first half. Without him, the Redskins were still able to score first on Andy Farkas' one-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the second quarter, which had been set up by Cafe's 21-yard pass and a defensive pass interference penalty.
Luckman started his drive from his own 33-yard line, with a 29-yard pass to McLean quickly bringing the Bears into Redskin territory. Following Nagurski's five-yard run, Johnsos called for a screen pass, which Luckman executed to perfection as he passed to Clarke, who dragged Redskins defender Ray Hare with him to the end zone. Ex-Bear Bob Snyder, who had spent the 1942 season as a T formation coach, came in to tie the game with the extra point. After the Redskins failed to score, the Bears began a 70-yard march down the field: Nagurski ran the ball on three straight plays for 19 total yards, which was followed by Luckman throwing a 12-yard pass to Pool; Luckman took the drive into his own hands on the next play with a 24-yard run. On the following down, Luckman noticed the Redskins defensive line had left the center unopposed, which he took advantage of through a quarterback sneak. He was knocked down at the seven-yard line, but as there was no down by contact rule in the 1940s, he quickly got up and scrambled to the three. Nagurski would score a play later.
At the end of the first half, Marshall walked to the Bears' sideline, where a Bears player noticed him and informed Brizzolara, who confronted him and told him to return to his team. Marshall accused the Bears of stealing his team's signals, to which Brizzolara ordered Clubhouse Assistant Jack Goldie to escort the Redskins owner away. Marshall defended his actions, saying he "just wanted to be friendly," though it didn't stop Goldie, ushers, and police from trying to lead him off. One policeman ordered Marshall to sit in an empty front row seat in the stands, where he was eventually ejected for not having a ticket. Marshall attempted to state his case to referee Ronald Gibbs, scolding the referee for missed calls. In the locker room, a very agitated Brizzolara described Marshall's actions as "the most unsportsmanlike conduct in football," while Marshall proclaimed he "would never speak to him again." Brizzolara and Marshall were fined $500 each for the incident.
Much of the third quarter went scoreless. With 2:29 remaining, Cafego attempted to escape a Bears pass rush and threw to the right side of the field, where Luckman was the lone man in the area. After returning the pick to the Washington 36-yard line, Luckman chucked a touchdown pass to Dante Magnani. Baugh eventually came back into the game, but Luckman once again continued to show off to the crowd, including intercepting one of Baugh's passes.
On the next drive, starting at their own 36, Chicago lined up in the T formation. Luckman sent his left running back to the right side as the ball was snapped. As Luckman dropped back, Magnani dashed to the right before coming back on a curl route, preparing for a middle screen. The Bears allowed the Redskins to blitz Luckman, who quickly dumped off the pass to Magnani. With Washington's attack diverted by Luckman, Magnani began his dash for the end zone, seeing little resistance outside of linebacker Bob Seymour, who chased him 40 yards and made a desperation dive at the 12 before falling to the turf. Magnani, who had just 88 receiving yards in the regular season, now had 33- and 66-yard touchdowns. However, Snyder missed the extra point.
Baugh retaliated by leading a drive that culminated in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Farkas, though the Redskins were still down by 13. To start the fourth quarter, Luckman orchestrated a 56-yard scoring drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Benton, Luckman's record-setting fourth TD pass of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears attempted and recovered an onside kick, to the surprise of the Redskins. Despite a holding penalty, Luckman still guided the offense downfield; on a handoff to Nagurski, the fullback crushed Baugh in the process as he rumbled for a first down. Luckman quickly helped up his rival.
Once in the red zone, Luckman faked a pass as he pulled back to throw, ran to his right, and launched a pass to Clarke at the two. Clarke was hit by a Redskin as he landed in the end zone. Baugh threw a 25-yard TD pass to Joe Aguirre late in the game to make the final score 41–21. The championship was the Bears' sixth in team history and the third in the last four years.
Luckman ended the game having completed 15 of 26 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns. He also had eight carries for 64 yards, 14 yards more than the entire Redskins offense, recorded two interceptions for 33 yards, had 32 punt return yards, and even punted three times for 74 yards. If the Championship Game offered MVP awards, he would have been the easiest candidate.
Aftermath
With their sixth league championship under their belt, the Bears had forged a dynasty of the early 1940s. However, as the roster continued to lose players to the war effort, the Bears' grip on the Western Division began to weaken. Nagurski retired for the second time after the 1943 season. In addition to Luckman, others like Magnani and Pool joined the military. The Bears went 6–3–1 in 1944, but saw their four-year division-winning streak come to an end as the 8–2 Packers instead represented the West in the Championship. In 1945, the Bears dropped to an abysmal 3–7.
After the war ended, Halas returned to his post as the Bears head coach, ending a 39-month service. To accommodate the returning players-turned-soldiers, the NFL had expanded the roster size back to 33 a year prior. Halas rebuilt the Bears for the 1946 season, but was keen on helping his players make a smooth transition back to football.
"Relax. Nobody will be cut because he's a little rusty," he told his returning servicemen/players. "You've probably had enough discipline and regimentation to last a lifetime – I know I have. All rules are off. No curfews. No bed checks. You're on your own. It's up to you individually to get in shape and play football."
Many Bears, including Luckman, returned to the team for 1946 and quickly got back to work. By the end of the year, the Bears were 8–2–1 and league champions once again, toppling the Giants 24–14. It would be the Bears' final title until 1963.
References
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2017.07.18 19:29 ZappaOMatic Bears History: The Bears During World War II and Bears Who Served

Since we still have plenty of time before the offseason ends, I thought it would be fun to dive through the history books and do a writeup. In this case, let's go 70–80 years into the past: World War II.
World War II saw 16.1 million Americans go into battle. Of those soldiers, 1,354 NFL players, coaches, and other personnel also joined the war effort, including many members of our Chicago Bears.
The earliest Bears player to enlist was guard Jim McMillen; the Grayslake native was captain of the Illinois Fighting Illini football team, blocking for future teammate Red Grange. He played five years for the Bears from 1924 to 1928, and three years later, became Vice President of the team. During and after his NFL career, he was also a wrestler, leaving football as he felt professional wrestling provided more monetary success. End Paul Goebel was McMillen's teammate in 1925 and a friend of Grange and future President Gerald Ford.
A decade after McMillen's retirement from football, quarterback Ray Buvid was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals with the third-overall pick in the 1937 NFL Draft, but was traded to the Bears after the first three games of the regular season. In the final game of the season against the Cardinals, Buvid became the first player in NFL history to throw five touchdown passes in a game, but was a backup for much of his pro career; he retired after just two seasons. Meanwhile, tackle Del Bjork was an Oregon Duck, playing in the 1937 Chicago College All-Star Game against the Packers, where his College All-Stars won 6–0. Later in the year, he was drafted by the Bears and also played for two years, being named a Pro Bowler in 1938.
McMillen, Goebel, Bjork, Buvid, running backs Pug Rentner and Everett Elkins, and offensive linemen Joe Kopcha and Alec Shellogg began their service prior to American involvement in the war. McMillen became a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy during the war, while Bjork went on to become a successful Captain, receiving the Purple Heart with four oak clusters and the Distinguished Service Cross in 1944 before ending his military tenure as a Colonel. Buvid was a Lieutenant in the Navy, while Elkins served in the Air Force. Goebel, who was a sporting goods owner and college football referee prior to the war, was in his early 40s when he joined Ford in the Navy. Like McMillen, served as a Lieutenant Commander on an aircraft carrier before returning to his career as a referee. Goebel again followed Ford's footsteps when he became involved in politics, becoming the Mayor of Grand Rapids during the 1950s. Chester Chesney, a member of the 1940 title-winning Bears, enlisted in the Army Air Forces in June 1941, serving until his discharge as a Major in 1946. Kopcha, who played for Chicago from 1929 to 1935, was also a surgeon who became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Corps. Shellogg was a Bear in 1939. Guard Gust Zarnas, who was on both sides of the Bears–Packers rivalry (Bears in 1938, Packers in 1939–1940), became a Lieutenant in the Navy during the war.
One of the first active Bears to join the war was Young Bussey, a quarterback and safety on the 1941 championship-winning team. On December 7, 1941, the 9–1 Bears were playing their final game of the regular season against the Cardinals (ending with a 34–24 Bears victory). During the day, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese forces, forcing the United States to enter World War II. In its first year of combat, the U.S. armed forces featured 44 players, but over the next four years, the number steadily rose. With the public focusing on the war, the 1941 Championship Game between the Bears and New York Giants saw a measly attendance of 13,341; other factors that led to the low spectator figure included the likelihood of domination by the Bears and the belief that the game would be boring compared to the previous week's Western Division title game. In accordance with the easy Bears victory belief, Chicago crushed New York 37–9.
In March 1942, the NFL released a statement from Commissioner Elmer Layden:
"From Aristotle's time on down we have been told, and it has been demonstrated, that sports is necessary for the relaxation of the people in times of stress and worry. The National league will strive to help meet this need with the men the government has not yet called for combat service, either because of dependents, disabilities, or the luck of the draw in the Army draft."
Shortly after, Bussey joined the Navy, serving in the Pacific theater. Three years later, now a Lieutenant, Bussey was killed in the Battle of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. He was the lone Bears casualty of World War II.
Almost half of the Bears' 1941 roster was gone for the war in 1942. Guard Al Biasi was drafted into the Army after playing two seasons for the Bears. He served until 1945 and returned to the Bears in 1946. Fellow lineman Joe Mihal, who was also a Bear for two years, became a Second Lieutenant in the Army, while guard Hal Lahar served in the South Pacific as part of the Navy. Running back and 1941 third-overall pick Norm Standlee, who helped the Bears to the championship as a rookie, also left for the armed forces, where he became an officer in the Army, working with the Corps of Engineers in India. He would never play another game in Bears blue-and-orange, instead signing with the All-America Football Conference's San Francisco 49ers in 1946, where he played alongside fellow veteran and 1942 Bears first-round quarterback Frankie Albert and 1940 Bears sixth-round tackle John Woudenberg (neither of whom played a down for Chicago).
Similar cases of Bears draft picks and servicemen who never played for the team included 1942 Bears draft class member and fifth-rounder Martin Ruby, a tackle who joined the Army Air Forces during the year and became an AAFC player for the Brooklyn Dodgers at war's end. Michigan running back Tom Harmon, the Bears' 1941 first-rounder and first-overall pick, decided to become an actor instead of play football. When war broke out, he became a successful Army Air Force pilot, fighting in both the European and Pacific theaters; after he was discharged, he joined the Rams in 1946. 1941 12th-round draft pick, fullback Bob Morrow, defected to the Cardinals and played until 1944, when he joined the Navy. Stanford wide receiver and defensive end Hank Norberg was selected by Chicago in 1943, but joined the Army and fought in the Pacific; he would later join the 49ers. A year later, 11th-rounder and guard Lin Houston was a member of the Army who became a Cleveland Brown. Tackle Derrell Palmer was drafted in the sixth round of the 1943 Draft by the Bears before becoming a Marine, fighting in the Pacific and serving as a military policeman at Pearl Harbor. He later played for the AAFC's New York Yankees and blocked alongside Houston for the Browns.
When Standlee's partner in the backfield, fullback and 1940 Pro Bowler Joe Maniaci, became a soldier, he effectively ended his playing career, never playing another down and instead becoming a coach upon his return. Maniaci was a similar case to 1934 Bears defensive end Wayland Becker, who was playing for the Columbus Bullies of the American Football League when he joined the Army in 1942. 1937 first-overall draft pick of the Eagles, running back Sam Francis, was traded to the Bears for future Hall of Famer Bill Hewitt, playing for the Bears for two seasons followed by brief tenures with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Dodgers before joining the Army; stationed at Camp Lee, the Lieutenant Colonel served as the camp's football coach and transferred his experience to college football coaching at Kansas State.
Two-time All-Star Dick Plasman, famously known for being the last player to participate in an NFL game without wearing a helmet, joined the Army in 1942. While Plasman was the last NFL player to play without a helmet, end Edgar "Eggs" Manske was the last college football player to do so. From Wisconsin, he played two years for the Eagles before joining the Bears in 1937, where he spent a year being being traded to the Steelers for their second-overall pick in the 1939 NFL Draft. The pick was then used on a certain Sid Luckman and Manske rejoined the Bears after just one season with the Steelers. Talk about making out like bandits. Manske played two more seasons in the NFL with the Bears (with his final game being the 73–0 victory over the Redskins in the 1940 title game) before joining the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. In 1942, he was stationed at St. Mary's Pre-Flight School and was a member of the school's Air Devils, one of many service football teams formed during the war. In 1945, St. Mary's was coached by former Bears quarterback Bernie Masterson, who had commissioned in the Navy as an officer. Halfback Dick Schweidler, who played for the Bears in 1939 and 1940, was also a service team player, doing so with the Army's Camp Cooke team in California. Another Bears alumnus on a service team was 1942 guard Len Akin, who was team captain of the Great Lakes Naval Station Bluejackets; the Bluejackets were a team that Bears head coach George Halas was familiar with, having played for them in the 1910s and leading them to victory in the 1919 Rose Bowl (in which he was named Game MVP).
Before there was Matt Forte, there was Aldo Forte. An offensive tackle, he helped block for the likes of those listed above for three seasons until he left for the war following the 1941 season. When he returned in 1946, he played six games for the Bears before he joined the Lions later in the year. He played one last season in 1947 with the Packers.
Before the start of the 1942 season, the Bears took on various service teams, including Rockford's Camp Grant Warriors (Bears victory, 32–6) and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neyland's East Army All-Star team, the latter taking place in Boston. The All-Stars, who had defeated the Giants before losing to the Dodgers, scheduled the game as part of the Army Emergency Relief Series, for which ticket and war bond sales raised money for the war effort. In 1942 alone, $4,000,000 was raised; a portion of the sales was donated to service charities, with the NFL donating $680,384.07 that year, the highest amount by a sporting group.
Halas described Neyland's team as having "60 or 70 great football players. I expect him to wear us down with at least four teams in the first half, then go on to give us a severe beating." Neyland was also confident in his Army All-Stars, remarking they could have defeated the Giants 60–0 instead of 16–0 had they not been playing a conservative game in preparation for the Bears. Although quarterback Sid Luckman sat out the game with a side injury, backup Charley O'Rourke guided the Bears to a 14–7 victory. O'Rourke would become became a sailor a year later, serving until 1946.
During the season, former Navy recreation officer George Halas led the Bears to a 5–0 record before returning to service, becoming a recreational and welfare officer of the Seventh Fleet in the South Pacific. Even with Halas gone, interim head coaches Luke Johnsos and Hunk Anderson guided the Bears to an 11–0 record before losing in the Championship Game to the Redskins. Halas served until his retirement in 1946, ending his military career as a Naval Reserve captain; he was later awarded the Distinguished Citizens Award, the highest civilian Navy award. Halas would eventually assist other veterans with transitioning into certain NFL positions, such as Army airman Lou Palazzi, who was initially recruited to join the Bears before being urged by Halas to become a referee.
Puntehalfback Joe Lintzenich, who played for the Bears in 1930 and 1931 and was the former record holder of the longest punt in NFL history (94 yards in a 1931 game against the Giants), was liked by Halas. Despite playing just 24 games in Chicago and scoring just four combined touchdowns, Halas placed him on his all-time Chicago team in 1941. Lintzenich also joined Halas in the South Pacific, serving as a Lieutenant and beverage distributor.
Halas' future son-in-law, Ed McCaskey, served on the opposite theater of the war. Joining the 80th Division of the Army after graduating college, he fought in Europe and was injured at one point, though he refused to receive the Purple Heart; he was later awarded the Bronze Star. His son and Bears co-owner Patrick McCaskey recalled a story of Ed hearing rumors that Hitler planned to take over Ireland, "so he defeated Hitler with a sling and five smooth stones." Patrick McCaskey's uncle, also named Patrick, was killed in action during the war. A colleague of Halas, Homer Cole, was the Bears' trainer from 1936 to 1948, also serving.
Other Bears who departed for the military in 1942 were running backs George McAfee and Robert Swisher, offensive linemen Joe Stydahar, Danny Fortmann and Bill Hughes, and receiver Ken Kavanaugh. McAfee left football at the prime of his career and enlisted in the Navy as an officer alongside his brother and Eagles player Wesley, as did fellow Hall of Famers Stydahar and Fortmann. Stydahar was a Lieutenant and gunnery officer aboard the U.S.S. Monterey, while Fortmann served as a Lieutenant on a Navy Medical Corps ship in the Pacific. Swisher joined the Navy and coached the Naval Support Activity Mid-South service team. Hughes ended his football career to serve. Kavanaugh, the Bears' all-time leader in receptions, became a pilot in the Army Air Forces' Eighth Air Force, fighting in Europe with the 490th Bombardment Group and 851st Bombardment Squadron, flying 30 missions, and ending his tenure as a Captain with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
In June 1943, Halas attended an owners' meeting in Chicago, where each team declared their intentions for the upcoming season. At the meeting, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles announced plans to merge, Halas and Cardinals owner Charlie Bidwell also had the same idea as they considered combining the two Chicago teams. Although the Bears and Cardinals were longtime rivals, Halas and Bidwell were close friends, the latter even owning a stake in the Bears and serving as their secretary until he purchased the Cardinals. In terms of logistics, the Chicago merger was more reasonable than the Steagles due to the proximity between the Bears/Cardinals (being in the same city, after all) compared to Pittsburgh/Philadelphia. However, a four-owner group of George Preston Marshall (Redskins), Curly Lambeau (Packers), Dennis Shea (Brooklyn), and Fred Mandel (Detroit) opposed both mergers, believing they were ways for the Chicago and Pennsylvania teams to solve their roster problems through an "easy out". The Marshall-led union also argued that if such mergers were to go through, those involved would need to allocate their players to every team in the league (which, ironically, would make the mergers useless in the first place). Every team in the Marshall union (along with the Giants) voted in favor of the roster dispersal, while Philadelphia's Harry Thayer and Pittsburgh's Art Rooney voted against (Halas and Bidwell abstained).
After the meeting's adjournment, Rooney and Bert Bell requested that Halas and Bidwell withdraw their merger proposal, hoping that doing so would increase the possibility of the Pennsylvania merger going through. The two eventually agreed, with a 5–4 vote finally deciding to merge the Eagles and Steelers to form the Steagles.
Later in the year, the Bears were marred by an NFL investigation: with the American war machine in motion, the War Manpower Commission (WMC) was unhappy with the number of Bears players without any involvement with the war industry – five in particular. In order to keep playing without punishment, the WMC required the players to have certificates of availability, and if they did not produce such documents, they would be forced to work in essential industries. If the turnout of the investigation revealed the Bears players did not have full-time jobs, it would have affected the entire NFL as every player would be rendered ineligible to play professional sports, instead having to work full-time elsewhere (especially as most teams had players who worked in war plants during the offseason).
Ralph Brizzolara, who was running the Bears in Halas' place, felt there was nothing wrong with the situation. Layden, on the other hand, was worried about the investigation and stated, "The league clubs have always cooperated in the war effort. If there were any irregularities, we would want to know about them too and they will be corrected. The war comes first."
Three days before the season opener against the Packers, Brizzolara met with the WMC to clear the fiasco up, and the WMC's William Spencer eventually agreed that the five players in question would be allowed to play football. At the same time, the Bears announced four players would be enlisting: running backs Bill Geyer and Bill Osmanski, tackle Bill Steinkemper, and defensive end John Siegal, all but Siegal joining the Marines. On October 16, Spencer stated the five players who were under earlier investigation were under contract to the Bears and had professional football listed as their "primary occupation", meaning football was a full-time job and exempted them from having to work in the war industry.
The 1943 Bears, like in past years, were headed by quarterback Sid Luckman. Running back Bronko Nagurski, who last played in 1937, came out of retirement to play for the team on the condition that he play tackle instead of his traditional fullback role. As the Bears opted for a more pass-heavy offense, critics felt the Bears had "turned sissy" by "subordinating their running game to an aerial attack", though the still-common usage of the T-formation, along with Luckman's success in guiding the passing attack, proved the passing game was a vital factor in success. Luckman's 1943 season was one of the best in NFL history as he completed 110 of 202 passes for 2,194 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions for a whopping passer rating of 107.5. The passer rating elevated an otherwise 41.9 league average up to 48.4. His 10.9 passing yards per attempt, 19.9 yards per completion, and 13.9 touchdown percentage stand as NFL records to this day. In a 56–7 blowout victory against the Giants, he became the first player in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes. Luckman was named NFL MVP and was awarded the Joe F. Carr Trophy for his season.
The Bears went on to win the Championship Game in a 41–21 rout of the Redskins, a game that was attended by many Bears alumni and those at war, including the likes of Grange and Halas, who took Christmas leave to reunite with his team in the locker room. Amusingly, head coach Anderson felt the locker room was not taking the game seriously, prompting him to kick Halas and the others out.
At the end of the 1943 season, however, Luckman volunteered and joined the military, where he became a Merchant Marine. While he remained with the Bears and played in 1944 and 1945 (as he was stationed in the United States), he was unable to practice with the team. In 1944, he joined the Normandy invasion, working on a transport tanker that moved Allied troops to and from the beaches.
1943 also saw the start of military service for Bears running back Hugh Gallarneau, Standlee's former teammate at Stanford and the one who holds the record for the longest punt return touchdown in Bears postseason history (81 yards against the Packers in 1941). He enlisted in the Marine Corps, working in the Pacific as a member of the Air Warning Squadron. Once the war ended, he returned to the Bears and played three more seasons before retiring. Linebacker Stuart Clarkson, the unofficial Mr. Irrelevant of the 1942 Draft, served in Europe with the Army for three years. Three-time Pro Bowler Lee Artoe, a tackle/kicker and then-franchise record holder for the longest field goal (52 yards), became an underwater demolition crew for the Navy in 1943, serving in the Pacific for two years before rejoining the team in 1945. Running backs Frank Maznicki, John Petty and Harry Clarke, along with offensive lineman Nick Kerasiotis and defensive lineman Ray Bray, joined Artoe in the Navy in 1943, Kerasiotis and Maznicki serving as pilots. Tackle Bill Hempel entered the service after an eight-game NFL career with the Bears, while fellow linemen Chuck Drulis and Ed Kolman spent two and three years in the military (respectively) after playing together for the Bears in 1942. End Bob Nowaskey played three seasons in Chicago before enlisting. Another RB, Joe Vodicka, was a Bear in 1943, which was followed by service in 1944 and 1945. He returned home in time for the Bears' 1945 season opener.
A member of the 1943 team that would begin his military service in 1944 was running back Dante Magnani. He joined the Navy and stayed in the Pacific until the conclusion of the war. Upon its end, he returned to the Bears, having two separate one-year stints with Chicago in 1946 and 1949. Fellow RB Bob Steuber, who was drafted with the ninth-overall pick in the 1943 Draft, went to the Navy's pre-flight schools like Iowa Pre-Flight. As he was a professional player with the Bears, some debate arose over whether he was eligible to play college football, though he was eventually permitted to continue. Offensive linemen Albert "Al" Matuza, who blocked for players like Magnani from 1941 to 1943, and Monte Merkel, who played just one season in the NFL, also became sailors during the war. End Hampton Pool, a two-time All-Star for the Bears, saw his career end following the 1943 season for a leg injury, but became a player-coach for the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Base in addition to being an underwater demolition officer.
The final year of the war, 1945, saw another future Hall of Famer in lineman Clyde "Bulldog" Turner joining the military – the Army Air Forces, in particular. He did not see combat, instead serving as a physical training instructor and playing on the Second Air Force Superbombers service team. After being granted a furlough, he returned to the Bears and played two games before heading back to the Superbombers for the remainder of the year. He was voted for the All-Army Air Forces Conference team at the end of the season.
Perhaps the most interesting Bear to have served in the war would be running back Joe Savoldi. A successful fullback at Notre Dame, he was kicked out of school in 1930 for being married. Green Bay's Curly Lambeau signed Savoldi, which peeved Halas. Halas told Lambeau that Savoldi's signing violated the Red Grange Rule, which prevented NFL teams from signing players whose graduating class had not yet left school; realizing this, Lambeau released Savoldi... and Halas quickly picked him up. Startled by the move, Lambeau protested it, but the NFL decided to allow the Bears to keep Savoldi as long as they paid a $1,000 fine for every game he played.
Just ten days after his expulsion from Notre Dame, Savoldi made his NFL debut at fullback, partnering with (coincidentally) Grange. Although he was signed to an 18-game contract, he played in just three. Due to his large salary compared to his teammates, his fellow Bears – particularly those on the offensive line – were not thrilled with his presence; as Savoldi described, "They quit blocking for me. Here I was, getting some $4,000 a game with my cut of the gate, and my teammates in the line and backfield were being paid $50 to $125 per man. If I was worth 20 times as much as they were, I could make my own touchdowns without any help."
After leaving the Bears, he became a successful wrestler, even battling his ex-Bears teammate Nagurski in four matches; his Hall of Fame counterpart bested him four times in four matches. When the war started, Savoldi joined the Office of Strategic Services in 1943, working as a spy for the United States in Europe. As an Italian native with knowledge of the Axis-aligned country and skill in hand-to-hand combat, he was assigned to spy missions surrounding Benito Mussolini's activity. He was a member of the McGregor Project, an espionage operation approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that involved going into enemy territory under the name of captured Italian Army soldier Giuseppe DeLeo. Other missions included infiltrating the mafia and facilitating the safe escape of certain VIPs. After Italy's surrender, Savoldi was involved in the invasion of Normandy.
In 1945, with the war over in Europe and the Americans closing in on the Japanese mainland, soldiers began arriving on the Pacific, including Hawaii, in preparation for an invasion of Japan. As it turned out, such an action was not necessary as the atomic bombs forced a Japanese surrender in September. Since it took nearly a year for the government's Operation Magic Carpet to fully send the troops back home to the United States, players overseas established service teams in their respective stationed countries to pass the time. In Oahu, Pearl Harbor's Furlong Field played host to "service all-star games" as soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen battled one another on the gridiron. Bears who were on such teams included center and 1941 Pro Bowler Al Matuza and defensive back Bob Sweiger, teammates on the Navy All-Stars.
When the war ended, Halas quickly rebuilt the roster in time for the 1946 season. A year earlier, the league expanded the roster size to 33 in hopes of helping teams (re)accommodate the soldiers coming home.
"Relax. Nobody will be cut because he's a little rusty," Halas told his returning servicemen/players. "You've probably had enough discipline and regimentation to last a lifetime – I know I have. All rules are off. No curfews. No bed checks. You're on your own. It's up to you individually to get in shape and play football."
The Bears would end the 1946 season with an 8–2–1 record and as league champions, defeating the Giants 24–14 in the title game.
Like how there were players who went on to fight in the war, the opposite was also prevalent as veterans joined NFL teams once they returned. For example, offensive lineman Pat Preston and end Walter Lamb became Bears a year after their service ended. Defensive lineman Fred Davis played for the Redskins until his military service; in 1946, he signed with the Bears, playing until 1951. Offensive tackle Thomas Roberts was a Giants player in addition to his service and played his final year in the NFL with the Bears (1945).
Running back Edgar Jones was drafted by the Bears in the 1942 Draft with their 19th-rounder, but joined the Navy. When he came back to the States, he formally joined the team for the 1945 season, but news eventually circulated that Jones had also signed a contract with the Browns in the AAFC. Commissioner Layden suspended Jones after just one game with the Bears, stating the league did not "permit players who have signed alleged player contracts with an unrecognized league to play football in the National Football League when it is such player's intention to play but for one year." He would go on to enjoy a four-championship career with the Browns. Fellow sailor and 1942 Bears draft pick, tackle Jim Daniell, fought in Okinawa and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. Like Jones, he played just one season for the Bears (1945) before joining the Browns, though he did not finish his lone season in Cleveland as he was kicked off the team prior to the 1946 AAFC title game after he was arrested for public intoxication.
Guard Rudy Mucha, the fourth-overall pick in the 1941 NFL Draft by the Rams (and the first Washington Husky to go in the first round), played just a season until he became a Naval sailor a year later. When he came home, he returned to the (now Los Angeles) Rams for 1945, but the Chicago native joined his hometown Bears during the season, for whom he played until his retirement in 1946. Another Rams-to-Bears veteran was defensive end Larry Brink, an Air Force serviceman who fought in Europe; after six seasons with the Rams, he signed with the Bears for his final NFL season in 1943. Fullback Mike Holovak was drafted by the Rams with the fifth-overall pick in the 1943 Draft, though they shut down operations prior to the start of the season. Instead, Holovak became an officer in the Navy, fighting in the Pacific against both the Japanese and malaria, while also manning a PT boat that sank nine Japanese ships. He played for the Rams for one season in 1946 before he was traded to the Bears. He played two seasons in Chicago.
After his graduation from Hardin-Simmons University in 1940, quarterback Owen Goodnight spent a season with the Cleveland Rams before joining the Army, serving as a infantry captain and company commander at the Battle of the Bulge. Once back in America, he played for the Bears and Baltimore Colts.
Defensive tackle Mike Jarmoluk was drafted in the fifth round of the 1945 NFL Draft by the Lions, but was drafted into the Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. During his service, he was traded to the Bears and made his NFL debut for the team in 1946. He played two years in Chicago.
Receiver Joe Abbey attended North Texas after fighting in the Pacific, playing football for the Mean Green until 1948, when he joined the Bears for two years. Running back Eddie Macon, the first black player in Bears history, was drafted into the Army upon turning 18 in 1945; with the war coming to a close, he was stationed in Yokohama before he went home. Seven years later, he was drafted by the Bears in the 1952 NFL Draft. Another running back, fullback George Smith of Washington University (St. Louis), played college football in 1941 and 1942 before joining the Army. He signed with Chicago in 1946. Fellow RB and Army vet Noah Mullins was also a part of the 1946 roster, playing for the team until 1948.
Army Air Force and Third Air Force football player Jack Karwales signed with the Bears in 1946, lasting the off/preseason before he was released prior to the start of the regular season. When his service ended, running back Jules Rykovich played in the AAFC before joining the Bears in 1949, remaining a Bear until 1951. Howie Livingston, also a running back, bounced around the NFL before spending a year with the Bears in 1953.
Holy Cross All-American linebackeoffensive tackle and Chicagoan George Connor served in the Navy during the war. He was drafted by the Giants with the fifth-overall pick in the 1946 NFL Draft, but elected to attend Notre Dame and play football there as he wanted to be closer to his family. Two years later, he signed with the Bears and would go on to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Albeit for one season, an offensive lineman who played alongside Connor was John Badaczewski. Nicknamed "Baddie" Badaczewski, he was in the Navy before beginning his NFL career with the Boston Yanks. He would later play for the Cardinals, Redskins, and Bears. After his service, Walt Stickel joined the Bears in 1946 after being drafted in the 21st round of the 1945 Draft, playing four seasons with the team.
On the other side of the ball, end Ed Cifers was a 1942 Pro Bowler and member of the championship-winning Redskins that year. He joined the Navy later that year and was stationed at Norfolk Naval Base, while also playing for the Del-Monte Pre-Flight service team. Cifers was a Redskin for one more season in 1946 before being a Bear in 1947 and 1948.
Chicago-born running back Bill DeCorrevont was a high school football star for Austin High School. In 1937, Austin took on Leo Catholic High School in a charity game at Soldier Field, ending with a victory for Austin; up to 120,000 people attended the game despite the stadium only having room for 76,000. DeCorrevont later served in the Navy. Upon his discharge, he played for the Redskins, Lions, and Cardinals before returning home to Chicago as a Bear in 1948 and 1949.
Future Bears head coach Abe Gibron served three years in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945. 13 years later, he became a guard for the Bears, for whom he played his last two years of pro football. In 1965, he became the offensive line coach for the Bears, and was their head coach from 1972 to 1974. Gibron's assistant coach, Chuck Cherundolo, was in the Navy during the war.
An interesting story (and one that Bears fans might enjoy) would be that of Wisconsin quarterback Thomas Farris. He was selected in the 1942 NFL Draft by the Packers, but enlisted in the Coast Guard prior to the start of Training Camp. When he came home in 1946, he joined the Bears and started three games in blue-and-orange, never wearing the green-and-yellow in an NFL game.
On the other hand, Croatian-born guard Visco Grgich was a member of the Army Air Forces during the war, playing on two service teams: the Second Air Force Superbombers in 1944 and the Fourth Air Force Flyers in 1945. He was drafted by the Bears in 1946, but opted to play for the 49ers in the AAFC. Receiver Jim Keane's studies at Northwestern were interrupted by his service; he was drafted by the Bears in 1945, playing through 1951. Serving as Kavanaugh's understudy, Keane led the league in receptions with 64 (1947), 30 (1948), 47 (1949), and 36 (1950), including holding the Bears franchise record for most catches in a game with 14 in a loss to the Giants in 1949. By the end of his Bears career, Keane was the Bears' all-time leader in receptions with 206 and trailed Kavanaugh in overall receiving yards with 3,301. His final year of pro football was in Green Bay.
In addition to Savoldi and Luckman, running back/punter George Gulyanics was an Allied soldier who saw action in Normandy. A member of the First Army Signal Corps, Gulyanics landed on Utah Beach a day after the launching of the invasion. When the war ended, he remained in France and played on a service team to pass the time until he returned to America. Word of his skill quickly traveled overseas to Chicago, with Halas offering him a tryout and signing him to Halas' "minor league" team, the Akron Bears; he played quarterback for Akron alongside other players like fellow Air Force veteran Owen Thuerk, but injured his shoulder during the 1946 season. Gulyanics was promoted to the Chicago Bears in 1947 and played for six seasons; he is currently 16th on the Bears' all-time rushing yards list.
By a rough count of those covered, 11 players were Bears prior to American entry into the war. 48 active Bears (and eight players who were drafted by the team but never donned the blue-and-orange) would serve during the war, including five coaches/executives. After the war, 28 players would become Bears.
In total, at least 92 Chicago Bears (100 if counting Bears draft picks who never played for the team) have served in World War II. From 1942 to 1945 (as the 1945 season took place weeks after Japan's surrender), the Bears recorded a combined record of 28–11–2, including a 1–1 record in the Championship Game.
Despite the Bears' success during the decade, many on the team felt they would have forged an even greater dynasty had the war not taken place.
McAfee stated, "Had the war not come when it did, there's no telling how many championship we might have won," while Kavanaugh commented, "We could have beaten anyone for the next six years had we been able to stay together. Everybody in the league was afraid of us!"
Even Luckman remarked, "George Halas said it was the best team he ever saw. We were a team of destiny, really."
For any Bears fan, the team's relationship with the military is quite obvious. They play in a stadium dedicated to soldiers who were killed in action, one that features the Spirit of the Doughboy statue as a tribute. Furthermore, the team has honored many veterans prior to games.
A salute to the troops and Bear Down!
References
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2015.05.26 17:34 Ziggie1o1 Hall of Famers on Super Bowl Losing Teams

A few days ago I made this post about the Hall of Famers on Super Bowl winning teams. Today, we're going to look at the other side of the coin, those teams that won the Halas or Hunt trophy but were unable to capture the game's ultimate prize. Surely those teams have a few hall of famers as well, right? Well they do, so let's take a look.

1966 Chiefs: 4
Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Len Dawson, and Emmitt Thomas were the 4 hall of famers that represented the AFL's very first Super Bowl appearance. Some of the other stars of the '69 Chiefs, including Willie Lanier, Curley Culp, and Jan Stenerud, arrived after the Super Bowl I defeat. And by the way, if you're wondering about the 1962 AFL Champion Dallas Texans, only Dawson was on that team.
1967 Raiders: 5
Its not hard to look at this team as a prototype for the '76 team that eventually won Super Bowl XI, and it did include several of that team's players, including Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, and Gene Upshaw, along with fellow Canton inductees George Blanda and Jim Otto. As for Upshaw's longtime O-line partner Art Shell, he wasn't drafted until the next year after the Raiders' Super Bowl II defeat.
1968 Colts: 2
Yup, as great as this Colts team was supposed to be, they only had 2 Hall of Famers in John Mackey and John Unitas. Perhaps the Super Bowl III loss had something to do with the lack of HOFers, or maybe there just weren't that many outstanding players on this team after all.
1969 Vikings: 5
And now we get to the first of the Vikings Super Bowl defeats, which means we have to introduce a few names that, if you didn't know already, are going to become quite familiar to you: Carl Eller, Paul Krause, Alan Page, Mick Tingelhoff, and Ron Yary. Not to rub the pain in any more, but all 5 of these men lost 4 Super Bowls over the course of 8 years, basically making them the anti-Tom Brady.
1970 Cowboys: 7
Most of the players who were on the 1971 team were on this team as well, including HOFers Herb Adderley, Mike Ditka, Bob Hayes, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, and Rayfield Wright. They would; however, have to add Lance Alworth and Forrest Gregg before they managed to win a title.
1971 Dolphins: 6
Are you really surprised to learn that it's basically the same group of guys? That's Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little, and Paul Warfield in case you need to refresh the memory, although you could've just clicked the link at the top of the page.
1972 Redskins: 3
The '72 Redskins were a weird team. They included HOFers Sonny Jurgensen and Charley Taylor but neither was considered the focal point of the team, and in fact Jurgensen simply had trouble keeping his job despite being objectively a better QB then Billy Kilmer. The driving force of this team was widely considered to be the team's famously aging but still effective defense (a.k.a. the "Over the Hill Gang") led by Chris Hanburger.
Fun fact about the '72 Redskins, at 13-3 including playoffs, they were actually considered to be the favourite in the Super Bowl against the 16-0 Dolphins.
1973 Vikings: 6
Its the same 5 guys from the '69 team, but with an added Fran Tarkenton, who during the Vikings first Super Bowl run was in his mid-career New York Giants phase.
1974 Vikings: 6
As you probably expected at this point, when a team makes the Super Bowl in back to back years, odds are they're going to have a very similar roster composition, especially in the NFL's earlier era.
1975 Cowboys: 4
You could think of the '75 Cowboys as a bit of a transitional team between the '71 team and the '77 edition, where the old guard like Lilly and Hayes were beginning to retire and the late 70s stars were beginning to arrive. Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Randy White and Rayfield Wright were the HOFers who suited up for this team.
1976 Vikings: 6
Same players, etc. etc.
1977 Broncos: 0
Don't shoot the messenger.
1978 Cowboys: 5
As it turns out, the 5 HOFers on the '78 Cowboys weren't exactly the same group of players as the '77 team was. Dorsett, Staubach, White, and Wright were all still there, but Mel Renfro retired after the '77 championship, and longtime Cardinal Jackie Smith was brought in to see if he could finally get a championship after years of being on a generally non-contending Cardinals squad. Famously, he failed, mostly because of a play that's absolutely heartbreaking if you're not from Pittsburgh.
1979 Rams: 2
The '79 Rams aren't one of the best remembered teams in NFL history, but they did at least have 2 HOFers in Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood, which is certainly better than what the '77 Broncos got.
1980 Eagles: 1
Hey, did you know Claude Humphrey played for the Eagles? Did you know Claude Humphrey was a real person who actually played in the NFL? Well, you do now. See, you're learning, and learning is fun.
1981 Bengals: 1
Anthony Munoz isn't just the only HOFer on the '81 Bengals, he's the only HOFer who spent the majority of his career with the Bengals at all.
1982 Dolphins: 1
Three final losers in a row with only 1 HOFer? Well, yes. This time, its Jim Langer successor and arguable greatest center ever Dwight Stephenson.
1983 Redskins: 4
Darrell Green, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, and John Riggins. Those are the only 4 HOFers who played under Joe Gibbs's Redskins, and '83 was the only Super Bowl appearance where all 4 of them played together. And they lost.
1984 Dolphins: 2
Stephenson is back obviously, and the new addition is of course Dan Marino, which marks the first and sadly last time Marino will ever appear in a Super Bowl.
1985 Patriots: 2
The dynasty era Patriots don't have any Hall of Famers as of yet, but the '85 Patriots in fact did in John Hannah and Andre Tippett.
1986 Broncos: 1
So, remember how the 80s Super Bowl champs generally had fewer HOFers then the 60s and 70s bunch? Well, this is even more true with Super Bowl losers, where 9 of the 10 runner-ups throughout the decade had 2 or less players who eventually went on to make the hall of fame. In the case of the late 80s Broncos, it was only Elway.
1987 Broncos: 1
And also remember how no Broncos from the '77 team ever made the HOF? I don't like to say that the HOF somehow "has it out" for one team or another, but I do think its fair to say that there are several Broncos who probably should be hall of famers but aren't, with Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, and Randy Gradishar being the most obvious ones.
1988 Bengals: 1
Of course, you could very well argue that the HOF hates the Bengals even more than the Broncos, seeing as how, again, Munoz is the team's only HOFer.
1989 Broncos: 1
Apologies for going on a little diatribe there, but this section of the list would get extremely boring otherwise.
1990 Bills: 5
The early 90s Bills never won a championship, but unlike the late 80s Broncos were rewarded quite well by the HOF, as Jim Kelly, James Lofton, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas have all been inducted into the PFHOF.
1991 Bills: 5
If I were to guess, the reason the have way more hall of famers than the late 80s Broncos, aside from simply having better players, is because the perception exists that the Bills were great teams who simply couldn't get over the hump to win a Super Bowl, while the Broncos were a pretty good team that took advantage of a weak conference. I don't know if that's true, but that's the perception.
1992 Bills: 5
But these Bills teams were definitely pretty great, arguably even better than the 70s Vikings squads, so I'm not objecting to them having plenty of Hall of Famers.
1993 Bills: 4
Lofton left the team prior to the '93 season, leaving only the other 4 guys to appear in the Bills failed rematch agains the Cowboys.
1994 Chargers: 1
The late, great Junior Seau was inducted into the hall of fame this past year. As of right now, he is the only member of the '94 Chargers in the HOF.
1995 Steelers: 2
The 90s Steelers had 2 HOFers in Rod Woodson and Dermontti Dawson, with very likely a third one on the way soon in Kevin Greene. Oh, and if you're curious about why Bettis isn't here, he was on the Rams in '95 and wasn't traded to the Steelers until the following off-season.
1996 Patriots: 1
Yes, the '96 Patriots had a hall of famer as well. In this case, its Curtis Martin, a man who's most famous for his tenure with the Jets, but actually started out with the Patriots, playing for them in Super bowl XXXI against the Packers.
1997 Packers: 1
This one's the same as the team that won in '96; at the moment, Reggie White is the only HOFer, and Brett Favre will join him soon enough.
1999 Titans: 1
Bruce Matthews was on this team, which gives you a good indication of just how crazy long his career was.
2000 Giants: 1
Surprise, its Michael Strahan again. I know, what a shocker.
2001 Rams: 1
See the entry for "1999 Rams" in my previous list.
2002 Raiders: 3
Yeah, surprisingly enough the '02 Raiders actually have more HOFers at the moment then the Buccaneers team that beat them, although two of those guys were Jerry Rice and Rod Woodson who spent much of their career elsewhere. Only Tim Brown was a lifelong Raider.
2005 Seahawks: 1
Walter Jones is the only hall of famer on this team at the moment.
2007 Patriots: 1
Okay, isn't it a little weird that the only Patriots teams that seem to have HOFers from them are the ones that lost? In this case, its Junior Seau, who was pretty much the only guy on the '07 team that non-Patriots fans wanted to see win the Super Bowl.
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