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Sid Luckman

From Academic Kids

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Sid Luckman on the cover of the October 1938 issue of Life

Sid Luckman (November 21, 1916 - July 5, 1998) was an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950 leading the team to 4 NFL championships during that period. In particular, he was instrumental in his team's record-setting win of 73-0 over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL title game. Sportscaster Jimmy Cannon once said, "You had to be there to realize how great Sid was."

He played both baseball and football for Columbia University. Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas set out to restructure the offensive side of the game of football. Both at the college and pro levels, offenses were a drab scrum of running the ball with only occassional passes. The role of the quarterback still languished as running back who could, as a gimmick, toss a few passes. Halas and his coaches invented a rather complex scheme, then went searching for his quarterback. Hearing of Sid Luckman's exploits at Columbia University, playing a schedule where they were under-sized, Halas traveled to New York to watch him play. At first Luckman had little interest. Intrigued by the challenge and the salary offer, Luckman mastered an offense that revolutionized football. Only Sammy Baugh, playing for the Washington Redskins had the skills to match Luckman. Eventually, Luckman tutored college coaches across the Big Ten and Notre Dame in the intricacies of the passing game.

After he retired, Sid Luckman helped Halas coach the offense. Halas never found another quarterback with the intelligence and skill to master the game. By the end of the 1950's, Halas had lost three future Hall of Fame quarterbacks to other teams, as they struggled with Luckman's offense.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965.

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