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November 21: The Quarterback

November 21, 2013
draft_lens10365381module94027881photo_1270598925pg2_g_luckman1_sw_sq_300.Sid Luckman, quarterback of the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950 who led the team to five championships, four of them in consecutive years, was born in Brooklyn to German Jewish immigrants on this date in 1916. Luckman revolutionized football by mastering the T-formation offense, which greatly heightened the role of passing the ball and turned the quarterback into the key leader of the offensive team. The quarterback’s role involved complex spins, fakes, hand-offs, and physical versatility, and it took Luckman more than a season to master it and stop fumbling the ball, but his 73-0 victory over the Washington Redskins in the title game of his second season showcased the dominance of the T offense and prompted nearly all other teams to adopt it. Luckman was the first quarterback to throw seven touchdown passes in a single game, a record now shared by four others. Despite the transformation of the game since his retirement, he still holds most of the Chicago Bears’ passing records. In 1965, Luckman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He died in 1998 at the age of 81. “Not all teams had the success with the T-formation that the Bears enjoyed. Chicago won four NFL championships, just missed a fifth, and Luckman was a major reason for the success. The crafty quarterback was named first- or second-team all-league from 1940 through 1948 and won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player honors in 1943.” —Pro Football Hall of Fame