The Campaign For DA

3.21.2015

The Death Of A ManThis Morning Who Troubled Me Because Of A Photo

Chuck Bednarik -- basically famous for one play. Or, probably more accurately, made famous because of a couple of incredible photos as he stood over Frank Gifford in 1960. Gifford didn't play the rest of the season or all of next season because of a concussion.



The photos* bugged me when I first saw them. I bet I was in my teens. Heck, it bothers me still. There is so much there. An intimidating guy. A helpless man. Maybe a dead man. Yet, a cowardly gesture accentuated by the ref having his back to the act.  If you didn't know the background you would speculate that possibly some assault like conduct had occurred.  I've pictured the two men as boxers in an impossible scenario of the ref being distracted instead of immediately sending the winner to his corner.

I wondered for a few years what Bednarik thought about that moment and then I finally saw this clip on TV. The final few seconds stuck with me.



Didn't like the guy before and didn't like him after that.

But one thing I can't find on the Internet, and I hope some network or website does today, is an interview of Frank Gifford from probably ten to fifteen years ago (maybe longer).  He had always said it was a clean hit, but the always professional and gentleman Gifford finally showed a great deal of irritation at the way Bednarik enjoyed describing the concussion he had caused. And, even better, Gifford contorted his face for the camera and impersonated Bednarik as he appeared at the end of above youtube clip. I'm so frustrated I can't find it.

(Did the concussion cause long term effects on Gifford? Exhibit A: He married Kathy Lee.)
______
*In my initial post I zeroed in on the second photo. I had always viewed that one as Bednarik standing over Gifford and taunting him. A commenter said he was simply holding an injured arm. That may be possible. Let me research it.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

And when I see these pictures for the first time, it looks like the Eagles player hurt his arm and was trying to shake it off but in the end had to buckle in pain. I see nothing in that picture that looks like intimidation.

Anonymous said...

An arm tackle basically...Gifford's last cut back put him in a clothesline position. Blink of an eye stuff. Not a dirty play at all. Today, of course, the Eagles guy would be banned for life for playing as he was coached, and perhaps even executed for a hate crime against an opponent.

Anonymous said...

And he cheated on Kathy Lee.

Anonymous said...

Didn't look like that hard of a hit!

Anonymous said...

You republican assholes just want to live in the fucking old west, don't you? And you try so hard to actually get it.

Anonymous said...

You may not like him… but famous for one play? He was a first overall draft pick out of Penn. He was the last player to play both ways in the NFL, and he was inducted into the PFHOF in his first year of eligibility.
Chuck was also ranked in the top 100 players all time by NFL TV and The Sporting News….

He's a little more famous than one play.

Anonymous said...

That Bednarik has one jacked up pinky on that right hand. He might want to have that looked at. Oops, too late. Well, didn't look like that hard of a hit and I can't believe Gifford was knocked out from it. Gifford must've been a softy.

Anonymous said...

Barry, after looking at the photos, watching the video, and reading your remarks, I can only assume that there is some deep-seated pyschological explanation for your feelings.

Football has always been a rough, "man's" game. It wasn't designed that way accidentally. Is your desire to tone down the physicality of the game? Bear in mind, when that happens, it is no longer the same game.

Sharen Wilson detractor said...

"Football has always been a rough, "man's" game. It wasn't designed that way accidentally. Is your desire to tone down the physicality of the game? Bear in mind, when that happens, it is no longer the same game."

Anonymous said...

Where you bullied by the football guys when you were younger skippy? You have some deep seated issues with the physical aspect of football (and most other things). You need to talk them out and let it go.

DF Dr Phil

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with 11:26 that Bednarik is most famous for being the last true two-way player, playing a full 60 minutes on both offense and defense: Bednarik was the only player who remained on the field when there was a change of possession.

His nickname was "Concrete Charlie" because in the off-season he sold concrete to make ends meet. In those days he couldn't make a decent living on his NFL salary alone.

That being said, speeches that he gave always centered around the story about the time he knocked out Frank Gifford.
And he always got a big laugh from the audience. Times have changed, he wouldn't get those laughs today.

Anonymous said...

I'd do him.



Rage

Anonymous said...

11:26
..last player to go both ways....funny.


DF Michael Sams

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is that I'd bet few or none of you guys would have the intestinal fortitude to walk up to the guy and tell him your thoughts to his face, if they involved criticism of him. Might be that was a different time way back then, say when the meek didn't rule shit, they followed the rules or got they azz kicked. We as a national had heroes back then.
That damned Elvis guy started all this!

Anonymous said...

Man, you make all those judgments about a man's life based off of one play in one football game in a completely different day and age? And then you punk his entire career, forgetting all the awards and HOF nod using the photo to do so. Why not mention Dick "Night Trane" Lane who basically used to take people’s heads off and frequently tackled by the facemask. You won't find a video of him apologizing for how he played. And you totally assumed what you saw in the picture was something that it wasn’t. My guess is you have some serious little man issues you never worked out along the way and this is why you get so worked up about manly men who have success in life.

I would hate to be your client....I am sure they don't get the same effort from you if you find something "troubling" about them. You are as bad as the churchy folks around here with your judgmental attitude toward anyone that is not like you.

Anonymous said...


8:28, this is 8:08. I am an azzhole. You sir, really are an azzhole. Well played!

Anonymous said...

...I'm wit what most of youse said, except Nutjob at 10:48.

...it's football, Fauntleroy, and big strong guys like playing it; little-bitty fast pharts, too.

Those old saws about heat, frying pans, fires, and kitchens apply.

If you've played the game, I'll listen; if not....buzz off.