Cifers on a 1948 Bowman football card
|No. 45, 16|
|Date of birth:||September 5, 1920|
|Place of birth:||Church Hill, Tennessee|
|Date of death:||July 1, 2001(aged 80)|
|Place of death:||Nashville, Tennessee|
|High school:||Kingsport (TN) Dobyns-Bennett|
|NFL Draft:||1944 / Round: 2 / Pick: 14|
|Career NFL statistics|
Robert Gale Cifers (September 5, 1920 – July 1, 2001) was a professional American football running back in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers.
In 1938 he shattered the national high school football season scoring record. He scored 235 points in his 1938 junior season. He led the nation again his senior year scoring 164 points. First nationally recruited high school football player with over 100 offers. Featured in several national newspapers and magazines. Captain of the All-Southern Team and regarded the #1 high school recruit of 1939. Selected the State of Tennessee Track Athlete of the 20th Century. Cifers' high school record in Track and Field is even more improbable. He was a member of three Dobyns-Bennett High School TSSAA State Champion Track and Field teams (1936, 1937, 1940). He was also individually crowned TSSAA State Champion, a record ten times, in five separate events. The first and most impressive was winning the 1936 TSSAA state shot put crown as an eighth grader. His total record of thirteen (ten individual, three team) TSSAA State Championships is a record in track and field that has stood for six decades.
Cifers Lettered at the University of Tennessee (1941–1942). Led the NCAA in punting average his junior season at Tennessee, left school early to join the Army as 7 of the 12 SEC schools, including Tennessee, cancelled participation in the 1943 season due to World War II. Widely regarded as a potential front runner for the 1943 Heisman Trophy had he played his senior season. While in the military Bob was a member of the 1944 Randolph Field (TX) Pre-Flight Team made up of college football stars which finished 3rd in the Final 1944 College Football Poll and the 1945 Hondo (TX) AAF Skymasters.
Selected as the 14th pick of the 1944 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 1946 with the Detroit Lions he set the NFL Record for Punting Average in a single game with a 61.75 yd avg. The record still stands. He led Detroit with four touchdowns in 1946, all on pass receptions, the only four he caught which included a 70-yard TD. He also averaged 45.6 yards on 30 punts that season. 1946 NFL Punting Leader. Traded to the Steelers for Bill Dudley. With the Steelers in 1947 and 1948, he did a little of everything. He appeared in 22 games, playing mostly halfback and defensive back. He carried the ball 199 times for 707 yards, including 112 carries for 361 yards in 1948 to lead the team in rushing. He threw seven passes, gaining 28 yards on the two he completed. He averaged 25 yards on 11 kickoff returns, ran back an intercepted pass for 32 yards, and averaged 40.4 yards a kick as their punter. Bob finished out his NFL career appearing in 7 games for the 1949 Green Bay Packers.
Along with NFL All-Pro brother Ed Cifers is part of the only pair of brothers in the Tennessee State Sports Hall of Fame.