Chicago College All-Star Game

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College All-Star Football Classic (defunct)
Chicago Charities College All-Star Game
ChicagoCollegeAll-StarGame1941Program.jpg
Program cover for 1941 game
Stadium Soldier Field (1934–42, 1945–76)
Dyche Stadium (1943–44)
Location Chicago (1934–42, 1945–76)
Evanston, Illinois (1943–44)
Operated 1934–1976
Sponsors

The Chicago Charities College All-Star Game was a preseason American football game played from 1934 to 1976 between the National Football League (NFL) champions and a team of star college seniors from the previous year. It was also known as the College All-Star Football Classic.[1]

The game was contested annually — except for 1974, due to that year's NFL strike — and was played in July, August, or September. The second game, played in 1935, involved the hometown Chicago Bears, runner-up of the 1934 season, instead of the defending champion New York Giants. The New York Jets played in the 1969 edition, although still an American Football League (AFL) team, as once the AFL-NFL Championship was introduced (including for the two seasons before the "Super Bowl" designation was officially adopted and the remaining two seasons before the AFL–NFL merger) the Super Bowl winner was the professional team involved, regardless of which league the team represented.

History of the game[edit]

The game was the idea of Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and the driving force behind baseball's All-Star Game.[1] The game originally was a benefit for Chicago-area charities and was always played at Soldier Field, with the exception of two years during World War II, 1943 and 1944, when it was held at Northwestern University's Dyche Stadium in Evanston.

The Chicago game was one of several "pro vs. rookie" college all-star games held across the United States in its early years (the 1939 season featured seven such games, all of which the NFL teams won in shutouts, and the season prior featured eight, with some of the collegiate players playing in multiple games). Chicago's game had the benefit of being the highest profile, with the NFL champions facing the best college graduates from across the country as opposed to the regional games that were held elsewhere. Because of this, the game survived far longer than its contemporaries.

A football signed by the members of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star Team, including Gerald Ford.

The inaugural game in 1934, played before a crowd of 79,432 on August 31, was a scoreless tie between the all-stars and the Chicago Bears. The following year, in a game that included University of Michigan graduate and future president Gerald Ford, the Bears won 5–0. The first all-star team to win was the 1937 squad, coached by Gus Dorais, which won 6–0 over Curly Lambeau's Green Bay Packers. The only score came on a 47-yard touchdown pass from future Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh to Gaynell Tinsley.[2] Baugh's Washington Redskins lost to the All-Stars the next year, but he did not play due to injury.[3]

In the 1940s, the games were competitive affairs that attracted large crowds to Soldier Field. The college all-stars had the benefit of being fully integrated, since the NFL's league-wide color barrier did not apply to the squad, meaning black players such as Kenny Washington (who played in the 1940 contest) were allowed to play in the game. As the talent level of pro football improved (and the NFL itself integrated), the pros came to dominate the series.

The qualifying criteria for the College All-Star squad was loose, as the 1945 game featured Tom Harmon, who had begun his professional career in 1941 but had been interrupted by military service.[4] The all-stars last won consecutive games in 1946 and 1947, and won only four of the final 29 games. The Philadelphia Eagles fell in 1950,[5] the Cleveland Browns in 1955,[6] and the Detroit Lions in 1958.[7] The last all-star win came in 1963, when a college team coached by legendary quarterback Otto Graham beat Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, 20–17.[8]

In 1949, Ward, who by this time had founded the competing All-America Football Conference, attempted to have that league's champion - the perennially winning Browns - play that year's game instead of the NFL champion, but after the NFL threatened legal action, the Tribune board overruling Ward and renewed its agreement with the NFL.[9]

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, enthusiasm for the game started to erode as NFL coaches had become increasingly reluctant to let their new draftees play in the exhibition due to their being forced miss part of training camp, and their draftees being at considerable risk for injury; as early as 1949, these concerns had been raised after Dick Rifenburg suffered a serious knee injury practicing for the game, effectively ending his professional career before it began, and prompting Rifenburg's move into broadcasting.[10]

A player's strike forced the cancellation of the 1974 game. Although the league went forward with the rest of its preseason, they needed access to as many rookies as possible for replacement players to replace the striking veterans and players who defected to the World Football League, leaving the unable to spare any to play the college all-stars.

The league itself was withdrawing from competition against teams that were not members of the league at this time. The College All-Star Game was the last ever contest in which an NFL team played a team from outside the league, with only two other games, a 1969 match against a Continental Football League team and a 1972 split-squad match against a Seaboard Football League team, both major blowout wins for the NFL teams, being played in this time frame.

The final game took place in 1976 during a torrential downpour at Soldier Field on July 23.[11] Despite featuring stars such as Chuck Muncie, Mike Pruitt, Lee Roy Selmon, and Jackie Slater, the all-stars were hopelessly outmatched by the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of Super Bowl X. The star quarterback for the College All-Stars was Steeler draft pick Mike Kruczek out of Boston College.

With 1:22 remaining in the third quarter and the Steelers leading 24–0, high winds and lightning prompted all-stars coach Ara Parseghian to call for a time out. Fans subsequently invaded the field and began sliding on the turf, and with the rain continuing to fall heavily, the officials ordered both teams to their locker rooms.

Despite the efforts of officals, security and Chicago Police, all attempts to clear the field failed, and a group of drunk fans tore down the goalposts at the southern end of the stadium. However, by this time, the torrential rain had left parts of the field under 18 inches of water, meaning it would have been unplayable in any event.

At 11:01pm, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and the Tribune announced that the game had been called. The news was greeted with jeers, and numerous brawls broke out on the flooded field before order was finally restored. Joe Washington of Oklahoma was selected MVP of the final College All-Star game.[12]

While Chicago Tribune Charities had every intention of staging a 1977 game, a combination of NFL coaches being increasingly unwilling to let their high draft picks play, rising insurance costs and higher player salaries meant the game was no longer viable. The Tribune announced on December 21, 1976, that the game would be discontinued.[13]

In the 42 College All-Star Games, the defending pro champions won 31, the All-Stars won nine, and two were ties, giving the collegians a .238 winning percentage.

One aspect of the College All-Star Game was later revived: the concept of the league champion playing in the first game of the season was adopted in 2004 with the National Football League Kickoff game. Since then, the first game of the regular season is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion.

The game raised over $4 million for charity over the course of its 42-game run.[14]

Game results[edit]

All games played at Soldier Field in Chicago, except for the 1943 and 1944 games, which were played at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, Illinois.

Year Date Winning team Losing team Attendance Series
1934 August 31 College All-Stars 0 Chicago Bears 0 79,432 Tied 0–0–1
1935 August 29 Chicago Bears 5 College All-Stars 0 77,450 NFL 1–0–1
1936 September 2 College All-Stars 7 Detroit Lions 7 76,000 NFL 1–0–2
1937 September 1 College All-Stars[2] 6 Green Bay Packers 0 84,560 Tied 1–1–2
1938 August 31 College All-Stars[3] 28 Washington Redskins 16 74,250 Colleges 2–1–2
1939 August 30 New York Giants 9 College All-Stars 0 81,456 Tied 2–2–2
1940 August 29 Green Bay Packers 45 College All-Stars 28 84,567 NFL 3–2–2
1941 August 28 Chicago Bears 37 College All-Stars 13 98,203 NFL 4–2–2
1942 August 28 Chicago Bears 21 College All-Stars 0 101,103 NFL 5–2–2
1943 August 28 College All-Stars 27 Washington Redskins 7 48,437 NFL 5–3–2
1944 August 30 Chicago Bears 24 College All-Stars 21 49,246 NFL 6–3–2
1945 August 30 Green Bay Packers 19 College All-Stars 7 92,753 NFL 7–3–2
1946 August 23 College All-Stars 16 Los Angeles Rams 0 97,380 NFL 7–4–2
1947 August 23 College All-Stars 16 Chicago Bears 0 105,840 NFL 7–5–2
1948 August 22 Chicago Cardinals 28 College All-Stars 0 101,220 NFL 8–5–2
1949 August 22 Philadelphia Eagles 38 College All-Stars 0 93,780 NFL 9–5–2
1950 August 11 College All-Stars[5] 17 Philadelphia Eagles 7 88,885 NFL 9–6–2
1951 August 17 Cleveland Browns 33 College All-Stars 0 92,180 NFL 10–6–2
1952 August 15 Los Angeles Rams 10 College All-Stars 7 88,316 NFL 11–6–2
1953 August 14 Detroit Lions 24 College All-Stars 10 93,818 NFL 12–6–2
1954 August 13 Detroit Lions 31 College All-Stars 6 93,470 NFL 13–6–2
1955 August 12 College All-Stars[6] 30 Cleveland Browns 27 75,000 NFL 13–7–2
1956 August 10 Cleveland Browns 26 College All-Stars 0 75,000 NFL 14–7–2
1957 August 9 New York Giants 22 College All-Stars 12 75,000 NFL 15–7–2
1958 August 15 College All-Stars[7] 35 Detroit Lions 19 70,000 NFL 15–8–2
1959 August 14 Baltimore Colts 29 College All-Stars 0 70,000 NFL 16–8–2
1960 August 12 Baltimore Colts 32 College All-Stars 7 70,000 NFL 17–8–2
1961 August 4 Philadelphia Eagles[15] 28 College All-Stars 14 66,000 NFL 18–8–2
1962 August 3 Green Bay Packers[16] 42 College All-Stars 20 65,000 NFL 19–8–2
1963 August 2 College All-Stars[8] 20 Green Bay Packers 17 65,000 NFL 19–9–2
1964 August 7 Chicago Bears[17] 28 College All-Stars 17 65,000 NFL 20–9–2
1965 August 6 Cleveland Browns[18] 24 College All-Stars 16 68,000 NFL 21–9–2
1966 August 5 Green Bay Packers[19] 38 College All-Stars 0 72,000 NFL 22–9–2
1967 August 4 Green Bay Packers[20] 27 College All-Stars 0 70,934 NFL 23–9–2
1968 August 2 Green Bay Packers[21] 34 College All-Stars 17 69,917 NFL 24–9–2
1969 August 1 New York Jets[22] 26 College All-Stars 24 74,208 NFL 25–9–2
1970 July 31 Kansas City Chiefs[23] 24 College All-Stars 3 69,940 NFL 26–9–2
1971 July 30 Baltimore Colts[24] 24 College All-Stars 17 52,289 NFL 27–9–2
1972 July 28 Dallas Cowboys[25] 20 College All-Stars 7 54,162 NFL 28–9–2
1973 July 27 Miami Dolphins[26] 14 College All-Stars 3 54,103 NFL 29–9–2
1974 July 26 Canceled due to 1974 NFL strike
Game was originally scheduled between the Miami Dolphins and College All-Stars
1975 August 1 Pittsburgh Steelers[27] 21 College All-Stars 14 54,562 NFL 30–9–2
1976 July 23 1 Pittsburgh Steelers 24 College All-Stars 0 52,095 NFL 31–9–2

1 Game was called with 1:22 left in 3rd quarter because of lightning storm and torrential rain.[11][12]

Franchise records[edit]

Listed by number of appearances

Franchise Games Wins Losses Ties Pct. Winning Years Non-wins
Green Bay Packers 8 6 2 0 .750 1940, 1945, 1962,
1966, 1967, 1968
1937, 1963
Chicago Bears 7 5 1 1 .786 1935, 1941,
1942, 1944, 1964
1934, 1947
Cleveland Browns 4 3 1 0 .750 1951, 1956, 1965 1955
Detroit Lions 4 2 1 1 .625 1953, 1954 1936, 1958
Baltimore Colts 3 3 0 0 1.000  1959, 1960, 1971
Philadelphia Eagles 3 2 1 0 .667 1949, 1961 1950
New York Giants 2 2 0 0 1.000  1939, 1957
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 2 0 0 1.000  1975, 1976
Los Angeles Rams 2 1 1 0 .500 1952 1946
Washington Redskins 2 0 2 0 .000 1938, 1943
Chicago Cardinals 1 1 0 0 1.000  1948
New York Jets 1 1 0 0 1.000  1969
Kansas City Chiefs 1 1 0 0 1.000  1970
Dallas Cowboys 1 1 0 0 1.000  1972
Miami Dolphins 1 1 0 0 1.000  1973
Total 42 31 9 2 .762
  • Miami's second consecutive appearance in 1974 was cancelled due to NFL players' strike.

MVPs[edit]

The Most Valuable Player award was given from 1938 through 1973 and was always awarded to a player on the College All-Stars

Year Player Position College
1938 Cecil Isbell Running back Purdue
1939 Bill Osmanski Running back Holy Cross
1940 Ambrose Schindler Running back USC
1941 George Franck Running back Minnesota
1942 Bruce Smith Running back Minnesota
1943 Pat Harder Running back Wisconsin
1944 Glenn Dobbs Running back Tulsa
1945 Charley Trippi[28] Multiple Georgia
1946 Elroy Hirsch Running back Wisconsin
1947 Claude Young Running back Illinois
1948 Jay Rodemeyer Running back Kentucky
1949 Bill Fischer Offensive lineman Notre Dame
1950 Charlie Justice Running back North Carolina
1951 Lewis McFadin Multiple Texas
1952 Babe Parilli Quarterback Kentucky
1953 Gib Dawson Multiple Texas
1954 Carlton Massey Defensive end Texas
1955 Ralph Guglielmi Quarterback Notre Dame
1956 Bob Pellegrini Linebacker Maryland
1957 John Brodie Quarterback Stanford
1958 Bobby Mitchell Halfback/Wide receiver Illinois
Jim Ninowski Quarterback Michigan State
1959 Bob Ptacek Running back Michigan
1960 Jim Leo End Cincinnati
1961 Billy Kilmer Quarterback UCLA
1962 John Hadl Quarterback Kansas
1963 Ron Vander Kelen Quarterback Wisconsin
1964 Charley Taylor Wide receiver Arizona State
1965 John Huarte Quarterback Notre Dame
1966 Gary Lane Quarterback Missouri
1967 Charles "Bubba" Smith Defensive end Michigan State
1968 Larry Csonka Running back Syracuse
1969 Greg Cook Quarterback Cincinnati
1970 Bruce Taylor Defensive back Boston University
1971 Richard Harris Defensive end Grambling State
1972 Pat Sullivan Quarterback Auburn
1973 Ray Guy Punter Southern Mississippi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Grogan, John (2000). "The College All-Star Football Classic" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 22 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 30, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Kuechle, Oliver E. (September 2, 1937). "Sam Baugh's pass, stalwart defense give Stars 6-0 victory over Packers". Milwaukee Journal. p. 5-part 2. 
  3. ^ a b "Isbell sparks rally as All-Stars beat Redskins in second half". Milwaukee Journal. September 1, 1938. p. 6-part 2. 
  4. ^ "Tom Harmon to Join Stars". The Milwaukee Journal. August 15, 1945. p. 10. 
  5. ^ a b Kuechle, Oliver E. (August 12, 1950). "College stars spring startling upset". Milwaukee Journal. p. 6. 
  6. ^ a b "All-Stars beat Browns 30-27". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. August 13, 1955. p. 7. 
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Chuck (August 16, 1958). "Grid All-Stars slay inept Detroit Lions". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12. 
  8. ^ a b Lea, Bud (August 3, 1963). "All-Stars upset Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2-part 2. 
  9. ^ The NFL's Official Encyclopedic History of Professional Football, 1977: The AAFC, pgs. 245-251
  10. ^ Harmon, Pat (1949-08-10). "Short-Sighted Pros". Cedar Rapids Gazette. 
  11. ^ a b "Rampaging fans, rain shorten all-star game". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. July 24, 1976. p. 3B. 
  12. ^ a b Shepard, Terry (July 24, 1976). "Rain and fans do in players". Milwaukee Journal. p. 10. 
  13. ^ "Game ended by Tribune". Milwaukee Journal. December 22, 1976. p. 10-part 2. 
  14. ^ "College All-Star Game: A Charity Dies". Evening Independent. Chicago Tribune. December 22, 1967. p. 1-C. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ Lea, Bud (August 5, 1961). "Eagles dump All-Stars, 28 to 17". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  16. ^ Lea, Bud (August 4, 1962). "Late Packer flurry KO's Stars". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  17. ^ Lea, Bud (August 8, 1964). "Bears rally for 28-17 win". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  18. ^ Lea, Bud (August 7, 1965). "Stars' rally short, Browns win 24-16". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Chuck (August 6, 1966). "Purposeful Packers batter Stars, 38-0". Milwaukee Journal. p. 14. 
  20. ^ "Starr, Packers coast in". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 5, 1967. p. 10. 
  21. ^ Lea, Bud (August 3, 1968). "Packers whip All-Stars, 34-17". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  22. ^ Lea, Bud (August 2, 1969). "Stars scare Jets in 26-24 loss". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  23. ^ Lea, Bud (August 1, 1970). "Chiefs manhandle Stars, 24-3". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  24. ^ Lea, Bud (July 31, 1971). "Colts finesse All-Stars, 24-17". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  25. ^ Lea, Bud (July 29, 1972). "Cowboys dominate Stars, 20-7". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  26. ^ Lea, Bud (July 28, 1973). "Miami beats frustrated Stars". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  27. ^ Hoffman, Dale (August 2, 1975). "Gilliam turns Star dreams into dust". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  28. ^ "Charley Trippi's College All-Star Game Trophy". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]