A game worn jersey by Chicago Bear great Sid Luckman is up for auction at AmericanMemorabilia.
The current high bid stands at $19,488 as I write. I’m sure before the auction is over the jersey will sell for at least double that amount. Sid Luckman is the greatest quarterback in Bears history and a game worn jersey from his era is rare enough for fork over the cash.
Luckman played quarterback for the Bears from 1939 until 1950 and the jersey was supposedly worn in 1947. Luckman not only was an unbelievable quarterback, but he has a mark on the history of football. It was Luckman that lined up at quarterback for George Halas behind center and created the “T-Formation.” In the early days of football, quarterbacks typically took every snap from what we would call the “shot-gun.” The idea was to allow quarterbacks to opt to run the football, hand it off, or look for a pass. Up until the 1940’s quarterbacks were expected to have some passing skills but not anything close to the pocket passing in the modern NFL.
Halas came up with the idea of putting Luckman directly under center in what was called the “T-Formation.” The intent was to allow the quarterback to hand off the ball to the running back as he was gaining speed and momentum from the backfield. The running back then had a better chance to evade or get more power over linebackers. Up until that point they were handed the ball from a standing position and had to generate speed with defenders already bearing down on them.
Some may call it an accident and some may call it genius, but an indirect result of this new offensive formation was the idea of the quarterback standing in a pocket. Luckman was a quality of passer that football had not yet experienced and he began to step back and make great throws. Interestingly enough, Luckman actually struggled in the beginning with fumbles coming out from under the center. He eventually caught hold of the system and by 1943 he was football’s Most Valuable Player.
Luckman passed for 14,686 yards, 137 touchdowns, and 132 interceptions but he may be one of the most significant figures for the evolution of the quarterback position. When he was hot, he was unstoppable. He passed for a Bears’ record seven touchdowns against the Giants for a 56-7 win on November 14, 1943. At the end of the season in the championship game against the redskins, he threw for 276 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-21 win.
Up until that time, football was all about who could run the football. Luckman ushered in an era where defenses were caught off balance by a quarterback that could throw the football over their heads for big scores. Despite leaving the game in 1950, many of his quarterback records still stand today. He means a great deal to Bear’s history and also to the game of football. Every quarterback should pay homage to Luckman and the path he paved for modern quarterbacks.
Someone is going to pick up an amazing piece of memorabilia from a historic player.