Former Chicago Bears Offensive Line Coach Dick Stanfel Passes Away
An important member of the 1985 Chicago Bears team, former offensive line coach Dick Stanfel, passed away earlier this week at the age of 87. Stanfel didn’t get the publicity like Mike Ditka or Buddy Ryan, but for a Chicago Bears team that led the league in rushing for several years during the 80’s, he was essential. It’s common for an offensive lineman to miss out on the glory, so it’s not surprising that Stanfel was under the radar. Let’s get to know a little more about this important Bears coach.
Dick Stanfel was the Chicago Bears offensive line coach from 1981 -1992, an era where Walter Payton and later Neal Anderson would dominate thanks in large part, to the running lanes that Stanfel’s offensive lines would open up. They led the league in rushing for four straight years from 1983 – 1986 running behind Stanfel’s lines.
We’re talking about guys like Jimbo Covert, Jay Hilgenberg, Mark Bortz, Tom Thayer, Kurt Becker and Keith Van Horne. You know, the Black and Blues Brothers. You’d be hard pressed to find any of them with a bad word about their beloved coach:
"“He was a great, great coach and a great man too,” former Bears center Jay Hilgenberg said. “A motivator? A technician? He was all of the above. He pulled for you personally too. All of his stories and his toughness and what the game meant to him, he was so great. He’d always tell you, ‘You make sure after this game that guy knows your name.’ He was a classic.”"
Stanfel was drafted by the Lions in 1951 and was on a pair of Championship teams in ’52 and ’53 and earned a couple of Pro Bowl nods in his four years with Detroit before another few years with the Washington Redskins. He was an all-decade player for the 1950’s, but didn’t get to the Hall of Fame, despite being a senior nominee as recently as 2012. He died in his Libertyville, IL home after battling illness at the age of 87.
Rest in Peace, Dick!