The 20 Biggest Baddest Bears of All Time; #2 Bronko Nagurski
No. 2 Bronko Nagurski
Yet another Bears player of legendary status is Bronko Nagurski. His name points to the type of player he was, a one-man bull who wrecked his way into the Hall of Fame from his fullback position.
Nagurski was the ultimate power back in an era of much smaller players. Nagurski played in the leather helmet era and often led with his head, his shoulder or a forearm.
At 6’2”, 235 lbs, he was thick, muscular and strong during an era not known for weightlifting.
One legendary story (via The New York Times) attached to Nagurski has him “on a touchdown gallop against the Redskins, he is said to have knocked two linebackers in opposite directions, stomped over a defensive halfback and crushed an interferring (sic) safety man before caroming off the goalposts and finally crashing into the stadium's brick walls.”
Upon returning to the huddle for the extra-point try, he reportedly said: "That last guy hit me awfully hard."
He played on both offense and defense, and after one injury, was placed at offensive tackle, where he was named All-Pro at three non-kicking positions, the first player in the history of the NFL to achieve such an honor.
In Nagurski’s final season, he came back to the Bears after a stint on the pro wrestling circuit. With the Bears short on players in 1943 due to the soldiers leaving to fight in the war, Nagurski was asked to play. He played most of the game at tackle, but on the game’s final drive, was put back at his familiar fullback position.
With the game winding down, Nagurski took handoff after handoff, bowling through the line time and again for positive yards. Finally, he scored the game-winning touchdown, which sent the Bears into the NFL title game that year.
Nagurski was an NFL pioneer, the first of his kind as a power runner and would have been formidable in any era. Therefore, he earns the second overall spot in our countdown.