The Original Dream Team Backfield - Quarterback Paul Christman, halfbacks Elmer Angsman and Charley Trippi along with power fullback Pat Harder gave the Chicago Cardinals one of the most compelling offensive backfields in the history of professional football. Football's one-platoon system was in effect during this era... Players played both offense and defense. If a player left the game he could not come back in. No sissies allowed! Running the T-formation in 1947, was quarterback Paul Christman who passed for 2,191 yards and threw 17 touchdown passes.
At right halfback was all-star Elmer Angsman, who led the team with 412 rushing yards. At left halfback was the swift-running rookie Charley Trippi, who galloped for 401 rushing yards. Fullback Pat Harder, an All-American at the University of Wisconsin, served two years in the U.S. Mariners during World War II before joining the Cardinals in '46. In the '47 championship year, Harder gained 371 rushing yards. The foursome combined for 18 rushing touchdowns. Trippi came to the Cardinals after signing a four-year $100,000 contract, at that time an incredible figure, the end result of an all-out bidding war between Cardinals' owner Charles Bidwill and Dan Topping of the AAFC's New York Yanks.
Although, the Chicago Cardinals hadn't won a league title since 1925, they stormed their way into football fans' hearts as they won the Western Division title and battled the Philadelphia Eagles, champs of the Eastern Division. In the championship game, the Cardinals simply blow apart the Eagles' defense at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Football History The Dream Backfield: The Cardinal's backfield put on one of the greatest offensive shows in NFL Championship play - Trippi broke a 44-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Angsman followed with a 70-yard score by bursting through the right side of the Eagles' line in the second-quarter, giving the Cardinals a 14-7 halftime lead. In the second half, Charley Trippi broke five tackles en-route to a 75-yard touchdown run on a punt return, putting the Cardinals ahead 21-7. Midway through the fourth-quarter, Angsman again blow-pass the defense for his second 70-yard touchdown of the game. The Cardinals held on the beat the Eagles 28-21 before 30,759 screaming fans in Chicago. The Dream Backfield gained 282 yards rushing; this during the era when players played both offensive and defense. footballhistorian.com - Archives The rapid development of halfback Charley Trippi helped bring a NFL Championship to the Chicago Cardinals in 1947.
'The Golden Boy' from the University of Georgia, who was the most publicized collegiate player in 1946, carried the ball just three times in his professional football debut against the New York Giants in a Veteran's Day exhibition benefit held before 39,850 screaming fans in Chicago on September 11, 1947. Trippi burst through the Giants' line for a grand total of 138 yards. His first carry of 71-yards set up a Cardinals touchdown, then, he ran 65 yards for a TD, and gained two yards in his final carry.
An outstanding all-around player during football's one-platoon system, Trippi excelled on both offensive and defense, in punting and on punt returns. He retired with a 5.1 yards per/carry average during his nine seasons in the NFL, which is still a Cardinal team record, and his 13.7-yards per punt return rates among the best in NFL football history.
Sports' legend Jim Thorpe called Trippi - 'the greatest football player I ever saw.'
A popular star during his heyday and a good guy, Charley Trippi was elected to Pro Football's Hall of Fame in 1968, is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame... footballhistorian.com - Archives - Pro Football History
* Frank Balazs, Green Bay Packers Fullback - one of the nation's top high school stars, he was head-and-shoulders above the rest at Lane Tech High School on the north side of Chicago... A collegiate All-Star at the University of Iowa, Frank Balazs was chosen and played fullback in the 1937 All Star Game in Soldier Field in Chicago. Frank Balazs played 5 games with the World Champion Green Bay Packers in 1939... in 1940 he scored a touchdown, collected 107 yards on 25 rushes, for a solid 4.3 average and was traded to the Chicago Cardinals early in 1941.
Enlisted into the US Mariners and spent 23 months in heavy wartime fighting in the South Pacific.After contacting malaria in the military, cousin Frank Balazs returned to the Chicago Cardinals after World War II, and played 2 more seasons at fullback/running back.