Chuck Bednarik Statue to Be Unveiled at Franklin Field Prior to Penn-Cornell Football Game on November 19
November 8, 2011,
Volume 58, No. 11
Chuck Bednarik, Class of 1949, (above) is considered Penn’s finest athlete. He played 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (below) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. His larger-than-life statue will be located inside Gate 2 on the north side of Franklin Field.
The funding is completed, and the work is very nearly done. The Chuck Bednarik statue will soon be a reality.
The University of Pennsylvania has announced the formal dedication of the Chuck Bednarik statue on Saturday, November 19, prior to the Quakers’ football game against Cornell that kicks off at 1 p.m. The larger-than-life statue will be located inside Gate 2 on the north side of Franklin Field, and will be complemented by a collage honoring the historical significance of the Philadelphia Eagles during their time playing at Franklin Field.
The Bednarik statue will honor “Concrete Charlie,” who played college football for four years at Franklin Field for the Quakers before embarking on a storied professional career at the same stadium for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bednarik statue is being done by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, New Jersey. Dubbed “New Jersey’s Sculptor,” Mr. Hanlon has works all over the world including the recent Shaquille O’Neal statue at Louisiana State University (LSU). Hanlon Sculpture Studio is the official sculptor of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“I am absolutely honored to sculpt the greatest warrior, maybe next to Smokin’ Joe Frazier, in Philadelphia sports history,” said Mr. Hanlon. “I think it’s great that Chuck’s statue will be placed at the site of his college and NFL careers. Franklin Field is the most sacred, historic athletic venue in Philadelphia.”
The process to get a Bednarik statue done has been swift. In 2010, a group of Philadelphia businessmen approached the University of Pennsylvania with the aim of installing a statue of Penn’s greatest all-time player and their hero, Chuck Bednarik, at Franklin Field. Since then, nearly $100,000 has been raised toward the project, bolstered by stories from Philadelphia-area media outlets as well as outlets in the Lehigh Valley where Mr. Bednarik continues to reside in Coopersburg. Among the prominent names involved with the project are the president of NFL Films, Steve Sabol; former Eagles and St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil; former Eagles players Ron Jaworski and Eddie Khayat; Bucks County State Rep. Paul Clymer; former Governor Tom Ridge; Dominic Toscani, founder of Paris Business Forms, Inc.; and Mr. Bednarik’s son-in-law, Ken Safarowic.
Philadelphia Football Facts
- Franklin Field is recognized by the NCAA as the country’s oldest football stadium having been dedicated in
- John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football, played for the Quakers from 1890-1891. He returned to Penn as head coach from 1920-1922.
- Unveiled in 1895, Franklin Field was the site of the country’s first scoreboard.
- In 1911 the Penn Quakers became the first football team in the United States to use numbers on their jerseys.
- Quaker Quarterback Bert Bell (1914-1919) went on to become co-founder, co-owner, and coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He served as the NFL Commissioner from 1946-1959 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Philadelphia sports radio station WIP broadcast the first-ever radio broadcast of a football game from Franklin Field in 1922.
- The first Philadelphia NFL team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets, which played in the league from 1924-1931.
- Franklin Field became the first National Football League Stadium to use artificial turf when it installed AstroTurf in 1969.
- Franklin Field was the site of the first televised football game in 1939.
- The Philadelphia Eagles played at Franklin Field from 1958-1970.
- The 1960 NFL Championship Game was held at Franklin Field. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers 17-13.
- As a neutral site located between the US Military Academy in West Point, NY and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, Franklin Field has been home to the annual Army-Navy Football game for 18 of the 83 years the game has been played in Philadelphia since the rivalry began.
- ESPN’s College Gameday covered the Harvard-Penn football game on November 17, 2002, marking the first time the show visited an Ivy League campus.
- Al Bagnoli, head coach since 1992, has led the Penn Quakers to a record seven outright Ivy League Titles during his tenure.