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Football great, Sonny Jurgensen is a former NFL quarterback who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Jurgensen was drafted in the fourth round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was Philadelphia's backup quarterback, behind Norm Van Brocklin, for the first four years of his career. It was during this time as a backup that Jurgensen won his only championship, when the Eagles won the 1960 NFL Championship.
Sonny Jurgensen riddled enemy defenses with picture-perfect bullets for 18 seasons in the National Football League. With Philadelphia for seven seasons and Washington for 11 more, Sonny – one of the finest pure passers ever – accumulated a seemingly endless list of individual records.
Even at the age of 40 in his final 1974 season, Jurgensen won his third NFL individual passing crown. Particularly in Washington, Jurgensen became a folklore-type hero. “I had as much fun playing as anyone,” he once said. “But on the field, it was serious business. I was interested in winning.”
Whether the Redskins won or lost, adoring fans knew Jurgensen would provide game-long excitement, throwing long and short, dissecting defenses, and working on the clock. A classic drop-back passer, Sonny was respected for his ability to deliver the ball at the last moment under the pressure of a vicious pass rush.
In many circles, he was recognized as the best passer of his time. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, his stats include 2,433 completions for an impressive 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns. “All I ask of my blockers is four seconds, “ the veteran quarterback once explained. "I try to stay on my feet and not be forced out of the pocket. I beat people by throwing, not running. I won't let them intimidate me into doing something which is not the best thing I can do."
In 1969, Vince Lombardi took over the Redskins’ coaching. Many wondered if Lombardi and Jurgensen could work together. Noted for his taskmaster approach to coaching, Lombardi quickly developed a strong admiration for the fun-loving quarterback. "Jurgensen is a great quarterback," the coach said without hesitation. "He hangs in there under adverse conditions. He may be the best the league has ever seen. He is the best I have seen."