#41 Guy Chamberlin


SportFootball
HometownBlue Springs
Born1894
Died1967

Guy Chamberlin had a number of nicknames in his long football career, but "Champ" stuck.

For good reason.

Over 10 straight seasons of playing and coaching, his teams won 10 titles.

Born near Blue Springs, Nebraska, he had no opportunity to play high school football. But he quickly caught on to the sport when he went to college at Nebraska Wesleyan.

Trying to tackle Chamberlin was like sticking your head and shoulders into a lawn mower, said a former opponent who had played against him and the state college championship teams at Wesleyan in 1911 and 1912.

He then transferred to Nebraska, where he played mostly halfback his junior year — scoring on runs of 90, 85, 70 and 58 yards — before moving to end as a senior.

Another opponent recalled how he feared seeing Chamberlin heading his way on an end-around play: "He'd come all the way around to the other side and knock people over just like they were chairs."

Notre Dame assistant coach Knute Rockne said Chamberlin had been "the key to victory" in leading the Huskers past the Irish in 1915.

In fact, Rockne blamed himself for the loss, saying his scouting report had been mistaken in saying Chamberlin always wet his fingers before throwing a pass. The dry-fingered Chamberlin completed several long passes, including one for a 13-yard score.

In two years at Nebraska, he scored 24 touchdowns for teams that went 15-0-1 and won two Missouri Valley Conference championships — four titles in four college seasons.

After serving in World War I, his pro career started in 1919 with Jim Thorpe's Canton Bulldogs, where he alternated with the fabled Thorpe in the backfield in winning a title with the Ohio League.

George Halas lured him away the next year for his Decatur Staleys — forerunners to his Chicago Bears — in the newly formed National Football League.

"Chamberlin was the best two-way end I've ever seen," Halas said later. "He was a tremendous tackler on defense and a triple-threat performer on offense."

Chamberlin won two more championships playing for the Staleys in 1920 and 1921, then won titles as player-coach at Canton in 1922 and 1923 and Cleveland in 1924.

In 1925, he joined the Frankford (a neighborhood in Philadelphia) Yellow Jackets and his 10-season championship streak came to an end with a sixth-place finish.

He wasn't finished, however. The following season, he won his fourth NFL title in five seasons as a player-coach.

He played and coached one more season with Chicago Cardinals, then retired as a player at age 33 in 1927. After the 1928 season with the Cardinals, he ended his NFL coaching career with a 58-16-7 record.

Chamberlin was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame in 1962. He joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. At the induction banquet in Canton, the Hall of Fame director Dick McMann introduced Chamberlin as "the winningest guy of all time."

His .859 winning percentage is the highest in NFL history.

Quick facts about Chamberlin

Played for: Nebraska Wesleyan, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Canton Bulldogs, Decatur Staleys, Cleveland and Frankford Yellowjackets

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Probably another Husker great, Ed Weir, who played for and with Chamberlin as a Frankford Yellowjacket in suburban Philadelphia in 1926

Best moment as an athlete: Running for two touchdowns and passing for another in a 20-19 win over Notre Dame in 1915, one of the greatest wins in Cornhusker history


Nebraska 100: 2005 edition

Chamberlin was No. 39 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »