Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Jewish Hall Of Fame: Sid Luckman

During his 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears, the all-star led them to four NFL championships

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: July 16th, 2014 in Sports » Local

Jewish Hall Of Fame: Sid Luckman

Since the dawn of time, Jewish people have contributed greatly to various fields, from sports to entertainment to politics to porn. With our Breakthrough Jew feature, we recognize those who are up and comers in these various industries, identifying those great innovators and leaders in the contemporary world who are making a mark on society that will last a lifetime.

With the Jewish Hall of Fame, we recognize the remarkable advancements members of our community have made on today’s society. These are people who have truly changed the world, and have earned the respect and praise of the members of today’s younger generation.

ShalomLife’s Jewish Hall of Fame is our ongoing tribute to the greatest Jews who have ever lived; be sure to catch us weekly with our latest inductees, and tweet us @ShalomLife wih your suggestions.

Check out last week’s inductee into the Hall of Fame here.

Hall of Fame Member: Sidney “Sid” Luckman

Born: November 21st, 1916, Brooklyn, New York

Died: July 5th, 1998, Aventura, Florida

Born on November 21st, 1916, to German Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, Sidney “Sid” Luckman would one day grow up to become one of the most famous football players in history. It’s a known fact that it was his father who would incite his passion for football by buying him one before the age of ten.

Luckman attended Erasmus Hall High School and by graduation he had caught the eye of several college football recruiters, including some from Columbia University. After meeting with Lou Little, coach of the Columbia University Lions, Luckman decided to play for Little’s team.

Luckman, despite playing for the Lions, didn’t attend Columbia University. Instead, he attended The New College For The Education Of Teachers, which was a branch of Columbia that would close in 1939, forcing Luckman to transfer to Columbia. During this time at university, Luckman was becoming a popular name in college football and one of many Jewish athletes making an impression in the world of sports.

After his football career in university, which would earn him a spot in the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1960, Luckman found himself playing for the big leagues: the NFL. Although he originally rejected the offer made by George Halas, owner and coach of the Chicago Bears, Luckman eventually signed with the team.

In 1940, he started as the team’s quarterback and helped to revolutionize the game as we know it. By building on the standard T-formation seen in games, Luckman helped lead the Bears to five NFL Championship games of which they won four.

In 1943, Luckman was named league MVP, and it’s not hard to see why. In one game, he made seven touchdowns (which is still currently tied for the most passing touchdowns in one game) and threw for 443 yards. This game was also the first 400 yard passing game in NFL history. During that year his touchdown rate was 13.9%, the best ever in an individual season, and a 10.9 yard attempt being the second best recorded. He also made 110 of 202 passes.


Luckman stopped playing football in 1950, however he still holds most of the records he set while playing for the Bears. After his football retirement from playing, he stayed on with the Bears for a while as an assistant coach and went into business in Chicago. In 1965, he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, and was later included into the Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame. He also received the Walter Camp Distinguished American Of The Year Award.

Luckman passed away in Aventura, Florida, on July 5th, 1998. His legend, however, will live on forever and it’s for this reason we induct him into this week’s Jewish Hall of Fame.

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