March 5, 2015

The Philly Fifty, #30: Steve Van Buren, Eagles

For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

Longevity – 3

Played 8 seasons, his entire career, with the Eagles. Was drafted in 1944 out of LSU with the 5th overall pick and played until he was 31.

Peak – 4

A top-5 player at any position for much of his career. Led the league in rushing yards and total touchdowns in the same year twice.

Popularity – 2

You don’t run into a ton of Van Buren jerseys on game day.

Team Success – 4

The Eagles won 2 NFL titles with Van Buren and went 58-30-3 during his tenure. They only went 3-1 in the playoffs due to the format at the time.

Awards – 4

He was first-team all-pro in 5 of his 8 seasons and was selected to one 1st team NFL team in 6 seasons. Only Reggie White was selected to more first-team all-pro’s as an Eagle.

Stats – 4

The only thing holding Van Buren back from holding a ton of Eagles records is the 12 game schedule and his shortened career. He holds the single-season Eagles records for Yds/Game (95.5 in 1949) and Yds/Att by a RB (5.82 in 1945). He held the rushing TD mark (15) until LeSean McCoy broke it this season. For his career, he is 1st in Eagles’ history in rushing TD with 69. 2nd place (Montgomery) has 24 less. He is also 3rd on the Eagles all-time list for rushing yards (5,860).

Historical Standing – 3

He is a Hall of Famer, but his shortened career prevents him from getting a higher number here.

Excitement – 4

Tough to get a good read on what kind of runner Van Buren was, but this is a guy who scored 77 total touchdowns in 83 career games including 5 punt/kick returns. Jim Brown is the only player I could find with a better TD/Game ratio.

Total: 28

For the complete list and explanation of criteria and scoring, check out the Philly Fifty page

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  1. joof says:

    Interesting…….Im curious if you found a lot of game clips of him??

  2. jjg says:

    Supersonic Steve, a 9.8 sprinter with power.  Helped bring that rarest of phenomenons, an Eagles championship, to this city in consecutive years, ’48 & ’49.  Retired early due to broken leg suffered in Hershey, PA scrimmage.  Had blocked for baseball’s Alvin Dark at LSU until he was handed the ball his senior year.  So tough that even his post-career halftime honorings gained positive yards.  That he didn’t wear a face mask places an asterisk on all the Eagles running backs who’ve followed.