December 21, 2014

The Philly Fifty, #41: Pete Pihos, Eagles

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

“Pete could play any position on the team better than the person we had playing it — in fact, in most cases better than anyone else in the country.” – Indiana University Coach, Bo McMillan

Longevity – 4

Pihos spent his entire career in Philadelphia, 9 seasons from 1947-1955

Peak – 4

Pihos played both sides of the ball (WR/TE and DE) and was undoubtedly one of the best players in the NFL when he played. In his 9 seasons, he made 5 1st-team all-pro teams. He led the NFL in receptions 3 times, yards twice, and receiving TD once. In 1952, he played primarily DE, and was an all-pro at that position as well.

Popularity – 2

For the most part, people associate Chuck Bednarik with these teams, leaving Pihos in the background.

Team Success – 4

The Eagles won 2 NFL championships with Pihos in 1948 and 1949. During his 9 seasons, they went 63-41 and also made it to another championship game, that they lost to Chicago.

Awards – 4

He was 1st-team all-pro for more than half of the seasons he played, on both sides of the ball.

Stats – 3

Another hard one with no defensive stats for his time at DE. On the receiving end of things, Pihos finished with 5,619 receiving yards and 66 TD. He was the first Eagles WR/TE to have over 1,000 yards in 1953, which he did in a 12 game season. A 16-game season would have put his 1953 numbers at 1,400 yards and 13-14 TD. He is 4th all-time for the Eagles in receiving yards, and receiving TD.

Historical Standing – 3

Pihos was elected to the pro football hall of fame in 1970.

Excitement – 2

I get the sense that Pihos was more of TE type player, big and bruising, but not necessarily flashy. The fact that he went both ways, and did it well, gives him an extra point here.

Total: 26

Pihos recently passed away at age 87 so people have had a chance to learn more about him in recent weeks. Here is a quote from George Allen that I think encapsulates Pihos.

“He was no giant, but he was big enough. He was no sprinter, but he was fast enough. He was extremely tough and durable and determined, and he seemed to me an exceptionally smart player. He was the kind of player coaches like me wanted to captain their clubs.”

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

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Comments

  1. jjg says:

    Includes 2 videos giving glimpses of the football player and the man:

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/remembering-pete-pihos-pioneering-tight-end/