Known as much for his formidable strength as for his incredible versatility on the field, Bronislau Nagurski (1908-1990) earned his lifelong nickname, "Bronko," as a child in International Falls, MN. He played both tackle and fullback for the University of Minnesota football team, the Gophers, from 1927 to 1929. In 1929, 15 organizations and publications named him to their All-America teams.
Nagurski played multiple positions for the Chicago Bears from 1930 to 1937 and again in 1943. In 1933 he helped lead the Bears to victory in the NFL's first official championship game. A shortage of football players during World War II brought him back to the Bears for their 1943 championship season. Nagurski's incredible strength remains legendary in the football world: A crack in the wall at Wrigley Field, former home of the Bears, is attributed to Nagurski having crashed into it after barreling through two opponents and ricocheting off the goalpost while scoring a touchdown.
In contrast to his fearsome reputation on the field, Nagurski is remembered as a modest, soft-spoken man. Today the Football Writers Association of America annually selects the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the defensive college player of the year.