Friday, August 24, 2012

Steve Van Buren, Hall of Fame Running Back Who Led Philadelhia Eagles to '48, '49 NFL Titles, R.I.P.

Steve Van Buren, the Hall of Fame running back who helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the NFL championship in 1948 and 1949, passed away on Thursday at Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the age of 91.

Nicknamed "Wham-Bam,"  the former LSU star, best known for his quick, punishing running style, joined the Eagles in 1944 as a first-round draft selection.

Mr. Van Buren, a five-time All-Pro selection, scored the only touchdown of the 1948 title game, played at Philadelphia's Shibe Park (a.k.a. Connie Mack Stadium) during a blinding snowstorm.  Steve ran for the score from five yards as the Eagles avenged their title-game defeat from the previous year, blanking the Chicago Cardinals 7-0.

The following year, at a rain-soaked Los Angeles Coliseum, Wham-Bam ran for 196 yards as the visiting Eagles blanked the Los Angeles Rams 14-0, becoming the only team to this date to win championships via back-to-back shutouts.

Honduras-born Steve, who retired just prior to the start of the 1952 season due to a leg injury, bacame the first Eagles player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965.

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