Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Jay "The Flying Dutchman" Berwanger

Jay "The Flying Dutchman" Berwanger


  • Position: Halfback
  • School: Chicago
  • High School: Dubuque, IA (Dubuque HS)
  • Years: 1933-1935
  • Inducted: 1954
  • Place of Birth: Dubuque, IA
  • Date of Birth: Mar 19, 1914
  • Place of Death: Downer's Grove, IL
  • Date of Death: Jun 27, 2002
  • Jersey Number: 99
  • Height: 6-1
  • Weight: 195

Member Biography

John Jacob Berwanger, known as "Jay," was a two-time All- America halfback for Chicago. He was the first winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1935. He was the number one pick in the first pro football draft. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him and traded his negotiating rights to the Chicago Bears, but Jay never played pro ball. Instead he started a career in business. In 24 college games he scored 22 touchdowns, averaged 4.2 yards a try from scrimmage and 25.7 yards on 34 kickoff returns. On defense he played linebacker until fourth down, when he became the punt return man. Against Ohio State in 1935 he made an 85-yard run in which, as recorded in the NCAA guide, "Berwanger bowled over four tacklers, outwitted two others, and outran the last." In the final minute of his final college game, he made a rambling, evading 49-yard punt return to the 1-yard line against Illinois. He plunged over for a touchdown from scrimmage, place-kicked the extra point, and won the game 7-6. He also had runs of 65 yards against Dartmouth, 57 against Michigan and 97 against Indiana. He died June 27, 2002.