Hard work and consistency oftentimes goes overlooked because it becomes what is expected. We take for granted how necessary that person has become. In the world of sports, we try not to miss that by making sure those who made such an impact are forever enshrined. The pinnacle of a sporting career, outside of winning a championship, is making it to the Hall of Fame.
When a person makes it into the Hall of Fame, they are being told that they made a difference in their respective sport that not many can. On August 6, some familiar Bay Area names were forever etched into the NFL Hall of Fame: former 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo, and great Ken Stabler who led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory and still stands as their all-time passing leader. But there was one Bay Area name that earned HoF honors without much glitz and glamour about him. Richard (Dick) Anthony Stanfel.
Stanfel was a born and bred San Franciscan. In the fall of 1946, Stanfel enrolled into the City College of San Francisco, where he played for one year before serving a year-and-a-half in the United States Army as a signal corpsman. After his service he decided to take his talents to a college in his hometown. That’s right, our very own University of San Francisco, which had a football team up until 1982. Stanfel represented the green and gold from 1948-1950. He played offense and defense, but was highly touted for his blocking ability on offense. He was considered to be a major key in having a successful run scheme.
In 1951 he was drafted by the Detroit Lions and had many highlight games in which he was credited for successful run-games. In one game, the Lions rushed for over 300 yards much to the blocking ability of Stanfel. Though Stanfel only played seven seasons with two teams, the Lions and Washington, he was considered one of the best guards and blockers in the league. So much so that it eventually led to a long and successful career as a coach. He even found himself on the 49ers coaching staff from 1971-1974 as the offensive line coach and 1975 as the offensive coordinator.
As a player, Stanfel was a five-time Pro Bowler, five-time all-pro and two time NFL Champion (pre-Super Bowl era). Stanfel’s early retirement was due to him following his former USF coach Joe Kuharich to Notre Dame. As a coach, he won Super Bowl XX as offensive line coach to the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears team that is considered one of the greatest teams in NFL history.
Stanfel passed away last year at the age of 87. Quality and consistency were two traits the great Dick Stanfel had in spades, both as a player and a coach, and it’s only fitting that he will forever be remembered in the Hall of Fame. The city of San Francisco and USF were able to produce one of the best players of all-time that many have never heard of. Hopefully HoF honors are rightfully deserved for a man that was a hidden gem much like USF is to San Francisco.
PHOTO CREDIT: ESPN.com